Bude Canal in Cornwall is actually much more than a canal it is a complete network of waterways that run through this beautiful county in England. This is one of the most unusual of all the canal systems that were constructed in Britain during what became known as the Industrial Revolution.
The canal begins in Bude and then travels inland to Marhamchurch. The first two miles of the canal from the coast would be where the full size canal barge would travel along. Then once it had reached this point then any cargo it was carrying would be transferred to "tub-boats" that would then travel along the other 35 miles of the canal network up into the hills.
Bude Canal comprises three main branches which instead of being fitted with locks has instead go six inclined planes. It is very similar in ways to a funicular railway the sort you will find used on Mount Snowdon in Wales. Yes this system to raise and lower the tub boats between the various levels of the canal did cost more to install. However it allows the boats to be moved a great deal more quickly and it didn't use as much water.
If you would like the opportunity to learn more about the history of this network of waterways the Bude Canal and Harbour Society (BCHS) have organized a number of guided walks this year. This year they will take place on Sunday 15th July, 15th August and the 5th and 26th September. The walk begins at 2pm and leaves from The Sea Lock, Bude and then follows the canals tow path to Helebridge and covers a total distance of 2 miles. On arrival at Helebridge before you make the return trip a visit to the Barge Workshop has been arranged and here you actually get to see one of the Tub Boats.