Thursday, 10 November 2016

Tomlow (change of plans again)

I was going to set off down the Stockton flight on Wednesday but Karen reminded me that we need to get to Braunston next week as we are meeting up with Mike and Aileen.  Braunston is in the opposite direction so I thought I’d work out a new plan on Wednesday morning instead.  Whilst doing this it dawned on me that we are not seeing Mike and Aileen for over two weeks so plenty of time to revert to the original plan.  I wrote an email to Karen explaining my thinking and at the same time she had written to me saying that it had just occurred to her that we still had time.  So we will revert to the original plan but set off a day later.

Having researched a bit about the cement works on the Kayes arm yesterday I thought I would take a look at Nelsons arm where there used to be a lime works and in the 1850s was converted to a cement works owned by the Nelson family.

Aerial shot of Nelsons cement works taken in 1937

The Grand Union canal can be seen in the bottom left of the picture above and the fields between the canal and the railway line look the same today.  Nelsons arm can just be seen running away from the canal at right angles and it used to go right underneath the cement works.

The railway line and sidings are no longer there but the cuttings are now looked after by the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and Butterfly Conservation.  When the cement works were abandoned in the 1960s the army used the area for ammunitions testing and razed the place to the ground.  

At the top of the picture are the spoil heaps from the Blue Lias limestone quarries that supplied the lime and cement works.  The spoil heaps are still there today but public access is not allowed due to large areas of deep water and potential subsidence.
This is looking back down the arm today to its junction with the Grand Union canal

The arm is being restored by the kind owner of the land and the Willow Wren helmsman training centre which is based at the entrance to the arm.

(Above) Looking at the end of the restored section and the early (late 1700s) limekiln sites can be seen as they are unearthed by the restoration works.  The restored arm can just be seen in front of the part demolished kilns.  This part of the arm is in front of the trucks in the siding that can be seen in the aerial photograph.

The end of the current restoration

On our way back home we walked across a local meadow which we last saw in the summer when it was full of beautiful wildflowers including many orchids.

The meadow looking a bit colourless today

In the afternoon we went for a walk back down to Napton and round the reservoirs.  The light was fantastic as the sun was shining against the trees but there were also menacing clouds making the water look rather dark.

Unfortunately the pictures don’t reflect the wonderful colours that were present

Karen got home from work nice and early so, as it was Wednesday, we went for a quick drink at The Folly in Napton.

She couldn't really park that much closer to the boat - saves a five minute walk along the towpath in the dark


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