Thames & Severn Canal

T&S Canal, 14 + 9 Caches, 7-10 Miles, Gloucestershire, Map

A wonderful series of 14 there & back caches but apply a bit a planning and it is easily converted into a circular trail of 23. Beware though, the cache pages contain the skull & cross bone attribute!!!  This section of the canal, starts from Sapperton and is totally un-restored and drained, with some very deep, empty locks very close to the path. So young and canine cachers should take additional care.  This walk delivered far more than I was ever expecting it to, you get an insight into some incredible civil engineering achievements from a bygone era including the Canal, Sapperton Rail & Canal Tunnels and Chalford Viaduct. A great days caching

Church at Sapperton

The walk starts from the village of Sapperton with plenty of parking beside the church.

View along the Wysis Way

A short wander down the road and through the village to pick up the Wysis Way long distance footpath and a wonderful view as we walk down the hill to the start of the series.

Along the top of the Daneway Portal

The first cache of the day called zero five, is located within a few feet of the Daneway Portal of the Sapperton Tunnel, the longest 14 ft wide canal tunnel in Britain, unfortunately now partly collapsed halfway through. However, the portals have been restored to the architectural show pieces they once were. The tunnel opened in 1789 after 5 years of construction. It is 2.1 miles long but with no towpath boats were propelled through it by legging!

All dried up in the middle of the drought

The footpath runs between the canal on one side and the River Frome on the other. Both were very dried up in some sections and boggy in others as pip found out when she chased something into and almost got herself stuck.

Danger deep lock

The canal is set deep in the Gloucestershire countryside affectionately referred to as the Golden Valley. Follow the circular route along the top of the hill on the way back and you will appreciate why it is has been named so.

On the outward section we walked from the Sapperton Tunnel along the tow path through the tree lined valley passing a few historical features, a nature reserve and the Daneway pub to eventually arrive at Chalford. The small village of Chalford boasts a large park with swings and slides and several picnic benches making it an ideal half way resting place.

Milestone marker along the canal

Just before the end of the canal at no.13 is a restored milestone marker with a small inscription about the Valley Waterworks building on the opposite side built by the Stroud Water Company in 1894.

End of the line - Viaduct at Chalford

The final cache of the T&S series takes you just a little further along the canal for a view of the Chalford Viaduct.

After lunch it was time to head back, the route I took was a little more strenuous than leisurely stroll along the canal but just as interesting with some great views over the Golden Valley. There were at least 7  other local caches to find before would get back to the car.  I started with the Jackdraw Bridge which was surprisingly only rated a 2 star, but perched high above the railway line it felt like it should have been rated higher.

Golden Valley Views

I rejoined the canal at T&S Canal no.10 and left the tow path again at no.8. The next section was a reasonably steep climb up a hill. I could have continued along the canal a bit further but this section is where the best views of the valley were to be had.  Any way if I thought that was tough, worse was to follow.

One of the Airshafts

After a walk along the top of the hill and not a cache in sight, the trail dropped down again before an even steeper climb up the side of the valley through Frampton Wood, the route appears to be rarely used here and was very tough going.  The path eventually came out at the top of Sapperton Railway Tunnel where there is a small series of Air-shaft caches running from one end of the tunnel to the other.

Thames & Severn Geocache Trail