CSA were successful in winning a tender to support part of the implementation work for this exciting project to restore existing waterways, linking the River Thames to the River Avon. The works will enable navigation by canal boats by restoring as well as building new sections, whilst also reinstating tow paths for visitors to enjoy. We have been working hand in hand with the Canals Environment Manager and Stroud DC Engineers to facilitate The Cotswolds Canals Connected project in Gloucestershire, from Whitminster (in the west) to Ocean Bridge, near Stonehouse (to the east). This includes a whole mile of excavation and rebuilding where the canal was formerly filled in to construct the M5 in the 1960’s. CSA have collaborated with specialist associate Mike Dean, to undertake update surveys for water vole and otter, with the team also surveying for badgers and bats along several miles of canal, River Frome and connected ditches – much of it undertaken in kayaks and waders.
Extensive restoration of the old canal will be undertaken, creating new habitat for water voles and other wildlife. This will be a long running complex project, with much of the smaller scale work being completed by willing volunteers for example clearing vegetation and installing new fully accessible surfaced tow path for the public to enjoy.
CSA are privileged to be involved with this significant conservation project which will have so many benefits, including those of biodiversity, landscape, historic and amenity value. We are delighted to be working alongside experts from Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and other stakeholders (photo of resident water vole taken by local human resident).