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Canal Bridge

21 December 2013

Canal bridge, the Balk, Netherton

Imagine these posts in use with long poles through the slots. There's a corresponding single post on the opposite bank of the canal which must also once have been one of a pair. If the line of these stone fence posts once continued up Balk Lane they have since disappeared.

Were they intended to stop horses straying from the lane or to prevent farm-stock straying onto it?

My guess is that they're connected in some way with the horses originally used to pull the barges on the 18th century Calder & Hebble navigation. This stretch opened in 1838, which could be the date of these posts. The central section of the bridge is cast iron but the piers are stone and they have curved capstones at the ends of the parapet walls to allow the horse towing the barge to change banks without snagging the towrope.