Exploring the Somerset Coal Canal

Published (updated: ) in places.

Around Midford, south of Bath, there are miles of abandoned and disused industrial infrastructure from the 19th century, when this area was undergoing a coal mining boom.

The results are delightful and weird. An empty canal leaves a shallow u-shaped scar across the landscape. At one point, a grand stone bridge crosses it, going from nowhere to nowhere.

Not far away, a flight of locks climb the hillside. Empty corridors for sheep and foxes.

A viaduct leads to a cutting, leading to the entrance to a tunnel that goes under the hills and into central Bath. There are plans to make this a cycle path, apparently.

In the nearby hamlet of Tucking Mill, there’s a monument to William Smith, the engineer who built a lot of this stuff and noticed curious things about rocks as he did so. He sort of invented geology.

That deserves a much bigger monument, in my opinion.