Wednesday 8 August 2012

Teigngrace Lock - Stover Canal

Teigngrace Lock
Stover Canal
August 2012

Teigngrace is the top lock of the Stover Canal, and the best preserved. It immediately reveals the wide dimensions of the canal, and is much longer than expected. Long enough in fact to accommodate two of the local craft end to end, but these long and wide locks must have placed a strain on the water supply. At a guess it is well over 80ft long and about 15ft wide. With the water drained out its hard to work out the fall, but 6ft seems about right.

Teigngrace Lock - Stover Canal

Mind you, even at its peak in the mid 1800's the canal was only carrying 1000 craft, which is three a day probably involved just a couple of lock movements on a typical day. Even now the restorers are casing covetous eyes on the water flowing down the beck at the head of the canal, and the line of an old feeder from the nearby River Teign which was filled with the aid of a weir destroyed in the war. As elsewhere, the EA are not keen on extraction for fear of "upsetting the ecological balance".

Teigngrace top gate circa 2004

As for the lock, it is predictably made of granite blocks, which have stood firm and intact during its 80 years of abandonment. Perhaps even more impressive are the remains of the old wooden gates which remain in place, but are now deteriorating with each passing year. You have to refer to the library shots from a few years back to get a really strong impression of how this structure used to look.

Today the offside has been sold off, right up to the lock edge which makes access very difficult. Its also hard to see how the balance beam could ever be operated in the future, unless the owner allows them to build a semi circular path round the back of his compost heap.

 Paul Taper explains the paddle gear.

Paul Taper, the Society Chair provided an excellent guided tour, explaining how the rudimentary paddle gear operated and kindly allowed me to photograph his photographs of the lock when it was last cleared of vegetation.

Bridge at the bottom of Teigngrace Lock, Stover Canal.

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