Appledore from Instow

North Devon Maritime Museum Appledore

Odun Road, Appledore, Devon, EX39 1PT

Project Picarooner

We will be updating the progress of this restoration in the coming months.


Please check back to see photos of our progress

The name 'picarooner' was coined by the older fishermen of Clovelly in the 1880s to describe a new smaller type of herring boat of up to 18ft long. It was a Spanish word for pirates or sea-robbers. The new small boats could leave harbour and return with their catch much faster than the older larger herring boats.


120 years ago, herrings were so plentiful that, for a few months of the year, they were big business on the North Devon coast. The herring fishing season lasted through November until the end of December when the weather could be at its worst. These small open boats went out from Clovelly, Bucks Mills, Ilfracombe and Combe Martin to gather the silver harvest. If there was no wind the boats were rowed to the fishing grounds. The journey time could be three hours, followed by several hours of shooting nets, waiting, and then hauling. Finally the heavily laden boats might have to be rowed back to harbour. The whole trip could last twelve hours, often in cold, windy weather, without hot food or fully water-proof clothing. The boats were unloaded by women from the villages whilst the men went home for a meal and a few hours sleep. Weather permitting the crews would put to sea again as long as the herring shoals remained along the coast.



The museum has undertaken the restoration of a locally donated picarooner with the help of Rob Dennis .

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Restoration Under Way

Update June 2019

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