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Work ushering in a new era for Cotswolds canals

By Stroud Life  |  Posted: October 09, 2013

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IT'S quite some time since we turned our attention to the ongoing Cotswold Canals Project.

But while our collective backs were turned things have certainly been continuing apace as far as re-opening our waterways are concerned.

This weekend's milestone public open days at the new Dudbridge Locks will certainly show off just how much impressive progress has lately been made along both the Stroudwater Navigation and the Thames and Severn canals.

Residents and visiting tourists alike can now hop aboard the Cotswold Canals Trust trip boat Endeavour and take a ride from Ebley Wharf down to The Ocean and back.

In fact those sailings are proving so popular that I'm told their season is being extended this autumn to cope with the demand.

While the trip might not be far as the crow flies, it is an immense journey from where we all started years ago, with infilled canals, crumbling locks and weirs, and bridges too low for boats to pass beneath them.

But what is the greatest sea change is that the grumbling pessimism is fading fast and in its place people are already enjoying the benefits of the canals' regeneration and looking optimistically to their new future.

There will doubtless always be people who will deem it all a waste of money.

But they're fast being outnumbered by folk like myself who can now walk for no charge along the peaceful towpaths and revel in the traffic free, nature filled, waterside tranquility.

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