Thames & Severn Canal

Photo: Wallbridge Upper Lock on the Thames & Severn Canal by Cotswold Canals Trust

The Thames & Severn canal is 28 miles (45.1km) plus 1.5 miles (2.4km) branch to Cirencester, the canal has various ownerships.

Cotswold Canals Trust aims to restore the Thames & Severn Canal from its junction with the Stroudwater Navigation in Stroud through to the river Thames.  With the Stroudwater Navigation, the restored canal would re-create an alternative through route between the rivers Thames and Severn from the Kennet & Avon Canal and one that would avoid the tidal Bristol Avon, which is unsuitable for inexperienced boat owners.  Showpiece sections of the canal have been restored, including both ends of Sapperton Tunnel at the summit, to demonstrate the advantages of restoring the whole canal.  In 2009, Cotswold Canals Trust was given the freehold of Inglesham Lock by British Waterways, prior to BW selling the historic roundhouse at the Canal’s junction with the Thames.  BW had originally purchased the lock and building as a single property as part of its land assembly when leading the Cotswold Canals Partnership.

Restoration Programme

Two miles of the Thames & Severn canal fall within the Phase 1A restoration programme. This had included the removal of some of the most challenging obstructions on the canal including the previously bridgeless crossing of the A46 in Stroud and a section lost under the A419 Stroud east-west bypass at Capels Mill. The completion of Phase 1B will link this western section of the T&S Canal with the rest of the main network at Saul Junction via the Stroudwater Navigation. CCT has a visitor centre next to Wallbridge Upper Lock in Stroud.

Phase 2 is the length of the canal from its connection with the navigable Thames at Inglesham through to South Cerney in the Cotswold Water Park – a distance of just over 10 miles. Quite a lot of work has taken, and is taking place in this section and gravel quarrying activities are expected to result in the reconstruction of long infilled lengths of canal near Marston Meysey. IWA and WRG have adopted the funding and restoration of the entrance lock at Inglesham.

In the central Phase 3 length, in addition to work at the ends of Sapperton Tunnel, several locks have had their structures restored and a number of humpback bridges have been saved from near collapse.