One of Devon’s oldest and most established walking routes, the Templer Way, celebrated its 25th anniversary with the unveiling of newly carved granite markers at the start and end of the route. The Templer Way is a 29km (18 mile) public footpath that follows the historic path of high quality granite which was quarried at Haytor, transported to the New Quay in Teignmouth and exported to a variety of destinations, including being used in the building of the British Museum, London Bridge and Covent Garden. The route today includes quiet abandoned quarries, a granite tramway, a canal, estuary infrastructure, quaysides and other remains of an industrial past in an area which is now largely scenic and peaceful.
The story of the Templer Way begins in the 1700s when James Templer, born in Exeter and brought up as an orphan, ran away to sea and made his fortune in India. Returning to Devon he purchased the then run-down Stover Estate and built a new Stover House. In 1792 his son, also called James, built a canal between Teigngrace and the tidal River Teign at a sea lock near Newton Abbot, therefore giving direct access to the estuary.
In 1820 his son, George, built a granite tramway from Haytor on Dartmoor to link with the end of the canal at Teigngrace, and the New Quay at Teignmouth therefore completing this intriguing mix of transport infrastructure within a relatively short distance. Not only did the tramway carry granite, its rails were actually constructed of carved lengths of granite, a unique feature as far as is known.
After the unveiling of a newly carved granite boulder to mark the start of the Templer Way by Mr Maurice Retallick, Deputy Chairman of the Dartmoor National Park Authority a group for walkers from Combeinteignhead Parish walked the whole length of the Templer Way from moor to sea.
The group had a welcome lunchtime stop at Stover School . This provided the ideal venue to host a gathering of all the agencies and several of the key landowners involved in the route, to celebrate the 25th anniversary. Cllr Jerry Brook, Chairman of the County Council welcomed counterparts from Dartmoor National Park and Teignbridge District Council, together with representatives from all of the Parish and Town councils along the route.
After lunch the walkers carried on to Teignmouth for the unveiling of the other marker stone at New Quay.