Vital villages: Calstock and Burdaard

On her trip through England, Ya landed in Calstock, just before the huge 19thcentury bridge over the river Tamar, some 12 miles upstream from Plymouth.

Our daily view from our berth in Calstock. The famous 19th century bridge. Sailing ships sailed under it, and the trains brought cupper and phospate over it. Calstock was blooming in that time.

The first basic necessities for sailors are available: WIFI, fresh water, electricity and… friendly people.

Because the supermarkets had disappeared from this town, volunteers during COVID set up the Local Community Shop, to provide for the basic necessities for the villagers. It opens three times a week in the former townhall. They sell the products for reasonable prices or even for free, but you can leave a donation. The restaurants, pastie shop and therapy hub are open with measures for social distancing.

The management of Calstock Boatyard opened up the wharf for local artists and small entrepreneurs. One of them is Kim, who makes sustainable soaps, with pure oils and ingredients like walnutshells and salt. These artisanal soaps leave your hands cleaner and softer than antibacterial products.

Kim shows her freshly made salt bar soaps

Visiting Calstock made us think of how vitality and sustainability are shaped in our hometown Burdaard, Ya’s first home harbor.

Some years ago, we were afraid of seeing the local supermarket disappear, but now Burdaard has two fine small supermarkets selling the best products from the region. And many other great small shops. The township and other parties organized initiatives in the field of sustainability like energy-checks for houses. Thanks to the new multifunctional centre Burdaard even has an indoor swimming pool. There is an internationally known museum of naïve painter Ruurd Wiersma.

Local entrepreneurs recently developed ‘Burdaarder Blond’. This special beer is brewed in a village nearby and its profits go back to the community. The beer even has its own website.

Burdaarder Blond proudly shows a painting of Ruurd Wiersma on the bottle.

Burdaard and Calstock, both in their own way, manage to keep the village vital. With a keen eye for what is necessary, with pride and with local products and initiatives.

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The coming days will cross the Bay of Biscay, and then to Portugal. Click here to see where we are now