Restoration of Cotswold Canal lock gates

Wetlands and WaterwaysWetlands and Waterways

Restoration of Cotswold Canal

Plaswood recycled plastic lumber successfully used in restoration of Cotswold Canal lock gates.

In 2013 BPI Recycled Products, the leading manufacturer of Plaswood, recycled plastic lumber - a sustainable and durable alternative to traditional timber, supported the Cotswold Canals Trust project to restore lock gates at Blunder lock with the supply of Plaswood recycled plastic sections as a replacement for traditional wood shuttering

Wooden shuttering on lock gates, being in permanent contact with water needs replacing every 4 years because the wood rots.
Plaswood recycled plastic sections were fitted to the gates on Blunder Lock which had disintegrated over the years, rendering the lock unusable – they now have at least a forty year life expectancy.

Blunder Lock is different to all the other locks on the flight in that it is built of stone. Its name derives from an incident during the canal's construction when the company engineer caused the original lock to be built at the wrong level having been previously been given notice to quit by the company.

Formerly known as Lower Nassfield Lock, this was an original lock of the Stroud water canal designed to cater for Severn trows and was about 16 foot wide and 68 feet long. The lock had a rise of 7 feet 5 inches. It was the second to top lock of the five in the Eastington flight, built in 1777. Its present name is due to the fact that it was originally built at the wrong level.

Unlike the other Stroud water locks, this chamber is mainly lined in ash layered stone, with stone capping and stone quoins to the gate recesses. The mouth and the tail sections are also lined mainly in stone. There are paired vertical sluices on either side of the approach, or mouth, of the lock above the top gates.

Step by step restoration

Stroud Valleys Canal Company arranged for a new set of bottom gates to be installed at Blunder Lock, the left wing has been built using Plaswood planks, donated by BPI recycled products, the right one was made of traditional timber.

The volunteers then modified and refurbished a set of former River Thames lock gates to replace the Blunder Lock's top gates. Next, the team installed a new set of ground paddle gear designed by CCT's Jim White.

BPI Recycled Products where very pleased to hear the news reported by Ken Burgin, Chief Executive at Cotswold Canal Trust, “that , to date, the planks have performed well and in spite of them simply being butted together, water leakage is virtually non-existent and significantly less that that through the timber planks on the other gate”.