Our Summer Walks Programme has now ended but the programme has been left here to show the nature of these activities.
We also have a Winter Lecture Programme
Sunday 14 May 2023
Afternoon Walk: Eastington area
It’s been a few years since we last visited Eastington, and there have been some new developments
at several of the former village cloth mills. These once formed the nucleus of a thriving local cloth
industry, but as the importance of textiles waned, the redundant mills were turned over to a series
of other uses that we will hear about.
The Stroudwater Canal rises through Eastington via five locks, and numerous remnants are packed
into a relatively small area – dry dock and maintenance yard, coal wharves, water control systems,
bridges, etc – we will visit these and also hear about the planned re-opening of the canal as a
through route. Apart from industrial features, en route, we will also look at some of the impacts that
trade and industry had on the fabric, employment and organisation of the village.
Meet walk leader Steve Mills at 1.45 for a 2 pm start close to Pike lock on the Stroudwater Canal
(nearest postcode GL10 3RT). Parking will be along the section of old road parallel to the canal – the
entrance is almost opposite the canal trust depot.
The route is not challenging and will be mainly over public footpaths plus a few stretches of level
footpaths. Please wear suitable footwear for hard surfaces and footpaths.
If you have any queries please contact the leader, See Contacts
Sunday 18 June 2023
Afternoon walk: Cheltenham’s Lost Industrial Heritage
Cheltenham has had a variety of industries over the years. Many of these have now gone and only street and building names indicate their existence. Fortunately, the remains of others do survive.
This walk will start at the Bayshill Inn, 85 St Georges Place (GL50 3PP) and proceed to the Flowers Brewery off the High Street looking at a couple of surviving buildings on the way. We will then make our way to the Gas Works (the main Tesco’s site) at the junction of Gloucester Road, the High Street and Tewkesbury Road. The walk will then work its way back towards St Georges Place looking at a lost brewery, the line of the Gloucester and Cheltenham Tram Road on Gloucester Road. We will see the position of the market and then on to the River Chelt and the various industries associated with it. We will cross the Honeybourne line and so through the Waitrose car park noting en route the Alstone Spa (saline) and the swimming baths, part of Cheltenham’s social as opposed to industrial history.
Meet at Bayshill Inn, Cheltenham 85 St Georges Place (GL50 3PP) after 1-45pm to start at 2pm – [Map]
Sunday 23 July 2023
Afternoon walk: Lydney Harbour and Neighbourhood
Lydney Harbour is always an interesting place to visit and in recent years there have been some significant developments. These have been aimed mainly at attracting visitors and include a cafe, small visitor information centre, interpretation boards and toilets. The site forms part of the canal and basin complex built by the Seven and Wye Railway and Canal Company between 1810 and 1813. It was for many years an important outlet for the Forest’s coal and timber and it is reported that at one time about 300,000 tons of coal per annum were being exported. After World War I there was a steady decline in activityand coal exports ended in 1960. The import of timber for the Pine End Works continued until about 1977 when all commerical activity effectively ended.
While some buildings were demolished after the port closed there is a wealth of industrial features that remain and the intention is to seek out as much of this as we can at a leisurely pace. We will take a break mid afternoon so that members can use the cafe (which closes at 4pm) if they wish or simply socialise. We will then take a walk of about ¾ mile in total to see Naas House a remarkable early 17th house with an unusual viewing platform which merits being listed Grade 2*. Along the way, will also consider some of the other industries that grew up alongside the harbour and the railways that served the area.
Details Meet our guide, Ray Wilson, after 1.45 pm for a prompt start at 2 pm at Harbour Road, Lydney, GL15 4EJ – [Map] – SO 6467 0131). If travelling from Gloucester on the A48 note the start of the Lydney by-pass (at the junction with the road to the right signed Lydney 1 mile). Continue along the by-pass (A48) for 2 miles until you reach the second roundabout. Turn left here (signed Lydney Harbour 1¼ miles). Park on Harbour Road just before the entrance to the Lydney Harbour Estate. The road widens considerably here, alongside the completely cleared former Pine End Works. We hope to finish by 4-45pm and the total walking distance will be about 1½ miles. Please wear suitable footwear for what may sometimes be uneven surfaces on footpaths.
Sunday 13 August 2023
Afternoon walk: The Honeybourne Line (Cheltenham)
The walk will start outside Waitrose in Cheltenham. There will be a brief introduction to the railways of Cheltenham. This will give the background to all the lines and stations that existed and how this came about.
We will then walk to Knapp Lane to show the location of the St James Station and some of the remnants of the station before returning past Waitrose to join the old track of the Honeybourne line. We will stop to discuss the engineering achievement that was the Honeybourne line then walk on to the station. We will initially see the end of the Honeybourne line and the reason for the stations location.
We will then cross the Gloucester Road to view the Sunningend works, and discuss the industrial enterprises on this site from when it was the Vulcan works. We will then return along the Honeybourne line to the old Malvern station and then on to the old High Street halt, before returning to the start.
It is about two and a half miles and should take about two hours.
Details. Meet our guide, Jim Gardner, after 1.45 pm for a prompt start at 2 pm in Honeybourne Way, outside Waitrose GL50 3Q – [Map] – SO 9417 2264 .
Sunday 3 September 2023
Afternoon walk: Thames and Severn Canal – Stroud to Brimscombe
It is some years since we last walked this stretch of the canal and there have been plenty of changes since then. We will walk the towpath in just one direction only and organise a car shuttle for the return journey. The walk will finish at the Stroud Brewery where the taproom will be open and there will be the opportunity, if you wish, to end the afternoon with a drink or some food
At our starting point, Cheapside Car Park, Stroud, we will see first the Brunel’s Good Shed at Stroud Station and the Hill Paul factory which was rescued from demolition and converted into apartments some years ago. We will then descend the hill to the Thames and Seven Canal at Wallbridge and see Stroud Brewery Bridge which was one of the early major projects of the canal restoration. Following the towpath we will arrive at Capels Mill where a new route for the restored canal was necessary, as the by-pass road (Dr Newtons Way) uses the railway overbridge that accommodated the original line of the canal. Here we can see the stone foundations of the part of Capels mill that suffered the coming of the railway in 1845. In turn, we will pass the site of Arundell Mill, Bowbridge Dyeworks, Stafford, Griffin’s, Stafford and Ham Mills and several locks and bridges all of considerable interest. Across the canal from Stroud Brewery are the tappet wheels from fulling stocks that were removed from Cam Mills in the 1960s. When they ‘surfaced’ two years ago they were “mystery objects” until it was noticed that their removal from Cam had been photographed by a former GSIA Member, the late Lionel Walrond (see the story of the tappet wheels).
Details: Meet our leader, Ray Wilson, after 1-45pm (for a prompt start at 2pm) at the far end of Cheapside Car Park, which lies on the southern side of Stroud Station. The car pack is accessed from the southern end of Merrywalks (the northern end of Merrywalks is the bus station) Click here to see the location on a map. The grid reference is SO 8504 0500 and postcode is GL5 3BL. The walk will be 2.5 miles at an easy pace and on footpaths throughout. The walk will only be in the one direction and a car “shuttle” will be used which will involve car sharing for the drivers. While they wait the passengers can make use of the facilities at the Stroud Brewery. All welcome.
Sunday 24 September 2023
Afternoon walk: Nailsworth: Part 1 – Avening/Nailsworth and Inchbrook Stream Valleys
Please note the 1 pm start so we can use the facilities at the Garden Centre
Walk into town past Nailsworth Mills Estate to George Street via Fountain Street (noting the 1890’s main road gap by truncating Days Mill and the range of “brick- built” shops from earlier “local stone” ones (after new railway arrived). At The Clock note the 1932 date on the road bridge across the hidden mill-stream, the Big Kettle, and the 1st Old Fire Station (now tyre centre) – walk up to Watledge Road to see one of the many hillside spout/ fountain water supplies – go along the road pointing towards Glendower Spout at the cottage of the Super-tramp poet (WH Davies, postcards available) until turning left down Station Road path towards Nailsworth Stream bridge to note the new (3rd) Fire Station, Egypt Mill and pond.
Proceed to Old Railway station (Permission granted by owner for a ten-minute outside inspection of the buildings and former sidings/yards. Depart by 1.45 to walk along the old railway track (now cycle trail 45) passing mill ponds and hillside spring flows.
Turn under railway pedestrian passage to Dunkirk Mills, Note Textile Working Museum, and open days. Thought to be the model for the 1856 novel by Dinah Craik “John Halifax, Gentleman”. She lived at Amberley on the edge of Minchinhampton Common above.
Proceed past range of Mill buildings to A46 main road with high-speed traffic and observe care in walking on path towards Stroud.
Arrive at Inchbrook Stream (from Woodchester’s Victorian unfinished Gothic mansion) has two old mill sites.
Return back to Nailsworth by old (pre-turnpike) route via Inchbrook Hill and Northfield Road. Good views of main valley and Dunkirk Mills).
Arrive at Spring Hill and descend noting several large Clothiers Houses, another waterspout, and playwright Terance Rattigan’s Winslow (Boy) House.
Finish at Old Market and The Fountain memorial to “The Honest Lawyer; arriving about 3pm or 3.15 pm at the Garden Centre. Cafe closes at 4pm, and car park by 5 pm.
Details Meet our leader Tony Burton after 12.45 pm for a prompt start at 1 pm at Nailsworth Garden Centre (Avening Rd, Nailsworth, Stroud, GL6 0BS – [Map] – ST 8556 9951 ) The walk should take about 2 hours.
Sunday 15 October 2023
Afternoon walk: Forest of Dean, Bixslade, Part 2
This is a continuation of last year’s popular visit. Inevitably, there will be some overlap with the previous walk but plenty of new sites as well.
We will be starting, as before, from the Forest of Dean Stone Firms works, adjacent to Cannop ponds but this time we will set off immediately up Bixslade. We will visit again Mine Train Quarry, Union Pit and Mushet’s Upper and Lower levels. New sites will include the large, deep, but long disused, Spion Kop Quarry. However at the head of the valley we will be able to look out over the very extensive Bixhead quarry which is still working. On our return to the cars there will be the optional extra for those who wish to look at the stone works and Cannop Ponds. It would be a good time to review the current situation regarding the controversial proposals to remove the dams and permanently drain the ponds.
Details: Meet our guide, Ray Wilson after 1-45pm for a prompt start at 2pm on the dam of the lower Cannop Pond adjacent to the Cannop Ponds Stone Works. There is ample parking in the lay-bys on opposite sides of the B4234, Parkend to Lydbrook road. [SO 6067 0992, GL15 4JS – [Map] We expect to finish the main walk at about 4-45pm. Boots or stout shoes are essential for the walk up the tramroad. You can download the Bixslade article that appeared in the 1987 GSIA Journal here.