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Powderham to Turf Lock

Location

Devon Map

OS Ref: SX 972 843

Last Visited: 2010


There are various ways to get to The Turf, the pub at the southern end of the Exeter Canal. One of the best must surly be the walk along the river bank from Powderham Church.

Park in the Powderham Church car park (the Churchwarden ask for a donation towards the upkeep, which is fair enough).

Take the signposted path alongside the railway line. After about 300m this crosses the tracks and follows the river bank all the way to Turf Lock, the canal entrance.

The Exeter Canal was built in the 1560s which makes it one of the oldest artificial waterways in the UK. It was also the first in this country to use pound locks, originally a Chinese invention, but used in Europe from the late 14th century.


View in Google Earth

In 1677 the canal was extended to Topsham, where the remains of the old river lock can still be seen.

In 1701 the canal was deepened and widened to allow the passage of ocean-going ships.

Finally in 1827 the canal was extended a further two miles to Turf Lock, and the adjoining Turf Hotel was built.

Coasters continued to use the Canal until the late 1960s, but trade slowly declined with the last commercial passage being made in 1998.

The pub was at one time threatened with demolition, but was saved and restored by the Exeter Maritime Museum. It is now open every lunchtime and occasionally in the evening.

Its large beer garden is a splendid spot to sit and watch the trains, boats and occasional airplane go by, and to listen to the distant roar of the traffic on the M5.