Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Walking a bit of our history ..... out by the Duke’s Canal at the Cut Hole Bridge

We have started walking the Meadows again after a break of nearly two decades.

The old railway bridge with the canal beyond, 2018
And of course much has changed.

Those vast areas of open land have been colonised by a mass of undergrowth, bushes and trees and where once there were clear views across the grass, the land has been closed up.

All of which makes many of the familiar walks, less familiar and just that bit different.

When I first began exploring this area I had no idea that once it had been farmed as meadow land which required the farmer to carefully food and drain the land regularly in order to grow the first grass of spring to feed the livestock.

Careful attention had to be given to how long the land was flooded and a watch kept for a hard frost which would damage the growing grass under its mantle of water.

Sadly the age of Corporation tipping raised the level of the land destroying all the old drainage ditches, and the subsequent creation of the Mersey Valley changed forever a landscape which had been familiar to generations of Chorlton farmers.

The Duke's Canal, 1854
That said what we have now is different but still a pleasure to walk.

And so on Sunday we set off through one of the old brick channels built as part of the sewage works, headed on through tall grass to the pond by the river which I remembered as open but now is surrounded a mass of foliage.

From there we followed the Mersey round to the bend and took a footpath north, which by degree brought us to the Cut Hole Bridge which carries the Duke’s Canal over the Old Road.

Well I call it the Old Road, but it has had many names, and originally ran from Hardy lane down past the Brook through the village before snaking off across Turn Moss and ending in Stretford.

But more of the Old Road another time.

For most our walk we had been in the old township of Chorlton but I fancy for a little while had crossed into that other place, before heading back along the Old Road, past the cemetery and the weir and taking a diversion which by degree brought us to Chorlton Brook.

Location; the Meadows

Pictures; heading towards the Cut Hole Bridge, 2018 from the collection of Andrew Simpson and and the meadows in 1854 from  the OS map of  Lancashire,1854,  courtesy of Digital Archives Association, http://digitalarchives.co.uk/

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