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SHROPSHIRE CANALS 

  

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Further Information

 

Leominster Canal

 

 

History

 

Miles

Locks

Opened

Closed

Route

11½

 

7

12

 

4

1794

 

1796

1858

 

1858

SO516685 (Woofferton Wharf)

 

SO516685 (Woofferton Wharf)

SO669704 (Southnett Wharf)

 

SO505599 (Leominster Wharf)

 

Following the opening of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal in 1772, the engineer Robert Whitworth proposed a canal to link Stourport to Hereford, passing through Pensax and Leominster.  Thomas Dadford carried out a survey of the proposed route and presented a plan for a 31 mile canal, costing £83,000, with estimated receipts of £4,300 per year. Three tunnels would be required, at Putnal Field, Southnett and Pensax.  There was interest in extending the canal to Kington so the plan was revised to extend the canal to 46 miles.  An Act of Parliament was obtained in 1791 which allowed the Proprietors to raise £150,000, with another £40,000 if necessary.

 

The section from Woofferton to Southnet Wharf near Marlbrook was opened in October 1794, with a tramway from Southnet Wharf to Mamble Colliery.  There were delays, however, in finishing the Putnall Tunnel between Woofferton and Leominster and then the Southnet Tunnel beyond Marlbrook partially collapsed. It was not until the end of 1796 that the canal was open between Leominster and Southnett Wharf. This was only 18½ miles instead of the 31 miles planned.  Around £90,000 had been spent to reach this stage but funds were running out.  In 1803, after obtaining independent advice, the company decided not to complete the unfinished sections of canal but to construct railways at either end of the existing section to link it to Stourport and Kington.  In the event these were not constructed and the canal remained as a link between the collieries at Mamble (using the wharf at Marlbrook) and Leominster.

 

For the next 60 years, the canal carried coal to Leominster which enabled the Mamble collieries to prosper. However, the income from this was not sufficient to run the canal at a profit. The canal never paid a dividend as what little money was collected was tolls for transport of coal. In 1858, the company sold the canal to the Shrewsbury & Hereford Railway for £12,000 and they drained it to sell off most of the land. Part of the route was retained and used for the Tenbury & Bewdley Railway.

 

Route through Shropshire

 

Most of the route of the canal through Shropshire was subsequently used as the track bed of a railway so original canal features have been obscured.

 

1)  Herefordshire Border – Burford Farm Bridge

 

 

The route entered Shropshire from Herefordshire on aqueducts over the Ledwyche Brook (SO574684) and Mill Row (SO575685).  There were two footbridges at SO575685 and SO580686, the current status of which has not yet been confirmed. The abutments of Burford Farm Bridge (SO582686) still remain.

 

  Burford Farm Bridge

 

 

2)  Burford Farm Bridge – Spurtree Bridge

 

 

It then proceeded north of, and roughly parallel to, the River Teme towards Burford.  This was the closest it came to Tenbury Wells and was where the town had its wharf.  Harp Bank Bridge (SO593690) has been infilled but the sides remain and the wharf area (SO594690) has been infilled. Wharf Cottage (SO596691) still exists surrounded by new houses but there is no trace of the adjacent bridge.  Spurtree Bridge (SO601691) has been infilled and the canal cottages (SO601692) demolished and ploughed over.

 

Harp Bank Bridge

 

Wharf Cottage

 

3)  Spurtree Bridge – Old Quarry Bridge

 

 

Oldhill Bridge (SO613689) still remains complete and, just after this, the canal route deviated from the railway, the latter going straight on whereas the canal looped around to follow the contours.  It passed over Corn Brook on an aqueduct (SO618688) but the current status of this is unknown.  After joining the line of the railway again, it passed over a bridge (SO622687), the abutments of which still remain.

 

Oldhill Bridge

 

Bridge

 

4)  Old Quarry Bridge - Newnham

 

 

It looped away from the line of the railway track at two more places before and after Stiper’s Hill.  The bridges on the canal loop (SO627691) and at Stiper’s Hill (SO629690) have been infilled.

 

 

5)  Newnham – Railway Bridge

 

 

At Newnham Bridge, the canal route deviated again and headed north-east, the bridge (SO643695) has been infilled but the iron sides of the bridge remain. It then passed through the 100 yards long Newnham Tunnel (SO645700), the portals have been infilled but it is just possible to see the top of the arch. The canal cottages (SO647703) have been demolished and ploughed over.

 

Newnham Bridge

 

Newnham Tunnel Portal

 

6)  Railway Bridge – Staffordshire Boarder

 

 

After the tunnel, the canal turned east and left Shropshire into Warwickshire on an aqueduct (SO651703) over the River Rea, this is still standing but becoming unstable.  Shortly after this, it passed the Southnett Wharf and entered the Southnett Tunnel.

 

River Rea Aqueduct

 

Table of Features

 

Only the sites in Shropshire have links for Google map

 

Location

Feature

SO505599

Leominster Wharf

SO505610

Stockton Locks

SO510614

Endale Bridge

SO508622

Footbridge

SO507628

Keeper’s Lodge Bridge

SO500642

Moreton Bridge

SO496655

Railway Bridge

SO495662

Bridge

SO500663

Putnall Tunnel South Portal

SO503666

Putnall Tunnel North Portal

SO511679

Railway Bridge

SO520684

Wooferton Locks

SO520685

Wooferton Bridge

SO537688

Teme Aqueduct

SO547683

Little Hereford Bridge

SO570681

Broadfields Bridge

SO572684

Bridge

SO574684

Boundary of Shropshire & Herefordshire

SO574684

Aqueduct over Ledwyche Brook  (status unknown)

SO575685

Aqueduct over Mill Row (status unknown)

SO575685

Footbridge (status unknown)

SO580686

Footbridge (status unknown)

SO582686

Burford Farm Bridge (abutments remain)

SO593690

Harp Bank Bridge (infilled)

SO594690

Tenbury Wells Wharf (infilled)

SO596691

Tenbury Wells Wharf Cottage

SO596691

Bridge (infilled)

SO601691

Spurtree Bridge (infilled)

SO601692

Canal Cottages (disused)

SO613689

Oldhill Bridge

SO618688

Aqueduct over Corn Brook (status unknown)

SO622687

Bridge (abutments remain)

SO627691

Bridge (status unknown)

SO629690

Stiper’s Hill Bridge (infilled)

SO643695

Newnham Bridge (iron sides remain)

SO645700

Newnham Tunnel (entrances infilled)

SO647703

Canal Cottages (demolished)

SO651703

Aqueduct over River Rea (status unknown)

SO651703

Boundary of Shropshire & Warwickshire

SO664703

Southnett Lock

SO668704

Southnett Wharf

SO680696

Southnett Tunnel NW Portal