At the beginning of May, the sun was shining and after drowning in university work I decided it was time for a break. I really needed some fresh air and headspace! I decided to drive to Tiverton so I could explore the Grand Western Canal.
The Grand Canal
The canal runs from Tiverton in Devon to Taunton in Somerset. It’s 11 and a quarter miles long and dates back to the early 1800’s – so it’s been around a fair while! Car parking at the canal basin is easy and not too expensive. After parking the car all you have to do is walk up a set of steps or a tarmacked slope and you’ve reached the canal.
A Floating Cafe
As it was lunchtime and I’d neglected to fill my stomach before I left home I treated myself to a cheese and onion pasty and a cuppa tea from Ducks Ditty Cafe Bar. Ducks Ditty is such a cool cafe and very unique as it offers food and drinks from on board a canal boat!
The barge is moored up and has plenty of benches on the banks where people can sit and enjoy their food. Ducks Ditty offers a fully licensed bar, ice creams and yummy pasties. There are places to sit on board too if you fancy it!
Time for a Stroll
After chilling in the sun, eating my pasty and reading my book it was time for a stroll along the canal. The path is well-made out and follows alongside the canal. There are various bridges offering crossover points and plenty of benches for when your feet get tired or you want to stop and look for wildlife. There are lots of beautiful swans and ducks that swim along the canal and plenty of other wildlife including many birds, bugs and even some frogs that I spotted! I spent quite a while watching a swan and her newborn babies – so pretty and cute.
There were lots of people walking their dogs, cycling and walking along the canal path. There were also quite a few people fishing too. After walking a couple of miles from the busier canal basin there were stretches of the canal where I was walking the path alone. It was so peaceful and relaxing. It was nice to get some fresh air and feel the sun as I walked – it was just what I needed!
After walking a couple of miles I decided to turn round and walk back – it was tempting to keep going but I knew I would only have to walk back to the car! I’d love to come and cycle some of the canal path as I think I would cover more distance, more quickly – a trip to be planned for one day soon I hope.
Grand Canal Visitor Centre
On my way back I popped into the Grand Western Canal Visitor Centre. The visitor centre is free to enter and open every day from 9.30am – 4.30pm. There’s a cool touch screen with an interactive display and lots of information relating to the canal and its development. A large timeline details information about when the canal was built and how it’s been used over the years.
A Cheeky Scone
Before heading home I couldn’t resist visiting the Canal Tea Rooms and Garden – the idyllic looking cottage really drew me in! The tea room is actually outside with plenty of places to sit, along with a large covered seating area. All food is served out of a hatch and delivered to you by the friendly staff. The menu is pretty extensive offering lunchtime meals, cakes, ice creams and afternoon tea. I was very naughty and ordered a homemade traditional lemonade and a scone with cream and jam. Whilst the scone was tasty, it wasn’t the best I’ve had (and I’ve had many!) but the lemonade was delicious and more than made up for it! There were lots of people enjoying their food and sitting in the cute gardens. I had such a lovely time!
I had a lovely afternoon on a solo adventure exploring the Grand Western Canal. I really recommend it as somewhere to go for a lovely relaxing walk or cycle. The added extra of the special places to eat was an added bonus too!