Chalford to Brimscombe   Picture Gallery                  Back to T&S Canal Index

The length of canal between Chalford and Brimscombe remained in use right up to the end of the canal's working life in 1933. Even after closure, the canal remained substantially intact and, for many years, in water. The water supply was so good that  St Mary's and Beale's Locks were never shortened and remain in their original Thames Barge configuration capable of taking boats of 12ft x 90ft.

St Mary's Lock - Thames & Severn CanalThe railway crosses the canal twice in this length and regrettably both bridges have been removed although it is doubtful that this action was legal since the use of any Thames & Severn Canal land for railway purposes was specifically forbidden by Act of Parliament in 1895.

The first such crossing is just above St Mary's Lock where the railway is so close to the lock that a grotto under the railway had to be created to accommodate the top offside balance beam. A tunnel led from this to an opening in the bridge abutment under the bridge itself to allow the boatmen to get on and off their boats.

The length between St Mary's and Beale's Lock remains in water to this day, although now heavily reeded and shallow. This length of canal was used as a water supply for the GWR who based additional steam engines here to assist trains up the relatively steep line to Sapperton. No trace remains of their sidings nor of Brimscombe Station which was located above the Lock.

Below Beale's Lock, the canal swings southwards away form the railway and passes through industrial land but, apart from a missing bridge, the canal bed itself has remained unobstructed. Leakage in the bank towards the western end of this stretch has meant that the canal has been kept empty. The northern bank of the canal upstream Bourne Lock was once a major boat building and repair yard with slipways; no evidence of this former activity remains visible above ground now. This area was accessible from a road which passed under a separate railway bridge directly from Brimscombe Port.

The railway crosses the canal again just at the head of Bourne Lock.

Bourne Bridge - Thames & Severn CanalBourne Lock was an interesting hybrid capable of taking both 90ft Thames Barges and the wider, but shorter, Severn Trows. The combination of the additional length and width made it greedy in its use of water so it was shorthened by building an arch over the upper part of the lock and the relocation of the top gates.

Below Bourne Lock, the canal has water in it and has recently been tidied up. The canal comes to an abrupt stop at what would have been the eastern entrance into Brimscombe Port. By 2008, it should be possible for boats to navigate to this point from as far west as The Ocean at Stonehouse some 6 miles away.

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Copyright Ken Burgin 2006 - all rights reserved