2 October 2003
A morning visit to the Bude Canal. Opened in 1823 after fifty years of abortive
plans, the canal was built to carry shell sand for agricultural fertiliser.
The entrance lock from the sea, one of two locks on the canal. Barges took sand
as far as Marhamchurch, from where it was transhipped to smaller tub boats,
which used a network of tub canals with six inclined planes.
Traffic on the canal was initially promising, but maintenance costs were
outweighed by income as railways came to the area, and particularly when
artificial fertilisers became more widespread.
The tub boat sections of the canal closed in 1891, with the barge section
inevitably following, though struggling on under the ownership of Stratton &
Bude Urban District Council until 1924.
Only a short stretch above this entrance lock remains in use for boats (as
a mooring), though much of the rest of the network is still used for water