Stephen's Stroll: Hawkesbury Junction into Coventry

The sun has come out, and whilst it isn’t particularly warm, it is definitely bright! I am walking in a southerly direction which means a lot of my photos will have to be taken looking over my shoulder rather than in the direction I’m heading, or they won’t come our very well.

When I first saw this pipework I thought it was functional but oddly shaped.

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But no… it was sometime later I learned this was a seat that forms part of the art trail!

Bridge 7… the smell of baked bread and cakes is INCREDIBLE. It’s right next to a commercial bakery.

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Hungry now.

Fancy railings by the bridge, but no bridge art

Bridge 6a, which is new (about 25 years) compared to the others. It was built in the mid 90s when there was a plan to have a main road passing through Coventry to get to the A46 on the south side. However, because of Reasons, it only made it half way through Coventry before the plan was abandoned.

This stretch of the canal runs alongside the A444, that wannabe bypass I mentioned in the last post.

It is so very, very quiet, owing to the massive embankment between the towpath and the road. The next stretch, after bridge 6, won’t be as quiet as there is no embankment

Bridge 6…

…with sculptures of children playing…

…and the Bridge Art!

Looks like I’m halfway along the route. Definitely time to stop for a bite to eat. Might even try and upload a few pics for my earlier entries.

Break over, back to where I left off.

Here’s an odd little cast iron post, just on the other side of Bridge 6.

What do you think it’s for?

I’ll explain in a later (ahem) post.

Just a comment to remind you that I am in a city, although you wouldn’t believe it.

Still a bit loud as no embankment between me and the traffic on my left, on the other side of the trees.

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Approach to Bridge 5b…

…with its very own guard.

It doesn’t look like the light sculpture is working today, unfortunately.

Looking out from 5b, I can see the next bridge. You’d think it was 5a, but no, it’s 5.

So where’s 5a?

Oh, there it is; someone must have moved it.

Between 5 and 5a are some more bits of art and information.

I swear that one is me…

Here’s the bridge art for 5a.

You’ll notice the quote states barge, so I think this is a good time to mention the difference between barges and narrow boats.

Barges are the working boats of the canals, used for transporting goods. Narrow boats are the leisure boats, used as peoples homes and by holidaymakers.

Do not get them mixed up when talking to canal fanatics!

Bridge 4a…

… which passes over an inlet into a marina full of …

barges narrow boats.

I bit more artwork, in the form of decorated railings

But would you get a load of that…

…asp!

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Bridge 4.

My least favourite bridge, mainly because of what lives there. Not trolls, but very nervous pigeons. The slightest noise sets them off, and as no one has made pigeon nappies, you have to hope you time it that you walk under there when no traffic passes over the top…fat chance of that, as it is a VERY busy road!

Glad I have my hat…

I reckon Hitchcock got inspiration for The Birds from this place.

BTW, the towpath here is red brick.

That white stuff isn’t paint. Glad it isn’t raining today, as it only takes a little surface water to turn this into a very slippery guano slick!

But I made it, and found the bridge art!

Also up here is a rather nice mosaic.

And as you walk away from bridge 4, towards the end of the railings…

…are more examples of the art trail.

Needs painting, as I swear one of those seats is actually a red herring!

I’m now getting closer to bridge 3.

There has been some housing development along here.

I’m hopeful that the architects will continue to make the buildings suit the surroundings.

Bridge 3.

Lots to see here, so let’s get all the art out of the way first, like this amazing mural

This isn’t functional as anything other than an elaborate sculpted seat. Unfortunately, this wooden sculpture hasn’t weathered well.

Bridge art time!

But do you remember that iron post I showed you a few bridges back? Here’s another one.

Have you worked out yet what it was for?

That was at the south side of the bridge. On the north side, there is no post, but there is grooved damage to the bridge.

The barges weren’t powered, but towed by horses that walked along the side of the canal on the towpaths (bit of etymology for you).

The ropes would pick up sand and grit when the dragged on the path, and could be quite abrasive. When the boats went around bends, like the one you can see on the other side of the bridge, the rope would rub against the brickwork and slowly erode it.

So the solution was to put cast iron posts in place that would keep the rope from damaging the bridge. Those grooves are hundreds of years old!

What a lovely walk. I have never been to the UK so it is fascinating to see what regular areas are like. Great weather today for you too!

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Bridge 2 ahead, with well 'ard mallards guarding the way.

Also guarding it from damage is another post

And underneath, we can see another example of the grooves for the boards.

No sign of bridge art here, which is probably just as well, as there is no way to get to the topside without doubling back to bridge 3.

Not a bridge, but a cable carrier.

The cables are coming from the nearby substation, behind this metal fence that has been painted as part of the art trail.

Up close it isn’t that effective, but step back a bit, and the effect is clearer: