I'm very lucky in that my job involves a lot of outdoor work walking through some of our lovely countryside, so it was in a professional capacity yesterday that I walked the route of the former Thames and Severn Canal from Stroud to Brimscombe in Gloucestershire, as currently there is a restoration project underway aiming to restore to use the canals around the Stroud Valleys.
I started off at the disused Capel Mill and viaduct, which are impressive structures although the mill gives off a rather uncomfortable feel; I think my imagination started to play games with me!
The weather varied from bright spots of sunlight to light showers or heavy downfalls - nothing in between. However, everything smelt so fresh after the past dry spell and I was quite comfy in my waterproofs, so much so that it was a complete joy to be out and about. Even the mallards appeared to be in a chipper mood (perhaps they thought that I had brought some crusts with me!).
Stroud's industrial heritage is quite obvious from the towpath, with the former mills converted into industrial estates and weavers' cottages transformed into comfortable (and sanitary!) homes; although there is the occaisional derelict building calling out for some serious structural TLC, like this one...
The bridges are very picturesque and range from simple brick arches...
... to elegant ironwork footbridges - with very slippery wooden slats!
I think that the restoration programme should be competed in about three to four years time, so I'm looking forwards to taking a narrow boat journey along the restored canal and thinking "I worked on this!".