On Friday we stayed in Gloucester and enjoyed a damp walk onto Alney Island which lies between the two arms of the River Severn. We then explored some of the city.
There used to be a lock on the river below Gloucester basin and we walked through it! It was beside Llanthony Weir and allowed access to the tidal waters below and to the Severn estuary. Nowadays all traffic has to go via the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.
Telford built a bridge over the Western channel of the Severn in 1829 but it was not opened until 1832 because when the supports were taken away the centre of the bridge subsided by 25cm. They did not use the bridge for 3 years but it did not move any further and so it was opened and was used for traffic until 1974.
If you look along the balustrade you can see the subsidence.
Gloucester Cathedral has the earliest fan vaulting in England around the cloisters.
We loved this clock above a jeweller's which still works today.
After seeing friends in Bristol over the weekend we returned to the boat on Sunday evening and set off along the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal on Monday morning.
Gloucester docks are well preserved with some lovely old warehouses, one of which houses the Inland Waterways Museum.
There are no locks on the G&S but there are many swing bridges each operated by a bridge keeper. Originally the bridge keepers lived in houses like this one with splendid porticos supported by fluted columns.
Leo is shown in this picture approaching the swing bridge at Saul Junction. We moored just the other side and then explored the area on bicycles.
At Saul Junction the G&S crossed on the level an earlier canal, the Stroudwater Canal, which is really an extension of the Thames and Severn Canal which linked Lechlade on the Thames with the Severn.
You can just make out here the old lock on the Stroudwater Canal right by the G&S. The former canal had to be lifted 4 feet in order to cross the G&S on the level.
This is a bit of an aside but this shield on the wall in the Church at nearby Frampton on Severn amused us. The lion has a human face which may possibly be intended to be a likeness of George III. Frampton is a lovely village with reputedly the longest village green in England. It also has a pub selling amazing pies which we hope to visit on our way back to Gloucester.
We cycled West to Upper Framilode to admire the River Severn. It is certainly a lot wider here than at Gloucester. Across the water you can see the hills of the Forest of Dean.
The luxuriant green ditch opposite these cottages at Upper Framilode is all that remains of the Stroudwater Canal as it approaches the Severn.
Today we've come down the rest of this scenic ship canal to Sharpness.
Towards Sharpness the Canal runs right beside the Severn. We've watched the tide this evening first filling and then emptying the sand and mud channel between us and Wales.
This is the view through two swing bridges to the docks at Sharpness. If we were going out onto the estuary and down to Bristol this is the way we would go.
The Severn is a huge river at this point and scary when you see the speed of the tide.
This is looking towards the docks. The boat Zeus on the right is apparently going out onto the river on the morning tide.
This is the ship lock accessing the river. It is 55 foot wide, nearly as wide as we are long. We are used to locks only 7 feet wide. There is a floating pontoon half way along which is presumably used by narrowboats.
The way out to the River is between these jetties.
And finally after all the scary bits here is a nice restful view of narrowboats and reflections in the Old Arm of the docks which used also to go out to the River but is now only used for mooring.
From here our way lies North back to Gloucester and on to Tewkesbury to pick up the River Avon. We have heard that Tewkesbury is flooded but hopefully if we take our time the waters from recent rainfall will have gone down by the time we get there.