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Grand Western Canal

Boating

Boating is recognised as an important leisure activity in the Country Park, and since early 2003, has been positively promoted as an attraction. Until recently very little motorised boating has occurred on the canal but in recent years improved facilities such as a boat hire, moorings, slipway, pump out and water supply points, plus an extensive dredging programme, has meant that it is an increasingly attractive proposition for many boaters seeking a peaceful, lock-free waterway.

Cornish CreamCanadian canoeDay boats

However Devon County Council is committed to maintaining the superb natural environment and wildlife habitats found along the canal. Devon County Council seeks to ensure that increased boating activity does not harm the natural value of the canal. Therefore in addition to speed limits and engine size restrictions set out in the terms and conditions when boaters purchase their boat permit, Devon County Council actively encourages environmentally-friendly boating and is keen to promote initiatives such as The Green Blue, backed by the British Marine Federation and the Royal Yachting Association. The Green Blue is an exciting new environmental awareness initiative that is testing out practical projects, conducting research and providing advice, to help recreational boating go green.

For more information on good boating practice please refer to The Boaters Handbook which has been developed by British Waterways and the Environment Agency. This provides clear information on how to handle a boat safely and effectively. Please also refer to the Navigational Notes below and the Rules and Regulations given on the back of the boat permit, which are specific to the Grand Western Canal.

For those of you wishing to explore the canal using your own boat, Devon County Council requires a permit to be bought in advance. For prices and outlets that sell the permits please see below. (Please note: British Canoe Union membership does not apply on this waterway, so you will also need to buy a permit)

Boat Permits

Portable unpowered
(any boat without an engine)

Day Week Year
£5 £12 £50

Short-term powered boats
(any powered boat without a paid mooring along the canal)

Day 3 Days Week 6 Months Year
Under 12ft £10 £20 £30 £80 £100
12ft and over £15 £25 £35 £100 £130

Moored boats
(any boat with a paid mooring - currently only available from 'Mid Devon Hire Boats and Moorings' (Tel: 01884 252178) or from the Ranger Service with a Mooring Agreement).

0 - 3 Months 3 - 6 Months 1 Year
Under 30ft £80 £130 £200
30ft and over £100 £180 £280

There is a 25% discount available for under-18 year olds purchasing permits for portable un-powered boats.  There is also a 25% discount for groups of 4 or more purchasing permits for portable un-powered boats, but this cannot be combined with the under 18 discount, above.

Engine size must not exceed 2.5hp per metre length of boat (e.g. for a 4 metre long boat, the maximum engine size allowed is 10hp).  The maximum speed limit is 4mph.  All powered boats must have third party insurance to a value of £1m and all boats subject to the Boat Safety Scheme (those with internal fuel systems, gas or electricity systems) must have a valid boat safety certificate.

Permits are available from the following outlets:
  • Ranger Service
    The Moorings, Canal Hill, Tiverton, Devon EX16 4HX
    T: 01884 254072  E:gwcanal@devon.gov.uk
    Open: Mon - Fri 9am -4:30pm (Often out of office, working within Country Park so please ring ahead)
  • Best-One Convenience Store
    4 New Parade, Anstey Crescent, Canal Hill, Tiverton, Devon EX16 4JP
    T: 01884 252536
    Open: Monday-Saturday 7am - 9pm Sunday 8am - 8pm
  • Holcombe Rogus Village Shop
    Pound Hill, Holcombe Rogus
    T: 01823 672693
  • By Post
    Permits for unpowered boats image - PDF icon (52KB - pdf help), such as canoes, kayaks and rowing boats can be purchased by post by printing off, completing and sending in a registration form and cheque. We will send back a permit and permit sticker within 3 days of receiving the form and cheque.

    Currently permits for powered boats can only be bought in person from the outlets above. Please note that you will need your third party insurance details and Boat Safety Scheme details (if applicable) with you in order to purchase a permit.
Boat Hire, Moorings and Services
Boat Hire in Canal BasinTiverton Canal Co.
The Wharf
Tiverton
Devon EX16 4HX
T: 01884 253345
info@tivertoncanal.co.uk
  • Horse-drawn Barge Trips
  • Boat Hire: Day Boats, Rowing Boats and Canadian Canoes
  • Services: Water fill up point, Non-chemical toilet pump out and boat maintenance
Moorings at East ManleyMid Devon Moorings
Orchard Farm
East Manley
Tiverton
Devon EX16 4NJ
T: 01884 252178
M: 0774 900 1631
pat@middevonhireboats.co.uk
  • Small, private tranquil linear moorings - terms are for 1, 6 or 12 month periods.
  • We are unable to offer residential moorings.
  • Services: Maintenace landing with electrical point, Toilet pump-out & rubbish disposal, On site car park, Lawn area, Water, Fuel and gas

Slipway
Boat entering canal from boehill slipway

The canal can be accessed via Boehill Slipway, close to M5 Junction 27. The slipway is based on the Inland Waterways Association and British Waterways guidelines for trail-boats; and can accommodate boats no larger than 7.5 metres in overall length and 2.2 metres in width. Car and trailer storage is available for a moderate charge at Minnows Caravan Park close to the slipway. A boater's water supply and chemical toilet emptying facilities are available at Minnows Caravan Park, Mid Devon Boat Hire and Moorings and also at the Grand Western Horseboat Company at its operating base in Tiverton basin. Small charges are also made for these facilities.

This landlocked Canal is full width, has one Lift Bridge, a height restriction of just under 2 metres, and is totally lock free.

Navigational Notes
Boating
  • It is imperative that boats pass the Horsedrawn barge on the offside and must never come between the barge and the horse.
  • It is imperative that boats do not moor on the towpath side between the Tiverton canal basin and East Manley Bridge between March and November as they will impede the horsedrawn barge.
  • Only outboard motors that are no larger than two and a half horsepower per metre length of boat are permitted.
  • The maximum speed limit for boats is 4mph and a breaking wash must not be created.
  • Motorised craft must have third party insurance to the value of £1m.
  • Compliance with the Boat Safety Scheme requirements is essential. Please refer to the Boat Safety Scheme for full details.
  • The current limit to navigation for motorised craft is Waytown Tunnel, however the remaining section to Lowdwells is worth a walk to enjoy the striking canal scenery.
  • More information on boating is provided when purchasing a permit.