WORK to restore another section of the Cotswold canal will begin next month.

Stroud District Council has awarded a £390,000 contract to Alun Griffiths Ltd to dredge and widen 120 metres of the Thames and Severn canal above Wallbridge Lower Lock.

The channel's new design includes construction of a bypass channel beneath the towpath to carry the flow from the Slad Brook around the lock.

It will also allow fish and eels to easily migrate upstream – which they cannot do at present.

Work is expected to begin on the site on Monday, June.

SDC has also awarded a £110,000 contract to Land and Water Services to dredge 4,500 tonnes of material from the canal below Wallbridge Lower Lock and work is expected to begin on that in July.

Wallbridge Lower Lock, the first lock on the Thames and Severn Canal, fell into disuse in the 1930s however it is expected to be fully restored in 2015.

Although the canal restoration project is mainly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Stroud District Council, the work at Wallbridge has been assisted by a generous £100,000 grant from the Veolia Environmental Trust.

Ian Edwards, SDC’s canal manager, said “Technically this is a challenging site in which to work. Access is very difficult and would have been impossible without the kind assistance of the landowners.

"When this work is complete yet another length of derelict canal will have been returned to its former glory for everyone to enjoy.”