Hestercombe Gardens get a new Edwardian-style punt

Lyme Regis boatbuilders The Beautiful Boat Company have constructed a punt for the Hestercombe Gardens Trust, based on old photographs from 1904 of the boat being used on the garden’s Pear Pond. The launch was a few days ago, and I’d guess the folks involved had some fun recreating the most striking of the old photos. See old black and white and new colour photos in the gallery above.

I’m quite sure the The Beautiful Boat Company would be very happy to work to more commissions based on old photographs!

Hestercombe combines three gardens covering three centuries of garden history and design, including a Edwardian formal garden designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and planted by Gertrude Jekyll between 1904-1908, a Victorian shrubbery and terrace originally laid out by the 1st Viscount Portman between 1873-77, and an 18th century landscape garden designed by Coplestone Warre Bampfylde between 1750 and 1791.

The punt project began when Hestercombe Gardens Trust chief executive Philip White found six photographs of a punt from about 1904. The photos show a slightly unusual punt shorter and deeper than most estate or lake punts, and finely built in the Thames style.

The discover sparked an ambition to see a punt back on Pear Pond again; Philip suspects the original was sold at an estate sale in 1951.

Evidence from a boat house in the grounds suggested the punt was up to about 18 feet. A chance meeting between Philip and Simon Olszowski of The Beautiful Boat Company and graduate of the Lyme Regis’ Boat Building Academy, led to the punt commission.

It is built from a mix of timbers including iroko and sapele, and also teak reclaimed from East Reach Hospital in Taunton, where the Portman ward was sponsored by Hestercombe’s last private owners, and is named Constance after the lady of the house at the time it was built.

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Faversham Creek: a Julie skiff whizzes along powered by an electric outboard

One of the skiffs built by school children at Faversham being powered along by an electric outboard.

The skiffs are built at Faversham Creek Trust’s Boat Camp to free plans available from Intheboatshed.net

The skiffs were built under the tutelage of local boatbuilder Alan Thorne, who is also a supplier for electric outboards, folding RIBs and inflatable canoes. Call Alan on 07865 091155

I’m not a fisherman, but surely this inexpensive and quick little rig would surely be great for line fishing in and out of suitable creeks, rivers and lakes…

Montagu whaler Swan and whaler no. 124/1964

Montagu whaler 124/1964

Bristol charity Rocking the Boat Bristol member Steve Evans is rebuilding a 1964 Montagu whaler named Swan, but are short of oars, mast and sailing kit. If anyone has these they can offer, Rocking the Boat would be most grateful for your help. Email me at gmatkin@gmail.com and I’ll pass the message along.

In addition, Rocking the Boat has another Montagu whaler (built:  Portsmouth 1964, no 124) that we would like to give to someone who wants to finish its rebuild. It’s basically sound but needs a new home, and is at present lying in Bristol.

Steve has this to say about the story of Swan and whaler no. 124/1964:

‘She was reputedly built in Malta and was once owned by Berni Bruen, who wrote the Song of the Montagu Whaler (scroll down this page to find it), and later by Graham Brown in Falmouth .

‘After Graham passed away, Jonny Mills from Falmouth Marine School took her under his wing and completed some major repairs with students.

‘The story then shifts to Bristol where she now lies and is being further renovated with a possible showing at the Semaine du Golfe, Brittany next May.

‘There is much work to be done and either fabrication or sourcing of the two masts and oars to complete the project by retired chaps under the aegis of All-Aboard Watersports and Rocking the Boat Bristol.

‘The Beagle Project , based in Devonport, have been most encouraging in our project and gave us the second whaler, which sadly bwe find we cannot find the resources to complete. We are therefore looking to a group or individual who would be interested in taking her on before we have to cut her up. She was built at Portsmouth in 1964 and is numbered 124.

‘If you are interested in the boat or have any oars / sailing kit for our boat Swan, I would very much appreciate contact from you.
There will be more to follow on Swan’s Story in later writings.’

Thanks Steve! Please contact him either via Rocking the Boat Bristol (link above) or email me at gmatkin@gmail.com and I’ll pass the message along.