Canoeing, kayaking and Stand-Up Paddle-boarding are all popular activities on the canal and require an Unpowered Boat Permit (see permit section below). Please note: British Canoeing membership and Canal and River Trust permits do not apply on the Grand Western Canal, so you will also need to buy a permit. Please take care around the swans that live on the canal – they can sometimes be quite aggressive during the spring and early summer, when on eggs or with young cygnets.
Motorised boating is recognised as an important leisure activity in the Country Park, and since early 2003, has been positively promoted as an attraction. Until then, very little motorised boating has occurred on the canal but in recent years improved facilities such as moorings, slipway, landing stages, 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.
However, Devon County Council is committed to maintaining the superb natural environment and wildlife habitats found along the Canal. We seek 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, we actively encourage 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 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 Canal and Rivers Trust 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.
This landlocked canal is a Category A waterway and is a wide canal. It has one Lift Bridge, a height restriction of just under 2 metres, and is totally lock free.
A permit must be bought in advance if you wish to explore the canal using your own boat. For prices and outlets that sell the permits please see below.
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
(any boat with a paid mooring – currently only available from ‘Mid Devon Moorings’. Tel: 01884 252178 or from the Ranger Service with a mooring agreement).
0 – 3
3 – 6
1 Year Under 30ft £100 £160 £250 30ft – 45ft £120 £220 £320 Over 45ft £140 £250 £350
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 so, for example, 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:
Canal Ranger Service
The Moorings, Canal Hill, Tiverton, Devon EX16 4HX
Tel: 01884 254072
Open: Mon – Fri 9am – 4.30pm (Often out of office, working within Country Park so please ring ahead)
Spar Wilcombe Stores (unpowered boat permits only)
42 Halsbury Road
Tiverton, Devon, EX16 4AE
Tel: 01884 253174
Open Mon – Fri 6am – 9pm, Sat & Sun 7am – 9pm PERMITS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FROM THIS SHOP DUE TO CHANGING OWNERSHIP
Sampford Peverell Spar shop
Lowertown, Sampford Peverell, EX16 7FB.
Tel: 01884 829535
Open: Mon- Fri 7am – 8pm, Sat 7.30am – 8pm, Sun 8am – 8pm
Permits for unpowered boats, such as canoes, kayaks and rowing boats can be purchased by post by printing off, completing and sending in the unpowered boat permit application form along with a 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
Tiverton Canal Co.
Tel: 01884 253345
- Horse-drawn barge trips.
- Boat Hire: rowing boats and Canadian canoes.
- Services: Water fill up point, non-chemical toilet pump out and boat maintenance.
- Small, private tranquil linear moorings – terms are for 1, 6 or 12 month periods.
- We are unable to offer residential moorings.
- Services: Maintenance, landing with electrical point, toilet pump-out and rubbish disposal, on-site car park, lawn area, water, fuel and gas.
The Canal can be accessed via Boehill Slipway, close to M5 Junction 27. Post code: EX16 7EG
The slipway is based on the Inland Waterways Association and the Canal and Rivers Trust guidelines for trail-boats and can accommodate boats no larger than 7.5 metres in overall length and 2.2 metres in width.
There is no space for cars and trailers to park beside the slipway, but an arrangement has been made with the owner of the field halfway along the slipway access track for boaters cars and trailers to park in the field between the allotments and the track. Please purchase your permit first from the Sampford Peverell Spar Shop and they will provide the combination for the padlock on the gate.
- It is imperative that boats pass the horse-drawn barge on the offside and must never come between the barge and the horse.
- Boats must not moor on the towpath side between the Tiverton canal basin and East Manley Bridge between March and November as they will impede the horse-drawn 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.
- More information on boating is provided when purchasing a permit.