Grand Western Canal refreshes the voyage through history and nature

Visitors to the Grand Western Canal Country Park now have a range of new facilities to help them make the most of their trip to the charming waterway in Tiverton. The Canal Visitor Centre now features two new video display screens, each playing a choice of several short film clips, including some spectacular birds-eye drone footage of the Canal Basin and horse-drawn barge.

Along the towpath, all ten existing noticeboards are being replaced with tougher and smarter models, with a further two noticeboards added in new locations. Seven of these new noticeboards are already in place, while the remaining five are on order and are due to be installed in the summer.

Within each noticeboard is a newly developed A2-sized information panel, each one packed with fascinating stories and images relating to the Canal’s history, wildlife and management in the area near their location. They will also house maps, posters promoting Canal events, information about recreational activities that can be enjoyed within the Country Park, and health and safety guidance. All of the new facilities have been externally-funded, with the exception of two of the noticeboards.

The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) has provided £18,000 from its South West Inland Waterways Regeneration Fund to fund the purchase, wiring and installation of the new video screens, the design and production of the 12 information panels and the purchase of five new noticeboards.

Mid Devon District Council, through its Shared Prosperity Fund, has provided £10,000 for the purchase of the five noticeboards currently on order.

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council cabinet member for climate change, environment and transport, said: “These new displays and noticeboards add even more to the experience of visitors to the Country Park and the visitor centre. The Grand Western Canal has a rich history which people will be able to explore and find out more about. We’re extremely grateful for the funding from The Inland Waterways Association and Mid Devon District Council that has made these improvements possible.”

Ray Alexander, secretary of the IWA’s South West Inland Waterway Regeneration Fund, said: “The Association is very supportive of the Grand Western Country Park and the many benefits that it brings to both residents and tourists and is pleased to have provided funding to assist with the new noticeboards and information panels being installed along the canal; and also the new video screen displays in the visitor centre at the Canal Basin.”

Councillor Steve Keable, Mid Devon District Council cabinet member for planning and economic regeneration, said: “The Canal is a gem and a joy for locals and tourists alike. The information panels and video screens will enrich the visitor experience for discovery, learning and enjoyment so much all will wish to return many more times. This is one of a series of partnership initiatives supported by Mid Devon to promote the Canal and Country Park.”

Councillor Colin Slade, Devon County Councillor for Tiverton East, said: “The Grand Western Canal is already a very popular destination both for local residents and visitors. I am delighted that these improved facilities at the visitor centre and signage on the towpath will add to the experience and encourage even more people to enjoy the Canal. I echo the thanks to those bodies who have provided much needed funding which is very gratefully received.”

Councillor Ray Radford, Devon County Councillor for Willand and Uffculme, said: “I am very appreciative of the funding for the notice boards and panels which give information and detail the history of our wonderful canal. The basin is the most westerly end of the canal and extends 11 miles to the east, taking in Sampford Peverell on to Holcombe Rogus, going through interesting countryside with many attractive parts and stop off points along the way, with an excellent tow path. We welcome visitors."