Last horse-drawn barge in the South West closed for remainder of 2020 due to coronavirus

The West Country's last remaining horse-drawn canal barge will remain closed for the rest of the 2020 season following the Covid-19 Lockdown.

The owners of the Horse-Drawn Barge attraction, which is part of Tiverton Canal Co, have "reluctantly decided" to stay shut after consulting with the County Council, accountants, and the coach industry on whose custom it relies.

Philip and Jacquie Brind say that the attraction has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic.

Owner Philip Brind relies on bookings from the coach industry, which have dried up during lockdown. Credit: ITV News

Economically we believe this is the best way to ensure the long term future of one of the last Horse-Drawn Barges in Great Britain.

Philip & Jacquie Brind, owners
The horse-drawn boat is one of the last remaining in the UK. Credit: ITV News

The barge is pulled through the water by a horse, which is walked along the tow path by a horseman while the vessel is steered by a captain.

Contruction on this stretch of the Grand Western Canal started in 1810 and was used, for a short time, primarily for the carriage of limestone.

It is now a tranquil recreational waterway meandering through 11 miles of mid-Devon from Tiverton to Lowdswells, just south of the Somerset border.

The canal is also run as a country park and a local nature reserve to manage the abundant wildlife it contains.

The attraction will reopen next year. Credit: ITV News

Group bookings are being taken for next season and the attraction will be open again from Easter 2021.