Grand Western Canal
The Friends of the Grand Western Canal is developing a scheme to restore a 2-mile stretch of the original canal. This will link Taunton’s Silk Mills car park with the town centre for use by solar-powered shuttles. The scheme also incorporates recreating the world’s first commercial vertical boat-lift and a visitor centre. The restored canal would be extended to the west of the lift to create a link with the West Somerset Railway. More details are available at parknglide.org.
Awareness of the heritage represented by the Somerset section of the canal is being raised through the establishment of a Heritage & Wildlife Corridor following the canal line and interpreting its artefacts and natural resources for the benefit of walkers, cyclists and other users.
In Devon, the canal continues to be a very popular visitor attraction with the horse-drawn boat, visitor centre and tea rooms providing a wonderfully tranquil haven away from the bustle of modern life. There are moorings for 15 residential boats and the Grand Western is also popular with trailboat visitors. Much work has been done to secure the future of the canal following the breach a few years ago and the team of rangers continues to maintain the canal and towpath to a high standard.