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Lowdwells, Grand Western Canal

Accessible for local, portable and trailable craft

Silver Propeller Challenge


Wellington, Somerset

Visit Lowdwells on the Grand Western Canal by boat or canoe.

A photo of your boat or canoe at the end of the canal at Lowdwells will be a good proof of your visit.

Complete our challenge by visiting 20 locations from our list, you will receive our exclusive plaque and goody bag.


About the Grand Western Canal

The Grand Western Canal and the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal are the remains of James Brindley’s ambitious project to bypass the tricky sea passage around Land’s End.  The summit level of the Grand Western Canal from Tiverton to Lowdwells was built first and opened in 1814.  Plans to continue towards Taunton were shelved until the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal opened in 1827. Although the summit level was able to take wide beam boats carrying 40 tons, the linking canal was built for small  tub-boats about 20ft long carrying only 8 tons.  It opened in 1838 with seven vertical locks and an inclined plane.  This section closed in 1867 but traffic continued on the summit level until 1925.

The 11 miles (18km) of the Grand Western Canal remaining in water is the original summit level and has been owned by Devon County Council since it was sold by British Waterways in 1971. Restoration started immediately and the isolated canal reopened to navigation later that year. It is managed as a country park stretching between Tiverton and Lowdwells on the Somerset border. Initially powered boats were excluded but are now allowed.

[Photo: Wilderness Boats on the Grand Western Canal  – by Peter Huish]

[The tile photo shows canoeists at Lowdwells –  by Alison Smedley]

Notes for visitors


Postcode: TA21 0JY

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Boat Dimensions

The maximum size of boat that can navigate the Grand Western Canal is:-

Length: 24′ 7″ (7.50m) Boehill slipway
Beam: 7′ 2″ (2.20m) Boehill slipway
Height: 6′ 6″ (2.00m)
Draught: Not known

There is a slipway for trailable boats at Boehill, just outside Samford Peverell, which effectively limits size of vessels on the Canal.  But once launched, there are no locks to limit length.  Visiting trailable and portable boats will need to obtain a permit from Devon County Council.

Canoeing, Trip Boats and Hire Boats

British Canoeing membership does not cover the Grand Western Canal, so all canoeists also need to buy a permit, which are available at several local outlets, including Sampford Peverell Spar Shop.  There is a slipway for trailable boats at Boehill, just outside Samford Peverell.  Close to the end of the canal is Lowdwells Tunnel (which canoes are allowed through).

Tiverton Canal Company runs horse-drawn boat trips from their wharf in Tiverton.

Challenge Location


Grand Western Canal

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