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Down Under, waterways that were?


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Further to my passing comment on access to the Ramsey Tunnels, I got to thinking, just how many other navigations or canals like this, that are no longer.
I mean they have been bridged over but the old bed is still in existence and can be walked all be it with the relevant guide.

 

At a first pass the following spring to mind, The Fleet, Tank Stream, The Dukes canals, I know of several in the Birmingham area not to mention Dudley and at least two in Manchester.

Then a few northern mines (lead I think) who’s names I forget.

 

It would be interesting to build a list with some first hand Info UK or O/S.

​The more obscure the more interesting.

  • Greenie 1
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Further to my passing comment on access to the Ramsey Tunnels, I got to thinking, just how many other navigations or canals like this, that are no longer.

I mean they have been bridged over but the old bed is still in existence and can be walked all be it with the relevant guide.

 

At a first pass the following spring to mind, The Fleet, Tank Stream, The Dukes canals, I know of several in the Birmingham area not to mention Dudley and at least two in Manchester.

Then a few northern mines (lead I think) who’s names I forget.

 

It would be interesting to build a list with some first hand Info UK or O/S.

​The more obscure the more interesting.

Lost canal hunting - its a slippery slope!

My exploration id the lost BCN can be found here:

http://captainahabswaterytales.blogspot.co.uk/p/bcn-backwaters.html

And my exploration of others are here:

http://captainahabswaterytales.blogspot.co.uk/p/lost-canals.html

 

Happy hunting!

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Further to my passing comment on access to the Ramsey Tunnels, I got to thinking, just how many other navigations or canals like this, that are no longer.

I mean they have been bridged over but the old bed is still in existence and can be walked all be it with the relevant guide.

 

At a first pass the following spring to mind, The Fleet, Tank Stream, The Dukes canals, I know of several in the Birmingham area not to mention Dudley and at least two in Manchester.

Then a few northern mines (lead I think) who’s names I forget.

 

It would be interesting to build a list with some first hand Info UK or O/S.

​The more obscure the more interesting.

 

You may want to get in touch with Subterranea Brittanica. This seems the closest they have to a waterways category - a bit of an omission?

 

http://www.subbrit.org.uk/category/sewers-sanitation-and-water

 

There are a few waterways entries under "transport" http://www.subbrit.org.uk/category/transport

 

eg Greywell tunnel, and some Manchester entries.

 

ETA: Newbold tunnel appears under "tunnels".

Edited by Scholar Gypsy
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You may want to get in touch with Subterranea Brittanica. This seems the closest they have to a waterways category - a bit of an omission?

 

http://www.subbrit.org.uk/category/sewers-sanitation-and-water

 

There are a few waterways entries under "transport" http://www.subbrit.org.uk/category/transport

 

eg Greywell tunnel, and some Manchester entries.

 

ETA: Newbold tunnel appears under "tunnels".

 

 

http://www.subbrit.org.uk/sb-sites/sites/n/newbold_tunnel/index.shtml

 

Whilst at Newbold the road in front of The Boat Inn was originally the Oxford Canal:

 

1693557_bf949df9.jpg

 

 

post-7043-0-39342700-1483279467_thumb.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Ray T
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If you go to the L&LC Society newsletter access page http://www.llcs.org.uk/html/newsletters.html and look at No7, there is an article about the Bottling Wood Canal near Wigan. My recently-published revised history of the L&LC also includes a history of the Bradford Canal.

 

On underground canals, I have located at least 42 though there are more. This map gives some idea of where they are located.

gallery_6938_1_76727.jpg

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If you go to the L&LC Society newsletter access page http://www.llcs.org.uk/html/newsletters.html and look at No7, there is an article about the Bottling Wood Canal near Wigan. My recently-published revised history of the L&LC also includes a history of the Bradford Canal.

 

On underground canals, I have located at least 42 though there are more. This map gives some idea of where they are located.

gallery_6938_1_76727.jpg

 

Interesting.

The only Gelli Mine I can find in Ceredigion is the Gelli Las Level, and I would be very surprised if that had an underground canal.

http://www.aditnow.co.uk/Mines/Gelli-Las-Lead-Mine_20252/#location

 

Agreed about Nantymwyn though.

http://www.aditnow.co.uk/Mines/Nantymwyn-Lead-Mine_4295/

Edited by Graham Davis
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Interesting.

The only Gelli Mine I can find in Ceredigion is the Gelli Las Level, and I would be very surprised if that had an underground canal.

www.aditnow.co.uk/Mines/Gelli-Las-Lead-Mine_20252/#location

 

Agreed about Nantymwyn though. www.aditnow.co.uk/Mines/Nantymwyn-Lead-Mine_4295/

The Gelli Mine was described as operating in the 1780s, though its use by boats is unconfirmed. Nantymwyn had two levels, the upper working in 1747, and the lower navigable one in 1785. My list is based upon Stephen Hughes work on underground canals in the 1980s, and he is certainly an expert on Welsh industry. I did more work on the subject around 2000, with sites being identified from contemporary descriptions, always a bit problematic as those who could write would not necessarily have the technical background to understand fully what they were looking at.

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From the description of Gelli Las as a "coffin level to drain" the lode of another seam I would be very doubtful about them using boats at that mine. The pictures of the tunnel only show a narrow adit.

Most of the mines in this area were small and limited in both output and longevity, and often had windles in the middle of passages, down to deeper levels. Not conducive to boat use.

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The Tankerville "Boat level" is another where definite definition is required. Although it sounds like a canal I investigated this a while back before "sanitisation" of the area occurred and could find no evidence to support it being a waterway. Its easy to trace, the old school at "The Bog" is now an interpretation centre and it can be accessed nearby.

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Coffin levels are usually very old and refer to the shape of the adit and hints at them being cut by hand and are shaped to remove as little of the country rock necessary to allow the passage of a miner and nothing else - so the passage is cut in a basic coffin shape - so no good for any boats.

The base of these adits may be as little as 18" wide.

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I suspect that drainage levels were often used for floating materials during construction and/or maintenance, and this may be where descriptions of some as navigable come from. It does raise the question of what is a navigable level, and even what is a canal. Foreign friends often asked me what is the difference between a canal and a channel, which is difficult to explain as the meaning changes with different uses. For example, can a canal be just man-made, as we have canals in our bodies.

 

Edited to add that I know of some navigable levels where boats were only around 3 feet wide. Those on the lowest Worsley levels were much smaller in length and breadth to those used on the upper levels.

Edited by Pluto
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Coffin levels are often cut where the country rock is very hard and are usually associated with mineral bearing ores: lead, tin, copper, silver etc. These minerals are often found in hydrothermal veins and as such the country rock has been altered by heat and pressure making it hard.

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This is the Fuchstollen, or Fox mine, near Walbrzych, in Poland, which was navigable, built around 1800, and based on the Worsley mine system. It does give an idea of the width of a navigable adit.

gallery_6938_1_106983.jpg

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This is the Fuchstollen, or Fox mine, near Walbrzych, in Poland, which was navigable, built around 1800, and based on the Worsley mine system. It does give an idea of the width of a navigable adit.

gallery_6938_1_106983.jpg

And presumably, like some canals, later converted to a railway.

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I cannot see in Plutos list mention of the Hollinswood Common Tunnel Canal. This was a coal mine drift flooded to a depth of two feet which was driven south from the chesterfield Canal at Hollingwood. There was no connection with the Chesterfield Canal, and the water level was about a foot lowere. The tunnel was 1 3/4 miles long and at its terminus 240ft below ground under West Wood. The tunnel dimesions were 6ft high and 5ft 9in wide. The boats were 20ft long and each held 7 tubs of coal which were brought to the boats from side galleries. The tubs were lifted by crane and tipped into narrow boats on the Chestefield Canal. The mine was worked by George Dickins, Staveley, for the Duke of Devonshire, the owner. Any trace of this entrance was lost when the Chesterfield Canal was realigned. The air shafts are said to remain, however.

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And presumably, like some canals, later converted to a railway.

No, I think it remained navigable until subsidence caused too much variation in floor levels and then closed as that seam was worked out. The photo was taken during an unsuccessful project to reopen the navigable adit by levelling the floor. There were several underground canals in the Upper Silesia area, one of which is still easily accessible and another, in Zabrze, has been considered for reopening.

 

Re my map; it was just an outline one I did almost twenty years ago, and it was difficult to include exact locations for all the underground navigations. I have found additional sites since, such as the one under the Dee at Neston Colliery. My notes for the Hollingwood Common level suggest it was built between 1771 and 1777, possibly by John Gilbert, and was about 1 foot lower than the level of the Chesterfield Canal. The Duke of Devonshire had several other underground navigations in mines around the Peak District.

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Coffin levels are often cut where the country rock is very hard and are usually associated with mineral bearing ores: lead, tin, copper, silver etc. These minerals are often found in hydrothermal veins and as such the country rock has been altered by heat and pressure making it hard.

 

Photo Album of "Coffin Levels"

http://www.aditnow.co.uk/Photos/Lightbox/Coffin-Levels_87/

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You can do an underground boat trip in a former slate mine at King Arthur's Labyrinth at the Corris Craft Centre in Mid Wales. More of a visitor attraction for kids than a serious mine experience, but enjoyable nonetheless when we took the family a few years ago.

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You can do an underground boat trip in a former slate mine at King Arthur's Labyrinth at the Corris Craft Centre in Mid Wales. More of a visitor attraction for kids than a serious mine experience, but enjoyable nonetheless when we took the family a few years ago.

 

Indeed.

You can also explore further beyond, on trips organised by Corris Mine Explorers.

http://www.corrismineexplorers.co.uk/

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  • 3 years later...

The spectacular caves of Drach in Majorca have a fairly extensive underground lake at the exit, where your visit ends with music, accompanied by the appearance of a boat containing a singer. When we were there more than a decade ago, after the performance it was announced in Spanish, German, and French, that you could either exit on foot via the passage, or by boat. The English announcement only mentioned exit on foot! Along with the Spanish, German and French visitors, we took our place in the queue for the boats, which were electrically-powered and virtually silent. Drach is on the coast, and the crystal-clear water was saline.

Edited by Ronaldo47
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On 01/01/2017 at 13:22, Martin@75 said:

Further to my passing comment on access to the Ramsey Tunnels, I got to thinking, just how many other navigations or canals like this, that are no longer.
 

The Markeaton  brook through Derby. There are apparently traces of wharfage in the tunnel under the Wardwick. Regards, HughC

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