A RYEFORD couple became the first homeowners to receive a delivery of logs by boat in more than half a century thanks to volunteers from the Cotswold Canals Trust.

Martin and Hazel Hyde took advantage of the newly reinstated, boat-bound service at their isolated cottage off Ryeford double lock on the Stroudwater Canal on Monday.

The trust has been dispatching logs by road to homes across the Stroud district for the past three years but this was the first time a boat has been used to deliver wood along that stretch of waterway since the 1940s.

Chief logman David Pagett and his team transported the logs by van from their Eastington depot to Upper Mills Bridge, where they were loaded onto former British Waterways working boat Wookey Hole - decked out in the lilac livery of the Stroud Valleys Canal Company - for the one mile journey to Ryeford.

The team then unloaded the logs and carried them by wheelbarrow to Mr and Mrs Hyde's shed to keep the couple's wood burner fully stocked throughout the cold winter months.

"It was wonderful, we are so pleased," said Mrs Hyde, who has lived in her 18th Century canal-side cottage for more than 40 years.

"Hopefully we have enough to keep us warm over the winter now."

More than 300 orders have so far been distributed via the trust's log delivery service, which sources wood from tress that have either fallen or been removed from the canal bank for safety reasons. Mike Gallagher from the trust - the charity behind the on-going restoration of the Stroudwater Navigation and Thames & Severn Canal - said: "The log deliver service has raised £30,000 so far, which is being ploughed back into the trust and restoration project."