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Royal Geographical Society & Cotswold Canals

Cloth, Coal & Canals

The Cotswold Canals have been chosen by the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) for the latest walk in its Discovering Britain series.

The walk entitled ‘Cloth, coal and canals’ is launched this weekend to coincide with Stroud Festival of Nature and the Stroud Walking Festival.

Timely approach from Stroud District Council

Sara Chardin of Stroud District Council’s Regeneration (Tourism) Office first approached the RGS in January 2012. The RGS response was encouraging and the Cotswold Canals Trust (CCT) was invited to submit a suggested route and theme.

A history of walking through history

CCT has long encouraged the public to walk its towpaths.

That encouragement took the form of sponsored walks led by Trust member Richard Attwood in the 1980s. Richard later collaborated with Trow editor David Jowett to produce the ever popular ‘Around the Cotswold Canals Volumes 1 & 2’. The 6th & 3rd editions, respectivley, of these circular walks can still be purchased at CCT Visitor Centres.

David Jowett chose Walk 4 entitled 'Ebley Mill & The Cycle Trail' in Volume One as the initial submission to the RGS.

Attention to detail is the maxim by which David works. Consequently, the map and text were updated prior to submission. The result was accepted with some eagerness by Discovering Britain Project Manager Dr Jenny Lunn.

A rainy day in May

Dr Lunn carried out her first reconnaissance on a rainy day in May 2012.

Jill Field accompanied Dr Lunn on a walk that revealed the potential for a wealth of historic detail and modern enterprise to be compiled for future walkers to enjoy.

It was at this stage that Ian Mackintosh, Stroud historian, author and Stroudwater Textile Trust Trustee joined the team.

Ian provided the historic facts and details that serve to make the walk a fascinating experience.

Dr Lunn made further visits to various locations to record a series of on-site commentaries. The photos show Dr Lunn interviewing Jill Field at Saul and Ian Mackintosh at The Ocean, Stonehouse.

A snowy day in August

A hot August day provided a really cool surprise for the walk research team.

They were invited into to a full size snow scene at the premises of Snow Business International Ltd. in Ebley.

Snow Business are the world leaders in artificial snow and winter effects. They have been creating artificial snow for the movie, television and entertainment industries for over twenty five years.

Supporting material

Everything you need for going on the walk can be downloaded for free from the Discovering Britain website.

There is also a full colour guide to the walk which will be on sale at the Trust Visitor Centres.

Click here or on the icon below to view The Royal Geographical Society's Cloth, Coal & Canals webpage.