Tuesday, 8 September 2009


I remember when I believe it was Tony Macey who fell in the canal and had the presence of mind to lift his hands above his head to grab a branch as he was disappearing under the sludge. He frightened all of us when he came back home and I think he was left deaf in one ear. Apparently he was about eighteen at the time.

Marion (Brown)

Yes, I think you are right Marion.

The old canal was quite treacherous and I remember losing a “new “ shoe in the mud after Alan Dixon said there was a snake! I tried to run and got stuck in the bog.

Another time I was in big trouble when I got home. Thanks Alan!

Here is a bit of history which I was unaware of but it is interesting -

The canal that once passed through Ilminster was once a link between Chard and the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal. Work on it was started in 1835 and on 15 July 1842, the canal was opened. One year later the link was completed to Chard.

Due to an incline of 82 feet (Brittens Field), the 26 foot long tub boats that used the canal were loaded on to six-wheeled trolleys (caissons) and by an ingenious counterbalance system were hauled upwards by a twin-track rail system, one up and one down. Once on top the tub boats were unloaded and continued their journey through a tunnel (the top of which is still visible). It is believed that the counterbalance system was replaced by a continuous chain driven by an overshot waterwheel.

Not a financial success, the canal was purchased in 1866 by the Bristol and Exeter Railway, closed and refilled.


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