Friday, August 10, 2007

Canal Walk: Tavistock

With an hour to spare in Tavistock, Devon, I took a walk on the disused Tavistock Canal. I parked at the Canal Wharf in Tavistock in the large pay and display car park which is inbetween the river and the feeder for the canal. The pedestrian bridge out of the car park crosses the feeder channel but the channel is over grown so you cant see much. At the other end of the car park are the wharf buildings, and from under the road comes the Tavistock Canal. It passes along the back of some buildings and then into the park called the Meadows. There are a couple of pedestrian bridges over the canal giving access from the street to the towpath. At the end of the park is West Bridge and a very busy road. Near here there is a statue of Sir Francis Drake who sailed sterner waters than the Tavistock Canal. You can either use the underpass or take your life in your hands and cross the road. The canal passes by a school and some housing before turning a corner andheading into woodland. There is what looks like a swing bridge by the housing but with no boats there is no sign of swinging here.
The canal was running low on water and only a couple of inches deep in places. The bankside seemed to be cut from the bedrock while the towpath side, on an embankment, is lined with local stones.
Past the housing estate there was no one else on the towpath. I walked up to the gate by the Crowndale Farm, the birth place of Drake. There is a long low farm building here and an information board giving history of the canal.
I turned around here. The sign says there is no public access to the aqueduct or the entrance to the tunnel.
Back in Tavistock we went to the bridge over the river to see if we could see the sluice that takes river water into the feeder. There was building work going on and the river side path was closed. The building work obviously explains the low water levels on the canal.
This is a nice place for a walk and I will be returning.

No comments: