Hundreds of Room - Early Public Transport in the Clovelly and Hartland Area, by Roger Grimley

Hundreds of Room - Early Public Transport in the Clovelly and Hartland Area, by Roger Grimley
Hundreds of Room - Early Public Transport in the Clovelly and Hartland Area, by Roger Grimley

Published privately by the author, 50 pages. A4 size staple bound booklet (N5315)

This privately published A4 size booklet provides a fascinating history of early motor transport in the Clovelly and Hartland areas of North Devon, and is illustrated throughout with several small black and white photographs

From the introduction: Remote and sparsely populated, these words sum up the north-west corner of Devon and north Cornwall.

The coast is impressive with great waves ceaselessly rolling in from the Atlantic Ocean and from where the next landfall is America. To the north, along Bideford Bay, the cliffs are wooded and combes (or valleys) run down to the sea. In one of these is the fishing village of Bucks Mill, in another what has been described as one of the most romantic villages in Devon - Clovelly.

From Clovelly, around the north west tip of Devon and down the coast past the Cornish border to Bude the cliffs are formidable. There is a lack of natural harbours and as a result the remains of vessels that have come to grief can be seen at the foot of the cliffs. To assist mariners a lighthouse was erected at Hartland Point in 1874 and the flashes of light and the mournful sound of the foghorn could be seen and heard for miles around.

"From Padstow Point to Lundy Light Is a watery grave by day and night". At Bude and Widemouth there are sandy beaches but then the cliffs rise high again.

The main road from Bideford to Clovelly is pleasant and in some parts wooded but then it becomes wilder. A wide landscape unfolds before the traveller with trees bent by the force of the Atlantic gales. Inland is deeply rural and farming the main occupation. The farms are small and the heavy, yellow clay soil can be unrewarding. Communications are poor.

The area lacks a town of any size to act as a focal point. Bideford was described as "an excellent little town with good shops and markets and a tree lined quay where something is always happening" (W.G. Hoskins). Its catchment area spreads as far out as Hartland, although this village is a centre for local services. Holsworthy and Stratton markets were popular but neither place is large enough to provide a full range of services while Bude caters largely for the holiday trade. Changes in farming fortunes and mechanisation caused considerable poverty and there was a decline of nearly 40% in the population of most rural parishes between 1851 and 1951 as people moved to the towns in search of work. Where tourism flourished the story was somewhat different and Bude grew considerably over the same period.

Travel for most local people was confined to going to town for shopping, the market or other business, with summer outings and visits to the pantomime later becoming popular. However, this only kept vehicles and drivers occupied for about three days a week so many proprietors combined running their services with farming, inn keeping or some other occupation.

The first tourists were the well-to-do who travelled the Atlantic Coast, attracted by the spectacular coastline and the association with Kingsley, R.S. Hawker and King Arthur. The coming of the railway widened the range of holidaymakers and by the 1930's large numbers of families came to the sandy beaches at Bude. Over the years local people hired out carriages, ran four-in-hand coach services and later turned to motor vehicles in order to carry them to and from the railheads or on excursions to see the beauty spots and places of interest. However, this trade was highly seasonal and it meant keeping large numbers of horses and men to cope with the peak of the season between June and September. Later expensive motor vehicles were only occupied for part of the year.

We tell the story of the people who owned, drove and rode in the horse drawn and motor vehicles that catered for the travel needs of local inhabitants and visitors during the period from the 1840's to the 1940's.

The condition of the booklet is generally very good. The card covers are clean and bright, the staple binding is tight and intact, and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound. There is a small price sticker on the rear side cover.
Condition New