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ENews 2015-02

20th February 2015

Hello and welcome to ENews 2015-02.

The headlines for this issue:

1A report from Dave Marshall,
There's plenty of work under way.
If you're good at sorting data,
Then Val will be going 'hooray!'

Some walks and a talk full of interest,
Both of them soon taking place.
Update on the landing stages,
Alan is well on the case.

Help being sought with the planners,
By shaping our plans for submission.
Help on a stall at the Jumble?
Looking for that first edition.

Book signing at Wallbridge in April,
Some walks with the author as well.
The Latest News page of the website,
Is a really good place you can dwell.



My thanks as ever to David Marshall, SDC's Canal Project Manager, for the following update.

– Lodgemore Bridge: Design work on the planned new lift bridge is well underway and planning consent should be secured shortly. A Sunday closure of the existing bridge will be implemented in late March to permit geotechnical investigations to be undertaken. The council has now made the Compulsory Purchase Order.

– Wallbridge Lower Lock: The new concrete bypass/fishpass, which will carry the flow of the Slad Brook around the outside of the lock, is almost complete. Work is now underway on the outfall structure and the fibreglass grids covering the fish resting pools have been installed. These are necessary to allow light into the pools. The steel intake and outlet grilles have been installed. The remaining works on site comprise reinstatement – fencing, surfacing and general tidying up. The contractor is expected to be off site by the end of this month.

– Dudbridge: Local company Cristom Construction has now begun repair work here. The bypass channel was severely damaged by last year’s floods.
Essentially, the work entails the replacement of displaced ‘Armorloc’
blocks with concrete. The opportunity will also be taken to bed lumps of stone into the concrete in order to reduce the water velocity. In preparation for the repairs, SDC Tuesday and Thursday volunteers constructed a flight of steps on the ‘island’ between the upper lock and the bypass channel. They have since been busy removing the estimated
800 damaged blocks, filling the large hole scoured by water and removing washed down gravel. At the request of the Environment Agency, the volunteers have also attached blocks to the fish pass channel, in order to reduce the speed of water flow and therefore facilitating the passage of fish.

– Bowbridge Lock: With both sides of the lock scaffolded, volunteers will be able to make faster progress on brickwork repairs. Removal of the concrete dam, believed to have been built in the 1970s to retain water above the lock, is well underway. This will give access for measurement of the lock gates.

– Ham Mill: Volunteers from Cotswold Canals Trust’s Western Depot continue to make excellent progress here. The dredger has been used to clear silt from above the lock, which will enable a fabric ‘portadam’
to be used to keep the lock dry. In turn, this will allow removal of another concrete dam and allow the installation of stop planks. Purchase of the dam was a joint effort between SDC, the Cotswold Canals Trust and the Stroud Valleys Canal Company, owners of the canal. It should prove possible to reuse this dam at other locations, such as Wallbridge Lower Lock.

– Towpath: Pupils from Thomas Keble School have started work on the final length of towpath upgrade – between Gough’s Orchard and Hope Mill. They are working here on alternate Mondays, using the other Mondays to carry out tree and vegetation work along the canal.

– Interpretation Panels: Volunteers have begun putting up 17 interpretation panels along the towpath between Stonehouse Ocean and Arundel Aqueduct, including one outside Ebley Mill. Another three, to the same format, will be erected at Capel’s Mill by the Stroud Valleys Project. The panels explain the canal’s history and place it in context with other features along the canal corridor. They were drawn up by local designer Steve Roberts and content was checked by a panel comprising the canal project team, the Cotswold Canals Trust and the Gloucestershire Society for Industrial Archaeology.

Other Matters Restoration Related
– All working locks have been measured by the lock restoration team to determine if they require excessive effort on the balance beams to operate.
A formal report has been sent to SDC highlighting those that are considered excessively difficult to swing, and discussions on how to improve the position are awaited.
– The Phase 1A Maintenance Plan that was primarily drawn up by Western Depot Volunteers Les Morris & Richard Attwood has been passed to the Stroud Valleys Canal Company (as owners of the canal) for their consideration.



The Cotswold Canals Project is looking to employ a data analyst on a part-time, temporary contract, to undertake data collation, analysis and report writing as part of the Evaluation of Phase 1A of the restoration of the Cotswold Canals.

The successful candidate will work in the canal restoration team based in Stroud District Council offices at Ebley Mill in Stroud, for 14 hours a week, for 8 weeks, starting as soon as possible. He or she will have:

a. Academic qualifications and experience in quantitative and qualitative social survey techniques, including extracting data from documents, data analysis, and report writing;
b. Familiarity with the use of Word, Excel, Powerpoint and a digital database;
c. Experience in working collaboratively as a member of a small team.
d. An interest in canal restoration.

More information about this role appears on the CCT website at and to apply please contact Val Kirby phone 01453 753762 or 07969 789938.

The closing date for applications is Saturday 28th February 2015.



Don't forget the fortnightly series of Wildlife Walks along various locations along the Cotswold Canals currently under way, full details can be found at



A reminder, too, of Professor Mark Horton's imminent visit to Lechlade Memorial Hall for an evening of anecdotes about the filming of the BBC’s popular ‘Coast’ series.

Friday 6 March is the date, doors open at 7 p.m. for refreshments with a
7.30 p.m. start. Tickets are still available and cost £5 from the Trust Administration Team at Wallbridge Visitor Centre, Stroud telephone 01453
752568 email Sau
l Visitor centre or from Liz Payne
01367 253121 email

There will also be an opportunity to hear news of the restoration of the Cotswolds Canals, particularly in the Lechlade area.



In the last issue I covered Alan Jones' lock landing stages project. Alan tells me that since then some 20 volunteers have already come forward to help with the offer of more once the evenings get lighter.

Equipment development & construction is well under way and research is being undertaken to find the most cost effective materials suppiers. One of the CCT's existing mud barges has been comandeered and will be adapted to suit the needs of the Landing Stage Team. To run this project safely and meet today’s construction site requirements a welfare unit will have to be purchased and fitted to the barge, along with an electric power source for the small power tools that will be needed.

If that wasn't enough to think about, Alan has to sit down and write the risk assessments, method statements and other control paperwork, then train our volunteer work force in this detail.

Undoubtedly this is an exciting project. If you would like to get involved and find out more then Alan can be contacted by email at or phone 01453 752396 (evenings).



Is there anybody out there who could help Chief Executive Ken Burgin with the task of putting canal project related Planning Applications together?

If so Ken would very much like to hear from you, email or phone 01453 827414, mobile 0752 590 0374.



That doyen of the second-hand bookstall Anna Watts is organising her latest one for the Gloucester Docks Boat Jumble, being held on 29 March 2015.

Anna would really appreciate donations of books especially rail, canal and fiction. Both paperback and hardback are acceptable – as long as they are in good condition; no magazines, please!

Items can be left at the Wallbridge Office (during opening hours) for collection but please notify Anna beforehand on 07413 566600 or 07976
617983 if you are planning to donate some.

As husband Alan will be recovering from his 2nd hip operation at the time, Anna is keen to find some volunteers to help with the sorting of books in the week beforehand and with the setting up and manning of the stall on the 28th. If you can help please contact her on either of the numbers above.



Local author Michael Handford will be at Wallbridge Visitor Centre on Saturday 11th April between 10:00 & 12:00 to sign copies of his books 'The Stroudwater Navigation' and 'The Stroudwater Navigation Through Time'.

Voluntary donations will be sought for each copy signed with the proceeds split between the CCT and the Stroud Navigation Archive Charity.

Michael will be organising a series of walks along the Stroudwater over the coming months, details at



Wearing just one of several hats, joint Wallbridge Visitor Centre Manager Clive Field does a really good job keeping the 'Latest News' section of the CCT website up to date.

To see the results of his efforts why not set up a reminder to have a look at on a regular basis on your chosen piece of kit – smartphone, Twitter, Facebook, PC or whatever?



For further information (including contact details) about any items marked by an asterisk, please go to and the Message Boards that can be found on the Activities and Rosters page. To become a registered volunteer follow the Register Me Now link.

Mondays & Wednesdays from 09:00: Maintenance activity at Western Depot* Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, from 08:30: Ham Mill Lock restoration* Tuesdays & Thursdays from 09:00: Maintenance activity at Eastern Depot* Tuesdays & Thursdays from 10:00: Volunteer sessions aimed at people new to volunteering; meet Bell House Wallbridge. CCT members also welcome.

21st/22nd – NWPG at Bowbridge Lock or with prior arrangement and agreement at Ham Mill Lock 24th – CAG Meeting Down Ampney Village Hall 19:30 28th – London WRG at Bowbridge Lock (until 1st March)

1st – Work Party Summit Level*
3rd – Noggin & Natter at the Alehouse, Stroud 19:30 4th – Wildlife Walk Wallbridge to Thrupp 10:00 start. See 6th – Mark Horton evening at Memorial Hall Lechlade, 19:30. Tickets £5 from CCT Office 7th/8th – KESCRG at Bowbridge Lock or with prior arrangement and agreement at Ham Mill Lock 18th – Wildlife Walk around Tunnel House Inn, Coates 10:00 start. See
18th – East End Meeting at Trout Inn Lechlade, 19:30 21st/22nd – NWPG at Bowbridge Lock or with prior arrangement and agreement at Ham Mill Lock 24th – CAG Meeting Brimscombe Port 19:30 28th/31st – WRG Canal Camp (to 4th April)

1st – 4th – WRG Canal Camp (cont'd)
1st – Wildlife Walk around Saul Visitor Centre 10:00 start. See
4th – 11th – WRG Canal Camp (2)
7th – Noggin & Natter at the Alehouse, Stroud 19:30 11th/12th – KESCRG at Bowbridge Lock or with prior arrangement and agreement at Ham Mill Lock 15th – Wildlife Walk Bond's Mill Café to Eastington 10:00 start. See
15th – East End Meeting at Trout Inn Lechlade, 19:30 18th – Dursley Male Voice Choir concert at Wycliffe College, Stonehouse 19:30. Tickets £8 from CCT Office 26th – Work Party Summit Level* 28th – CAG Meeting at Down Ampney Village Hall 19:30


If you have any item you consider newsworthy then please send me an email, although I would ask you to bear in mind that I always look for a connection with the Stroudwater, Thames and Severn or the CCT before considering any article for publication.

Any and all feedback – preferably good, but bad as well – is more than welcome.

PLEASE NOTE. We keep your email address on an electronic database for the sole purpose of contacting you in this way. We will never pass it on to any third party.

David Pagett
Editor, ENews