Hollinwood Canal Society News

Friday 29 January 2010

Vandals Attack Valley Aqueduct

Regular users of the Fairbottom Branch towpath that crosses Valley Aqueduct were dismayed to discover that vandals had attacked the stonework towards the end of November.

Nearly half of the heavy coping stones had been dislodged and pushed over and a large section of the centre of the parapet wall had been smashed, with the stones crashing down onto the road below.

Oldham Council acted promptly and put the stones into safe storage until the wall could be repaired. During December the council then sent a team to carry out the repairs.

The original damage to the parapet of Valley Aqueduct at the beginning of December.

Unbelievably, within a few days of the work being completed, most of the repaired section had been wrecked again, along with a lot more stones.

The area of damage extended further around the curve of the wall, and the parapet was demolished down to towpath level in places.

The second lot of damage. Part of the repair to the first attack can be seen where the new mortar is lighter than that of the surrounding stonework..

Daisy Nook Country Park rangers were very upset by this further damage, as the first repair had been costly. The fallen stones have once again been removed and the roadway under the aqueduct blocked off in case of loose stonework falling.

At the time of publication it is not known how soon the parapet can be repaired or whether it would be possible to reinforce the wall in some way.

It remains a mystery how so much damage could be done without attracting attention. The towpath across the aqueduct is in constant use during the daytime with walkers, cyclist, dog owners and horse riders. At night time it is a long dark walk from the nearest areas of housing. It also defies explanation why anyone would put so much effort into such mindless and pointless destruction of a historic structure.