SOMERSET RURAL LIFE MUSEUM ANNOUNCES AUTUMN PROGRAMME

Following a £2.4 million redevelopment, Somerset Rural Life Museum re-opened earlier this year with a fresh new look and a line-up of wonderful events offering real-life experiences inspired by rural traditions.

The autumn programme has been announced and includes seasonal celebrations, workshops, courses, talks and exhibitions. The programme offers visitors a chance to discover more about Somerset’s heritage including its landscape, food and farming and rural crafts.

Visitor Services Manager Robin Savill said: “In addition to being a much-loved museum we are now offering new hands-on heritage experiences. The former farm, with its orchard and farm yard, offers a unique and historic venue in which to learn more about the county’s heritage. Alongside our special autumn events we also have regular family fun days and Toddler Explorer sessions.”

Autumn has always been an important time for rural communities and An Autumn Celebration carries on the tradition of celebrating harvest time. On 7 and 8 October the Museum grounds will be filled with all things autumnal, from apple pressing and giant pumpkins to rural crafts and folklore.

The Museum will hold its Living History Day on 5 November when the former dairy farm will be alive with the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of ancient skills and crafts. From woodworking and weaving to cookery and corn dollies, a visit will be like stepping into the past.

From 23 September to 11 November the wonderful foureteenth-century Abbey Barn will host an installation produced in partnership with Somerset Art Works and Craftspace. Gather-ing is a contemporary art exhibition exploring the use of ancient barns to gather and collect people, animals and crops.

Kate Lynch’s stunning FARM exhibition also continues until 3 December, featuring more than 40 paintings and drawings made on local farms. To complement the exhibition, Kate will be at the Museum on 28 September to give a talk about her documentary art projects.

On 25 October painter James Lynch is giving a talk and demonstration in using the ancient medium of egg tempera. James has spent many years mastering this technique and his much-admired landscape painting at the Museum is a stunning example of this work.

Blighty Bushcraft will be at the museum on 24 September to lead a Foraging Course around the Glastonbury countryside. The morning expedition will explore the local hedgerows to discover what nature’s larder has to offer. Blighty Bushcraft returns on 22 October for a ‘Slab and Stick’ Stool-Making Course.

Normal admission applies to seasonal days and exhibitions with charges and booking required for workshops, courses and talks. For full details please visit SRLM.org.uk

Somerset Rural Life Museum is part of The South West Heritage Trust, an independent charity that protects and celebrates our rich heritage.

THE WILDLIFE EXPRESS COMES TO THE WEST SOMERSET STEAM RAILWAY

Somerset’s Own ‘Great British Bake Off’ Star, Val Stones, Avoids a Soggy Bottom by Taking a Comfy Seat on the Wildlife Express

Coinciding with the launch of the new series of the Channel 4 show, Somerton-based, much loved TV baking celebrity, Val Stones, has teamed up with Somerset Wildlife Trust and West Somerset Railway to help raise funds for Somerset’s Wildlife

Somerset Wildlife Trust’s special fundraiser returns for a second year and is proud to present the ‘Steam Tea Wildlife Special’  steam train ride on Thursday 26 October.  This year it returns with a special VIP guest – Val Stones from TV’s ‘Great British Bake Off’.

Winning the hearts of millions, and much loved for her cheeky comments, Val will be joining the vintage afternoon tea-time adventure and will be judging those ticket holders brave enough to bring their own scones and jam for Val’s judgement!  All profits from the ticket sales will be kindly donated to Somerset Wildlife Trust so please come along and fill up the carriages!

Greeted by Val and Somerset Wildlife Trust staff, the steam train leaves Bishops Lydeard at 2.45pm, travels through the Quantock Hills and along the Somerset coastline to Minehead and then returns by 5.45pm. Ticket holders will be travelling in style in VIP carriages on one of WSR’s iconic steam trains, during which they will enjoy a tasty cream tea.  The trip can be enjoyed by all, but if you are also a keen baker, then bring along your homemade scones and hedgerow jams and on the return journey Val will judge the winner  who will receive a Miles Tea Gift generously donated by Miles Tea.

Val said, “If you looked at Somerset as your favourite cake – you’d say it’s made with fabulous ingredient;  glorious scenery, spectacular wildlife, lovely people and really strong communities – it’s a winning combination.  For me, having lived here for 35 years, the icing on the cake is being able to see and enjoy the wonderful wildlife around me.  I am proud of Somerset as a county and so pleased to support an organisation that exists to ensure that it is there for my grandchildren. Everyone should have a slice of Somerset!

The limited number of tickets, which are priced at £29.50 (includes a cream tea), will sell fast, so to find out more and to book your tickets to support this wonderful Somerset Wildlife Trust Fundraiser and get a chance to meet  Val,  please visit www.somersetwildlife.org/shop or phone 01823 652400.

SOMERSET ART WEEKS PROSPECT FESTIVAL AT WATCHET

Watchet will, once again, be a key destination during Somerset Art Weeks Festival 2017 (23 September to 8 October), the annual, county-wide art trail celebrating the visual arts. Three venues in the centre of Watchet are open daily and the town is a great base for exploring other West Somerset venues, clustered nearby around Crowcombe, Washford, Williton and Old Cleeve and westward to Minehead and Exmoor.

‘New Wave’, an exhibition curated by Toni Davey, at Contains Art’s gallery, on Watchet’s harbourside, promises to be a highlight of the festival. In a reunion of alumni from West Somerset College, the exhibition presents the work of more than 30 professional artists, designers and makers who are carving out successful careers in a range of creative fields, after beginning their education in the Arts at The West Somerset College. Work is linked through themes suggested by Katsushika Hokusai’s iconic woodcut print ‘The Great Wave’. A must-see for young people contemplating a career in the arts the show also invites reflection on the future of art education in England.

Alongside New Wave, Contains Art opens its studios, with work on view by resident artists Sue Lowe (printmaking), Georgina Towler (painting), Valerie Berry (ceramics and painting) and guests Cecilia Leete (jewellery) and Adam Grose (painting and print).

Just a short walk away, in Anchor Street, Watchet’s planned new Radio Museum is the venue for five more local artists: Jill Newton (illustration), Scarlet von Teazel (multimedia), Martyn Lintern (sculpture), Jenny Barron (painting) and Jan Martin (printmaker) present work exploring the world of broadcasting and communication under the exhibition title ‘Echoes … Currents…’.

All work is on sale at reasonable prices, but visitors are welcome to just browse and chat, finding out more about the artists working in and around the town.

Several events during the fortnight help to celebrate the creative festival:

Friday 22 September, 6 – 8pm, is the launch event for ‘New Wave’. All are welcome to come to Contains Art to meet artists taking part and enjoy a glass of wine and a relaxed look at the exciting work on display in the gallery and studios.

A community event on 23 September, 2-5pm, offers papermaking and paper-craft activities for children and families, plus music, food and drinks for all enjoy. This forms part of the ongoing heritage project, involving a number of Watchet organisations in celebrating the history of Wansbrough Paper Mill. The heritage exhibition, launched last week, continues on The Esplanade and in the Watchet Market House Museum throughout September.

Also on Saturday 23 September the artists at the Radio Museum have an evening opening, from 6pm. All welcome.

Sunday 1 October is Watchet’s regular, monthly Street Fair. There will be stalls on The Esplanade selling crafts, produce, food and snacks. Visitors are welcome to relax in Contains Art’s courtyard during the day.

On the evening of Tuesday 3 October, at 7.30pm, presentations and talks about the New Wave exhibition will offer further insights into the work on show, the artists represented and the case for the Arts in education. At Watchet Methodist Church Schoolrooms.

During the final weekend of the festival, 7-8 October, venues are encouraged to offer Family-Friendly activities. In Watchet a town trail guide, with questions and puzzles to solve, will be available on Saturday 7 October to take families on a treasure hunt walk around the town, encouraging curiosity about all the many things that artists do.

All in all there is something for everyone in Watchet during Somerset Art Weeks 2017.

Find out more: www.containsart.co.uk
Radio Museum: T: 07802 761993 W: www.jillnewton.co.uk

All three Watchet Art Weeks venues are open daily throughout the festival, 11am to 6pm.

School and group visits are welcome, please let Contains Art know in advance. An education pack for New Wave is available on request.

The Arts Weeks Festival Guide is available now at Contains Art and Watchet Visitor Centre or can be downloaded here.  somersetartworks.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/SAW_GUIDE_2017-email.pdf

Pictured: ‘Identity’, digital print, Sarah Ward, New Wave at Contains Art Gallery

 

 

STUNNING NEW SCIENCE FACILITY AT KINGS HALL & DofE WITH A DIFFERENCE

by Vicki Crandley, King’s

This term we have moved into the most amazing new science faculty with twice the space of before and a facility surely equal to the best available to children this age anywhere in the country. The much anticipated completion of our stunning new Science faculty presented us with a unique opportunity to launch an exciting new event at King’s Hall School: Monday 11th September marked the beginning of our first Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Week.

As part of this event, we were delighted to welcome the BLOODHOUND-SSC Project – an international education initiative focused around a 1,000mph World Land Speed Record attempt.

The main objective of the Project is: ‘to inspire the next generation to pursue careers in science, engineering, technology and maths – by demonstrating how they can be harnessed to achieve the impossible, such as a jet and rocket powered car capable of setting a new World Land Speed Record.’

During their two-day visit, BLOODHOUND treated the children to presentations, workshops, talks and tours of a life-sized model of their record-breaking car. Even our staff enjoyed getting to grips with building and racing balloon-powered cars!

If you would like to learn more about the school, we are holding an Open Day on Friday 6th October.
For further details please contact our Admissions Team: 01823 285920/admissions@kingshalltaunton.co.uk

At King’s Hall meanwhile some of the pupils have been tackling the DofE in an innovative way…

As well as the usual method taken to achieve the DofE Gold Award expedition, six pupils from King’s College decided to take a different approach lately … instead of walking they would travel by canoe.

At the end of August, 17 Lower Sixth pupils headed off to Dartmoor to complete their final DofE Gold Award expedition on foot, and, at the same time, the water-based expedition set off down the River Wye.

Having previously shown an interest in learning to paddle, Harry Cooper-Simpson, Dan Bernardo, Jack Mead, Angus Lyon, Bradley Rickard and Oliver Martin requested the option to canoe, and under the tutorship of Mr Chris Pearson set about perfecting their boat-handling skills as well as preparing for various rescue scenarios.Commenting on their practice sessions, Chris said: “All their preparation and hard work paid off when the group embarked on their practice expedition on the lower stretches of the River Wye, taking three days to make their way from Hoarwithy, through Ross-on-Wye and into the spectacular Symonds Yat gorge. On entering the gorge at the infamous rapids they spent several hours learning introductory white water skills – always a challenge, particularly in a tandem boat loaded with expedition kit! The coordination and understanding needed to successfully navigate a tandem boat is not to be underestimated and requires a deep level of communication and trust between the crew; there’s nothing like the threat of capsizing to sharpen the mind and focus attention.”

With this newly acquired skill and experience under their belts, the boys began their four-day journey, starting at Glasbury, and wending their way out of the Black Mountains in Wales and into the rolling hills of Herefordshire, down into the wide plains below the city of Hereford itself. This was the first time the group would find themselves truly on their own – although accompanied by a GPS tracker that allowed Mr Pearson to monitor their progress whilst giving them the remote experience that is key to the Duke of Edinburgh ethos.

The weather was kind and sunny for the first three days as the group made stops at the wide variety of bridges, where they compared design, style, age and usage for their presentation as well as exploring their surroundings from the unique perspective of the river. On the final day it was a race against the weather as the group embarked at 6.00am to try to finish before the impending rain storm took hold. Alas, the last few hours were cold and damp and resembled any trip to Dartmoor on a rainy day!

Speaking of a rainy Dartmoor… the walkers all completed their expedition in challenging Dartmoor conditions, and should be commended for their resilience and determination.

 

NEW PARTNERSHIP PLAN FOR EXMOOR – YOUR VIEWS SOUGHT

A new Partnership Plan is being prepared for Exmoor National Park. It’s a Plan for everyone who cares about Exmoor: the place, its communities and the benefits the National Park provides to the nation. The National Park Authority is responsible for bringing the Plan together and is now seeking views on the draft.

Robin Milton, Chairman of National Park Authority said, “Exmoor is a special place, protected for the nation as a National Park. We know that it is cherished and celebrated by the people who live here, and who visit. This five-year Partnership Plan sets out the Vision for Exmoor, and what is required to maintain the special qualities of the National Park. Given the significant challenges and opportunities facing Exmoor over the next five years, particularly in the light of the UK leaving the European Union, it is important that we do not seek to preserve Exmoor in aspic but balance the needs of different interests now and in the future.

“It’s called a Partnership Plan because we know it can only be achieved through working with partner organisations, communities, visitors and businesses. So this consultation on the draft Plan is really important, and I hope that as many people as possible will send us their comments.”

Consultation on the Exmoor National Park Partnership Plan runs from 18 September to 30 October 2017.

Find out more and comment at www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk

Copies of the draft Partnership Plan can be viewed at the National Park Visitor Centres in Dunster, Dulverton and Lynmouth or at the Exmoor National Park Authority offices in Dulverton.

For further information please contact Clare Reid, Partnership Plan Manager, creed@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk

PHOTO By the late Brian Pearce.

LEISURE CENTRE PROJECT FOR NORTH DEVON MOVES FORWARD

The dream of a new leisure centre for North Devon took three monumental steps closer to reality last week, with exciting news from Sport England as the icing on the cake!

The project, led by North Devon Council’s Parks, Leisure and Culture team, will see a new eight-lane swimming pool and other leisure facilities built onto the Tarka Tennis Centre at Seven Brethren, Barnstaple.

Last week a planning application was submitted and validated, with hopes that this will be determined by December. The search for an operator to design, build, operate and maintain the new leisure facilities is now live, with details of the contract online at www.supplyingthesouthwest.org.uk – the closing date to register an interest and submit a response is 27 October 2017 at midday.

On Thursday 14 September, Sport England confirmed that its Investment Committee is in support of the project and has formally invited the council to submit an application for funding. This means Sport England has ring-fenced £1.5m towards the project, and will work alongside the council to support its application for funding. If successful, construction of the new facilities could begin in autumn 2018 and be complete by summer 2020.

Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “We may have been fairly quiet about our leisure centre project for a while, but behind the scenes a huge amount of work has been going on to drive the project forward and this is the news we’ve been waiting for from Sport England. I am so delighted by their decision to support our application and look forward to continuing to work with them to progress our funding bid.

“We also reached two key milestones last week, with the planning application lodged and the contract out to tender. I would like to congratulate the officers for what they have achieved so far and thank them for their professionalism and continuing  hard work. North Devon Leisure Centre is coming to the end of its useful life and we’ve got to work hard to secure this funding to provide a new pool and leisure facilities to replace it.”

To keep up to date with the progress of this project, follow the council’s blog www.newleisurecentre.wordpress.com.

 

MILES TEA & COFFEE EVENT RAISES OVER £400 FOR ST MARGARET’S HOSPICE

A very successful ‘Time for Tea’ event was held by Miles Tea & Coffee on Thursday 7 September) and raised over £400 for St Margaret’s Hospice.  The event, held under sunny skies in the courtyard of the Porlock Roastery, was attended by large numbers of local residents and visitors to Porlock.

Tea and coffee were supplied by award-winning Miles Tea & Coffee, while the fabulous bakers of Porlock Ladies Group provided delicious homemade cakes, along with a selection baked by the Miles staff.

The St Margaret’s Hospice stall ran a raffle, with the first prize being a fabulous hamper of goodies donated by Miles Tea & Coffee. Special thanks go to Denise Sage who helped on the cake stall, Sandie Floyde who manned the shop during the morning, Wendy Lynch, volunteering for St Margaret’s Hospice and Sam Burton, Marketing Manager, for acting as barista for the event.

The event was attended by Miles Tea & Coffee’s Chairman, Mr Derek Miles and Jane Lillis, St Margaret’s Community Fundraiser for West Somerset.

PHOTO: Jane Lillis, Derek Miles, Wendy Lynch

 

 

AREAS OF OUTSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTY LAUNCH OUTSTANDING WEEK

Saturday 16 September marks the beginning of ‘Outstanding Week’, a national week celebrating our 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) across Britain, with a week of Outstanding events and project run by AONBs across the country, including the Quantock Hills.

September has always been an outstanding month in our countryside, with harvests being brought safely home, trees and meadows taking on their autumnal colours, skies offering a full palette of hues, musky bonfires lingering in the evening air and a welcoming calmness for visitors.

September this year, however, promises to be even more outstanding!

The AONB Family has worked together to organise a week (and a bit) long programme of events to help people enjoy and be inspired by Britain’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). Starting on Saturday 16 September and continuing through to Sunday 24 September, the events can be found on www.landscapesforlifeevents.org.uk

As NAAONB’s Jill Smith, explains, “Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are some of the most beautiful, cherished and outstanding landscapes in the UK. They are vibrant and dynamic and offer a wealth of opportunities for people to enjoy our countryside.

Outstanding Week shows people how to get involved and get out into our AONBs’ outstanding landscapes to enjoy country shows, dark sky discovery nights, walking festivals, archaeology walks, wood fairs, foraging and local food festivals, wildlife walks, coastal and marine days, thatching courses, drystone walling competitions, charcoal making, bioblitz, inspiration through art and music and many, many other activities. Whether you are looking for an outstanding view, intending to reward yourself with a cream tea or trying to kick start a new health regime, you can’t fail to have a great time in one of the UK’s 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. They are Landscapes for Life in so many different ways”. 

See www.landscapesforlifeevents.org.uk and Twitter @naaonb & @aonbfamily #outstandingweek for new events to enjoy each day.

PHOTO by Rich Hill

HOST A FISH SUPPER AND HELP SAVE LIVES AT SEA

This October, the RNLI is calling on the people of the South West to sink their teeth into a delicious fish dish to raise vital funds, as the lifesaving charity launches its annual Fish Supper fundraiser.

People across the UK and Ireland are being encouraged to host a fish-themed meal for friends and family on the weekend of 13–15 October to help the charity continue saving lives at sea.

The RNLI relies on the generosity of the public to fund its lifesaving services, and the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crew members often sacrifice their precious meal times at a moment’s notice, answering the call of their pagers to save lives at sea.

Michael England, the Mechanic and Second Coxswain at Padstow Lifeboat Station, said: “As a crew member, my pager can beep at any time. Whether I’m at work, asleep in bed or about to tuck into my dinner – I’ll stop what I’m doing and get straight to the lifeboat station, ready to save lives.

“Holding a Fish Supper is a great way for people to support the RNLI. It’s easy to sign up for a free fundraising pack and then enjoy hosting a fun evening with your friends and family. If cooking’s not your thing, you could always serve up something simple like a fish finger sandwich or fish and chips.”

Whether it’s a simple fish butty or a more challenging culinary masterpiece, everyone is invited to get involved in this year’s Fish Supper. If in need of a little inspiration, MasterChef champion Jane Devonshire’s Cheesy Fish Pie is a great place to start.

Jane says: “I love cooking for my family, and my cheesy fish pie is always a crowd pleaser – plus, it’s so easy to prepare. I urge anyone who hasn’t tried cooking fish before to give this recipe a try, and impress your friends and family while raising vital funds for the RNLI’s brave lifeboat crews.”

To receive your free Fish Supper fundraising pack, and to see some mouth-watering recipe inspiration, including Jane’s Cheesy Fish Pie, visit RNLI.org/FishSupper.

Last year, RNLI lifeboat crews across the UK and Ireland rescued 8,643 people and saved 431 lives. It costs over £485,000 per day to run the RNLI, and the charity relies on donations from the public to continue its lifesaving service.

PHOTO by Nick Watts

SOLAR-POWERED TOURISM FOR WATCHET: PLEASE VOTE NOW

A funding application to pay for solar panels on the community-led Visitor Centre and Boat Museum in Watchet has been shortlisted, and is now up for public vote.

The project, which is a Marks and Spencer Energy Fund application, is called ‘Solar Powered Tourism’. Solar panels would save money and create income for the building, so freeing up funds to spend on high quality tourism marketing for the town, which would help to boost its economy. Grant-funded solar panels would also help the boat museum to retain its free entry.

To find out more, and to cast your vote, go to: www.mandsenergyfund.com/projects/solar-powered-tourism.

The application has been made by Onion Collective, a community interest company in the town who facilitated the creation of the Watchet Visitor Centre in 2016. The building is an extension to the Watchet Boat Museum, which simultaneously underwent refurbishment. This followed consultation with the people of Watchet to determine what local people felt was needed to give the town a stronger future. The response was almost unanimous: a more buoyant local economy, provided in large part by an increase in the tourist offer.

The Visitor Centre building work was carried out thanks to grant funding from a Hinckley Point Community Impact Mitigation fund and the Trust House Charitable Foundation. A local voluntary group, known as the Watchet Community Makers then carried out much of the internal refurbishment of the boat museum, supporting the town and learning skills along the way.

If the application is successful, the panels will be installed at the end of this year. Planning permission has already been granted. The system will be battery ready, which also leaves scope for a future sustainable community business to be run from the building.

The Marks and Spencer Energy Fund is run annually, and provides UK community organisations with an opportunity to win a share of £300,000 to support their renewable energy projects and technologies.