Sapperton Tunnel Trips - 2

About the Tunnel (1) - - How to get there (3)

Apart from its vital role in commercial transport, the tunnel has always been attractive to the curious and adventurous. From its earliest days, daring visitors have been taken into and through it, and according to Humphrey Household from his excellent book ´The Thames & Severn Canal´ (pub. Alan Sutton ISBN 0 86299 056 4):
The fullest description (of the tunnel) was by William Bernard Cooke, who showed that venturesome visitors were then encouraged to go through the tunnel in a boat kept specially for the purpose at Coates. ¨

Cooke's book ´The Thames´ was first published in 1811!

A superb description of what it used to be like to travel through Sapperton Tunnel is here: Chapter Excerpt: Hornblower and the "Atropos" by C. S. Forester.

Despite its great age, the eastern (Coates) end of the Sapperton Tunnel is still in very good and safe condition. In the past, volunteers from the Cotswold Canals Trust have enabled visitors to see this impressive feat of civil engineering at very close quarters from an electric powered boat taking passengers nearly half a mile into the tunnel. The boat turned at about the 37 chain point, the chain distance indicators still being visible at places along the walls of the tunnel (1 chain = 66ft., about 20 metres).

The trips took about 40 minutes and were run during the winter when water levels permitted.  

As of the 11th January 2004, trips are suspended for technical reasons but it is hoped that they may restart in the future.


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Page last updated 8th May 2011.