Buckingham Canal Society has started exposing the remaining parts of the former Bridge 1 at Cosgrove. It is the first significant milestone towards restoring the bridge and the re-watering for the Cosgrove section of the Buckingham Canal.
During the Second World War, the Old Stratford arm of the Grand Union canal, now part of the Buckingham Canal, was blocked off at bridge number 1.
The bridge remained intact until the 1970’s when its main arch was demolished and filled in, leaving a mound of earth and rubble that has since served as a farm crossing.
Earlier this year, BCS volunteers performed some exploratory handexcavation of this mound and confirmed that significant portions of the bridge still exist. Since then,working with support from Canal & River Trust and other adjacent landowners, the society have agreed plans for the full restoration of the bridge. This is a key milestone towards the eventual removal of the blockage and full re-watering of the Cosgrove section.
The project work at Cosgrove so far is funded by the society’s direct fundraising efforts. Grant funding has also been applied for the material costs of rebuilding of the bridge.
BCS volunteers have already created a temporary farm crossing, allowing the formal closing of the bridge and the installation of necessary safety fencing.
Volunteers have now started work on the excavation of the infilled barrel and the abutments.
In the last few days more of the original stonework and the sides of the original arch have been exposed providing encouraging signs that the restoration is achievable.
For further information on the restoration efforts visit http://buckinghamcanal.org.uk/