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SAUL

Map of Saul Junction

Features on the map will be numbered to link with numbers in the text below.

Saul Junction is a unique crossing of two independent canals. The Stroudwater Canal runs alongside the River Frome from south-east to north-west, and this is crossed by what is now known as the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal running from south-west to north-east.

To make the intersection, the level of the Stroudwater Canal had to be raised four feet by building a lock (1) adjoining the junction. Gates were also provided to ensure the water level in one canal could be lowered temporarily for maintenance without effecting the water level in the other canal. Opening bridges carried the towpath of each canal over the other canal.

The junction was initially made in 1820 at the original level of the Stroudwater Canal, and it was remade at the four feet higher level in 1826.

The house (2) beside the junction was occupied by the official who opened the bridges and who recorded the vessels passing on each canal and collected tolls.

The basin (3) south-west of the junction was used occasionally as a trans-shipment point for transferring cargoes from large vessels to barges and narrowboats that could pass up the Stroudwater Canal.

The dry-dock (4) cutting across the southern corner of the junction was built in 1869 with opening gates at both ends so it could be used to get a steam dredger through to the Stroudwater Canal that was too wide to pass through the main entrance.

The area (5) to the south of the dry dock developed as a boat building and repair yard and was also the base for the Sharpness Canal's maintenance team for many years. The building (6) to the east was built to house an ice-boat and was later used for boat maintenance.

The whole area has now become a popular leisure destination with a successful boat-yard, Wycliffe College boat-house and pleasure boat moorings along the Stroudwater Canal.