This was built in 1788 to take coal and limestone from the canal system near Oakengates to the Ketley Iron works at the bottom of the hill – the 5th largest iron works in the country – where the St Gobain works are now. To get loaded canal tub boats down the hill, William Reynolds of Ketley Hall built the first successful inclined plane in the world. 250 years ago thirty tub boats every day would have been pulled past this point in each direction!
The canal used to run through a tunnel under Shepherds Lane – the tunnel is hidden under the bank beyond the three large sycamore trees. The picture above is of the other end of the tunnel, where it emerges into a private garden.
Now, the canal is home to lots of wildlife – including tadpoles, dragonfly nymphs and water scorpions! If you are very lucky you might see a kingfisher or heron.
A dipping platform was installed in 2018, and children have found many creatures in the canal waters. eDNA tests have been undertaken in the water, and smooth newts, but no great crested newts have been identified.
If you can manage the steps, you can get anywhere else on the site. Otherwise, you can access the whole site without steps by going up Shepherds Lane or School Lane. There are maps of the site at each entrance.
More information on accessing Paddock Mound can be found here.