Thursday, 17 May 2012

A disused tramway, some wild flowers and a cookery tip.

It's fascinating, the things you discover from a casual conversation. At the top of Bosley Locks a B.W. worker was telling a fellow boater that at the bottom of the locks there were the remains of a narrow gauge railway that was used to bring stone down from the quarries on The Cloud to the canal.

Careful perusal of The Cloud showed no signs of the inclined plane that would have been essential on any railway coming down the slope but we set off from the moorings and, having crossed the bottom lock, we plunged into the woods. Sure enough we found

 what was obviously a shallow cutting. Following this along we located the remains of

wooden sleepers and also a small bridge over

a small tributary of the River Dane that emerges from below a retaining wall.

This is a piece of clinker that could have come from the firebox of a steam locomotive, we definitely had the remains of a rail/tram way.
Following it further we came to some old industrial buildings.

No clue as to their purpose but the old track disappeared here.
Back tracking through the woods we went into botany mode:


Bistort and my favourite;

wild garlic or ramsons. For a simple treat just chop a few leaves, soften them in melted butter and then roll freshly boiled new potatoes in the butter, really tasty.
Meanwhile back at the bottom of the locks it became obvious that there had once been a wharf

with a set of steps leading down from the locks.

I was happy that there had been a railway serving a wharf but not that it carried stone from the quarries. A quick rake around the more obscure corners of the internet (Not those corners) and I turned up the information that the railway originally served to carry grain from the canal to a corn mill owned by F.R. Thompstone and Sons. The mill was originally powered by a tributary of the River Dane and it may, in the 18thC. have had connections with Brindley when he was working as a millwright.
So there you have it, a 2'6" gauge tramway, .75 miles long, opened in 1887 and closed about 1925. Interesting? I suppose it depends on you point of view.
Tomorrow we're off under Harecastle Hill, an encounter with the boggart?

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

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