Circular walk along Stover canal includes a pitstop at pretty cafe

Torbay Weekly

Having covered the most popular walks within Torbay over the past year, I’m taking to the road to explore some of the best routes within easy reach of the Bay.

The Newton Abbot area is now easily accessible thanks to the Kingskerswell by-pass and it is close to the market town, in Kingsteignton, that this week’s walk begins and ends.

The Stover Canal car park on Exeter Road is the starting point but, be warned, it is not large and gets full quite quickly in fine weather. There is, however, quite a bit of safe on-road parking.

The walk begins across the busy road through the entrance to the Stover Trail, a few yards to the left of the car park, where you will find information boards tracing the history of the two-mile long canal built between 1790-92 by James Templer of the Stover estate.

It was used to transport ball clay, from the nearby clay pits in the Bovey Basin to Teignmouth where it was shipped to the potteries.

For a while it was also used to ship granite from the quarries at Haytor which arrived on adjacent the Haytor Granite Tramway and this walk is actually part of the 18-mile Templer Way which traces the route the granite took from Dartmoor to Teignmouth.

It's a straightforward walk from here along the Stover Trail - be sure to leave room for cyclists! - or, in dry weather, along the wooded footpath beside the canal.

It's worth stopping to see the Graving Dock, a dry dock where barges were repaired,  and the boiler structure alongside it which was moved to this site from Teigngrace lock.

Information boards set out the history of the dock and boiler.

The circular walk continues via the Heritage Trail which you will eventually find signposted on your right but it's worth taking a short diversion to the pretty Locksbridge Cafe - closed on Mondays and Tuesdays - which has collected a string of impressive reviews for its food and drink.

You can also take a further diversion across the bridge and railway line - last used as an overnight stop for the royal train! - beside the cafe to St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Teigngrace where James Templer’s brother John was vicar for 45 years.

Retrace your footsteps to the first Heritage Trail sign which leads across open farm fields before picking up the meandering course of the River Teign.

You will eventually emerge on Exeter Road opposite the car park.

The walk covers approximately two-and-three-quarter miles of level ground and it's advisable to have suitable footwear in damp weather.

Dogs must be kept on a lead if livestock is in the fields.