New canal path walkway opens

The new access steps and bike loops at Beam.

The new access steps and bike loops at Beam. - Credit: Archant

The path, which will be formally opened on Thursday, will run alongside the former canal in Torrington.

A volunteer and contractor uncover the canal wall at Beam.

A volunteer and contractor uncover the canal wall at Beam. - Credit: Archant

A NEW canal path will be opened on the Tarka Trail on Thursday by Clinton Devon Estates.

The 1km walking path will be opened alongside the remains of the Rolle Canal near Torrington, as part of the Biosphere project, ‘Life’s Journey’.

The new path means visitors can discover how the canal was built to transport ball clay to the coast and agricultural lime inland.

Lord Clinton, from Clinton Devon Estates, owners of part of the land over which the path and canal runs, said: “My ancestors built this canal over 150 years ago when it played a significant part in bringing prosperity to this part of North Devon.

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“We were delighted therefore to help with this Biosphere Project to tell its story and increase people’s access to its remains.”

During the project, a new access point to the path from the Tarka Trail at Beam was created, and excavations made to reveal more of the canal.

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Two new interpretation boards have also been installed whilst vegetation has been cleared and the path surface improved.

Matt Edworthy, the project coordinator, said: “I would like to thank the landowners, Clinton Devon Estates and the Torrington Commoners Association for supporting this project and helping us create this permissive walking path linked to the Tarka Trail.

“I would also like to thank the many local volunteers, especially from the Rolle Canal and Northern Devon Waterways Society, who have over 18 months given many hundreds of hours to making these improvements and others associated with the canal a reality.

“We couldn’t have done it without them.”

The project was predominantly funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £40,800 as well as funding from Devon Waste Management and Lord Clinton’s Charitable Trust.

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