No 40 Summer 2007


Bude Canal Regeneration Project
Bude Canal Tub Boat
"Around Cornwall" Charity Gig Boat event
Visits to Tavistock Canal & Cann Quarry Canal
Virworthy View
Visit of IWA Restoration Cttee to Bude
Canal Day - 29th July 2007
Hot Cross Bun Walk
Visit to Rolle Canal - 8th September 2007
Barge Workshop oepnings on Sundays

Presentation of BCHS Information
Membership Report

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Bude Canal Regeneration Project

Work has now started on the project. The contract for ground works at Lower Wharf and the extension to the Crescent car park has been awarded to Cormac.
The Barkhouse Green, Lower Wharf is now fenced off as Cormac instal a soakaway under the grassed area to take the drainage from the wharf and adjacent buildings. (see photo). When completed they will set up their base on the Barkhouse Green and start work on the extension of the overspill car park. There will be no major works during July and August to minimize disruption.
The revised plans for the workshops and extension to the Visitors' Centre are to be agreed by the Planning Committee of NCDC at a meeting on 19 June 07.

Work outside TIC ready for regeneration

Agreements have been secured with landowners to the logistics involved in the dredging of the upper reaches and work on the restoration of the locks at Rodds Bridge and Whalesborough which will begin in the autumn.
The Abstraction licence for the use of water at Helebridge is now in force at 50% to river Strat and 50% to canal. In times of normal rainfall this should be adequate but it is likely that in low rainfall periods this regime will cause problems for the canal.
Negotiations with landowners and NCDC concerning land acquisitions are continuing and are positive.

Other matters:
The report on the survey of the embankment near the sea lock which leaks and has had collapses in the walkway surface shows that this is the only place where there is concern for this. Further concerns have been expressed about the need to drain the Upper and Lower Basins to ensure proper dredging and removal of large items. Cormac are working on the overspill car park adjacent to the Crescent car park which should be completed by the time of publication of "The Tub Boat".

Chris Jewell

Works under way at Barkhouse Green. Photo: Chris Jewell

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 Bude Canal Tub Boat

The Bude Stratton Town Council have located a conservator who is able to do the recommended stabilisation work on the tub boat owned by the council and kept in the Barge workshop at Helebridge, nr Bude. The Conservator, Richard Barnett, has associations with the Maritime Museum at Falmouth. The work should be completed during the summer.

The Society has indicated to the Council that it would want to make a contribution to the cost of this work from the Project Fund, which has monies which can be used for this purpose.
Chris Jewell

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"Around Cornwall" Charity Gig Boat event

Between 18th & 25th May 2007 Charleston Gig Club circumnavigated Cornwall in their gigboat, Tormentor. This event was a joint fund-raising event for the gig club and RNLI.
Tormentor was rowed from Charlestown, near St Austell eastwards to the Tamar estuary and upriver to Calstock. It was then loaded on to its trailer and pushed from Calstock to Bude arriving in the late afternoon on Friday 20 May. It was launched into Bude canal near Rodds Bridge and rowed down the canal to the lower basin. The club stayed overnight in Bude as guests of Bude RNLI.
The following day, 21 May, at about 8.45 am Tormentor was lowered into the lower basin and rowed to the sea lock where it was locked out into the Atlantic Ocean to continue its circumnavigation.
The rest of the trip involved overnight stops at Padstow, St Ives, Penzance, and St Mawes, returning to its home port of Charlestown on Friday 25 May, a total distance of some 300 miles and the first time such an event has been done. Well done, Charlestown and your fine gig "Tormentor."
Chris Jewell

The Charlestown gig 'Tormentor' visiting Bude Canal on 20th May 2007 during the

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Visits to Tavistock Canal and Cann Quarry Canal

At 10 am on 19th May a group of 18 members met in Tavistock to walk the Tavistock Canal to Lumbury Aqueduct which is the extent of public access.
The canal is 4 miles long and linked Tavistock to the port of Morwellham on the river Tamar. It opened in 1817 to carry copper ore from local mines. The last commercial traffic was in 1873. Since 1930 it has survived by providing water for the hydro-electric plant at Morwellham. The walk was very peaceful and attractive, much of it through wooded areas which border the canal. After about 1 mile is Crowndale bridge, close to the site of Crowndale farm, the alleged birthplace of Sir Francis Drake. The farm was demolished in the 1850s and the stone used in the construction of Lewtrenchard Manor.
Further on the canal crosses a gully by means of a narrow cast iron trough.From this point one can see the impressive railway viaduct which carried the Plymouth to Tavistock railway - now long defunct, its 12 stone arches stretching across the Lumbren valley.
Passing under the viaduct is another length of wooded banks with fine ancient beech trees stretching skywards and below in the valley the river Lumbrun rushes on to join the river Tavy away to the east.

Walkers inspecting the new pedestrian bridge on the Tavistock Canal 19th May 2007.

Ahead is a 'lock' where the canal narrows. It has a lift bridge but only one gate. It is not a lock as in conventional canals as there is no change of level. It is a device to control the flow of water, a sort of stop gate to allow the canal to be drained down on the other side. The hydro-electric company does drain the canal to allow manual inspection of the 1&1/2 mile tunnel that takes water to the turbines at Morwellham.
The canal now bears left and crosses the Lumbrun valley on top of the massive embankment built from the spoil from the tunnel. The river Lumbrun passes through the embankment by means of another tunnel.
Having crossed the embankment a minimum 60 feet above the river the way forward to the left is barred by a gate, the way beyond leading to the tunnel being private property . To the right there are very few remains of the branch to Mill Hill and it is not in water.
After the obligatory group photo by the gate we turned and retraced our route at a slightly quicker pace as we were all ready for our lunch, which was most welcome when we reached Tavistock. This is a walk that, apart from its historical importance, is beautiful, peaceful and is highly recommended.
Refreshed and full of vittles, we planned our route to the Cann Quarry canal which is adjacent to the river Plym to the east of Plymouth. Fortunately, Norman Richards, a member from South Molton, is familiar with that area and led us on the trip to the car park at Plymbridge, a lovely excursion across the edge of Dartmoor between Yelverton and Plympton with glorious views of Dartmoor and Plymouth Sound.

The skew bridge on the Cann Quarry Canal at Plymbridge. Photo: Chris Jewell

Plymbridge is about halfway along the canal so the first part of the visit was down the southern half. The Cann Quarry canal has the distinction of being unusually small and unusually short-lived. It is only two miles long and 6 ft wide. It was constructed in 1825 to carry stone to be loaded on to a tramway to be taken to the main line of the Plymouth & Dartmoor Railway. It opened in 1829 but operated for fewer than 10 years. The operation and transfers were too troublesome and so the owner, Lord Morley, extended the tramway all the way to the quarry, running beside the canal. The stone setts can be seen in places beside the canal. The rails were removed in the first World War. Also in the valley is the route of the Plymouth and Dartmoor railway, some of which is now a cycle route.
Two of our members left for home here. Again the canal, which is in need of some repair, runs through woody areas. This section is only about 1/2 mile and then the route of a former railway being restored by the Plym Valley Railway Co. comes into view with cleared banks, restored canal bridge, and track laid down to their depot close to Marsh Mills, Plymouth. The depot opens only on Sundays so we found refreshment at a nearby mobile fast food unit. We then returned by the same route to Plymbridge and called it a day.

Walkers at the end of the walk on the Tavistock Canal on 19th May.  Photo: Alan Pedrick

All in all it was a good day out with lots of interesting things to see and the weather improved as the day went on. It is likely that this visit will be repeated possibly next spring - watch this space.
Chris Jewell

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Virworthy View

I don’t think we are going to get defined seasons any more. Winter slipped calmly into spring with a mixture of fine warm weather and cool torrential rain – sometimes all in one day! The change in weather pattern has certainly affected the growth of the flora. Cow parsley, cowbane and hogweed have now reached six feet in height and cause a problem when it gets wet and falls on to the footpath. We have been able to keep the path clear so far.
I have seen a number of frogs now so my fears of not seeing much frogspawn earlier in the year have been dispelled.
The repairs to the lintel above the door of the wharf building have been done and it is now deemed safe to enter. A barn owl has been using the building as a resting place but unfortunately has not decided to nest there. Two squirrels have taken up residence here too and compete with all the birds for food. We have visitors in our holiday flat who are enthralled with the animals and wildlife they can see from their kitchen window. They say it’s real life ‘Spring Watch’.

Frog - seen at Virworthy View

We now have ten free-range peafowl and one peahen with three chicks. The peacocks are in good voice at this time of the year but I don’t think our neighbours are close enough to be bothered by them. After all, we expect and accept the many country sounds and smells - unlike the residents near Paignton zoo!
I was saddened one day when the dogs found and trashed a dormouse nest and killed the occupant. I do hope there are more of these little animals in the area. It does illustrate that dogs should be closely supervised on their walks to suppress their instinct to attack wildlife. Having said that, today the dogs pointed me to a real live turtle struggling to get through the stock fence by the stile. It is the size of a large dinner plate. You will remember I reported seeing one in the lake nearly two years ago but I can’t imagine it’s the same one migrated so far. It is now a resident in the wharf.
Geoff Lowe

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Visit of IWA Restoration Committee to Bude

On Saturday 28th April 2007 the IWA Restoration Committee bi-monthly meeting was hosted by the Society. This committee known as Rescom takes a national overview of the waterways where reconstruction is, or has been. carried out, giving advice, support and, in some instances, funding to promote projects. So with the waterways world it has an important role to play. The committee does its business in the morning and then meets with the local society for lunch and discussion followed by a visit to the canal or waterway of that area.
The committee took lunch with BCHS's Trustees, Neil Burden, Chairman of Bude Canal Regeneration Project, and Iain Mander, manager of BCRP. Neil Burden addressed the group on the history and purpose of the project and how it should ensure the future of the canal.
After a good lunch at the Falcon Hotel the party visited the sea lock and then walked to Helebridge and returned in the late afternoon. The Society and Rescom both agreed that the visit had been a successful and worthwhile venture and should be repeated in due course, probably after the project has finished.
Chris Jewell

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Canal Day - 29th July 2007

As you will know this year our Canal Day is being held in the Castle grounds because the Barkhouse Green is out of action due to the works on the Canal Regeneration project.
The following is the draft programme for the day.

7-12noon BCAA competition for the 'Browning Cup'.
11 am Event opens: stalls, amusements, musical entertainment
1.30pm Presentation of the "Browning Cup"
2pm - 5pm Canoe polo on the canal for the BCHS Shield
3pm Official opening of the refurbished Castle and
New Heritage Centre by Lord Tyler
4 - 5pm Operation of Bude sea lock
5 - 5.30pm Presentation of BCHS Shield
5.30 - 6pm Event closes
All times are approximate

Bude-Stratton Town council will have other items of interest on display as part of their Gurney Day - steam-powered locomotives, car and pedal cycle, charity stalls, entertainments, bands, and dancing.
BCHS is grateful for the support of BSTC and the District Council in the organisation of this year's event.
We shall have our usual table top sale, so if you have any books or bric a brac which are surplus to requirements please bring them along to our gazebo on the day.

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Hot Cross Bun Walk - 14th April 2007

Audrey Wheatley welcoming walkers at the start of the Hot Cross Bun Walk on 14th April.  Photo: Mike MooreMembers waiting for the arrival of walkers outside the Barge Workshop. Photo: Betty Moore

It was a beautiful spring morning when a small number of walkers arrived to walk from Hobbacott to Helebridge along the Planekeepers' Path. On arrival at the Barge Workshop they were looking forward to their hot cross bun, buttered and served with a welcome cup of tea or coffee.
Those of us who were preparing refreshments were told by Audrey Wheatley about the wild orchids growing along by the canal at Cann Orchard and how the rest of the walkers thoroughly enjoyed the walk.
Betty Moore


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Visit to Rolle Canal - 8th September 2007

A visit to the Rolle Canal on Saturday 8 September 07 has been arranged. Travel to Bideford and meet initially in the Riverside car park at Bideford next to Victoria Park at 10 am (possibly to double up in vehicles.) We then drive to Annery and park by the lime kiln where Adrian Wills will meet us and be our guide. A tour using the Tarka Trail and minor roads will reveal various treasures of the former Rolle Canal. Lunch will hopefully be at The Cyder Presse in Weare Gifford before returning to Annery and on to the tidal lock at Annery which is owned by Adrian & Hilary Wills. You will see the restoration work that has been carried out by Adrian and his helpers, as well as the results of a two week Waterway Regeneration Group (WRG) canal camp at the end of June & and first week in July.
There is a charge of £2.50 per adult. Please wear suitable footwear and clothing. This walk is about 5 miles in total on

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Barge Workshop openings on Sundays

As usual your Trustees have been manning the barge workshop on Sunday afternoons with attendances of between ten and twenty visitors and Chris has headed the first walk from the sea lock to Helebridge with ten visitors. These walks will be led twice each month until the end of September.

Presentation of BCHS - Visual Impairment

As a result of a training session with the Sensory Trust, it will be necessary for BCHS to review the way that it presents its information in print form and on the website. The review will ensure that the formats comply with Part III of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. The adjustments needed are not difficult to achieve and BCHS will endeavour to comply with these requirements.

Membership Report
We welcome the following new members who have joined since March:
Mr & Mrs R Ashelford, Exminster, Devon
Mr & Mrs Clementson, Cricket Park, Marhamchurch
Ms R F Hoseason, Bude (Life member)

Stunning Canl pic by Mike Moore - looking out to sea from Bude

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Forthcoming Events

Sun 29th July - Bude Canal Day & Gurney Day. Castle grounds with stall

Sat 18th Aug - Bude Carnival with sales stall

25th/27th Aug - RNLI weekend (sales stall Sat 25th only)

Wed 5th Sept - Talk by Chris Jewell at Morwenstow W.I.

Sat 8th Sept - Visit to Rolle Canal - meet Bideford 10 am

Sun 16th Dec - Sherry & Mincepie Walk

Sun 24th Feb - Society AGM at Falcon Hotel


Tub Boat issue 41 will be available in October 2007

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

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