Oxenhall Tunnel and the “Legger’s Rest”
Oxenhall lies between Ledbury and Newent, not far south of the M50 motorway. This section of the Hereford and Gloucester Canal is of particular interest, featuring a tunnel, a length of branch canal, a series of locks, an original and unaltered lock keepers cottage and an aqueduct , all within a short distance.
At the north end of the section is the south portal of the Oxenhall Tunnel. The tunnel, completed in 1798, extends northwards 2192 yards from here towards Ledbury, and passes under the M50 motorway, constructed between 1958 and 1960, and a high pressure gas transmission pipeline, constructed more recently in 2008.
Immediately south of the tunnel is the “Legger’s Rest”, a unique, arched recess built into the bank alongside the tunnel portal, where, history has it, the gang of men retained to assist passage of narrow boats through the tunnel, would await their next job.
20 years ago, the structures of the Legger’s Rest and the tunnel portal where in very poor condition, but both have been fully restored by the Canal Society, and more recently by the Trust.
A short way from the tunnel is Cold Harbour Bridge. As part of some of the first restoration work undertaken by Trust volunteers on the canal, the walls of the Canal beneath the bridge were strengthened with concrete and then re-faced with masonry.
More about the Hereford and Gloucester Canal at Oxenhall....