Saturday, 20 October 2012

Another Rest Day?

Thirty years ago when we travelled the Cheshire Ring in a hire boat we could not come to Bugsworth Basin as it was derelict.  Since then the Inland Waterways Protection Society have restored it to one of the best moorings we have ever encountered.
Bugsworth Canal Basin, the head of navigation of the Peak Forest Canal, was the largest and busiest inland port on Britain's narrow canal system and the only one to survive intact.  
This model reprsents only one third of the site as it was in its heyday.
Canal and tramway engineer, Benjamin Outram, built the 14 mile long Peak Forest Canal from Dukinfield to Bugsworth, although plans to extend to Chapel Milton via Whitehough were never realised. Construction of the six-mile Peak Forest Tramway in 1795-96 linked Bugsworth Basin to the limestone and gritstone quarries in Derbyshire, and the canal linked Bugsworth to Manchester and the trans-Pennine canal network.
With these transport systems in place Bugsworth thrived commercially. However, as early as 1804, experiments using steam locomotives to haul iron were underway in Wales. The ensuing unstoppable advancement in railway technology would, inevitably, lead to the decline and ultimate demise of the canal system.

It closed in 1927  but IWPS has restored much of this site where lime was crushed and burnt and gritstone was transhipped to pave the roads of Lancashire

The full extent of the site is impossible to convey in still photographs: you really must make the effort to visit it personally. The Navigation Inn is worth a visit too.
Beyond this bridge is the upper basin where gritstone was transhipped from the Peak Forest (gravity) Tramway into waiting narrowboats.

The remains of the limestone crusher can be seen here to the left of the picture.


A short stretch of the original tram tracks are preserved: this line brought the limestone to the crusher.


Stone sleepers remain to show where other branches of the Peak Forest Tramway  served the gritstone wharf.

As for a rest day that didn't materialise: we washed and polished one side of the boat.

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