Category Archives: Coast

PLASTIC FREE DEVON CONSORTIUM FORMED

North Devon is one step closer to becoming a plastic free district, thanks to the formation of a new consortium.

Earlier this month representatives from a number of charities, voluntary groups and organisations met at a workshop hosted by North Devon Council to discuss how they could each contribute towards making North Devon plastic free. They decided that, by working in collaboration, they could provide residents, businesses and visitors with a clear understanding of how to make a practical difference to their coastlines and communities.

The new consortium will work in partnership with Plastic Free North Devon (PFND), a grassroots community movement that uses the framework developed by environmental charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) in their Plastic Free Coastlines campaign. The local community organisation is supported by SAS and The Pickwell Foundation, and recently received additional funding from the Big Lottery Fund and Fullabrook Community Interest Company. It aims to inspire North Devon residents, tourists and businesses to reduce their ‘plastic footprint’ and drastically reduce the consumption of single-use plastic throughout the whole of North Devon, not just the coastal areas.

The consortium will be made up of a number of groups and organisations, including:

•  Plastic Free North Devon
•  North Devon Council
•  North Devon Biosphere
•  North Devon Coast Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
•  The National Trust
•  Beaford Arts
•  Barnstaple & District Chamber of Commerce
•  Martin Dorey, founder of the 2 Minute Beach Clean
•  Petroc
•  BeachCare, Keep Britain Tidy
•  Ilfracombe Town Council
•  Beth Newsome from Seadog, representing small food and drink businesses.
North Devon Council’s Executive Member for the Environment, Councillor Rodney Can, says: “I am delighted that we are taking such positive steps towards making our beautiful district plastic free. By working in collaboration with Plastic Free North Devon, and other groups who share our concern about plastic pollution, we will be able to deliver a clear message to the public and businesses on how they can make some positive changes of their own. Plastic pollution is everyone’s problem; we all need to take responsibility for the plastic we use, and how we dispose of it, in order to tackle this global environmental crisis.”

Surfers Against Sewage’s South West regional representative and PFND coordinator, Claire Moodie, says: “The formation of this consortium is an amazing opportunity for the plastic free movement to really gain momentum and take action fast and effectively across the region. The sharing of resources and expertise between the stakeholders involved will help spread the message to every part of North Devon and ensure we move forward together to protect our precious environment. Everyone has the opportunity and responsibility to make a difference – however big or small, every action counts. This campaign is about empowering every community to come together, make their voices heard and start a wave of change.”

Writer and founder of 2 Minute Beach Clean, Martin Dorey, says: “I firmly believe that the only way we’ll solve our plastic crisis is through community, collaboration, people and passion, and this initiative does all this brilliantly. It unites a lot of caring, committed people to work in the best interests of us all.”

The new consortium will be meeting in early May to develop the Plastic Free North Devon action plan.

More information on how you can reduce your consumption of single-use plastics is available on Surfers Against Sewage’s website. To keep up-to-date with Plastic Free North Devon’s news follow their Facebook page.

INVITATION TO TENDER: HARBOUR MARKET AND CONCESSION DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR

Minehead Coastal Communities Team has levered Coastal Community funding to develop a new harbour market and attract suitable seaside concessions for Minehead seafront.

The opportunity is for a self-motivated market, event organiser or similar, with marketing and PR experience and excellent communication skills. The position will be a varied, and be on a self-employed basis. The contract will be to develop, market, promote, manage and coordinate delivery of Harbour Markets and Concessions in Minehead. This part-time contract opportunity is over a two year period, with an expectation to become self-sustainable following that period.

Please click on the links to view the job descriptionperson specification and draft contract containing more detail of the role.

If you have any questions please email tender@westsomerset.gov.uk. Please note the closing date for applicants is 24 April 2018, at 12 noon.

LEE CONSERVATION AREA EXTENDED

The conservation area for Lee is being extended with more historic characteristics and qualities set to be protected.

At a meeting of North Devon Council’s Executive this month, councillors agreed to recommendations in a report that Lee Conservation Character Appraisal 2018 and the revised boundary for the area are formally adopted by the council. This means that the conservation area for the village has been almost doubled from 11 hectares to 20.8, extending further to the north, east and west as well as including more open spaces.

The character appraisal identifies the key characteristics and qualities of the conservation area for the village and has been produced following public consultations last summer. The appraisal includes most of the suggestions put forward by members of the public and consultees who took part.

Lead member for Strategic Planning at North Devon Council, Councillor Jeremy Yabsley, says: “Conservation areas and character appraisals play an important part in helping to protect special features and locations of an area that are unique and make it what it is. They are not designed to stop development or change to an area but to recognise the special qualities and characteristics so that we can preserve and enhance them for future generations to enjoy.

“I understand that the consultations were very well attended by people of all ages putting forward their ideas and suggestions about what we should include in the appraisal as well as the proposal to extend the conservation area. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to attend, this just goes to show how taking part in these events when we hold them can make a real difference to a village or town.”

There are 41 conservation areas across the North Devon district, most with their own character appraisal and management plan. Conservation areas aim to recognise the architectural and historic interest and importance to the community of the locations within it.

When planning applications are considered the council will look at the conservation area, its character appraisal and management plan to see if the proposals will preserve or enhance the area before making a decision.

PHOTO: Courtesy North Devon Coast AONB

MARINE MATTERS FOR THE NORTH DEVON PIONEER

News from the North Devon Biosphere

The North Devon Marine Pioneer held its second stakeholder workshop recently, at Alverdiscott Community Hall in North Devon. A wide range of people from across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset braved the snow to participate in this event.

With over 40 attendees, it was a lively day with input from a range of different marine sectors, including the fishing industry, local government, tourism and recreation, maritime industry and conservation.

The beginning of the day was led by the Marine Pioneer partners; they presented some demonstration projects commencing as part of the North Devon Marine Pioneer. Later, participants were asked for their advice and expertise, focusing on four subjects: marine governance and management; the local fishing industry; the Taw Torridge estuary; and how we can sustainably fund the management of North Devon’s Marine Protected Areas.

“This workshop showed just how engaged North Devon people and our neighbours are with their sea, estuaries and rivers. This was a successful day and the information from the day will be used to guide our next steps in the Pioneer,” says Chrissie Ingle, the Marine Pioneer Coordinator.

What is the Marine Pioneer?
The Government has committed to ensure that our natural environment that provides our prosperity and health is protected and improved for us and future generations. The 25 Year Environment Plan was launched on 11 January by Theresa May and sets out how this would be achieved.

To help accomplish this there are four ‘Pioneer’ areas – where new approaches from the plan will be trialled. The four pioneers are: the landscape of North Devon, the marine environment in North Devon and Suffolk, a river catchment in Cumbria and the urban area of Greater Manchester.

What has happened so far?
There have already been two North Devon Marine Pioneer workshops: one in March 2017 produced long-term aims and ambitions for North Devon’s Marine area, with agreed goals such as ‘improved local fisheries management’, ‘robust protection of biodiversity’ and ‘increased local decision-making’. The second, in November 2017, was a focussed workshop with licencers and planners to consider how our natural marine environment can be better incorporated into local decision making – both reports from these workshops can be found online at www.northdevonbiosphere.org.uk/marinepioneer.html

From this second workshop local information and experiences can define how we proceed with the Pioneer. There will be a report from the day, which will be made available on the North Devon Biosphere’s Marine Pioneer webpage www.northdevonbiosphere.org.uk/marinepioneer.html

PHOTO by Andrew Wheatley.

COAST PATH WORKSHOP AT DUNSTER

A tailored workshop designed to help local businesses from transport providers to tearooms make the most of the Somerset section of the England Coast Path is being held in Dunster in February. The section, which was opened in 2016, runs for 58-miles, from Minehead to Brean, following some of the country’s most spectacular coastline and opens up a new and exciting experience for walkers.

The workshop, at the Luttrell Arms Hotel on 22 February, offers the chance to find out how:

  • the new Coast Path can benefit business
  • to attract more walking tourists/visitors
  • the latest trends in social media and walking tourism will impact business on the Coast Path
  • local distinctiveness and authenticity can increase business
  • to create unique experiences
  • to build a great social media campaign around the new coast path product
  • to provide the best customer service to visitors coming to the coast path to ensure they return and spread the word to attract new visitors.

Cllr Andrew Hadley, West Somerset Council’s Lead Member for economic regeneration and growth, said: “The new Coast Path is a great natural asset for West Somerset and I hope that local businesses involved in tourism will join the workshop to discover how they can make the most of it.

“Tourism is a vitally important industry locally with as many as a third of the local workforce employed in this sector. The path is another attraction to add to the many we are proud of and it will attract more visitors, providing new opportunities for tourism businesses.”

Exmoor speakers include: Max Lawrence – www.hospitalityassured.com plus others from Somerset – Sarah Littler – Project Manager Rights of Way, Kate Doodson – www.cosmic.org.uk, and Nell Barrington – www.barringtonassociates.co.uk.

A finger buffet and refreshments will be included along with time for networking with like-minded businesses. Those attending will receive a pack of information on how to get the most from the Coast Path with loads of helpful links, ideas and contacts.

Places are limited so please book now here: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-the-somerset-coast-path-can-benefit-your-business-workshop-in-dunster-tickets-42272178223?aff=HTAPemail

PHOTO: The opening of the Somerset section of the England Coast Path back in 2016. You can read the story which we published at the time here.

APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR ‘BRITAIN’S BEST SUMMER JOBS’

The RNLI is in search of new recruits to spend the summer working on some of the South West’s most popular beaches, as applications open for 2018’s beach lifeguards and face-to-face fundraisers.

Both roles are essential in supporting the RNLI to reduce the number of people who drown on our coasts, and to help keep people safe by providing key local safety advice to the millions of holidaymakers who visit the beaches every summer.

RNLI lifeguards patrol over 240 beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. At the forefront of the RNLI’s lifesaving work, they saved 127 lives and helped 20,538 people in 2016. Successful applicants receive world-class training in search and rescue, lifesaving and casualty care techniques, and they have the chance to develop transferable skills.

Abbie Cranage, Area Lifesaving Manager for West Cornwall, said: “Working as a lifeguard has got to be one of the best jobs to have – you get to call the beach your office for a start! But far more importantly, you are there to make sure the public enjoy it in the safest possible way. With strong career prospects and leadership skills, for many it’s more than a summer job, with some of the busier beaches patrolled from March until the end of October.

“This is a demanding job requiring commitment, skill and a clear head. The South West has some of the busiest beaches in the country. We’re looking for people with courage, determination and the ability to draw on their training and make the right decision if someone’s life is in danger. It is an incredibly rewarding role that involves strong communication skills, talking to members of the public about key coastal activity safety messages and raising awareness of coastal risks.”

The RNLI is also recruiting face-to-face fundraisers, who’ll work alongside lifeguards to provide beach visitors with important safety advice, playing a vital role in saving lives by educating the public on risks at the coast. Applicants will need to be dynamic and act as a positive ambassador – encouraging support for this lifesaving charity is just one of the things these fundraisers will do this summer season.

Hannah Cobb, Face to Face Fundraising Manager for South Devon, West Dorset and Somerset, said: “A good fundraiser generally has to be friendly and relaxed, but also energetic, able to talk to anyone and be passionate about what they do.

“We provide quality training which ensures new fundraisers feel confident and capable in the role. Developing new skills, working in a team at the beach for a national charity is really has to be one of Britain’s best summer jobs.”

Find out more about how you can make a difference and apply to be part of these amazing lifesaving teams at summerjobs.rnli.org or search for #BestSummerJob on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo by Nathan Williams

TRANSATLANTIC CELEBRATIONS FOR DUNSTER BEACH HUT

Salad Days is one of around 250 beach huts at Dunster Beach, but this one is special.

To begin with, it has a Visit England 5-star rating, making it the only beach hut in the UK to receive such an accolade, and now it has won two awards at the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards: Silver for ‘Self Catering Business of the Year’ and Gold for ‘Dog Friendly Business of the Year’.

Designed and rebuilt from the ground up, the 80-year-old beach hut is the pride of Susan Juggins and Brett Bates. They took on a run-down beach hut that had been used by holiday makers since the end of the war and had housed coastal defence workers before that. They wanted to give it a new lease of life as a luxury beach hut with all the comforts of modern-day living. Salad Days offers boutique-style accommodation in a beach hut environment and it is dog friendly to boot.

News of the awards was not just celebrated by co-owner Susan who collected the award at Somerset County Cricket Club in Taunton, but also 3,500 miles away in Toronto Canada.

 

Brett had previously arranged a trip to visit his son Brett jar, who lives there with his fiancée Aisha, before the finalist’s announcement was made in October. He spent the day eagerly awaiting news via Twitter from Susan and the organisers at Visit Somerset. “You can hardly believe the excitement when the news came through,” said Brett. “Toronto certainly knew Somerset had arrived in the city.”

Susan, who attended the awards event with her sister Anne, said, “We felt so honoured just to be there, amongst the best that Somerset has to offer and to come away with two awards is just amazing. We love this area and our little beach hut to bits. It just goes to show even though we may be small we can still play with the big boys and win’”

The story of their success may not stop there; Salad Days will soon find out if they are to represent Somerset at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in February next year.

The awards are run annually by Visit England with the judging carried out locally by industry experts, followed by area and national finals. To be a finalist in any category, each entrant has to be at the top of their game, offering world-class service within the highly competitive tourism industry. The South West has won more awards than any other area of the UK. Somerset had the highest ever number of awards entrants this year.

For further details see: dunsterbeachhut.com/  twitter.com/DunsterBeachHut

Or read the extract from an article which appeared in our autumn issue here:

MINEHEAD TO HOST A MARITIME MILE

Minehead has netted more funding to help revitalise the town. The LEADER funding – EU money allocated to help rural areas – of almost £80,000 has just been announced and means Minehead’s dream of creating a Maritime Mile can be realised.

It will complement the Enterprising Minehead project that has already won substantial funding to make the resort the go-to seaside destination by making the most of its traditional appeal as a seaside resort – but with a twenty-first-century twist.

The aim is to give Minehead the buzz that is needed to bring new visitors in, while retaining the Edwardian charm that keeps holiday-makers returning year after year.

The Maritime Mile initiative will create a new heritage interpretation trail, running the length of the seafront to showcase Minehead’s maritime history, myths and legends. An open-air gallery will be built at the trail’s central point to display images and artefacts from Minehead’s past.

The Maritime Mile walk will link to existing features like the South West Coast Path/England Coast Path and signpost to other points of interest along the seafront that will be included in the new interactive/interpretation signage.

The signs will feature augmented reality technology to make the walk exciting and interactive – and it will link to a new website that will be launched. West Somerset Council will be working with Minehead Museum and Butlins on the materials. Augmented reality uses computer-aided graphics to add an additional layer of information to aid understanding and/or interaction with the physical world around you.

The central area of the seafront trail will incorporate the open-air gallery as a showcase for the trail and will be an attraction in its own right. This is the central gateway to the seafront from The Avenue and West Somerset Railway, and will have real impact.

The gallery will be formed from stone-filled gabion baskets with gallery images of Minehead mounted onto marine plywood. Content for the gallery will depict historic images of the town provided by the local community and the museum. The gallery will also include augmented reality to make it more fun – and informative.

A new state-of-the-art responsive website will also be developed to capitalise on marketing the town as a key destination and will also link to the seafront trail/walk and its innovative technology.

Cllr Andrew Hadley, Lead Member for economic regeneration, said: “This is excellent news for Minehead, and will give an added boost to the exciting projects already being developed to regenerate The Esplanade and give our visitors even more reason to come and enjoy what Minehead has to offer.”

“We will be working hand-in-hand with the community, and our Coastal Community Team to deliver this imaginative and exciting project,” said Cllr Roger Thomas, who chairs the Coastal Communities Team in Minehead.

“Our team of officers has worked incredibly hard to secure funding from a variety of sources so that we can invest in Minehead to benefit the local economy and provide visitors with a fun and informative way of finding out about Minehead’s past.

“We are lucky to have a fascinating history that can be brought to life through harnessing the incredible technology that is available now. “

VISIT A LIFEGUARDED BEACH THIS HALF TERM

RNLI lifeguards will be maintaining patrols on some of the busiest beaches in Cornwall and Devon over the school half term period (21-29 October).

With a growing number of people looking to spend time at the beach out of the summer season, as in previous years, additional lifeguard cover is being provided at some of the more popular beaches in the region to help keep people visiting the coast this autumn safe.

Community Safety Partner at the RNLI Steve Instance says: “It has been a busy 2017 season for our lifeguards, who have worked hard to keep large numbers of beachgoers safe. They are well trained to deal with a whole range of scenarios from rescues in the water, to first aid incidents and lost children. We would encourage people who are planning to head to the coast this half term to visit a lifeguarded beach.”

Beaches operating a lifeguard service this half term in Cornwall are Porthtowan, Perranporth, Praa Sands, Gwithian, Porthmeor, Sennen, Fistral, Watergate Bay, Towan and Mawgan Porth, Polzeath, Widemouth and Summerleaze.

In Devon, there will be lifeguard patrols at Croyde, Woolacombe and Bantham beaches.

For those who aren’t able to head to a lifeguarded beach, it’s important they take steps to keep themselves and their families safe. Ways in which they can do this is to:

–        Read safety signage at the entrance to a beach

–        Go with a friend or tell someone on the shore where you are going

–        Be aware of the conditions and your own capabilities in the water

–        Check the tide times

–        Carry a means of communication

As part of the RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign the charity advises that you do not enter the water if you see someone in trouble, but call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard. If you have something that floats, throw it to them.

Anyone in difficulty in the water should try not to panic or fight against any currents. They should hold onto anything buoyant they have, call for help and raise their hand to attract attention and try to keep their head above water.

You can find out more about how to stay safe in and around the water by visiting RNLI.org/RespectTheWater.

BURNHAM-ON-SEA RNLI LENDS BOMB DISPOSAL A HAND

This is a little write-up about the call out of the RN Bomb Disposal Section to Hinkley which you may have read about recently. It was sent in by one of our photographers, Ian Brown, who is Burnham-on-Sea RNLI’s Deputy Lifeboat Press Officer…

Well it’s been a very busy day for us here at the station. Our first job of the day was to assist a team from the Royal Navy Bomb Disposal Section. Ordinance had been located in the Bristol Channel and they were tasked to make it safe. Their boat had been left with us for a couple of days as they had been called away to another operation but this morning they returned ready to go with all their equipment.

After discussing their plans and preparing kit they made their way to the beach. Due to the state of the tide and the risk of their vehicle sinking in the soft mud we launched the boat using our Soft Track which is much better suited to the conditions. Our crews are well aware of the risks so it seemed a sensible option for us to carry out the launch. The Bomb Disposal Team then made their way to the site of the ordinance and made it safe by the use of small charges. They then returned to the beach where we assisted with recovery. It was then back to station where our launch vehicle was washed down ready for service.

You may think that was enough for one day but many of our staff and crews then went on to undertake shore-based assessments which form part of their training. This continued all day including more assessments afloat when we launched for training that evening.
Phew!

PHOTO by Mike Lang