SJ8219 : Cutting north of Cowley Tunnel at Gnosall Heath, Staffordshire

taken 7 years ago, near to Gnosall Heath, Staffordshire, Great Britain

Cutting north of Cowley Tunnel at Gnosall Heath, Staffordshire
Cutting north of Cowley Tunnel at Gnosall Heath, Staffordshire
Looking north-west from the north portal of Cowley Tunnel, the canal is still deep in a tree shrouded cutting. The sun shines brightly beyond the end of it, too bright for me to photograph well from this position.

Originally called the Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Canal, it was opened in 1835, engineered by Thomas Telford. In order to make the route as straight (and short) as possible with the technology of his time, the canal was built on many embankments, and through many cuttings, some very deep. Merger with competing railways in 1845 resulted in the present name of the Shropshire Union Canal.

At Gnosall Heath, the tunnel is only 74 metres long. Telford originally planned that it should be 630 metres in length, but during the construction in 1831, he encountered unexpected dangerous faults in the sandstone rock, so a long deep cutting was the compromise. The tunnel itself is unlined (with bricks), the bare rock in it being safe and solid.
The Shropshire Union Canal
The Shropshire Union Canal (from Autherley to Nantwich) was engineered by Thomas Telford and opened in 1835. There are long straight sections of this canal which required either embankments or cuttings to avoid the need for locks. Although this was a more difficult procedure, the end route was shorter and the progress for horse drawn working boats could be maintained with (hopefully) no stoppages. The canal (formerly the Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Canal) was opened at a time when railways were making serious inroads into the canal companies' businesses.

The current Shroppie north of Nantwich was formerly the Chester Canal, opened in 1779, and has wider locks and bridges. Boats up to nine feet in beam can still navigate this section; Telford's canal accommodates only narrowboats up to seven feet in beam.
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SJ8219, 69 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Wednesday, 24 August, 2011   (more nearby)
Friday, 10 February, 2012
Geographical Context
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 823 199 [100m precision]
WGS84: 52:46.5900N 2:15.8250W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 823 198
View Direction
Northwest (about 315 degrees)
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Canal Tunnel  Tunnel  Cutting 

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