Explore Braunton - The Most Biodiverse Parish in England

Local Seafarers

Sam Mitchell and Len Baglole are two of Braunton’s most well-known mariners. They have been very kind in providing a wealth of information to the Explore Braunton project, which has been invaluable in creating this website. 

Sam Mitchell

Sam Mitchell, Robert D’Arcy Andrew and Sid CrickSam was just 14 years of age when he went to sea, aboard the Traly with his father.  He later joined the Result and eventually the gravel barge JJRP with his uncle, Fred Mitchell. The most amazing thing is that Sam never learnt to swim and argues that it was more important to learn to stay on board! 

His house, these days, is filled with shipping memorabilia, including many of the models Sam has made over the years (those which have not been donated to Braunton Museum) and knots that he has crafted with unparalleled skill.

Len Baglole

Len Baglole, Bill and Sam MitchellLen was also 14 when he left school to join the Maude, which took gravel to Bristol and returned with coal. Later, Len joined the Emily Barrett and traded around Ireland before she was requisitioned for war service in about 1940. Len has compiled a fascinating scrapbook of pictures and articles about his ships, which can be viewed at Braunton Museum.

Life was incredibly tough for sailors and Sam and Len tell fascinating stories about their life at sea.

explore braunton, the most biodiverse parish in england - a north devon aonb project