Heritage Lottery Fund Bid
On the 30th November last year, a bid was submitted to the Heritage Lottery fund for £9.8 million towards restoring the canal between Stonehouse and Saul Junction. The project known as Stroudwater Navigation Connected, will cost a total of £23.4 million, including volunteer input.
The bid, led by Stroud District Council, runs to roughly 1000 pages and is the culmination of several months’ work by a team of largely Cotswold Canals Trust volunteers. Credit must especially go to Val Kirby for doing the lion’s share.
A previous bid, submitted by the Cotswold Canals Trust in 2015, was rejected, citing a lack of funding commitments and uncertainties over land ownership.
Prospects for the latest bid have been transformed by Stroud District Council committing £3 million, together with large contributions from Gloucestershire County Council and the Canal and River Trust.
The bid includes proposals for taking the canal under the M5, reinstating the ‘missing mile’ near Eastington and getting under the Gloucester to Bristol railway line at Stonehouse Ocean. As well as restoring the canal, plans include creating over 30 hectares of priority habitats in one of UK’s largest biodiversity offsetting projects.
The outcome should be known in April 2018.
If you have time to spare and energy to share , then why not come and assist in the restoration of the Cotswold Canals. As a Cotswold Canals Trust Volunteer you can learn new skills and enjoy being with others – you can get muddy or not as you choose since there are both outdoor and indoor jobs a-plenty to be tackled. Check out the Cotswold Canals website cotswoldcanals.com.
There is also a national organisation called the Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) which will back up and assist local groups on restoration projects. They organise working holidays for groups of volunteers to go and work where they are needed.
The WRGie,s as they are known, pay something like £70 for a weeks’ very basic accommodation and some top notch home cooked food, and enjoy the camaraderie that only hard work in a group of this kind can bestow.
Over the Christmas period, a group of WRGies came from all over the country to help with work on clearing the towpath & banks of the Stroudwater Navigation around Bond’s Mill Bridge.
Check out www.waterways.org.uk/wrg/