On a nice sunny autumn morning, a party of 10 Club members met at the Tiverton Barge Canal to take a ride in a horse drawn barge along a stretch of the canal. The morning started with coffee at the Canal Tea Rooms before boarding the Tivertonian barge drawn by a large shire horse for the canal trip. This was for a one and a half hour return journey to Warnicombe and a bridge over the canal named Courtesy Bridge linking the farmer’s fields divided by the canal. A number of water fowl together with resident swans were seen as we glided effortlessly along the waterway.
We were given a technical and historic talk by the “captain” on the canal construction and on the barge company. The canal was started in 1810 and took 4 years of manual labour to build the 11.25 miles from Tiverton to Lowdwells. The canal was originally 6 feet deep but with debris build-up over the years, is now only 3 feet deep. The barge is a wide beam vessel and takes up to 75 passengers and was refurbished last year by the staff who run the trips.
On our return, the day continued with lunch prepared by the Tea Room staff and served in the Garden Room. The group split into two for a long walk of 5.8 miles whilst the others completed a 2.8 mile casual walk.
The day finished with everybody meeting for tea served in the Tea Room garden, a warm and pleasant day enjoyed by all.