|What lies beyond the old east portal of the Norwood Tunnel?|
|The remains of the tunnel run under this field|
The Cuckoo Way footpath follows its old route so we weren't quite in the same exploring league as Dr Livingstone looking for the source of the Nile. All the same, our walk had its moments.
The first mile was easy, an even field of rough pastureland shows in its humps and slumps the line of the old tunnel. But after that the footpath veers around the edges of private gardens and then arrives in a maze of paths and tracks across former spoil tips. The one we want should head toward the M1 motorway but could we find it? No - the Cuckoo Way markers had vanished and we took several wrong turns before finally tracking along the edge of a copse – and discovering, hidden among the trees, the stunning sight of the collapsed tunnel, now just a deep open cutting in the middle of the woods.
|Hidden in the woods, a long section of caved in tunnel|
|The new route will take the canal under the M1 here|
|Bricked up but still complete, the old west portal|
|Magnificent side pound for the Norwood Locks|
|One of the staircase lock chambers still intact|
|Following the old towpath|
|Seadog Brian gets a lift home|
It had been a fascinating walk – seeing the old canal there, like the almost complete skeleton of some ancient dinosaur gave us all a feeling that it could – and should – be brought back to life.
Find out more about the restoration and history of the canal here here