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Leisure Activities


Strange slime indentified



This jelly like substance was found on the edge of a pond in West Manley Lane on 23 January 2014. 

The mystery of what it might be was solved last year by a Devonshire vet Peter Green who contacted the RSPB when the same substance was found at the RSPB Ham Wall Nature Reserve in Somerset. His explanation is as follows: 

“At this time of year amphibians are spawning. The spawn is held in a substance know as glycoprotein which is stored in the females body. If the animal is attacked by a predator – herons for instance are fond of the occasional frog – it will quite naturally drop its spawn and the associated glycoprotein. This is designed to swell on contact with water, which gives the gelatinous mass we are all familiar with in frog spawn. However, if it’s unfertilized it is just the empty glycoprotein that is dropped which on contact with moist ground will swell and give a clear slime like substance”. 

Tony Whitehead of the RSPB said: 

“Whilst this is the favoured explanation for this appearance of slime, it’s also worth remembering that other things can give a similar appearance. Certain slimes moulds can and so can the wonderfully named crystal brain fungus, but this only appears on wood. Certain algae and blue algae and also appear as a clear slime”.



West Manley Lane

Take a nature walk along West Manley Lane and see how many of the plants you can identify using the Hedgerow Assessment for the lane and the old Drovers Track (see Reports and Documents page). Check out the bird, insects and animal sightings on the WML Conservation area fauna report 2010-2012 (see Reports and Documents page). If you can add to this list please contact us, details on home page.

The Old Railway Walk

Within of the "conservation area"  parallel to and accessible from both the Grand Western Canal and West Manley Lane runs the Old Railway Walk, the line of Brunel’s original Broad Gauge track from Tiverton to Tiverton Junction. A brief account can be found on the Historical Interest page. By visiting the Tiverton Museum, related artefacts can be seen including the "Tivvy Bumper" engine. 


An Easy Tiverton Canal & Railway Walk 





OS MAP REFERENCE - Explorer 114 - Pathfinder Series SS 81/91 1:25000



STARTING POINT - Canal Basin car park, Tiverton


Walk 2 is a straight forward level walk along the Grand Western Canal towpath, through

both the town and pleasant farmland, returning via a footpath along the course of

the former Tiverton railway line.


Walk 2 starts at the Canal Basin Car Park. The Canal basin is where the great dream of a Grand Western Canal linking Bristol and Topsham near Exeter via Taunton, thus avoiding a long and dangerous sea journey around Lands End began and ended. The section between Tiverton and Lowdwells was opened in 1814, with the only other section constructed, linking Lowdwells to Taunton, opening in 1834. Barges carrying coal and limestone arrived at the Canal basin where some 14 kilns burnt their cargoes into quick lime to be used on the heavy Devon soils. The barges were unloaded on the busy quay and loads shot down into the kilns below. The Canal prospered for a few years, however traffic on the waterway declined with the coming of the railways in the 1840’s. Today the Canal is a Country Park.

Take the towpath eastwards past pleasant new houses, their gardens fringing the Canal banks. Wildlife abounds, including water-lilies which were once picked commercially. On the left, nestling in distant woods, can be seen Knightshayes Court, now a National Trust property. The fine house was designed by the architect William Burges and built for John Heathcoat-Amory, grandson of the renowned local inventor/industrialist John Heathcoat. After about half a mile, the Canal makes a wide sweep to enable barges to pass under the round-arched Tidcombe Bridge. Beyond the bridge, on your right hand side is the large white Georgian house, Tidcombe Hall. On this ancient site, possibly one of the oldest monastic sites in the area stood Tidcombe Rectory. It was here that the Countess of Devon was given licence to have mass said in the private chapel in 1424, and where Richard Newte was cruelly persecuted by Cromwell’s men. In some of the worst scenes of violence known to Tiverton, he and his family were driven out and the Rectory burnt down. Rebuilt after the Restoration it was home for the next century and a half to the great Newte family of rectors who gave their name to the steep hill to Cullompton which rises behind the Hall. The path runs on through quiet farmland. A variety of birds can be seen including swans, moorhens, coots and an occasional kingfisher, as well as dragonflies and damselflies. Note also one of the remaining milestones alongside the towpath. The towpath passes under Warnicombe Bridge – a farm bridge – and winds past Snakes Wood until it reaches the second round arched stone bridge – Manley Bridge.

In 1961, an RAF Canberra bomber on a routine navigation exercise from its base in Geilenkirchen, Germany caught fire and crashed in the canal between Snakes Wood and Manley Bridge. Both of the crew members were killed. Although most of the wreckage was removed at the time, dredging works in 2003 unearthed hundreds of metal fragments including an ejector seat.  Immediately after passing under the Bridge, leave the Canal and turn right into Manley Lane. After approximately 200 yards, turn left by the old railway bridge and join the old railway track. The much loved ‘Tivvy Bumper’ (Great Western Railway engine No. 1442) once ran along here. The line, opened in 1848, ran from Tiverton Junction on the main line through steep  cuttings and apple tree lined verges to Tiverton on the Exe Valley line. The coming of the railway however put the Canal out of business. The railway was then also made redundant during the Beeching cuts. The ‘Tivvy Bumper’ now rests in its last stopping place, Tiverton Museum in St. Andrew’s Street. Walk along the Old Railway Walk which runs roughly parallel to the Canal. Another ancient religious site is soon reached – a chapel to St. Anthony once stood in fields near Pool Anthony Farm, to your right.

Soon afterwards the houses of Glebelands estate begin to appear on the left, and Pool Anthony Railway Bridge spans the walk. After a quarter of a mile at Tidcombe Lane Railway bridge, take the steps up to Tidcombe Lane where if you walk down hill, you will see on your right ancient Tidcombe Lane Fen, a site of special scientific interest, bisected by Ailsa Brook. Retrace your steps back to Tidcombe Lane Railway bridge. You now have a choice of routes back to the Canal basin. Either return to the Railway Walk and continue along it until it runs into Old Road, opposite Tiverton Hotel. After approximately 100 yards turn left into Lewis Avenue. Keep straight ahead into Hermes Avenue and then return to the Canal basin by way of a narrow footpath on the right hand side. Alternatively, to return to the Canal basin via the Canal towpath, continue up Tidcombe Lane for approximately quarter of a mile until you reach Tidcombe Lane Bridge where there is an entrance to the Canal. Turn right onto the towpath and return to the Canal basin.

taken from:


The ‘Tivvy’ Bumper now on show at Tiverton Museum


A Canberra Bomber

Research the tragic story behind the memorial on the Tiverton Canal


Treasure Trails - Tiverton Canal

 Why not treat the family to an exciting day on Tiverton Canal with Treasure Trails. See the weblink on our link page.

 'Local canal ranger, Tom McNally, recently uncovered an ancient treasure map buried deep within a lime kiln along the Grand Western Canal. It is believed to show the location of a little known island off the East Devon Coast, where Dick Terrapin, the notorious 18th century aquatic highwayman, buried his ill-gotten gains, robbed from canal boats all over the South West. Can you find the location of the Highwayman's Haul"?


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