Saturday, 17 June 2017

Following the course of the Kickety Brook, from Chorlton

It’s not the best outcome for a watercourse which once ran free across across the meadows but it is an all too familiar one.

If I have my geography correct then this is the Kickety Brook which I first came across when researching the weir which had been built in the late 18th century to protect the Duke’s Canal from a sudden surge of flood water.

Now this was all too common an occurrence before the beginning of the 20th century and there are plenty of stories of farmers being caught out by the speed and force of the Mersey in full flood.

On one occasion a farmer just had time to unhitch his horse from the wagon before being engulfed and on another hay ricks swept out of the fields near Barlow Hall Farm were deposited back a day or so later and Thomas Elwood our local historian described a vast lake of water stretching back across to the Mersey after one flood in the 1880s.

So strong was that force that the first weir was destroyed and had to be rebuilt in the 1840s.

After which it continued to do its job of breaking the flood surge and directing it out across open land towards the Kickety Brook.

Back then the brook must have been a far more attractive water course than the one that Andy Robertson photographed recently.

Of course with the passing of farming in the area water courses can seem to be a nuisance.  At best they are neglected and at worse they are full of all sorts of rubbish.

Added to which great stretches flow in concrete channels which do nothing for what was once a vital part of the countryside offering a home to wildlife and a place of mystery and fun to young children.

In some places these channels have been torn up to allow the water to flow freely once again.

One such is the river Quaggy in south east London and the result has been to create haven for all sorts of animals.

Sadly not so this bit of the Kickety Brook, but maybe the future will be different.

Pictures; the Kickety Brook, February 2015 from the collection of Andy Robertson

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