Grand Western Canal – Devon

[ Photo Gallery # 89 ]

The Grand Western Canal provides wonderful level walks and bike rides along its nature-adorned tow paths.  It extends for eleven and a quarter miles from the basin in Tiverton, East Devon, through quaint and charming villages to Lowdwells, near the Somerset border.

Perhaps the greatest attraction on the Canal is the much-loved horse-drawn barge based at the start of the canal in Tiverton.  It is a beautiful wide beam, 75-seater horse-drawn barge and the same boat has been taking passengers for trips along the canal since 1974.  The Devon section of the GW Canal is now a designated country park.

My photographs below were taken on a beautiful summer afternoon when I undertook a trip on the ‘Tivertonian’.

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I have covered some of this information before on one of my blogs, which can be viewed by clicking on: ‘The Canal Horse’

The video below was made by The BBC, ‘One of the Last Horse Drawn Barges in the UK’ was filmed on the Grand Western Canal in Devon UK.

 

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THE CANAL HORSE

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On the Great Western Canal at Tiverton, Devon . . .  Photo – WHB – 2013

THE CANAL HORSE

Sedate
And ponderous
He carries his weight lightly
But without pace
It is summer work
Plying the bank
Subject to the weather
And his master
Apparently contented
But perhaps sad
Would he rather be elsewhere
But what would he know
Of elsewhere
This has been his life
His only life
Since brought into this world
Delivered as a foal by a mother
Who knew only this very same life
Tutored on this very canal bank
Learning the towpath’s bends
Its tricky turns
The track ruts to avoid
The necessary manoeuvres
When hitching up
H is purpose in life
Why else was he brought into this world
He knows his master
Trusts and
Respects him
Always by his side
His every command
Gentle but firm
A tug on the lead
A wary grunt
They tread the canal bank
The towpath to pleasure
Other’s pleasure
His Pilgrim’s Way
The daily round
His common task

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On the Great Western Canal at Tiverton, Devon . . . Photo – WHB – 2015

Broken only at the terminus
A half-way respite
By the bridge
A brief uncoupling
A hay bag
A nuzzle
A few photographs
Then the return
The narrow boat his carriage
Its passengers his charges
He carries on
Always carries on
Trundling his life
In peace
In tranquillity
His boat
His harnessed heritage
Disturbing the reeds
And the ducks only
Creating a minor slipstream
Before the end
Disembarkation
Then a brief hiatus
Before the ever echoing pattern
Repeats itself
As do the days
And the months
Until
Darkness descends
And time
Ceases to exist

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On the Great Western Canal, Tiverton, Devon . . .  Pen & Wash by WHB – 2013

This canal ride is offered during the Summer months on one of the last Horse-Drawn Barges in Great Britain.  Scheduled rides on the canal boat start and end from the point where the Great Western Canal commences, in Tiverton, East Devon.  Details of what is on offer  at this delightful site and timetable of the canal trips can be found on the website below  . . .

http://www.tivertoncanal.co.uk/floating-cafe-bar

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A BBC TV Video of this canal barge experience is also made available via this website . . .

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