Ceramic Trail Site 2

Widow’s Bridge & South Portal of Berwick Tunnel

Hidden Waterways is an intergenerational community project delivered by The Hive, exploring the heritage and tales behind Shropshire’s hidden canals and waterways. Through engagement with creative workshops, the project focuses on storytelling to improve mental and emotional wellbeing, whilst encouraging community cohesion and pride in the local area.

Berwick Tunnel was completed in 1797, the same year as the canal opened. It is 970 yards long, and when built was the only tunnel in the country to have a towpath running along inside. It has a design fault – it isn’t straight, so boatmen could not see through from one end to the other! Halfway through the tunnel there is a white line painted on the roof to avoid arguments when two boats met in the middle – the boat that got there first had the right of way, so the other boat had to go back.

Please explore the images, videos and audio clips below to learn about the people who lived and worked on the Shrewsbury Canal and to see a birds-eye-view of how the waterways look now.

Berwick Wharf was where china from the Potteries and other goods were unloaded for the Attingham estate. Garden produce and meat from Attingham were also collected for transport on to Shrewsbury.

Nature to spot along the Towpaths and Tiles: The Towpaths and Canal are home for a wealth of wildlife and different plants. As you walk, look out for Cowslips, Bulrushes, Yellow Iris, Dragonflies, Butterflies, Water Voles, Tench, Pike and Moorhens along the towpath and the Ceramic Tiles.

Poetry created in community workshops with artist Jean Atkin.

Bottle this bottle was found by SNCT volunteers in the canal by the South Portal of Berwick Tunnel. It is from Trouncer & Co. Ltd which was a Brewery in Longden Coleham. How do you think it got here? (Photo credit: Stephanie Kelly)

Hear Mal Edwards explaining the Berwick Tunnel below:

Please be aware these sites are situated along a canal which is in the process of being regenerated by Shrewsbury and Newport Canal Trust volunteers. As such, we advise you to stay on the towpath and wear suitable outdoor footwear. You enter at your own risk and under your own supervision. Children must be supervised at all times.

Parking: It is possible to park your car in the layby opposite the wooden gate that leads to Widow’s Bridge. Please take care as you cross the road.

SNCT – Working to restore the Shrewsbury and Newport Canals for the benefit of the Community and the Environment. We are always looking for volunteers, if you are interested please get in touch: http://www.sncanal.org.uk/ or call 01743 761447 for membership enquiries.

Find us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ShrewsburyAndNewportCanalTrust

Land is owned by Canal and River Trust.

Thanks to: We have received an enormous amount of support from Shrewsbury and Newport Canal Trust and their volunteers (Margaret Cann, Chas Warren, Stuart Dady and Andrew Dady), along with Paul Hutchinson from Drone Rangers, Ben Crane’s groundwork and Fil Poli at Condover Forge. Thanks also to Mel Board from Upton Magna Village Store and Café for providing a site for the first panel.

Ceramic Trail created by: Mike Griffiths, Huw Powell Roberts and Stephanie Kelly with Mythstories Home Education Group, St Giles C of E Primary School and families who participated in a ceramic workshop at Upton Magna Memorial Hall on May 1st 2023. It also incorporates Oral History recordings from SNCT archives, and poems created during a workshop led by Jean Atkin. Map: Ceramic Transfer Map by M Griffiths based on a map drawn by Lilian Hayward in 1950. Photos: Photos courtesy of Shrewsbury and Newport Canal Trust and Paul Shooter.