Wellington St. Viaduct.


A previous expedition had deemed the taking of the photograph above – a picture of a track outside Radcliffe – what lay along it? There is but one way to find out…
The jungle growths rise on all sides as you go along the innocent looking footpath; growths of six-foot Himalayan Balsam (what else!?) that close the track impenetrably. It’s quiet and still amid the greenery with just the sound of bike wheels demolishing invasive weeds as you inch along, looking for the old and overgrown…

Rounding a bend the weeds clear; the trees behind them tower fifty or more feet skyward – an urban forest rarely seen these days and hardly ever photographed…and then…

…the track straightens; you see ahead fifty yards…ancient stonework peeps from age-old, wildly-growing flora.
A bridge?
No, but similar. Inching forward you see the ruins more clearly – it’s a tunnel.

Is it navigable? Is it blocked? Is it habited by hostile natives? To the right an ancient stairway rises from the undergrowth to higher platforms of the jungle. Which way? Delve the blackness of the tunnel, or take the stairs?

I decided on the tunnel and went into pitch-blackness…

…looking back daylight seemed a long way off until, at tunnel’s end, a steep path led to more strangely tree’d jungle.

And another overgrown tunnel, over a long, high-rising, flight of steps…

…ancient megaliths are everywhere.

Amid the overgrown Himalayan Balsam – untouched by Council strimmers for yonks – ancient staircases rise and fall fifty feet – some courtesy of Blue Circle & Co. Steel handrails, once painted, with mid-blue wode, are handy as you climb to the heights…
Everywhere old stonework lines the pathways…the structure is massive – built to with stand earthquakes and heavy vibration…
…with bridges and tunnels passing through to allow the natives easy movement…

Sadly the jungle is being allowed to take-over…
…and these days, many of the natives,
…are totally in the dark as to the use of these structures…
…but a little detective work, and a lot of pedalling, and the structure(s) at last make sense…
…and getting on top of the problem was finally done the easy way…
…with a top view down to The Irwell and the footbridge across it – bear that footbridge in mind…
…and Martian Fighting Machines are nearby – not often you look down on those!
A view along the top.
But, to see what you’ve actually been on top of, the depths of the jungle must be delved again…
And once at the bottom it can be seen…
…peeping through the undergrowth…
…and stretching across a road and The River Irwell!
The footbridge, pictured earlier, from above.
The structure – the Wellington Street Railway Viaduct across the Irwell at Bury – is accessible via Wellington Street. To get to Radcliffe from there look for the three megaliths by the roadside – Cycle Route Six is just there.
The viaduct itself is now part of Cycle Route Six, and is impressive and but ‘the jungles’ below it are well worth a cyclo-cross style ride and climb along the staircases!
When the above photographs were taken the whole area was covered in Himalayan Balsam and, althought that adds to the ‘jungle’ effect, the weeds do cover the old stones quite a bit. Here’s a March 2013 pic of that initial tunnel below the viaduct, minus the weeds.
mar48
🙂

 

One Response to Wellington St. Viaduct.

  1. Tan says:

    All so very interesting to see, brilliant photo’s.
    It’s all like stepping back in time. It must have been marvellous to discover this area.
    Like a hidden world, untouched, and ready for the eventual finder, like yourself, to explore.
    Even though it was pitch-black in the tunnel, had I walked through there my eyes would have been closed…..Tight.

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