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Appledore is a village at the mouth of the River Torridge, about 6 miles (10 kilometres) west of Barnstaple in the county of Devon. It is home toAppledore Shipbuilders, a lifeboat slipway and Hockings Ice Cream, a brand of ice cream only sold in North Devon. The local football team is Appledore F.C.
The name Appledore is usually considered to be Celtic in origin. There was a Saxon settlement, and a Viking raid in 878AD. The settlement prospered as a port in the Elizabethan period, and some cottages date from this period. The construction of a quay in 1845 further developed the port, and as a result Appledore has a rich maritime heritage from the second half of the nineteenth century. Shipowner Sir William Reardon Smithwas born in Appledore and went to the Wesleyan School there.
The Richmond Dry Dock was built in 1856 by William Yeo and named after Richmond Bay in Prince Edward Island, where the Yeo family's shipping fleet was based. From 1882 until the 1930s it was owned by Robert Cook, and continued in use until the 1960s. It is a Grade II* listed building. There is a maritime museum in the village chronicling the history of shipbuilding and seafaring in the village.
A lifeboat service for the area around the mouth of the River Taw was introduced in February 1825. The boat was kept in the King's Watch House at Appledore for six years until a new boat house was built at Watertown, half a mile nearer the sea. From 1848 a second lifeboat was stationed atBraunton Burrows on the opposite side of the estuary but its crew always came from Appledore. A third station was built at Northam Burrows to the west of Appledore in 1851 and the Appledore boat moved there. A new station at Badsteps allowed Northam Burrows to close in 1889 and Braunton Burrows closed in 1918 as it was difficult to find men and horses to launch the boat. Appledore Lifeboat Station was rebuilt in 2001 and is home to an inshore lifeboat; a larger all-weather boat is kept moored just off shore.
The Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore Railway (B,WH&A,R) was most unusual amongst British railways in that although it was built as a standard gauge line (4 ft 8½in) it was not joined to the rest of the railway network, despite the London and South Western Railway having a station atBideford, East-the-Water, meaning on the other side of the River Torridge from the main town. The line was wholly situated on the peninsula made up of Westward Ho!, Northam and Appledore with extensive sand dunes, at the mouth of the Torridge and Taw estuary. Appledore station and the whole line closed in 1917 having been requisitioned by the War Office (Stuckey 1962).
The quay at Appledore.
A view of Appledore Shipyard from the opposite side of the TorridgeEstuary.
St. Mary church
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