Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Surprise ending

The Peak Forest Canal has a somewhat misleading name. It provides plenty of peaks but rather little by way of forest.
I was expecting something like a higher altitude Caldon, edging round some wooded hillsides but in fact it winds almost vertiginously at times along the top of the steep (and I mean steep) Goyt valley with simply stunning views across to the Peak District hills on the other side.
It's surprisingly wide and open in places; a little tight and overgrown in others, true. And though it's only half a dozen miles from Marple to the end of the canal, that end is well worth the short trip. Bugsworth Basin is an extraordinary place.
Like Froghall, it's another of those transhipment basins where limestone was brought down from the Peak District mines to be burned in kilns to produce lime or shipped off as stone. But this is on a wholly different scale to Froghall.
Put it this way, it can hold so many boats that if the place was privately owned and run as a marina you could livev very comfortably on the income. When we arrived there were probably 30 boats moored in the three arms of the basin and you could certainly fit a dozen more.
Only fragments of buildings survive and yet their shells, the interlinking arms, the bridges, all now restored and conserved (thanks to huge volunteer effort again) all conjure a vivid image of what was once there. Helped by first class interpretation boards, a large model and ample brochures in help-yourself bins.
What a place!

1 comment:

Adam said...

Glad to hear good reports of the Peak Forest and Bugsworth -- it's on our itinerary for next month.