Promoted on a doubtful footing during the Canal Mania of the 1790s, the Hereford & Gloucester Canal has an absorbing history and industrial archaeology, and it is hoped these pages will provide a useful introduction to a subject which the author has studied for 30 years. In particular, reference is made at some length to the part played by Stephen Ballard, a local man by whose drive and ability the canal was at last completed, and whose diaries have provided a vivid insight into days before the railways came. For one who numbered among his friends and acquaintances George and Robert Stephenson, Thomas Brassey, Joseph Locke, and I.K. Brunel, Ballard's name, like the canal he built, has lapsed into undeserved oblivion. The biographical notes included here are an attempt to restore his position among the foremost contractors and engineers of the day. No story of the canal would be complete without reference to the Gloucester-Ledbury railway, which after 1885 assumed to a considerable extent its role and route, and a chapter on this era is included. Of the canal itself, many remnants survive to surprise those who care to leave the beaten track – bridges, aqueducts, tunnels, and silent ribbons of water which we can scarcely believe no barge has parted for a hundred years. In this enlarged edition we record the achievements, so far, of the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust in its endeavours to link two cities by water again, after a gap of well over a century.