The Random Thoughts of a Geek heading for Banbury
The Random Thoughts of a Geek heading for Banbury

The Thames and Severn Canal at South Cerney pt 2

Following on from my post yesterday, I said I would cover the East end side of the Spine Road Bridge in the Cotswold WaterParks. I still don’t know who knew where I was based on the photo on my 365.

The information sign showing information about the Canal on the Spine Road Bridge is written:

Spine Road to Cerney Wick

Though the landscape of the water park is generally an open one, the section between here and the lock at Cerney Wick has a sense of secrecy and seclusion. The trees and shrubs that line the canal create a narrow sheltered corridor that offers occasional glimpses of lake, copse, field or brook.

The path is also bordered for most of the way by the original canal boundary wall.

Standing as part of the wall you may see one of the canal milestones. Whilst many of the original milestones remain along the entire canal, the cast iron plates giving the distances to Inglesham and Wallbridge are generally missing. the milestones were used as means of determining a toll on the cargo boats by the canal company.

The Roundhouse at Cerney Wick is one of five on the canal, they are unique to the Thames and Severn. They were built between 1791-2 for canal employees who combined the duties of watchman, lengthsman and lock-keeper. Today the Cerney Wick roundhouse is a private residence.

The village inn at Cerney Wick is visible from the lock bridge. The walk to it will take you over the river Churn, the haunt of grey wagtails and kingfishers.


On warm summer days, sheltered from the wind, this stretch of canal is alive with insects, in particular damselflies and dragonflies. A walk in the early morning sun may be rewarded by the sight of a common lizard or grass snake basking on the boundary wall, or a vole scurrying within the stonework. Roe deer drink from the canal and rarer creatures like the elusive otter and water vole have been sighted here.

This sign has the following to say about the history of the Canal

The Thames and Severn Canal was opened in 1789.
It allowed new access to the markets of London for the towns of Birmingham, Gloucester and Stroud. In the middle of Stroud, the Themes and Severn joined the Stroudwater Navigation. The GLoucester/Sharpness canal was completed later. Together they link the two great rivers, the Severn and the Thames.

One of the principle cargos was coal being delivered to the mills and communities (for domestic use) along the canals. Boats travailing eastwards from Stroud along the golden valley climbed 241 feet through 28 locks, to the canals highest point at Sapperton. here they entered what was then the longest tunnel in the world. The Sapperton Tunnel cut through the Cotswold hills to emerge at Coates just over two miles away. A much gentler descent over 13 miles and through 16 locks brought them through a flatter, open landscape towards the Thames.

The canal was finally closed in 1933.
Trade on the canal was at its height around the middle of the eighteenth century but declined in competition with the railways.

Restoration of the canal began in 1972.
Work along a number of sections has been spearheaded by the Cotswold Canals Trust. Now with support of major organisations like British Waterways [Now Canal and River Trust], other national and local charities as well as local authorities, work is underway to realise restoration of the entire canal from Saul Junction to Letchlade.

Conservation is a priority in the restoration.
Its unique landscape, architecture, historical and natural heritage will be looked after for the enjoyment of all those who cruse the canal by boat, who walk its tow path, fish its waters or watch its wildlife.

You can be part of it.

Yes the Thames and Severn Canal have a dredger called Augustus Gloop

The sun over one of the lakes:

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