Cotswold Canals Partnership

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 (2-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!

1Stantons Bridge, Thrupp
Stantons Bridge, Thrupp
1Nutshell House and Bridge, Stonehouse
Nutshell House and Bridge, Stonehouse

Other Work

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.

1Pike Bridge, Eastington, built in 2005
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: mail@cotswoldcanals.com or call 01453 752 568

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