Original Whitchurch Canal Arm in 1811

By Peter Brown

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Early proposals

The earliest mentions of a canal to Whitchurch are in the context of linking the river Severn and the Mersey. James Brindley recorded in his diary in April 1762 that he ‘set out for Cheshire and Shropshire survey or raconitoring’; he specifically mentioned visiting Whitchurch. This was before the lines of the Trent & Mersey and Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canals were established.

2014 AGM History Talk with Maps and Pictures

There was a presentation given ( historical_presentation_at_2014_AGM.pdf (26MBytes) ) at the AGM in March 2014.  This presentation shows historical images of the Whitchurch Canal Arm in the past and planned developments for the Country Park, Greenfield Nature Reserve and new Canal Basin. There are also many interesting maps showing the layout of the town and the canal in the past.

Historical Interpretation Panels

Interpretation Panels have been erected at the entrance to the Canal arm and at the Picnic Site. Click on these images to view.

A4 canalA4 history

Click on these images to view.

Guided walk to Grindley Brook with Historical Notes

(Updated in July 2014 by Helen Brockman from the original walk by Peter Brown “IWA Winter Walk: Whitchurch January 2010".  This article gives directions and historical explanations.  Directions are in Bold Italics.)

The walk from Whitchurch Bus Station to Grindley Brook takes about an hour in one direction. It is mostly flat, with an incline down from Sherrymill Hill, steps (or an incline) up to Greenfields Rise and a further steep incline east of Meadowcroft Bridge. The path west of Greenfields Rise and the first part of the towpath from the lift bridge towards Grindley Brook can be muddy in wet weather. The 41/41A bus runs from the bus stop on the A41 just to the west of the canal at Grindley Brook to Whitchurch Bus Station, if you only want to walk one way. As of July 2014, its frequency was every couple of hours, and there was no service on Sundays. Checking is advised if you are thinking of using this bus.

Grindley Brook

Building the canal

When the promoters of the Ellesmere Canal applied to Parliament for the Act to build their canal, they never intended it to go through Grindley Brook. The original plan was for a canal from Shrewsbury to Chester via the Ruabon and Wrexham area, with a branch (amongst others) to Whitchurch. What was built never reached either Shrewsbury or Chester. By the time the company ran out of money, it had only made or contracted for a ‘cross’ of lines in north Shropshire and south-east Denbighshire. The proposed line from Trevor to Chester was abandoned. Instead, it was decided to make a link with the Chester Canal by extending the part-built Whitchurch branch through Grindley Brook.