Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Monday, 29 October 2012

Bridging the Gap

Today we have travelled from Kinver to Stourport, the end, or is it the beginning, of the Staffs & Worc. canal.
Now we have completed all of the canal, some of it twice. It is such a pretty canal, one of the best, I think. Mostly rural and quiet, through lovely sandstone cuttings and little villages. Today's journey took us round the edge of Woverley,
under the village of Cookley,
through the town of Kidderminster.

 Here we stopped to have a quick look around. Conveniently both Tesco and Sainsbury's have canalside stores, very handy for the heavy goods.

The red sandstone is evident along much of the canal, with the channel having been cut out of the rock, and at Debdale lock, there is a large cave cut into the sandstone.
A small doorway can be see by the steps.
Inside it is roomy with a bench running round the whole space.
Some think it would have been used as a stable for the towing horses. But I'm not sure how the horses got across the lock from the towpath side. It may have been used by the navvies for shelter during the work of digging the canal.
It would have been dry and reasonably warm as, like the rock houses at Kinver, the air temperature keeps much the same all year round.

But the title of this post needs explaining...
At Caldwall lock, I was intrigued that at the bottom of the lock, there are no less than 3 ways to cross from one side to the other.
Since the sad death of a lad last year, crossing one of the original footbridges (no handrails) across a lock in Stourport, on his bike, BW and now C&RT are at pains to prevent another accident. 
 However at the moment this means ugly scaffolding 'temporary handrails' round these lovely old structures. This bridge at Kidderminster is a busy public thoroughfare and does have rails anyway.
Here they have put in a new handrail beside the old walkway. Looks a bit odd. 
And at Fazeley a wooden handrail has been put up.

Many of our locks are listed buildings and so great care has to be taken not to spoil them. I think a sense of perspective needs to be kept when making changes. Of course locks can be dangerous places, hopefully they won't become no-go areas for us to enjoy.

Kinver - Stourport
10 miles, 7 locks, 1 tunnel

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