This is Hyde Daily Photo Volume 1 (2006-2011) which is now in archive mode. For recent photographs please visit Hyde Daily Photo Volume 2. Additional material and links to blogger friends can be found at Hyde DP Xtra.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Captain Clarke's Bridge


This bridge on the Peak Forest Canal is known as a roving bridge being designed so that horses pulling a boat could cross to the other side of the canal without having to be unhitched.

It was restored in 1986 and featured on Booth's Well at the Gee Cross Well Dressing in 2003.

13 comments:

Neva said...

ok ...I can't figure out how they did that....boat goes under, horses go... around? up? hmmm..I might need the cheat sheet on this!!


My 100th post is Saturday...come for a visit!

The Letter A said...

Very neat bridge, but like Neva, I am also confused as to how that would work.

R&R in The Netherlands said...

It's beautifully framed by the vegetation. Nice shot.

Jilly said...

What an amazing bridge. Never heard of such a thing. Fascinating. Lovely photo.

Dusty Lens said...

A lovely bridge and scene. One that would be a great choice for the monthly theme, if bridges were the chosen subject matter.

Old Wom Tigley said...

Captain Clarks Bridge... was originally named Wood End Canal Bridge. It was said that the bridge was built to divert the horse and tow-path to the other side of the canal in order that the Hyde/Clarke family would not be disturbed.
It is a classic bridge and one that must get more pictures taken of it than any other I know of.

Dick said...

I had to look twice but now I understand, very interesting. Thank you and also thank you for your visits.

Stefan Jansson said...

Lovely looking bridge.

Lynette said...

What a brilliant idea! And a great photograph of it. Thanks.

Martin Clark said...

There are more roving bridges just like this on the Macclesfield Canal (where they are known as "snake bridges"). See Pennine Waterways web site.

These bridges were built where the towpath changed sides.

The horse had a towline attached to its harness, which pulled a narrowboat along. The horse would walk under the bridge then up around the curve and over the canal, then down the other side. (If the boat was going the other way, the horse would cross the bridge then curve down and go under the bridge.)

Because the towpath goes under the bridge before curving upwards, the towline could remain attached the whole time, which would save the boatmen time and fiddling about. If they had to take the towline off, someone would have to walk along the boat to re-attach it to the towing mast.

There is another roving bridge in Hyde, adjoining the Manchester Road bridge, but it is not as photogenic as Captain Clarke's Bridge.

Hyderabad Daily Photo said...

What a nice stone bridge! It looks beautiful. I did not know boats were towed by horses.

Martin Clark said...

Hyderabad said...
"I did not know boats were towed by horses."

The canals were built over 200 years ago and there were no diesel engines then! (Think: horses and carts on the roads, too!)

At that time all boats on canals had to be towed by horses (apart from a few barges on certain waterways that actually used sails, which of course was no good if there was no wind, and the masts had to be lowered to go under bridges).

This is the reason why canals have a towpath running alongside - for the horses that towed the boats!

There are still a few horse drawn boats around. Check out this web site www.horseboating.org.uk
which includes quite a few photos of boats being horsedrawn.

There are a few places around the country where you can still see stables next to canals, where boathorses were stabled.

Julie said...

So, the boat continues on in the same direction, just the horse has to cross over. Gawd, I can see why engineering was never my forte. Nor geometry ...

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