One of the more wild and overgrown parts of the canal for some reason, the walk between the Daneway pub and Bakers Mill at Frampton Mansell is about a three mile round trip and takes less than an hour. The pub was originally built to house the canal builders.
There’s a layby near the pub you can park in. On a sunny summers Sunday lunchtime the pub and beer garden can get very busy but is a nice place to pop into after a walk.
From the pub you could also do the short walk to the Sapperton canal tunnel entrance. If you stand with your back to the pub the tunnel is to the left, Bakers Mill to the right.
The canal preservation group haven’t touched this section of canal so the canal bed is mostly dried up, but it’s a fantastic place for wildlife.
If you go at the right time of the year the woods on your right at the start of the walk have a fabulous covering of bluebells. About midway along the walk you pass a delightful water meadow that has a small river weaving its way around it. The canal takes a slight detour around the water meadow.
At the height of the summer the path as you get near to Bakers Mill can be a bit overgrown with stinging nettles and thistles but there are some very colourful wild flowers among them.
In the evening you might hear the haunting sounds of a lone express train as it winds its way up the side of the steep valley before plunging into the long Sapperton railway tunnel that’s a little over a mile long.
The wildlife I have seen on this stretch are deer and a heron. If you walk it in the dark the undergrowth sounds like it’s full of all those horrible monsters that only come out at night to eat people!
Eventually you will see a lake on the right hand side which is the Bakers Mill lake. This was originally built as a reservoir to keep the canal topped up. There are quite a few locks that bring the canal up the Chalford valley and each time a lock is used a large quantity of water is lost to the lower sections so a reserve of water was needed to keep it topped up. The canal was never the best as it tended to leak as the clay lining wasn’t very good.
Bakers Mill is home to Beenie the otter who’s often used in TV productions. You can usually go and meet Beenie during the summer. More photos of the walk are in the gallery below.
Slaughter in the Sapperton Tunnel – The bestselling Victorian mystery series (Railway Detective): 18