THE Grand Western Canal Trust is finalising the details of a Design-A-Llift competition to raise awareness of the waterway's unique engineering heritage.

The trust aims to involve students and young engineers in a bid to create designs for modern lifts suitable to replace the seven 175-year-old structures that once lifted boats through some 270ft from Taunton to Tiverton.

Trust chairman Robert Hodgson said there has been a lot of interest.

He said: “Any reinstatement of the waterway would need new structures and the use of modern materials to maximise the energy- and water-saving advantages of boat lifts.

“The Grand Western lifts were up to 43ft high and were way ahead of their time in the 1830s.

“This competition will give young engineers and scientists a chance to explore issues relevant to their future careers and provide the trust with cost-effective options for future restoration work.”

The trust is looking for sponsors to support the event.

For more information call the Grand Western Canal Trust secretary, Hugh Dalzell, at 01884-849255.