VOYAGE OF OCEAN PRINCESS
At the Parkhouse Centre in the evening of 18 October,
James Griffin entertained us greatly with a continuation of the voyages
of Ocean Princess. This time they travelled up to Scotland via Bangor
in Ulster and across the Irish Sea to the Caledonian Canal, all illustrated
with many slides of the marvellous scenery of Scotland and on the return
via Douglas in the Isle of Man as well as harbours, moorings and the open
He showed us again with the help of his wonderfully detailed model of
the narrow boat how it was modified for ocean travel. It was a great pity
that such an interesting talk should have been heard by so few; only four
were members of the public. Only seven entrance fees (at £2.50)
were paid and a raffle at a pound a strip added another six pounds. With
advertising, hire of hall, and fee to the speaker the Society suffered
a big loss of funds in consequence. Ed.
Canal Day 2006
Bude Canal Day will be held on Sunday 6 August 2006, again in conjunction
with 'Gurney Day' organised by Bude Stratton Town Council, The date chosen
will allow the use of the sea lock at about 4.30pm. Efforts will be made
to ensure some craft are available to lock into the canal. Further details
in issue 35 in 2006.
Canal Regeneration Project
The Development phase is in full swing with a mass of work being done
by various companies as well as the Project Officer, Ian Mander, and his
assistant, Andrea Vaillancourt-Alder. The development phase has to be
completed by March 2006 so that the reports and work done can be submitted
to the funders for consideration
of granting the funds to commence the implementation phase. Subject to
that, the following 18-24 months will see a radical change take place
along the canal, although mainly in the 2 mile section from Bude to Helebridge.
At present there are some issues with the Environment Agency over water
abstraction from the canal and about flooding in the Helebridge area and
these have to be resolved although there is goodwill between the Project
and the Agency.
As part of the Development Phase all of you will have received at least
one consultation form with a freepost return address. I hope you have
been able to complete one copy and return it by post. If not, please reconsider.
Your views are important and required. The forms need to be completed
by 1 February and returned to the freepost address. You were sent the
forms by the project team with your committee's blessing. I apologise
if you had more than one form, a slight misunderstanding with the Asst.
Project Officer. There is a positive attitude now about the project and
all being well it will come to fruition and secure the canal for the next
Report by Chris Jewell
are beginning to happen on the canal:
At each side of Rodds bridge a hole has been sunk to determine the depth
of the bedrock; at Whalesborough the upper pound is being shut off to
lower the level of
the middle pound with a view to dredging the lock. This has now been done
at both locks. Ed.
Walking Routes Project
The Canal and Coast footpath is continuing but the dream of a complete
circular walk has stalled due to the difficult landowner at Burmsdon.
The effect is as previously described, a shorter circular walk from Bude
via Marhamchurch, Launcells, Stratton, and back to Bude. However, on that
walk there will be direct access down the Hobbacott inclined plane and
along the former towpath to Cann Orchard. The work on that important section
should be ready by Easter 2006. A relevant leaflet will be available.
The Launceston arm route seems to have died the death as landowners where
the former canal still exists have closed the door on negotiations about
this walking route. This is very sad as the parishioners have no say in
the matter and many of them support the concept of off-road paths, a facility
that does not exist in several parishes in the Tamar valley.
Progress continues to be slow for similar walks in the Holsworthy area
as described in issue 33 of The Tub Boat. One bit of good news is that
whereas this project was due to come to an end in 2006, there is a move
to extend the period for completion which gives more time for implementation.
A decision from Europe is awaited.
On the 19/20 November 2005 a canal exhibition entitled "The Hidden
History" about the canal but which featured a display of photographs
and artefacts relating mainly to the tub boat canal, was held in the Parkhouse
Centre, Bude. It was very well attended on both days and raised awareness
of this 'hidden history' which was the object of the exercise. The exhibition
also featured a display and information about the canal project and, in
particular, the walking routes project. The event was organised by NCDC
in conjunction with our Society and Bude Canal Trust.
- Gerald Fry, Andrea Vaillancourt-Alder, Tim Dingle, Chris Jewell, David
Phillips - Photo Paul Hamlyn
On the Saturday the exhibition was visited by three authors of books on
the Bude Canal: Bill Young of Stratton, Joan Rendle of Werrington, and
Helen Harris of Tavistock. Thanks to Bude Stratton Town Council and Bude-Stratton
Old Cornwall Society for the loan of photographs. Since then the exhibition
has visited Boyton where it was well received. It is planned to take the
exhibition to Chilsworthy on 17 January 2006 and Grimscott on 20 January.
Both sessions will be open from 4 to 8 pm. On 21 January at the Parkhouse
Centre there will be 'meet the designers day' when the proposed ideas
for work on the canal will be on display. The Canal Exhibition will be
at that event also. All these events will have local publicity in January
for All" grants
The Society has applied to 'Awards for All' lottery fund for grant to:
i) copy the remaining plans of the canal from Bude to Tamar Lake, circa
1904 and then make copies available to Budehaven Community School and
Bude Stratton Old Cornwall Society.
ii) establish a portable archive unit for use at events and to visit remote
areas to educate the public, particularly older and disadvantaged people.
Bude Stratton Town Council have earmarked £300 towards the cost
and BCHS will use £240 from its Educational Fund with, hopefully,
'Awards for All' giving a grant to cover the balance. The total cost of
the project is £1,765. It is hoped that part of the archive will
be a display based on the canal exhibition as mentioned previously. 'Awards
for All' have indicated that a decision should be made by early January
of old documents
the Society purchased a quantity of correspondence from the 1820s relating
to Bude Canal. It is mainly about disputes over land, acquisition of land
and the like. The letters are all reasonably legible but have yet to be
studied and possibly catalogued. Any interesting letters will in due course
be printed in future issues of 'The Tub Boat'.
The above four items supplied by Chris Jewell
Did you know that a rare fungus called Hypocreopsis rhododendri (known
also as hazel gloves) is found in only two areas in Britain, one in western
Scotland and the other in Devon - in fact at Virworthy, according to Dr
A Martyn Ainsworth from Windsor who has written an English Nature Research
Report on the subject. I met Dr Ainsworth one day on my walk along the
towpath. He was jubilant and clutching a piece of dead hazel on which
he had identified the said fungus. He showed me the sample before he carefully
ensconced it in a phial. I now know what it looks like and have endeavoured
to find some myself - without success to date!
Work on repairing the spillway at the Wharf has been completed, beating
the rain by one day! A reasonably dry period allowed a caisson to be constructed
for the concrete, some seven cubic metres of it. The small amount of water
running down during the groundwork was easily diverted and the small residue
was pumped away.
Having a small digger on site, the opportunity to clean out part of the
Wharf basin was too good to miss. We can now see clear water and with
the new gate in situ the view from the road has been transformed.
Since being repaired there has been a tremendous amount of water cascading
over the spillway, which means there is a depth of some four feet at this
point. With water now in the upper part of the canal the ducks are in
their element. The geese are still cautious of going down the banks, but
The snow on 25th of November gave the whole area a magical look with four
to five inches of snow on the trees and fences - a real picture postcard
look. Needless to say no traffic came down the lane that day. We did manage
to get out the following day though.
Is this a taste of winter to come?
For the third year running, HBH Woolacotts and the Bude Canal and Harbour
Society teamed up with Budehaven Community School‘s History Department
for the Year 8 Bude Canal Competition. Entrants were asked to prepare
a poster to be used as publicity for the annual day of activities celebrating
both Bude Canal and Sir Goldsworthy Gurney. The overall winner was Charlie
Rudman with Sophie Thorne, second was Jenny Hicks and third Beth Middleton.
Budehaven’s History Department thank HBH Woolacotts and Bude Canal
and Harbour Society for their generous prize money.
Jane Addy Budehaven Community School History Dept.
of the Past
Bryan Dudley Stamp has kindly given me sight of the 1905 version of the
1904 Official Guide to Bude. It was truly another world, "noted for
mild and balmy breezes, the purest water, and an equable climate."
The Boer War had been over for three years and two world wars were an
undreamt of horror in the distant future. "Where the River Strat
joins the sea by Cobbledicks and Thorne's bridges or where the canal ends
in locks and trading wharves Bude Haven has sprung up, a delightful holiday
resort with no marine parades or endless squares but a harbour of refuge
on an otherwise merciless coast". There was a men's bathing place
in the harbour, a place for ladies at Crooklets and between the two mixed
bathing was permitted. "At low tide Sir Thomas' Pit at the end of
the breakwater is reserved for gentlemen, and is delightful for diving
or swimming". The Golf links had 18 holes for men and 9 for ladies.
Postal deliveries were at 7.15 and 11.50 am and 6.20pm; a single 1st class
train fare cost 38 shillings (£1.18s), second class 23s/9d (£1.3s.9d)
and third class 19s. Another world indeed.
The Bude Canal "where sailing ships discharge their cargoes in the
old-fashioned way, owes its existence to the value of the sea-sand so
largely composed of the detritus of sea-shells that it contains no less
than seventy-eight per cent of carbonate of lime, an ingredient of the
highest value for wheat lands."
Follows a detailed and accurate description of the working of the inclined
planes. An interesting point is that having described the emptying of
the bucket in the well at Hobbacott by a stake raising a plug, it adds
that "in case of accident to the machinery, the water can at any
time be emptied in one minute through the valves with which a chain communicates;
this chain being ingeniously made to wind and unwind as the buckets ascend
and descend, so as to be always of the proper length." It finishes,
"Alas! as many of the wheatlands of old England have gone out of
cultivation, so the old canal has fallen into desuetude, but it crops
up continually in our walks round Bude and Stratton, sometimes over our
heads and sometimes beneath our feet." The orotund prose betokens
a slower-moving more restful time.
to Bude Canal
By popular request the Rolle Canal and Northern Devon Waterways Society
have asked for another guided visit to the Bude Canal. This will take
place on Saturday 8th April 2006. Meet at Lower Wharf outside the Library
at 10 am. Cost will be £2.50 adult, children under 16 £1 each.
Lunch will be at 12.30pm at the Falcon Hotel, Bude.
The afternoon session will start at 2 pm and visit Helebridge, Hobbacott
inclined plane, Merrifield wheelpit and Virworthy Wharf. The visit will
end between 5pm and 6 pm. Please wear suitable clothing and footwear.
If coming with friends reduce the number of vehicles used where possible.
Please notify me of how many and whether you want to take your lunch at
the Falcon Hotel. I need to know by 25 March 2006 to finalise details
with landowners, Falcon Hotel, and for level of supervision. Contact me
on 01288 352298 or email on email@example.com
Mince Pie Walk 2005
The weather, on the Sunday before Christmas, was ideal for the walk; not
too cold, not too windy and it was dry: all in all, just the ticket. Six
stalwarts plus one dog of large stone/small boulder carrying fame, gathered
at the sea lock at the appointed hour and set course for Helebridge and
the Barge Workshop.
The conditions underfoot were kind and good progress was maintained. En-route
the group was able to pause and observe the various exploratory work that
place at present along the canal in conjunction with, and as a prelude
to, the Regeneration Project. The two inland locks, Rodd’s Bridge
& Whalesborough, had been drained and dredged so that their condition
could be ascertained more clearly and a better understanding of the restoration
work acquired. Work also is being undertaken at Helebridge on the Atlantic
Highway road bridge (A39) at present and when completed, the canal and
towpath should, once again, go under the road.
At last the Barge Workshop was reached and the group was able to meet
others who had gone straight there, to view the tub boat which is on display
and to partake of some much needed refreshment and to chat about all things
Another very enjoyable walk and a good way to prepare for the coming festivities.
Well done to all who walked and thanks to everyone who contributed to
the occasion by providing the food and drink, especially Wendy Hutson
who provided sherry freely to any who wished. All in all, a very enjoyable
the following new members who have joined since September:
Mr G Smith, Northam, Bideford
Mr M Degnan, Poughill, Bude (Life Member)
Mr & Mrs A Bushill, Pickard Way, Bude
Many thanks to those members who have already renewed their subscription
for 2005/2006 and particularly to those who have given additional donations.
However, some members have still not renewed. Will they please complete
the enclosed renewal form by return to maintain their support for the
Bude Canal & Harbour Society and receive future newsletters.
Remember that only fully paid up members can vote at the AGM in March.You
can help us reduce costs by using the Standing Order Mandate attached
to the renewal form.
Boat issue 35 will be available in April 2006
for the next edition should be sent to The Editor, Tregea, Lower Upton,
Bude Cornwall EX23 0LS 29th March 2006