Appledore is a village at the mouth of the River Torridge, about 6 miles (10 km) west of Barnstaple and about 3 miles (5 km) north of Bideford in the county of Devon, England. It is home to Appledore Shipbuilders, a lifeboat slipway and Hocking’s Ice Cream, a brand of ice cream only sold in North Devon. The local football club is Appledore F.C.
The name Appledore is usually considered to be Celtic in origin. There was a Saxon settlement, and a Viking raid in 878 AD. The settlement prospered as a port in the Elizabethan period, and some cottages date from this period. The construction of a quay in 1845 further developed the port, and as a result Appledore has a rich maritime heritage from the second half of the 19th century. Shipowner Sir William Reardon Smith was born in Appledore and went to the Wesleyan school there.
The Richmond Dry Dock was built in 1856 by William Yeo and named after Richmond Bay in Prince Edward Island, where the Yeo family’s shipping fleet was based. From 1882 until the 1930s it was owned by Robert Cook, and continued in use until the 1960s. It is a Grade II* listed building.3 There is a maritime museum in the village chronicling the history of shipbuilding and seafaring in the village.
A lifeboat service for the area around the mouth of the River Taw was introduced in February 1825. The boat was kept in the King’s Watch House at Appledore for six years until a new boat house was built at Watertown, half a mile nearer the sea. From 1848 a second lifeboat was stationed at Braunton Burrows on the opposite side of the estuary but its crew always came from Appledore. A third station was built at Northam Burrows to the west of Appledore in 1851 and the Appledore boat moved there. A new station at Badsteps allowed Northam Burrows to close in 1889 and Braunton Burrows closed in 1918 as it was difficult to find men and horses to launch the boat. Appledore Lifeboat Station was rebuilt in 2001 and is home to an inshore lifeboat; a larger all-weather boat is kept moored just off shore.