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Combe Hay locks and Midford viaduct.


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I had a pass out this morning so I decided to go visit something just the other side of Bath.

When you think of coalfields in the UK you usually think of Yorkshire, Notts, the central belt of Scotland or South Wales but North Somerset had quite a big coalfield in the 1800's and the last pit closed as late as 1973.  In the early 1800's the colliery owners clubbed together to build a canal to join on to the Kennet & Avon canal and so that their coal could gain access to Bristol, Wiltshire and Berkshire.

Not much remains of the canal today as it was superseded by the Somerset & Dorset railway which eventually ran more or less along the same route.  One thing that does remain though is the Combe Hay flight, a series of 22 locks with a fall of 134 feet so that the canal could be dropped to the level of the Kennet & Avon.  On part of the flight is a bend of almost 180 degrees which is the sharpest bend on any canal in UK.

There was a decent walk to get to the flight , first off I went under the a bridge of the old Somerset & Dorset line to gain access ............







and then up further to locks 12, 13 and 14............





Here you can clearly see where the stone has been worn by people's feet while operating the lock gates .............




I walked up to the bend but you can't really go any further as the rest of it is on private land , this is the remains of the basin where the bend was ..............




and then the locks go on further .............






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After having a coffee and walking back down the path to the bike I rode on to Midford viaduct which is part of the old Somerset & Dorset line but nowadays is a great cycle path that also goes through tunnels below Bath .  This involved even more of a walk but first of all I needed somewhere to park ............






and then up this footpath which was a bit sketchy in places with warning of steep drops :classic_unsure:


and then the first view of the viaduct above the reservoir ................




eventually I came onto the cycle path which was much easier going .................





and then down the footpath at the other end.  It's clear that they don't want cyclis going down here so take note @Tango and @Skippy  :classic_laugh:







and that brought me back out to Tucking Mill which was formerly the home of William Smith who coincidently was the geologist who did the studies on the land where Combe Hay locks were built .............




and then back to the bike for more coffee and some nuts









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Just now, Buckster said:

So are those locks not in use anymore?

Ummmmmmmmmmmmm, let me see now

season 6 thinking GIF by Ray Donovan

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