ROLLING BACK THE YEARS ON THE GRAND WESTERN CANAL

A group of residents from a specialist dementia care home in Wellington have been transported back in time with a horse-drawn barge trip from Tiverton along the Grand Western Canal.

Richard Dempslake, activities organiser for Camelot House and Lodge, said: “This trip ticks all the boxes for our residents – lots of interesting things to see, calm and beautiful surroundings, a bit of nostalgia and lovely people looking after us.

“Of course, George the beautiful heavy horse who pulled the barge was a great hit, and they enjoyed feeding the ducks and swans on the canal, and playing ‘spot-the-wildlife.’

“Although the weather wasn’t great, it didn’t matter because the barge has huge picture windows.

“At one point we had a two-minute silence to allow everyone to drink in the peace and tranquility – and the only things we could hear were the water lapping against the side of the barge and the clip-clop of George’s hooves. It was very relaxing.

“Our skipper Stephanie shared with us about how the vegetation on the banks of the canal is allowed to grow throughout summer, resulting in a mass of colourful wildflowers that attract many insects and provides shelter for small mammals.

Stephanie Hammond of the Tiverton Canal Company said: “Several of the residents are obviously really interested in nature and wildlife, and it was clear they were really in their element during the trip.

“Others were more interested in the barge itself, the traditional bargeman’s outfit that I wear, and the tales I was able to tell them about the Tivertonian.”

The canal trip is part of a full and varied programme of activities arranged by Richard Dempslake and his team for the residents of Camelot House and Lodge, part of the Camelot Care group of homes.

For more information on the Tiverton Canal Company see www.tivertoncanal.co.uk/horse-drawn-barge and for more details on Camelot Care see: www.camelotcare.org

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