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Lost Horizons on the Waterway

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Our waterway network is composed of four types :

(1) The navigation in use, be it canal or river

(2) The navigation under restoration

(3) Those waterways that have little or no hope of restoration

(4) Those new projects where a navigation has not previously existed


In the third case examples include the Grand Western Canal in Somerset, whose incline plane and boat lifts are worth a visit. The boat lifts were designed for tub boats that carried about 7 tons at a time and worked between Taunton and the present navigation. There was the Dorset & Somerset Canal, which was only partly finished. The Leominster Canal was another in this category, which was a working waterway for a section that was opened to  Leominster and used for coal traffic for coal carried by boat from the Mamble Coalfield. There is still a group active in recording the remaining features of the features of this canal. 

Studying a researching such waterways continues and in the last Journal of the Railway & Canal Historical Society, David Slater has reported on the modern technique of LIDAR. The Enviroment Agency has been developing a use of this technique, which uses a different part of the electromagnetic spectrum. The use of this technique has been able to show that Southnet Tunnel never extended under the present A456 as has been speculated about, as the new procedure has shown that the ground is undisturbed for up to 100 ft there. Interpretation of the LIDAR data requires a visualising software package QGIS (Quantum Geographic Information Systems) and such information can down loaded (www.qgis,org) for certain subjects now on line. This of course included data on the Leominster, which has brought new insight into understanding this waterway. Copies of Mr Slater article are available from the RCHS  

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