All of the Stroudwater Canal is accessible to the public apart from two sections.
The second is a short section between the former lock into the River Severn and Framilode Bridge, which is now in a private garden.
For convenience the accessible sections have been divided into three routes:
- Route 6: Wallbridge to Meadow Mill (7.4km / 4.6 miles)
- Route 7: Bristol Road to Saul Junction (2.6km / 1.6 miles)
- Route 8: Old Stroudwater - Saul Junction to Upper Framilode (1.3km / 0.8 miles)
Maps are available by clicking on the links in the text, and looking for the 'map' button on the linked page. There is also more information about the linked item on the same page.
(Note: route numbers used below are not the same as those used in the CCiP Towpath Guide mobile app.)
Route 6: Wallbridge, Stroud to Meadow Mill, Eastington
Distance: 7.4km / 4.6 miles
Car parking: Stroud railway station or Cheapside Car Park, around 200-300m from the canal for a start or finish point of Wallbridge Upper Lock.
This section of canal is the most interesting because of the restoration work completed under the Phase 1A programme. The start point is the restored Wallbridge Upper Lock, (on the Thames & Severn Canal) adjacent to the Cotswold Canals Trust Visitor Centre.
There are a further 6 restored locks heading west which are Wallbridge Lower Lock (also on the Thames & Severn), Dudbridge Lower & Upper, Ryeford Double, Newtown & Blunder, all on the Stroudwater.
Lodgemore Bridge was the last of the new bridges to be constructed as part of Phase 1A being completed in early 2016. This is a new design of lift bridge, the first to be used on the Cotswold Canals. Other new bridges include Stroud Brewery, Upper Mills, Oil Mills, Chestnut Lane & Ocean. The last two being swing bridges.
Adjacent to Dudbridge Lower Lock is where the Stroud Valleys Canal Company has a small hydro-electric scheme. (Although all that can be seen in the turbine house next to the lock.)
The majority of the canal towpath between Wallbridge and Ocean Swing Bridge has been upgraded to a width of 2m and has a rolled fine grit finish.
The canal beyond the Ocean Railway Bridge obstruction all the way to Saul Junction will be fully restored as part of the Phase 1B programme which started in 2021.
The end point of this walk is Westfield Bridge, which is about 200m beyond the start of the infilling and also where the public right of way along the canal route currently ends.
Route 7: A38 Bristol Road roundabout to Saul Junction
Distance: 2.6km / 1.6 miles
Car parking: in a lay-by on the north side of the roundabout (southbound carriageway), or in the pay and display car park at Saul Junction, depending in which direction the walk is being undertaken.
This section of the canal starting at Bristol Road Wharf and heading west to Saul Junction is across open fields. There is one lock (Whitminster) and one original bridge (Occupation) both of which have undergone some restoration work by the Cotswold Canals Trust.
The River Frome now dissects the canal just west from the site of Stonepitts Bridge, and there is no trace of the canal again until Whitminster Lock. This section of canal, when restored under the Phase 1B programme, will use the river between these points.
About 100m or so further west is Walk Bridge, which marks the westerly end point for the Phase 1B restoration section. From here the Stroudwater Navigation up to its junction with the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal is currently used for moorings.
Route 8: Old Stroudwater - Saul Junction to Upper Framilode
Distance: 1.3km / 0.8 miles
Car park: Saul Junction.
This length of canal, now referred to as the 'Old Stroudwater', is between Saul Junction & Upper Framilode. Whilst being a pleasant walk, this section doesn't have many points of interest.
Some of the canal has also been infilled, most notably near to Saul Junction.
There are no plans to restore this section of canal, as boat traffic would use the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal to access the River Severn.