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The Missing Mile

A38 Roundabout

The Roundabout on A38 at J13 of M5

Everyone must have seen the impressive road workings at the A38 roundabout. This is where the new canal is being put through. The Missing Mile refers to the section of the Stroudwater Navigation from the A38 to the Oldbury Brook. It was infilled when the M5 was built and the road from the A38 to the M5 J13 is actually built on the infilled canal.

Proposed new route of canal.

M5 Underpass

The next obstruction for the new canal is the M5 itself. Here there is an existing underpass for the River Frome. The plan is for a new concrete canal channel to be added alongside the river. However the level of the new canal would have to be lower than the normal river level. In order to achieve the required headroom for navigation. A consequence of this is that during flood events the canal channel would be unusable.

Cross-Section of proposed M5 underpass (not to scale)


The current estimated costs are £23M. However I cannot find a finish date at present.

Further Reading

If you are interested in the above I suggest the site Cotswold Canals in Pictures – Phase 1b Overview as the starting place. Also the Gloucestershire Highways – A38 Canal Bridges

Fascinating Fact

The Stroudwater Navigation is still a company owned by the current owners of the original 200 shares. A separate Trust owns just over half and runs the company. In 2005 the company leased the canal back to the then British Waterways for 999 years.

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