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 issues their own magazine, the Sou’Wester, 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 Trust ©Stover Canal Trust
Unless stated, all material © Stover Canal Trust 2019  


Wikipedia tells us that– “Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity, in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook where the geocacher enters the date they found it and signs it with their established code name. After signing the log, the cache must be placed back exactly where the person found it. Larger containers such as plastic storage containers (Tupperware or similar) or ammunition boxes can also contain items for trading, usually toys or trinkets of little financial value, although sometimes they are sentimental. Geocaching shares many aspects with benchmarking, trigpointing, orienteering, treasure-hunting, letterboxing, and waymarking. Generally accepted rules are to not endanger others, to minimize the impact on nature, to respect private property, and to avoid public alarm.” There is a website which shows that containers were placed along the canal earlier this year. The committee understands that the Rangers at Stover Park are aware of the placement of some geocaching boxes along the Templer Way. However, permission has neither been sought or granted for any other placement by the Stover Canal Trust. We are working to increase public access to the canal and will not, therefore, take any action in this matter provided the activity does not create problems for other users. So if you see someone acting furtively alongside the canal it may not be as suspicious as it may appear!


The    Stover    Canal    Trust    has    teamed    up    with    Easyfundraising    as    a convenient   way   for   supporters   who   shop   on-line   to   get   traders   to   donate to our cause. If   you   find   an   item   on-line,   and   the   outlet   subscribes   to   Easyfundraising, simply   by   redirecting   to   the   traders   site   via    and completing   your   purchase   in   the   usual   way   will   gain   a   small   amount   of money for the Stover Canal AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU! We   hope   you   will   consider   this   method   as   a   way   to   provide   us   with FREE   MONEY   to   carry   on   the   restoration   work   of   the   canal   and   it’s structures. Thank you!

Dig starts at Ventiford Basin - May 2016

This year will see the culmination of our research and the programme of work will include the complete uncovering of an early 19th-century clay barge, which worked the canal between Ventiford and Teignmouth; its timber remains have been buried in the silt, probably since before the 1870s. In the past two years, the team has uncovered small sections of the vessel, but this year we hope to have the entire bottom section exposed, all 15m of it. We will also be working on revealing an 80m-long section of the Haytor Granite Tramroad, which was in use between 1820 and 1840 to transport granite from George Templer’s famous quarries at Haytor in Dartmoor National Park, down to the canal at Ventiford. This was unearthed during work leading up to last year’s excavations and is a truly remarkable discovery. The 12km tramroad has international heritage significance and is a unique monument to industry, because the track was built from elongated granite blocks placed end to end, with flanges along the rails to guide the wheels of the trucks,
rather than using the more traditional iron rails with flanged wheels on the vehicles. Although long and impressive sections of the tramroad survive in situ within the National Park, until now it was believed that the track had been lost completely between Bovey Tracey and Ventiford. However, this amazing find, which was a siding off the main trunk, now provides the only significant surviving section of tramroad outside the national park Already   this   year   we   have   found   more   sidings   and   rails   than was originally known from previous excavations.
© Phil Newman
Also, keep up with events as they happen on Facebook

2017 - See our progress since 2011 on our new pages

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

Annual General Meeting - March 2017

The       Stover       Canal Trust    held    its    Annual General     Meeting     at K   i   n   g   s   t   e   i   g   n   t   o   n     Community   Centre   on the 18 th  March. Opening    the    meeting at       10       am,       Trust Chairman,   John   Pike, reported                  that significant        progress had   been   made   in   the last      12      months      in preparing   the   basin   at Ventiford    for    potential r   e   -   w   a   t   e   r   i   n   g   .     Acknowledging        that the    site    unfortunately looks    like    a    building site   at   present,   Mr   Pike   assured   the   audience   that   future   plans   include   landscaping   in   mitigation   for   the   loss   of vegetation   as   a   result   of   the   preparations.   Detailed   plans   are   included   in   the   planning   application   submitted   to Teignbridge planners which can be found on their Planning Online website for public comment. Following   the   election   of   officers,   and   refreshments,   members   heard   a   fascinating   talk   by   the   Rev’d   Nicholas   Pearkes on the redundant slate quarry near Littlehempston. The   Penn   Recca   Mine   at   Landscove,   near   Combe   village   was   Devon's   only   slate   mine.   It   had   been   worked   as   early   as 1381,   but   is   now   totally   overgrown   and   no   longer   visible.   The   slate   had   been   used   to   roof   Dartington   Hall,   and   also   the army barracks in Madras. To   work   the   quarry,   everything   was   initially   hauled   manually.   Later   a   horse   windlass   was   brought   into   use.   There   were rail   tracks   from   the   entrance   and   trucks   would   be   hauled   by   pack   horses   to   unload   onto   the   barges   on   the   canal.   The trucks   were   open   ended   so   that   the   heavy   slate   could   be   slid   off   the   end   to   unload.      The   slate   was   all   cut   by   hand   in   a saw pit. By the 1830's, steam power had been brought in to make parts of the operation more efficient. Because   of   the   danger   of   roof   falls,   at   regular   intervals   a   very   long   rope   ladder   was   lowered   into   the   pit,   and   a   miner had   to   climb   up   and   banged   the   roof   with   a   hammer   to   make   sure   that   it   was   intact   and   safe. After   being   worked   out   the mine was 400 ft deep. The mine itself is now totally hidden from view by a tree lined valley. Some   of   the   mine   workers   slept   in   3-storey   dormitories,   and   others   occupied   cottages.   Each   row   of   cottages   had   a pump   and   a   water   trough.   The   industry   kept   large   number   of   people   in   work   in   the   locality.   Many   of   the   buildings   still standing   in   the   area   can   be   connected   back   to   the   slade   industry   including   the   original   Managers   house   and   the   local pub. The   minerals   would   be   loaded   onto   tub   boats   and   taken   down   the   Hems   Canal   to Totnes.   By   constructing   a   tidal   gate   at the   confluence   of   the   Rivers   Hems   and   Dart   it   was   not   necessary   to   dig   a   canal.   It   had   no   locks   but   had   stop   logs   at narrow points along the route for water control. The route to Totnes was approximately 2 miles.
Click on the pictures to see detail of the project.
Built by our forefathers, preserved for our grandchildren

Graving Dock Lock Restoration Recognised - September 2017

The   Canal   and   Rivers   Trust   holds   an   annual   competition   called   the   Living   Waterways   Awards   to   recognise   notable achievements by canal groups all over the country. We   are   pleased   to   announce   that   this   year,   the   restoration   of   the   Graving   Dock   Lock   has   been   recognised   under   the Restoration & Historic Environment category. Jointly   funded   by   awards   from   the   Association   for   Industrial   Archaeology   and   the   Tesco   ‘Bags   of   Help’   scheme,   the major   restoration   was   carried   out   by   volunteers   and   contractors   over   two   years.   The   final   details   of   recreating   the boiler structure and installing a seat have now been completed. Inspection   by   CRT   representatives   took   place   on   the   12th   June   and   they   recommended   our   project   to   the   meeting   of the   judging   panel   in   July.   Along   with   18   other   entrants   under   7   differing   categories,   we   were   invited   to   the   awards ceremony in Birmingham on the 27th September. Our category was won by the Window on the World project.
Trustees and volunteers explain the details of the restoration to representatives of the Canal & Rivers Trust (left)
Before and After views of the lock.
Click here to see the whole story of the restoration.
Graving Dock Lock Graving Dock Lock
Progress at Ventiford Basin - April 2019
The   dam   has   been   completed   and   faced   with   recycled   paving   slabs.   Although   suffering   a   small   amount   of   damage   following winter   floods,   when   the   flow   over   the   dam   dislodged   some   slabs,   it   has   proved   its   value   by   retaining   some   flood   water   over   the Winter period. Work will soon start again at Ventiford with the advent of more favourable weather. Investigations   continue   into   the   base   of   the   crane,   the   remains   of   which   are   on   the   Western   side   of   the   basin.   No   drawings   or details   of   the   original   have   been   traced,   if   they   ever   existed,   and   so   our   volunteers   are   having   to   act   like   archaeologists   in unearthing    the    mechanism    below    ground    level.    This    was    carried    out    at    the    beginning    of   April    and    photographs    and measurements   taken. The   structure   is   incredibly   well   engineered   as   was   expected   given   the   weight   of   the   granite   blocks   which were   loaded   here   into   the   barges.   Our   understanding   is   growing   and   we   soon   hope   to   have   a   drawing   of   the   whole   crane   to work with. We can then consider the options for reconstruction.
Tree Felling - February 2019
Whilst   there   ongoing   work   at   Ventiford   Basin,   it   is   very   dependant   on   ground   conditions   and   available   manpower.   In   the meantime,   our   volunteers   are   using   this   time   of   the   year   to   scrub   clearance   and   tree   felling   before   the   main   start   of   the   bird nesting season on the 1st March. The   Canal   Trust   is   guided   by   the   2010   monitoring   report   on   the   Stover   Canal   County   Wildlife   Site   on   behalf   of   the   Devon Biodiversity Records Centre, which includes the following recommendations for the management of the canal: " 1.   Water   bodies   with   less   shade   are   generally   more   botanically   diverse   than   heavily   shaded   waterbodies.   As   such   it   is recommended   that   the   vast   majority   of   the   scrub   and   trees   are   removed   from   the   length   of   the   canal.   This   is   especially relevant   to   the   canal   to   the   north   of   Exeter   Road.   Retentions   of   some   mature   and   semi-mature   trees   along   the   banks   of   the canal   is   also   recommended   as   these   will   provide   structural   diversity   as   well   as   foraging   and   nesting   habitat   for   birds,   Some patches   of   scrub   adjacent   to   the   western   bank   should   also   be   retained   as   this   would   provide   suitable   habitat   for   resting   otters. Although   it   is   important   that   the   canal   is   unshaded   and   open,   it   should   not   be   too   open   and   exposed   as   otters   and   other mammals require some cover to commute through the site..... 8. The canal should be allowed to colonise naturally and no plants should be brought onto the site. In view of the monitoring report guidance, the Trust's basic approach between Ventiford Basin and Exeter Road is:    -   to   remove   virtually   all   of   the   trees   and   scrub   growing   in   the   bed   of   the   canal,   including   sections   where   at   present   there   is rarely any standing water; (This will also help to improve flood water flows by minimising obstructions)    -   to   remove   living   and   decayed   trees   on   the   eastern   bank   only   for   good   reason   such   as   risk   to   the   safety   of   walkers/cyclists, and    -   to   retain   all   healthy   trees   and   scrub   growing   on   the   western   bank   and   a   number   of   smaller   decaying   specimens   for woodpeckers and nuthatch food sources. Accordingly,   Trust   volunteers   act   to   remove   dead   and   diseased   tree   growth   which   presents   a   danger   to   the   public   using   the towpath and adjacent cycleway.
© Graham Cox-Facebook