BANK Holiday Monday was a day of double celebration on the water as both the Grand Western Canal and the Tiverton Canal Company marked their 200th and 40th anniversaries respectively.

Despite some heavy downpours, the afternoon brightened and people ventured out to join in the anniversary celebrations, with pond dipping, treasure hunts, face painting and the opportunity to jump on one of Wellington Bouncy Castle's Swing boats.

After the Horsedrawn barge returned from its morning trip, Philip and Jacquie Brind the owners of Tiverton Canal Co. invited guests to a small gathering held on-board the barge 'Tivertonian.'

VIPs, dignitaries and friends were invited to listen to a number of speakers including Tony Stockwell who started the business back in 1974.

Philip Brind, who today owns and runs the business with his wife Jacquie, hopes to see better links between the canal and the surrounding area, but also had a warning for developers.

He said: “How unique and beautiful the canal is as an attraction for Devon - I would like to see even closer working and promotional links with Exeter City and Tiverton town going forward.

“The canal must be protected from planning and urbanisation for the sake of all our children and their families.”

Crowds then gathered on the towpath to watch a re-enactment with canal manager Mark Baker and canal ranger Craig Saunderson playing the role of traditional 'navvies' on board an original tub boat, which was loaded with coal and drawn by Welsh Cob, Taffy.

This re enactment took place 200 years to the day since the first barge-load of coal was pulled into the Canal Basin on August 25, 1814.