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Shropshire Union - Part 2
Audlem to Knighton
Still on the Four Counties Ring, moving south on the Four County Ring you will now approach the flight of 15 locks at Audlem (Visit Audlem Locks), where you will find the famous canal side pub ‘The Shroppie Fly’, Audlem. The lock areas are available for long and short term mooring. Once clear of the flight and under the next bridge you enter the county of Shropshire. Another flight of 5 locks and you are close to Market Drayton, the home of Gingerbread! Passing the privately owned long term moorings under the A51 road bridge you can moore and eat at ‘The Talbot’ pub in the no smoking dining room. No gingerbread on the menu! The pub is off bridge #62 about 150metres to the east. This is not a canal side establishment but does have a family room and beer garden. No pets allowed.
Shroppie Fly at Audlem Locks
About a mile outside Market Drayton is another flight of 5 locks at Tyrle Locks, one of the frequently visited areas locally where Gongoozies (boat watchers) look on, particularly at the weekend. The old wharf buildings here date from 1837 and is now a private residence. Upon leaving the locks you will soon enter the Woodseaves cutting (with its warnings of falling rocks) it is almost immediately upon you with barely enough room for two boats to pass and a speed limit of 2mph, with evident mud slides and laying water on much of the tow path this has to be the worst section of the Four Counties Ring so far as physical state is concerned – but beauty and wildlife still abounds!
A few miles down the canal is Knighton, Shropshire - home of the old Cadbury’s creamery where until as late as 1961 Cadbury’s collected Shropshire milk (in Cadbury's milk boats) for processing for their Bourneville factory. The milk and chocolate ‘crumb’ was carried by canal from when the creamery first opened in the 1800’s. Today the canal side buildings act as workshops. There are usually a couple of old working boats moored at the wharf - giving a sense of history to the environment.
The Grub Street to Norbury cutting just to the south of Knighton, Shropshire is one of the prettiest on the Four Counties Ring and is alive with the sound of birdsongs. The towpath and canal are in great condition here.
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