First Works on Cotswold Canals

12 October 2006

On 14th & 15th October, volunteers from the Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) joined the Cotswold Canals Partnership to start work on the first phase of Cotswold Canals restoration at Goughs Orchard Lock.

The volunteer work will take place from October to March, when they will be clearing vegetation and felling selected trees that currently lie within the lock and obstruct the lock chamber. Then, subject to further environmental and heritage assessments, this will be followed in 2007/08 by more volunteer work to repair and restore the lock itself.

The Waterway Recovery Group will be encouraging involvement and help from local volunteers and also working closely with The Cotswold Canals Trust. The lock restoration project at Goughs Orchard will take approximately 18 months and will provide a range of volunteer opportunities as well as free training courses such as masonry and brick working.

The first phase of the restoration of the Cotswold Canals was made possible with an £11.9 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The funding, applied for by British Waterways on behalf of the Cotswold Canals Partnership, matches contributions from the other partners in the project, including £6 million from the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) and represents almost three quarters of the total funding required to deliver the first major phase of the Canalsí restoration. The total cost of the restoration project is £24 million.

Once the entire restoration is complete it will conserve 30 historic structures, including bridges and locks, and help to protect rare species including bats, water vole and crayfish. It will attract an estimated 215,000 extra visitors and create 600 jobs by 2014 and create a 10 mile trail for walkers, angler, cyclists, wheelchair users and pushchairs allowing a large and diverse number of people to learn and discover more about our waterways and their history.