on   the Teign   had   increased   from   400   boatloads   of   clay   per   year   before   the   canal   was   built,   to   600   per   year. This   figure   increased   to 1,000 per year by 1854. From   1820    the   canal   was   also   used   in   conjunction   with   George   Templer’s   Granite   tramway   to   transport   granite   from   the   family’s quarry   complex   on   Haytor   Down,   to   Ventiford.   However,   the   granite   trade   was   somewhat   sporadic   with   fluctuating   production.   No granite was produced or transported between 1841 and 1851. By 1858 the quarries and tramway had closed. In   1829    the   entire   Stover   estate,   including   the   canal   and   the   tramway,   was   sold   to   Edward   Seymour,   the   Duke   of   Somerset.   The Duke   is   reputed   to   have   taken   little   interest   in   the   canal   which   by   1840    had   been   leased   to   Whiteway   and   Mortimer,   one   of   the   clay companies operating in the area. In   the   late   1850s,   the   proposal   to   construct   the   Moretonhampstead   and   South   Devon   Railway   (MSDR)   included   utilising   the   course of   both   the   granite   tramway   and   the   canal.   By   1862    the   railway   company   had   purchased   both   and   the   new   railway   was   built   over the   course   of   the   tramway   from   Brimley   to   Ventiford   then   to   run   alongside   the   canal,   down   to   Newton   Abbot.   The   railway   was completed   in   1866   and   although   the   MSDR   had   no   obligation   to   maintain   the   canal,   from   1867    it   was   leased   to   Messrs   Watts, Blake,   Bearne   and   Co.   (WBB)   who   continued   to   use   it   to   transport   clay   from   Teignbridge   clay   cellars.   The   canal   above   Teignbridge was   no   longer   used   other   than   to   give   barges   access   to   Graving   Dock   Lock.   This   lock   had   become   the   main   barge   maintenance and   repair   workshop;   the   original   dry   dock   having   been   destroyed   at   Teigngrace   when   the   railway   was   built   over   it.   The   canal above Graving Dock became derelict from this point onward. In   1877    the   railway   and   the   canal   were   purchased   by   the   Great   Western   Railway   Co.   (GWR)      and   by   1896    they   had   commissioned a   survey   into   the   future   of   the   canal. At   that   time,   Stover   was   the   only   canal   owned   by   GWR,   where   income   exceeded   expenditure so   its   future   was   temporarily   assured.   However,   most   of   the   expense   was   now   falling   on   WBB,   the   lessees   of   the   canal   and although   new   lock   gates   were   fitted   in   1906,   the   decline   of   the   canal   was   now   inevitable   with   competition   from   railways   and   motor transport.   Although   the   canal   remained   in   use   for   another   30   years,   by   1937    no   clay   companies   were   using   barges   to   transport their   clay,   and   when   WBB’s   lease   expired   i n   1942 ,   it   was   not   renewed.   The   GWR   then   opted   to   close   the   canal   to   barge   traffic   and discontinue   maintenance.   Water   remained   in   the   canal   until   1951    when   it   burst   its   banks,   flooding   part   of   a   nearby   clay   works. Since then the channel and all the locks have fallen into a state of serious neglect. The   canal   is   currently   owned   by   Network   Rail,   though   Jetty   Marsh   Lock   and   Ventiford   Basin   are   owned   by   Teignbridge   District Council   (TDC).   The   section   of   canal   towpath   between   Teigngrace   Lock   and   the   canal   bridge   forms   part   of   the   Templer   Way   historic trail. The Stover Trail cycle and walkway was constructed by Devon County Council and opened in 2015.
Unless stated, all material © Stover Canal Trust 2017  

History of the

Stover Canal

The    Stover    Canal    was    built    by    James    Templer    of Stover   Lodge   between   1790   and   1792.    The   first   barge transported   clay   between   Teignbridge   and   Teignmouth   on March   4th   1790.   The   canal   was   further   extended   North   to Ventiford beyond Teigngrace. Ball   clay   was   a   rapidly   expanding   industry   in   the   Bovey Basin   during   the   late   18th   century.   The   canal   was   born from   the   need   to   transport   ball   clay   to   markets   in   The Potteries   in   Staffordshire.   Clay   was   shipped   out   of   the area   via   the   Teign   estuary   but   before   1790,   it   had   to   be transported   overland   on   the   poor   roads   of   the   time,   to Hackney   near   Kingsteignton   where   it   was   transferred   to waterborne     vessels.     Templer’s     canal     shortened     the overland   part   of   this   journey   considerably.   By   1816    trade
Built by our forefathers, preserved for our grandchildren