Over - Alney Island - Gloucester Docks - Over

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This walk explores the waterways around Gloucester.

The River Severn has been an important trade highway for hundreds of years. In the 16th and 17th Centuries it was the second busiest river in Europe (after the River Meuse). Gloucester's position on it, reachable by sea-going vessels and connected to inland locations via the Severn and Avon Rivers, made it an important hub for handling a huge variety of cargoes. These were either for local consumption, or for trans-shipment between larger vessels and the barges and canal-boats that plied the inland waterways.

As it passes Gloucester, the Severn splits into two channels, leaving an island more than two miles long between them: Alney Island. In this walk, we explore the southern end of the island, alongside stretches of the river that are now largely unnavigable. We pass through the disused Llanthony Lock, built in 1871 to enable boats to bypass a weir on the eastern channel and approach the wharves at Gloucester.

We then visit the Sharpness Canal, opened in 1827 to provide a safer and more reliable route to Gloucester from the Bristol Channel. We walk round its terminus, Gloucester Docks, and see the many warehouses and facilities that were built to support a huge increase in trade in the mid-19th Century. We pass the National Waterways Museum; well worth a visit to gain a country-wide perspective on our waterways. (There are many places to eat and drink in the docks area).

Finally we walk up a navigable stretch of the river north of Gloucester Dock, then cross Alney Island to our starting point at Over. This is the basin of the Hereford and Gloucestershire Canal, first opened from here to near Ledbury in 1798, providing a connection to points to the north-west of Gloucester.

Note: parts of this walk may flood after very wet weather or particularly high tides.

England - South West England - Gloucestershire - Severn Valley


Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Cafe, Good for Kids, Industrial Archaeology, Mostly Flat, Museum, Pub, Restaurant, River, Toilets, Wildlife

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17.4 Miles
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