LIFE and memories of a bygone Appledore and the history of an almost extinct craft once practised by North Devon mariners is the subject of a new book by a local couple. Appledore Rope Mats, by born-and-bred Appledorian Ann Wells and her husband George,

LIFE and memories of a bygone Appledore and the history of an almost extinct craft once practised by North Devon mariners is the subject of a new book by a local couple.Appledore Rope Mats, by born-and-bred "Appledorian" Ann Wells and her husband George, documents their revival and research into the sailor's skill of making intricate mats from old rope.Born into one of the old maritime families, Ann Ford as she was then, grew up with a way of life little changed for generations, until overtaken by the modern world.Rope mats - or "mets" in the dialect - were only ever made by men and it was a common craft amongst sailors faced with long hours at sea. But although Ann was never formally taught to make them, she watched her father very closely and says she was far better suited to mat-making than cooking or knitting While visiting the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth, Ann and George tried to find out more about the history of mat making, but discovered they knew more than the staff, who suggested writing a book might be in order!With help and advice from the North Devon Maritime Museum in Appledore, which has its own mat collection, they did just that.The result not only covers the craft and its history in detail, with informative colour photographs, but contains a number of asides about Ann's life growing up in Appledore and its traditions.Appledore Rope Mats, a history and exploration of mat-making techniques.... And memories of an Appledore 'Maid' is available in Appledore from the Maritime Museum, Gallerie Marin and newsagents, plus Merry Harriers Nursery, Woolsery, Walter Henry Bookshop in Bideford, Tarka Books in Barnstaple and RM Young in South Molton