Shropshire Routes to Roots
|Routes | Transport and communication | The Shropshire Union Canal|
6. The Shrewsbury Canal(Donnington Wood to Shrewsbury)
The main purpose of the Shrewsbury Canal was to supply coal from the east Shropshire coal field around Ironbridge to the county town, Shrewsbury. Many of the initial promoters were those involved in the Shropshire Canal.
In 1795, the Shrewsbury Canal bought the mile-long section of the Wombridge Canal between the top of the Trench incline and the junction with the Shropshire and Donnington Wood Canals.
The aqueduct that should never have been
Tunnels caused problems for boats. The lack of towpaths meant that in many tunnels the boat crews would have to 'leg' their way through a tunnel. They lay on their backs and pressed their feet on the ceiling to force their way through it. Berwick Tunnel, 887 metres (970 yards) long, was the first major canal tunnel in Britain to have a towpath built through it.
However, this did not solve the other major problem with long tunnels, particularly those which, like the Berwick Tunnel, were not straight. Conflicts could occur when two boats came at it from opposite directions. To overcome this, a bye-law was introduced which stated that whoever reached the centre first should continue, whilst the 'loser' would have to turn back. At busy periods, a boat might be forced to turn around two or three times.
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Page created January 2004 and last updated 1 August 2007