The latest news from the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust

The new stretch of Vineyard Hill in water with a winding hole (allowing boats to turn around) at th

The new stretch of Vineyard Hill in water with a winding hole (allowing boats to turn around) at the end. The canal is adjacent to the River Leadon - Credit: Archant

The successful restoration of the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal, all the way from Gloucester to Hereford, has only been acheived through effective and ongoing negotiation. But the work isn’t done yet...

Tall ships may be able to sail up the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal to Gloucester Docks again as dred

Tall ships may be able to sail up the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal to Gloucester Docks again as dredging will be much less often needed once the new weir at Llanthony is complete - Credit: Archant

With the aid of the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust (H&G CT) Legal & Project Development Team, the H&G CT continues to negotiate successfully along its route to deliver 34 miles of a beautiful waterway enhancing the environment for everyone to enjoy.

After over twenty years of negotiation with the original landowner and the adjoining Residents’ Association, a site doubling the length of the Canal at Over was acquired and opened by Prunella Scales and Timothy West eighteen months ago. Along the way, the Over Canal Basin and Wharf House picked up an award from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

Meanwhile in Hereford...

At the other end of the canal, in Hereford, another new site known as the Burcott Road/Newtown Road area has successfully been acquired following negotiation with Herefordshire Council. This will form the hub of a future urban development, improving and maximising the local standing of Hereford as a county town.

New scheme at Llanthony

In 2012, plans for an important new Hydro-electric, Flood Relief and New Lock Scheme were unveiled at Llanthony on the outskirts of Gloucester. This scheme involves the creation of an innovative new inflatable and adjustable weir to prevent the tide’s transporting of sediment further upstream which causes obstruction in the docks and the Gloucester and Sharkness Canal. The inflatable weirs, incorporating fish passes, will address the issue which currently limits the use by tall ships of the docks and canal. Tall ships are a huge potential economic driver for a city like Gloucester, strategically placed on the ship canal with its draught of 10’ and headroom of 105’. It’s hoped the weirs will also improve control and management of the River Severn and greatly benefit this area of Gloucester during floods.

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Gloucester Quays project

Gloucester Quays, and its parent company the Peel Group, have supported the H&G CT in awarding a project to produce a major new policy document for Gloucester - the Gloucester Waterfront Strategy - to create a vision for the future of the river and canal frontage in and around Gloucester and the regeneration of the surrounding area. This incorporates the aforementioned Llanthony Hydro-electric and Flood Relief Project. The Llanthony Scheme is fundamental to the wider enhancement of the water space and resultant redevelopments around the River Severn and the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal. The Gloucester Waterfront Strategy will be wide-ranging, encompassing all uses and users of the river, docks and canal – both on and off the water – to ensure that maximum potential is made of the city’s assets over the next 20 years.

Moat Farm

Back on dry land, the Canal Trust has been generously given access to a stretch of the canal route at Moat Farm. It has now been cleared and in traditional style a small team of dedicated volunteers are slowly undertaking the excavation at near zero cost with a small excavator they clubbed together and bought themselves.

Kymin East

A third major new site at Kymin East runs for 3/4mile between Thinghill Lock and Barrs Lock near Hereford and was the venue for the Waterway Recovery Group’s annual National Reunion weekend, with 125 Waterway Recovery Group members clearing a defined line of the Canal and towpath at Kymin East.

New Aylestone Park storm overflow weir

A considerable five figure investment by the H&G CT provides a shortly-to-be-completed storm overflow weir of 6.5 cubic-metres-per-second capacity at the Aylestone Park site on the edge of Hereford. This is a significant long term investment providing both essential infrastructure for the Canal and supporting surface water management in the City of Hereford.

Dymock’s restoration

At Dymock, where the canal will run through the centre of the village, approval was received recently of the revised planning application initially submitted at the end of 2011. Dymock Parish Council together with Dymock’s Partnership Project agreed to restore the Canal as the vital axis drawing together fourteen new social houses and six new open market housing units. One of the housing units will be owned by H&G CT and rented out, furnishing the Trust with a steady income, and there will also be a new play area and a 20-space car park to meet a severe shortfall of parking in the village. The development of affordable housing ensures Dymock remains a vibrant community with a village school and other facilities including the community-owned public house.

Newent pub bought by Trust

The Canal Trust recently acquired The Travellers Rest Pub on the outskirts of Newent. This will one day become a canal-side pub when a few more sections are completed. The pub has now opened its doors for business again, and part of the negotiated package included a share of the turnover going directly to the H&G CT.

The work goes on

The route of the thirty four miles of canal is mapped out but by no means complete. With so many sections now demanding an ever-increasing workload for the expanding Legal & Project Development Team, recreation of the Mill Barn at Over is another exciting project. It will provide a much improved volunteer mess room, disabled WC facilities, storage and base for the new canal-wide maintenance team to replace the current shipping containers. The large loft space will provide a crucial meeting/training room, and hugely improved open plan office space for the growing Legal & Project Development Team.

Old Newent railway

And finally, at Newent, the H&G CT has plans to restore the former and now derelict railway station – with water between its platforms and the Canal stretching back to the current site at Oxenhall.


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