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
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.
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.
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.
Devon in Five Easy Stages !
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
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.
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
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.
And a big thank you from all of us to Chris for his hard work and
brilliant organisation. Ed.
N L I Week
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.
Canal Users Consultative Forum
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
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.
on Bude Canal Regeneration Project
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.
OF CANAL PLANS
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.
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.
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
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
Walk on Sunday 17th December 2006
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
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.
Saturday 11th November - Annual Charities Bazaar at The Parkhouse Centre,
17th December - The Mincepie Walk along "The Planekeeper's Path"
25th February - Society AGM at The Falcon Hotel, Bude at 2.30 pm
Boat issue 38 will be available in early 2007
for the next edition should be sent to The Editor, Tregea, Lower Upton,
Bude Cornwall EX23 0LS 29th December 2006