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Capels Mill Report No.10

Report on progress – Wednesday 27th March

This is the tenth update on the creation of a new canal channel through the railway viaduct at Capels Mill Stroud. Despite the weather conditions the work moves ahead apace. We are at the halfway point towards completion of the new canal channel.

The photographs in this report are by CCT’s Mike Gallagher.

High Level View

Mike took the top picture on a recent train journey to London.

The photo provides a high level view looking eastward and features the Cullimore concrete delivery wagons.

The concrete canal channel east of the railway viaduct is being cast in ten sections. The picture shows concrete being pumped down into the formwork that shapes the sides of the channel.

Professional praise

Terry James of Alun Griffiths Contractors was full of praise for the service provided by Cullimore a Gloucestershire family firm with head offices in London Road Stroud…

“This channel needs thousands of cubic metres of concrete that has to be continuously poured section by section.

"Cullimores are always on time and the mix is always spot on."

Terry also explained that excavations for the new channel mean that some of the material has to be taken off site.

The Cullimore team carry out that task too.

Moving the mud – public praise

The movement of heavy wagons through this very muddy site provides a challenge for Alun Griffiths Contractors.

Visitors to the Cotswold Canals Trust Visitor Centre, many of whom are Stroud residents, have commented on the sterling efforts the contractors have made to minimise the effects of all that mud and movement.

A road sweeping & washing wagon is on regular patrol along Dr Newton’s Way, whilst the pavement and pedestrian crossing adjacent to the site entrance is kept clear… by manually operated scraper and broom!

Casting the concrete channel

The concrete walls and base of the channel are reinforced by a complex network of steel bars. This part of the process is also a manual task carried out by a team of experienced steel fixers.

Cold steel & thick gloves

The team place & secure the cold steel web ahead of the formwork and concrete pouring process. They were all wearing very thick gloves!

The third picture shows the channel bed and side wall looking eastward. The fourth shows the basin created by the bend in the navigation that will connect with the original line of the canal. Terry James shows us the water level in photograph five. 

Winding waterway

The new channel forms a ‘dog leg’ route as it winds through the railway viaduct and Stroud’s former domestic waste tip.

The navigation route creates right angled bends at each end. Boat skippers will have plenty of room to demonstrate their steering skills.

Variable width

The topography means that the channel width ranges from 6 metres at its narrowest point through the viaduct to 26 metres at the widest point where it will re-join the line of the original canal.

 Click here to view Mike Gallagher's full set of photos taken at Capels Mill
High level views in the future

Boating skills will no doubt be enjoyed and assessed, by walkers observing from the landscaped and planted high vantage point created by what will be Stroud’s new waterside park.

A unique view in the present

A unique preview opportunity is planned. Stroud District Council’s Dave Marshall explains…

“We are in the process of planning two Open Days at Capels Mill. The public will have a one-time only opportunity to walk along the bed of the canal channel – before it is filled with water!

“It is already an impressive experience. We are liaising closely with contractors and will soon be able to announce the Friday & Saturday dates."  

Find out more about the project

Click here, or on the concrete wagon picture to find out more about Cullimore – the local company with a long history, helping to build a new canal.

Capels Mill – A reflective look

As the canal channel work is now at the half-way point you might like to look back on the progress of the project – from the site clearance by CCT volunteers through to the February update

Click on the series of links below to trace the Capels Mill Channel story through the regular updates.

Report One;  Report Two;  Report Three;  Report Four;  Report Five,  Report Six;  Report Seven; Report Eight; Report Nine.

And finally, if you are in the Stroud area, call in at The Cotswold Canals Trust Visitor Centre at Wallbridge Lock. You will find a detailed display that describes the engineering & environmental challenges and solutions employed in the creation of a new canal alongside a fast running river in a beautiful narrow valley.

Click on the icon below right for directions