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Lydney Canal facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Lydney map 1946
1946 OS Map
The tidal entrance gate
The semi-tidal entrance basin
The lock

The Lydney Canal is a one-mile canal in Gloucestershire runs inland from the River Severn to Lydney. It was opened in 1813 to trans-ship iron and coal from the Forest of Dean. It was once connected by a horse drawn tramroad to Pidcock's Canal which brought materials down to the wharves by tub-boat.

In the 1960s imported wood was still being brought in by barge from Avonmouth. It remained in commercial use until the 1980s. The entrance to the canal consists of an outer tidal gate opening into a wide basin. From there a lock opens into the one-mile canal cut. Immediately above the lock, a pair of gates point the other way as protection against a high tidal flood in the estuary. There is one swing bridge crossing the canal.

The docks have recently been restored to create a marina and harbour area for seagoing yachts and motor boats. As of 2020 the outer lock gates have failed in the open position and are inoperable. Consequently the harbour is becoming increasingly silted up from River Severn mud and is totally out of use.


  • 1809 – The Lydney and Lydbrook Railway Act enabled construction of a tramroad from Lydbrook to Lydney.
  • 1810 – A second act changed the company name to the "Severn & Wye Railway and Canal Company" and (amongst other things) authorises the building of the canal to the River Severn at Nass Point.
  • 1810 – Josias Jessop (son of William Jessop) was appointed consulting engineer and designed plans for the canal.
  • 1811 – Thomas Sheasby (son of Thomas Sheasby senior) was taken on as resident engineer.
  • 1813 – The canal was opened by the Severn and Wye Railway and Canal Company.
  • 1821 – The outer harbour was finally completed and the tramway extended all the way down.
  • 1825 – The north pier was extended to aid ships into the harbour.
  • 1868 – The tramway was converted to broad gauge.
  • 1872 – Converted to standard gauge.
  • 1893 – Severn and Wye Railway and Canal Company went bankrupt.
  • 1894 – Purchased by the Great Western and Midland Railways and administered by a Joint Committee of the two companies.
  • 1948 – The railway and docks passed to the Western Region of the Railway Executive on nationalization.
  • 1950 – Transferred to the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive.
  • 1960 – The last coal was shipped from the harbour.
  • 1977 – The harbour was closed.
  • 1985 – The section from the swing bridge to the Severn was scheduled as an Ancient Monument
  • 1988 – The swing bridge was scheduled as a Grade II listed building.
  • 1996 – The Environment Agency took over management of the docks.
  • 1997 – Inner gates collapses and had to be replaced by a dam to reduce flood risk.
  • 1998 – The Lydney Docks Partnership was established to create a sustainable future for the canal.
  • 2005 – Re-opened after a two-year project of restoration and enhancement.
  • 2015 - Outer lock gates developed a fault and became inoperable and stuck in the open position and the harbour remains tidal and inaccessible.

The River Lyd

River Lyd through Lydney - - 582177
River Lyd approaching its confluence with the Severn.

The Lyd is a small river in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, England.

The Lyd flows into the River Severn via the canal in Lydney.

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