Hundreds of people have visited the historic Gatehouse at Bond’s Mill Estate, owned by the Robert Hitchins Group, as it gets a new lease of life as a mini heritage centre.

The Cotswolds Canals Trust now occupies the quaint Grade II listed building, which is perched on the edge of the Stroudwater Navigation Canal at Stonehouse.

Originally a gun turret built as part of the Second World War defences to protect Bristol and Avonmouth, it is being transformed into an activity centre, used for displays on the history of the Gatehouse, the Stroudwater Canal and the Bond’s Mill business park.

More than 200 people visited when the Gatehouse opened its doors for the first time at Easter.  Thousands more read about it on Facebook and on the Cotswold Canals website.

Guests at the official opening included Stroud District Council Leader David Hagg, members of the Cotswolds Canals Trust, partners from the Waterways and Wildlife Trusts and local history and archaeology groups. The landlord was represented by Helen Hawke, Accounts and Administration Manager with Robert Hitchins Group.

The Gatehouse is open to the public at weekends and on Bank Holidays, run by volunteers from the Canals Trust and the Stonehouse History Group.

The Trust is looking for information and memories of the Gatehouse so do get in touch via the website http://cotswoldcanals.com/bonds-mill-visitor-centre/  Members are also looking for volunteers to man the centre during opening hours.

Bond’s Mill is a thriving business park just 1.5 miles from junction 13 of the M5. It is home to 45 companies from start-ups to well-established names such as UK Power Solutions, Green Gourmet, Omega Resource and BPE Solicitors.

It boasts a mix of character offices and workspace in the refurbished Victorian mill buildings together with modern commercial premises, a café and ample car parking all set in pleasant surroundings of fields and trees with the Stroudwater Canal and River Frome flowing through it. Space is available to let ranging from 100 to 5,000ft2.