No 31 Spring 2005

Annual General Meeting
Bude Canal Day 2005
Bude Canal Map 1904
Treasurer's Report
Virworthy View
Trip to Exeter, the Canal, lock & Exmouth
The Canal Regeneration Project
Membership Report
Signposts & New Walks Books




4th Annual General Meeting

The Chairman, Audrey Wheatley, welcomed 34 members and visitors to this 4th AGM of the Society at the Falcon Hotel, Bude on 27th February 2005. Unusually, this was a Sunday since the Falcon is now licensed for weddings and Saturdays have become popular.
The Chairman and then the Secretary, Bryan Dudley Stamp reviewed a busy year for the Society, followed by the Treasurer, Chris Jewell, who showed that the Society's funds were in good financial shape. He regretted the non-appearance of the Canal Day, largely due to the greatly increased amount of paper work in connection with the insurance of the event, which placed an impossible burden on our small committee. However, he hoped that much of this difficulty had been overcome and looked forward to the possibility of a Canal Day 2005, probably on 24th July. Greatly to the relief of all he said that in view of the total lack of a volunteer willing to take over the accounts and, of necessity, becoming a Trustee of the Society, Chris had decided to withdraw his resignation and to continue as Treasurer for the time being.
Ian Whitfield was thanked for his long service as Examiner of the Society's accounts and John Harris was elected to replace him.
The accounts were approved and the three members of the Committee retiring by rotation, Bryan Dudley Stamp, Chris Jewell and Lawrence Wheatley, were re-elected nem con.
The Chairman presented Chris with a clock engraved with a tribute to his work for the Society which had been subscribed by the Trustees.
After refreshments Cllr Des Shadrick (Devon C.C.) gave a talk on "The Bude Canal and the Ruby Trail Initiative" covering progress of the cycle trail starting along the canal valley and its importance in attracting business along its length which would encourage the economy of the district.

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Our trustee, Stan Noakes, his wife and son holidayed in Batu Ferringhi, Penang and gave the following account:
Each morning with towels in hand I claimed three sun-beds under shade before proceeding to breakfast. On Boxing Day we had had breakfast and were busy with newspapers, books and suntan oil in the hotel beach gardens, approximately four metres above sea level - a sea which was always very calm. At about 9.30 am we noticed a white-topped wave about a mile out to sea. Our son, Dan, a keen surfer, said he thought it was a tidal wave. Shortly after the hotel staff began blowing whistles. Everyone had to leave the beach and all the boats were brought ashore to the highest beach level.
As we watched, a series of waves approached the steeply shelving beach and the hotel grounds were flooded. Several adjacent hotels had their pools flooded with the dirty water. In the next bay, Miami Beach, there were 40 drownings.
2004 had been a difficult year with Dee undergoing major surgery and completing a six-month course of chemotherapy just prior to the commencement of our holiday but we counted our good fortune in surviving the tsunami when so many had died or were made homeless and had lost many loved ones.

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Bude Canal Day 2005

This event will be held on Sunday 24th July 2005 between 12 noon and 5pm on the Barkhouse Green, Lower Wharf, Bude adjacent to the canal.
This year it will not be possible to have a locking in/out of the canal for any boats, as the tide times are not suitable for the event. As in previous years, Bude Stratton Town Council are holding their Gurney Day event on the same day in the Castle Grounds which are adjacent to the Lower Wharf.
We should be glad of the assistance of any members in setting up, manning stalls, etc. Please contact me on 01288 352298 or chris@bude-canal.freeserve.co.uk.
Chris Jewell

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Bude Canal Map 1904

The Society, with the consent of Bude Stratton Town Council, have had plan 2 of the 1904 map reproduced with notes. These will soon be available for purchase. The sizes will differ slightly from plan 1; mainly A4 and A3. Copies may be ordered: plain with notes, mounted with notes, framed with notes, from me.
Our thanks to David Martin of Martin Group Services, Bude, for all his work in the reproduction of this plan, the second of eight. This plan shows the Barge section from about the 1 mile post to Pinch Hill, Marhamchurch.
BCHS hopes to reproduce the other six plans in due course as pledged to Bude Stratton Town Council. Plan 3 includes the Hobbacott inclined plane.
Chris Jewell





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AGM Treasurer's Report

On the 31 December 2004 the year end balances were as follows:
Account 1 £1,357.35
Account 2 Educational Fund £284.75
Account 3 Project Fund £ 1,930.66
Account 4 Canal Day £ 532.58

Account 1
This is the main account for day to day income and expenditure. The balance shown is healthy bearing in mind the activity that takes place during the year. One of the main items of expenditure was £803.31 for the purchase of a new wooden shed and associated costs. The cost was offset by using £200 from the Gift Aid refund. The shed allows the safe storage of bulky items and all of the donated goods for resale.
Account 2 Educational Fund
The purpose of this account is to have an educational fund. The income is normally all donations and a percentage of any surplus from fundraising. During the year the fund has paid for the website, a revised canal leaflet, a revised "Way Forward" leaflet, display panels and leaflet about the tub boat, a Budehaven School canal project, and a grant to Mr W A Young to aid with costs for his book, "Emma's Life on the Bude Canal".
Account 3 Project Fund
This account holds funds for projects to benefit Bude Canal specifically or in general. It is funded by monies as and when from Account 1, the total or majority of the Gift Aid refund, and the total of the donations in the donation bottle. Of the balance of £1930.66, £1000 is set aside as a pledge to NCDC as our contribution to the Bude Canal Regeneration Project. The balance is available for future projects including some work on the tub boat at Helebridge.
Account 4 Canal Day
This account is dormant at present. Its purpose is for the administration of income and expenditure in relation to Canal Day which we hope will be on 24th July this year.

As at 21st February 2005 the analysis of the Society's membership shows:
2005 2004
Annual membership 102 99
Life members 19 18
Total no. members 127

This is an important part of the income of the Society. It ranges from selling waterway books, mugs, maps, visits to waterways etc, to giving talks etc. However, by far the biggest earner is the sale of donated new and second-hand goods, which is organised and controlled by Betty Moore, our Events Secretary. It never fails to amaze me what people will buy, but long may it continue!

In conclusion I thank my fellow trustees and certain members for their continuing support to the Society and myself. In particular to Mr Ian Whitfield who has examined and certified the accounts for many years and has now retired from this important service.
I close by saying that I have withdrawn my intent to resign as Treasurer of the Society.
Chris Jewell, Treasurer

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Virworthy View

Real signs of Spring now; buds on the trees, birds making nests and grass starting to grow. I don't know when the grass will be cut though, as when I got the mower out to prepare it for hard work, it died! I hope the agricultural engineers can revive it in good time.
My early morning walks along the towpath with the dogs provide a quiet period of reflection before the rigours of the day. The peace is only broken by a few song birds interspersed with the staccato rattle of a distant woodpecker. The Woodland Trust Survey in conjunction with the BBC encourages the search and observation of signs of changing seasons. I have so far recorded seeing frog spawn and bumble bees but not yet ladybirds. It will not be long before swifts and swallows will be arriving; although the martins are usually the first to arrive.
On my walks I look for animal tracks. It's amazing just how many visitors can be recognized. Recently I observed two distinctly different sets of hoofprints close together, one set about sheep size, the other considerably smaller. I can only surmise it was a deer with a small fawn. I will keep a watching eye for them.
Making nests is a sign of spring and some birds have a liking for chimney pots. One morning Yvonne went into our lounge to discover a rook had come down the chimney and was causing chaos. It was caught and released outside. The following morning the same thing happened - but I don't think it was the same one. Incredibly, the third morning another rook! This one was angry and put up a fight - perhaps it was the same one! I have since draped wire netting around the chimney pot.
Talking to an elderly gentleman I met at the lower lake, I established the exact location of two cottages that once stood by the side of the river around 1925. One of the cottages was a mill and the only evidence now is part of the stone-lined leat and some building rubble. I wonder if anyone knows more of this.
Geoff Lowe

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Special Event - Visit to Exeter and Boat Trip

The Society is planning a visit to Exeter on Saturday 16th July 2005 to have a guided tour of the Port of Exeter (optional) followed by a trip by boat down the Exeter Canal to Turf Lock, through the lock into the River Exe and on to Exmouth. A trip of 2½ hours duration. The costs are: Coach fare £7.50 adult £3.75 child under 14
Guided tour £2.50 adult £1.50 child under 16
Boat Trip £6.00 adult £3.00 child under 14 If you are interested please complete the enclosed booking form and return with the necessary total remittance by 25th June. Please make cheques payable to 'Bude Canal & Harbour Society'.

The coach will leave Bude at 9.10am. The guided tour of the Port of Exeter will start at 11am and last 1½ hours. There is then a break to allow for lunch and the Boat Trip starts at 2 pm from the City Basin of the Exeter Canal. The boat will arrive at Exmouth at about 4.30pm and the coach will leave to return to Bude at about 6.30pm arriving in Bude at about 8.30pm.
This is a rare chance to travel the Exeter Canal and negotiate the locks and bridges, especially the impressive lift and swing bridges at Countess Wear, when modern vehicular traffic gives way to the traffic on this ancient waterway. Then through the Turf Lock and into the River Exe to continue to Exmouth along this beautiful river with glorious views of the wonderful adjacent countryside and waterfront. This is sure to be popular so book early to avoid disappointment and come and have a super day out.

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Bude Canal Regeneration Project

Following the Heritage Lottery Fund Regional Committee meeting on 15th March 2005 when the above project's application for funding was considered, it is understood that it had a positive reception. NCDC now have to consult the other project funders and then a full press report will be released.

William Blight (or Bright)
The following report appeared in the Royal Cornwall Gazette of 15th September 1865:
"Fatal Accident at Bude - On Saturday, while the workmen on the Bude Canal at Rodd's Bridge lock were fixing the gates, the chain to which the gate was appended slipped, and fell on one of the workmen, William Blight (who fastened the chain himself), and killed him on the spot. He has left a wife and eight children."

Don Mason has e-mailed the following information about William Blight (or Bright):
The name is actually Bright; which I found listed in the 1861 Census for Marhamchurch and his name was spelled with an "l" there also. I also have a copy of his Death Registration and his name is BRIGHT on it. William was born in Sheepwash, Devon and was christened on 7th February 1819. He was a carpenter by trade and married Harriet Hill on 16th August 1843 in the Parish of Halwill, County of Devon. In the 1861 Census there are five children listed: Elizabeth, Thomas, Ann, Mary and Henry. There were three other children: William, John, and Robert. All of the children except Mary emigrated to the USA after William was accidentally killed in 1865. Don has yet to determine where Harriet spent the rest of her days after William's death.
He goes on to say that Mary is his great-grandmother. She married John George Williams on 12th February 1878 in St Paul's Parish, Devonport. John George Williams' real name was George Wrench Mason. For some reason he changed his name when he enlisted in Her Majesty's Military. All of their children were given the surname of Mason-Williams. Their second child, William Wrench Mason-Williams, is my grandfather. He came to Ontario, Canada in 1920. When he arrived there he dropped the Williams from his name, thus I am a Mason.
Don concludes that since last September he has made contact with four of the descendants of the Brights that live in the USA.

19th century Visitor's Poem appreciating Bude's beauty.

A poem written by a visitor included in the Programme of 'The Cutting of the First Sod' of the Bude Holsworthy Railway held at Berries Farm, Bude, on Friday 31st January 1890, begins:

Most beautiful Bude, the Gem of the West,
Thy lovely surroundings all make thee the best;
Thy views on the sea, the coast or inland,
Are romantic, sublime, and delightfully grand.

Most beautiful Bude, with thy deep crescent bay,
And majestic headlands, far stretching away,
With many a cove round thy rough, rocky shore,
Which those who love venture delight to explore.

It continues to eulogize for another ten stanzas on the beauties of Bude with much truth. The first line of the fifth stanza reads: "Most beautiful Bude, with clear Strat and Canal", further proof that the river was known as the Strat from at least the 12th century until 1954 (vide the 1904 Map and the 1946 "Official Guide to Bude", showing a picture of the Strand with the caption "Bude, River Strat") when Mrs Jewell persuaded the Ordnance Survey to change their maps.

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Membership report
We welcome the following new members who have joined since December:
Mr P. Perry-Bolt, New South Wales, Australia
Mr B. Hughes, Northam, Devon
Mr & Mrs A. Wills, Annery Kiln, Devon.
Mr I. Menzies, Binhamy Close, Bude.
Mike Moore


Illustrated talk by Charmian Astbury "The Ketch Ceres"
On the 12th April Charmian Astbury will give a talk about producing her book "The Ketch Ceres". This will start at 7.30pm at the Parkhouse Centre, Bude and admission will be £2.50 per person including refreshments (children half price).
Charmian lives in North Devon and since retiring has written three books and several articles which have been published in periodicals. "The Ketch Ceres" tells the fascinating story of the ship during its 125-year life from 1811 to its loss in 1936. Copies of the book will be available for sale during the evening. This is an evening not to be missed - hope to see you there.
Betty Moore

Sun/Mon 1-2nd May Model Boat Exhibition (Society stall) - may be the last.
Saturday 16th July Exeter City tour & boat trip
Sunday 24th July Canal Day

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A series of new signposts has appeared on the towpath at Rodds & Truscott bridges and elsewhere. They are made of a plain wood with clear, unfussy, black printing; a definite asset to the canal and of great service to visitors.

NCDC Booklet of walks

A booklet of walks titled (in lower case) "bude canal trails and bude valley", to be available at TICs etc @ £2.99, has been produced by North Cornwall Coast & Countryside Service. It is in an attractive, handy, pocket-sized edition and suggests walks of various lengths in the area with local history of the canal, breakwater, etc and information on bude marshes, local geology, flora and fauna.

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