Friday, 24 July 2015

A little known canal. I don't think W.R.G. have much hope here.

Can there be anything more tedious than being stuck in a marina? Especially when the reason for being there is a need of dental treatment. Then finding out that the dentist's booking system has cocked up and the whole lot has had to be put off really puts the tin hat on it. Back there in October, oh gloom.
But we did take the opportunity to nip off down to Plymouth for a weekend.
Now Plymouth is noted for many things nautical but in general canals are not part of the tourist route in that fine city. But interestingly "Nettleton's Guide to Plymouth, Stonehouse, Devonport and to the neighbouring country", published 1836, has a description of a canal in the dockyard, it is described as being, "Nearly sixty feet wide, and 820 feet long, at the end of which are the boat house pond, (about 80 feet wide, and 360 feet long), slips and sheds." It was crossed by a wooden swing bridge. If it is the one I am thinking of it runs between the frigate complex and Ferry Rd. Not much of a canal but there is one of rather more interest, in Plymbridge Woods runs the Cann Quarry Canal.
A family walk on the Saturday took us to Plymbridge and much of our stroll took us along the side of it.

It opened in 1829, is about two miles long, and was built to carry slate from Cann Quarry down to Marsh Mills. It was a tub boat canal taking its water from a weir on the River Plym just above the quarry. The weir is still there but unfortunately we didn't have time to walk the full length. The loaded boats were floated down on the current and presumably hauled empty back by horses.

It still holds water in some stretches. It was only in use for about ten years and then a branch from the Plymouth and Dartmoor horse tramway which ran down from Princetown, was built from near Marsh Mills to the quarry. The canal then was used as a mill leat for the mills at Marsh Mills. In the quarry itself the water was used to drive stone saws and other quarry machinery and later to generate electricity. The remains of the wheel can still be seen in the old buildings.

At Plymbridge it tunnels under the old turnpike road that ran from Plymouth to Plympton, long before the A38.

One of the old water control sluices, it made a fine spot in which a small boy could get grubby.

The various fallen tree make a fine, if challenging, climbing frame.

Watch this space...

No comments: