Ramsdell Hall railings  




Other places along the canal:


High Lane

Higher Poynton






Scholar Green

Kent Green

Hall Green

Red Bull

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Ramsdell Hall railings

Railings from the dead

Railings after restoration

One of the features familiar to those who cruise the Macclesfield Canal will be the ornamental railings by Ramsdell Hall about a mile north of Hall Green Stop Lock and close to Scholar Green. When William Crosley built the canal in the late 1820s he was able to save about 1½ miles on Telford’s surveyed line of about 29 miles in total and this is one such example. The plan with the 1825 Act envisaged a line to the east of the Hall between bridges 86 and 87 and to include a short tunnel, apparently to keep the canal out of sight of the Hall. It must be an indication of Crosley’s skill as a negotiator, as well as an engineer, that he managed to keep to a more direct line to the west, in front of the Hall, although he obviously constructed ornamental railings beside the towing path to compensate the owners.

Ironwork before cleaningSince the opening of the canal in 1831, the 500+ yards of railings have been a decided attraction on the canal, as the canal and towing path appear to form a haha at the edge of the Hall’s grounds. On one side of the canal are the lawns leading back to the Hall and on the other, beyond the railings, stretches the Cheshire Plain to Jodrell Bank and the Welsh Hills. Unfortunately the condition of the railings deteriorated over the years due to neglect. The neighbouring vegetation entwined itself around them and lifted the supporting wall, both of which resulted in damage and loss of posts and railings and a partial collapse of the wall.

Railings as they wereIt had long been an ambition of The Macclesfield Canal Society to see the railings restored, and the whole of the canal is now protected by conservation areas with the local councils. In 2005 the Society joined with the boroughs of Congleton and Macclesfield, British Waterways and English Heritage in promoting a three-year Partnership Scheme for the Canal Conservation Areas, in which the restoration of the railings was a key project. Working parties organised by the Society cleared vegetation around the railings and wall to enable a survey and estimate to be made. The Society is extremely grateful for the support provided by Congleton Borough Council and British Waterways. Applications for grants to rebuild the stone wall and replace the damaged railings were obtained and the work completed in 2010. There have been enthusiastic comments from local towpath-walkers and passing cruisers.

Malcolm Bower, Secretary to the Macclesfield Canal Society