Today the Regatta host local maritime traditions and activities wherever possible with the spirit of the Appledore & Instow communities.
The Regatta has long held fun yet competitive events from the Greasy Pole, World Crabbing Competition to competitive Club Rowing and Gig Racing including traditional local Vintage Model Yacht Racing and many more events to suit all interests. However the Regatta can be traced right back to the early 1800's!
The 'Appledore & Instow Regatta' was first held on 27th July 1885 as the local news paper reported.
However it roots were founded in 1831!
The Regatta as we know it today was founded back in 1831 when two events were established at the same time:
Ilfracombe's Annual Amusements named 'The North Devon Regatta' as it was noted at the time and, and
'The North Devon (Horse) Races' at Youlston Old Park, Shirwell, Barnstaple.
Ilfracombe hosted, annual amusements, which have assumed the name of "The North Devon Regatta", as it was noted in the Morning Post, Friday 5th August 1831 and was a great success.
At the same time The North Devon Races were established at Youlston Manor (Old Park) near Shirwell, Barnstaple, then owned by the Chichester Family in addition to Arlington Court and much of the surrounding land. At the same time Mr Frederick Hodgson MP for Barnstaple, donated a silver plate worth £50 as a prize to the newly founded North Devon Regatta.
'The North Devon Regatta' was hosted across North Devon from Bideford, Barnstaple, Instow, Appledore & Ilfracombe at the same time as 'The North Devon Races'. Then in the Woolmer's Exeter & Plymouth Gazette, Saturday July 10th 1852, it was announced that the 'The North Devon Regatta' will take place at Instow. This Event was the earliest recorded Regatta to have occurred in either Appledore or Instow, but still under the name and organisation of the 'North Devon Regatta'. The popularity of the North Devon Regatta Event grew rapidly following its associated popularity in South Devon with other Regatta's in the South West Region. Instow, since 1852, continued to host the North Devon Regatta until 1881.
Between 1831 and 1880 'The North Devon Regatta' was hosted across North Devon Towns but by 1881 Bideford and Barnstaple wanted to host their own Regatta's due to its popularity using the same name 'The North Devon Regatta' with their own respective horse races. Indeed Bideford hosted Horse Racing on the sandy banks of the River Torridge 'East The Water' side up to the Bideford Bridge and also at Abbotsham with a purpose built Race Course.
This was the beginning of Towns across North Devon hosting their own versions of the 'North Devon Regatta' for the next couple of years until Bideford, in 1884, held its own distinctly named 'Bideford Regatta'. The North Devon Regatta, as it had been known since 1831, was at an end, with towns across North Devon hosting their own Regatta Events under their own Town names.
With exception of the War years, the Appledore & Instow Regatta has run from year to year without fail.
In 1863, noted by Dr Alison Grant in the extract below from her book 'Instow A History', the book gives a very concise account of the Regatta and the activities.
Traditionally revolved around a single Regatta day more commonly know as 'Regatta Sunday' the Regatta has expanded over the years to accommodate additional events and activities.
In recent times additional events have been added to expand the need to cater for all needs and are held before or after Regatta Day and so now the Regatta is sometimes referred to as the 'Regatta Week or Weeks' usual last week of July first week of August but this can vary given tide times and availability of Clubs etc when scheduling events and activities.
Hence its always usual to check the Regatta Programme or Social Media for the latest updates during the months of July and /or August.
When you browse the variety of events you'll understand why it takes a couple of weeks to get through, however 'Regatta Sunday' is still the main day when most events take place.
The Regatta Committee welcome any suggestions and ideas for current and future events and activities, please contact the Regatta Secretary here.
Today the Regatta continues to promote local traditions and activities wherever possible with the spirit of the Appledore & Instow communities, for the fun and enjoyment of all attending and supporting this great annual event.
Historical Research by John Vistuer