North Devon Maritime Museum

Situated in the pictureseque village and sea port of Appledore - on the estuary of the Taw and Torridge rivers - the North Devon Maritime museum offers a fascinating insight into the rich shipbuilding and seafaring history of the area.

In seven exhibition rooms, visitors can discover the WWII beach landing experiments, sail and steam vessels, shipwrecks and much more.

Room 1
Early History - Hubba the Dane's Viking raid in 878, Medieval trade and shipping.  Tudor explorers and pirates, and 18th Century smuggling and 19th Century emigration to North America and Australia.  Model of the Bideford registered schooner, the Kathleen and May.

Room 2
The history and techniques of shipbuilding, including tools, models and dioramas of ships and shipyards. Model of HMS Tees and the wheel and binnacle from MV Farringway, a WWII Chant ship, built to supply invasion forces in Northern France.

Hallway to Room 3
Panels illustrating ships with North Devon connections and their role as Q Ships in the battle against the U Boats during the Great War.
Panel illustrating the history of Bideford, Westward Ho and Appledore Railway.

Room 3
The Victorian kitchen of Odun House as it looked in the 19th century.  A locally produced cloam oven and a collection of photographs of Appledore from the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Staircase
Model of HMS Bideford, made from damaged timber from the original ship.  A display relating to the history Appledore's Richmond Dock, which opened in the 19th century and now a Grade II listed site of International Importance.

Room 4
Wreck and Rescue - A brief history of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution stations, RAF Chivenor Air-Sea Rescue service and some of the many local wrecks.

Room 5
Steam and Motor Vessels - A working model of a typical triple-expansion marine steam-engine. A model of Appledore's 'Bidna' shipbuilding yard with a model of the MV City of Chichester, built in Bideford.  A collection of photographs showing Lundy Island ferries from the last hundred years. View the village of Instow and the River Torridge through our telescope.

Room  6
WWII room - Discover the top secret experiments that took place on the North Devon coastline prior to the D Day landings in Northern France - including the Great Panjandrum, Swiss Roll, amphibious tanks and the 'Frogmen'.

Room 7
The maritime tourism of North Devon, relating to the Campbell Steamers ferry services in the Bristol Channel. A model of Appledore Quay in the late 19th Century and Lundy Island with a model of the landing bay, including information on the island itself.  A model of Robert Cock and Sons schooner Norseman, built in Appledore.
A small exhibition including a model of Motor Torpedo Boat 618 built by P K Harris & Sons in 1941 at Appledore but lost in action in Norway.
Many small wooden craft were built by Torridge shipyards and boatyards during the Second World War.  Harris & Sons and Blackmores built Mine Sweepers and Motor Launches.  Hinks, Waters and Boon Brothers built Lifeboats and other small craft.
Victorian toilet was installed when mains sewers were first constructed in Appledore during the 1890s.  The servants had to use the outside toilet in the yard at the back of the house.  Odun House's only ghost was reputed to have been seen in the toilet.

Bottom of Staircase to second floor
Fishing in Bideford Bay from Clovelly and Bucks Mills.
Original half-models from which Appledore steel ships were constructed during the 20th century, together with photographs and information.

Top of Staircase to second Floor
Cabinet with artifacts from the illustrious career of Admiral Sir Robin Durnford-Slater K.C.B 


  • Odun Road
  • Bideford
  • Devon
  • EX39 1PT