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Bowbridge Lock Update

Bowbridge to Butterow Hill Bridge
The problem

In the 1960s, two way traffic flow to & from Butterow Hill was achieved by filling in the canal alongside the original single carriageway bridge across the canal. Reopening the canal requires construction of a new bridge directly alongside the old one.

The solution

After discussions, Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) has agreed to take on the project management and construction of this new bridge. GCC will also contribute to the cost. Plans are being drawn up and will be announced when ready.

Bowbridge Lock

Good progress is being made here, with extra impetus given by four, week-long, Waterway Recovery Group work camps.

The camps have concentrated on rebuilding the upper wing walls, clearing silt from the bottom of the lock and the installation of stop plank grooves. They also installed a pipe to carry water through the lock. Scaffolding has been erected on the non-towpath side allowing defective brickwork to be stripped off. 

The sequence of events at Bowbridge Lock has been as follows:

  • Veterinary Centre car park retaining wall built
  • Pound between Griffin Mill Lock & Bowbridge Lock de-watered – fish rescue carried out
  • 25m of towpath wall collapsed as a result of erosion behind & lack of foundations
  • Rebuild of towpath wall commenced by 'Tuesday Volunteers' 
  • Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) install upper stop planks
  • Lock chamber cleared of 40 lorry loads of silt & debris

Three consecutive weeks of WRG Canal Camps commenced on 9th August.

Tasks included:

Erecting scaffolding, removing coping stones, stripping damaged brickwork, pointing upper wing walls, replacing coping stones, and installing lower stop planks. The WRG Camps were led by:

  • Nick Swift & Amber Jenkins
  • Martin Danks & Sophie Smith
  • Jenny Black & Gemma Bolton
  • Jenny Black & WRG Chairman – Mike Palmer

Click on the images to view larger versions

Click here to view Mike Gallagher's Bowbridge album

Other volunteer teams in action

'Tuesday Volunteers' have almost completed the rebuild of the towpath wharf wall. See second photo.

Tasks to be carried out in the immediate future include:
  • Complete removal of the damaged chamber wall brickwork on the Vet’s side in order that complete rebuild can take place
  • Complete installation of lower stop planks
  • Prevent water ingress into lock chamber
  • Remove remaining 500mm depth of silt from the lock chamber

In order to achieve this, the 'Tuesday Volunteers' are currently working at Bowbridge Lock. The 'Thursday Volunteers' will be deployed there in the near future.

Newland Homes waterside development

Across the road from Bowbridge Lock, Newland Homes have commenced enabling work to begin construction of a canal side housing development.

Newlands have promised an update very soon.

Meanwhile – Hot News x 2!

  1. We hope to increase volunteering activity at Bowbridge Lock to three or four days during the week and, possibly, every Sunday
  2. Cotswold Canals Trust Volunteers from the Western Depot are to take on the responsibility of rebuilding Ham Mill Lock. The team have already started with site clearance

How you can become involved

Click on the icons below to join a Canal Restoration Volunteers team. You have three choices…

  1. The Cotswold Canals Trust Volunteers operate from the Western Depot at Eastington. You should register on Connect. Connect is the Volunteer management system that connects people to the job to be done
  2. Stroud District Council 'Tuesday & Thursday Volunteers' are led by Jon Pontefract and Paul Weller. Call in at the Wallbridge Lock Visitor Centre at about 10:00 on those days to find out which site the team is working on
  3. The Waterway Recovery Group operates year round in teams all over the canal system