Canal Restoration at Monkhide


Location

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The site is to the east of the A4103 Hereford-Worcester road and represents about 1 mile of restored canal ending at Middle Court Bridge.

History

The Monkhide canal restoration project was originally conceived and commenced by the former Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal Society in 1983. Work continued over a period of several years and was eventually considered complete by the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal Trust in 1995.

Restoration work undertaken by the Society, and later by the Trust, included essential removal of vegetation, repair work to the towpath beneath Skew Bridge, including retrieval of coping stones from the bed of the canal, and then complete excavation of the silted canal channel eastwards from the A4103 bridge (shortly to the west of which lies the Trust’s Yarkhill restoration project), through “Hospital Bridge” and onwards to just beyond Middlecourt Bridge, where a temporary winding hole was formed.

On completion of the work it was possible to re-water the canal, and during a series of open days a number of water craft were able to cruise the section one hundred years after the canal was originally closed. One of these boats included the narrow boat “Maria Ballard”, named after original canal builder Stephen Ballard’s wife, and christened by grandson Stephen (aged 92) in 1994.

Skew Bridge

The showpiece of the restoration here is Ballard’s Skew Bridge, the most skewed bridge on the entire inland waterway system. In his book, “The Hereford and Gloucester Canal”, David Bick suggests that it was built by Ballard simply to prove his technical expertise and this was surely the case. The bridge is a Grade II listed structure and now displays a plaque unveiled by Stephen Ballard, grandson of its builder.