- Hits: 1741
The Bude Canal was originally planned as a highly ambitious project to build about 95 miles of canal for taking mineral-rich sand from Bude, England to the Cornish hinterland, to improve the quality of the land.
An Act of Parliament was gained in support of this proposal in 1774. A number of factors meant that this project came to nothing until 1819, when a second Act was obtained to allow the building of a shorter canal of 40 miles based on flat bottomed "tub boats".
When the canal was completed in 1825, it consisted of 2 miles of barge canal connecting the sea to the base of a series of inclined planes, which transported the boats between the various levels of the network.
The canal climbed to a height of 400 feet near Red Post where separate branches led south along the Tamar Valley towards Launceston, east to Holsworthy, and north to the Tamar Lakes which were used to feed the canal.
In 1891 competition from the railways forced the canal owners to obtain an Act of Closure on the tub boat section of the canal, and in 1901 the remainder of the canal was bought by Stratton and Bude Urban District Council.
It became the responsibility of North Cornwall District Council when English local government was reorganised in 1974.
Today the sea lock is still in working order, and the canal is 'in water' as far as the base of the first inclined plane.
The sea lock, though, is the only lock on this section still in working order, and, as such, navigation is not possible along the whole network.
In 2005 major plans were approved to re-develop the canal, including renewal of the two locks between the sea lock and the first inclined plane.
£3.8 million in funding for this project was provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Objective One and the South West Regional Development Agency.
The plane states that work will start in 2007 and finish in 2009.