The table of closures will be updated as information becomes available
Oil Mills Bridge to Ryeford Bridge
Towpath closed from 15th November until Christmas
Users of the canal towpath between Oil Mills Bridge and Ryeford Bridge will know that a lot of work has been going on to protect both the river and canal banks, which have gradually been getting closer together! The bank protection work is being carried out by Cotswold Canals Trust (CCT) volunteers, whilst a Stroud District Council team follows on, laying a new, wider towpath.
Not without difficulty, we have managed to keep the towpath open throughout the summer. The position has now been reached where we need to drive in sheet piles along the canal edge, particularly at Ford’s Wharf, just upstream of Ryeford Bridge. This is because the historic brickwork edge of the canal has failed, leading to undermining of the coping stones and the towpath itself.
The solution is, first, to sheet pile in front of the wall, backfill behind the piles, and then move the coping stones slightly forward.
Inevitably, it will be a time-consuming task and the narrowness of the path here means that it cannot be kept open.
The towpath is therefore being closed from a point west of Oil Mills Bridge, through to Ryeford Bridge.
Westbound towpath users will be diverted around the cricket pitch, back on to the cycle track parallel to the Ebley bypass and back onto Ryeford Road North.
The route has been checked by CCT volunteers, approved by Gloucestershire County Council’s Public Rights of Way team and is in good condition.
Initially, the diversion is expected to remain in place until Christmas.
Stroud Brewery Bridge — Wallbridge Lower Lock
Towpath closed until further notice
Restoration of Wallbridge Lower Lock means the towpath is closed either side of the lock.
Westbound towpath users can bypass the site by rejoining the towpath at the premises of Dougfield Plumbers.
Click here to read about Wallbridge Lower Lock restoration
Towpath closed to the west of the lock — until further notice
Towpath open to the east of the lock
Bowbridge Lock is still undergoing restoration.
The towpath is now open from Bowbridge Bridge to the East of the lock.
Eastbound users can rejoin the towpath via the steps pictured above.
Walkers will also have a good view of the volunteers restoring the lock chamber!
Cyclists and other wheeled transport users can rejoin the towpath by
proceeding through the nearby cul-de-sac known as Bowbridge Lock.
Capels Mill to Bowbridge Bridge
Towpath closed until further noticeTowpath Closed at Arundel Aqueduct
Diversion signs in place
Whilst the dredging of the canal channel has recently been completed
the work on making Bowbridge Bridge navigable has been temporarily halted.
In response to public concern Gloucestershire County Council Highways Engineers are reviewing the design.
They are investigating how pedestrian & wheeled access might be achieved beneath the bridge.
In the meantime, eastbound pedestrians should follow the diversion from Arundel Aqueduct.
Diversion signs direct walkers up some steps from the towpath at the eastern end of Capel’s Mill and onto the London Road.
The above article will be updated when GCC Highways announce their new plan.
Stroudwater — Thames & Severn Towpath Map
This map will help you find your way around the towpath closures.
It is also available at the CCT Visitor Centres at Saul Junction and Wallbridge.
Pop in and see us and have a chat over a complimentary cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate
An overview provided by Dave Marshall
SDC’s Canal Restoration Project Manager
The ongoing nature of the restoration may well require short term closures of the canal towpath.
Towpath closures occur to ensure the health and safety of the public.
The reason public access must be restricted is usually a construction activity involving heavy excavators and other vehicles in the creation of deep excavations. The linear nature of the canal and limited access to work sites can make the restoration task difficult.
The towpath is a public right of way (PROW), the County Council’s PROW office has gone through the statutory process necessary for temporary closures.
The same procedure has been followed in cases where canal works have forced the temporary closure of other public rights of way.
Conclusions & Aspirations
It is appreciated that closures cause inconvenience to towpath users, but we hope people will ultimately find the disruption worthwhile – particularly with regard to the improved canal and resurfaced towpath widened to 2 metres where possible.
The project is intended to improve the local economy and create a better amenity for local people.
We hope that local people will be able to bear with us whilst we do this work as quickly and safely as we can.