The Graving Dock Lock was a dry dock used for the repair and maintenance of barges. It is situated about half a mile south of the canal terminus at Ventiford basin. Restoration work involved the partial dismantling of the massive lock masonry, clearing it of tree roots and repointing. A boiler used in the process of bending wooden boards has been reinstalled into its housing. Volunteers from the Waterways Recovery Group spent two weeks carrying out the work. They are all members of the Inland Waterways Association and give of their free time to restore old canals all over the country. The work was funded by a grant to enable the restoration of this nationally unique and important canal structure. This project was supported by a restoration grant from the Association for Industrial Archaeology (AIA). The AIA is the national society for industrial heritage, and has supported and promoted the study, preservation and presentation of industrial heritage in Britain since 1973. For more information please visit www.industrial-archaeology.orgThe Waterway Recovery Group attracts a wide range of people, from young volunteers taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme; to waterway enthusiasts who wish to make a contribution to restoring and preserving the system; to people who just want to get outdoors, have fun and learn new skills. www.waterways.org.uk/wrg/
The lock had become overgrownand choked with vegetation, as seenin this photo from 2002.
Trees had grown through the granite walls.Clearance was always going to be a majorjob requiring money for equipment andmaterials, and manpower.
The experienced WRG volunteers made rapidprogress. The difference could clearly be seen after just one week.
They also were seen on local TV!
Here you can see where a tree has been removed by hand.
Those on the opposite wall needed the use of heavy machinery. This work was carried out in early October by local contractors.
All credit is given to Castleford Engineering and particularly Andy on the machine in the early works with mason Davin, seen here placing one of the granite blocks. The skill shown by both in moving such huge pieces with such a delicate touch was a joy to watch!
Our thanks go to all the people and organisations that have made the restoration possible.
Also on site were the remains of the structure where water was boiled to steam the wooden planks into shape.
The base was reinstated and the cauldron was retrieved from the bed of the lock.
The brickwork was built up to form the flue which directed smoke and hot air around the cauldron for maximum efficiency.
Here is the boiler in October 2016.Craftsman Rob Brotherston has usedLime mortar in the authentic reconstruction.
The scaffolding was finally removed at the end of October to reveal a sight not seen for a generation.
Work continued in the Spring of 2016.
Our wonderful mason, Davin, and his assistant have repointed the cobbles along the base of the dry dock using as many of the original stones as could be found on-site. Also, we aim to complete the rebuild of the boiler structure - see below. This is a continuation of the restoration work started in 2015.The majority of this years work is funded by Tesco who teamed up with Groundwork earlier this year to launch its Bags of Help initiative in hundreds of regions across England and Wales. The scheme sees three community groups and projects in each of these regions awarded grants of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 – all raised from the 5p bag charge. Shoppers voted us into second place in the Teignbridge event in March.More details can be found on the Tesco website here.We are very grateful to Tesco for including the work of the Stover Canal Trust in their scheme - work which is done for the benefit of the community at large, whose support we also appreciate.
Reconstruction of the Boiler.
During October 2016 we contracted a large machine to dredge the silt from the bottom of Graving Dock Lock and to remove some large tree roots from the area of the overflow weir. Castleford Engineeringis a local firm from Liverton who specialise in water based civils work and helped us last year with the reconstruction of the lock walls. Local mason Davin Foster from Bishopsteignton trades as the Rural Craftsmanand was also on hand to lend his experience in rebuilding the weir. Davin reinstated the lock walls last year and regrouted the bed of the graving dock earlier this year.The works used the last of the funds we won in a public vote from the Tesco 'Bags of Help' scheme.
And re-placement of the masonary is so much easier…
Tree root removal takes no time with the right equipment!
The finished restoration.
The lock pictured during the December 2015 flooding.
Built by our forefathers, preserved for our grandchildren