Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Canal Walk: Foulridge to Barnoldswick

We parked at the wharf at the north end of Foulridge Tunnel. The area has a few things to interest the industrial archaeologist. First there is the tunnel itself. It is 1640yards long and dead straight. Unfortunately it has no towpath so walkers (and horses) have to take an alternative route. But today we were going north and away from the tunnel. The wharf has a number of stone warehouses, a quarter mile post and a cast iron boundary post which relates to the railway line which until recently crossed the canal at this point. The railway embankments can be seen either side of the canal while the metal rail bridge would have gone over what is now the toilet block.
Leaving the wharf we set off north through the rolling countryside. The canal passes through green farmland for most of this walk. Along the way we found quarter, half and full mileposts. The most picture-esque being the 83miles post which is next to Mill Hill Bridge. there was no sign of the old milestones on this stretch.

The next town on the canal is Salterforth, 84 miles from Liverpool and 43 and a quarter from Leeds (but still in Lancashire). As the canal turns a corner under bridge #151 walkers might notice a post which would have had a roller on it to help stop the tow ropes snagging on the bend. Next to the bridge is the Anchor Inn, a public houses with more to interest a visitor than just beer and spirits. We didnt enter to experience the pub first hand but sat in the picnic area by the canal side car park. Maybe next time we will park here and have time for a pint.

After drinks and sweets we had enough sugar in our systems to walk another mile.
A mile away from Salterforth is the town of Barnoldswick, at bridge 154A. Our visit was one of missed opportunities though. First we couldnt find the 85 mile milepost (or the mill it was once alongside). Without realising it we were at the point where a small branch was cut to quarry rock. I had been keen to see if there was anything remianing of the rock cut, its tunnels, and arched aquaduct but it was only when we had returned home that I saw how close we had been. Looking at the guides there seems to be some debate as to where the border between Lancashire and Yorkshire is. Some guides say that we crossed over and others suggest we were safely on home soil the whole trip. Barnoldswick is in Lancashire but is its canal?
We turned around as the sun was going behind the clouds and headed back. Back at the Foulridge wharf we had a look at the old lime kiln which is in the car park. It was designed so the top had easy access for the canal. It dates back to a time when lime and limestone were the main cargoes on the canal, more important than coal.

This is a very good section for walkers. The car parks at Foulridge and Salterforth are very useful. There were quite a few people out walking or cycling and the towpath is very good. This section also had a few boats on the move, though it is still quiet compared to other canals.

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