“Stroud on Water”: 2/3/4 June

The Cotswold Canals Partnership, formed in 2001 builds on the work already done by volunteers and is driving canal restoration plans forward.

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Lunch last Saturday was taken outside the Lock-keeper’s Café which is on the site of the Bell House Visitor Centre & Canal Shop – Wallbridge Lock, overlooking the refurbished Upper Lock and Stroud Brewery Bridge.

Volunteers have undertaken many activities, including fund raising, operating trip boats, towpath tidying, clearance, construction and maintenance work.

One canal volunteer, Wendy Townsend, saw the potential of opening up a cafe, and not only invested her own money in it, but is part of the team which prepares the delicious meals.

Work parties take place during the week and most weekends.

The project won a Waterways Renaissance Award this year.

The 2012 Trailboat Festival will take place on the Stroudwater Canal in Gloucestershire over the ‘Jubilee’ weekend of 2/3/4 June.

“Stroud on Water” will also celebrate the work undertaken on phase 1a restoration of the canal from Stonehouse into Stroud, and the 40th anniversary of the Cotswold Canal Trust who are organising it.

Martin Turner, the Show Chairman explains: “Every year the Inland Waterways Association holds a National Trailboat Festival which travels from venue to venue to highlight waterways that are being restored or need restoring. They are usually sections which are not yet connected to the main system, as in Stroud. The trailboats are brought to site by car and slipped into the canal. We have great music, great catering and a real ale bar serving local ales, wine and soft drinks. There will be tripboats, steamboats and a fairground as well as fireworks set to music.

On leaving Stroud in the Five Valleys we passed the Capels Viaduct – the longest of the four viaducts carrying the South Wales Main Line – and saw earth moving machinery clearing the overgrown structure and excavating to re-route the canal through another arch of the viaduct to join the original line of the canal to the east of the viaduct.

The Cotswold Trust campaigns for the restoration of the Stroudwater Navigation and Thames & Severn Canal – once abandoned and derelict. It is described on its website as the UK’s premier waterways restoration trust and has grown from the Stroudwater, Thames & Severn Canal Trust, formed after 300 people attended a meeting in the Stroud Subscription Rooms organised by Michael Ayland. Read more of its history here.

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