Stroudwater Navigation Pike Lock to Ocean




Section 1 - Lockham to Whitminster Wharf (A38)

 2a Meadow Mill - Pike Lock                 2c Ocean - Ryeford Double Lock

This is the length of canal was restored in the early 1990s and is part of the key length between the Phase 1A restoration length and the connection with the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal at Saul Junction. It consists of about 2 km of canal with two working locks. Good slipway access is provided just upstream of Pike Lock. The canal is generally about 42 ft wide and there are a number of places where boats up to about 30 ft in length should be able turn.
Pike Lock is the middle lock of the Eastington Flight. It is waiting for a replacement bridge and regating. The Pike Lock House is only half the age of the canal itself, having been commissioned by the Company around 1880 on land which was formerly occupied by a toll house for the turnpike road (from which the lock derives its name).

The slipway was built by the Cotswold Canals Trust just prior to a visit by HRH Prince Charles in April 1992. Although principally built of concrete, it is finished off with blue bricks which once formed part of a loading bay for offloading stone from boats into carts. The current stop plank across the slipway is very heavy and is due to be replaced by a lighter one, please make contact is anticipating a launch. When using the slipway, it is important that the stop plank at its head is replaced after use - this is a short pound and the plank is a precaution against flooding in the event that excessive water comes down the flight.
Blunder Lock is different to all the other locks on the flight in that it it built of stone. Its name derives from an incident during the canal's construction when the company engineer caused the original lock to be built at the wrong level having been previously been given notice to quit by the company. Please leave all gates and paddles closed when you have finished with the locks.

As of 2012/2013, Blunder Lock is in the process of having its gates replaced so will be out of commission for some time.

The canal heads off towards Newtown Lock with a wood on the offside and the road on the towpath side. In the 1970s, it was planned to build this road over the canal and this would have resulted in a long length of canal and historical structures being obliterated - fortunately the canal enthusiasts started work on the restoration here and were therefore able to turn public opinion in their favour and stop this from happening.


Newtown Lock 2002 Newtown Lock was the first to be fully restored to full working order on the whole Thames - Severn link. There can sometimes be an accumulation of floating weed at the head of the lock. Like Pike and Blunder Locks, Newtown has a good overspill weir which takes excessive water from above the lock and discharges below the tail of the lock.

The hamlet of Newtown was built by the canal company at the time of the construction of the canal and several of the buildings were, at one time or another, public houses. Similarities of architectural style can be observed with several of the buildings and others up and down the canal.

Newtown Roving bridge Beyond Newtown, the canal passes under Newtown Roving Bridge where the towpath moves from the north bank to the south. Views of the Cotswold hills open up here.
Bonds Mill Bridge At the end of this stretch is Bonds Mill Bridge. This used to be a swing bridge and is the only access to Bonds Mill which is now an industrial estate. The swing bridge had been fixed and additional girders put across the canal and its swinging area had become obstructed. The original intention had been to install a balescule style lift bridge but a novel approach was subsequently adopted in the use of a light weight plastic structure capable of being lifted without a counterbalance. This resulted in a structure more in keeping with the original but capable of carrying modern day traffic weights. There are currently some problems with the bridge and it not possible to lift at the present time. Headroom under the bridge is very limited and portaging may be necessary.

The canal beyond Bonds Mill Bridge is on an embankment on the side of the hill. The first bit was narrowed following a series of collapses due to poor reinstatement work after a pipeline was built under the canal bed.
Ocean Railway crossing As the railway is approached, a narrow point in the canal marks the site of a former dam which was installed to safeguard a water supply to a nearby factory. A section of the dam has been removed and most 7 ft beam craft should be able to pass through with care, siltation and reed growth permitting.

Only a short length remains before the site of Ocean Railway Bridge is reached. It is only possible for light craft to pass through the railway culvert here.

Ocean Railway Bridge marks the boundary between Phase 1B of the restoration project (G&S Canal to here) and Phase 1A which runs from the Ocean though to Brimscombe Port and which has funding to enable restoration. It restoration falls within the Phase 1B project and for now it remains a major obstruction.





 
Section 2c   Ocean - Ryeford Double Lock (Restored in 2011/12)


Section 3 - Ebley to Wallbridge, Stroud (under restoration 2013/14)



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