Visitor Centre opens on Devon's Grand Western Canal
A new visitor centre for the Grand Western Canal has opened its doors today in Tiverton. Visitors to the 11 mile attraction, which stretches from Mid Devon to Lowdwells near the Somerset border, will be able to learn about the canal's heritage and wildlife.
The opening comes as repairs are underway to fix part of the historic canal wall, which gave way under flooding in November. The force of the water carved a gorge into the hillside and swamped local fields.
Devon County Council has pledged £3 million to restore it. It's hoped the repairs will be finished in time for the 200th anniversary of the canal next year.
People living near a collapsed canal bank in Devon are being asked to help with investigations into how it happened. Nearly two miles of the Grand Western Canal near Tiverton emptied into surrounding fields last month when the embankment gave way.
A fact-finding meeting is being held in the village hall at Halberton next Thursday, December 20th. Devon County Council officials are appealing for information and photographs before the breach occurred. The drop-in session runs from 4pm to 8pm.
Volunteers have been helping rescue fish displaced when a bank of the Grand Western canal collapsed two weeks ago. The Environment Agency says it's been one of the most difficult fish rescues its attempted, because of the thick mud and the icy conditions.
A 100ft long section of the Grand Western Canal has collapsed. It happened at Halberton, near Tiverton this afternoon. A section of the raised bank measuring approximately 100 feet across on the north side collapsed causing water to flood into fields.
A short while later a 100 foot section on the south bank collapsed. Devon County Council engineers and emergency services are assessing the damage. The water in the canal is being restricted by temporary dams which is reducing the impact of the flooding. No homes are reported flooded.
Canal rangers in Tiverton are trying to lift a sunken barge in the Grand Western Canal. It's used for maintenance tasks along the waterway and began sinking near Tidcombe Lane last week. They tried to plug a leak in the barge at the end of last week but it sunk again over the weekend.