The final stage of the Stroudwater canal restoration is kicking off with heritage trails, boat trips, activities and pop up performances by Stroud creatives.

Cotswold Canals Connected are launching a month-long ‘slow canal trail’ on Monday, May 10 to celebrate commencing work to connect the canal to the national inland waterways network.

The family-friendly event will take place during national Mental Health Awareness Week, which ends on May 16, focusing on the benefits spending time in nature has on people’s wellbeing.

Anna Bonallack, manager at Cotswold Canals Connected, said: “The slow canal trail marks the start of a brilliant three years ahead for our canal communities and has been adapted for this year to safely bring us together outdoors by exploring our canal.

“There will be lots of activities including heritage trails, accessible boat trips, interactive activities and live performances on the water – be prepared to be surprised.”

Organisers have designed a number of circular walking and cycling routes with covid safety in mind that encourage visitors to explore areas close to the canal, but further from the towpath.

Other activities include nature, food and heritage trails designed by Stroud based artist Ruth Hickson, and children’s wildlife bingo by Draw and Dawdle’s Holly White. Wheelchair accessible boat trips will be provided by Cotswold Boatmobility.

Sound and light artist Jack Wimperis, whose previous work includes Glastonbury Festival’s Pyramid Stage, has collaborated with Miniature Museum to create an interactive light and sound installation, and an art exhibition by local artists’ collective `OK, Let’s Create Stuff’ will be on display at Stroud and Stonehouse train stations.

New audio posts have been installed using canal artefacts at Blunder Lock and Ocean, near Stonehouse, by Miniature Museum.

An evolving exhibition of people’s photos, paintings, poetry and thoughts about the canal will be displayed in one of four Cotswold Canals Connected noticeboards along the canal route from Stroud to Stonehouse, which will be added to throughout the month.

Refreshments will be available from vendors along the trail including Stonehouse Court Hotel, the Falafel Pod at Blunder Lock near Eastington, Stroud Brewery and the Felt Café in Brimscombe, the Upper Lock Café in Stroud, Kitsch in Ebley (from 21 May), as well as from takeaway cafes and restaurants in Stroud and Stonehouse.

“This is a great way for people to get out in the fresh air and discover the canal at a slower pace, while staying safe,” said canal manager Dave Marshall.

“Different activities will be taking place throughout the month, so whenever you join in, you’ll find something to see and do.

“If you venture past Ocean at Stonehouse you’ll see the new railway bridge opposite the towpath which will be installed by Network Rail later in the year.

“And at Blunder Lock in Eastington there will be volunteers at work from Monday to Thursday where restoration has just begun.”

More information, including maps and bingo cards to download are on the website The CCC community map can be downloaded at