This fine morning, I climbed on board my trusty Rusticle and headed off down the road to town, my objective being to investigate the Mythe Bridge further, as well as the railway tunnel and railway viaduct in the area. I have consolidated the material relating to the railway in a separate post
My Mythe Bridge exploration did yield some improved images and it is better to take a look at the original blogpost about the bridge. The railway tunnel is a literally “over the road” but unfortunately was not accessible as it was fenced off and closed off. Although I was able to zoom into it from the gate.
I discovered the other end in December 2016 and it is bricked closed. The tunnel appears to be roughly 300 metres long.
The next objective was the railway viaduct which is visible from the road. I eventually found a way to get close to it although I could not get onto it as it is fenced closed.
Did trains really travel over this viaduct? it is in line with the tunnel so it is entirely feasible,
This image I took from the approach to the viaduct, and the tunnel is where the cars are parked, I do think there must have been some sort of embankment leading to the tunnel though, the distance is quite short and for a steam engine to climb from the tunnel to the viaduct in such a short space would have been difficult as the grade would have been quite steep. I also tried to access the trestle bridge that runs over the marina but could not get that right so shelved the idea for awhile, and decided to head back to town.
There is a short river cruise that runs along the Avon and I considered taking that if it was running on this day. I would then be able to kill a few birds with one stone.
Approaching the King John Bridge from town is the Old Black Bear Pub which was supposedly founded in 1308, and which is the oldest public house in Tewkesbury.
The Avon River played quite an important part in Tewkesbury in the days of yore, and of course flooded in 2007, putting Tewkesbury on the map. Today it is more of a leisure boating type river, with fisherpersons lining its banks and small boats puttering up and down the river.
The large building on the right in this image is an old mill building and it has a very pretty iron bridge spanning the Avon.
This bridge was erected in 1822, and is really two bridges alongside each other. The slight arch of this bridge would have made rail traffic difficult, so a flat bridge spans the river next to this one and this flat bridge would have carried the rail traffic into the mill area.
The river cruise happens a bit further down from here, and on this particular trip there were only 4 people on board.
Then we were off, puttering along a waterway that has been in use for who knows how long. We were heading towards the marina and that was where I could satisfy my curiosity.
Just look at that steelwork. They don’t build bridges like that anymore. The next bridge we were approaching is the King John’s Bridge which was commissioned by King John in the late 12th century as part of improvements to the main road from Gloucester to Worcester. This bridge was widened in the mid-to-late 1950s to meet traffic requirements although original stonework still exists on the bridge.
And my first thoughts were: Ok, where is the original structure? because there is no way that this was it, especially when you look at the stonework on either side. I kept on thinking that this was almost like a Bailey Bridge or a slightly used former bridge that needed a new home. However, I have recently seen an image dated 1899 that shows a trestle bridge at this crossing, but whether the bridge above is the original or a new version I do not know.
We continued puttering along, passing cabin cruisers and narrow boats, although some were not all that narrow. eventually reaching a turning basin where the boat turned around, 10 minutes after we had left.
And back we headed towards our berth in town.
Past the Avon Locks that I had posted about before
With the old mill on the right. What will happen to this building? I suspect yuppie pads. It is technically prime real estate with riverside views. It is probably the tallest building in the town apart from the abbey. I spoke to somebody about it and it is a listed building and as such they are unable to do much for it so it will probably remain derelict until it falls down on its own.
And into the crocodile infested mooring berth… No, I do not have an explanation.
with the Abbey in the distance.
It was nearly time to head off home and I strolled along the slightly deserted streets of the town to where my velocipede was chained. I had a whole wodge of new stuff to consider, and of course a few pics to add to the collection. Next time around I want to see how far I can follow the Severn River, and of course try to find the other side of that tunnel and find some more info about the railway. The current cycle path is laid on the former trackbed of the railway, and there is a tantalising piece of railwayana in the centre of town.
From the station the line ran into Quay Street and onto the mill.
The Upton Line is one with the tunnel, It is an interesting mystery though, and maybe it is time I contacted the society mentioned on the plaque. There may be a lot more just waiting for discovery. But that will have to wait for another day.
I never did get a reply about the mysterious bridge, however, very close to where I live is an embankment and buttress for a bridge that would have joined up to the trestle bridge.
The image above I took from the embankment and you can see the trestle bridge in the distance. My neighbour says that originally there was no bridge up to the trestle, the embankment stretched all the way across to it and the road only came afterwards. However, I spotted an image in town that may scupper that theory. The road was always there and was spanned with a bridge. The embankment then continued onwards to where the trestle bridge is today, it then crossed the current marina, went over the viaduct to the tunnel then onwards.
That is the bridge that spans the road, and the buildings on the left still exist. It does however seem that I can now put this to bed because a lot of the dirty work has been done for me at Malverns Lost Railway. Out of curiosity, the Ashchurch Junction was quite a complex layout and I found an old map (no date though) which shows the extent of the junction.
The cycle path is part of the old trackbed and there is one small bridge that goes over the road that still has remnants of the steelwork from the railway
The little footbridge on the cycle path from the road beneath. The steel girders are still in place as is the brickwork although the bridge is a jerry built effort.
The cyclepath looking towards the town. The former grain store would have been on the right, and at some point the railway would have branched off onto the embankment heading towards Upton. It amazes me how all the railway related equipment is all gone and there is almost nothing left. It is a shame that Tewkesbury has become divorced from the railway, with proper rail links the town may have become greater than it is now, but sadly it is now just another glorified bus stop.
© DRW 2015-2022. Created 27/09/2015, Images migrated 02/05/2016, Additional pics added 26/12/2016