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Stover Canal

Built in the 18th century, the Stover Canal was used to transport clay and other minerals from Bovey Basin and the quarries of Dartmoor to the docks at Teignmouth.

Things to do nearby

Facts & Stats

1790

The year construction began on the Stover Canal

5 locks

Neglected after the canal was flooded in 1951

1.75

(2.8km)

The original length of the Stover Canal.

The rise of the Stover Canal

The short Stover Canal in Devon was commissioned by James Templer II, a landowner who lived in Stover House near Teigngrace, Devon. Construction began in 1790 and the two mile long canal reached Ventiford Basin, the northern terminus, in 1792.

The waterway was primarily used to carry ball clay from local clay pits, via the man-made Whitelake Channel and River Teign, to Teignmouth, from where the clay was transhipped for distribution. The canal was also used to move granite from Templer’s Haytor Quarries on Dartmoor, which was transported to Ventiford via George Templer’s famous granite tramroad from 1820 until the 1840s.  Barge traffic finally ceased in the 1930s, although the upper section of the canal, including Ventiford, was abandoned probably before the 1880’s.  Water remained in the canal until 1951 when a retaining bank collapsed, flooding part of a nearby clay works. Since then the channel and all the locks have fallen into a state of neglect.

The restoration of the Stover

In 2014 excavation began on an old barge which had been left in the basin when it became redundant. At around 50ft long and 14ft wide, Stover barges were solidly constructed and carried 20 tons of freight, sailing down the canal with a square viking-type sail (or bow hauled).  Later that year evidence of the granite tramway was found during construction of the Stover Trail cycle and walkway by Devon County Council.  It was becoming clearer that the open grassed area of Ventiford held many surprises.

In 2016 staff from a local clay company removed hundreds of tonnes of silt from the canal channel and in total four hulked barges and more granite tramway rails were uncovered.  That summer Waterway Recovery Group volunteers spent two weeks on site taking down damaged stonework, removing vegetation and starting the rebuilding process. In 2017, Stover Canal volunteers repointed the granite blocks and repositioned those that had moved.  The Basin is now being relined with clay and, following the construction of a dam, will hopefully be back in water by Autumn 2020.

Waterway restoration

Restoring the UK’s blue infrastructure – our inherited network of navigable canals and rivers – is good for people and places.

Waterways heritage

Our waterways heritage is what makes Britain’s canals and rivers special and it must be actively protected – through the local planning system and sufficient funding – for the future.

Sustainable boating

We want boating on canals and rivers to be more sustainable and – even though the current overall contribution to UK carbon emissions is very small – we want to help reduce emissions on the waterways.