It's all happening along the canal this weekend
By David Wood
Enjoy the long Bank Holiday weekend along the Stroudwater canal with activities, entertainment and performances for everyone to enjoy.
Go wild and play Wildlife Bingo and tick off the wildlife you spot with a downloadable bingo card, or become a wildlife ecologist with the Wildlife ID booklet . It's full of interesting facts so you can learn more about our local species, and has space for you to record the animals, plants and field signs you see.
Performers will be telling traditional dark Gloucestershire folk tales in rhyme and song, and playing an eclectic variety of music to passers-by from gypsy-jazz and soulful vocals to shanties with a twist.
"The response to our May Slow Canal Trail has been fantastic, and has appealed to people of all ages and walks of life," said Anna Bonallack, manager of the Cotswold Canals Connected Community Engagement team.
"The canal is here for everyone to enjoy - and there really is something for everyone."
An art exhibition by OK Let's Create Stuff is on display at Stroud and Stonehouse train stations, and a community exhibition of people's art, poems and thoughts about the canal is displayed on the Cotswold Canals Connected canal side noticeboards.
Don't miss the interactive light and sound display at Haywards Bridge (under Horsetrough roundabout) near Ryeford or the chance to listen to canal tales on an audio post at Ocean.
Wild Weekend performances
Saturday May 29
Matthew Heyse-Moore is a musician, composer, and teacher based in Stroud. His music is inspired by the beauty and power of mountains, rivers, and other natural landscapes, combining chant with acoustic instruments and natural sounds. Matthew plays piano and clarinet and seeks to share a love of music through a thriving teaching practice as well as through his own compositions. For his meander along the canal, Matthew will be providing clarinet and voice, based on his album 'Elements of Nature'. An exploratory and improvisational performance inspired by place.
Time: 11am - 1pm. Where you might spot him: Fromehall Mill towards Stroud
The Dry Seamen: These lickspittle landlubbers hail from landlocked Chalford and are rumoured to play excruciatingly twisted shanties in unusual ways. Come and join their mutated mutiny.
Time: 12 noon - 1pm
Where you might spot them: Capels Mill
Max and Raphael Gypsy-Jazz Folk Duo: This fast and furious folk duo will have your toes tapping and spirits lifted. Raphael on fiddle and Max on guitar, they play traditional reels and gypsy jazz with ease and vigour.
Time: 12noon - 2pm
Where you might spot them: Somewhere around the Ocean
D'Artangnan: Guitarist and singer
Time: 2pm - 4pm.
Where you might spot him: around Ebley Wharf and Queen Elizabeth II Fields
Sunday, May 30
Rumi-Blue Singer and guitarist: A rare gem to stumble across under a quiet bridge or next to a trickling stream, Rumi-Blue's light soulful vocals will carry you to the far reaches of your imagination.
Time: 12noon - 2pm
Where you might spot her: Starting at Wallbridge and Capels Mill, heading to Fromehall pond
Flies on the Wall Youth Theatre will perform The Owl and the Pussycat on the water (in their beautiful pea green boat)Time: 3pm - 5pm
Where you might spot them: Ryford Bridge.
Monday 31 May
John Bassett of Spaniel in the Works Theatre Company presents three short dark tales of Gloucestershire - The Rotten Tale of Richard Parsons, The Dunston Boys - Tom, Dick and Harry and The Fairy Cider. Traditional dark Gloucestershire folk tales told in a lively funny manner using rhyme, song and some very odd costume! - at selected points along the canal from Stonehouse towards the Ocean.
Time: 12noon - 3pmWhere you might spot him: The Stonehouse part of the canal, heading towards The Ocean
All performances will be subject to the weather.
The Wildlife Weekend is part of the month-long `slow canal trail' to celebrate the beginning of the final stage of canal restoration which will connect the Stroudwater canal to the national inland waterways network.
Visitors can upload stories, photos and videos taken along the routes to an online community map for others to be inspired by. It means the canal and canal-based activities are available to people that can't be there in person, including those who are still shielding.
The Slow Canal Trail is a relaxed, family-friendly way to discover the canal and surrounding areas, and includes an interactive light and sound installation at Haywards Bridge (under Horsetrough roundabout), art exhibitions, audio posts, wildlife and heritage bingo cards, wheelchair accessible boat trips and more.
More information, including maps and bingo cards to download are on the website www.cotswoldcanalsconnected.org
Share your canal trail experiences here on the interactive Cotswold Canals Connected community map.
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