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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updated on 26/2/21

As of 5th January 2021 a national lockdown came into force. The Country Park remains open subject to ongoing social distancing and self isolation guidance and to the new lockdown restrictions, which state:

“You must not leave or be outside of your home except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’. The police can take action against you if you leave home without a ‘reasonable excuse’, and issue you with a fine (Fixed Penalty Notice). You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.”

The list of ‘reasonable excuses’ is provided on the gov.uk website. You can only visit the Country Park if you are using the towpath for travel in relation to one of these ‘reasonable excuses’ (e.g. traveling to work which cannot be done at home), or if you are undertaking daily exercise.

“Exercise – You can continue to exercise alone, with one other person or with your household or support bubble. This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area. You should maintain social distancing.”

From March 8th people will be able to meet one other person from outside their household or support bubble for outdoor recreation such as a coffee or picnic on a park bench, in addition to exercise. (Children count towards this).  However, people identified as being ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ are advised to continue shielding until the end of March.

The table below summarises the current situation with regard to facilities and activities within the Country Park during the lockdown.

Facilities and businesses
Public Toilets (Canal Basin, Tiverton) Open
Play Park (Canal Basin, Tiverton) Open
Canal Visitor Centre (Canal Basin, Tiverton) Closed
Tiverton Canal Co (Canal Basin, Tiverton) Closed for the winter
Canal Tea Rooms and Gardens
(Canal Basin, Tiverton)
Closed for the winter
Trim Trail (Sampford Peverell Picnic Site) Open
Canal car parks All open
Recreation activities

Walking, dog-walking and cycling 

Walking, dog-walking and cycling are allowed subject to keeping local, social distancing and gathering limits as outlined above.

Angling

Angling is allowed.  On Jan 7th the government announced that angling is regarded as exercise and so is allowed, subject to keeping local, social distancing and gathering limits as outlined above. Night fishing and fishing matches are prohibited.

Boating

Unpowered boating (kayaks, canoes, SUPs etc) is allowed provided it is for exercise, subject to keeping local, social distancing and gathering limits as outlined above.  Group paddling activities are prohibited.

Powered boating not allowed as it is not exercise. Exceptions to this include the Community Patrol Boat, Canal maintenance boats and any boats being craned onto or off the canal (with prior police permission) and returning directly to their moorings.

Following the announcement of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, the following changes are anticipated over the coming months:

There is no change until Step 1 part 2, potentially from 29 March, when it is anticipated that the official stay at home order will end but people will be encouraged to stay local. Limited local boat movement may be possible but you should avoid travelling if your boat is not located close to where you live.

In Step 2, from no earlier than 12 April, we expect that at this point cruising can be done freely and overnight stays on boats will be allowed, as long as you are one household or support bubble.

In Step 3, from no earlier than 17 May, indoor mixing on your boat will be allowed with up to six people or, if it is more people, two households.

The Canal Ranger Service has continues to work full-time managing and maintaining the Country Park

We continue to ask that:
• social distancing guidelines are followed at all times, staying at least 1m apart from others and 2m when possible
• Dogs are kept under control.
• People do not congregate on the towpath and allow space for others to pass.
• Visitors are kind and considerate to other Country Park users and to the canal’s wildlife


  • gnet-hatched-from-a-nest-in-my-garden-Anthony-Nixon
  • Pond dipping by Jo Roberts
  • Mid Devon Moorings
  • Crownhill picnic site
  • Canal Basin by (Phil Brind)
  • Play park kids by Mark Baker

The Grand Western Canal Country Park and Local Nature Reserve meanders for 11 and a quarter miles through beautiful countryside and quiet villages between the market town of Tiverton and the hamlet of Lowdwells (near the Somerset border).

The park features:
  • Horse drawn barge trips
  • Cafés
  • Canal themed play park
  • Visitor centre
  • Boat hire
  • Marina moorings (non residential)
  • Gift shop
  • Public toilets
  • Picnic sites
  • Car parks

Horse-drawn barge on canal (Christian Schoter)

The canal’s story covers over 200 years of fascinating heritage, with many of its original features and buildings still surviving. Many people know the park locally as the ‘Tiverton Canal’. However, the Canal is probably best known for the horse drawn barge, Tivertonian, run by the Tiverton Canal Co. that has been taking visitors for a leisurely cruise for more than 40 years.

Swans and cygnets on the Canal by Ebear Bridge

Owned by Devon County Council and managed as both a Country Park and a Local Nature Reserve, the park is a haven for wildlife as it offers a range of habitats including woodland, hedgerows, open water and ponds.

A well surfaced towpath adjacent to the Canal, provides ample opportunities for walking, running and cycling. Rangers have installed lots of benches throughout the park, to provide ideal places for visitors to sit and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Families visiting the park can learn about the Canal’s history in our interactive Visitor Centre or enjoy playing on the Canal themed Play Park at the Canal Basin. Alternatively, if you’re venturing further along the Canal, then why not enjoy a picnic at one of our many picnic sites or have fun at the Sampford Peverell Trim Trail.

Activities such as boating, canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddle-boarding are all popular on the canal. The park also offers a quiet and relaxing venue for angling, and is especially noted for its summer tench fishing. Please note: You will need to purchase a permit in advanced to do these activities within the Country Park.

To help you plan your visit to the Country Park, please download our Visitor Information Guide.

 


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