Bream Heritage Walk

24 – Path to Tramway

A short round trip down the steep footpath here on the left will take around 15 minutes. At the bottom of the slope, a short difficult, walk to the left through the undergrowth will be rewarded with a view of the brick arch in the land bridge and also the exit of the Whimsey stream from the culvert that carries it here from as far away as the far side of the colliery site.

This culvert is in itself a major construction, being 500 metres long and built to allow the construction of the colliery and its spoil tip over the route of the stream. The culvert carries all the surface water from the Mill Hill and Noxon Park areas. In fact 800m of the 900m course of the stream from just before Oakwood Mill to here runs in 3 separate culverts.

The stream flows into a shallow pond.

The path continues towards Parkend. Along the path many good examples of stone tramway sleepers are exposed and by studying the configuration of the sleepers it is possible to deduce that a passing loop was present.

Continuing along the path for about 100 metres you will see some flat stone blocks, about 2 feet square set into each side of the path. These are more remains of the Oakwood tramway built in the 1850s to connect the iron mines at Oakwood Bottom and the chemical works at Flour Mill to Parkend. The tramway consisted of L shaped cast iron plates about 1 metre (3 feet) in length and weighing 19 kilos (42 lbs), spiked to the stone blocks with iron nails. The area between the two lines of plates was filled with gravel. The original gauge was 3’ 6’’, but gradually through use it widened slightly over the years. The drams were pulled by horses

Now retrace your steps back to the post and waymark at No. 24

A photo of tramplates, stone sleepers and trams at Glouccester Docks.
A photo of a reconstruction of iron tramplates, single hole stone sleepers and wooden trams at Glouccester Docks.
A photo of a three hole stone tramway sleeper.
Later, the rails were held in place on the stone sleepers by iron “chairs”. The lugs in the bottom of the chairs dropped into the holes in the stone sleepers. The rails were then held in place by wedges. This particular sleeper has 3 holes. The middle hole was used first and rails were fixed together using an iron spike as in the photo above. Later the two outer holes were drilled to take the iron chairs.