The Winchester

"Not all those who wander are lost" – Tolkien

Go West – May 2010

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Another 28DL meet was arranged, and my attendance in Cardiff was confirmed when I realised what there was to do on the way down. Following Guildford, Bristol and Manchester’s previous nights of antics in years gone by, I pencilled myself in and got arranging.

Dreadnought is a storm drain constructed in the mid-seventies to alleviate the pressure on Rednaught, an older culvert. Different to London’s offerings in that it’s made of concrete and there are massive outfalls into the tidal waters of the Severn, I found Dreadnought less smelly, more spacious and a hell of a lot more slippery. Lined with a millimeter of mud, take one bad step and you’ll be floating in the flow.

I’ll start with all good drains, and that’s at the infall. Dreadnought has an interesting step arrangement where the stream flows into a grill and then over a lip onto the steps. The steps head downstream and join the flow created by another infeed further upstream.

Flowing downstream is a kilometer’s worth of tunnel, ordinary in every way. Concrete rings with the odd manhole make up this drain, until we reach a junction very close to the outfall. Looking upstream, the pipe on the right will take you to the steps, the pipe on the left will take you to where the sewer intercepts the stormwater drain and flows delicious brown poowater into the Severn.

If you take the chamber on the left, you’ll get to the pissflaps, dubbed as such because they keep the smell from the intercepting section from drifting downstream into Bedminster.

Back at the outfall, there are two huge pipes feeding out to the Severn, and a chamber above this which assumedly allows the outfall junction to be inspected from above during instances of heavy flow.

Rednaught was found easily enough thanks to local knowledge and it being blindingly obvious when you go past it.

This is a slightly messier affair, the tidal waters shove sludge up at the mouth and the tunnel is full of debris, such as  branches, shopping trolleys and needles. Further down towards the outfall the silt gets heavier and heavier, the blocks of gunge get taller and the area to walk in gets narrower. At the end is a sluice allowing the waters out, and assumedly a manhole exit where the ladder on the right is.

We turned and walked back to the infall, because that is where the car was parked. We headed to the Elizabeth Shaw pikified factory, a delightfully burgled factory where they used to make anything they could sell, mostly chocolated.

Within an hour or so we were in Cardiff, acquainting ourselves with pints of ale and friends old and new in Cardiff’s finest Wetherspoons. The rest of the night ensued, the morning came and went. We went in a bunker of sorts as well, and somehow woke up in the morning on the floor of a very kind gentleman who let us all sleep in his house. This was a great relief as the car was parked in the middle of nowhere and the hotels unsurprisingly didn’t want to give us rooms when we rocked up at 2am.

A rather large group of us descended on Penalta colliery and saw the sights, which are all below.

View from near bathhouse. Pleasant.

Winding House. Elegant.

Bathhouse. Picturesque.

Headstocks. Dangerous.

To finish off the weekend we made a pyramid of people, while some well meaning fellows burnt things in the compound. an excellent use of resources by all parties. Thanks to all participants, I had a great weekend.

Written by Winch

May 11th, 2010 at 10:36 am

Posted in Dereliction,Drains,Social

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