Tuesday 10 November 2015

The amazing tunnel entrance

Last week I showed the Autumn photographs I had taken on our trip to Westonbirt Arboretum.  I included a photo of a tunnel entrance and Mary W from Florida commented: That tunnel is amazing - do you know the story behind it? How old it is? It stirs up many questions!

If you have followed my blog for any length of time you will know that Roger & I love to walk alongside canals.  I love them because on the whole the path is flat.  There are occasional ups and downs alongside the locks but unless it's a whole flight of locks the rise and fall is very little. In addition we are trying to walk the full length of all the canals in the West Midlands although we don't restrict ourselves to just that area.

We were very surprised to find this canal as we hadn't known it existed.

However a little investigation on the map showed that there had been a canal at one time.  And then we did some more research.  It was built in  the late 18th century and was part of a 36 mile inland waterway connecting the River Severn to the River Thames.  At the time it was a really successful Canal.

The tunnel face is most unusual.   It is known as the Coates Portal (the nearby village is called Coates).  It is one end of the Sapperton Tunnel.  It was restored in the early 1970s having fallen into disrepair.  The canal was abandoned in 1910-11 but there are plans for volunteers to restore and reopen the canal.  Sadly the inside of the tunnel is in such a bad state that this may never happen.

The Canal and River Trust look after most of the canals in Britain and they have a great website detailing the history of the canals.

Thanks Mary for asking about the tunnel and the canal.  It has been really interesting to find out more.

Thanks for stopping by.


  1. Thank you for all the information. What a challenge you and your husband have set up but so good for your health! The Portal is so interesting as it seems like the entrance to a grand restaurant or mysterious small castle. Stirs up so many imaginative stories just looking at it. How can it be abandoned - doesn't someone own it? Or are the canals owned by the government? It is begging for a painting to me done. Thanks again for finding this out - over 300 years of history inside it. WOW.

  2. We love canals too and there is so much history attached. It was nice to be asked a question that prompted you to find out more.

  3. I thought I recognised the tunnel entrance! My husband's family are keen canal boaters and so we've visited quite a few canals either by boat or as in this case, by foot. The tunnel entrance was made so fancy because King George III visited in 1788, this particular stretch is still known as Kings reach. Would be lovely if it could be restored at some point xx

  4. How interesting even read the article you linked to, thanks BJ

  5. Gorgeous photos. That bridge tunnel is breathtakingly lovely.


I would love you to leave me an encouraging comment. Don't forget to put your name. I love to know who is commenting. Thank you.