Could Falls of Clyde ‘save’ Appledore shipyard?

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Pic: Bideford & District Community Archive

North Devon’s Appledore Shipyard closed in March, ending more than 160 years production from a yard that has launched almost 200 vessels. The closure also marked the end of a tradition of shipbuilding on the River Torridge that predates the Spanish Armada.

The long list of ships built at Appledore Shipyard includes Tall Ships Youth Trust vessels Stavros S Niarchos (now Sunset) and Prince William, a trio of Royal Navy survey vessels HMS Echo, Enterprise and Scott, and the hull of Ernesto Bertarelli’s 97m superyacht Vava II. The yard also built significant sections of the new Queen Elizabeth Class carriers for the Royal Navy.

Although the yard has been closed by current owner Babcock – which also owns a shipyard in Devonport – a potential lifeline has been proposed by the owners of Falls of Clyde. They want to explore the possibility of securing Appledore for the restoration of the 140 year old, 300ft iron-built sailing ship. The venture would require government support, but could – it is suggested – create a £10m a year boost to the local economy through commercial activity and tourism.

Falls of Clyde is currently languishing in Hawaii, but fundraising is underway for her return to the UK.

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Bidna Yd, Wooda Rd, Appledore, Northam, Bideford EX39 1UZ, UK, United Kingdom
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