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Christmas Camp Cotswold Canals

A bit of a change for this year’s festive canal camp on the Cotswold Canals: an assortment of sites, down at the western end of the route

25 minutes walk west from the main site. The work, as well as the usual scrub Soon after joining the Army you learn never clearance, included tree felling so a lot of to volunteer for anything. You might wonder chainsaws were in use during the week. Most why, being ex-military, I would volunteer to of the trees to be felled were on the nonbe the assistant leader on the 2016 Christtowpath side of the canal and the land ownmas Camp on the Cotswold canals, with ers didn’t give permission for bonfires on Dave ‘Moose’ Hearnden as the leader... their land. This meant that all the felled trees In the last few years that I have athad to be Tirfor winched across the canal to tended the Christmas Camp they have always be logged and some parts burned on two been well supported. The 2016 camp was no bonfires. exception. We had 4 newbies, including a Because of the numbers of people on couple and one volunteer doing Duke of the camp we had five red vans including one Edinburgh’s Award. Maria catered for over 30 that was nicknamed the ‘naked van’. The at the New Year’s Eve dinner. reason it was called the ‘naked van’ was There were a number of sites on the because it had had all its WRG sign writing Cotswold Canals that had been identified for removed. More about the ‘naked van’ later. the team to clear. The reason for this variety Before we started work on the first day was that Moose and I thought there would not there were some tasks that had to be combe enough work for up to 30 people for 5 pleted. Firstly a tree had come down in the days. As it turned out there was enough work. car park outside the accommodation at The main site was a 1.2km stretch of the canal Brimscombe Port. We offered to cut it up and north west of the A38 near Stroud. An addiremove those branches that could be burnt, tional site was the Whitminster Lock about putting them onto the trailer which was to

Cotswold Christmas Camp

Cotswold Canals Fact File

Length: 36 miles Locks: 56 Date closed: 1927-46

The Canal Camp project: Scrub clearance in the Eastington / Whitminster area Why? To apply some TLC to structures where work was carried out some years ago (Whitminster Lock), and to prepare for major work on the Phase 1b (Saul to Stonehouse) length in a year or two. The wider picture: The Phase 1a section (Stonehouse to near Brimscombe) where much of our work has been concentrated in recent years is all but complete, thanks to a major funding package from the Heritage Lottery Fund and others which has paid for the heavy engineering needed where the canal had been blocked. This will be followed by a similar project to completely reopen the Phase 1b length and connect the Canal Camp canal back to the national network - but only if it gets worksites its Lottery Grant (at the second attempt). Everything we do helps improve the chances of this happening. Phase 1b: Saul to Stonehouse Phase 1a: Stonehouse to Brimscombe

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Phase 3: Brimscombe to Cerney

Phase 2: Inglesham to Cerney

Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

Navvies 281  

Navvies 281 - WRG's magazine for volunteers restoring the canals.

Navvies 281  

Navvies 281 - WRG's magazine for volunteers restoring the canals.