No 37 Autumn 2006


North Tamerton Inclined Plane Visit
Dartmouth Visit
Bude Canal Day
Canal Users Consultative Committee
Update on Regeneration Project
West Country Embroiderers' Exhibition
Morwenstow Society Walk
Membership Report
MincepieWalk 17th December
Events for your Diary

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Visit To North Tamerton Inclined Plane !

The southern branch of the Bude canal leaves the main line (i.e.Bude to Holsworthy) at Red Post and follows the Tamar along the side of the valley almost into Launceston. The three inclines on this branch, Merrifield, North Tamerton and Werrington lower the canal to its southern terminus at Druxton just a mile & a half short of Launceston. All are situated in remote farmland on different farms and perhaps because of this the wheelpits of all three are still intact and the inclines easily identifiable.

The exploration on the evening of 29th July was organized by Mr & Mrs Harper of North Tamerton as a fund-raising event for St Denys Church and the continuation of the hot sunny weather of previous weeks was a foregone conclusion, or so we thought. In the event the first wet day for a long time dawned and kept its best efforts for the evening. Despite this, people turned up in considerable numbers, suitably clad for the inclement conditions to await the promised transport to our destination. This turned out to be two vast tractors and two trailers of enormous length, so that 40 people were carried on each, sitting back to back 20 a side on long central benches. These trailers are apparently custom built for this kind of expedition and of a width to go through standard field gates and narrow lanes.

Thus were we conveyed clanking, thumping and swaying in pouring rain through gates and over fields, finally coming to a halt at the bottom of a steep field bordering Eastcott Woods. The steep slope to our left with its hedge was the actual incline and we had disembarked at the bottom where it emerged from the woods and here our exploration started. Within the woods the canal was clearly defined with the two boat bays at the base of the plane easily visible. Further into the wood where the towpath is raised and level, a 15 & 3/4 mile marker is still in place and the much eroded abutments of a small aqueduct over a stream could be made out. Returning to the foot of the incline we left the relative shelter of the trees and emerged into the elements to begin the steep climb through very wet grass to more woodland at the top in which was situated the wheelpit much overgrown and with a grill over the personnel entrance. This enabled one to look inside and get some idea of the cavernous dimensions of the structure.

It would be good to think that the enthusiasm which engendered this excellent walk might at some future date set in motion the will to clear this site for the benefit of posterity. Wandering from the marked path was not encouraged so soon we left the towpath and the bit of wood and emerged once again into the fields which we crossed making our way uphill to arrive near our point of departure, Victory Hall, adjacent to St Denys Church.

This had been a well prepared exploration, the way clearly marked with tape and labels and every effort made to ease a rough passage and, as it turned out, a perilously slippery one. It was much enjoyed by all despite the rain and even that eased off for the trek over the fields back to base.

Audrey Wheatley

North Tamerton Walk (Part 2)
On arriving back at North Tamerton we made our way to the field behind the church and into the large marquee where the refreshments were being prepared - a choice of burgers, chicken, sausages and bacon and a welcoming cup of tea coffee or something stronger if required. The society's display panels were proving very popular to all the people in the marquee. As we waited for our food, the rain stopped and the setting golden sun flooded into the marquee, (better late than never). The number of people attending was exceptional but shows the support the Parish gives to its church. After several burgers and feeling much refreshed and relaxed and starting to dry out, the gathered crowd were entertained by two pipers from the popular Bideford Youth Pipe Band, who played a good selection of traditional Scottish music which was well received. At the close of the evening the organisers and owner of the canal land thanked everyone who had attended, supported or helped with this event which had been a success despite the rain. Finally the raffle was drawn and the last prize was won by one of our members, then it was time to head home. A very worthwhile evening was had at North Tamerton.

Betty Moore

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 Around Devon in Five Easy Stages !

Visit to Dartmouth

At 9 am on Saturday 22 July fifty-six members and friends left Bude by coach to Paignton on the first stage of our Grand Day Out. During the journey we were all given very clear itineraries for the day - it was also made very clear that we MUST all stick together as a party whilst boarding the train, boat, etc as there was ONLY ONE TICKET for the whole party! (Don't stop to tie that shoe lace - you might miss the boat - literally).

We arrived at Paignton at 11.00 am and, after a short break, for refreshments made our way to the station of the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway. At about noon we boarded the train in our reserved coach, Rebecca, and just after 12.15 our journey started. The carriages, all in GWR colours, were pulled by a fine steam locomotive, 7827 Lydham Manor, passing through Goodrington, Churston, and arriving at Kingswear about 12.45 pm where we transferred to the ferry to cross the river Dart to Dartmouth.

The river was very busy, not only with ferries for pedestrians and cars, but also with boats and yachts of all sizes moving in all directions.
This short trip landed us in Dartmouth - full of maritime history - Naval College, museum, etc. Everyone dispersed quickly to spend three hours in this hilly historic town with its beautiful Royal Avenue Gardens, marina, and plenty of refreshment houses! This year is the 162nd Dartmouth Royal Regatta so Dartmouth town was very busy with tourists and the weather was very hot. 4pm found us all down by the landing stage once more - definitely more "strung out" this time - to board the river boat. At 4.15 we boarded Dart Venmturer for our trip up the Dart to Totnes.
During the trip the captain gave a humorous running commentary on all the items of interest as we sailed up the river. These included Britannia Royal Naval College and Dame Agatha Christie's estate, now in the ownership of the National Trust. He also pointed out the picturesque riverside villages of Diddisham, Stoke Gabriel, Galmpton, and mentioned the names of celebrities who have connections with this area. It was a beautiful afternoon and the river and the scenery were gorgeous, and a real pleasure to experience.
At about 6pm we arrived at Totnes where we disembarked and went into the town, some walking and others by coach, for a short break before starting our homeward journey to Bude where we arrived at 9pm.
Apart from problems with air conditioning on the coach, the day was enjoyed by everyone. After a long, hot day, the main question was "Where are we going next year?
Jill White and Betty Moore

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Bude Canal Day - 6th August 2006

On Sunday 6th August 2006 the Society held its 4th Canal day to celebrate the past, present, and future of our unique canal. The day started with a flurry of activity on the Barkhouse Green as members and friends set about the preparations for the event. Tables, chairs, boxes of stock and goods for sale, our gazebo and a marquee were all in their turn delivered, stacked and erected so that by 11.30am participating groups could arrive and make their preparations.

By 1 pm all was in place and an air of expectancy could be sensed as the event was formally opened by Cllr Neil Burden, NCDC and Chairman of the Bude Canal Partnership. This was followed by the presentation of copies of the redrawn Bude Canal Map 1904 and explanatory notes to representatives of Bude Stratton Town Council, Bude-Stratton and District Old Cornwall Society, and Budehaven Community School. This was part of the Society's Archive Project for which it received grants from Bude Stratton Town Council (owners and keepers of the original map), and 'Awards for All'. Slightly delayed at 2 pm Mr Tim Browning, the patron, presented the 'Falcon Cup' to the winning angler from Bude Angling Association.

The afternoon continued with much activity from John Maughan, the 'Boscastle Buster', and Geoff Hudspith and his steam-powered cycle and gramophone. Bude Metric Brass and Bideford Youth Pipe Band added to the musical medley as did Emily Maughan, daughter of John, a folk singer. In the marquee were various heritage displays, including the complete redrawn set of the Bude Canal Map 1904. Barry Hughes, a BCHS member, attended with his interpretation model of how, he believes, the inclined plane at Hobbacott on the Bude Canal worked. Other participants included: Rolle Canal and Northern Devon Waterways Society, Bude Stratton Old Cornwall Society, Bude Stratton Town Council, and NCDC. On the Barkhouse Green, the Society had its sales stall selling everything from secondhand crockery or LPs to books about our canal or James Green, its engineer. Also on the Green were a selection of historic vehicles from the Bradworthy Transport Museum, and the Bude Pilot Gig Club with their gig, 'Bedehaven'.

At 3.30pm the yacht, Windthief, skipper Dave Stallard, a regular visitor to Bude, was locked in through the sea lock into the canal to the accompaniment of the Bideford Youth Pipe Band. The Bude Surf Life Saving Club also locked in their surf boat and some smaller craft. The surf boat quickly rowed to the Lower Basin, turned and rowed back to lock out with a local boat; as usual an interesting spectacle with a large audience of locals and tourists.

The day ended to the haunting melodies of the Pipe Band which rounded off an enjoyable afternoon - and this year it didn't rain! Hopefully, we will do it all again next year weather and providence permitting.
As organizer of Canal Day I thank all my fellow trustees, local members, and a number of Bude Stratton Town councillors for their assistance on the day with the setting up and dismantling of the site.
Chris Jewell

And a big thank you from all of us to Chris for his hard work and brilliant organisation. Ed.

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R N L I Week

As usual the society had its sales stall on the Barkhouse Green, Lower Wharf, Bude on Saturday and Sunday 26th & 27th August 2006 courtesy of the Bude Branch RNLI who had their week from 26th August to 3rd September. Lifeboat Day as always was on the Bank Holiday Monday, an all day event from morning to 10 at night.
On the 26th with our Society's stall was Andrea Vallencourt-Alder, Asst Canal Regeneration Project Officer who engaged the public in the anticipated canal project. Both days were positive in fund-raising and, as always, were a useful P.R. platform for the residents and visitors to learn about the Bude canal.

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Bude Canal Users Consultative Forum

This is a long-standing group that liaises with NCDC about the use, and other issues affecting the canal. The Society is a member as are the anglers, commercial operators, riparian owners, and the Inland Waterways Association. NCDC send various officers/employees who are involved with the operation of the canal. The meeting on 31 July was chaired by Peter Wonnacott, a riparian owner.

Some of the more interesting matters discussed were:
i) Following reorganization there is now a Day Manager for the canal, Jolyon Sharpe, the Bude Area Ranger.
ii) The second draft of the Bude Canal 'Code of Conduct' was passed to Forum members for their comments by 31 August.
iii) An update on the blue/green algae affecting the canal and river Strat. Members raised various issues about the problem including the need for precautionary and preventative measures to be taken earlier next year.
iv) An update on the Bude Canal Regeneration Project was given with an assurance that dredging the canal would take place despite certain cuts being required by the Funders.
v) The new and revised licences were now available. When adopted the new Code of Conduct would be issued with future licences.
vi) It was agreed that the Forum would in future meet twice a year on the second Thursday in April and October.
Chris Jewell

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Update on Bude Canal Regeneration Project

At the meeting of the Bude Canal Partnership on 14 July 2006 Ian Mander, Project Manager, gave an update of the project and certain issues that have caused some changes.
The funders have asked NCDC to reduce costs where possible and this, coupled with the increased costs calculated as a result of the development stage, plus the unavailability of the museum building and the Helebridge barge workshop, has required some changes to the scheme. Each aspect has been put into units which are 'stand alone' components. This allows units to be removed or set aside without affecting the project as a whole. Units that have been withdrawn or set aside are:
i) Rodds Bridge and Whalesborough accommodation bridges.
ii) The implementation of the Parkhouse Scheme part 2 from Nanny Moore's Bridge to the wharf.
iii) The building of units on the Barkhouse Green has been reduced.
If the actual funding received from the bid is more than anticipated or other funding is obtained later these units could be re-introduced. The most important is i) as this affects navigation and it is hoped to achieve this in due course. The main objective is to secure the canal, refurbish the two locks and do essential dredging. The reconnection of the canal to Helebridge Basin will be permitted by E A when an equivalent volume of flood storage has been found. There is a site adjacent to the canal which is under negotiations.
The weir at Whalesborough is included in the abstaction licence and its culvert will be used to ensure a 50/50 split of the water by measuring discharge into river against flow of water in canal.
The interpretation centre will be achieved by restructuring the Visitor Centre in the Crescent car park and increasing the flood storage at Helebridge to compensate for the loss of area in the flood plain.
The leakage problem in the embankment near the sea lock continues and a permanent solution is actively being pursued. There is no time scale for this work.
The result of the bid should be an offer of funding to do the works needed which could be in September 2006.

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Left to right: Bryan Dudley-Stamp, Hon Secretary BCHS; Ray Shaddick, Bude & District Old Cornwall Society; Jane Addy, Budehaven Community School; Cllr Neil Burden, North Cornwall District Council, Chairman of Bude Canal Regeneration Partnership; Cllr Barry Garvie, Mayor, Bude Stratton Town Council; Audrey Wheatley, Chairman, BCHS.

IWA Restoration Committee
The Society has been asked to host a meeting of this important body on 28 April 2007 to discuss local issues or problems affecting our canal.
Chris Jewell

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West Country Embroiderers' Exhibition

After the 'Hidden History' of Bude Canal exhibition in November 2005 I was asked if there were photos of the canal between Bude and Helebridge that could be used by the W C Embroiderers group at Bude for a project. I was able to lend them a personal collection of about 200 photographs.

On the 25 August I attended the Exhibition of Work by W.C. Embroiderers held in the Central Methodist Church in Bude. Amongst the wide range of topics in the 222 exhibits was a selection based on my photographs of Bude Canal and Harbour. The quality and interpretation were excellent and it was interesting to see the wonder of the Bude Canal displayed in a different format.
Chris Jewell

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Morwenstow Society Walk

10 members of the Morwenstow Society (a local history group) met at the sea lock for a guided walk to Helebridge on Saturday 16th September. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon when Chris Jewell gave an introductory talk before we set off on our walk. We stopped at various places of interest along the route before arriving at the Barge Workshop at Helebridge to view the tub boat. The group then moved on to the Woodlands Tea Gardens for refreshments. Martin Hanks, Treasurer of the Morwenstow Society, thanked Chris for conducting the walk before the group dispersed.
Betty Moore

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Membership Report

We welcome the following new members who have joined since June:
Mr D Dodd, Nynehead, Somerset
Mr & Mrs B Alexander, Marhamchurch, Bude
Mr & Mrs N Robinson, Southampton

As many of you will realise, this is the time of the year when I have to remind you that subscriptions were due on 1st September for all members except those who joined after 1st May. Renewal forms (where appropriate) are included with this newsletter. Members are encouraged to return the Standing Order Form to me as it is a more efficient method of payment for the society and avoids your renewal being overlooked. Membership cards will automatically be sent to members who have already completed Standing Order Mandates. Can I also remind those members who are taxpayers and who have not completed a Gift Aid declaration that they can obtain a copy from the Treasurer.
Thank you for your continued support
Mike Moore

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Mincepie Walk on Sunday 17th December 2006

The Planekeeper's Path

This year our annual walk before Christmas will be different from previous years in that we will meet at 11am at Hobbacott lay-by just above Brook's Garden Centre on the right-hand side.
We will then walk along the Planekeepers Path, down Hobbacott incline and continue via Cann Orchard and Marhamchurch to Helebridge and the Barge Workshop for refreshments. The total distance is about 3 miles. You can leave your car at Hobbacott lay-by and we can arrange transport back from Helebridge if required. The cost is £2.50 per person including the walk, mincepie, and refreshments.
If you wish to attend this event please complete the enclosed booking form and return it to Chris Jewell or Betty Moore by 10th December 2006.

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Forthcoming Events

Saturday 11th November - Annual Charities Bazaar at The Parkhouse Centre, Bude

Sunday 17th December - The Mincepie Walk along "The Planekeeper's Path"

Sunday 25th February - Society AGM at The Falcon Hotel, Bude at 2.30 pm

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Tub Boat issue 38 will be available in early 2007

copy for the next edition should be sent to The Editor, Tregea, Lower Upton, Bude Cornwall EX23 0LS 29th December 2006