Category Archives: Events

SOMERSET WILDLIFE TRUST’S ‘WILDLIFE GARDENS’ BACK FOR A SECOND YEAR

Some of the county’s most beautiful and inspiring wildlife gardens are to open to the public to fundraise for Somerset Wildlife Trust, and inspire us to use our own gardens to help wildlife on our own doorstep. These include gardens close to Greater Exmoor and some a little further afield.

After its huge success last year, Somerset Wildlife Trust is delighted to be bringing  ‘Somerset’s Wildlife Gardens’ back for a second year – an initiative that will see eight of Somerset’s finest examples of gardens specifically designed to support our county’s best-loved wildlife open their doors for the public to enjoy.  The gardens, which are spread across the county, as well as being stunning in their own right, each showcase unique features that provide special homes for our best-loved species – from small mammals and pollinators, to birds and pond-dwellers.

With many of our much-loved species facing challenges to find the habitats they need to survive – hedgehogs, bats and sparrows to name a few – making our gardens wildlife-friendly is more important than ever to help many of our species survive. In the UK there are approximately 16 million gardens – a vast amount of habitat available to wildlife. Somerset Wildlife Trust hopes that people who visit these inspiring gardens will feel empowered by them to make their own gardens more wildlife-friendly.

From putting bird feeders up in your garden and leaving parts of your garden wild, to creating your own pond and putting up nesting boxes – there are lots of ways that we can all protect Somerset’s amazing and diverse wildlife by making our own gardens, local green spaces, school playgrounds, or office gardens a secure home for wildlife.

Emma Jones, Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Community Fundraiser, explains: “Many of our much-loved and well known garden species are under threat, in part due to habitat loss. Hedgehogs, for example, have experienced a decline of 30% in the UK over the last ten years, and are disappearing from our countryside as fast as tigers worldwide. This brings home to us the fact that our garden wildlife needs our help. This is why it is so inspiring to see that so many people have dedicated time to create beautiful wildlife havens to support wildlife, and not only that but they are opening them up to the public to inspire other to do more for wildlife too.

“For those who are looking for some inspiration on how to make their gardens wildlife-friendly or fancy a wonderful awe-inspiring day out – don’t miss out on these gorgeous gardens. These events are also fundraisers for Somerset Wildlife Trust as all hosts of the gardens will kindly donate the proceeds to the Trust to support its work across the county.”

The entry fee is £4 per adult (free for children aged 16 and under). Tea and cake is available too, at a small extra cost. No booking is required but if you have any questions please email Emma Jones at events@somersetwildlife.org. For more information on the gardens, such as parking, accessibility and dogs please visit: www.somersetwildlife.org/wildlifegardens.html

Hillcrest Wildflower Meadow and Ponds (pictured)
Friday 13 April 11:00 – 16:00
There is a wildlife rich meadow and also a stunning garden that will be full of spring flowers… a perfect spot to revive after the long winter, something we all need! This is the first time Hillcrest has opened in the spring.
Where: Hillcrest, Curload, TA3 6JA

Bracondale Garden
Friday 18 May 11:00 – 16:00
Bracondale is a fabulous example of a garden that we can all try to create. There is a small meadow and pond attracting all kinds of wildlife. A calm space to sit and ponder.
Where: Bracondale, Staplehay, Taunton, TA3 7HB

Hillcrest Wildflower meadows and gardens
Saturday 26 May 14:00 – 17:00
Hillcrest has stunning gardens and a beautiful meadow created and looked after by passionate wildlife gardeners. It is an essential wildlife haven that attracts and protects the local species that in turn gives so much joy to everyone that visits!
Where: Hillcrest, Curload, TA3 6JA

Henley Hill farm
Wednesday 6 June 11:00 – 16:00
Come along to the inspiring Henley Hill Farm to see wild flower and grass rich meadows and pastures with incredible views. The meadow has been studied by experts from Somerset Wildlife Trust who could not believe just how many species of flora and fauna they found. Beautiful!
Where: Henley Hill farm, Haybridge, (near Wells), BA5 1AL

Model Farm Gardens
Sunday 17 June 11:00 – 16:00
Model Farm shows how much nature can create a sanctuary within a decade. The gardeners have made Model Farm a beautiful garden bursting with wildlife, a joy to spend time in.
Where: Model farm, Perry Green, Wembdon, TA5 2BA

Millers Pond and Garden
Saturday 30 June 11:00 – 16:00
This is a jewel for wildlife. Last year, a top garden designer came to visit when the garden opened for Somerset Wildlife Trust and was absolutely full of praise! Why not combine your visit with a trip to Nunney Castle.
Where: The Miller’s House, Nunney, BA11 4NP

Badbury Flower Farm
Sunday 22 July 12:00 – 15:00
Visit this wonderful flower farm… the owner is a flower farmer! Using the beautiful blooms, bouquets and arrangements are created for all occasions. Come and see how they are made and get the chance to create your own posy to take home.
Where: Badbury Dairy House, Isle Abbotts, Taunton. TA3 6RS

Elworthy Cottage
Thursday 26 July 11:00 – 17:00
An inspiring, peaceful wildlife garden full of bumbleebees, butterflies and bird song. After your visit, treat yourself to a beautiful cottage garden plant from the nursery
Where: Elworthy Cottage Plants, Elworthy, TA4 3PX

EASTER AT ROSEMOOR

RHS Rosemoor is celebrating Easter with a colourful programme of activities at RHS Garden Rosemoor for all the family to enjoy whatever the weather.

Young ones (or the young at heart) can join in the Lindt Gold Bunny Hunt and hop about the garden on the trail of the Lindt Gold Bunny, following clues to lead to a delicious Lindt chocolate treat. On certain days, Entertainingly Different will be helping or is that hindering your hunt – but whichever it is, there is sure to be fun had by all.

Get crafty with Rosemoor’s drop-in family workshops or discover Rosemoor’s beautiful wild flowers on a family adventure walk. With different activities every day and no extra charge, it’s a perfect solution to keeping the kids entertained this Easter holiday.

The Easter holidays culminates in the wonderful Wilderness Weekend with fabulous family activities designed to introduce people to living off the land, treading more quietly and understanding more about nature and the ability we all (people and plants) have to survive our ever-changing situations.

The Lindt Gold Bunny Hunt, Easter Trail is available 24 March – 15 April 2018, 10am–6pm. Drop-in workshops, 11am–1 pm and 2pm–4pm, daily except (weekends and bank holidays).

All activities are free with normal garden admission (which is free for RHS Members). Last admission is one hour before closing. For more information on the garden and to book tickets online, please visit www.rhs.org.uk/rosemoor

FUSION YOUNG PERFORMERS – CATS AT THE REGAL

Following the sell-outs of Oliver and The Magic of The Musicals, the award-winning (several David Beach awards for Somerset in March 2018), local group ‘Fusion Young Performers’ comes to the Regal Theatre, Minehead to perform their latest challenge, Cats, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot, the show is packed full of memorable song and dance numbers such as Macavity, Memory, Skimbleshanks and many more.  It’s a kaleidoscope of song and dance and the audience is guaranteed to go home amazed by the energy. With dance numbers brought to life by Lorraine Ahern’s stunning choreography, vocal direction by Sarah-Jane Cross and an 11-piece band led by musical director David Pitts, this promises to be an exciting show that will leave everyone entertained and inspired by a hugely talented group of local young people.

Performances on Monday 2 – Saturday 7 April begin at 7.30pm and tickets are as follows: adults £12, Friends of the Regal £11, students £6, family ticket (2 +2) £32. They are available from the Regal Box Office (01643 706430), 10am – 3pm Monday – Saturday.  You can book online at www.regaltheatre.co.uk .
OPENING NIGHT OFFER – All adult tickets £8.00.

THE GREAT EXMOOR RIDE IS COMING

The Great Exmoor Ride is a new city-to-coast challenge bike ride from the team behind the hugely-popular Great Weston Ride and, following on from a successful test event in 2017, it is set to return on Sunday 2 September 2018.

The Ride starts in Taunton and ends in a tranquil spot on the West Somerset coast at Blue Anchor near Minehead, and along the way it offers a stunning 66-mile (105km) route through quiet Somerset country lanes and across the eastern part of Exmoor National Park.

The test event confirmed that participants can look forward to a great personal challenge courtesy of a spectacular route that will test the legs and, despite somewhat inclement weather conditions in 2017, the GER was given a resounding ‘thumbs up’ by those who took part.

2017 saw a great mix of people riding on a variety of bikes and the event is specifically designed and supported as an ‘all-comers’ challenge – there’s plenty on offer to test participants (as well as delight them), but there are no time pressures on anyone and the emphasis is very much on rising to a personal challenge and enjoying both the route AND the immense sense of achievement that comes with completing it.

A spokesman explained: “We believe that there’s something special and different about completing a spectacular, challenging ride and then actually ending up somewhere other than where you started, and that’s exactly what the Great Exmoor Ride offers.

“We know from last year’s feedback that the route itself is both fabulous and challenging, but also very do-able for anyone with a degree of fitness and/or a lot of determination – so it’s there for anyone who wants a real challenge as part of a great day out full of wonderful views, and it could be the perfect way to round off the Summer.”

The event is registered with British Cycling, and participants benefit from a whole host of event support services, including clear route signage, medical cover, and mobile mechanical support throughout the route.

There will also be a medal, a BBQ and an event bar waiting for riders at the finish and, by all accounts, anyone who takes on the challenge will certainly have earned their rewards!

THE WORLD’S LEADING TRIBUTE TO COLDPLAY HEADS TO TIVERTON

Coldplace, the world’s number-one tribute to the legendary Coldplay, comes to the Tiverton for one night only on 14 April at the Community Arts Theatre, as part of their 2018 UK tour.

Promising to be an unforgettable evening with an electric atmosphere of dazzling lasers and lights, tremendous sound and the songs you know and love from Coldplay, this really is an event not to be missed.

Formed in 2004 by frontman Shane Crofts, Coldplace have performed around the world with their leading tribute, and most recently have performed at Chris Evans’ Car Fest alongside Kaiser Chiefs, The Jacksons and Mel C. The band has also appeared on BBC Radio One and Two, The Gadget Show, Sky News, and performed alongside musical legends such as Sir Bob Geldof and Ringo Starr.

“Our 2018 tour is the biggest tour we have done to date across the UK, and we’re so excited to be coming to Tiverton,” says Shane. “We have developed our show production to a level now where it works in a theatre environment, which gives us more scope to enhance the show with pyrotechnics, lasers and visuals, which we’re really excited about. We have recreated the incredible spectacle of Coldplay’s recent ‘A Head Full Of Dreams’ sell-out tour, on a scale that is accessible to everyone.”

Having played over 700 shows in 28 different countries around the world, Coldplace are no strangers to being on the road, and they love exploring new places.

“We love coming to this part of the UK and meeting the fans, as everyone is so friendly and welcoming,” continues Shane. “We hope you all enjoy our new show that we have worked extremely hard on to produce for you.”

Coldplace is made up of lead singer Shane Crofts, lead guitarist Dean Stewart, bass player Asa Crofts and drummer Wayne Birch. Having performed so many times together, the band are very much in tune with each other, creating the harmony Coldplay itself delivers on stage.

“We spend hours and hours studying Coldplay, from the way they move on stage, their mannerisms, the way they hold their instruments, how they address the crowd, and what they wear, to ensure we create an accurate stage show,” explains Shane. “It’s not just a case of learning their songs, but how they are delivered. We want to guarantee fans an authentic performance.”

Tickets are available from www.coldplace.co.uk/tickets and are priced from £20.

 

 

FAMILY STARGAZING WEEKEND

Bookings are now being taken for a residential Family Stargazing Weekend at Exmoor National Park’s Pinkery Centre for Outdoor Learning. Astronomy expert Seb Jay will be leading sessions including a telescope workshop and stargazing talk. The weekend of stargazing and discovery runs from Friday 16 March to Sunday 18 March and is ideal for families or groups with an interest in astronomy. Some knowledge will be useful but beginners are more than welcome.

Early preparation is also underway to expand this year’s Exmoor Dark Skies Festival into a two-week period from 20 October to 4 November. Following the success of the inaugural festival last year, organisers Exmoor National Park were delighted with the interest in celebrating and promoting the area’s designation as Europe’s first International Dark Sky Reserve.

Katrina Munro, Economy Project Officer at Exmoor National Park, said, “This year there’ll be even more opportunities to learn about and enjoy our dark sky. Events such as the planetarium and space workshops are a great way to introduce children to the wonders of the universe. There will also be stargazing evenings, astronomy talks and dark sky adventures.”  Search #ExmoorDSF for what happened last year and TO keep up to date with 2018’s Festival.

“The festival is a boost for tourism and businesses are invited to hold events or use the festival to offer themed short stay packages,” Katrina continued. “I’d be delighted to hear from businesses and organisations who want to be involved.”

Visit www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/stargazing for more details, booking for the Family Stargazing Weekend or the Dark Skies Festival or call Katrina Munro on 01398 322236.

PHOTO: by Keith Trueman

REGISTRATIONS NOW OPEN FOR SOMERSET OPEN STUDIOS 2018

Now the largest event in Somerset for visual artists and makers, Somerset Open Studios 2018 is now open for registrations. Somerset Art Works members working in any discipline can apply to be part of this bi-annual event.

Somerset Open Studios draws Art Weeks back to its roots, focusing on artists in their working environment. Between 15 and 30 September 2018, artists demonstrate how they make their work; their process, practice and inspiration. The event allows a rare opportunity to see inside artists’ studios, temporary working spaces and other locations to find out what goes on behind the scenes.

Open Studios visitors can find out first hand about the creative process through demonstrations, workshops, talks and visits, to educate, inspire and delight. Art appreciators of all ages are welcome at family-friendly venues and also at a family-friendly finale weekend, with workshops and activities for all. Open Studios showcases established names as well as introducing new and emerging artists.

To apply for membership and to register for this year’s event, visit the Somerset Art Works website www.somersetartworks.org.uk/, email art weeks@somersetartworks.org.uk or phone the SAW office on 01458 253800 between 9am and 4.30pm Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The deadline for registrations is 15 March 2018.

Somerset Art Works aims to support artists who want to work professionally and are looking to promote their creative businesses across a range of disciplines; books, ceramics, drawing, film, furniture, glass, jewellery, metalwork, mixed media, painting,  photography, pottery, printmaking, sculpture, textiles and wood. SAW also continues to support emerging talent in Open Studios year with Creative Pathways bursaries and mentoring.

SAW is an artist-led organisation and Somerset’s only countywide agency dedicated to developing visual arts, weaving together communities and supporting the artists who enrich our lives, making Somerset a place where people expect to engage with excellent visual art that is surprising and distinctive.

SAW also develops projects and offers membership to support practising artists and organisations in Somerset: providing bursaries, developing commissions, supporting collaborative working and creating networking and showcase opportunities, including the diverse annual Art Weeks event.

 

TWO CONCERTS COMING UP AT HALSWAY

There are two great gigs coming up at Halsway Manor in the next fortnight…

Catch Faustus www.faustusband.com, the pioneering, “bloke folk” triumvirate  of Benji Kirkpatrick, Paul Sartin & Saul Rose as they return to Halsway for a live gig on Thursday 15 February at 8pm.

Previously nominated for the Best Group Award in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and Artist In Residence at Halsway Manor Centre for Folk Arts across 2016 supported by funding from Arts Council England, Faustus brings to the stage three of the leading lights of their generation: Saul Rose (Waterson:Carthy, Whapweazel, War Horse), Benji Kirkpatrick (Seth Lakeman Band, Bellowhead) and Paul Sartin (Bellowhead, Belshazzar’s Feast). They have a plethora of experience between them, brought together here in a virtuosic display of musicianship and testosterone representing the best in the current vibrant English folk scene.

Faustus released their acclaimed third album ‘Death and Other Animals’ in October 2016, tackling head-on subjects from the Dance of Death to the plight of the common man, sand-swallowed ships to mythical black dogs. The album has huge local resonance as it was researched, rehearsed and recorded at Halsway Manor on the Quantock Hills, during Faustus’ time as Artists in Residence. “Beastly good” said Folking.com, “Modern day folk Buccaneers… so blindingly dazzling you’ll need to don a pair of RayBans before listening” said LouderThanWar.com.

Faustus are leading a course ‘From Page to Performance’halswaymanor.org.uk/event/faustus-from-page-to-performance/ at Halsway in the run-up to the gig, and the evening will open with performances by participants, before the mighty band take to the stage!

Or you might like to try Piva! They will be performing at Halsway on Tuesday 20 February at 8pm…

Early music at its most entertaining, Piva have rightly gained a reputation for their lively performances and entertaining shows. Taking late-sixteenth-century dance and ballad tunes, Piva brings the music of the renaissance to life on authentic instruments – bagpipes, hurdy-gurdies, recorders, viol, curtals, rauschpfeifen, crumhorns, shawms and violins.
“Sheer good fun!” – Early Music Today

Founded in 2002, Piva have firmly established themselves as one of this country’s leading early music ensembles. Playing throughout the UK and Europe, they have gained a reputation for their lively performances and entertaining shows. The members of Piva have wide and diverse musical backgrounds in playing renaissance, jazz, classical, baroque, folk and roots music. They bring all of these diverse musical influences together and fuse them with their knowledge of renaissance music and instruments. The result is early music with attitude!

For both concerts, tickets are priced £10, with a concessionary price of £4 for children and full-time students of any age. Call 01984 618274 (option 1), email office@halswaymanor.org.uk or buy securely online www.halswaymanor.org.uk.

CALVERT TRUST THIRD ANNUAL EAT DIRT EVENT

Mountain bike enthusiasts from across the South West will converge on the picturesque Exmoor town of Dulverton on 6 May 2018, for the third annual ‘Eat Dirt on Exmoor’ event.

Hosted by local charity Calvert Trust Exmoor, working in conjunction with British Cycling, the ‘Eat Dirt on Exmoor’ event offers cyclists the opportunity to enjoy 22 miles of beautiful Exmoor scenery, much of which is not normally open to the general public.

The route starts in the picturesque Exmoor town of Dulverton and follows the route of the River Barle up to Tarr Steps. From there the route climbs up onto the moor, with far-reaching views in all directions, before heading south east to the River Exe and then back into Dulverton for the finish line.

Rob Lott, Head of Communications at Calvert Trust Exmoor, said, “We’re delighted to be running this fantastic event again for the third year. Last year 282 riders took part, enjoying a fantastic ride and raising over £5,650, enabling us to help more people with disabilities to access cycling and other adventurous activities. We are extremely grateful to the wonderful people and businesses of Dulverton and the surrounding area; without their support in allowing us to use their land, volunteering to be marshals, running refreshment stations, and helping set up the route, this event just wouldn’t be possible.”

Registration for the event is just £21 per rider, with £20 of that fee going directly to Calvert Trust Exmoor to help them support people with disabilities to enjoy accessible adventure activities, including accessible cycling. (The remaining £1 is an administration fee retained by British Cycling).

The riders really enjoyed the 2017 event. “Rock solid ride out! Many thanks to all who helped. Great loop with nice challenging hills, I’m glad to have ridden all of them! Thanks to the landowners and villagers too. Loved the bluebells!” (Dave Hewlett)

To find out more about Eat Dirt on Exmoor or to sign up visit www.calvert-trust.org.uk/eatdirt or email Sharon from Calvert Trust Exmoor on sharon@calvert-trust.ork.uk.

ENTRIES NOW OPEN FOR EXMOOR OPEN WATER SWIM

Early-bird entries are now open for the Exmoor Open Water Swim 2km / 4km / 6km on 30 September 2018 at Wimbleball Lake.

Organiser Mike Morris writes… “Our goal is to give everyone the opportunity to swim in this incredible lake in the heart of Exmoor. While there are medals for those who come in the top three for their age groups, the majority of swimmers will simply be challenging themselves to participate in a safe and friendly open-water swimming environment at Wimbleball Lake. We are excited to announce that this year we will be introducing an elite 6km race, made up of the 4km + 2km loop.

“The uniqueness of this event is that the 4km route will take the swimmers all the way down to the end and back, on a stunning single-loop tour of the whole lake. Safety will be covered by kayaks and motorboats, as the swimmers enjoy unparalleled views of this special place.

“The 4km swim distance is designed as a challenge, even for the seasoned long-distance, open-water swimmers and slightly longer than an Iron Man swim. It is also a goal to aim for, for swimmers who either have confined their swims to pools or have yet to conquer this distance. For those who are not ready to take on the 4km route, we have a 2km course, which will hopefully result in returns next year to take on the 4km course!

“For those people who want to bring their families and make a weekend of it, we have negotiated 10% off camping at Wimbleball Lake and also 10% off all the activities on and around the lake.

Early Bird entries are available at www.exmoorswim.co.uk.

The charity partners for this events are: Surfers Against Sewage, Friends of the Earth and Children’s Hospice South West.

Exmoor Open Water Swim is sponsored by dryrobe,  Alpine Elements, Brewer, Harding & Rowe solicitors, Wicked Wolf Gin and Pickwell Foundation.

‘Arguably the most prestigious swimming competition in the South West – Somerset County Gazette

‘Great work guys – awesome astmosphere and well looked after, I will definitely be back.’ Pete Taylor – Competitor

‘Fantastically organised event at Wimbelball Lake. Thank you’ – Becky Little – Competitor