Restoration Section 4: Railway Mile (Birley & Boiley Farms)

Beyond Birley Bridge the canal channel is empty and dry. This length of the canal was constructed in the 1890's as part of the railway diversion. It runs dead straight for roughly 1 km due north alongside the trackbed of the erstwhile Great Central Railway (which now forms the Trans Pennine Trail) and for that reason is often referred to as the "railway mile" in spite of its length.

The canal track on the diversion is slightly narrower than that seen elsewhere on the canal and in consequence development of the offbank is constrained, however, there are opportunities to use the slopes and rock faces to provide alternative habitats. The diversion channel suffered from poor construction and was notorious for the low quality of puddle and the great number of leaks. During reinstatement this section will be relined with fresh clay puddle or a liner system. The narrowness and constraints of the "railway mile" section makes provision of a continuous reed shelf difficult although small pocket will be provided wherever possible. Mooring on this length will be prohibited.

At Birley Bridge (No.19a) the canal track accompanied by the former railway enters a cutting which becomes progressively deeper with some exposed rock faces for the first 100m, after that it shallows again until the Park Book is crossed on a low embankment. The Park Brook itself is carried under both the canal and the former railway (now the Trans Pennine Trail) in a culvert (Culvert No.7). The culvert is intact and in use.

After Park Brook the canal enters a further short cutting and passes under the intact Boiley New Bridge (No.19b). This bridge is of similar design to Birley Bridge, is in good condition and will require no substantial works to enable the canal to pass underneath.

The length continues dead straight until the canal and railway diverge and the canal returns to its original 1777 route near the site of Boiley Bridge (Bridge No.23). The lane leading to the bridge is a bridleway but does not convey motorised vehicles.

Restoration Sections

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