The Cotswold Canals

Junction Bridge House
The Cotswold Canals is the modern title for two waterways.

The Stroudwater Navigation was opened in 1779 and climbed through thirteen locks from the River Severn at nearby Framilode to a terminus basin at Wallbridge in Stroud.

The main cargoes delivered to Stroud were coal and corn. 

Coal to fuel the furnaces to produce hot water for the cloth making process in the woollen mills. Corn was ground to make bread to fuel the wool trade workers. 

In 1789 the Thames & Severn Canal was opened by a separate company and  ran from its end-on junction with the Stroudwater at Wallbridge to climb the Cotswold escarpment.

After passing through the 2¼ mile long Sapperton Tunnel it descended into the Thames Valley to join the River Thames at Lechlade, 

In 1827, the Gloucester-Berkeley Ship Canal was opened, thus creating the 'unique canal-crossroads junction' at Saul. 

The last commercial transit of the 36 miles from the Severn to the Thames was made by the narrowboat Gem which carried a load of stone to Lechlade.
The last recorded commercial toll on the Stroudwater Navigation was paid in 1941. The navigation became disused and was officially abandoned in 1954.

Gloucestershire in general, and the Stroud Valleys in particular, are renowned for their beauty, seclusion and historic interest. Surely, reasons enough for the canal be reopened to Stroud and beyond!

The Cotswold Canals Trust 

The Cotswold Canals Trust is a Registered Charity and its aims are: 

  • To promote, for the benefit of the community, the reopening of the Cotswold Canals

  • To promote the restoration of the two waterways to give a balance between the needs of navigation, development, recreation, heritage, landscape conservation, wildlife and natural habitats

  • To promote the use of all towpaths as the Thames & Severn Way - long distance foot path

  • To achieve restoration of the Cotswold Canals as a navigable route from Saul Junction to the River Thames

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