Sunday, August 3, 2014

Popping Out Onto the Trent Followed by the South Yorkshire Navigations

We exited the Chesterfield Canal and found ourselves back on the Trent River at West Stockwith.  Since then we have been heading north, first on the Trent and then on the South Yorkshire Navigations .  Our goal:  York.

We will be meeting our DD1 there in a couple of weeks.  She will be visiting with us for a few days and then heading to visit friends here and on the continent.  To say that we are looking forward to her visit just might be an understatement.  Just saying.

One of the places we have passed on our journey is the town of Epworth.  For those who wonder why I mention this :  Epworth was the birthplace of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.  A little ironic aside here:  John Wesley's father was the rector of the Church of England parish in Epworth for 59 years.  Do you think there might have been some tension at dinner time in this house?

Much of the area we have been passing is flat agricultural  land.  The homes and buildings show a strong Dutch influence.  The answer lies in the fact that in 1625 the local residents hired a Dutch man to drain the land to allow it to be farmed.  Other Dutch citizens followed in the hope of taking advantage of the newly available flat and fertile farmland.  Hence, the Dutch influence in architecture.

As we have been moving down the South Yorkshire Navigations we have encountered numerous swing bridges as well as locks.  Not only are there roadway swing bridges but there are also, believe it or not, railway swing bridges.  These days, they are all run electronically but that hasn't always been the case.

Most swing bridges move the road bed to run parallel to the shoreline.  But, not always.

In the early 1900's there was a unique railroad bridge that operated using water as a counter balance to the weight of the bridge.  The correct amount of additional water would be added to allow the weight of the water to tip the railway bed skyward to allow the boats to pass through.  Water was then removed to allow the railway bed to return to its normal position.The bridge was last raised in 1956 and it was permanently welded closed in 1960.

Along this northern area of the Trent River there has been a resurgence of the once endangered grebe.  This water fowl is a little different than most in that their nests are anchored to the reeds and float on the surface of the water.  The grebe was almost made extinct due to the fashionable ladies of the Victorian and Edwardian era.  They loved the plumes of the grebe to adorn their hats.

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