Gloucester and Sharpness Canal

Gloucester and Sharpness Canal

LaunchesPublic RoutesKnown HazardsParking


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Canal Licensing Information

License Authority

Canal and River Trust

The 16-mile Gloucester and Sharpness Canal connects Gloucester to Sharpness where the canal meets the estuary of the River Severn.

Built as a bypass to allow cargo ships to avoid the traitorous section of the River Severn, it is a historic canal.

In the late 1700’s the section of the river was very busy. People decided a solution was needed to prevent a boating-bottleneck further upstream. The decision was that a canal would be the answer.

From then on, only sea-fairing boats would use the river and inland vessels uses the new stretch of canal. The canal was born.

It became the broadest and deepest canal in the world. As such, it provided an important link for industry during the industrial revolution.

Reasons to paddle the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal

This canal has a range of unique architecture, mixing many impressive structures. You’ll see everything from immense swing bridges to ornate bridge keepers houses. It’s a real mix of old and new.

It’s not just all about the history and architecture though. From the canal you will find some spectacular views of the Severn Estuary, Forest of Dean and Cotswold valleys close by.

Wildlife lovers will also enjoy the mix of inland and coastal birds along the route. This is especially the case as you paddle closer to the estuary at Sharpness.