The Titford Canal

Historical Profiles: NarrowBoat, Winter 2023

Andy Tidy

Andy Tidy explores the history of this short branch of the BCN

The decline The collieries of the Titford Valley were starting to be worked out by the dawn of the 20th century and, during World War I, the last pits closed. After that, any coal carried on the canal was being brought up the locks from elsewhere, imported to power the forges, foundries and brickworks that dotted the landscape. The last coal traffic to Langley Forge came to an end in the 1960s, after which the canal entered a period of decline, quickly becoming clogged with weed and rubbish. However, it was saved from complete extinction by its continuing function as a water feeder to Rotton Park. Over the years, the whole valley had been built up and the canal bed represented the primary land drain for storm waters. While the Portway Branch was abandoned in 1954, and the Causeway Green Branch abandoned in stages between 1954 and 1960, the core 1½-mile Titford Canal survived in a barely navigable state, attempted only by the most adventurous boaters. Narrowboat traffic may h…

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