Fortunately, the Navigation had enough supporters in Parliament for the Stroudwater Act to be passed. In 1776, 'Stroud Water Triumphant' was published to celebrate. Work rapidly pressed ahead as Samuel Rudder reported in 1779:
'In 1775, an Act passed for making a navigable canal from Wallbridge, near Stroud, to the Severn near Framilode; in consequence whereof a handsome canal, forty-two feet wide is already cut part of the way and when completed will be of great advantage to this country and the neighbouring parts by the importation of all heavy goods, and especially of coal of which there is a great consumption amongst the clothiers and dyers.'
The final section of the canal opened on 21st July 1779. The undertaking had cost £41,000 - twice the estimate. An extra £10,000 had been raised from the shareholders and the rest had been borrowed.
This extract from the Tonnage Book for August 1782, shows that six out of every seven tons arriving at Wallbridge was coal.
A picture from 1786, shows the Commissioners' Barge passing Stonehouse Church in style, while three men trudge along the towpath pulling a barge.