Clinton Devon Estates opens new canal path on well-known Tarka Trail route
Roger Tinson from Clinton Devon Estates has officially opened a new 1km walking path alongside the remains of the Rolle Canal near Torrington, as part of a Biosphere project, called “Life’s Journey”. The path follows the route of the canal where it is cut into a steep hillside overlooking the scenic River Torridge between Staple Vale near Torrington and Beam.
The new path enables visitors to the Tarka Trail to walk alongside the canal and and discover that it was built to transport ball clay to the coast and agricultural lime inland, how it was built and how it was eventually superseded by the railway that in turn, has been replaced by the Tarka Trail.
Lord Clinton from Clinton Devon Estates, owners of part of the land over which the path and canal runs explains their support. “My ancestors built this canal over 150 years ago when it played a significant part in bringing prosperity to this part of North Devon. We were delighted therefore to help with this Biosphere Project to tell its story and increase people’s access to its remains. Many people will have walked this path over many years without knowing its significance. Now, thanks to these improvements they will see more of the canal whilst they enjoy the tranquillity and wildlife they have long enjoyed”.
Matt Edworthy, the project coordinator says “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 North Devon Biosphere is leading the Life’s Journey Project that is safeguarding and revealing the linked cultural heritage at three different sites across North Devon- Fremington Quay, Home Farm Marsh and the remains of the Rolle Canal between Landcross and Torrington.
The project is predominantly funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £40,800 with other amounts coming from a variety of other funders including Devon Waste Management and Lord Clinton’s Charitable Trust. It will create a lasting, accessible and engaging legacy for users of the Tarka Trail and communities in the surrounding countryside by bringing some of the fascinating history of this area to life.