Cotswold Canals in Pictures

Nutshell Bridge, Stroudwater

About the Cotswold Canals

The Cotswold Canals comprise the Stroudwater Navigation and the Thames & Severn Canal. Together this 37 mile route used to link the River Severn at Framilode, to the River Thames near Lechlade, both of which are in Gloucestershire, in the United Kingdom (UK).

About 6 miles of the Cotswold Canals is currently being restored, with the remainder of the route either obstructed, infilled or unnavigable.

This website illustrates the canals through some 800+ photographs. These show restoration progress, surviving structures, infilled sections and other obstructions to navigation (where access has been possible). Click on 'Photo Index' on the top menu (or use the left side panel) to select & view photos at various canal locations.

For information about lengths of the canals and numbers of locks etc. see the statistics page.

Historical Outline

The Stroudwater Navigation was constructed between 1775 and 1779, and linked Framilode, on the River Severn, with Wallbridge in Stroud.

The canal was officially abandoned in 1954 by Act of Parliament.

Work started on the Thames & Severn Canal in 1783 and it opened in 1789.

This canal was abandoned in two phases; the 'Upper Portion' between the River Thames to just above Whitehall Bridge (including Sapperton Tunnel) in 1927; and the 'Lower Portion' from Whitehall Bridge to Wallbridge, Stroud in 1933.

However the last recorded commercial boat traffic through Sapperton Tunnel was in 1911, and the Thames Head Pumping Station ceased operating in 1912. This means that the through-route had effectively been severed as early as 1911.