Sunday, 31 July 2011

The Droitwich, part three.

I hope nobody is getting bored with the Droitwich? Good.
We're now up to Wednesday which was set aside for a look at the town. It has a reputation for crooked buildings,

it turns out to be well deserved and the villain of the piece?

This is Tower Hill brine pump, brine has been taken for centuries from below the town which is now subsiding into the empty spaces that are left.

The boys were more impressed with the playground in Vines Park, once the centre of  salt production but now a lovely open space with the canal running through it while the church,                                                                                                              

blackened from centuries of smoke, overlooks park and town. Even the tower of this august building has a bit of a lean to it.
The bad news is that the Barge Lock that is situated in the park has been adopted by the local youth as a playground and while we were there a boat that chose to moor in the park rather than the basin was set adrift over night.
Thursday morning saw us set off through the park and the Barge Lock,

this has a footbridge across it that needs to be swung before you take your boat in. We had no problem negotiating the lock as the river was so low it was making a level.
We were now on the River Salwarpe

and nigh on scraping the bottom.

Not the most attractive stretch, the river was used to connect the Junction and Barge Canals as the original cut was built over during the time the canals were closed.
You now come to the high (or low) light of this stretch, the M5 culvert.

When they say it is low they are speaking the truth, if the water had been another inch up we would not have got through. Once through you come to the new locks, they are stark concrete

with no wing walls, best make sure you line up properly or it will be a nasty crunching noise. Nature hasn't started to cover the scars left by construction

but it's not long before you return to a more mellow set of locks at Hanbury.

These locks have working side ponds that the lockie works to save water, definitely needed when we were there. Just beyond you come to the junction,

under the bridge and you are on the Worcester and Birmingham.
As for the Droitwich; it's a lovely canal even if the middle bit is somewhat bare, don't miss it but do make sure you are low enough to get through the M5 culvert.
We are now at Oddingly, scene of a gruesome murder in the 19th C. More about the Oddingley murders soon,

Watch this space.................

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