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A community boat which will take residents and visitors on sight seeing trips along the River Parrett is being launched in Langport on Wednesday 5th July between 6 and 7pm.

Named DUCHESS OF COCKLEMOOR, she is a 38ft timber built ferry boat built in Plymouth in 1908.  Most of her life was spent carrying passengers from Teignmouth to Shaldon in Devon.

Rescued two years ago in a sorry state from the river Dart, the Duchess is now being lovingly restored by local residents and specialist craftsmen ready for her launch date.  The Langport Community Boat is being organised by a group called Friends of the Duchess, which is raising money for the ongoing running costs of the boat, safety equipment, insurance, and operator training.  The Duchess will be used to offer enjoyable and safe sightseeing trips from Cocklemoor in Langport to Oath Lock downstream and upstream to Muchelney.  Local businesses and other groups have already expressed a keen interest in this new attraction, saying it will help bring more people into the area.

Preserving and enjoying the environment around the Somerset Levels is a key element of the project.  Currently the Duchess is diesel powered but next year, funding permitting, the Friends of the Duchess Group plan to install silent solar powered electric motor.

Ian Macnab
June 2017