Tuesday, 7 November 2017

A Brush with the M6



See the previous section of the river here.

Where the river turns west towards the Perry Bridges, it gently brushes past the M6. This is not the only place that the two routes meet, as they dance together in the Black Country, but here they have a brief encounter.

In 2013.

Summer 2014.

Walking Towards the M6

The River Tame (upstream) from Gavin Way Bridge.

The river continues upstream under the bridge on Gavin Way - at the end of Tameside Drive - towards where the M6 briefly brushes past. On the right is the Pocket Forest, but the left bank has a walkway which follows the river to Perry Bridges (see map below).



Below: The Tame looking upstream towards the M6.



Below: Turning back to look downstream, towards the Tameside Drive area, with the Pocket Forest on the left.


The (Secret) Pocket Forest

Map showing the Pocket Forest (green circle).

The Pocket Forest is a small woodland formed by being cornered between the M6 and the River Tame. The area was initially formed in the 1940s when the river was straightened, and the old meanders filled in. It is on top of these lost meanders that the Pocket Forest sits today.

See the 1940s and 1950s maps below.

Area in the 1940s, shortly before the river was straightened.
Area in the 1950s, after the straightening of the river.

Before the construction of the M6 in the 1960s, the area was still a little enclosed, being positioned between the river and the Tame Valley Canal, but the building of the motorway made the area impractical for anything other that quiet abandonment.

There is a single entry-point at the end of Tameside Drive, in the centre of the Holford industrial estate. Inside are rabbits and solitude.....apart from the occasional local dog-walker.




The River Tame (upstream), looking towards the M6,
with the Pocket Forest on the right. Taken from
Gavin Way Bridge.

Follow the river towards the M6 here.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

This River Tame




As part of our project Brendan Hawthorne, Poet Laureate of Wednesbury, has written this wonderful poem about the river between Perry Bridges (in Perry Barr where the Holbrook comes in) and Salford Junction (in Nechells near where the Hockley Brook comes in). Brendan comes from a little further upstream, but traveled down to write and read 'This River Tame' at our walks and our closing event. Copyright Brendan Hawthorne 2015.

This River Tame

This River Tame
Grey metallic silk artery of revolutionary industries
This River Tame
Bends at will and yet re-formed for greater design
This River Tame
Omnipresent friend silent and sometimes unseen
This River Tame
Seemingly forever rolling the gravel pits of time

At Perry Bridges …
tandemspans leap
Built over two hundred years apart
The oldestzig-zag structure
now mirrored byJazz Age update
once ferried packhorsecargo
with lay-by refuge for muscle and cart
allowing ebb and flow commuting
toan ever-changing workplace estate

This River Tame
Grey metallic silk artery of revolutionary industries
This River Tame
Bends at will and yet re-formed for greater design
This River Tame
Omnipresent friend silent and sometimes unseen
This River Tame
Seemingly forever rolling the gravel pits of time

At Ryknield Street …
the famed mettle of Roman marches
reinforces an ancient footfall crossing
Here the memory of invasion is legion
and reflects on those gone before
Now an insightful water-meadow fording
giving rest to those whose myriad paths
have traversed these rippling shallows
from its warrened banks to its gentle shore

This River Tame
Grey metallic silk artery of revolutionary industries
This River Tame
Bends at will and yet re-formed for greater design
This River Tame
Omnipresent friend silent and sometimes unseen
This River Tame
Seemingly forever rolling the gravel pits of time

At Holford Mills …
Tame water is harnessed
Has driven the mill wheels of centuries
from cleansing wool to finery
shaped, cast and wrought
A darkened meandering river cutting
where blades were sharpened
and gun grey barrels bored
and a twist in the tale is bought

This River Tame
Grey metallic silk artery of revolutionary industries
This River Tame
Bends at will and yet re-formed for greater design
This River Tame
Omnipresent friend silent and sometimes unseen
This River Tame
Seemingly forever rolling the gravel pits of time

At Willow Grove …
an echo of a forgotten bridge
weeps the lime green willows low
Bowing sentinels to bygone pathways
and custodians of the lions roar
Waters erode the shifting footprints
of its diverse labouring people
A place where joyous arcs spring
and fountains rainbows soar

This River Tame
Grey metallic silk artery of revolutionary industries
This River Tame
Bends at will and yet re-formed for greater design
This River Tame
Omnipresent friend silent and sometimes unseen
This River Tame
Seemingly forever rolling the gravel pits of time

At Witton Bridge …
turquoise waters bled from Kynoch’s copper casings
Outfalls from packing ammunition for sport and war
The elements of alloys and allies drifted unhindered
channeled along these bends of blends to dilution
at an ancient muddy low point intersection
made rank and foul by nature
now passive in looks and demeanor
once crossed by trades of expanding conurbation

This River Tame
Grey metallic silk artery of revolutionary industries
This River Tame
Bends at will and yet re-formed for greater design
This River Tame
Omnipresent friend silent and sometimes unseen
This River Tame
Seemingly forever rolling the gravel pits of time

At Electric Avenue …
there’s a street with buzz
where three-phase currents co-exist
along this broad thoroughfare
From nearby,wavelets of river flow
and the spirit-breath of air turbulence
thatswitch to bridge rectification
in bluest tungsten filament light
where energy sparks and lanterns glow

This River Tame
Grey metallic silk artery of revolutionary industries
This River Tame
Bends at will and yet re-formed for greater design
This River Tame
Omnipresent friend silent and sometimes unseen
This River Tame
Seemingly forever rolling the gravel pits of time

At Salford Park …
some say this drinking water reservoir
is the oldest in all this land
Hollowed out to slake the thirst of workers
and all its nearby tempered forges
Collecting libation for Birmingham’s
ever-growing unquenched demand
An interchange where sweat dries
anda region’s demand engorges

This River Tame
Grey metallic silk artery of revolutionary industries
This River Tame
Bends at will and yet re-formed for greater design
This River Tame
Omnipresent friend silent and sometimes unseen
This River Tame
Seemingly forever rolling the gravel pits of time

At Hawthorn Brook …
the healing nature is of tame confluence and direction
Where mystical scrates are lost to road
and yet remain enigmatic by design
Hosting shelter from search light bombings raids
seeking sight and range on wartime munitions
Their ghosts and stories are still here
in whispers along cuttings and skyways
waiting to be heard before cadence fades

This River Tame
Grey metallic silk artery of revolutionary industries
This River Tame
Bends at will and yet re-formed for greater design
This River Tame
Omnipresent friend silent and sometimes unseen
This River Tame
Seemingly forever rolling the gravel pits of time

At Hockley Brook …
along the way from olden Scraford
a trinity of canals link arms unnoticed
Set in the shadows of Bromford ‘duct
where glory days of construction last
a source emerges that once powered Soho
Its fame and fortunes cast at this point
asrail and canal meet river and brook
delivering another layer to cover your past

This River Tame
Grey metallic silk artery of revolutionary industries
This River Tame
Bends at will and yet re-formed for greater design
This River Tame
Omnipresent friend silent and sometimes unseen
This River Tame
Seemingly forever rolling the gravel pits of time