In 1981, there were still a few timberyards working, and some were still loading barges with sawn planks, but traffic on the navigation had virtually ceased.
Close to the mouth of the river at Bow Creek sand and gravel was still being unloaded, and there appeared to be some repair work on some small ships moored there.
Most of the industries on the banks of the navigation were still working, with a fair amount of noise, leaking steam from pipe-joints and occasionally unpleasant smells and discharges into the river.
Other than me, there were relatively few people on the tow path along most of its length. The occasional athlete in training had found a useful car-free path; close to some urban centres the occasional dog was being walked. In one or two places drinkers from nearby pubs spilled out over the path at lunchtimes and early evenings, but there were long stretches where I met nobody.
Away from the main navigation on the side paths and by the river, many of the paths were overgrown, impassable unless you were ready to hack through the brambles and push aside the stinging nettles. A pair of secatuers became an essential accessory, and the Manfrotto tripod I carried sometimes came in useful to slash a path through the jungle.
1990s (to follow)
All photographs on this site are
© 1980-2010 Peter Marshall.