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The Gloucester & Sharpness Canal - A Canal Boat Holidays information article.

Marina(s) : Worcester

Length: 16 miles
Locks: 2 (sea lock)
Bridges: 18 (most of which are operated by Bridge men but some, such as the new Fretherne Bridge are electrically powered. Some of the bridges have classic built Bridgemans houses close by and when originally built would have housed the Bridgemen and their families.)

Linked to: River Severn

A licence is required to use this canal and is obtainable from British Waterways.

HISTORY

Originally called the Gloucester and Berkley Canal construction began in 1794 and was completed and opened in 1827. It was originally designed to accommodate the keels of large sailing ships and linked the Gloucester and Sharpness Docks. The canal also made it possible for shipping to avoid the shifting sands and sometimes dangerous waters of the Severn estuary

Things of interest on route

Gloucester Historic Docks - Once derelict Gloucester Docks is now a cosmopolitan leisure area offering moorings in the marina for narrowboats. The facilities include a vast selection of shopping venues as well as a host of waterside cafés and restaurants.

National Waterways Museum – Now housed within Gloucester Docks in a converted warehouse the museum shows what life would have been like on Britain's inland waterways. Facilities include a gift shop and a cafe/bar. You are also able to view the historic craft moored by the quay side.

Soldiers of Gloucester Museum – The Gloucestershire Regiment (The Glosters) have been involved in conflict throughout British history and visitors can experience what life would have been like for soldiers and there families over the last 300 hundred years. The museum shows the history of the Soldiers of Gloucestershire and tells of their courage, humour, their traditions. View the medal collections, weapons and uniforms that have been donated and collected over of the years.

Saul Junction - This is where the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal crosses the line of the earlier Stroudwater Canal and is the only crossing of two independently owned canals in the country. To form the Junction the level of the Stroudwater Canal had to be raised about four feet so it was the same level as the Gloucester Canal. A toll house was built at the Junction and the tolls were collected from vessels that passed from one canal to the other.

Frampton-on-Severn – Frampton Green is a site of Special Scientific Interest and is the longest village green in the country. The three village ponds are a haven for wildlife including frogs, dragonflies and birds and the village itself is a designated Conservation Area and a stroll around the village is well worth while. There are also a good choice of pubs and a village store with Post Office.

Slimbridge Wildfowl Trust – Founded in 1946 by Sir Peter Scott Slimbridge is the headquarters for the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT). The centre is world famous for its waterfowl especially the migrating species of birds who winter here. At the Hanson Discovery Centre you can find out about the work the Trust does. Worth a climb is a walk up the Observation Tower for the spectacular views of the River Severn.

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