Canal Day 2007
Whilst the Society is keen to have a Canal Day in July/August 2007 it
may well not be possible due to the Barkhouse Green on Lower Wharf
being out of use because of construction works for the Canal Project.
BCHS are not keen to move too far away from the Lower Wharf and Canal
so that limits alternatives. By April 2007 the position will be clearer
and an update will be published in the Spring edition of The Tub Boat.
BCHS will be doing the guided
walks from the sea lock to Helebridge basin during the summer for Coast & Countryside Service of NCDC. The
dates have to be fixed but it is hoped to have them starting 24 June
to 30 September 2007 at intervals of two weeks. Full details in Spring
2007 issue of "The Tub Boat".
Canal Regeneration Project - Update
On 13th October 2006, it was
formally announced that the Bude Canal Regeneration Project, led by
North Cornwall District Council, had achieved
a funding package of £3.8 million.
The package comprised:
£1,597,000 - Heritage Lottery Fund
£923,000 - Objective One European Funding
£1,030,000 - South West Regional Development Agency
£250,000 - North Cornwall District Council and other partners.
It is expected that the Technical Works will commence in February
2007. These will allow the ‘minimum need’ to
be achieved, i.e. dredging, stabilisation of banks and structures,
renovate and re-gate two locks etc. Work progress and
timetables will be advertised to the public by information boards, newsletters
and on NCDC's website
There are still items to be resolved to ensure navigation but it is hoped that
these will be completed during the implementation phase.
Completion must be by the end of 2008 to satisfy the conditions imposed by
BCHS hopes to have a link to the official website which will be used to keep
the public up-to-date with the project's activities and progress.
It is a very quiet time of the
year here at Virworthy but it has been a fairly eventful year. The long
warm summer produced an abundance
of wild hedgerow fruit. Sloes and hawthorn berries were very prolific but
the blackberries, although making a good start, wilted before the final
fruit ripened. I did make some sloe gin and sloe brandy to have on tap
for any weary walker in the coming cold weather.
Since the footpath has been listed, there have been many more walkers
than in previous years. One group I spoke to were looking for ‘Fungi’.
I think they were experts as they were keen to find the rare fungus ‘Hazel
Gloves’. You remember last year a Dr A Martyn Ainsworth came down
here to find this particular fungus as it is only found in a few places
in England, and Devon, in particular at Virworthy, is one of them. I am
pleased to say they found a specimen just beyond ‘Cape Horn’ – for
those unfamiliar with this location, it is between Virworthy and Dexbeer.
Recently some clearance has been done to the canal basin leading away from
the Wharf to give a good impression of the canal winding away from the
Wharf towards Virworthy Mill. The structural work to secure the lintel
over the Wharf building has not yet been done, although I am assured it
will be done. The recent very wet weather and the increase in foot traffic
has made the footpath very muddy – walkers be aware!
At this auspicious
time when our raison d'etre, the regeneration of the canal, has almost
been achieved, it is a great pity that there has been increased vandalism
along the canal this year. The new signposts at Rodds Bridge and at
the new permissive path have had arms broken off and the wooden footpath
to the coast has had twelve of the short planks broken. The rescue
lines at Rodds Bridge and Whalesborough locks have been stolen at least
five times, and today (19th Dec) I noticed that the poles on which
they were suspended had been dug out with them and all have disappeared.
Yesterday the barred gate across the towpath at Rodds Bridge had been
lifted off its hinges and deposited in the canal. Fortunately, some
kind - and strong - person(s) had replaced it before I returned from
One assumed that the occasional removal of the lines was the work
of drunken yobs but some of the more recent and extensive damage
has a sinister
look. I wonder if some one of those few who resent the regeneration
is making a statement. As the repairs are a charge on our council
hope that the perpetrator is discovered and discouraged from his anti-social
behaviour very soon.
in the Road
From Red Post on
the A3072 Bude to Holsworthy road, the main line of the canal continues
towards its Holsworthy terminus passing through the farmlands of Shernick
and Anderton and thence to Burmsdon where it crosses the young river
Tamar on the beautiful aqueduct into the county of Devonshire. Separating
these two farms the same A3072 crosses the Tamar at Tamarstone and
along here, a little over halfway between Red Post and Tamarstone bridge
is a gentle hump in the road and a small copse extending into Anderton
lands. This is where the canal crossed the road and it was here that
a dozen or so of us met for a spot of investigation and exploration.
The short section of canal within this copse is owned by BCHS member
Neil Hutson who kindly allowed this expedition to take place and acted
as our guide. Some useful jungle /bramble bashing had been done by one
or two stalwarts prior to this visit so that it was possible to approach
the canal through the thick undergrowth at the roadside and get into
the canal bed which is remarkably well defined together with raised towpath
despite the jungle.
Before exploring further, we first inspected what could be seen of the
stone-work of the road surface and supporting wall to see if any trace
of the canal bridge arch could be seen (or imagined); the fact of there
being still a visible hump in the road suggests to me at least, that
the original arch could have been earthed over with the road widening,
but that's probably just wishful thinking. We found no evidence of it
We followed Neil's piece of canal through the copse, noticing again
its remarkably good condition and the fact that it is distinctly
here, until emerging into Anderton farmland (with the prior blessing
of the farmer) where the canal bed has been filled in but is very easily
identified with its towpath hedge stretching away to the farm road
where, although much altered, there is a bridge where the canal
Turning back, we retraced our route but this time taking particular
note of the stream flowing towards the canal and the embanked nature
canal bed both of which suggested further exploration was imperative
- the word "culvert" coming to mind! So forthwith, the
able-bodied among us - particularly Neil whose piece of canal it
is - were dispatched
to the lower level where the stream converged with the canal, with
sticks, boots, knuckles, teeth and anything else that came to hand
and soon there
emerged through the tangle of vegetation a perfect stone culvert
arch such as can be seen in so many other places on this marvellous
of engineering which is our canal. Those sufficiently low down the
bank assured us of the wonderful view along the stream and through
to the other side. The discovery of the culvert alone made this brief,
but exciting expedition very special and all our thanks go to Neil
for his cooperation and leadership in its execution.
and December the Bude Canal & Harbour
Society attended two Charity functions with their usual items for sale
and quite a few prints, mugs and books were purchased by the public for
Christmas presents. A mixed group of 16 members and non-members met at
Hobbacott, near Stratton at 11am on Sunday 17th December 2006 for the
annual mince pie walk. This year we made use of the Planekeepers' Path
developed by North Cornwall District Council as part of the Intereg Project
to open up access to former sections of the Bude Canal.
On reaching the head of the Inclined Plane a brief description of
the function of this impressive structure was given before
the descent of
the 935 feet long plane. At the base the immense nature of this structure
is brought home as you look back up the plane. After looking at the
boat bays and small basin we continued along the tub boat section
of the canal
in the valley below Hobbacott toward Cann Orchard. The majority of
this section is along the tow path of the canal with the canal
defined but now supporting a range of trees. On reaching Cann Orchard
we came upon the minor road from Stratton to Marhamchurch.
is no trace of the canal in the field beyond the road and the
left and walked into Marhamchurch pausing at the crossroads where
lovely views towards Bude can be seen. With a pause in Marhamchurch,
walking down the lane that runs parallel to the former Marhamchurch
Inclined Plane and past the site of the wheel pit that once
powered the incline
with its massive 50’ diameter waterwheel. At this point rain
descended resulting in some rather wet walkers arriving at about
1 pm at the Barge
Workshop at Helebridge where other members had gathered and were
already indulging in the delicious warm mince pies, with Cornish
and welcome cups of hot tea and coffee.
A small raffle and some sales rounded off the event before the group
dispersed making their way home. An enjoyable day to be repeated again,
no doubt, in 2007.
P.S. The excellent walking route leaflets for the “Plane Keepers'
Path” and “The Aqueduct Trail” are available from the
society at 70p each plus postage and packing of 23p. Contact Chris Jewell
on 01288 352298 if you wish to purchase a leaflet. My thanks to everyone
who has helped at events throughout the year. As you will have already
heard, work will have started on the canal and therefore our gazebo will
not be on the Bark House Green at our usual functions during the year,
but we will not be very far away. Look forward to seeing you in 2007.
member, Barry Hughes, has published his book, "Rolle Canal And
The North Devon Limestone Trade."
This is an interesting and well-presented book which gives a good insight
into the activities of the 18th and 19th centuries along the North Cornwall
The book is available, in limited supply, from BCHS @ £14.99 and,
if not resident in the EX21, EX22, or EX23 postcode areas, p and p of £2
each book. Please send your order to Chris Jewell, 4a The Crescent, Bude,
Cornwall EX23 8LE. Make cheques payable to Bude Canal & Harbour
Society and allow 28 days for delivery.
The last phase of this project is being prepared. It involves taking
the archives to schools, retirement/nursing homes and other organisations
in the rural areas around Bude. To date there have been 5 responses.
Additionally, BCHS will be seeking consent from Bude Stratton Town Council,
which holds the original Bude Canal map 1904, to put the digital version
on to our website and convert into a PDF file and text.
The full set of 8 maps and text of the redrawn map can be obtained as
prints in A4 and A3 format plus the accompanying notes for £8 and £11
respectively per print. BCHS will post these items if required but the
packaging would be substantial to protect the mounted prints. Additionally,
the 8 maps and notes can be produced as a booklet in A3 or A4. Please
telephone 01288 352298 for a price & p & p.
We welcome the following new members who have joined
Mr M J Sidnell, Egloskerry, Cornwall
Mr D C Lloyd, Clifton, Bristol
Mr M Perriam, Buckland in the Moor, Devon
Mr D Paget, Cheddar, Somerset
Many thanks to those members who have already renewed their subscription
for 2006/2007 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 February.
You can help us reduce costs by using the Standing Order Mandate attached
to the renewal form.
Boat issue 39 will be available in late Spring 2007
for the next edition should be sent to The Editor, Tregea, Lower
Bude Cornwall EX23 0LS 29th March 2007