Wednesday 16th May; Splatt to nearly Rea Bridge
Grey and cool this morning, back to the fleeces and woolly hats! well, at least while cruising, it was fine ‘on land’. Our first stop was at the visitor moorings at Fretherne Bridge, about 400 yards from the bridge, not very convenient if all you want to do is go to the shop. Anyway, I got the milk and paper, which was the object of the exercise, and a glimpse of the longest village green in England.
It’s 100 yards wide and half a mile long. If you were to sit outside the Bell with a pint on a summer afternoon, you could enjoy watching a cricket match if you timed it right. The ropes and metal stakes round the square are just about visible in the photo.
On the way back to Chuffed I was held up by a boat going through the bridge.
Dave had been repainting the stripes on the short boat pole and balanced it on the roof cradles to dry as we cruised to Saul Junction. There is a wide variety of craft here.
We filled and emptied at the sanitary station, then moored the further side of the bridge. After lunch we walked along the route of the derelict Stroudwater canal to the river. The walk starts at the little river Frome then picks up the canal.
The lock onto the river is now part of someone’s garden and even though I tried to peep through the hedge and dense undergrowth all I could see was little bits of lawn and flower bed.
The lock is through there somewhere…
and there is nothing to see at the river either, as you can’t see round the fence without walking out into the mud. No thanks. But here’s the view downstream.
We retraced our steps, crossed the Gloucester and Sharpness, and walked beside the navigable stretch used as moorings at the marina. A low-level road bridge stops craft going any further, but the Stroudwater is in water for a way longer. The hopes are one day for the through route to be re-opened along the Stroudwater Navigation to Wallbridge to join the Thames and Severn canal, which would eventually reach the Thames at Inglesham. Wouldn’t that be wonderful! Though some stretches are restored and navigable in the Stroud area, there is a great deal still to be done. I would love to cruise it one day but I fear I would be a centenarian by then.
We moved on again to moor half a mile short of Rea bridge, with Stonebench on the river the closest village.
6½ miles, 3 swing bridges (one didn’t need swinging).