Tuesday, 14 January 2020
We're going on a Saltaire hunt (4)
Continuing down to the bottom of Victoria Road in Saltaire, we arrive at the bridge over the Leeds-Liverpool Canal and this iconic view along the waterway between Salts Mill and the New Mill. The mills are still connected by the remaining one of three original walkways over the canal.
Looking from the bridge in the opposite direction, we see one of the most popular spots in the village, where people can access the canal towpath or walk down to the right and over the River Aire into Roberts Park. It's a good place for people to stop for a breather, perhaps indulge in an ice-cream from the ice-cream boat, feed the ducks and generally watch the world go by. Most weekends, there is a volunteer from the Canal and River Trust, the charitable body that looks after the UK's waterways. They seek to educate and encourage people to enjoy all that our waterways have to offer, as well as to recruit volunteers to do some of the many tasks needed to maintain the network.
Looking back up the slope that leads down to the canal level, you get a beautiful view of the amazing Italianate chimney of the New Mill, a copy of a Venetian church tower.
Then down on to the canal towpath - and immediately we are transported into a cool, green, peaceful world that seems far away from the bustle of the village and its industrial heritage. Deceptive though... as it was partly because of the canal that the mills were built here, with a crucial transportation route for goods and materials to the docks in Liverpool, 100 or so miles away to the west. At one time, it would have been busy with boats and horses - and even these days you have to keep a watch in front and behind for cyclists, as the towpath is a cycleway too.