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Somerset Historic Environment Record


Site Name: Dorset and Somerset Canal
Civil Parish: Buckland Dinham, Coleford, Great Elm, Frome, Holcombe, Mells, Selwood, Stratton on the Fosse
PRN 15567Fussell balance lock trial site, Mells
PRN 15568Fussell balance locks, Great Elm
PRN 29301Murtry Aqueduct, Murtry Bottom, Buckland Dinham
PRN 32249Watching brief (2013), S of Coleford
Grid Ref: ST 6650 4875 (ST 64 NE) ST 6999 4965 (ST 64 NE) ST 7095 4930 (ST 74 NW) ST 749 499 (ST 74 NW) ST 721 511 (ST 75 SW) ST 746 502 (ST 75 SW) ST 755 499 (ST 74 NE) ST 769 491 (ST 74 NE)
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Public access:

The public accessibility of this site is unknown or has not been checked. Please ask locally and do not visit without permission. [Information last updated on 21 May 2003]


The HER is currently being transferred to a new system. Please ask about this changed entry. {0}

A branch of a canal connecting Bristol to Poole that was authorised in 1796 The branch was intended to connect the Somerset coalfields with the woollen mills of Frome, then at the height of their prosperity The main canal was never started and only about 13km of the intended 17km of the branch was cut. A few structures were built and survive. The western end was at ST66504875. A bridge was constructed at Edford at ST66854883 with a basin to the west. At Coleford at ST68504875 the canal crossed a valley by a two-arched viaduct. Much of the facing stone has been removed but the arches survive. To the east the canal must have been tunnelled under the road. Arches are visible under the later chapel at ST68754887. Near Goodeaves Farm (ST693493) a tunnel was intended and may have been started, the entrance has been obscured by tipping from the colliery. South of Vobster Cross the Mells Road crosses the canal by an original bridge On Barrow Hill (ST7450) a trial "balance lock" (a lift) was constructed and its remains visible. Five were intended for the descent to Frome. Another aqueduct was constructed to cross Murtrey Bottom (ST762498). The planned junction with the main canal would have been to the NW of Frome but only a stretch of wall survives to the N of Whatcombe Farm (ST769491). {1}

Renumbered site see PRN 23311 for previous entry. {3}

Trial balance lock visible as an earthwork, as is a series of four locks to the east (PRNs 15567, 15568). {4}

Tipping at ST 692 491 has infilled part of the canal. {5}

Monitoring of water pipeline replacement did not record any remains of the canal where it was crossed. {7}


0 Compiler comment - Webster, CJ (Chris). Somerset Historic Environment Record (12/02/2016). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained.
1 Description - Russell, R. The Lost Canals and Waterways of Britain.  (1982)
2 Description - Hadfield, C. The Canals of South West England.  (1967)
3 Compiler comment - Webster, C (Chris). Somerset County Council, Historic Environment Record (18/10/1993). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained
4 Verbal communication - Ward, L (Leon). Somerset County Council, Heritage Service (18/07/2002). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained
5 Site visit report - McCrone, P (Peter). Somerset County Council (2/11/1993) Location: HER file.
6 Description - Warren, D. Somerset's Industrial Heritage: A Guide and Gazetteer.  (1996), 6. Somerset Industrial Archaeology Society survey no 8.
7 Detailed records - Cook, J. Archaeological Observation: Water Main Replacement, Springer's Hill, Coleford, Somerset.  Unpublished Border Archaeology report No: BA1238BWSHC (2014) Location: HER file 32249. HER digital source: 38147.

Record created in August 1992

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