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23 November 2020 

Making The Canal Matter Again to Exeter

 Recognition for the Heritage Harbour


Dear <<First Name>>

Exeter Ship Canal and the City Basin have been designated as a Heritage Harbour by the Maritime Heritage Trust, becoming only the fourth historic harbour in the UK to be awarded the recognition.
It is thanks to a successful application by the Friends of Exeter Ship Canal.
To coincide with today’s announcement, we have published our game-changing revival plan for the waterway, entitled Making The Canal Matter Again to Exeter.
Heritage Harbour
The Heritage Harbour scheme is a joint push by two important bodies, Maritime Heritage Trust (MHT) and National Historic Ships UK in association with the European Maritime Heritage organisation, to recognise the status of historic ports and harbours across the UK and Europe.
The Friends applied for Heritage Harbour status in order to give an incentive to Exeter City Council and Exeter Canal and Quay Trust (ECQT) to start working on common objectives for the waterway, which is what we have been calling for.
Brian Corbett, MHT trustee for the scheme, praised the Friends' initiative: ‘The real nomination of a Heritage Harbour arises from the enthusiasm of its waterways community to form a group aspiring to maintain a working maritime heritage for the benefit of everyone. The Friends of Exeter Ship Canal already constitutes that group.’
We have also made the point strongly that the Ship Canal from the Basin to Turf is part of the whole maritime heritage territory of the Port of Exeter, and this includes the Exe Estuary with its waterside towns and facilities.

A Heritage Harbour group's aims are:
  • support for local business growth 
  • increased tourism
  • community involvement
  • attraction of investment and heritage funding
  • a welcome for local and visiting historic vessels to find moorings, facilities and support.  
Make the Canal Matter Again to Exeter
The big question is where does this take us as far as the canal and basin are concerned and how will ECQT and Exeter City Council respond?
The Friends want to see more boats on the canal and more businesses connected with the waterway. There is also an opportunity for the return of commercial use on a small scale to begin with. Making The Canal Matter is a programme for reinvigorating Exeter’s maritime traditions and connecting the community and the waterway through a range of activities.
Its top points are:
Easier and cheaper navigation which will be available when the headroom beneath the bridges across the canal in Bridge Road, Exeter, is raised by Devon County Council.

Historic vessels, such as wooden sailing craft, being restored at the basin, creating opportunities for skilled jobs and training.
Commercial use with fresh fish and shellfish landed at the basin and produce transported by water.
Holiday attractions such as boat lets and picnic boats; combined bus and ferry tickets from the city centre to Double Locks and Turf; and a horse-drawn canal barge.
A boost to community life with an annual canal carnival and cavalcade and the purchase of the old gas works social club adjacent to the basin for conversion to a new canal office and community activities focusing on the waterway and its heritage.
Please read the plan on our website. Its ideas are just the starting point. Our next step is to apply to Exeter Canal and Quay Trust (ECQT) for funding to commission a ‘road map’ for the scheme. It will set direction and milestones for the Council and the Trust to get things moving towards reinvigorating the maritime life of the canal for the benefit of everyone. 
I think the Friends can therefore go into December on a forward-looking note. And I’m looking forward very much to seeing you all when we can get together along the canal again, hopefully in the Spring.

We still need more activists if we are to do more. Please do what you can either by volunteering or recruiting a friend.

Look after yourselves through these difficult times.

With all best wishes

John Monks
Friends of Exeter Ship Canal
01392 493559
The headroom will be raised when the bridges (left) across in the canal in Bridge Road are renewed in a forthcoming road scheme. More boats will be able to pass under the bridges without needing to close the road. It will be a game-changer for canal navigation.

We need new members who are supporters of the canal. If you know anyone who may be interested please feel free to forward this newsletter to them.

Membership is:
Individual – £8 a year
Family – £15 a year
Lifetime – £100

Corporate or business membership can also be arranged.
For all membership enquiries please contact:
Mick Green, secretary
Copyright © 2020 Friends of Exeter Ship Canal, All rights reserved.

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