The Cotswold Canals Partnership was formed in 2001 to build on the work already carried out by volunteers and to drive restoration plans forward.
Members comprise: The Waterways Trust; Cotswold Canals Trust; Stroud District Council; Homes and Communities Agency (HCA); Gloucestershire County Council; Wiltshire Council; Gloucestershire First; Gloucestershire Rural Community Council; Environment Agency; Gloucestershire Society for Industrial Archaeology; Learning & Skills Council; Cotswold Water Park Society; Inland Waterways Association; National Heritage Training Academy (SW); South West Tourism; Company of Proprietors of the Stroudwater Navigation and Cotswold District Council.
The project to restore the Cotswold Canals is planned to be undertaken in phases:
• The restoration of the Stroudwater Navigation from Stonehouse to Stroud and 4km of the Thames & Severn from Stroud to Brimscombe Port and the establishment of a walking trail to Saul (phase 1A)
• Restoration of the Stroudwater Navigation between Stonehouse and Saul Junction (phase 1B)
• The restoration of the Thames & Severn Canal from the Thames at Inglesham to the Cotswold Water Park running close to Cricklade
• The creation of a walking trail across the entire length of the Thames and Severn Canal between Brimscombe and Inglesham
• Connecting the Cotswold Canals to Swindon through the North Wilts Canal
• Restoring the Thames & Severn Canal from Brimscombe to Sapperton Tunnel west portal and from Sapperton Tunnel east portal to the Cotswold Water Park
• Restoring the 3.6km (2¼-mile) Sapperton Tunnel
In January 2006, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) formally awarded £11.9 million towards the first phase of the restoration. At the same time the project was offered match funding of £6 million by the South West of England Regional Development Agency (SWRDA).
In October 2007, an application to the Big Lottery Fund Living Landmarks for £15.9 million to complete the restoration from Stonehouse to Saul was turned down, although it made the last nine from over 300!
|Stantons Bridge, Thrupp|
|Nutshell House and Bridge, Stonehouse|
Some other restoration work is already underway. 2005 saw the opening of the Gateway Bridge carrying the B4696 Western Spine Road over the Thames & Severn Canal at the gateway to the Cotswold Water Park and the creation and opening of Pike Bridge at Eastington on the Stroudwater Navigation. A 640-metre section of the Stroudwater Navigation has been dug by the Stroudwater Redevelopment Partnership at Ebley as part of its development; this includes a new brick-built bridge on the site of the old Ebley Cloth Mills swing bridge.
Volunteers are now working on Ruck's Bridge, near Marston Meysey and on the adjacent Eysey Lock.
|Pike Bridge, Eastington, built in 2005|
Stroud District Council has committed £2.25 million to the project through direct funding and securing developers' contributions.
The Cotswold Canals Trust (CCT) continues to raise funds for the restoration of the Stroudwater and Thames & Severn Canals. CCT has over 7,000 members and is committed to raising at least £1 million towards the restoration. For more information please visit www.cotswoldcanals.com, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01453 752 568