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The Midford Weigh-House .

...The icon of the Trust's magazine .

For another 'photo of the Midford weigh house see this link; ( 175kb file) -

(This fine building is no longer standing).


Picture above: © Copyright Martin Bodman and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The Society holds regular working parties at this site the flight of locks at Combe Hay that were built to replace the Inclined Plane and Weldon's ill-fated Caisson Lock.

The Somersetshire Coal Canal (Society)

Please scroll down to see the new GoogleMap feature

This site is now the

This map/picture (below)is also a hotlink to the SCC GoogleMap - just double click on it...


New! The Fuller's Earth Works in this area

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Although great care has been taken in preparing these web pages, no responsibility can be accepted for any errors or their consequences.


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Home. Old News . History of the SCC Caissson Lock History. Locations of the Caisson Lock. Membership. Contact Info. Walking

Work Parties & Events About the Society. Links.

The Somersetshire Coal Canal (SCC) was authorised by an Act of Parliament in April 1794.
The canal was promoted by the mine owners of the North Somerset coalfields as a cheaper means of transporting their coal to the markets in Bath and the surrounding area. Surveyed by John Rennie (of Kennet & Avon Canal fame), with help from William Smith (1769-1839) - (the "Father of English Geology"); the canal was to have two arms, with connecting tramroads, to the many coal pits in the Radstock and Timsbury areas.(over 80 at one time).

An interesting feature of the canal was the varying methods used at Combe Hay to overcome height differences between the upper and lower reaches of the canal, initially by the use of Caisson locks and when this failed an inclined plane and then a flight of 22 locks.The canal was one of the most successful in the country, and in the 1820's was carrying over 100,000 tons of coal per year. However this prosperity was soon to be halted by the coming of the railways.
The opening of the railway line between Radstock and Frome started the decline in the canal's fortunes, by taking away the tramway's coal trade and eventually, in 1871, the tramway was sold to the Somerset and Dorset Railway who built their Bath to Evercreech line over much of its course.
The Bristol and North Somerset Railway's Hallatrow to Camerton branch of 1881 further eroded the canal's trade on the Paulton arm.
With trade increasingly being taken by the railways and, the working out of the coal seams, combined with fall in trade from the Kennet & Avon (itself suffering from railway competition), it was not surprising when the canal company decided to close the canal. The official liquidator tried to sell the canal as a going concern in 1894 but to no avail, and the canal eventually closed in 1898. In 1904 the abandoned canal was sold to the Great Western Railway, who in 1907-10 built the Camerton to Limpley Stoke Railway over much of the northern, Paulton, course. The tunnel at Combe Hay was drained and used as a railway tunnel instead

Wikipedia now has an excellent summary on the history of the canal (It does, in places, resemble the one here...!) Also see here

Please study the above map and double-click on it to open GoogleMaps- as all major features with notes and pictures are now also accessible from this. It uses GoogleEarth (a free download). I hope everyone with intimate knowledge of the canal will study it carefully at high resolution (click 'view larger picture'and zoom in to get an appreciation of the detail). Various 'teardrops' (usually blue) signify these features/notes/ and perhaps some pictures. I know there are errors - and that's where you come in.... please email me requesting the file to modify. (It's very easy and the instructions are here). Please will you make changes in a different colour. If you have any jpeg pictures -please email them to me (I'll host them). Please send all sources/acknowledgments etc as well. Many thanks. I'm hoping, eventually, to get the map accurate to within a few metres! If you need any help -please email me