Unless stated, all material © Stover Canal Trust 2023                                                 Charity Number, 1138316      Company Number: 5835573

Restoration of the Graving Dock Lock - 2015/2016

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 The 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.
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The lock had become overgrown and choked with vegetation, as seen in this photo from 2002.
Trees had grown through the granite walls. Clearance was always going to be a major job requiring money for equipment and materials, and manpower.
The experienced WRG volunteers made rapid progress. The difference could clearly be seen after just one week.
They also were seen on local TV!
Here you can see where a tree had to be 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!
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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.
 Stover Canal Trust  Stover Canal Trust  Stover Canal Trust  Stover Canal Trust  Stover Canal Trust  Stover Canal Trust  Stover Canal Trust  Stover Canal Trust  Stover Canal Trust  Stover Canal Trust
Here is the boiler in October 2016. Craftsman Rob Brotherston has used Lime 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. 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.
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Reconstruction of the Boiler.

Davin Foster 01626 779058 07812 713005
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   Engineering    is   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   Craftsman    and   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 masonry 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.
Lower Towpath-Phase 1 Lower Towpath-Phase 1 Ventiford Basin and the Granite Tramway Ventiford Basin and the Granite Tramway
Built by our forefathers, preserved for our grandchildren
And here in June 2017 with the steambox in place.