NEW VIEWING AREA FOR VERITY IS NOW COMPLETE

Work to provide a new seating and information area next to the Verity sculpture in Ilfracombe is complete.

The project to re-landscape the area around the sculpture to provide a larger viewing platform, seating and lighting was finished last week with the installation of a new information plinth.

Damien Hirst’s 20-metre sculpture was loaned to North Devon Council by For Giving CIC in 2012. The information plinth is located at the foot of Verity and provides visitors with information on what the statue is all about.

Ilfracombe Harbour Master, Rob Lawson (pictured), says: “Completion of the re-landscaping works have provided an exceptional new viewing area for the statue.  The materials used, both in colour and texture, have enhanced the Verity experience and I feel privileged to be able to see this iconic landmark every day.  Verity will continue to provide much interest and discussion for the many visitors who come to see her and I would like to thank Mr Hirst for his continued support of Ilfracombe.”

Work started on the final phase of the project in November 2016. Since Verity has been installed she has become a popular draw for tourists and this work will further enhance the Pier area and improve the visitor experience.

EXMOOR SOCIETY 2017 WALKS PROGRAMME NOW LAUNCHED

The Exmoor Society has just released details of its guided walks programme for 2017. The programme provides a wonderful opportunity to walk through the splendour of Exmoor’s beautiful landscapes and villages, starting from different locations across Exmoor and in the company of knowledgeable and welcoming guides. Joining a walk is a great opportunity to enhance fitness and well-being and enjoy the company of others. The Society is now the largest provider of guided walks on Exmoor and offers a very wide variety:

  • Discover prehistoric sites on ‘A Walk Through Two Iron Ages’, ‘From Withypool to Tarr Steps, a step back in time’ and ‘Dulverton Woodland Walk’
  • Enjoy stunning Exmoor landscapes on ‘The Hidden Landscape of Culbone Wood’, ‘Avill Valley Vistas’, ‘Two Exmoor Rivers and Villages’, ‘Horner Woods and Water and ‘To the Source of the River Tone’
  • Hear about figures from literature and the Arts and see the landscapes that inspired them on ‘In the Footsteps of Rachel Reckitt, Sculptor, Engraver & Welder’, ‘To Culbone, in Coleridge’s Footsteps’ and ‘Lorna Doone – A Shorter walk’
  • Explore the history of Exmoor settlements on ‘Discovering Dunster’s Hidden History’ and ‘Lynton and Valley of Rocks – An Historic Tour’
  • Learn about Exmoor wildflowers, insects and lichens on ‘Wildlife of the Doone Valley and Moorland’, ‘Discovering the Flowers of the Barle Valley’ and ‘Wildflowers of Watersmeet Woodlands’
  • Spot wildlife (hopefully, but no guarantee!) on ‘Ilkerton Ridge and the first Cuckoo’, ‘Ponies on Winsford Hill’ and ‘Autumn Sights and Sounds around Dunkery’

Running from April to October, the programme offers four to six guided walks each month starting on 5 April with ‘Two Exmoor Rivers & Two Villages’ around Withypool and Exford, then on 18 April, repeated by popular demand, is ‘Historic Lynton and Valley of Rocks’. ‘Discover Dunster’s Hidden History’ on 23 April and explore its historic buildings and secret places. With the hope of hearing the first cuckoo, join a new guided walk ‘Ilkerton Ridge and the Cuckoo’ set in spectacular moorland landscape on 24 April.

There is no charge for the walks but a small donation is welcomed from non-members. Some walks end with an optional pub lunch or afternoon tea – a social opportunity for the walkers and support for local businesses, not to mention welcome post-walk refreshments!

For further details visit www.exmoorsociety.com. For any queries, contact info@exmoorsociety.com or 01398 323335.

BIG ADVENTURE DAY COMING UP!

Everyone is welcome to come and join in The Haddon Hill Big Adventure on Wednesday 12 April from 10am to 4pm. Hosted by Exmoor National Park with help from volunteers, it will be the first Big Adventure of 2017.

There will be a chance to explore the natural world with family friendly games and activities lasting all day, including bush-craft skills nature art activities including soil printing and picture making. There will also be scavenger hunts and species identification with the Exmoor Natural History Society.

Haddon Hill is a wide open space with plenty of room for everyone and there are toilets and parking available on site. The event is free, but donations to CareMoor for Exmoor, the National Park Authority’s donation scheme will be welcome – the scheme supports vital conservation and access work that might otherwise not happen.

National Park Ranger Adam Vasey says: “This year at Haddon, in addition to the usual range of fun activities, we’re setting up a treasure hunt trail those families who complete the trail there will be a prize draw at 2pm where you can win some of our new Big Adventure T-shirts.”

Adam continued: “We’ve got a lot on offer this year with our Big Adventure events and, due to popular demand, we’re running four Family Campouts throughout the year. That will give both locals and visitors alike a chance to camp on Exmoor in some amazing locations.

“Don’t worry if you haven’t camped before, the experience is very suitable for novice/new campers, there’s more information on our website or come along to Haddon Hill and ask us some questions.”

For details of hundreds of events across Exmoor this year visit: www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/enjoying/events

COMING UP AT REGAL THEATRE MINEHEAD

The Regal Theatre, Minehead have been very lucky to book the  European Union Chamber Orchestra for Wednesday 5 April.  Directed by Eva Stegemann, the programme will comprise three Mozart works:– Serenade in D K.185, Oboe Concerto K.314, and Adagio for Cor Anglais, as well as Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings.

Soloist Nicholas Daniel (Oboe And Cor Anglais) has played on every continent  and appeared  with leading orchestras across the globe and in the BBC Proms.

EUCO has performed in 73 countries  in major concert halls and Festivals, broadcast on television and radio across  Europe and the USA and had several UK concerts broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.

Performances begin at 7.30pm and tickets costing up to £18 are now available from the Regal Box Office (01643 706430), 10am-3pm Monday to Friday, 10am-1pm Saturday.

Also coming up:

Friday 31 March at 7.30pm
THE DEANE BIG BAND

On Friday 31 March the ever popular Deane Big Band returns to the Regal Theatre with a good time for all as they bring in some toe-tapping big band classics from the swing era. The band will be playing lots of Glenn Miller hits, as well as some by Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Buddy Rich and Duke Ellington.

Chris Franks will sing songs like ‘Come fly with me’ and ‘ Let’s face the music and dance’; Chris does not have blue eyes like Mr Sinatra – but he does sound just like him!

Hannah Deason-Barrow will sing about that ‘Old Devil Called Love’ but don’t worry – everyone will end up ‘Feeling Good’.

With two great singers as well as a full 17 piece big band – it will be a big sound and joyful evening.

Performances begin at 7.30pm and tickets costing up to £9 are now available from the Regal Box Office.

 

EASTER AT BARNSTAPLE PANNIER MARKET

Spring is in the air at Barnstaple Pannier Market with the return of Monday markets and an Easter eggstravaganza.

Monday markets make a return on Monday 3 April, offering even more opportunity to visit the town’s unique indoor market. With a wide variety of stalls, including fresh local produce, books, gifts, clothing, crafts and antiques, the market will be open six days a week from April until Christmas, with many Sunday events throughout the year.

On Saturday 15 April, the Easter bunny will be making a special visit to hand out mini chocolate eggs to our young visitors, and there will be an eggciting Easter Egg hunt around the market. Then, between 11am and 1pm, Borderline morris dancers will be performing and Dave Hendy will be doing magic around the market.

Executive Member for Economic Development, Councillor Pat Barker, says: “Spring has definitely sprung at the market with the return of Monday markets and the annual egg hunt.  Please do come along and support the market and enjoy the free family entertainment on Easter Saturday.”

Local ward member for Barnstaple (central town), Councillor Adam Bradford says, “I am delighted that there are now even more opportunities and reasons for us all to enjoy this lively and unique space. We are all looking forward to Easter!”

To keep up to date with the Pannier Market’s news and events, head over to Facebook and like their page: www.facebook.com/BarnstaplePannierMarket/?fref=ts

 

TOP ORCHESTRA MAKES MUSIC WITH DEVON SCHOOLS

Musicians from four Devon schools had the chance of a lifetime to perform alongside some of the country’s leading instrumentalists in an inspirational concert of work by modern composers. The concert was the culmination of a series of workshops between the London Chamber Orchestra and pupils at Blundell’s, Blundell’s Prep, Uffculme and Exeter Cathedral Schools.

More than a 100 young musicians performed in the main part of the concert which was the piece Simple Gifts by Paul Edlin. The fourth movement of this was generated during improvisation workshops with twelve Blundell’s musician ‘mentors’ and then by working with pupils from all the schools to put the whole piece together. The concert also featured choristers and vocalists from Uffculme, Blundell’s Senior and Prep Schools and all musicians performed under the baton of Christopher Warren-Green, the LCO’s principal conductor. Other pieces performed included Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland by the LCO and Blundell’s Chamber Orchestra and Shaker Loops by John Adams, performed by the LCO.

The project began in November when eight LCO musicians spent the morning giving flash mob performances at Blundell’s Senior and Prep Schools and at Uffculme School and introduced young pupils to the instruments of the orchestra. In the afternoon, the three schools took part in chamber music masterclasses as well as brass ensembles and jazz groups, culminating in an informal concert.

The work with the LCO has been 18 months in the planning, hosted by Blundell’s School and with the initial starting point that the project should unite the community and involve other local schools. The legacy will continue into another concert at Cadogan Hall, London, in May, when lyrics composed for Simple Gifts by Blundell’s musician mentors will be sung by hundreds of students from around the country as part of a larger LCO music project.

PHOTO: The four schools in concert with the London Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of Christopher Warren-Green.

LOTTERY FUNDING SUCCESS FOR BARNSTAPLE MUSEUM PROJECT

The Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon is celebrating as the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has announced £868,100 of National Lottery funding towards its extension project.

Made possible by National Lottery players, today’s funding success is an important milestone, bringing the project another step closer to fruition and unlocking further funding opportunities. Last year the museum was awarded £69,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to develop plans for the proposed £1.8m extension on the Long Bridge side of the building. The plans were approved by North Devon Council planning team earlier this month.

A further £250,000 has been committed to the project by North Devon Council and the museum is through to the second stage of a funding bid for £500,000 from the Coastal Communities Fund. A fundraising campaign, led by the Museum Development Trust, is also underway and a number of corporate sponsors have already come on board.

North Devon Council Executive Member responsible for culture, Councillor Brian Moores, says: “What incredible news! This is a massive boost for the museum and we’re overjoyed. This brings the amount of National Lottery funding up to £937,000, which is half of the overall cost of the extension project.

“We now wait with bated breath for the results of the museum’s bid for Coastal Communities Funding. The museum staff, volunteers and the Museum Development Trust are working so hard to drive this project forward, they should be very proud of what they have achieved so far.”

Nerys Watts, Head of HLF South West, said: “For nearly 130 years, this museum has been open to the public, telling the story of North Devon – from arts and manufacture to social history and ordinary moments captured on film.

“Now, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the museum has taken another crucial step towards transforming the way people can access their heritage, with an outreach programme and the creation of space for community activities set to make the museum an even more valuable part of North Devon life.”

If you would like to help support the project, you can donate online at mbndtrust.org. For more information about corporate sponsorship contact the museum on 01271 346747 or email museum@northdevon.gov.uk.

 

WATCHET’S STREET FAIRS START ON 2 APRIL

Watchet’s second year of colourful Street Fairs begins on 2 April, with music from the Dark Town Strutters, kids’ trapeze and silk and rope drop in workshops from incredible local performer, Lyn Routledge, mouth-watering street food from Broomsquire and Little Van Rouge, fruit and veg, art, craft, local produce and more, all spread across the Esplanade.

The committee is also excited to announce that it has reggae band, Dojo, booked for the May event. Their new single, ‘Bethel’ has been championed by David Rodigan on Radio 1 Extra.

The Street Fairs are run by Watchet Coastal Community Team, who are working to develop tourism and economic growth in the town. They will run on the first Sunday of every month from April through to October.

Last year’s inaugural Street Fairs were a huge success, and led to a threefold increase in the number of visitors to the town.

Cllr Rosemary Woods said, “We’re really excited to be embarking on the second year of Street Fairs. They were a lot of fun last year, and made a big difference to the town, bringing in plenty of visitors. We also aim to support local start-ups, and the evidence is that last year’s events were a real boost for people.”

The Fairs are funded by the central government national initiative, Coastal Communities, which aims to boost Britain’s coastal towns. 118 Coastal Community Teams were created last year and given a share of £1.18m to help drive forward coastal areas growth.

Watchet Coastal Communities Team, which is the organisation behind the Street Fairs, is made up of local people, businesses and organisations in Watchet and includes Town Council, District Council, Watchet Chamber of Trade, Onion Collective CIC, Conservation Society, Market House Museum, West Somerset Railway, Watchet Boat Owners Association and other local business representatives.

Pitches are priced £15- £20. To book a pitch contact Molly Quint on 01984 632592 or email: quint407@btinternet.com

For more information go to the Watchet Street Fair Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/watchetstreetfairs.

BARNSTAPLE APPEAL FOR FIRST WORLD WAR STORIES

A memorial plaque is planned for a plinth in Rotary Gardens, Pilton next year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

North Devon Council is appealing for people to come forward with stories, pictures or letters back home of any men or women from the Pilton area who served, fought and survived; or relating to one of the 39 Pilton men who lost their lives in the war.

Executive Member responsible for parks, leisure and culture, Councillor Dick Jones, says, “This is an opportunity for local people to get involved and share memories of the war with the wider community in a lasting memorial to commemorate local heroes who fought for our country.”

Local ward member for Barnstaple Pilton, Councillor Mair Manuel, who has been heavily involved with the project, says, “I have been pleased to be involved with this project from its inception.  This will be a public recognition of the sacrifices made, and I hope that any family which suffered will feel able to contribute their story.  The plinth will also be an easily accessible point where people can pay their respects in future years.”

Local ward member for Barnstaple Pilton, Councillor Brian Greenslade says “I welcome this very much. We must never forget the carnage of the First World War and what it meant for so many individuals and their families. My grandfather fought in this conflict in the general area of Ypres. Thankfully he survived and lived until age 84. One experience I treasure is being able to be in Ypres on Armistice Day some while ago and being able to lay a wreath at the Menin Gate during the remembrance event. I am sure many brave people from Pilton also took part in these battles and it is right that “We remember them.”

Martin Haddrill, a volunteer for the project, says, “Pilton, the original settlement of Barnstaple, has a great sense of history as shown by the success of the heritage archive ‘The Pilton Story’.  Before it is too late, we hope to collect stories of some of the men and women from Pilton who fought in the conflict and, in some cases, did not return.   Their stories will be told on the fourth plinth in the centre of Rotary Gardens.”

If anyone has any information they would like to share, please contact the parks department on 01271 388326 or email parks@northdevon.gov.uk.

 

PRIDE & PREJUDICE AT THE REGAL, MINEHEAD

On Wednesday 29 March the Pantaloons theatre company return to the Regal Theatre, Minehead with Pride & Prejudice.                                       

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen’s witty and romantic masterpiece is one of the best-loved stories of all time, dealing with the most important questions in life!  Will Mrs Bennet manage to offload her numerous daughters in record time? Will Lizzy and Darcy actually get together? Will creepy Mr Collins just go away please? The literary classic gets the full Pantaloons treatment in this beautifully hilarious and delightfully innovative new adaptation.

The Pantaloons is a young and dynamic theatre company which recaptures an aspect of drama which modern naturalistic theatre has lost: the riotous energy of the clown.  The company has been immensely popular at the Regal Theatre in the recent past and their visit is anticipated for the opportunity it gives for an enjoyable and hilarious night out.

Performances begin at 7.30pm and tickets costing up to £12 are now available from the Regal Box Office (01643 706430), 10am-3pm Monday to Friday, 10am to 1pm Saturday.