Shepherd's Patch (Slimbridge)

On Monday 15th August we left Gloucester Docks to investigate the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal. Our nineties Pearson Guide talked about the outskirts of Gloucester being seedy. Today it appears to be far from seedy. Superstores, converted warehouses, new roads and new housing all make it quite different. The bridge at Llanthony doesn't open until 9.30, after the rush hour so we had a lazy start.

Llanthony bridge


The G & S is wide and deep and usually straight.

Typical G & S scene

We soon got familiar with the protocol with the movable bridges. All are manned and controlled with traffic lights, some lift, a few swing, and some are able to be left in place as we went under. The bridge keepers have a variety of buildings for their working accommodation but in the past most occupied doric columned cottages.

Former bridge keepers cottage

The views at start of our journey were limited but when they opened out we got great views of both the Cotswolds and the Forest of Dean. An usual feature of the Gloucester & Sharpness is that all along the canal are large mooring bollards spaced at regular intervals.

G & S mooring bollards

We had planned to stop at Saul Junction to pick up gas and have lunch. Just as we got past Parkend Bridge in the distance we saw a Tall Ship approaching. It was the Phoenix that had arrived on the morning tide at Sharpness. She was on its way to Gloucester Docks for the Tall Ships Festival that takes place from August 26th to 28th. She, along with the other four tall ships, will moor at Monk Meadow before moving into the docks on the Friday.

Tall ship Phoenix

Saul Junction

The Phoenix passed close by and I managed to get some good shots.

Overtaking scullers

After lunch we made our way to Shephard's Patch where we moored up for the rest of the day. We visited the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Centre at Slimbridge for the afternnon. We enjoyed the birds in pond areas and the views across the estuary from the hides. We also enjoyed watching the otters being fed.

WWT Slimbridge

View from hide

In the evening we ate at the Tudor Arms which has good pub fare and a range of good real ales and ciders. It is CAMRA recommended. Tomorrow we go to Purton and Sharpness.