Shipping notes No. 148 (June/ July).

In port – Bideford Quay.

Catania – built 2012; flag St. Johns, Antigua & Barbuda; owners German; crew Russian & Ukrainian; from Bromborough* to Castellon; arrived 24/6, sailed 27/6; loaded 2,410 tons ball clay.

* For those interested, the port of Bromborough is on the River Mersey – the original dock was built to take in the shipping supplies for Lever Brothers Port Sunlight works. The original dock has been filled in.

Shipping at Appledore.

Arco Dee, 27/6.

Shipping at Yelland.

None since last issue.

Bristol Channel Observations.

11/6 at 13.47 bulk carrier Boreas Venture, 43,389 tons d.w., owners Diderot Financement 18 SNC France, outward bound from Newport having ailed at 08.27. At 18.09 cargo vessel Fri Skien, 3,740 tons d.w., owners Hogli AS Norway, inward bound for Cardiff (seen again on 17/6 at 14.47, having sailed from Cardiff at 09.38).

12/6 at 14.50 tanker Atlantic Twin, 15,000 tons d.w. ,owners Carl F. Peters GMBH Hamburg, inward bound for Avonmouth.

13/6 at 14.17 vehicle carrier Aniara, 30,089 tons d.w., owners Wallenius Wilhemsen Norway and Sweden, inward bound for Portbury. (Also seen again on 14/6 at 13.16 having sailed from Portbury at 10.14). At 15.20 vehicle carrier Autosun, 6,670 tons d.w., owners United European Car Carriers, inward bound for Portbury.

14/6 at 14.25 vehicle carrier Grande Benin, 26,097 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, inward bound for Portbury. At 15.14 vehicle carrier Paganella, 11,453 tons d.w., owners Reederei F Laeisz GMBH & Co Germany, inward bound for Portbury. At 18.27 vehicle carrier Oberon, 24,600 tons d.w., owners Wallenius Wilhelmsen Norway and Sweden, inward bound for Portbury. (Seen again at 13.20 16/6 outward bound from Portbury, having sailed at 09.14).

15/6 at 16.50 tanker Thun Genius, 7,559 tons d.w., owners Thun Tankers B.V. Sweden, inward bound for Cardiff.

17/6 at 08.15 vehicle carrier Michigan Highway, 17,673 tons d.w., owners Kawasaki Kisen K.K. Japan, inward bound for Portbury. At 15.03 project vessel Nordic, 3,000 tons d.w., owners Hartman Beheer 005 B.V. Netherlands, inward bound for Swansea. At 20.07 vehicle carrier Grande Scandinavia, 18,440 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy inward bound for Portbury. Anchored in Bideford Bay the buoy tender vessel Galatea, 1,300 tons d.w., owners Trinity House Harwich – she stayed over until about 08.30 on Sunday morning, then sailed towards towards Ilfracombe.

18/6 at 06.33 cargo vessel Hellenic, inward bound for Swansea. At 18.50 vehicle carrier Autosun, 6,670 tons d.w., owners United European Car Carrier Norway, inward bound for Portbury.

19/6 at 08.05 vehicle carrier Amber Arrow, 21,120 tons d.w., owners Ray Car Carriers Israel, inward bound for Portbury. At 09.55 vehicle carrier Victory Leader, 13,363 tons d.w., owners Ray Car Carriers Israel (in Nippon Yusen Kaisha Japan colours) inward bound for Portbury.

20/6 at 12.55 Airbus aircraft parts carrier Ciudad de Cadiz, 3,500 tons d.w,.owners Anita 2 SNC France, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 05.49.

21/6 at 19.15 container ship MSC Koroni, 48,244 tons d.w., owners Waldo Shipping Co Greece, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 14.43.

23/6 at 12.55 vehicle carrier Grande Togo, 26,650 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, inward bound for Portbury.

27/6 at 17.05 cargo vessel Anita, 2,625 tons d.w., owners Anita Vertom UCS B.V. Netherlands, outward bound from Newport having sailed at 11.39.

29/6 at 17.20 vehicle carrier Suzuka Express, 15,154 tons d.w., owners Vroon B.V. Netherlands, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 13.04.

30/6 at 19.10 bulk carrier Weaver Arrow, 51,364 tons d.w., owners Gearbulk Holding Ltd Bermuda, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 13.36.

1/7 at 07.30 cargo vessel Hav Snapper, 2,767 tons d.w., owners Hav Ship Management AS Norway, outward bound from Birdport having sailed at 0025. At 07.45 cargo vessel Prosna, 3,650 tons d.w., owners Prosna Shipping Ltd Poland, outward bound from Birdport having sailed at 00.49. At 08.10 cargo vessel Wilson Harrier, 4,206 tons d.w., owners Wilson A/S Norway, outward bound from Newport having sailed at 02.24. At 14.45 cargo vessel Wave, 4,500 tons d.w., owners Wave B.v. Netherlands, inward bound for Swansea.

2/7 at 14.20 buoy tender vessel Galatea, 1,300 tons d.w., owners Trinity House Harwich, outward bound from Swansea having sailed at 10.59 heading for Teesport. At 14.33 cargo vessel Olza, 2,690 tons d.w., owners Baltramp Shipping SP Z 00 Poland, inward bound for Newport. At 16.18 vehicle carrier Grande Napoli, 13,565 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 11.35.

5/7 at 05.45 cargo vessel Lady Magda, 3,284 tons d.w., owners Magda Netherlands, inward bound for Newport. At 07.10 vehicle carrier Coral Leader, 12,614 tons d.w., owners Nippon Yusen Kaisha Japan, outward bound for Portbury having sailed at 01.51 At 14.15 Ciudad de Cadiz, 3,500 tons d.w., owners Anita 2 SNC France, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 0746. At 14.33 vehicle carrier Glovis Cougar, 26,532 tons d.w., owners Glovis & Co Ltd South Korea, inward bound for Portbury.

6/7 at 08.43 vehicle carrier Grande Spagne, 12,594 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, inward bound for Portbury. (Seen again on 7/7 at 08.24 outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 03.49).

7/7 at 19.15 cargo vessel Eems Spring, 2,600 tons d.w., owners Spring B.V Netherlands, inward bound for Briton Ferry .

8/7 at 11.44 tanker Stolt Kittiwake, 4,700 tons d.w., owners Stolt Nielsen Rotterdam, inward bound for Barry. At 17.40 cargo vessel Beaumont, 3,794 tons d.w., owners Faversham Shipping Ltd U.K., changing anchorage from Bideford Bay to Woolacombe Bay, awaiting berth at Briton Ferry. At 17.45 tanker Lillo Swan, 4,800 tons d.w., inward bound for Cardiff.

9/7 at 10.07 cargo vessel Moseldijk, 4,927 tons d.w., owners Moseldijk B.V. Netherlands, inward bound for Sharpness. At 12.00 vehicle carrier Dalian Highway, 21,616 tons d.w., owners Kawasaki Kisen K.K. Japan, inward bound for Portbury.




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One hundred years ago; July 1917.

Of immediate interest this month is a Notice of Sale of the entire Appledore Gas Works. Established in 1874 on land in a field called Barn Close, which is part of Watertown in the Parish of Northam. The site, leasehold at £4 per annum comprises – “Extensive buildings, Plant and Machinery. Manager’s Dwelling house. Retort House. Smith’s shop. Engine House and stores. 2 complete Gasometers, a Crossley Gas engine and many other tools, furniture and fittings”. All for sale on Thursday next, 19th July 1917, at the Rechabite Hall in Appledore. (The site eventually became part of Hinks’ boatyard.)

To be let at Hallsannery, 26 acres of productive farmland in four separate fields for the next 4 years. The taker is to crop these fields with 2 crops of corn followed by a root crop and then followed by another corn crop. The seeds will be supplied by the landlord. The tenant is to pay all the rates, taxes, and is required to keep all the fences and gates in good repair. The owner reserves the sporting rights.

From an earlier month we reported on the call-up relaxation for farm workers. In this month’s newspaper any worker in full time employ since 31st March this year who receives his call up papers should take them to his employer and the Recruiting officer, who will have them rescinded. Of 500 soldiers held in Exeter, 400 have been placed with farms needing immediate labour. However several have been returned to Barracks because”They could not milk”.

Bideford Guardians in Meddon Street report that the numbers using the Workhouse are the lowest for several years. There are 65 inmates compared with 87 during the same period last year. The committee have accepted a tender for the supply of butter at 2/- per pound, surprising considering the hard times many of the public are experiencing and the Guardians are seeking tenders for the supply of 120 tons of coal for the winter.

At Weare Giffard the strawberry season is over for this year ; most of a considerable crop has been sent to Wales. Mr K P Balson of The Barton has 2 lady assistants on his farm who are doing most useful work. Throughout the village the potato crop has been sprayed and Mr Lock from Locks Beam Farm was relieved to hear that a prize bullock originally presumed drowned in the river Torridge during a flood spate has been found downstream on the other bank among a herd of cows.


These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Website –


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Shipping notes No. 147 (May/ June).

In port – Bideford Quay.

None since last issue.

In port – Yelland.

Welsh Piper, 12/5.

Bristol Channel Observations.

12/5 at 11.51 container vessel MSC Koroni, 48,244 tons d.w., owners Waldo Shipping Co Greece, outward bound from Avonmouth, having sailed at 07.29. At 16.00 vehicle carrier Paganella, 11,453 tons d.w., owners Reederei F Laeisz GMBH & Co. Germany, inward bound for Portbury.

13/5 at 15.00 cargo vessel Arklow Vanguard, 51,68 tons d.w., owners Avoca Shipping BV Ireland, inward bound for Cardiff.

18/5 at 17.17 cargo vessel Arslan 1, 3,447 tons d.w, outward bound from Birdport having sailed at 11.43. At 1910 container ship MSC Maria Laura, 42,513 tons d.w., owners Jacanam Corp Switzerland, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 14.44 . At 21.50 cargo vessel Sea Kestrel, 2,251 tons d.w, owners Torbulk Ltd, outward bound from Sharpness having sailed at 11.43. Ocean Nova, small cruise ship, anchored at Lundy from Holyhead and sailed to Scillies.

19/5 at 19.07 vehicle carrier Autosun, 6,670 tons d.w., owners United European Car Carrier Norway, inward bound for Portbury. At 19.55 cargo vessel Pollux, 4,444 tons d.w, owners Gerhard Wessels Germany, outward bound from Birdport having sailed at 13.11.

24/5 at 21.15 vehicle carrier Glovis Century, 20,895 tons d.w., owners Glovis & Co Ltd South Korea, outward bound from Portbury, having sailed at 16.17. At 22.00 cruise ship Marco Polo, outward bound from Cardiff having sailed at 17.59.

25/5 at 10.53 vehicle carrier Grande Napoli, 14,565 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy inward bound for Portbury ; (seen again outward bound 26/5 at 11.15, having sailed from Portbury at 07.59. ) Anchored in Bideford Bay overnight the buoy tender vessel Galatea, 1,200 tons d.w., owners Trinity House Harwich ; sailed for the Scilly Isles at 09.30 hrs on the 26th.

26/5 at 08.03 bulk carrier Konstantinos M, 32,178 tons d.w., owners Konstantinos Shipping SA Greece, inward bound for Avonmouth. At 11.22 cargo vessel Arklow Falcon, 4,940 tons d.w., owners Sollvbe Naviera @ 2G AL Ireland inward bound for Newport.

27/5 at 1.12 Arklow Beacon, 8,660 tons d.w., owners Glenthorne Shipping Ireland, outward bound from Avonmouth having sailed at 11.50.

28/5 at 08.00 hrs vehicle carrier Coral Leader, 12,164 tons d.w, owners Nippon Yusen Kaisha Japan, inward bound for Portbury. At 13.45 tanker Atlantic Wind, 15,019 tons d.w, owners Carl F Peters & Co Hamburg. inward bound for Avonmouth. At 14.35 Vehicle carrier Grande Europa, 18,461 tons d.w. , owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, inward bound for Portbury.

30/5 at 12.50 bulk carrier Yeoman Bank, 38,997 tons d.w, owners Aggregate Industries U.K. Ltd UK, inward bound for Portbury.

1/6 at 07.49 fruit juice tanker Orange Blossom, 23,874 tons d.w., owners Atlanship S.A Switzerland, inward bound for Avonmouth. (Seen again 3/6 at 20.20 outward bound, having sailed from Avonmouth at 15.29. ) At 17.45 cruise ship Magellan, 48,052 tons gross, owners Cruise and Maritime Voyages UK, inward bound for Newport.

2/6 at 21.00 cruise ship Marco Polo, 22,080 gross tons, owners Cruise and Maritime Voyages UK, inward bound for Cardiff. (Seen again 3/6 at 19.15 outward bound from Cardiff having sailed at 15.09). At 21.15 vehicle carrier Grande Anversa, 12,353 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy ,inward bound for Portbury. (Seen again 3/6 at 20.38, having sailed from Portbury at 16.51.)

3/6 at 09.42 vehicle carrier Grande Colonia, 12,292 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, outward bound from Portbury, having sailed at 05.50. At 18.09, cement carrier Ronez, 1,117 tons d.w., owners Sigmagzy Ltd Guernsey C.I, outward bound from Port Talbot having sailed at 13.41.

4/6 at 10.47 vehicle carrier Hoegh Xiamen, 12,250 tons d.w., owners Hoegh Autolines Shipping AS Norway, inward bound for Portbury. At 21.25 vehicle carrier Autosun, 6,670 tons d.w., owners United European Car Carrier Norway, inward bound for Portbury.

6/6 at 21.00 cargo vessel Spanaco Simplicity, 4,250 tons d.w., owners Spanaco Three Ltd Germany, outward bound from Swansea, having sailed on 31/5. at 22.47 ( anchored awaiting orders).

7/6 at 09.00 vehicle carrier Ciudad de Cadiz, 3,500 tons d.w, owners Anita 2 SNC France, inward bound for Portbury




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One hundred years ago – June 1917.

Many of the items of interest in this month’s editions are centred around agriculture and the implications the War is having on local businesses and farms.

Heard Bros are advertising Avery Farm Tractors for sale with additional tractors on their way “by Rail in this Country from America”.

Tattersills, grocers in Bideford, announce that growers of fruit may apply for sugar for preserving their produce. Special arrangements have been put in place by the Government and to obtain a supply you must apply in writing to Mr C. S. Rewcastle, Mincing Lane, London.

With the advent of some fine weather and the stopping of the Bideford to Appledore railway, there has been a considerable renewal of boating between Appledore and Bideford for marketing purposes. On Tuesday last over 20 boats brought marketgoers from Appledore and were moored near the flagstaff on Bideford Quay.

In local news, at Appledore 12 boats fishing in the estuary took 100 salmon ranging up to 23 lbs each on one tide.

At a meeting held in Hartland School and chaired by W.T. Braddick, a scheme for food production was discussed. Of 150,000 acres in Devon in food production, 60,000 are in North Devon and 5,000 additional men would be asked for from the government. 100 motor ploughs could be needed to achieve the target but ploughing small fields would be a problem.

In the editorial columns local soldiers are mentioned. Private W.S. Panter, Bideford, promoted to Corporal at 1/6 Devonshire Regt HQ. Gunner Henry Hopper of Meddon Street, Bideford, wounded. Two sons of Charles Northcott, Clifton Street, Bideford, promoted. Gunner Turner, Kingsley Terrace, Bideford, recently gassed, is now in hospital. Gunner Wilfred Foley, Cornwall Terrace, Clovelly Road, awarded DSM. Sgt Edward Hoooper, the third son of Thomas Hooper, Geneva Place, was missing is now confirmed dead. Randolph Goodenough of Meddon Street, passed away in France. There are six more reported deaths in the village and district news columns in one week alone.

Men aged between 41 and 50 are no longer considered for conscription but fit men will still be able to enlist.

Property for Sale: 11 Milton Place, Bideford, tenanted by Mr George Violet, 12 Milton Place, tenanted by William Verran and 13 Milton Place tenanted by Miss Nancekivell. Woodbine Cottage, Cross Street, Northam. A pasture field of 3 acres known as East Lamb Park adjoining Commons Farm, Northam.

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.


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A brief history of the Palladium Club.

The Club began life in 1919 as the stables for the Heavitree Inn. In 1926 it was the Palladium Cinema and the ticket office was situated where Patts’ Fruit and Vegetable shop now is in Mill St. Later it became a Gentlemen’s Club, then for many years it was the home of the SWEB Social Club.The Palladium Club developed from this, with the bar made from the original skittle alley.(You can still see the brass points where the pins used to be placed before people played.)

The club has evolved from being a members’ drinking club to what it is now, a music venue with acts, both from our local area and as far away as Europe and America. The club also offers the facilities for snooker, pool and darts and has its own teams which continue to support the club.

The club is an important part of Bideford giving musicians a place to play and learn their craft – it would be very sad to see it go. The new owner is Ben Nigh ; we wish him well.

Margie Hughes (former owner).


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Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery – June.


Skate – or now we call them ray – wings. These are the fish species that are most common and therefore sustainable and mainly caught in the Westcountry. You may have noticed that after “Masterchef ” programme the BBC direct you to the Marine Conservation Society website ; their entry for Skate/Ray says-“If buying spotted ray ask for ray fished in the Bristol Channel (and landed in Appledore) for assurance of better management in this fishery. The North Devon Fishermen Association (NDFA) members voluntarily adhere to a minimum landing size (MLS). of 45cm for all ray species to assist growth and spawning”.

Ray wings with asparagus and rosemary and garlic dressing.


10(lots)rosemary sprigs with leaves picked.

small tsp of sea salt.

1 large clove of garlic.

squeeze of lemon.

5 tbsp. extra virgin oil.

I large ray wing, halved, or 2 small ray wings.

100g plain flour.

230g asparagus, trimmed.


1.For the dressing, put the rosemary leaves in a pestle and mortar with the salt and (peeled) garlic clove. Pound relentlessly until you have a smooth paste – up to 10 minutes! Add a squeeze of lemon and slowly pour in 3tbsp olive oil, stirring as you go with the pestle until everything is combined.

2. Season the ray wings. Put the flour onto a plate and coat the fish on both sides. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat. Fry the ray for 4-5 minutes on both sides, until cooked through and golden.

3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, Simmer the asparagus for 2-3 minutes, until just tender but with a little bite. Drain well.

4. Serve the cooked ray wing with the asparagus and the dressing drizzled over.


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One hundred years ago – May 1917.


The main theme this month is the state of the food supply. In his regular column for allotment holders, “Spadeworker” encourages the growing of carrots as the most important root crop; varieties such as Red Elephant, James Intermediate and Long Surrey are recommended.

Kohl Rabi is also a good vegetable as it is not affected by drought. Also mentioned are leeks, vegetable marrows, peas and Jerusalem artichokes. Lime and soot mixed together makes an effective insecticide.

Early potatoes grown under glass at Stevenstone, near Torrington, have been lifted and have given good results.

Cockcrow” in his column reminds poultry keepers that meat is an essential part of their birds’ diet. Left-over meat scraps and offal should be cooked and mixed with meal. A good supply of fresh water is also important.

Later in the month another appeal from Mr Osborn and Mr Labbett is printed, this time asking for people to become Food Controllers. These people will take the lead in using substitutes for wheat in bread-making. Suggested alternatives include rice, oatmeal, barley, maize flour, dried peas and beans. The “Win the war cookery book” contains 100 useful recipes and is available from stationers and bookshops for 2d. (Does anyone have a copy of this book?)

Bakers across the area are appealing for their staff to be exempt from military service. Their argument is that people who bake bread at home eat it in larger quantities than if it is bought from a baker, thus depleting the wheat stocks.

Lord Fortescue, writing to the paper from his estate at Castle Hill, exhorts readers to avoid waste of every kind and to keep within the recommended rations. (At this time, there was no compulsory rationing imposed by the Government.)

In contrast to all the talk of shortages, Farleigh’s Stores appear to have a plentiful supply of bacon, advertising in the paper every week.

Once again there are several farms up for sale. Additionally, Blackmore’s Stable Yard is selling off 10 different carriages and carts, together with the harnesses, saddles and all other accoutrements.

On the back page of the paper for 22 May, the Gazette prints a column showing the Local Tide Tables for a ten-day period. (Is this the first time that this has appeared in the paper?)

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.


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Walking the Coast Path; Mouthmill.

This is a beach of contrasts. A stream idly trickles through football-sized boulders down to the sea, while soothing sweeps of light-brown sand provide a backdrop to jutting rock formations that point arrow-like towards the Atlantic. It’s a place for exploring rather than lounging, though flat grassy areas above the sea wall are ideal for reclining on while you listen to the babble of water below. (from ‘Secret beaches of the South West’).

There’s a beautiful bluebell wood between Mouthmill and the car park at Brownsham – ‘a patchwork of vibrant blues, carpeting the lush green valley.’ Winbury Hill, an Iron age fort, looks down on Mouthmill and Blackchurch Rock – an ideal vantage point.  Was this remote spot ideal for smugglers to haul ashore their contraband without fear of discovery?  Blackchurch rock is awe inspiring – a natural arch with two windows carved out by the ravages of nature. (from ‘Mouthmill – Beautiful North Devon’).


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One hundred years ago – April 1917.

On behalf of Miss Penhale, auctioneers Smyth-Richards, Stapleton and Fox are selling two lots of property:

Thornbury and Higher Thorne’,a farm of 140 acres with stone and slate buildings and a thatched cottage.  Two arable fields at Horestone Cross, comprising 19 acres.

Miss Penhale is also selling all her livestock and machinery, including 35 good quality growing bullocks, 160 sheep and lambs, a handsome cart mare (5 years old) and 4 fat pigs. (Ed – Is Miss Penhale having to give up due to the shortage of labour and horses?).

The case of a widow with 4 sons at the front, who has land and seed potatoes, but no-one to plant them, has prompted Northam UDC to release employees to help with food production, at the discretion of the surveyor.

New prices for ‘eating’ potatoes have been announced by the Food Controller- retailers can now charge 1¾d per pound. Some farmers and market traders have been heavily fined for selling seed potatoes at “prices beyond the maximum” which police consider a very serious offence. The Master of the Torrington Board of Guardians says the present stock of ‘eating potatoes’ will not last more than 5 weeks.

After the cold spring, the Board of Agriculture advises bee-keepers to use a feeding syrup made up of special coloured candy, unfit for human consumption but fit for bees. The spring mixture should be 1 lb of candy to ¾ pint of hot water, with a less concentrated mixture to be used in the autumn if needed.

Despite the cold spring, salmon fishing by rod and line has opened well, with several fish over 20 lbs being caught. The water of the Torridge is in good condition and fish are plentiful.

Poultry keeping is becoming popular, with several adverts for birds and eggs. The well-known breeds like Rhode Island Reds and Leghorns are joined by less familiar names – LaBresse, Langshans, Wyandottes, Plymouth Rock, Silver Campines and Sicilian Buttercups.

Heard Brothers arranged two successful tractor ploughing demonstrations, one in Percy Squires’ 5 acre field at Bowood and a second in Mr Pennington’s field at Ashridge. Over 100 people attended in spite of the short notice. Following the demonstrations, Norman Heard writes that he has instructions from the Board of Agriculture to engage additional men to operate their equipment in a large area to the west of Bideford; usual rates of pay will apply.

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.


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Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery – April.

The delicious dish below is traditionally cooked for family celebrations on Easter Sunday.

Salt Cod, Basque Style – Bacalao a la Vizcaina – 4 servings.


450g/1lb dried salt cod or pollack.

2 medium onions, finely chopped.

3 tbsp. olive oil.

3 large cloves of garlic.

1 slice firm white bread, toasted and chopped.

1 sweet red pepper – seeded and chopped.

900g/2lbs tomatoes; peeled,seeded and finely chopped (or 2 tins chopped tomatoes.)

5ml/1tsp. sweet paprika.

40ml/2 tbsp. parsley, chopped.

450g/1lb potatoes,cooked and sliced.

123ml/4fl oz. dry sherry.

freshly ground pepper.

Green olive, triangles of fried bread or toast and canned pimento for garnish.


1.Soak the cod/pollack in cold water for 24 hrs /overnight (at least 12hrs) changing the fresh cold water frequently. (Check out Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall’s cookbook for salting your own pollack or cod if you cannot order it from the fish counters.)

2. Put soaked fish into a saucepan with cold water to cover and one of the chopped onions, bring to the simmer and cook over very low heat for 20 mins. or until the fish is tender. When it is cool enough to handle remove any skin and bones and cut it into 3.5cm/1-2ins pieces.

3. In food processor or blender combine the toast, pepper, tomatoes and paprika and reduce to a puree. Add to the frying pan and cook until the mixture is thick and well blended, about 10 mins. Add the parsley, potatoes, cod and sherry, a little water in which the fish was cooked and ground pepper to taste. Simmer over very low heat just long enough to heat the mixture through, about 5 mins.

4. Serve on a warmed charger(large serving plate). Add bread cut in triangles around the edges and garnish with green olives and pimiento. This looks and taste great!

We will be visiting the Crab festival in Salcombe, South Devon, on Sunday 30th April ; there are still spaces in my car. So if you fancy a fishy day out please contact Felicity Sylvester- or 07918 779060


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Beavering away for Bideford flood protection.

There are proposals under consideration for raising the level of the Kenwith Reservoir dam to give the necessary added protection from fluvial flooding resulting from anticipated climate change and the amount of new housing development in the catchment area.

In this context, the following quotation from an account of works carried out near Pickering, North Yorkshire, seems rather appealing !

In Pickering, rather than building a £20 million concrete flood wall through the centre of town, the community planted 29 hectares of woodland upstream to naturally soak up water, and created hundreds of natural obstructions in the river made of logs, branches and heather to restore its natural flow. The flood risk has now fallen from 25%, to just 4%, and at a fraction of the cost of hard defences”.

This description almost exactly matches the account of work carried out by beavers in a controlled experimental research project by the Devon Wildlife Trust in the south of Torridge district (see below). Here the storage and slow release of water from sudden rainfall events is proven to significantly reduce peak flows downstream. When you consider the popularity of the wild beavers on the river Otter, the presence of Bideford Beavers in the Kenwith Valley Nature Reserve could also be a great tourist attraction.

After all, with beavers on the river Otter in east Devon, why shouldn’t we have beavers on the most famous otter river of all, the Torridge? They should live happily together, as beavers are vegetarian and otters would love the extra fish that beaver pools encourage to breed and thrive.

Chris Hassall.


Beavers win top BBC Countryfile award.

The remarkable story of Devon’s wild beavers goes on, with the announcement that the Westcountry rodents have now won a top national award.

Readers of BBC Countryfile Magazine have selected the River Otter Beaver Trial based in East Devon, along with the Scottish Beaver Trial, as their ‘Wildlife Success Story of the Year’ for 2017. The public poll attracted 56,000 votes across its 12 award categories.

The accolade is recognition of the work being done with the East Devon beavers by the charity Devon Wildlife Trust. The beavers are the first wild population of the animals to exist in England for 400 years. Devon Wildlife Trust leads the River Otter Beaver Trial in partnership with Clinton Devon Estates, University of Exeter and the Derek Gow Partnership.

Devon Wildlife Trust’s Mark Elliott manages the River Otter Beaver Trial and said:

We’re delighted to have won this prestigious BBC Countryfile Magazine Award. The fact that thousands of members of the public have taken the time to vote for beavers in Devon and in Scotland shows the wide support these charismatic creatures enjoy.”

A breeding population of beavers was first discovered on the River Otter in 2014. No one knows how the beavers came to be living wild in East Devon. In 2015 Devon Wildlife Trust was granted a five-year licence from Natural England, which allowed the beavers to remain after they were initially threatened with removal. The licence also allowed the charity to establish a project which will monitor the beavers until 2020 when a decision about their long term future is to be made by the government.

Devon Wildlife Trust’s Mark Elliott added:

The BBC Countryfile Award stands as a tribute to the strong partnership we’ve established to conduct the trial. Our research is now beginning to show the important role that beavers could play across our wider countryside in improving water quality, mitigating against the worst effects of flooding and drought, and in benefiting other wildlife. The trial has a long way to go, but this is a very public endorsement of the work we’ve done with beavers here in Devon and of the trial that has already been carried out in Scotland.”

News that Devon’s beavers were in the running for the BBC Wildlife Magazine Awards was announced in February. Nominations were made by a panel of judges which included the author Bill Bryson, along with broadcasters John Craven and Anita Rani. Other nominated projects in the same award category included conservation work done with dormice, cirl buntings, bumblebees and bitterns.

Prof Richard Brazier, University of Exeter, project partner and Chair of the River Otter Beaver Trial’s Science and Evidence Forum welcomed the public recognition:

“Undertaking research into the impacts of beavers is a challenging yet highly rewarding field of study, made all the more fascinating via the genuine partnership approach that Devon Wildlife Trust is leading and the huge interest in this keystone species shown by the general public.”

Dr Sam Bridgewater, Conservation Manager for Clinton Devon Estates, said:

There was a lot of stiff competition. The award is testament to the hard work of all the partners involved. Clinton Devon Estates recognises that the beavers can have great benefits for wildlife and society and this award is affirmation that these benefits are being recognised nationally. We are very grateful to everyone who has voted for this project.”

Devon-based mammal expert and project partner Derek Gow said:

I am over the moon that the Devon Beaver Trial has been given this recognition. I have worked with this magnificent species for 22 years. It is just brilliant that BBC Countryfile Magazine have recognised the importance of beavers in the presentation of this award.”

Chairman of Natural England, Andrew Sells, said:

I would like to add my congratulations to Devon Wildlife Trust for their work on this programme. Their careful planning and monitoring of England’s first wild population of beavers for 400 years continues to provide us with important evidence on any impacts which a potential reintroduction might have. This is an exciting time for conservation and their award success is a clear indication that many people are very supportive of this scheme.”

It is thought that around 20 beavers now live on the River Otter, which winds its way through 20 miles of East Devon countryside. Last year one breeding pair of the rodents established themselves on land owned by Clinton Devon Estates close to the village of Otterton. Throughout the summer the adults along with their five offspring, known as kits, were seen most evenings. The family drew hundreds of visitors to the area.

The River Otter Beaver Trial receives no government funding. People can learn more about its work, help, and give their support via

Steve Hussey, Devon Wildlife Trust.


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Bideford’s Newfoundland links & the Chope Collection.

Devon has strong historic links with the Canadian Province of Newfoundland dating back to the 16th Century, when boats from local ports sailed to the waters of Newfoundland to fish for cod. Initially men left Devon in April and returned in the autumn, but gradually land bases were established and in 1583 the Devon mariner Humphrey Gilbert claimed Newfoundland as the first English overseas colony.

While people in Newfoundland are very aware of their Devon roots, Devonians are less well informed about the link. Indeed most of us would have to ask Google where it is! Bideford of course was a major port in the Elizabethan age, and quickly developed close maritime links with the New World colonies. Importing tobacco was initially the main source of income but the town also gained a large share in the lucrative Newfoundland cod trade, sending out more ships than any other English port except London and Topsham. The fish were sold in southern Europe in exchange for fruit and wine. Bideford pottery for export and provisioning ships was also renowned for several centuries.

If you want to do some reading about this, we have in our Chope Collection in Bideford Library a number of books that cover early Devonian seafarers such as John Hawkins and Francis Drake. We also have a couple about Newfoundland in particular. A History of Newfoundland by D W Prowse 1896 is a fine old book with reproductions of lots of contemporary illustrations and a big fold-out map at the back. (It’s a bit worn, so you’ll need to be careful if you come to have a look at it). There are references to Bideford in the earlier parts of the volume. Westwarde Hoe for Avalon in the New Found Land as Described by Captain Whitbourne of Exmouth Devon 1622 very nearly has a title longer than the book! Published in 1870, it is only 47 pages long and is a transcription with the original Early Modern English spellings preserved of Richard Whitbourne’s accounts of his travels. It is a lovely little book, nicely bound and has beautiful woodcut illustrations.

For those of you who don’t know, the Chope Collection is a collection of books left to the people of Bideford by Richard Pearse Chope (1862-1938). A native of Hartland parish, he was a keen local historian, writer and member of the Devonshire Association. These books are held at the library but they do not belong to the library. They belong to the people of Bideford. They are available for reference only, so why not come in and have a look at them.

Matt Chamings, Bideford Library.


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One hundred years ago – March 2017.

There has been no break in the wintry conditions across the region. The seasonal rise in temperature usually seen during this month was only very slight. Frost and fog have been persistent and snow has fallen on several days – over an inch was recorded nearby at Cullompton and more was seen in South Devon. It has been the coldest and wettest March since 1888.

A Mr Prothero has written to the Archbishop of Canterbury seeking guidance on the question of Sunday working, especially on farms and in the fields because of the expected poor harvest. In his reply from Lambeth Palace Archbishop Randall says that as long as there is no compulsion to work, men and women may, with a clear conscience, work on a Sunday.

Despite the cold an adder was killed in Parkham at Powlers Piece and another at the waterworks at Meddon.

Bideford Guardians now meet monthly, because farming members who are short of labour cannot attend the original fortnightly meetings. During the meeting this month the Board decided to change to margarine instead of the usual butter. At a similar meeting of the Torrington Guardians a review of the weekly allowance for inmates was considered – currently this comprises 6lb 14 ozs bread, 9½ oz cake, 6oz flour, and 1lb 11½ oz meat per week. The Guardians suggest that in view of the recent Food Rations Directive this consumption will have to be cut down.

Addressing the shortage of labour, the Board of Agriculture is releasing nearly 1,000 men for service on the land in Devon. Many of these are Army reservists. No German prisoners are available. Local Farmers requiring help should apply to the clerk to the War Agriculture Committee, Mr W T Braddick, at 25, High Street, Bideford.

Bideford Chamber of Trade hosted an interesting lecture on “The Metric System of Weights and Measures” given by Mr Cecil J Smith. At the closure the Mayor, Mr Chope, proposed a resolution in favour which was defeated amidst laughter , much reluctance, and outright hostility.

Property for Sale this month: ‘The Oak’ in Fore Street, Northam, currently occupied by James Chapple, and a field also in Northam known as Lords Meadow, in the tenancy of John Penhorwood.

On 27th March the usual timetable for the Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore Railway appears on the front page showing train times up to 31st May. However in the Western Express & Weekly News dated 31st March this Notice appeared indicating that the service had already ceased.


The Archive is preparing an exhibition about the Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore Railway and have already received postcards not previously published. If you have any memorabilia or items of interest, we would be pleased to borrow them.

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.


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Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery – March.

A belated happy and prosperous 2017 to everyone. This year I plan to visit the fish festivals in Devon and along the north coast – there will be 3 spaces in my car, so come along. Please contact me or the editor. The first in April will be the Crab Festival in Salcombe, (Mary Berry’s holiday home!) then Westward Ho! Fish Festival in May, and then the Seaweed Festival in Clovelly in June.

March has 2 national saints’ days! ; St David’s Day on March 1st and St Piran’s Day on March 5th. This recipe combines both leeks, symbol of Wales, and Cornish cauliflower that are in season now. Here is a useful family recipe that also has potatoes – a meal in one pot!

Cheesy Smoked Haddock, Cauliflower and Leek Bake. (4/8 servings).

Ingredients. 2 small/medium peeled potatoes, cut into small cubes.

1 medium cauliflower, broken into small florets.

1 or 2 leeks chopped into small rings (more leeks for more people!).

300ml pouring cream and 1 heaped tbsp. cornflower.

100gm Cheddar or Gouda cheese, coarsely grated.

2 tbsp. chopped parsley and 2 tbsp. snipped chives.

500g/1lb+natural smoked haddock (or pollack, whiting, hake), skinned and cut into pieces.

Black Pepper for seasoning and Paprika for dusting.

Butter or oil for greasing dish.

Method. 1.Preheat the oven to 200C/180Cfan/Gas 6 and use a shallow oven proof dish.

2.Put the potato cubes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water, add salt and bring to the boil approx. 5 mins and then add cauliflower, and then leeks for a further 4 mins. Drain well and allow to dry in a large colander. Tip into a greased dish and season with pepper.

3. Measure the cornflour into a bowl, pour in the cream, add some salt and pepper and stir to combine.

4. Scatter half the cheese over the cauliflower, leeks and potatoes in the dish. Sprinkle the chopped herbs, then add the pieces of smoked fish, so they cover the top as an even layer. Pour the cream mixture all over the top and down through the veg. Scatter the remaining cheese and dust with a little paprika.

5.Bake in the oven for 20-25 mins until the top is light brown. Serve with extra warmed cream if required.

Next month – Devon Newfoundland Story and Salt Cod favourite recipes. Check the lovely programmes available now.

Felicity Sylvester – 07918 779 060.


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