Exploring the Somerset Coal Canal
Ruins in fields


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.

Filed under: places
(8 February 2008)