Tavistock Canal recognised

Published: Monday, 27 March 2017

THOUGH now derelict, the Tavistock Canal in Devon has been recognised by an exhibition in Tavistock Museum that opened for the season on Saturday.

Its main exhibition will be ‘The Bicentenary of the Tavistock Canal' the waterway which was formally opened on Tuesday, 24th June 24, 1817—14 years after construction work had begun, Alan Tilbury reports.

Through the tunnel

The exhibition tells on that day, around 300 invited guests embarked on nine wrought iron boats at the canal wharf in Tavistock and were waved off by cheering crowds, many apprehensive at the thought of going through the one and half miles tunnel under Morwell Down, with a band playing to keep their spirits up.

Unlike the way boats were 'walked' by boatmen in 'normal' canal tunnels, this was impossible here owing to the jagged profile of the rock faces. The boatmen poled the boats against the tunnel wall using long, iron-shod poles with a double spike on one end.

Photographs and exhibits

Th exhibition includes actual photographs taken inside the tunnel and many other photographs and exhibits from the waterway. The museum will be open daily from 11am to 3pm until 31st of October.

The canal is now a waking route starting at Tavistock Wharf and finishing at Lumburn where the canal meets the Lumburn.