Stroudwater Navigation Ocean to Ryeford Locks

Section 1 - Lockham to Whitminster Wharf (A38)

 2a Meadow Mill - Pike Lock                 2b Pike Lock - Ocean

The Stroudwater Canal is managed by SVCC and navigation information is available on their web pages HERE. Please remember that the offside canal bank (the one opposite the towpath) is usually private property. 

Section 2c from The Ocean to Ryeford is fully restored and unobstructed.
ocean railway culvert The Ocean Railway Bridge was infilled after the canal was closed and represents one of the biggest obstacles to restoration on the Stroudwater Canal.

It used to only be possible for light craft to pass through the railway culvert at the Ocean (see photo).

However, over the Christmas - New Year  period in 2021, a new navigation bridge was installed in about a week and at a cost of about 4 million as one of the first Phase 1B projects.

Ocean Beyond the railway is the Ocean, so named because the canal widen out here into a large pool, and on the far side is Ocean Swing Bridge. This is the western end of Phase 1A and the whole of the Stroudwater Canal is navigable through to Stroud from this point.

Ocean Swing Bridge is operational but can be hard work.
St Cyr's The next stretch is one of the most beautiful and most photographed on the Stroudwater as the canal swings past St Cyr's church. Part of the graveyard was relocated when the canal was built.

nutshell Nutshell Bridge is another original Stroudwater brick arched bridge and is unusual in that it forms part of two other buildings, Nutshell Cottage (west) and Nutshell House (east). The two are linked by a tunnel under the road. Nutshell Cottage has always been just a dwelling but Nutshell House has also served as a warehouse and traces of loading openings can still be seen. No evidence has been found to link these directly with the canal company and it is likely that they were built to serve the nearby Stanley Mill (Grade 1 Listed).
nutshell The canal passes through housing on both sides before reaching Stonehouse Wharf, now being redeveloped, and the new Downton Road Bridge which was built to replace a culverted crossing. This is the closest point to Stonehouse.

A short stretch now leads to Upper Mill Bridge, This bridge was been replaced by a new fixed bridge during the course of 2010.

Wycliffe School Boathouse still survives on the offside; when the canal was open, the pupils used this length of canal for rowing practice.
stonehouse railway bridge The canal is crossed by an iron bridge which used to carry the Midland Railway Stonehouse - Nailsworth line; this is now a cycle trail. The unusual design of the bridge was the result of persistent construction problems due to the poor state of the ground on the offside of the canal; a problem that severely tested the finance of those building it. Beyond the railway is Haywards Bridge which carries the Ebley Bypass.

The canal then passes a row of cottages on the towpath side and a pair of coal pens before reaching Ryeford Bridge which has been widened significantly over its long life. Beyond the bridge the small wharf, the surrounding buildings and Ryeford Swing Bridge (restored but small boats can pass underneath) present an attractive sight.
ryeford lock The canal now runs parallel with the River Frome, from which it draws its supply, with the towpath forming a narrow strip between the two.

Ryeford Double Lock, now restored, marks the end of this section of the canal. The offside wall of the upper chamber collapsed following a major water main burst a few years ago and has been rebuilt. The rest of the lock was restored in 2011 and some original paddle gear remains in situ.



 
Section 2b  Pike Lock - Ocean


Section 3 - Ebley to Wallbridge, Stroud

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