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.
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 www.geocaching.com 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 easyfundraising.org.ukand 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 parkAlready this year we have found more sidings and rails than was originally known from previous excavations.
Work continues to remove over 100 years accumulation of silt from the northern terminus of the Stover Canal at Ventiford Basin. Contractors have been using heavy machinery to reveal the granite walls which will be restored at the beginning of August when members of the Waterway Recovery Group return to help us.
Restoration of Ventiford Basin - July 2016
During the excavations, more evidence of damaged barges has been found. Our archaeologist, Dr Phil Newman, has recorded details and who knows, perhaps one day a replica barge can be constructed and floated in the basin!
Second barge found at Ventiford Basin
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2017 - See our progress since 2011 on our new pages
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 18th 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.
Ventiford Basin Planning Application Approved - August 2017
Plans for the re-watering of the Ventiford Basin have been approved to Teignbrige Planners and can be viewed on
The proposals include the construction of a small clay-cored dam at the Southern end of the basin, making good the granite walls and lining the bed with an impervious layer to make it watertight. The basin would fill with Winter flood water which would then be held and topped-up with a small flow from the Ventiford Brook. On completion of the major works, landscaping will take place resulting in an attractive rest area for residents and tourists enjoying the Stover Trail and Templer Way.
Click and expand to see detail of the Proposed Dam andLandscape Plan
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 ofthe restoration to representatives of the Canal& Rivers Trust(left)
Before and After views of the lock.
Click here to see the wholestory of the restoration.
Open Weekend 2017
The biennial Open Weekend was held on the 23rd and 24th September.This year marks the 225th Anniversary of the canal reaching it’s terminus at Ventiford Basin. A replica wagon was placed on the granite rails there along with our plans for the area.There was a ceremony at Graving Dock Lock on the Saturday to mark the completion of the restoration project and the display area alongside the ‘old’ Exeter Road was, as usual, set out at the Sibelco entrance to the East Golds works.Displays were provided on the Saturday by the RSPB, the Barn Owl Trust, Bovey Heritage Centre, Kelly Mine, the Ball Clay Heritage Society and others. Teigngrace Church was open over the lunchtime period on both days.
Cllr. George Gribblecuts the tape atGraving Dock Lockon the Saturday.