Bridge and lock opening hours

The following hours apply to both locks on the River Severn above Gloucester, and the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Note that the bridges at Llanthony and over Gloucester Lock shut during rush hours (08:20 - 09:00 and 16:30 - 17:30 on weekdays). Fretherne Bridge will also close during the morning rush hour on weekdays.

Llanthony Bridge is now back to opening on demand following a long period of engineering works. However, during the winter months (1 November to Easter) the following hours apply:

The bridge may open at other times to let commercial traffic through: other boats are welcome to tailgate on these occasions. Llanthony Bridge will be fully manned and open on demand from 1 April until the winter (1 November?)

It is a good idea not to rely on the bridgekeepers' being in place towards the end of the working day unless they are aware that you will be moving!

In winter 2007, new arrangements for bridge and lock opening were set in place.

During the period 1 November - Easter, the canal is closed (other than to commercial traffic) on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

In this period on Thursdays - Mondays, most bridgekeepers will operate two structures. If no-one is available at a bridge, there is a contact telephone number posted in the windows of the keeper's hut.

In November 2007, it is intended that Parkend Bridge will become user-operated thoughout the year.

Patch Bridge is due to close from Jan 2008 for around nine weeks for major repairs. During this time it will not be possible to pass Patch by boat.

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All visitor moorngs on the canal are 48 h. In most places there is at least 1 m of water at the bank. It is possible to moor just about anywhere safely on the towpath side except:

Official visitor moorings are at:

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Useful telephone numbers

BW main office, Gloucester 01452 318000
Duty BW manager (peak season, roughly 10:00 - 17:00 April - September) 07710 175117
Gloucester Lock 01452 310832
Llanthony Bridge 01452 312143
Hempstead Bridge 01452 521880
Sims Bridge 01452 501994
Rea Bridge 01452 723638
Sellars Bridge 01452 720251
Parkend Bridge 01452 720016
Junction Bridge 01452 740444
Sandfield Bridge 01452 740565
Fretherne Bridge 01452 740582
Splatt Bridge 01452 740578
Cambridge Arm Bridge 01453 890272
Patch Bridge 01453 890324
Purton Bridges 01453 890324
Sharpness Pier 01453 511968
BW Sharpness Office 01453 811862
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Traffic Lights and Sound Signals

Movements through all bridges and locks are controlled by traffic lights. Red means "wait"; flashing red is used to indicate that the bridgekeeper knows you are there and needs you to wait; green means "go". If no light is showing, the bridge is un-manned. Proceed with caution (if your air draft is low enough!)

Sounds signals are used especially by commercial traffic on the canal and river. The main signals are:

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VHF Radio

VHF Radio is used by many boats and bridges on the Gloucester-Sharpness canal, and by the lock-keepers on the River Severn. Channel 74 is used for boat - bridge and boat - lock traffic. The normal channels should be used for boat - boat traffic. If you do not receive a reply to a call, remember that the bridge- or lock-keeper may be busy or untrained in using radio.

To the best of my knowledge, the following bridges maintain a watch on 74:

Sharpness Docks listen on VHF 13

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Slipways and launching places

There aren't any slipways, although there are tentative plans to install one at or near the old Stroudwater lock at Saul Junction

"Luggable" boats could probably be launched from the canoe launch platform at Purton Upper Bridge or from the rowing club pontoon at Saul Junction. The car park at Fretherne Bridge is canalside.

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Pubs on or near the Canal


There are lots of pubs in Gloucester. My favourites are:

Sellars Bridge


Saul Junction


Patch Bridge



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Water points and Sani Stations

Water points are listed below, with sani-stations indicated where appropriate

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Fuel, chandlers and Boatyards

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The only ones I am aware of are in Gloucester:

Shops and Post Offices

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