Beside the Grand Western

Yesterday was a gorgeous day, it was lovely to be able to take the dogs for a walk without getting wet or frozen. So the canal at Tiverton called and we answered.

We decided against walking from the basin near the town, there are far fewer people just a couple of miles towards Halberton, where there’s a free car park. From there you’re right into countryside.

After just a hundred metres or so we came across these barges, despite looking a bit dilapidated, they seemed to have some function still, the second had a motor attached.

To the right of the towpath, the fields stretched away to the horizon, in various states of readiness. The remains of winter crops of sprouts, and a dark purple brassica lie in neat rows. Fresh young grass that had survived the recent snows, beside still naked land that may have tiny life budding through the red soil. I liked the zigzags and the red machine waiting to perform its magic.

Back to the path and a troop of school army cadets pounded towards us, neither walking or running and very humourless. Perhaps they’d been reprimanded.
Across the water the still bare trees created some nice reflections. George jumped in because he saw a duck, his first time in water other than the sea or a bath, Flora gave him a good telling off.

This duck and its reflection seemed to have his head on backwards, you should be able to click for a bigger view.
There a few very colourful minutes when a barge came along.

Complete with quivering reflections.

This young lass would have blended in nicely as a passenger.

The hedgerow provided lots of interest

This beginning of a laid hedge has a long way to go.

Can you see the sheep at the top of the field? they’ve designed their own camouflage gear.

In the distance stands the tower of Halberton church. This part of the walk forms an elbow shape, and I hadn’t realised how close we are to the village when we set off.
Some battered reeds make an interesting natural sculpture.

We didn’t walk very far, just a couple of miles. Flora had been to the vet on Saturday and had had a 24 hour fast,so that was far enough. For every mile I walk the dogs probably run three.

They were both fine and very hungry when we got home and then slept very well.

Even though they’re looking away from the camera, I love this photo, the first good one I’ve taken of them. usually they don’t keep still but this time they were entranced.

Jo, I tried to do this last night but needed an early night, so I missed your Monday Walk post, this would have been my first for a long time! She’s in Jerez this week, and she’s responsible for me adding to my bucket list. Have a look, it’s fabulous.

Grand Western Canal

I walked at the canal again today, starting from the Jubilee bridge this time. It does a horseshoe loop that is quiet disorientating, you feel as if you’ve turned around on yourself. It started cold but once the sun broke through it became a gorgeous day for a stroll, towards Halberton. 2013 Mar 17_3573

The tow path winds its way through the Devon countryside for eleven miles.

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With lovely views of farmland.

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Under some very old bridges, the Devon section of the canal opened in 1814 so the bridges must be roughly the same age.

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It was a muddy day and welly boots were called for – sadly I wasn’t wearing mine! Never mind, it was worth it to see this stunning tree.

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There is lots of wildlife, but I took the wrong lens. When I was there a few weeks ago I had the zoom lens and needed the the standard, this time if I had the zoom I could have got a decent shot of . . . I’m hoping the Hobbit will tell me?

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If you live in the UK you will have heard about the damage to the canal bank in November last year when many parts of the country suffered severe floods. This gallery shows some of the damage, and the temporary dams that are in place to prevent further problems until the repairs begin. Thankfully Devon County Council have budgeted three million pounds to rebuild the thirty metre breach in the embankment. The work begins in June and will take nearly a year to complete.

Now I’ll leave you with a photo from the end of today’s walk, hope you enjoyed it.

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Grand Western Canal

The Grand Western Canal country park weaves its eleven miles through mid Devon from Tiverton right to the border with Somerset. It makes for easy level walking or cycling, with a profusion of wildlife, fishing or even a trip on a horse drawn barge. These are some of the things I saw today.

The Tivertonia looked like it was being prepared for the start of the new season and my photo didn’t turn out well so this is one I found,courtesy of the bbc, of the barge on a summer trip.