THREE vessels which will help make Stroud's canal navigable again are being launched today.

The Cotswold Canals Trust has acquired a dredger and two mud barges which will play a vital role in restoring and maintaining the waterway.

The trio will be craned into the water between Eastington and Dudbridge, where they will assist in clearing the canal.

Trust volunteers are hoping to get started soon on dredging the canal near Stroud Brewery, with one mud barge being launched nearby.

Greg Pilley, managing director of Stroud Brewery said: “This brings us the opportunity for water travel to the brewery.

"We are looking forward to people arriving by small craft for a beer and grateful to the volunteers from Cotswold Canals Trust for everything they are doing.”

Originally built in 1972, the dredger had been in operation on the Stroudwater Navigation canal for over 20 years.

A year ago it was lifted out of the water and taken to Cotswold Canals Trust Western Depot where the team installed a new engine and cover, brand new control mechanisms, hydraulics and more.

During the restoration of the waterway from Saul Junction to Stonehouse, 45,000 m3 will be dredged from the canal bed and the refurbished fleet, operated by Cotswold Canals team, will be a major contributor to this effort.

The dredging team is key to maintaining the canal and keeping it open for the potential influx of boating tourists to the area once it is open to the rest of the waterways in Britain.

Cotswold Canals Trust is now looking for new volunteers to join the restoration teams.

Get in touch by calling 01453 752568 or go to the website: to register as a volunteer.

Jim White, chairman of the trust said: “I am really proud to be the chairman of a charity that has skilled and passionate volunteers, who are willing and able to get stuck in, effectively rebuilding a Weri Combi dredger and making it as good as new.

"It is this enthusiasm that will ensure the Cotswold Canals become navigable once more.”