Survey by Tubby Alderton 1953                   (return)

STROUDWATER NAVIGATION


Typescript from notes made by WFA. (Tubby) Alderton ex. Glos. C.C. Surveyor and Hon. Surveyor to the Company  of Proprietors  of the Stroudwater Navigation after a walking survey in May 1953.

Wallbridge Basin.
Filling being tipped. Gate shut on towpath at Lodgemoor Mills.

Painswick Stream comes in and is controlled by Lodgemore Mills. Goes under Canal in, at  present a leaky culvert, but can be taken into Canal. There is also an old way of putting water from stream into old mill pond on North of Canal with another sluice at west end of pond which goes under canal into river.
(This all seems out of action & pond empty)

Swing Bridge at Lodgemore  Mill is a steel one & is in good order.

Bridge at Gas Works is a fixed steel one in good order (Now rebuilt with RSS. & concreted deck) nd. There is a gas main across Canal just west of Gas Works bridge. From Gas Works bridge to Victoria Inn the towis vehicular & the only vehicular access to Inn.

Foundry Lock Top gate is shut & holding a little water, but is in a very bad way. Just west of lock the stream from Paganhill Lane goes under Canal & across allotments into river.

Dudbridge Lock
Top gate shut & holding a little water, but is in very bad condition.

Stroud Metal Plating Co. have an intake for drawing water just west of lock & almost under road bridge.

A46 (spur) Road Bridge  crosses Canal with a brick arch which is in good order

The towpath is shut from just west side of Bridge for about 50 yards to another gate by (big)? building.

(Hilly Orchard Bridge). A high level iron footbridge crosses Canal on footpath from Cainscross Church to Dudbridge

East of Ebley Mills the River Frome is alongside the Canal & at the same level, with only the towpath between them. On this length there is a level sluice with paddles on top which can be raised or lowered. Water can go either way here & is the main  source of water for the Canal.

At Ebley Mills there is a water main across the Canal, just above water level. The swing bridge to Mill is timber & not too good. (Note..Mr. Snape informs me this is a private bridge owned by Marling & Evans 3/6/53.) (Note against Timber' ... steel girders under. 1955.) West of Mills & south of Vale House a stream comes in on the north side of canal.
50 yards east of Oilmills Bridge on north side the laundry has an intake for drawing water from the Canal.              Almost opposite this on south side there is a circular overflow weir which takes water from Canal to river, in corner of house garden.
Oilmills Bridge   is a brick arch in good order
About 100 yards west of Bridge on south side in private property there is another circular overflow weir which takes water from Canal to River. Almost opposite the overflow weir on the north side to the east of the Saw Mills a stream enters Canal. Where Parish Boundary crosses canal, there is a stile on the towpath. From stile to the Double lock the level of the Canal is very much above the adjoining land & river on the south. The land to the north is all above Canal level.

Double Lock
This is two locks adjoining & the middle gate was common to both. The top gate (1912) is shut & holding water, but is in a very poor condition. The middle gate is shut but rotten, & not holding. On the south of this lock is the lock keeper's cottage. Gate & stile across towpath on west end of cottage garden. There is a long triangular strip of allotment gardens here between Canal & River. (Mr. Snape says not Canal property.. belongs to Workmans) The River & Canal are at same level as far as Saw Mills with the land to the north very much higher. About 150 yards east of Saw Mills the sewer in a C.I. pipe  crosses over the Canal & River on a high level steel bridge.
Ryeford Footbridge

Between Saw Mills on south & cottages on north there is a timber (1910)footbridge across Canal. It is in fair order.

Ryeford Bridge is a stone & brick arch in good order. It has been widened on the west side at some time. There may be an old wharf here belonging to the Canal. The towpath as far as Canal Cottages is vehicular, as cottages have no other way in. The adjoining land is now high to the north & low to the south.

Railway Bridge .
The railway (Midland from Stonehouse to Nailsworth) crosses Canal on steel bridge.
On the north side opposite Upper Mills there is a boat house belonging to Wycliffe College

Upper Mills (or Brush works) Bridge
Messrs. WH Vowles of Upper Mills have an  intake on the south side, where they take water from the canalMessrs. W.H.Yowles, Brush Works at Upper Mills have an a
The swing bridge to Upper Mills is steel & in good order.

Stonehouse Bridge (Downton) is brick arch in fairly good order. (Now replaced by concrete tubes nd.) There is a wharf & possibly other property belonging to Canal here.

Nutshell Bridge is brick arch in good order. Land to south is very much lower than Canal.

Ocean Swing Bridge is of timber in fair order, but has a concrete wall under at midon edge of Canal wall.(since rebuilt with R.S.S. & concrete by Workmans.)

The Ocean. Between Ocean  Bridge & Railway Bridge there is a large area of water, all part of Canal.

Railway Bridge

The Railway crosses Canal on steel bridge.

Hoffman's Dam. About 50 yards west of Railway Bridge, Messrs. Hoffman have an intake (& possibly outlet) where they draw water from the Canal. The water is well up in this length of Canal, & to the north there is Plough  Land well above Canal.
To the south the river is only 30yards away & very much below Canal level. This bank may give trouble.

Bond's Mill. At Bond's Mill (Sperrys) just east of swing bridge there is a paddle (almost in bridge  abutment) that can be opened? to draw this pound & discharges into river. They have had trouble with this at some time, & it does not look in very good working or order now, but it is the only means of drawing the pound except by removing Clay Dam at Roving bridge near East Lodge, Newtown and passing water on down Canal.
The Swing Bridge to Bond’s Mill is steel & in good order.
From Bond's Mill to Roving Bridge the Canal is below adjoining land.

Just east of Roving Bridge south of Newtown a clay dam has been put across the Canal up to just below water level with some concrete channels across top to prevent scour if gates lower down fail. This is to ensure that water in this pound is kept up for Hoffmans should the lock gates fail at any time.

Roving Bridge (Newtown).

To Eastington Park (GCC. old people's home) is a brick arch in good order. The towpath changes over from the south to the north side of Canal at this point. There is a cottage somewhere near New Inn that belongs to Canal. (This is between the  Canal & Road.. A 4096. at Pike Bridge). Just east of Top Lock of Five there is a Weir that discharges into next pound.

Top Lock of Five (Newtown)

The top gate is shut & the water is up, but gate is in a very poor way. This & the Dam at Roving Bridge keeps water up for Hoffmans & if this is to continue some more permanent structure will be required.

The Canal runs immediately alongside A4096 as far as Pike Bridge, & the water is well above road level. The land on the north of the road falls away northward towards the Oldbury Brook. Just east of Blunder Lock there is a weir that discharges into the next pound.

Blunder Lock.  The top gate is shut & water is up, but it is an 1896 gate & is not too good. The towpath is shut at end  of Pike Cottage garden east of Pike Lock. This pound is now empty.

Pike Lock

Top gate is shut, but completely rotten & no water in pound. This has happened recently, & (had?) not hardened off on inspection

Pike Bridge is concrete & think built by Highways & is in good order.

The towpath changes over from north to south of the canal.

This pound is dry
There is an old dry dock here & cottages, wharf might  possibly belong to Canal.

Dock Lock

Gates all rotten & no water in pound.

Between Dock Lock & Westfield Lock is what is known as the Forked Pound.
The Oldbury Brook runs into this pound, having crossed under Grove Lane at Chippenham  Platt.

If & when the pound was full, there are Sluices on the south side of Canal that would pass surplus water from Canal on down to Meadow Mill.

Westfield Lock.

Gates are all rotten & no water in pound.

Westfield Bridge is a brick arch in fair condition.

This pound has a little water in, but not up to full height.
About 300 yards east of Hydes Bridge a stream enters Canal from the north and
immediately opposite on the south there is an open weir (known as Coffin's Weir)  which discharges into the River.

The water, on inspection, in the Canal was not up high enough to go over weir.

Hydes Bridge (? Bengoughs) is a brick arch in fair condition.

Bristol Road Lock
Top gate is shut, but not holding very well, & water in pound low.

A large gas or water pipe crosses Canal just east of bridge.

Bristol Road Bridge is a stone arch & has been widened in concrete on west side.
This crosses T.R. A38 & is in good order. (Note added ... Removed by GCC. and tubed and solid embanked)
There are wharves and cottages that may belong to Canal.


All natural drainage from land on north of Canal is in to the canal for some distance.

There is one place at hedge between O.S. parcel Nos.188 & 198 where any surplus water  in Canal could possibly run down ditch into small stream to the south of Canal.

Occupation Bridge (?Robinsons) is a brick arch in fair order. This is said to be privately owned & maintained. (Information:Hopson & Pocketts) (This is confirmed by Mr. Snape)

Stonepitts Bridge is a brick arch in bad order with parapet all down on one side. Looked at this bridge again on 29/5/53 with Hopson of Wallbridge & Pocketts to see how best tot make parapet safe.  (Note added ... Since been removed & replaced by concrete tubes 1955.)

The River Frome crosses under the Canal in an inverted syphon. The small stream that has run alongside the Canal on the south side for some distance  crosses under the River Frome just south of the syphon. The land to the south of the Canal is very much lower than the Canal & water level of the River Frome. The water level of Canal & River Frome are level & the sluice on the south side of Canal just east of the syphon was leaking water from river to Canal at 12.30pm. on 4/5/53. (Note added .... There is also a sluice on the north side of Canal just east of the syphon Note:This is worth another inspection as I may have marked map wrong on original walk, and there is only one.)  The River crosses Canal in the syphon from south to north & then turns west & runs parallel with Canal on north side. About 100 yards northof the Shallow Lock there  is a level weir between Canal & river, which can act either way. The Canal pound is full of water on this length & is above land to the south with the small stream that has crossed under River Frome about 100 yards away.

Shallow Lock (Whitminster Lock) Both gates are open & the water is level in both pounds. Gates are in poor way, & top

gate has balance pole lying over.

Whitminster Bridge is of timber & in a very bad way with bearers broken, and in my opinion unsafe to take any load.(Visit on 29/5/53 with Hopson & Pockett was informed that two new bearers had been put through centre, & was now reasonably safe) The towpath crosses over here from south to north.


Whitminster  Just north of Whitminster Bridge there is a good brick wall, & under this wall are(sic)a series of culverts that pass water from the River Frome (high level) into the Canal west of Whitminster Bridge This is the way the Sharpness Canal keep their level up, & they use the length of Stroudwater, from here to the junction as a feeder.

Further notes added 29/5/53 ...... I saw Mr. Snape for a short while & got the following information:

About 40 years ago the Engineer on Sharpness Canal was having trouble, due to silt in his canal. At that  time they were not too well off financially & to save the expense of dredging he raised the level of the water in his canal, by raising certain  weir levels (Mr.Snape does not remember the details of this). This was not done with slip boards but  as a solid construction, and is still in existence. Mr. Snape thinks the rise in level was 6 inches. The Shallow Lock on Stroudwater only had a lift of 5 inches as shown on the longitudinal section (in long envelope in my steel cabinet). The Sharpness Canal & the Stroudwater are at same level from the Junction to the Shallow Lock. This was also the same level as the River Frome above the Whitminster Weir. By raising the water level of the Sharpness Canal, the Stroudwater was raised to the same level as far as the Shallow Lock. As the Shallow Lock only had a lift of 5 inches there was now a fall of 1 inch. In other words the Gates were just floating & served no useful purpose for navigation & the next pound up, which extends to Bristol Road Lock, was now all level with the Sharpness Canal. At the same time the water level in the River Frome was raised by 6 inches, & water began to seep through the River Banks between the Syphon under Canal, & the small culvert under the River to the south of the Syphon. These banks had to be raised by the Sharpness Canal authority, & they are their liability to this day. The syphon under the Stroudwater canal was built when the Stroudwater Canal was constructed, & is wholly maintained by them.

The pound is now full & up to navigation level, & is very much above the level of the adjoining land on both sides. The small stream that has been following the Canal on the south side is now within 10 yards of the Canal & sufficiently low to cross under the Canal in a culvert about 100 yards west of Whitminster Bridge. It is now north & east of the canal & proceeds northwards & crosses under Whitminster Lane about 40 yards east of Walk Bridge & enters the River Frome west of Whitminster House. About 150 yards west of Whitminster Bridge the Canal turns through nearly 90% & runs in a northerly direction.

At this point another small stream coming in from the south runs about 20 yards away parallel with the Canal & on the west side. This stream is sufficiently low to be able to cross under the Canal from west to east in an open culvert about 15 yards south of Walk Bridge. About 40 yards to the east of the Canal it joins the first small stream just south of Whitminster Lane.

Immediately south of Walk Bridge there are three houseboats moored. So long as these are in this position, Walk Bridge must be able to swing, otherwise they could never get through to the Sharpness Canal.

Walk Bridge

This is an iron swing bridge, & now has a 5 ton restriction on it against Highway Traffic.
Note: Now replaced by concrete slab. 1953.

River Frome is now to the east of the Canal & is at a very much lower level than the Canal. It has dropped in level due to the weirs at Whitminster.

From Walk Bridge to the Sharpness Canal there are a lot of boats of all classes moored on both sides of the Canal. Just south of the actual junction with the Sharpness canal & on the west side there are Boat Houses, Dry Docks & Boat Repair Yard. Some entrances appear to be into the Stroudwater Canal, but the actual property boundary of each Canal I know nothing about.

There is a pedestrian Swing Bridge across the Stroudwater just south of the actual junction but think this is the property of the Sharpness Canal.

The Junction

The water in Stroudwater & Sharpness Canals are level, & join one another.

The Stroudwater Towpath crosses the Sharpness Canal on a long iron swing bridge, what I think must be the property of the Sharpness Canal.

About 60 yards northof the Junction the River Frome crosses under the Sharpness  Canal, I should say in an inverted Syphon. There is also a weir on the north side of Sharpness Canal, over which, I assume surplus water pass(es) back into the River from the Canal.

Junction Lock

Immediately north of the junction of the two canals there is a lock on the Stroudwater Canal. Both sets of gates are shut & holding well. These gates are in very good order, & of a different type to the rest on the Stroud& I assume are kept in order by Sharpness, otherwise they would lose water down Stroudwater.

The towpath is not much used here, & very overgrown. There is water in the Canal, but not up to navigation level.

The River Frome is now immediately alongside to the east of the Canal towpath, & is in a very narrow & deep ravine. All lateral streams entering the River from here onwards have tide flaps, as the River is tidal.

All land to the west of the Canal is lower than Canal.
About 160 yards south of Saul Bridge the river goes off in a northdirection &  has a flood bank on the west side which joins up with the Canal towpath at the change of direction.

Saul Bridge is a timber bridge in poor order. There is a 5 ton restriction on it against Highway traffic. There is a brick wall at midon the edge of Canal wall. It is therefore impossible to swing it.

Note : Saul Ditch under Canal here .... details to find.

Saul Bridge is a timber bridge in poor order. There is a 5 ton restriction on it against Highway traffic.
There is a brick wall at mid-span, on the edge of Canal wall. It is therefore impossible to swing it.

From Saul Bridge northwards the Towpath seems vehicular as there are numerous houses etc. all fronting on to it.

There is a little water in Canal on this length, but not up to navigation level.

Immediately south of Framilode Bridge a concrete dam was constructed in 1941 across  the Canal.  This has an aperture about 36’’x12’’ with a wooden tide flap on the downstream face.

Framilode Bridge is a timber bridge in fair order. A concrete wall has been placed under it at midon the edge of Canal wall. It is therefore impossible to swing it.

From here to the River Severn the Basin & Lock are all deserted & useless.

Water Control to and from Canal
Lodgemore     Painswick Stream
Ebley River Frome
Wheatenhurst River Frome.

Industrial Users
Stroud Metal Plating - Dudbridge
WH Vowles & Son (Brushworks)
Ebley Laundry
Hoffman

ADDITIONAL  NOTES

Abandonment Act  passed and all bridges carrying county roads became the property of the County Council on July 31st 1954.

Wednesday August 4th 1954
Chairman of GCC (Col. Godman) and County Surveyor & WFA visited Stroudwater & looked at Bridges, Junction with Sharpness Canal & Col. Godman & WFA spent afternoon on our own walking several lengths especially from Double Lock to Hoffmans & finished at Wallbridge.

Tuesday October 5th 1954
At the board meeting gave my report on work to be done on Canal.

Wednesday October 6th. 1954. Spent afternoon on canal. Oilmills to Double Lock. Found where eastern overflow weir of Oilmills went into River. It is a very deep culvert, covered all the way, & is in the form of a deep well under Smith's Cornmill & rises up under W.C. & flows over spill & in to  river. The western overflow weir is an open stream except for the weir (weil)? & portion under building & part of garden. Date on Oilmills Bridge 1808.

Friday October 8th 1954
Met Mr. Workman & both went to Hoffmans & discussed them installing pumping plant to  take water from River.
With Mr. W. all rest of morning on Canal as far as Oilmills Bridge.

Stroudwater canal = 5’6’’ water.  Sharpness originally 17’6’’ wide. Act of 1875  specified 18’0’’ wide.


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