Marine Reports‎ > ‎

January 2008

Taw Torridge estuary and Bideford Harbour January 2008.

Continual rains mean that the river remains in spate, keeping channels clear and depositing silt overall. Lack of flood current makes berthing ships and life for pilots much more challenging. A relief pilot is being trained at present, to provide holiday and other cover. 

Shipping has been quiet over Christmas, but now is busier. The bar buoy has yet to be replaced by Trinity House, making navigation more problematic for all. No new buoys or lights have been laid or placed by Trinity House.

The new Bideford harbour committee is at present being formed with two independent members being appointed shortly. (Application closes tomorrow.)

The promised Brunswick Wharf boat storage availability did not materialise, despite strong public demand, and the wharf remains largely unused.

Great usage has been made of the quay over the summer for public events in conjunction with shipping and the fishing fleet – such as the ever popular farmers’ and French markets. The fishing fleet is landing fish , loading and maintaining it self at the quay whilst the fishermans co- operative at Appledore is being re built – a popular attraction for the general public, together with the interest in visiting ships.

No new houseboats have been given permission to enter the Harbour, though several requests have been made. 

Agreement has been made with the shipyard to monitor the ‘bar’ off their approach channel at Appledore, using the Lundy Puffin, to the benefit of all users of the Western Channel. The shipyard say that they have several orders for sections for the new aircraft carriers ordered through Babcock - the new owners of the yard. They will be using large 90 metre barges to collect the huge sections.

Tarka housing has taken over the sheltered accommodation at Ethelwynne Brown Close, and this includes the frontage to the river, but not the river bed itself, raising some questions of the small craft mooring to that frontage.

The ex naval Hindostan has been given permission to moor near to the slipway at Bideford for repainting and further work with a possible future application for use as moorings for Sea Cadets craft and the general public, and thus providing extra revenue to the harbour.

Sand Dredging on behalf of a consortium of North Devon farmers has proceeded (very) intermittently within the river Torridge, under the 1609 Devon & Cornwall Sea Sand Act, and with licence of the Crown Estates, contractor is Severn Seas Shipping.

Lundy road repair materials have been shipped sporadically via Severn Seas shipping landing craft since before Christmas. 

There is a plan to run an amphibious ferry across from Instow to Appledore, and through out the estuary if grants can be secured and physical practicalities overcome.

A kingfisher was spotted again recently under the quay at Bideford, and the Egrets remain at East the Water. 

A new oil spill contingency plan has been produced for the harbour. The new MCA CERS ship reporting online website is up and running with live input from all ports (Consolidated European Reporting System) which will eventually cover Port Security, waste disposal infringements as well as ship movement reports.

Continuing sustained increases in harbour business mainly through commercial shipping, ensures that the harbour statutory service continues to make a surplus and greatly decrease lorry miles on Devon roads.

Captain Roger Hoad Pilot Harbour Master.