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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Stroudwater Canal (The Other Bit)

 

This morning we set off with packed lunches, cameras, etc. and headed up the other part of the Stroudwater Canal, which is under restoration towards Stroud itself. The first section up to Whitminster road bridge is still in use as lineside moorings and access to Saul Marina. From the bridge the canal towpath is overgrown, but a footpath cuts the corner and re-joins the canal at Whitminster lock.

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Here at the l0ck we noticed these lock gates dated 1996. It seemed strange to us that they had been fitted then and basically left here to rot, especially as they are not actually serving and practical purpose, being that they are left open and just a couple of yards beyond them the canal is dammed off. From this point the canal has been removed as part of a field, but the towpath still runs alongside the River Frome, and at the lock the canal will be rerouted into the river for the next section. The canal ran parallel to the river for a short distance before it crossed it, at the same level. This next photo was taken from the bridge which crosses the river just upstream from the original junction, and this is the River Frome.

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From here you can follow the canal again until this bridge.

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This looks very out of place where it is. We carried along the towpath until we arrived at the A38. Here looked like there could have been a wharf which is very close to the village of Frombridge. From the A38 the canal disappears until after the M5. As our map didn’t extend any further than this point we decided to give on on tracing the canal any further, especially as one footpath we tried in the general direction, came to a field with an electric fence which we didn’t fancy crossing, and although it was marked as a footpath from the road, there was no stile of gate giving further access.

We decided to retrace out footsteps to the bridge where we sat under a huge oak tree and had lunch. After lunch we carried on and met a couple walking their 2 dogs near Whitminster lock and we got chatting to them. They have a boat in the marina, so I asked about the canal from this point and they explained that it did originally border the field, but as could be seen the farmers over many years had ploughed away all but the towpath which now runs alongside the river, and they confirmed that the restoration will in fact take the river from this point to the original crossing junction.

We took a slight detour on our way back and visited Whitminster church. It has an unusual double tower.

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Keith.

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