The canal's use as a trade route declined with the advent of the railway, which reached Tiverton in 1848. Ultimately this led to most of the canal being sold back to the land owners. In 1970 Devon County Council took control and lined dry sections of the canal to make them waterproof. The canal reopend in 1971 and today is enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.
The 11 mile long Tiverton Canal is a section of the Grand Western Canal, which was conceived to join the Bristol Channel to the English Channel in order to bypass Lands End as a trade route. The Tiverton section joined to Lowdwells on the Devon/Somerset border and was opened in 1814. The canal is level and navigable, and is now a designated country park and local nature reserve.
The canal is home to a variety of waterfowl including ducks and swans. Mallards, mute swans and moorhens are often seen too. Also look out for reed warblers, grey wagtails, reed buntings, sedge warblers and kingfishers in late summer and early spring.
In the summer months the towpath's flora harbour animals and insects such as butterlies, dragonflies and damselflies and if you're really lucky you might even spot an otter. Foxes, badgers and deer are also common in the park. There's a variety of wildflower to see too as well as the impressive oaks that line the canal and offer shelter to wildlife.
Tiverton and District Angling Club lease angling rights for the canal but be aware that in addition to holding a valid Environment Agency Rod Licence, a permit must be purchased in advance. As well as walks along the towpath, visitors can also enjoy a horse-drawn barge trip along the canal and a beer or coffee at the Ducks Ditty Bar at Tiverton Wharf. Also at the Wharf is a gift shop and Canal Visitor Centre.
Location: The Canal Basin is accessed via steps from Canal Hill. Other parts of the Canal can be accessed along points along the waterway, which essentially runs west to east through the town.
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