Stroud on Water early view of venue
During a visit to Stroud on Monday 14th May, IWA , WBOC, Sea Otter representatives and others had an opportunity to see the work going on on the stretch of canal that will be used for the Jubilee Weekend Stroud on Water celebrations that includes the IWA’s National Trailboat Festival.
The site itself is on the playing field of a local school and is a very pleasant location. Considering the amount of rain that the area has had in recent weeks, (along with the rest of us), the ground was well drained, almost dry and solid as can been seen in the pictures below. (Click on photos for slightly larger view):
At the bottom of the field is a stretch of canal that runs toward the town and passes the site of the permanent slipway, which is actively being constructed at the moment, with many diggers hard at work dredging this section of canal, as well as others working to restore the two locks and build a power generating system. Note that these will not be open for the event but you will be able to inspect them as you and other visitors walk past on the canal side footpaths, which are promised to be constructed/restored to a high standard in time for the event. The permanent slipway will be used for smaller boats to get to the event. More details and comments on this can be seen below in a copy of what Derek Smith wrote out on a WBOC email this evening together with some extra photos that Bill took shown above and at the end.
“On Monday 12th March Jeanne and I, along with Bill Perry and Geoff Pursglove (who has a Sea Otter), met with the chairman of the Festival organising committee, Martin Turner. We were there to inspect the progress in constructing the slipways for the IWA Trailboat Festival. We had mixed feelings, on the one hand work was progressing very actively, with a small army of contractors and a lot of diggers and earth moving machinery hard at work, and on the other hand it was only three weeks to the festival. By the end of our discussions and inspections we were agreed that it was likely the work to dig out the required length of canal and built the two slipways would be completed in time but we could not tell how much muddy bank we will have to cope with. The spawning season for salmon and trout expired last Sunday and the contractors were only permitted onto the canal on Monday. However they are now moving a lot of earth.
As can be seen from the photo above, the slope to the permanent concrete slipway in Strachans Close which is scheduled to be used by boats under 7 mtrs, descends directly from the kerb which will no doubt be removed. Users will need to drive past it and briefly block the road as they reverse onto it, but as it is a little used dead end road with very little traffic this should not be a problem. The slipway descends immediately from the kerb at a gradient of about 1:8 so it would probably be best to make the ready for slipping before reversing onto the slipway. As trailers approach the water edge the slope increases to about 1:4. As you can see below, the first concrete slab is now cast and setting. There will be parking for trailers and vehicles in a new compound just a little further along the road. This has not yet been dug out.
Below is the site of the second slipway
The slipway at Upper Mills Bridge for boats over 7mtrs has a large uneven surface of compacted hardcore behind the camera, and a gentle slope at a suitable angle already leads from it down to the water level where Bill is indicating the slipways intended location between the two poles. It’s difficult to notice because of the vegetation, but in our opinion it would be possible to launch a boat into the canal from here just as it is (but at the moment there is too much of a bank for any retrieval).
When the area above the slope is better levelled it will form an adequate manoeuvring space for reversing onto the slipway slope. The Trust engineer was present at our inspection and was very agreeable to agree with Geoff the best slope profile that will be needed for the three Sea Otters that have booked in. Geoff will email him the engineering details for this and we are happy that the end result will be suitable for these boats. It follows from this that we don’t expect any difficulty in launching our Wilderness Beavers here either.
Flexible aluminium tracking will be laid over the profiled slope and into the canal, it should then make an excellent slipway. We were told that work on this is due to start today, and will be finished in three weeks. Overall there is not much earth moving that will need to be done and with suitable earth moving machinery three weeks should be ample time. But we will see!
With this proviso, and from what we have been told, and what we have seen, Bill and I are going to declare this slipway as probably being be suitable and safe when completed, and have little hesitation in recommending it to WBOC members who have been waiting for this report. If you have been considering applying to take part, you should now proceed and make your application.
Here are some more photos of the temporary slipway site:
We also visited the Ryeford double locks, just recently finished, fitted with some interesting lock gear. I have some photos but that would spoil the surprise of working through them and past the small swing bridge just before them. Wouldn’t it? Just to say this canal does have some beautiful sections and a great amount of work is going on to get it ready for the event.
It would be a shame to miss it!