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A popular seaside town with excellent beaches

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Bude Canal
Bude Castle
Poughill Church
Sitting on the County border between Devon and Cornwall, along the Atlantic Heritage coast, Bude is a popular small seaside town. It is sited at the mouth of the River Neet (known locally as the River Strat) and has two excellent beaches with broad sands, namely Summerleaze and Crooklets. Both of these beaches are west facing, making them ideal for surfing when conditions are right. Nearby are other excellent beaches at Widermouth Bay and the National Trust owned Sandymouth Beach.

Amazing beaches near Bude
Photo MonkeyMyshkin
Bude originally had a small unprotected tidal harbour, but it was difficult to enter whenever the sea was up. In 1823 the Bude Canal was dug to carry beach sand to Launceston, where it was used to enrich the soil. It was a magnificent feat of engineering for its day, stretching some 35 miles and including a number of inclines which carried tub boats to a height of 430 ft above sea level. There is also a sea lock which allowed coastal merchant ships to have access to the canal and the upper and lower wharf in Bude. The lower wharf is still operational today as is the first 2 miles of the canal, from Bude to Helebridge. The history of the canal can be discovered at the Bude Stratton Museum at the Old Forge on the Lower Wharf. There are also a number of walks following the route of the canal through beautiful countryside.

Bude Canal
Photo Pierre Terre
Bude itself is a bustling town, having evolved during the Victorian era from a small fishing village into the seaside resort we see today. Sir John Betjeman once described Bude as the "least rowdy" resort in Cornwall, and it has managed to retain its atmosphere of easy going charm whilst catering for the needs of most modern day tourists. Notable buildings include the parish church of All Angels, built in 1835, and the town's oldest house, Quay Cottage in the centre of town. Bude Castle was built about 1830 for Victorian inventor Sir Goldsworthy Gurney and is now a heritage centre.

Bude Castle
Photo Steve Daniels
Poughill is one mile north of Bude and worth visiting for its church, which is of exceptional interest. It dates from the 14th century and is dedicated to the Norwegian King and so-called Martyr, St Olaf. What makes the church so interesting is the wall of frescoes inside the church, dating from about 1470 and depicting St Christopher. According to legend, St Christopher was a heathen giant who, on turning to Christianity, was instructed by a holy hermit to carry travellers over a dangerous ford. One stormy night it is said that he carried the child Jesus on his shoulder, safely over the ford.

Poughill Church
Photo Philip Halling
Visitor Information
Bude Visitor Centre, The Crescent, Bude, EX23 8LE. Tel: 01288 354 240

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