Category Archives: Events

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

EAT EXMOOR FOOD & DRINK TRADE SHOW

An exciting new, free event, the Eat Exmoor Food & Drink Trade Show, is for everyone involved in producing, preparing, selling and celebrating Exmoor food and drink.

The event is designed for hospitality and experience providers, chefs, retailers and food and drink buyers to meet local producers from the Greater Exmoor area, and is being held at the Beach Hotel in Minehead (TA24 5AP) on Wednesday 7 February.

There will be a range of cooking demonstrations and some short, inspiring and informative talks from chefs and producers as well as experts in the marketing of local food with themed toolkits for producers and food/accommodation businesses. With plenty of trade stands from local producers, this FREE day runs from 10am to 4pm and people are welcome to drop in any time or come for the whole day.

Dan James, Sustainable Economy Manager for Exmoor National Park, said, “This will be the ideal opportunity for the trade to meet up, make new contacts from Exmoor and beyond and really focus on the importance of local food and the Exmoor brand.”

Barrie Tucker, Head Chef at the Luttrell Arms, will be demonstrating how to cook a Porlock Bay oyster to perfection. In addition, award-winning chef Werner Hartholt will be showing how to develop the perfect menu and promote the use of local produce within it and social media consultant to Visit Exmoor will be on hand to share his wealth of experience managing social media channels and providing training courses. More details of talks and demonstrations can be found at: www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/tourism

Also at the Show, Visit Exmoor will also be launching their new Eat Exmoor Food and Drink Guide on the day. The guide will distributed widely and is available free from our National Park Centres from February 2018.

The Trade Show has been organised by Exmoor National Park, supported by Visit Exmoor and West Somerset Council. More details can be obtained by emailing KJMunro@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk or by calling 01398 323665.

Eat Exmoor is a partnership initiative between the National Park Authority and Visit Exmoor with support from West Somerset Council to encourage more visitors to enjoy the area’s delicious local produce and the landscape it comes from.

PHOTO: Barrie Tucker, Head Chef at The Luttrell Arms

SNOWDROP VALLEY 2018

In 2018 the valley will be closed to traffic from Saturday 27 January to Sunday 25 February. During the road closure the lanes into the valley (Drapers Way and Steart Lane) are closed by a legal road closure order and any vehicle entering the valley without an authorised Vehicle Pass will be reported to the Police.

For walkers there is a marked walking route down into the valley from the long stay car park at the livestock market, the walk is about a mile and takes around 30 minutes. On Exmoor the weather can change quickly so all visitors should make sure that they wear appropriate clothing and footwear for winter walking. Walking boots, or at the very least a good pair of wellies, are essential as the walking routes use local footpaths and bridleways, and there are always some muddy areas. For the more intrepid there are additional, longer walking routes offered, taking between 45 minutes and 3 hours; full details and maps are on sale in the Wheddon Cross car park.

During the middle two weeks, Saturday 3 February to Sunday 18 February, access is via the Park and Ride buses, run by AtWest, which leave from the village car park at Wheddon Cross, next to the Rest and Be Thankful Inn. Buses run regularly from 10.30am to 3.40pm with the last bus back from the valley at 4.30pm. The return bus journey costs just £6 for adults, £5 for senior citizens, and £2 for children aged 5-15, with children under 5 travelling free. There are tail lifts for anyone with mobility issues or using a wheelchair – please ring or email in advance to let the organisers know you are coming. Long-stay parking for cars and coaches is provided at the livestock market 150 yards further down the road from the buses towards Dunkery Beacon. Coach parties must be pre-booked with the co-ordinator.

During the scheme many members of the local community get involved and there is a great team of volunteers who help to run the Snowdrop Café, in the Moorland Hall, providing delicious teas and cakes to support local charitable organisations. There are great meals and teas to be found at other businesses in the village such as the Rest and Be Thankful Inn and the Exmoor House Hotel, as well as a wide variety of accommodation options from self-catering cottages to B&Bs and more to extend your winter trip to Exmoor.

Full information, as well as regular updates throughout the scheme can be found at www.wheddoncross.org.uk/snowdropvalley.htm. For coach bookings and disabled access please contact the Co-ordinator, Gemma Parry, on 07507 797169 or email snowdropvalley@googlemail.com and don’t forget to like Snowdrop Valley on Facebook!

Written with the help of Ros Simons, an artisan, writer and teacher of the old ways ~ you can find out more about her and her work at www.ros-simons.co.uk.

PHOTO: Late winter light in Snowdrop Valley by Andy Stuthridge, as published in our article on snowdrops by Rosemary FitzGerald in the spring 2015 issue of Exmoor Magazine. Photograph copyright Andy Stuthridge.

MORE THAN 200 TO PERFORM EPIC SEA SYMPHONY AT EXETER CATHEDRAL FOR RNLI

Exeter Cathedral is set to host a large-scale performance of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ epic ‘Sea Symphony’ that will raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and help save lives at sea.

Members of choral societies in Exeter, Exmouth and Wellington will be joined by the musicians of the Exeter Symphony Orchestra for the celebratory performance, which will take place on Saturday 25 November at 7.30pm. They will be led by the music director of all three choirs Laurence Blyth.

Sue Ryan from Wellington Choral Society said: “Ralph Vaughan Williams is ranked among the finest symphonists of the twentieth century and so this is a big event for all three choirs and we want to raise as much as we can for the wonderful work the RNLI does. We certainly have a much greater appreciation of this and the costs involved since our recent visit to Exmouth Lifeboat Station – fascinating.”

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.

Chair of Exmouth RNLI’s fundraising team Don Hodgkinson says: “With a combined choir of 200 voices drawn from Exeter Choral Society, Exmouth Choral Society, Wellington Choral Society and the Exeter Symphony Orchestra, this is set to be a wonderful occasion. The RNLI relies on kind donations from the public to continue its work saving lives at sea and we are very grateful that these choral societies have chosen to support the RNLI.”

The concert is sponsored by The Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust, and there will be a retiring collection in aid of the RNLI.

Tickets are on sale at £15, £12 & £10 with accompanied under-16s free, from Exeter Visitor Information (tel. 01392 665885), online or on the door.

PHOTO: Musical Director and Conductor Laurence Blyth with Exmouth RNLI volunteers, courtesy Farwood Photography.

PILGRIMS’ WAY – STAND AT DELIVER AT HALSWAY MANOR

Pilgrims’ Way present a new album and show packed full of highwaymen, robbers, and brigands, their stories told through traditional English folk song and 1980s disco.

Avoided at all costs, scorned and mocked, these villainous figures have fascinated and alarmed the good people of England for years. Now they’re making an album about highwaymen.

Pilgrims’ Way are often accused of stealing a living, so for this, their third studio album, it made sense to draw from the rich seam of the highwayman ballad. From the derring-do of Robin Hood bashing the bishop, via Dick Turpin’s doomed attempt to obtain legal aid under a Tory government, to ‘The Box on her Head’, the dramatic and unforgettable tale of a young lady with a box on her head, the album covers centuries of inflated stories, glorified violence, sexual innuendo, and the common man breaking all the rules in a desperate bid to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home.

Incorporating over 40 instruments, a dozen songs, and a riotous feel-good energy throughout, this is a magnificent tour-de-force by a band at the absolute peak of their overdraft.

Expect energy, choruses, and gold-brocaded Hussars’ jackets galore! The powerhouse five-piece arrangements will send you home dancing, and with an overwhelming desire to hold up and rob some stagecoaches.

Halsway Manor in Somerset provides a permanent home for the enjoyment, study and development of folk music, dance and culture in England and draws on traditions from across Europe and beyond. Unique in the UK it hosts over 340 days of residential and outreach activity every year covering all facets of the folk arts from instrumental music, song and dance to traditional storytelling, crafts and instrument making.

Tickets are priced £10 / £4 for full-time students. Phone 01984 618274 or buy online: www.halswaymanor.org.uk.

PONY CLUB CHALLENGE AT WESTPOINT

Imagine performing as a young rider in front of a large crowd in an arena. The competitors in the Pony Club horse & hound show jumping challenge will do just that at Westpoint this December.

Introduced to the annual Westcountry Equine Fair nine years ago, the challenge now has a dedicated following from both pony clubs and audiences alike.

The Westcountry Equine Fair takes place at Westpoint in Exeter on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 December. The event, now in its 21st year, is pleased to announce the four pony club teams taking part this year are:  East Devon Hunt Pony Club; Lamerton; Polden Hills and Poole & District.

The clubs will compete against each other in this fast-paced and thrilling competition. Riders will jump a course followed by runners and their dogs.

The Pony Club has a long tradition of being the starting point for a large majority of equestrian team members and medal winners including this year’s stars Grant Bazin and Alexander Bragg. Not only does the Pony Club offer nine exciting disciplines including Eventing, Dressage, Polocrosse and Tetrathlon, but it also provides instruction in horse care and riding for people up to 25 years.

No Pony? No problem! You can join in the fun at one of 500 Pony Club centres across the UK. So if the Pony Club challenge at the Westcountry Equine Fair inspires you, then look up your local Pony Club for more information.

In addition to the unrivalled entertainment, the Equine Fair also features a dedicated shopping village ‘for the horse, for the rider and for Christmas’, with over 200 companies offering helpful advice and great show offers on 1000s of products for horse and rider including many big name brands including Joules, Ariat, Toggi and Thorowgood. Also look out for the BETA Equestrian Knowledge Zone in hall 2.

Don’t forget you don’t need to carry those heavy shopping bags around with the shop and drop facility in the foyer – all donations to Devon Air Ambulance.

This is certainly the total equestrian experience for the dedicated rider! To book your tickets in advance and save money visit www.westcountryequinefair.co.uk or call 01392 421500 (office hours) and follow the event on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated.