Walk with Keith Perry: Stroll takes in tribute to Canadian soldiers of Great War

Torbay Weekly

This week’s walk begins in the prettiest of Teign villages and takes in a tribute to Canadian soldiers of the First World War and touches a trail dedicated to a Poet Laureate.

Immaculate Teigngrace, home to  just 235 residents according to the 2001 census, is the starting point and of the various walks and cycle routes nearby this one picks up the Stover Heritage Trail almost opposite the village church - just look for the red phone box on the corner!

This section of the walk is an easy one along a flat track and it’s ideal for walkers of all abilities.

The majority of the route is through woodland which occasionally gives way to delightful views across open country and in one such break in the trees, to your left, you’ll see the sculpture dedicated to the ‘Sawdust Fuseliers’.

These were the men of the Canadian Forestry Corps who arrived at Stover in 1916 to provide lumber urgently needed by the fighting force on the front line to construct trenches, roads, huts and ammunition boxes.

By the time they left Stover in October 1917, the 250 Canadian foresters had felled 700 acres of the estate, producing 650,000 cubic feet of timber for the British army.

The sculpture, in the grounds of Stover school, depicts two members of the Forestry Corps with one of the horses they relied on to work the forest.

Eventually the path arrives at a bridge where, rather than carrying on to Stover Lake, you can turn right alongside the stream passing two of 16 ‘poetry posts’ in the Stover Park displaying poems with a nature theme by Ted Hughes, the UK’s Poet Laureate from 1984 until his death in 1998.

Follow this route back to the road and turn right to return to Teigngrace.

Care needs to be taken on this section of the road and remember to walk in single file, facing any oncoming traffic and keeping dogs on a leash.

Along the way you can take a short, clearly marked, detour to check out Ventiford Basin, the northern terminus of the Stover canal, which has been restored and provides a pleasant picnic spot.

When you reach Teigngrace village, having passed some stunning properties and beautifully landscaped gardens, you can take a short walk along the public footpath on your left for refreshments at Locksbridge Cafe in the former Teigngrace Halt railway station.

It’s worth taking a look at the church of St Peter and St Paul, rebuilt by the Templers of the Stover Estate and dedicated in 1788.

Built of local grey limestone, it was named as one of Devon’s 50 best churches in a work by Exeter historian Todd Gray.