Inland Waterways Association Bulletin

The Inland Waterways Association campaigns for the use, maintenance and restoration of Britain’s waterways. It is a national charity run by volunteers, and has over 18,000 members whose interests include boating, towing path walking, industrial archaeology, nature conservation and many other activities associated with the inland waterways. The Association Vision is to ensure the inland waterways of England and Wales are restored and maintained to the best possible standards, and kept accessible for the benefit of all people. A regular update on all things connected with these aims is published on their website. The South West Region of the IWA has their own section which can be found here.

The Stover Bargee

We   produce   a   quarterly   newsletter   called   The   Stover   Bargee   which   is   delivered   to   members.   To   see   a   previous   issue please click here .
STOVER CANAL STOVER CANAL

News

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Lower Towpath-Phase 1 Lower Towpath-Phase 1 Graving Dock Lock Graving Dock Lock Ventiford Basin and the Granite Tramway Ventiford Basin and the Granite Tramway
Built by our forefathers, preserved for our grandchildren

Summer 2020

Along  

with  

the  

rest  

of  

the  

world,  

COVID-19  

has  

disrupted  

life  

for  

the  

volunteers.  

We  

have  

been  

unable  

to  

attend  

our  

usual

outdoor events and our fund raising has taken a huge hit.

Work      parties      which      have      been suspended   since   lockdown   resumed   in July   but   with   revised   working   practises in       accordance       with       government guidelines.    We    have    concentrated    on clearing   the   vegetation   which   has   taken hold    during    the    period    since    March, particularly   addressing   the   problem   of Hymalayan    balsam    which    has    again taken   hold   in   some   areas.   This   invasive species   is   relatively   easy   to   pull   up   and it   is   important   to   remove   it   before   the seed   heads   form.   It   dies   back   during the   winter   and   leaves   the   ground   bare and susceptible to erosion.
Plans   for   the   replica   crane   at   Ventiford   Basin are   with   Teignbridge   DC   planners   and   we   hope for    a    favourable    decision    in    September.    We have   secured   a   suitable,   felled   oak   tree   and tenders are out for the necessary ironwork.
In     the     meantime,     construction     of     a     replica tramway   wagon   is   well   under   way   by   a   small   team of our talented volunteers.

Autumn 2020

The   Haytor   Granite Tramway   was   built   in   1820   by   George Templer   of   Stover,   and   its   opening   celebrated   on   16th   September 1820. It ran from the family quarries at Haytor to the Canal terminus at Ventiford. Over   the   weekend   of   the   19th   and   20th   September,   volunteers   held   a   low-key   event   at   the   Basin   to   mark   the   event   of   200 years before. George   was   the   son   of   James   Templer   II,   who   built   the   Stover   Canal   thirty   years   earlier,   and   grandson   of   James   Templer   I who,   in   1777,   used   part   of   his   immense   wealth   from   constructing   the   naval   docks   at   Chatham,   Portsmouth   and Plymouth to build Stover House. Having   acquired   the   Manor   of   Ilsington   and   its   quarries   at   Haytor,   George   Templer   built   the   Tramway   to   transport   granite from   his   quarries   to   the   head   of   the   Stover   Canal   at   Ventiford.   From   there   the   granite   could   be   carried   by   barge   to Teignmouth   and   shipped   by   coaster   to   London   where   it   was   used   from   the   1820’s   to   the   1850s   in   many   prestigious buildings   an   structures   such   as   London   Bridge,   the   British   Museum   and   Covent   Garden   Market   and   the   pedestals   of famous statues such as those of King Gorge III in Windsor Park and the Duke of Wellington in Hyde Park. The Tramway   was   unique,   the   rails   being   cut   out   of   freely-available   granite   –   mainly   moorstone   -   instead   of   costly   cast   iron.     Approximately   7,000   tons   of   granite   were   used   during   the   11   months   that   it   took   to   build   the   seven   mile-long   Tramway. Once   built,   quarried   granite   was   carried   on   flat-topped   wagons   that   descended   largely   by   gravity   via   Yarner   Wood   to Bovey   Tracey   and   hauled   from   there   by   horse   to   Ventiford. At   Ventiford   a   huge   crane   on   the   west   side   of   the   basin   was used to transfer the granite blocks - weighing up to three tons - from wagon to barge. The   Tramway   is   well   preserved   from   Haytor   to   Bovey   Tracey,   its   route   being   followed   by   the   Templer   Way   footpath. However   from   Bovey   Tracey   to   the   Ventiiford   basin   the   Tramway   was   obliterated   by   the   construction   in   1865   of   the Moretonhampstead   branch   line   along   its   route,   bringing   to   an   end   the   use   of   this   section   of   the Tramway   and   the   Stover Canal for the transportation of granite. In   recent   years   Stover   Canal   Trust   volunteers   have   revealed   Tramway   rails   on   the   east   side   of   the   basin   showing   that   the Tramway   was   also   used   to   transport   materials   such   as   coal   and   flints   to   Bovey   Pottery   and   micaceous   haematite   from mines   in   the   Wray   Valley.   With   assistance   from   the   ball   clay   mining   company   Sibelco   (the   Canal   was   originally   built   to transport   ball   clay)   ,   volunteers   have   removed   the   silt   that   filled   the   basin,   carried   out   archaeological   investigation   of three   barge   ‘hulks’   buried   in   the   basin,   built   a   dam   to   enable   water   to   be   held   in   the   basin   and   have   lifted   the   base   of   the old crane out of its 9-foot (2.7 metre) pit in preparation for the installation of a replica crane.
Temporary crane and replica wagon
Small davit
Original crane base
and
Winter 2020
Flooding   from   the   River   Teign   has   again   damaged some   lengths   of   the   canal   bank   and   towpath   but   it was   good   to   see   water   in   the   lower   part   of   the   canal -   even   if   it   was   flowing!   Work   parties   are   suspended under   lockdown   restrictions   but   individual   members have    managed    to    stabilised    the    most    dangerous sections for safety purposes.
Following   the   floods   came   the   freeze   but   the   winter sunshine    gave    photographers    the    opportunity    for some wonderful pictures.
Meanwhile,   the   oak   tree   for   the   Ventiford   crane has   been   sawn   to   shape   and   delivered   to   our   yard for finishing.
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