CAREMOOR FOR EXMOOR DINING CLUB

The first dates of the new CareMoor for Exmoor Dining Club have been released. Top chefs are supporting the National Park by holding special lunchtime and evening events, celebrating their use of local produce and raising funds to help keep Exmoor special.

During the meal, diners will enjoy hearing from the chefs, as well as some of their suppliers, about their passion and love for Exmoor produce. Events will take place throughout the year at different locations, from award-winning restaurants to unique pop-up events across Greater Exmoor. Each event will have its own unique menu created specifically to celebrate locally sourced produce. Whilst highlighting their passion for local food, the chefs are also supporting the National Park as the fixed-price meal for each event includes a contribution to CareMoor for Exmoor, which raises funds for nature, heritage and access projects across the National Park.

The first dates for 2018 include:

·        Friday 26 January at The Swan, Bampton. An evening meal with owner / chef Paul Berry preparing a five-course tasting menu in conjunction with Wicked Wolf Gin and Exmoor Ales.
·        Sunday 4 February with Claire’s Kitchen at Wootton Courtenay Village Hall preparing a two-course Sunday Lunch in partnership with Little Oak Farm.
·        Saturday 10 February with Claire’s Kitchen at Dulverton Town Hall for a three-course oriental evening in conjunction with Secret Orchard Cider.
·        Saturday 3 March: a four-course evening meal presented by Head Chef Barrie Tucker Chef at Psalters Restaurant, at the Luttrell Arms, Dunster.
·        Thursday 29 March with Chef John Bradley at the Coleridge Restaurant, Dunkery Beacon Country House Hotel with a ‘Taste of the Moor’ tasting menu.

Dan James, Sustainable Economy Manager for Exmoor National Park, said, “The Dining Club is part of our joint Eat Exmoor project, which aims to spread the message about the quality of our local food and its link with the landscape we all love and want to conserve.  CareMoor for Exmoor is our donations scheme, which helps to keep Exmoor special. We are very grateful to the chefs and venues who are supporting us by hosting a Dining Club event and hope that this will give people a unique opportunity to experience the true taste of Exmoor.”

As part of the Eat Exmoor project, Visit Exmoor (the official tourism association)  is also publishing a new, free Eat Exmoor food and drink guide early next year and local food lovers can sign up for a foodie E-Newsletter making sure they hear about all the latest food events including those under the banner of  CareMoor for Exmoor Dining Club.

For full details, prices and booking information visit www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/caremoor. Further Dining Club dates will be added throughout the year.

PHOTO: John Bradley from the Dunkery Beacon  Country House Hotel.

EXMOOR FOOD AND CRAFTS: NEW MINEHEAD SHOP TO PROMOTE LOCAL PRODUCERS

A recently formed group of local food producers and craftspeople is opening a brand new shop at No. 4, The Avenue, Minehead, on 15 January 2018.

Following the recent decision to close the Exmoor Producers Association Shop on Friday Street Minehead, some of its members, along with a many new producers, got together to form a new ‘not for profit’ community group.

Pam Barr, herself a local pork farmer from Little Oak Farm (see winter issue of the magazine and photo above), is chairing the new group called Exmoor Food & Crafts. Pam said, “There is real enthusiasm and excitement among our members – the new shop which will allow a great platform for locally produced goods. We’ll be offering a great selection of Exmoor and Greater Exmoor handmade crafts and fabulous food items including honey, jam, chutney and meat.”

Local producers who might be interested in selling their goods though the new shop are invited email Pamela via info@exmoorfoodandcrafts.co.uk or pop in after 15 January.

Dan James, Sustainable Economy Manager from Exmoor National Park said, “We’ve been delighted that this new group is going to promote local produce in this way. It is essential that residents and visitors can easily source the items being made here on Exmoor and the new shop will give a real focus for the wider activities of the group. ”

 

GRANDPARENTS’ DAY AT KING’S HALL SCHOOL

King’s Hall School’s Pre-Prep children welcomed their grandparents and ‘grand-friends’ to school last week for their Grandparents’ Afternoon.

This biennial event offers grandparents the chance to see all the amazing things that their grandchildren are experiencing at the school. The children took huge pride in sharing some of their learning with their relatives, as well as leading them on a tour of the Pre-Prep. A highlight was exploring in the Little Woods and toasting marshmallows on the fire.

As well as playing games, reading stories and enjoying a delicious afternoon tea, the children treated their special guests to an assembly that included some heartfelt readings and a beautiful themed song!

It was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the unique relationship that exists between grandparent and grandchild, and the children thoroughly enjoyed the novelty of ‘granny’ and/or ‘grandpa’ coming to school!

One of the grandparents said: “What a wonderful afternoon. We loved Grandparents’ Day and were so impressed with our grandchildren showing us every detail of their work and play. We didn’t want to leave the Forest School (a big thank you for the marshmallow). The staff were all so generous with their time, talking to us and the children. Their singing was fabulous, such happy children and such enthusiasm.  A huge thank you for such a wonderful experience.”

 

WATCHET TEENAGERS TAKE THE LEAD

An innovative project taking place in Watchet, to get local teenagers to design and build their own common room, has just begun, with a hugely successful architect-led design workshop.

In late November 25 local teenagers come together to design a structure for Splash Point Pleasure Ground in Watchet, under the guidance of award-winning architect, Kate Darby, national timber expert, Charley Brentnall, local volunteer group, the Watchet Community Makers, with Georgie Grant and Sally Lowndes from the Onion Collective as facilitators. The workshop, funded by the Youth Social Action Fund and the Courage Family Fund, took place in Watchet’s Phoenix Centre, and included free pizza.

After working together to establish what was wanted and needed for local teenagers, and how these ideas might translate to the site, the teenagers were split into four groups, and asked to draw, then 3D model their ideas using balsa wood. They all then voted on their favourite structures, and the key aspects of each that should be incorporated into the final design.

The workshop was deemed a huge success by all involved, and Kate was particularly taken aback by the level of comfort the local teenagers felt in creating and discussing their ideas.

Architect Kate Darby said: “It was fascinating to see so many engaged and creative young people come together to design with such confidence. All of the models incorporated really interesting architectural features, and the teenagers also did a wonderful job of presenting their work to the room. My job now is to amalgamate the key features into one coherent structure that fits their brief. A first draft will be presented to them for comments before I make amends and the Onion Collective can submit to planning.

“I’m delighted to be involved in this project, and am really looking forward to working with these teenagers again in the summer, when we bring this building to life in Watchet.”

Local teenager, Chris White, who attended the design session, said: “I really enjoyed the workshop. It was great to work with an architect and understand the process involved with designing a building. Kate was brilliant. I’m looking forward to seeing how she’ll bring all our ideas together.”

Splash Point Pleasure Ground is a community area on the clifftop in Watchet that looks out onto the marina. It’s managed by community-led regeneration company, Onion Collective CIC, on behalf of the town. The grounds are accessible via the England Coast Path that begins at the Goviers Lane Railway crossing in Watchet.

Onion Collective facilitated a similar project in 2015, when a group of 50 local volunteers built a pavilion at Splash Point over the course of a single weekend. It is now enjoyed by many as a place for picnics, barbecues and events. This time the Onion Collective is working with teenagers to make the site a place that they also feel able to appreciate and enjoy.

Onion Collective Project Officer, Sally Lowndes says: “This project came about because local teenagers came to us to ask for help identifying a space they could use for socialising.

“We’re thrilled that so many came to the design workshop. It just shows what an amazing community we have here in Watchet. The level of focus and natural design talent the teenagers brought to the table was also hugely impressive. We’re all really excited to watch this project progress.”

If you know a Watchet-based teenager who wants to be involved in this project, feeding back on the design, or helping with the build, they can get in touch by contacting Onion Collective on info@onioncollective.co.uk / 01984 633496.

The project was funded by Somerset Community Foundation’s Youth Social Action Fund.

Somerset Community Foundation’s, Andrew Ridgewell says: “Somerset Community Foundation awarded a grant from the Youth Social Action Fund (YSAF) for the project, matched with contributions from its local donors. The YSAF is part of the national #iwill fund which encourages young people to engage in social action – such as campaigning, fundraising, and volunteering.”

JOHN KIRKPATRICK CAROLLING & CRUMPETS CONCERT AT HALSWAY

One of the folk scene’s greatest performers, John Kirkpatrick, will be paying a visit to Halsway Manor shortly, to perform his seasonal show ‘Carolling and Crumpets’. He will be appearing on Thursday 7 December at 7.30pm, presenting a heart-warming, toe-tapping evening looking at the timeless rituals and folklore of midwinter England.

Mysterious and magical songs of wassailing, wren-hunting, stirring the fire and incessant feasting come dressed up in a glittering finery of sparkling tunes and cracking choruses. Add a smattering of hilarious original songs and a sprinkling of carols both familiar and unfamiliar, all stirred up with John’s usual panache and supported by his scintillating skill on squeezeboxes, and you have the recipe for a rattling good sing, guaranteed to keep the spirits cheery and the cold at bay.

“Kirkpatrick’s buoyant presence and lust for this music sounds more rampant than ever.”
Colin Irwin, fRoots Magazine

One of the most prolific figures on the English folk scene, John Kirkpatrick is a master of the free reed instrument, playing melodeon, button accordion and anglo concertina, as well as having an enviable reputation as a fine singer and interpreter of English folk music. John has performed solo, in duos, acoustic groups and electric bands; he has been a member of the Albion Country Band, Magic Lantern, The Richard Thompson Band, Umps and Dumps, Steeleye Span, Brass Monkey, Trans-Europe Diatonique, and Band of Hope, as well as numerous ceilidh bands.

The concert takes place on Thursday 7 December.  Bar opens at 7pm, performance starts at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced at £10 / £4 for full-time students. For more information visit www.halswaymanor.org.uk or contact Halsway Manor: 01984 618274 ext 1 / office@halswaymanor.org.uk.

ENTRY DATE ANNOUNCED FOR AIR AMBULANCE CYCLE CHALLENGE

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance is once again encouraging supporters to sign up early for their Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge 2018 after another overwhelming response last year.

The event, which is not designed as a race, involves cycling through some of Dorset and Somerset’s most beautiful countryside and takes place on Sunday 13 May 2018.

Last year’s event raised in excess of £74,000 (including gift aid) and sold out within hours of online registration being open. Demand for places is expected to be even higher this year.

Online registration will open at 10am on Tuesday 5 December 2017, via the Charity’s website – www.dsairambulance.org.uk – and, with only 600 places available, those wishing to take part will need to be quick to avoid disappointment. Participants can enter as an individual or as a team.

The Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge offers two different routes and distances. For those who like a challenge, the brilliant 54-mile cycle, which starts in the Somerset port of Watchet and finishes at West Bay near Bridport, will not disappoint.

With a mixture of quiet back roads, interspersed with some very demanding climbs and equally hairy descents, the event has something to offer for everyone! A staggered start will see the stronger cyclists set off first at 11am, with the less experienced riders departing at 11.15am. A shorter 11-mile route starts at the Royal Oak public house in Drimpton at 2pm and also finishes at West Bay.

Bill Sivewright, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are thrilled to be able to announce the date for our Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge 2018. This will be our eighth year in the saddle and every year the event seems to get better and better.

“We always strive to build on the success of the previous year and with this in mind we are once again restricting our numbers to 600 cyclists. We are also continuing with a staggered start time in order to keep the event as safe as possible and to encourage all standards of cyclists to take part without fear of being overcrowded.

“With such a demand, there will undoubtedly be those who are disappointed not to gain a place which is why I cannot stress enough how important it is to register early! We also hope that those who are fortunate to gain a place will once again encourage their family and friends to sponsor them in a bid to make 2018 the best Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge yet.”

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance has flown over 12,000 missions since its launch in March 2000, saving many lives and aiding recovery, with outstanding immediate care and rapid delivery to the hospital best suited to meet the patient’s needs. With no direct Government or National Lottery funding, the charity relies on the generosity of the public and events like Coast to Coast for support.

To register online, visit the charity’s website: www.dsairambulance.org.uk at 10am on Tuesday 5 December 2017 or for more information call 01823 669604.

Entrance fees are: Adults (£20) & Under 16s (£10).

CHRISTMAS AT BARNSTAPLE PANNIER MARKET

Support your local traders and enjoy a host of festive events this Christmas at Barnstaple’s historic Pannier Market.

The Christmas countdown has well and truly begun, so kick off your Christmas shopping at the market, open Tuesday to Sunday throughout December.

Connect and Create Fest is back on Sunday 3 December, with a fantastic mix of unique and creative stalls, live music, art and craft workshops, licensed bar and lots of fund raising activities for local causes. This family-friendly event runs from 10am to 6pm, entry is free.

On Thursday 7 December Barnstaple Town Council will be hosting their annual Christmas Fayre and carol service from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. This highlight is guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit and will be make your late-night shopping an evening to remember.

There will be a wide range of yummy festive treats available at the monthly REAL food market from 10am–4pm on Sunday 10 December. Stock up on some tasty, local supplies to make your Christmas dinner unforgettable.

And there are further opportunities for late-night shopping on Thursday 14 and 21 December, with the market open from 6–10pm. Both evenings include a delicious Christmas street food party, which will keep your energy up for all that shopping! On 21 December you can get up close to real elves, make your very own reindeer food and elf elixirs with Buzzlewick’s Elf Emporium. Whilst there, don’t forget to write your letter to Santa at the Polar post office and hand it to the postmaster elf himself, to make sure it gets to the North Pole in time for Christmas! The elves will be on duty in the market from 11am to 3pm and from 5pm to 7pm.

If you like to leave things to the last minute, the last Sunday Christmas market will take place on 24 December from 10am–4pm. Pick up some final treats before the big day! The market will close at 4pm on Christmas Eve, reopening on Wednesday 27 December. It will also close at 4pm on Saturday 30 December, reopening Tuesday 2 January.

Executive Member for Economic Regeneration, Councillor Pat Barker, says: “Barnstaple Pannier Market always feels particularly special at this time of year. As usual there is a wonderful range of events planned in the run up to Christmas, with something for all the family to enjoy. Make sure you pay a trip to the market when you are out doing your Christmas shopping and support the many local traders who make it such a special place.”

Parking in the town is free after 6pm in all North Devon Council car parks  and free all day on Sundays in long-stay car parks at Fairview, Seven Brethren, Lower Pilton and Tarka.