Sunday, 16 January 2011


Followers of this blog will have noticed that of late I have been reading ancient copies of 'Devon Life'. By and large coverage of the Estuary is disappointing. The 'Devon Life' fisherman generally is one who seems to have an unhealthy interest in flies. But now and again there is a gem of an article for lovers of these waters. One such, in August 1979, is another splendid article by Cyril G Tuckfield entitled "Over the Bar" It starts like this:

"When I was growing up in a small Devonshire fishing village in the early 20’s it was the ambition of every boy to be taken out over the bar. The bar in this case was the sand bank which crosses the mouth of the River Exe at about the latitude of Orcombe and is, I suppose the physical boundary between the estuary of the Exe and the English Channel, or more specifically Lyme Bay. But to us boys it had a much deeper significance.

To go over the bar was in itself an adventure but it was also a landmark in growing up. From our earliest days we had heard the fishermen speak of going “out over”; one didn’t know exactly what it meant but it sounded exciting and adventurous. Part of its attraction for us stemmed from the fact that it took place at night. Certainly it was the ambition of every Lympstone boy in those days to go.”

See also:


  1. WW: sorry if this is a stupid question, but could you clarify (as I don't sail) what exactly going "over the bar" is?

    Is it going out eastward through the normal navigable channel parallel to the shore; or literally heading straight south over the top of the sand bar when it's submerged at high tide?

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  3. The former! Well, leaving the Estuary anyward. Many thanks for all the info on Rev.Barham. WW

  4. The former!

    Well, nasty enough. On Sunday we had our first solid walk of the new year: from Exmouth Pavilion along the beach to Sandy Bay, then back over the High Land of Orcombe. The tide was unusually low: enough to see how fast and turbulent the outflow gets at times, and the number of normally submerged banks and rocks that hem the channel.