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The Inclined Plane

OS ref 463 224
The route chosen for Lord Rolle’s Canal necessitated one change in elevation.  Normally canals were raised by means of flights of locks but the limited supply of water replenishing the Rolle Canal necessitated the alternative method of raising or lowering the tub boats by means of a railed inclined plane.  Tub boats were hauled up and down the inclined plane by means of a continuous chain system that was powered by an underground waterwheel.  This system enabled the tub boats to be raised to a level of 40 feet above river level in a relatively quick and efficient manner. At the top of the inclined plane where there was a wide basin was the Incline
Keeper’s cottage along with a pub called the ‘Hunters Inn’ as well as stables and various other buildings.Part of this complex belongs to Devon County Council and is managed by the North Devon Coast & Countryside Services.On adjacent land where most of the remains of these buildings and the actual plane still exist, the vault which once contained the waterwheel drive mechanism for the inclined plane was broken into and in-filled when the London & South West Railway Company built a rail link across the course of the canal.
The structures of the inclined plane and accommodation buildings, on either side of the Tarka Trail, are environmentally and historically very sensitive.  They are is subject to archaeological investigation and, at present, public access to them is restricted.
Permissive access is being sought but until such time as that is granted members of the general public are requested not to stray from the Tarka Trail onto this site.