How are the mighty fallen! The Grand Western started life as a project to link the English and Bristol channels. It was never completed, and its idiosyncratic boat-lifts are long derelict. All that remains is an 11-mile meander from Tiverton, almost entirely rural and rather lovely in a quiet, pastoral fashion.
But you can now once again enjoy a boat trip on this landlocked waterway, by taking a trip on a horse-boat. Wildlife enthusiasts value the tranquillity of the canal, and the towpath is an essential link in the Bristol-to-Land’s End long-distance cycle route.
Disaster struck in November 2012 with a huge breach at Halberton, but repairs were effected swiftly enough for the canal to host IWA’s 2014 National Trailboat Festival at nearby Tiverton, an event which also marked the waterway’s bicentenary.
This short canal may not keep you occupied for long, but is certainly worth a visit on your way down to the South-West.