Embankment collapse shuts Middlewich Branch
A breach just outside Middlewich has closed the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal.
The collapse occurred where the canal runs on an embankment just west of the small aqueduct over the River Wheelock. It washed out a large hole in the canal bed and towpath bank as the one-mile pound between Wardle Lock and Stanthorne Lock emptied itself into the river. A number of craft were left high and dry, one very close to the breach.
The closure cuts the Four Counties Ring, will affect some holidaymakers aiming for the Llangollen, and looks likely to impact the popular Middlewich Folk and Boat Festival.
As we went to press the Canal & River Trust’s engineers were on site “trying to understand the cause of the breach” and due to make an “initial assessment regarding how to progress repairs, likely timescales and costs”. By comparison, the September 2012 breach at Dutton shut the Trent & Mersey for eight months and cost £2.1m to repair.