But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
Local Listing: 1820s roadway engineered by
Thomas Telford, as part of the Holyhead Road improvements. Deep, steep
cutting through the Tettenhall escarpment, accessed by very substantial
approach ramp from the east. Side roads are also ramped to connect.
Flanks of the cutting lined with a stone retaining wall. A major
example of late Georgian civil engineering.
Comment: Everyone likes a nice avenue
especially when, as here, the trees meet in an arch over your head. It
wasn't just Coleridge who got the bug. Brooke was one of many others
but he wrote about "a tunnel of green gloom" as he was feeling a bit
miserable at the time. The sandstone ridges round here tend to lend
themselves to these sorts of cuttings and this one provides an unexpected
approach to an old industrial city.
But its origins are far from romantic, stemming from a very
practical dispute between Telford and the Wolverhampton Turnpike
Telford was appointed by Parliament to re-design the Holyhead Road.
His plan for dealing with Old Hill was to make a new line of road out
of Wolverhampton to Aldersley and then on to the Wergs, thus by passing this
ridge altogether. Telford had to act through the local turnpike trusts and
parishes. The turnpike trustees
rejected Telford’s scheme and then rejected another which would have created
a short tunnel rising through the ridge. They then put up their own plan
which, since Telford disapproved of it, they had to build themselves.
It was this scheme which created the present road: a deep cutting was
created at the top of the ridge and the spoil from the cutting was used to
make a rising embankment at the bottom of the ridge. This cutting and the
embankments were not actually engineered by Telford at all. The work
was completed in 1823 and Telford agreed, somewhat grudgingly, that it was
at least an improvement.
cutting and the embankment beyond are important reminders of our history and
significant to the nation's transport history.