Cotswolds Canals - overview

Leading waterways restoration experts have been called in to carry out the authentic recreation of 200-year-old lock gates on an historic stretch of the Cotswold Canals.

The two-and-a half-year rolling project is spearheaded by the Cotswold Canals Partnership and funded with the help of £11.9million Heritage Lottery funding.

Hargreaves Lock Gates, headed by two of the most respected figures in waterways restoration, Nigel Lord and Dick Booth, won the £600,000 contract to craft 22 pairs of lock gates using traditional methods.

The work is part of a new phase of restoration work along a 6.7 mile stretch of the Thames and Severn between Stroud and Brimscombe Port, once the hub of the Cotswold Canals.

Each 23m x 5m lock chamber is book-ended by pairs of 3.3m-wide gates. But the original 200-year-old chambers were constructed as individual projects by different gangs, so Hargreaves face the challenge of recreating variations in design. They will hand craft each of the 2.5tonne tail gates and 1.5tonne head gates using sustainably sourced certified European oak.

Nigel Lord explained: “There are a number of factors to take into account in creating authentic replicas of these lock gates, not least the fact that the chambers are not the same width top and bottom. Precise measurement techniques are used to calculate the taper on each chamber.”
Nigel will create the patterns for the pots, heel pins and anchor plates which will be manufactured at the Hargreaves iron foundry in Halifax. The remaining metalwork for the project will be fabricated at the Hargreaves Lock Gates workshop in Sowerby Bridge.

David Marshall, spokesman for Stroud District Council’s canals team, said: “Hargreaves were awarded the contract on the basis of value for money. In addition to their technical expertise, they are one of very few lock gate manufacturers with the production capacity to design, manufacture and deliver every element of this bespoke restoration project to meet our timescale.”

This contract forms part of an ambitious restoration project to reconnect the Thames and Severn rivers for the first time in 70 years. The scheme is expected to regenerate tourism in the region and to restore and conserve both the landscape and the wildlife of the canals.

More information from Hargreaves Lock Gates on 01422 832445.