Activity at Eastington
Hargreaves of Halifax have constructed, delivered & installed a new pair of lower gates at Blunder Lock Eastington.
Certified sustainable hardwood
The new bottom gates are made of a sustainable tropical hardwood timber known as Ekki.
The timber is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The gates have a life expectancy several times longer than the previous oak gates.
Oak gates aged fast
Blunder Lock was restored and reopened in 1992 with new gates made of oak.
Just eighteen years later the heel post of one of the top gates showed evidence of significant damage by wood boring insects.Extensive fungal infection was also observed elsewhere, particularly in the balance beams, one of which subsequently broke.
Reclaimed Beams & Paddles
The new gates, each weighing 3.5 tonnes, have been fitted with balance beams reclaimed from the old bottom gates of Wallbridge Upper Lock.The reclaimed beams, also made of Ekki, are expected to last a very long time.
The paddle gear has also been reclaimed from a previous set of gates as it was in good working order. This may eventually be replaced by the Cotswold Canals Trust design used on Phase 1A.
Upper gates from the River Thames
Cotswold Canals Trust volunteers have simultaneoulsy modified and fitted a replacement set of upper gates that were formerly used on the River Thames.
Whilst these gates are of a considerable vintage they are expected to last throughout the main restoration of Phase 1B.
The rational behind refurbishment
Stroud Valleys Canal Company’s Ken Burgin explains the rationale behind the refurbishment of Blunder Lock which falls within Phase 1B of the restoration.
“Stroud Valleys Canal Company (SVCC) has a responsibility to maintain the Stroudwater Navigation as a condition of it inheriting the British Waterways (BW) lease from the Company of Proprietors of the Stroudwater Navigation.
"Blunder Lock was functional at the time BW took out the lease in 2005 and the current works are part of meeting this lease condition. Hargreaves supplied and installed the new bottom gates under a contract with the SVCC.
“This is a high profile site adjacent to the A419 and the state of the lock was detracting from the excellent work that Cotswold Canals Trust volunteers carry out in keeping this section of canal well maintained.
“Returning the Eastington section of the canal into full working order also highlights the need to remove Ocean Railway Bridge blockage. This issue has recently been the subject of an application to the Gloucestershire Local Transport Board for funding to assist in reopening the access for the canal. It is hoped this will encourage support from major funders for Phase 1B.
Click here to read how you can support the Ocean Railway Bridge Funding Application.
The history behind the names
Blunder Lock is the eighth lock on the Stroudwater Navigation and has a rise of 7ft 6 inches.
When built in 1777 it was known as Lower Nassfield Lock. However, shortly after completion it was found to have been constructed at the wrong level.
It was believed at the time that this could have been an intentional act carried out by a contractor who had already been given notice by the Canal Company. It was nicknamed Blunder Lock because of this 'blunder' and the name was adopted by the company shortly after.
Stroud Valleys Canal Company is the registered charity set up to look after the western section of the Cotswold Canals. The company controls most of the canal from just east of Saul Junction through to, and including, Brimscombe Port near Stroud.