The Bude & Stratton Urban District Council Act of 1960 empowered the disposal of the canal between Tamar Lake and Bude and in 1967 the Aqueduct branch was taken over by the North Devon Water Board which later became South West Water. The canal became redundant as a water supply for Bude & Stratton when a new much larger lake was built above the original Tamar Lake between 1973 and 1975. This was known as Upper Tamar Lake and was officially opened in 1977. Despite over 80% of its length being in Devon, the Aqueduct branch was acquired by North Cornwall District Council in June 1986, who saw it as a potentially valuable environmental resource for Bude and the surrounding area.
However, by 1996 North Cornwall District Council decided to relinquish ownership and handed over the Aqueduct branch to the newly formed Bude Canal Trust. The Trust, a registered charity, was set up specifically to take over the ownership and committed to maintaining and promoting the historical integrity of the Canal, particularly the length now in the Trust’s ownership.
In 2006 agreement was reached between the Trust and Devon County Council to establish a formal Public Footpath along the route of the old towpath on the Devon length of the Aqueduct branch. With a length of almost 5 miles, this is the longest single Public Footpath in Devon.
Following discussions with the Local Authorities and other interested parties, in 2007 the Bude Canal Trust Partnership was established. The Partnership is an arrangement whereby the member bodies consider the most appropriate means of managing the lands of the Bude Canal Trust. The Board of the Partnership, under the Chairmanship of the Trust, decides and agrees a priority list of appropriate works, undertaken on behalf of the Trust and of the Partnership as a whole.
The land owned by the Bude Canal Trust, comprising the entire 5½ mile length of the old Aqueduct branch which includes almost ½ mile of Permissive Path into Cornwall, represents the longest remaining publicly accessible length by far of this very historic canal. This is also the most extensive section on which it is currently possible to ensure the maintenance and enhancement of the remaining Canal’s heritage features.
Bude Canal Trust