The Grand Western Canal Country Park – 5 miles

Grand Western Canal

Image by Lewis Clarke CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

A beautiful peaceful place to walk your dog, where they can have a swim in the canal, lots to see and explore on this lovely level walk.

There are plenty of parking spaces at the Tiverton Road Bridge, and an attractive picnic area in the bend of the canal, on the site of one of the wharves where stone was unloaded and crushed for use in road-making. Park here and walk over the sandstone bridge, then left to join the canal. Turn left under the bridge (the canal will be to your right). Many of the bridges display mason’s marks, and there are some here: the stonemasons marked their work so that poor work could be traced to the right culprit!

This section of the canal and tow path is extremely pretty. The water is edged with a broad band of white waterlilies, and you will see coots, moorhens and mallards. Typical flowers include hemp agrimony, arrowhead, cuckoo flower and yellow iris. As you leave the road behind you are likely to see a heron and, if you’re lucky, a kingfisher.

  • Cross the canal at Crownhill (or Change Path) Bridge, where there’s another picnic area.
  • Turn left and continue along the tow path. The canal runs over an aqueduct, built in 1847, 40ft (12m) above the now dismantled Tiverton-to-Tiverton Junction line. Just past the aqueduct there are glorious views left across farmland towards the Blackdown Hills.
  • The path continues to East Manley Bridge, Manley Bridge and Warnicombe Bridge, where there are glorious willows, oak, ash and beech trees. You may well see a brightly painted horse-drawn barge here; the Grand Western Horseboat Company operates trips along the canal from March to December.
  • There is a milestone just before the next bridge, Tidcombe Bridge, though its inscription is now indecipherable. As the edge of Tiverton is reached, neat gardens front the water’s edge.
  • The tow path passes under a modern footbridge, then an old stone bridge pier on the opposite bank, still showing the grooves for a stop-gate. This would have been used to seal off part of the canal in times of emergency or when repairs were needed to this section.
  • The canal basin is reached after 2½ miles (4km) of pleasant, gentle walking – and it’s pretty easy to find your way home!

About the Author: Helen Sampson has been training with Devon Dogs for 2 years, starting off as a Training Assistant and now teaches Lifeskills classes at Newhall.  Helen owned dogs her whole life starting off with Springer Spaniels. Her first Collie, Tia, had massive issues due to a bad start in life, but with Helen’s patient training, has learned to overcome them. Tia is now a very happy dog who is no longer afraid of the world. She also has another 4 year old Border Collie, Jake, whom she trains in Agility, and would like to compete with him in the near future. 

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