The good, the bad and the ugly!

Reflections on the Kennet and Avon Canal at Bath.
How laurel pruning has opened up roadside views into Sydney Gardens.
How laurel pruning has opened up roadside views into Sydney Gardens.

Another cycle ride through parts of the city of Bath and this time in glorious early spring sunshine. I have mentioned the serious laurel pruning that has been done around the edges of Sydney Gardens already but here is some photographic evidence of how it has opened up views into the parkscape.

It is a great shame that people are just throwing their rubbish over the low stone wall separating this green oasis from Sydney Road. It is going to be quite a job for the park keepers to get into the undergrowth and remove all the bottles and plastic.

Rubbish thrown over the wall!
Rubbish thrown over the wall!

B&NES does have plans for a major re-vamp of this last remaining portion of an old Georgian Vauxall – or pleasure gardens – but it looks as if it will wait until Network Rail do their electrification work on the Great Western railway – the London to Bristol line that passes through the park.

Brunel had designed this little  section of the route like a stage set with his trains passing across the park ‘stage’ from one side to the other. He deliberately designed a grassy area where people could watch these amazing new machines of the industrial age hurtle by.

Needless to say high-voltage cables and railway spectators will not mix and some drastic work may have to be done in lowering that green ‘viewing platform’ to heighten the dividing wall.

The old wrought-iron 'Gents" in Sydney Gardens.
The old wrought-iron ‘Gents” in Sydney Gardens.

A good time for B&NES to get busy in Sydney Gardens too. I wonder what plans they have for the lovely old Victorian wrought-iron loo near the Holburne Museum? Also that touching little drink stand which looks as if it has been dry for many a summer.

I wonder if you were also aware that the grotto standing

The grotto in the grounds of the Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel.
The grotto in the grounds of the Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel.

in the gardens sloping down from the Macdonald Bath Spa  Hotel – on the other side of  Sydney Road – is what is left of an even bigger grotto installed in the Sydney Pleasure Gardens and only removed when the Kennet and Avon Canal was cut through the park in the early 1800’s.

The old drinking fountain.
The old drinking fountain.

I was in fact now making my way up onto the canal towpath to head back to Larkhall. In passing through the canal tunnel – on the Larkhall side of Sydney Gardens and  under the Beckford Road  – l happened to notice some confirmation that graffiti is not restricted to our age.

The graffiti-filled niche on the 'Father Thames' side of this canal bridge.
The graffiti-filled niche on the ‘Father Thames’ side of this canal bridge.

No paint spray can attacks but someone with a knife carving dates into the face of the bridge – in a niche to one side of the carved head of Old Father Thames. You can make out several dates from the late 19th century. This one looks like 1886?

I am updating this with a message from a Bath Virtual Museum supporter called Martin Brennan who tell me he volunteers for the Canal Restoration Trust and takes children on canal
walks. ” Next
time you are out there,’ he tells me ‘ the oldest bit of dated graffiti the children
found is on a pillar between the Sabrina bridge and the little gate
into Sydney gardens, 1807 I think.’ Thank you Martin.

1886?
1886?

A little further along the towpath l could not help wondering  – with so

Derelict end of a terrace.
Derelict end of a terrace.

much new land needed for housing – why this end of an old terrace has been left in such a derelict and boarded-up state for years.

Not sure, but l think there is a planning application in to at least do one up at the end nearest houses that ARE lived in.

Reflections on the Kennet and Avon Canal at Bath.
Reflections on the Kennet and Avon Canal at Bath.
Reflections.
Reflections.
More reflections on the canal.
More reflections on the canal.

l leave you with some nice shots of a beautiful route in and out of our city and  along a much-loved waterway.

The 'Darth Vader' narrowboat?
The ‘Darth Vader’ narrowboat?

Plus the bow-end of a canal or narrow boat which reminded me of Darth Vader from Star Wars!?