Welcome to the spring issue.

Winter 2014

Hopefully at some point soon we will be enjoying the calm after the endless storms! Calm enough perhaps to enjoy, without shuddering, Jane Mares' beautiful reflections on the gentler side of rain (pages 39-43) or to find out how you might recognise a rare whitebeam tree this year.

Away from the comfort of your armchair, we seem to be encouraging you outside at every turn – to venture off, sleeping bag at the ready, and rediscover youth hostelling local style, to enjoy a walk from Chulmleigh, set sail on the MS Oldenburg and forage for your supper in the woods.

This issue we just have one hello and one goodbye. Hello to Mike Southon, North Devon photographer, who joins our ranks of photographers and has contributed the amazing picture of the sea in stormy mood at Ilfracombe on 4 January (page 14), and goodbye to Rosemary Lauder, who has now retired from her duties of writing the 'Gardens' section of the magazine. Rosemary has a long-standing interest in the locality, in its history and in its traditions and she has published a number of books such as Vanished Houses in Devon and Exmoor Travellers (a very useful anthology!). In particular, her interest and study of local gardens has lain behind her fascinating and knowledgeable articles for Exmoor Magazine over many years. We will miss her contributions greatly! And just to confuse you we have a new Rosemary on board in the shape of 'Ro' FitzGerald.

Our contributors remain extremely 'can-do' in their approach and this issue I would especially like to thank Trevor Beer for changing Country Matters at the last minute to enable us to provide a good background to the rarely-seen stoat, photographed by Jack Clegg, which appears on our cover this issue. You can also read more about this particular Exmoor stoat – and its siblings – on page 9 of the magazine. Happy reading!

Naomi Cudmore, Editor

PS: Don’t forget – you can subscribe to the magazine as a gift so if you are stuck for presents you need look no further!

An affordable gift which lasts all year round! Our phone number is 0845 224 1203.

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