Underground on Dartmoor
Alternative River Guide

River Guide Index | Comment and Feedback

The Tavistock Canal runs from the centre of Tavistock to Morwelham, an Industrial Museum on the banks of the Tamar. Like Dartmoor prison, the canal was built by French slave labour in the Napoleonic wars.

For most of it's length the canal is flat, fast flowing, enjoyably scenic, but nothing out of the ordinary. For the last 1.4 miles, however, it tunnels deep under Dartmoor.

These are shots that I took a few years ago - it may still be canoeable if you want to give it a go!

Start Photo Sequence

Frame 1.

The Tavistock Canal

The main canal is a nice scenic paddle for a sunny day, but it's quite fast flowing, so plan to go one way only (from Tavistock towards Morwelham).

Frame 2.

Tunnel entrance

Don't forget there are gates at BOTH ends of the tunnel. You might want to make sure that both are unlocked before you attempt to explore it.

Frame 3.

Inside the Tunnel

The roof is low in parts - helmets and torches are useful.

Although there is a current in the canal we found it reasonably easy to paddle against the flow if required, or push forward and back using the tunnel sides.

Frame 4.

As these pictures show, I paddled the canal in the mid-late Eighties, I am not sure about access to the canal in more recent times.

We found it easier to run the canal at midnight (conveniently after pub closing times) to avoid access hassles..

End of Photo Sequence

Return to top of this page
Return to Alternative River Guide Index