No 39 Spring 2007


Bude Canal Regeneration Project
Treasurer's Report
"Awards for All" Report
Visits to Tavistock Canal & Cann Quarry Canal
Leaks in embankment near Sea Lock
Waterside Memories
James Green's Lifts
Virworthy View
Trip to Falmouth & Boat Trip to Truro
Hot Cross Bun Walk
Barge Workshop opening & Guided Walks
A Brief account of Bude & its Neighbourhood
Book Reprint
Sea Lock Operations

And finally ... Notice seen at Tamar Lake!

Please use contents to click to a specific part of the newsletter - you can easily get back here again too!


Bude Canal Regeneration Project

Whilst the project has received its grant of £3.8 million, work continues to ensure that the contracts for works to be done correctly reflect what needs to be done. This is a protracted and complicated process and has resulted in a delay in the physical work commencing. However, it is now known that ground works for the Lower Wharf and overspill car park will commence on 23 April. The contract has been awarded to Cormac who will set up their base on the Barkhouse Green after Easter. They have a 33 week programme of work.
The Workshop Contract has been revised to allow for changes in the funding levels. This has caused the need for fresh planning consent which entails some delay. The work on this aspect has been taken over by NCDC to relieve the pressure on the Project Manager, Ian Mander.
The lock works have proved complicated due to the lack of information about their construction and degating. Following consultation with contractors and geotechnical specialists it now seems likely that the contract for the locks will include some of the dredging work as a practical measure. This may be better value than two contracts and will include the long term use of land at Whalesborough for the disposal of dredgings.
The abstraction licence of 50% to canal and 50% to River Strat is in force and measuring systems are being installed on the Whalesborough Weir culvert at the exit and also on the overflow at Bude. These should be balanced to comply with the licence.
The AGM of the Bude Canal Regeneration Project is from 11.30am to 2.30pm on 21 April 07 at the Ivor Potter Hall, Parkhouse Centre, Bude. All are welcome.
Chris Jewell

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 Treasurer's Report

At the AGM the Treasurer reported that the balances in the Society's accounts at 31.12. 2006 were as follows:
Account 1 .....................£1,885.08
Account 2...................... £ 427.39
Account 3.................... £2,244.89
Account 4...................... £ 669.36
Account 5........................ £184.57
All the accounts were stable and served the Society well in its aims. A good year of fundraising and the continued support of the members ensured that the Society could plan its activities.

As at 24.2.07 the membership details were as follows:
Total membership incl. life members 139
Total number of members incl. life members 152
Total life members 21
This reflects an increase of 11 memberships including another life membership.
The Treasurer concluded by thanking Betty Moore, Mike Moore and fellow Trustees and members who help in the running of events and the administration of the Society. He also thanked John Harris for inspecting the Society's annual accounts.

We have had no new members since the last edition of The Tub Boat.

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"Awards for All" Report

The Treasurer reported on the Archive Project funded by 'Awards for All' and Bude Stratton Town Council.
The objects of the project were achieved and the grant monies were spent as required. 'Awards for All' have agreed that the project has been satisfactorily completed.
As a result of the project the Bude Canal 1904 maps have been redrawn by computer and with the accompanying notes are more readily available for the public to access. The Society has acquired a gazebo, table and a quantity of archive photos and material to start the archive. The Bude Canal map 1904 will be uploaded on to our web site in the near future and is in PDF format to allow closer inspection.
Additionally, the Trustees have agreed to keep the Archive account open to fund future development of BCHS's archive. To that end BCHS are working on an application for further funding from 'Awards for All' to acquire some, if not all, of these items in digital form to use for display and archive purposes. To aid this the Trustees have agreed that for two years Account 5 will have £100 plus the Gift Aid Tax refund which equates to about £300 for each year.
BCHS are grateful for the grants from 'Awards for All' and Bude Stratton Town Council in 2006. Also for the diligence and empathy in converting early 20th century technology into early 21st century technology and producing a superb copy of the Bude Canal 1904 map, an important document.
Chris Jewell

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Visits to Tavistock Canal and Cann Quarry Canal

On Saturday 19 May 2007 the Society is planning a visit to the two above-named canals.
If you are interested meet at the Wharf Car Park, Tavistock at 10 am., leaving to walk the canal at 10.15am and returning to Tavistock for lunch by 12.30pm.
After lunch we drive to visit the Cann Quarry Canal which is adjacent to the River Plym on the outskirts of Plymouth, leaving at about 2pm for the half to three quarter hour trip. There is a charge of £2.50 per adult which includes leaflets about the two canals and directions to locate the proper car park for the Cann Quarry canal. These will be distributed at Tavistock on payment of the £2.50.
Both canals are quite short but bear witness to our forebears' ingenuity in the use of water to further industrial activity. The adjacent scenery is a bonus for any explorer.
I hope to see you there.
Chris Jewell

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Leaks in the Canal Embankment near the Sea Lock

Following expressions of concern about the stability of this structure by the Society and West Country Branch of IWA, further detailed land radar surveys have been carried out by a specialist geotechnical company. The survey scanned the structure to depths of 1 metre and in some parts to 3 metres to determine the location of voids if any exist and also the composition of the interior of this embankment. The survey readings are being interpreted and a report prepared for NCDC. This should be done by Easter 2007.
Chris Jewell

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Waterside Memories

During WW2, having been bombed out three times in Croydon, I was an evacuee schoolboy with my brother, Bernard, living beside the the Bude Canal in West Cottage, Breakwater Road, with Montague Bere, the Vicar of St Michael's Church and father of Rennie Bere. Together with other school friends, like Ralph Welch, whose family had moved from heavily bombed Plymouth, the canal became one of our favourite playgrounds. We would make our own canoes from willow branches and scraps of tarpaulin and when blessed with a florin (two shillings = 10p) pocket money would row one of Bruce's skiffs to Rodd's bridge and back.
Our greatest pleasures came from rambles along the towpath and fishing the canal wharf below the warehouses upstream of Falcon Bridge. We would catch roach, rudd and tench using dough for bait and the rare trout on worms at Helebridge. We would always keep a brace of trout (about half a pound each) to take home for "the pan". At this time food was rationed and there was no fish to buy so the occasional trout supper was a great treat.
During 2006 I was on my yearly pilgrimage to Bude, my favourite place on earth, and strolling along the towpath a spate of memories of a bygone era came flooding in, particularly since my lifelong friend, Ralph Welch, had recently died. Thinking of him brought back so many memories of adventures along the canal, memories which recalled palmy days but tinged with sadness at the loss of Ralph, a true and worthy citizen of Bude, to whose memory I dedicate this reflection.
Roy Elsey, Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex

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James Green's Canal Lifts

Denis Dodd has produced the accompanying sketches illustrating the working of James Green's lifts on the Grand Western Canal. These lifts were developed by the versatile engineer from a principle proposed by Doctor Anderson about 1796.
The boats floated in water in one of two caissons working on a balance system in which a small quantity of water was added to the descending caisson sufficient to overcome gravity and friction causing the caissons to start moving.. The diagram shows the first lift to be completed on the canal at Taunton. The water below the caisson at the bottom of the lift had to be drained away otherwise the caisson would float on it and the lock gates could not be opened.

James Green's Canal Lifts

At Taunton there was difficulty in draining this water. Green overcame this by extending the opening at the bottom into a lock longer than the boat. The gate at the foot of the shaft would be lifted and the boat moved out into this lock, the gate at the foot of the shaft closed, the water drained out and the outer gate opened to allow the boat to move away and continue along the canal
There were gates at the end of each caisson and the ends of the canal which were lifted vertically to allow the boat to move into and out of the canal and the caissons.

I am indebted to Denis Dodds and the Editor of the Rolle Canal Society's Newsletter for permission to precis this article. Ed.

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Annual General Meeting

There was a good attendance at the AGM on Sunday afternoon to hear the Chairman, Audrey Wheatley, welcome members and visitors and outline the events of the year and to thank the members of the Committee for their unstinting work during the past year. She recorded the celebration of the agreement to fund the regeneration of the canal, though no actual work has yet been started despite the announcement that it would begin in February.
The Secretary, Bryan Dudley Stamp, recorded our attendance at various events during the year and the Treasurer, Chris Jewell, presented the accounts for the past year showing a good balance. The accounts were approved unanimously.
After refreshments Adrian Wills presented a very interesting illustrated account of the Annery Tidal Lock and the Rolle Canal which was much enjoyed.

thoughts of summer - Bideford Youth Pipe Band

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Virworthy View

Just a year ago I reported that Devon County council had installed a 'People Counter' at the Lake end of the footpath. Recently I read a report that some 2000 counts were recorded between April and September 2006. I wonder what this proves. I pass along the path twice a day, and sometimes there are two of us. This would account for some 400 passes. I know that two of my neighbours also traverse the path at almost the same rate. So, this would mean out of the 2000 counts some 1500 would be very local people! Again, I would ask what is the purpose of this counter?
This is the second year I have observed very little frogspawn. In fact there were very few frogs around last summer. I wonder if this is a general decline.
A new feature has been erected at the Wharf in the guise of a picnic table. It is constructed from two iron arched bridge pieces put together to form a table. This is the project of one of the 'reluctant volunteers' carrying out work on the canal. It does illustrate the size of the canal and puts on show some of the few remaining artefacts.
Our peafowl are still surviving the road traffic and the foxes. There are eleven free range now, although only one boy has got his mature feathers but the others do provide a colourful backdrop when all are sitting on the wall and gate, much to the delight of visitors.
On an amusing note; we have just bought a Mini Oven for our holiday flat and I couldn't help noting how humorous translations can be. For example; under Important Safeguards the first two items are:-
'1.The Mini Oven must only be used by or under the supervision of a responsible adult.
2.Don't put the Mini Oven in liquid; don't use it in a bathroom, near water, or outdoors.
There are no less than seventeen of these safeguards but it also says 'before using for the first time you must burn the protective coatings off the elements. This generates fumes so if you suffer from any breathing problems, get someone else to do it! If you don't suffer from breathing problems it's still a good idea to get someone else to do the dirty jobs'.
Geoff Lowe

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Trip to Falmouth & Boat Trip to Truro

The Society has planned a coach trip to Falmouth including a boat trip on the river Fal to Truro to meet the coach to return to Bude. There will be time for lunch in Falmouth and ample time to explore the port with its distinctive waterside character, shops, restaurants, pubs and, of course, the National Maritime Museum.
At 4.45pm we will board the boat at the Prince of Wales Pier to travel up the River Fal to Truro taking in views of the large ocean-going ships laid-up in the river, heavily-wooded banks alive with waterside wildlife, the village of Malpas, King Harry Ferry and, finally, views of the cathedral as we approach the Town Quay at Truro.
The combined fares are: Adult £14.50, children (under 14) £7.25.
If you are interested please complete the enclosed booking form and return with your payment by 16 June. Please make cheques payable to "Bude Canal & Harbour Society". The coach will leave the Crescent car park, Bude at 10.00am and return to Bude at approximately 7.45 pm. This is sure to be a very popular trip so book early to avoid disappointment and bring a few friends to enjoy the river too and to have a super full day out.

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Hot Cross Bun Walk 14th April 2007

Following several requests we have decided to repeat the successful walk to Helebridge on the 14 April 07 along the Planekeepers' Path which was opened last year by North Cornwall District Council as part of the Interreg Project. We shall meet at 11 am at Hobbacott lay-by between Stratton and Red Post just past Brooks Garden Centre on the right-had side going out of Bude. We will then make our way down the inclined plane and walk to Marhamchurch to the Barge Workshop where there will be the traditional hot cross buns, tea and coffee.
Betty Moore Events Secretary.

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Guided Walks 2007

As for the last few years, BCHS will be doing guided walks of the canal from the sea lock to Helebridge on behalf of North Cornwall Coast and Countryside.
All walks are from 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm. The schedule for 2007 is:
Sunday ....... June 24
Sunday....... July 8
Sunday ..... July 22
Sunday ....... Aug 5
Sunday .......Aug 19
Sunday ........Sept 2
Sunday ...... Sept16
Sunday ....... Sept 30

This year's schedule is an improvement on previous years in that the walks are every two weeks thus giving more more people an opportunity to learn about and see the canal.
Chris Jewell

Barge Workshop
The Society will again man the Barge Workshop, Helebridge, nr Marhamchurch for Bude Stratton Town Council on Sunday afternoons between 2pm & 5pm from 3 June to 30 September 2007.

High tide over the Breakwater

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"A Brief Account of Bude and its Neighbourhood" circa 1880

Follow some extracts from this aged but well-preserved pamphlet:
This delightful and fashionable little village is situated on the North Coast of Cornwall, in the parish of Stratton, and in the summer season is much frequented for the purpose of sea-bathing, and is easy of access by the establishment of a mail coach from Exeter, through Crediton, North Tawton, Hatherleigh, Holsworthy, and Stratton.
As a sea-port it is not of great note, being only used for the home trade of groceries, &c., from Bristol, and coals and lime-stone from Wales.
Its canal was made for the inland conveyance of sea-sand for manure, coals and merchandise; but is now, however, seldom used for the latter.
Stratton is in the deanery of Trigg Major, and in the hundred to which this place imparts its name. This circumstance denotes its great antiquity. Dr Borlase thinks this town to be of Roman origin. It is 223 miles from London, and 18 from Launceston. Its market days are Tuesdays and Saturdays.
During the civil wars, a great victory was obtained at this place by the King's forces; in consideration of which, Sir Ralph Hopton was, in 1643, created Lord Hopton of Stratton - the title became extinct in 1773. In 1797, Lord de Dunstanville was created Baron Basset of Stratton. The Church contains several ancient memorials, one of which, with the effigy of a Knight in armour, is supposed to be intended for Ralph de Blanchminster, who was Lord of the Manor at a very early period.
The salubrity of climate, romantic rocky scenery, and walks around Bude, are very delightful. Horses and flys can be easily procured, to gratify visitors in exploring the neighbouring localities, of which there are many very beautiful, and much used for pic-nics, &c.

This pamphlet was published by "Coumbe, Stratton" but no author is attributed.

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Book Reprints

Bill Young has reprinted his book 'Walking the Bude Canal' with some additions eg the Planekeeper's Path & Hobbacott Down. The book will be available from our stall at future events for £3.99.
'RAF Cleave' has also been reprinted at £4.99 from Thorn's Bookshop, Town Museum, & TIC.; or from Bill at £4.00.

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Sea Lock Operations

Entitled "Action pic" - steady there Vice-Chairman (unkown, Chairman & TubBoat editor putting their bottoms to the sea-lock beam in 2006

The picture above illustrates a frequent occurrence in holiday times viz the populace lending their weight to the lock beams. Until a year or so ago the lock was seldom used due to the prohibitive operation cost largely due to the wages of a regular crew to operate the lock. Your committee and the boatmen suggested that a regular crew of unpaid volunteers be used when the lock is required,
NCDC agreed and the cost of using the lock has been considerably reduced. In consequence the lock is now being used more frequently, the lock workers augmented by holiday crowds at times like this.

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And finally ... Notice seen at Tamar Lake

Lower Tamar Lake and the earth construction dam were completed in 1805 by the Bude Canal Society using former soldiers who had recently returned from the Napoleonic Wars.

Tub Boat issue 40 will be available in July 2007

copy for the next edition should be sent to The Editor, Tregea, Lower Upton, Bude Cornwall EX23 0LS 29th June 2007

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