Category Archives: Events


Quince Honey Farm in South Molton is introducing a brand-new event for 2017, the Beekeeping Experience Day.

Running on six days throughout spring and summer, the one-day course, aimed at people aged 16 an over, provides the perfect opportunity for any budding beekeepers out there to get an introduction into the craft. It also promises to be a stimulating day out for those who would simply love the chance to spend a day in the stunning North Devon countryside learning about bees.

Led by a professional beekeeper, the day begins with some fascinating facts about beekeeping and bees, before it’s time to get suited up in full protective clothing to be shown, up close, the inner workings of a hive.

Following a tasty, freshly prepared lunch in the café and a guided tour of Quince Honey Farm’s unique Bee World exhibition, the afternoon session provides the chance to conduct a supervised ‘Beehive Inspection’. This is an opportunity to do some real beekeeping, and to learn how to care for the bees and keep the hive healthy all year round.

The knowledgeable resident beekeeper will wax lyrical about their profession, be on hand to answer any questions, offer up hints and tips and leave participants buzzing with excitement on a day well spent. With bees and beekeeping hitting the headlines now more than ever, it really is a fantastic time to get involved and help bees to thrive in our countryside.

The Beekeeping Experience Days cost £135 per person, including lunch and refreshments, and run on Thursday 11 and Saturday 13 May, Thursday 15 and Saturday 17 June, and Thursday 6 and Saturday 8 July. Ideal as a gift for a loved one or as a treat for yourself.

For more information or to book, contact Quince Honey Farm on 01769 572401, email  or visit the website at

PHOTO: Courtesy Solution Studios Photography


The Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon is holding its 15th annual Open Art Show until 18 February, showcasing the best new work from ten local artists.

The show, which promotes the work of amateur and professional artists working in North Devon, was officially opened by Peter Heaton-Jones MP.

Judges from White Moose Gallery, PETROC and Quay Drawing helped to choose the selected artists, who are either local residents, or their work has been inspired by northern Devon, Exmoor and Lundy Island.

Pete Newell, one of the judges involved, says: “It has been a challenge and pleasure to help assemble this exhibition. There was a wide range of artists, artworks, style and subject matter to select from and I hope that the chosen works reflect the quality and diversity of art practice currently underway in North Devon.”

Visitors to the show can enjoy work by:

• Gerrard Lindley
• Roger Cockram
• Louise Thompson
• Luna North
• Lesley Anne Cornish
• Debbie Lee
• Gill Jones
• Tony Williams
• Penny Armitage
• Roger Humphries

Executive Member responsible for leisure and culture, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “The standard of entry for this year’s Open Art Show was extremely high as always. The artists who live and work in, or are inspired by, northern Devon are extremely talented. Why not come along to the museum and see for yourself? Especially as entry is free.”

The Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon is open from 10am to 4pm on Monday to Saturday, admission is free. Check out the museum’s Facebook page to keep up to date with all the latest news and events.


The Royal Photographic Society’s International Print Exhibition 159 opens at the Museum of Somerset in Taunton on 14 January and runs until to 11 March 2017. Launched in 1854 and now in its 159th edition, it is the longest-running exhibition of its kind in the world. This year’s exhibition features an eclectic mix of work by 75 photographers from 16 countries, carefully selected by a panel of experts, and will provide a fascinating insight into the range and diversity of photography today.

Taking the form of a competition, with entries submitted from both amateur and professional photographers throughout the world, the IPE finalists and medal winners were selected by a panel made up of social documentary photographer Dougie Wallace, Brighton Biennial Photo Festival Director, Celia Davies, Director of Glasgow’s Street Level Photoworks Malcolm Dickson, Picture Editor for The Sunday Times Magazine Russ O’Connell and photography writer and editor Gemma Padley.

Alice – from the series ‘Being Inbetween’ (Gold Award Image) Photographer: Carolyn Mendelsohn
Alice – from the series ‘Being Inbetween’ (Gold Award Image) Photographer: Carolyn Mendelsohn

For the first time in the exhibition’s long history, all four medal winners are women. UK photographers Carolyn Mendelsohn, Polly Braden and Poem Baker secured the Gold, Silver and Bronze awards, and Russian photographer Anna Shustikova won the under-30s Gold award. The four medal-winning prints can be seen at the exhibition which is touring venues and photography festivals throughout the UK.

South West Heritage Trust Chief Executive Tom Mayberry said: “We’re delighted to be hosting such a prestigious exhibition at its only venue in the South West of England. This annual exhibition is steeped in history and in its early years included work from some of the world’s most eminent photographers including Margaret Cameron, Roger Fenton, Edward Steichen and others.”

The Museum of Somerset is part of The South West Heritage Trust, an independent charity committed to protecting and celebrating Somerset and Devon’s rich heritage. International Print Exhibition 159 is free to enter.

PHOTO: Abrigo Corner 1, Photographer: Tom Blachford


Halsway Manor will be holding its annual Christmas Craft Fair on Saturday 10 December, from 12 noon until 5pm.

Browse a wide selection of stalls for those special gifts and stocking fillers, whilst enjoying festive folk entertainment and seasonal refreshments!

Stallholders include artists Chris Howe and Colin Harrow, potter Dos Rogers, Shelduck Photography, Tasty Textiles, felted items from Sarah Meilkle, hand-made notebooks and cards from Victoria Ward ART, and Christmas flowers, wreaths and garlands from Somerset Postal Flowers. This is just a selection; come and browse the full fair for yourself!

There will be folk music and song during the afternoon, including the Acorn Shanty Crew, and the Halsway Morning Choir.

There will be mulled wine and mince pies to warm you up, plus tea and cakes – to eat in or take home to enjoy later!

Admission is £1 (free to full-time students including children).


On Wednesday 14 December there is a Christmas concert: Swan & Dyer’s Winter Warmer

“An infectious presence and an abundance of seasonal goodwill
on ready display.”
 Living Tradition

Join Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer at Halsway Manor on Wednesday 14 December for a fun-filled evening of festive cheer – a Victorian Music Hall Christmas Celebration!

Swan & Dyer’s Winter Warmer is a fun-filled festive evening of well-known sing-along Christmas carols interspersed with famous Music Hall numbers. ‘Daisy, Daisy’, ‘The Man on the Flying Trapeze’, ‘Waiting at the Church’ are mixed in with all time favourites such as ‘Silent Night’, ‘Jingle Bells’ and even the virtuosic ‘Theme and Variations on the Carnival of Venice’ (better known as ‘My Hat it Has Three Corners’).

Performed in Victorian costume, this event will appeal to young and old alike, with the joy of being together as a family and a community at Christmas. The evening is light-hearted, humorous and fun – and singers of all ages are welcome to join in!

“Refreshing, uplifting and enthralling. A must for all the family.”
English Dance and Song Magazine

Both Vicki and Jonny are very versatile musicians and singers, and spend much of the year touring nationally as well as internationally in different guises, from medieval minstrels to Victorian Music Hall whilst also playing for dances and weddings. They are also regulars at Halsway Manor, being well known on the UK folk circuit.

The concert takes place on Wednesday 14 December.  Bar opens at 7pm, performance starts at 7.30pm. Tickets: £10 / £4 full-time students (any age)

For more information visit or contact Halsway Manor: 01984 618274 ext 1 /




Anyone not yet into the Christmas spirit should head for the Christmas Fayre at Lynmouth on Sunday 11 December from 10am to 4pm where a host of delights will await them.

The National Park Centre team at the Lynmouth Pavilion ran a similar event in a small way last year which was so successful that more and more people wanted to be involved so this year, there will be 15 stalls inside the Centre including arts, crafts, books, pottery, woodcraft items, jewellery and other seasonal items. In addition to these, a further 15 market stalls will be open along the Esplanade outside selling food, Christmas trees, Christmas wreaths, the contents of a seaside gift shop which will be sold in aid of Unicef, a Scout stall, calendars, artisan items and a host of Christmas items.

Inside the Pavilion there will also be an elf workshop where children can make a Christmas tree decoration for free; they can also make a Christmas card in a competition that will be judged by Suzette Hibbert, Mayor of Lynton & Lynmouth, later in the afternoon.

Santa will be on hand and children are welcome to come and pay him a visit – the numbers able to do this are limited so places will need to be booked by phoning the Dining Room on 01598 753484 prior to the day. There will be plenty more to see and do with Lyntones Ladies’ choir singing seasonal songs at 11am and 2pm, plus face painting for a donation to Children’s Hospice, a raffle for a £75 Christmas hamper kindly donated by Marsdens Devon Cottages, who are also sponsoring the event, and a special festive menu in the Dining Room.

National Park Centre Manager, Dave Wilde, said, “Entry is free so everyone is invited to come along and sample the special Christmas atmosphere. All this is in addition to the normal National Park Centre retail area where there are local books, jewellery, art items, Exmoor Christmas Cards and other local items for sale.

“Proceeds from the raffle and the £5 hire fee for the stalls and market stalls outside are all going to CareMoor for Exmoor* – especially to support the Dormice boxes appeal.”

For further information please call the National Park Centre at Lynmouth on 01598 752509.


People are invited to come and celebrate the festive season at Barnstaple Museum on Thursday 8 December from 5.30pm.

There will be a lovely evening of Christmas carols, Victorian parlour games, mince pies and even a glass of homemade Christmas cheer!

Everyone is welcome to come along and join in the merriment with Victorian music and entertainment from Robert Barber and Jan Baker.

Executive member for leisure, arts and culture Cllr Dick Jones says “Thanks to the Friends of the Museum for organising what promises to be a wonderfully nostalgic festive evening.”

Existing Friends of the Museum will have free entry. The cost is £5 just for the evening or £15 includes entry and a one year Friends membership.

Tickets are available from Barnstaple Museum.  For further information, contact 01271 346747 or email

At the same time or, indeed, any time between now and 7 January, why not pop into the museum to see the winning entries in the annual heritage photographic competition which recently went on display.

The competition for this year’s North Devon in Photographs contest was tougher than ever, with categories including towns and villages, the coast and sea, characters, landscape, wildlife and ‘Anything goes!’.

Judges this year included local professional photographer John Andow, Dave Edgcombe from the AONB and Steve Pitcher, AONB Chairman and member of North Devon Archaeological Society.

The first place winners are as follows:

Adult categories:

  • Landscape: Paul Steven, ‘Good morning Exmoor’
  • Towns and Villages: Nigel Childs, ‘Pannier Market, Barnstaple’
  • The Coast and the Sea: Andrew Wheatley, ‘September light, Northam Burrows’
  • Characters: Jen Rogers, ‘Enchanted in the Bluebells’
  • Wildlife: Paul Steven, ‘Lazy cow’
  • Anything Goes!: Paul Steven, ‘Exmoor portrait’
  • Overall cup winner for 2016: Paul Steven (‘Exmoor portrait’)

Under 16s

  • Wildlife: Eloise James, ‘Moo’
  • Towns and Villages: Seth Chapple, ‘Freakout at night’
  • The Coast and the Sea: Milly Fenton, ‘Footprints in the sand’
  • Landscape: Cameron Naeler, ‘Fremington corn fields’
  • Anything Goes!: Eloise James, ‘Follow me’
  • Overall under 16s cup winner 2016: Eloise James (‘Follow me’)

AONB special category ‘Historic environment’
Adults: 1st Gaynor Gough, ‘The cobbled streets of Clovelly’

North Devon Council Executive Member responsible for culture, Councillor Dick Jones, says, “Congratulations to all the winners and a big thank you to all those who took part in this competition. The winners have the honour of their work being displayed in the museum for the next couple of months, so make sure you get along to view some of the local talent we have here in North Devon. They have captured the natural beauty and character of our local area perfectly.”

The ‘North Devon in Photographs’ exhibition runs until 7 January 2017. The museum is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm, entry is free. Keep up to date on news and events on the museum’s Facebook page.

Andrew Wheatley's winning entry in the coast and sea category.
Andrew Wheatley’s winning entry in the coast and sea category.


Four lucky people have been selected to take part in the Geoff Billington demonstrations on each of his morning slots at this year’s Westcountry Equine Fair.

The event, which takes place on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 December at Westpoint, Exeter, will see Zoe Coombes and Taggy Forseter-Bennett appearing on Saturday and Sammy Cotton and Asha Smith appearing on Sunday.

Zoe Coombes , from Newton Abbot, is 23 and with her horse Chamora S, a 16.2hh grey, 9 year old warmblood, has competed up to 130cm jumps and has won National Amateur second rounds.

Taggy Forester-Bennett is 19 years old and from the Honiton area. She specialises in eventing and is currently competing her horse IBonza Moorabinda (Moo), a 16 year old thoroughbred bay mare at BE Advanced and 3*. The show jumps at these events are 130cm.

Sammy Cotton from Looe in Cornwall is 17 years old and has had wins and placings on the sunshine tour Vejer 2015/16 and 1st at the Troon Puissance 2015

Asha Smith from Cullompton was crowned with her horse Armani Pullman National Schools BS Champions at 1.10m and also jumped at Chepstow International at 1.20m and was placed every day

Watch Geoff put these willing students through their paces in each of the morning demonstrations. Geoff has a wealth of experience in the industry. Riding since the age of 11, Geoff has represented Great Britain in European and world show jumping competitions and the Olympics.

The Westcountry Equine Fair, now in its twentieth year, hosts a wide selection of educational, competitive and entertaining demonstrations in both the indoor and outdoor (marquee covered) arenas including: Geoff Billington, Jonathan Marshall Horseback Falconry, Welsh Pony & Cob Society, Musical Ride, Sirona Therapeutic Horsemanship; Junior Show Jumping; Show preparation and showing lectures, a native breed parade and many more. There will also be the BETA sponsored Equestrian Knowledge Zone. You can ask advice from a selection of experts including: equine vet; equine dentist; Lorinery; referral farrier; equine nutritionist and free hat and body protector checks and worming.

The show is not complete without the amazing equestrian shopping village. Stay stylish with the latest fashions; keep up to date with new products and excellent advice and of course plenty of the main brands, show offers, competitions and book signings. With over 200 companies, this is a great equestrian shopping experience ‘For the horse, for the rider and for Christmas’. 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 Breast Cancer Care.

This is certainly the total equestrian experience for the dedicated rider!

To book your tickets in advance and save money visit or call 01392 421500 (office hours) and follow the event on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated.


On Tuesday 13 December, 6.30pm-8.00pm, join Seb Jay, author of Exmoor Dark Skies, for a talk and guided stargazing tour at Wimbleball Lake near Dulverton.

Highlights of the evening will include:

  • Seeing the December full moon through a telescope and a red supergiant on the verge of collapsing into a supernova!
  • Learning how to find Mars in the December night sky
  • Finding star clusters thousands of light years away with a telescope

The format of the evening will be dictated by the weather conditions.


Participants will gather in the Activity Centre Barn for a 20-minute talk to prep them on what they are looking out for in the night sky. They will then head outside where there will be telescopes in situ overlooking the lake for people to use.


Participants will gather in the Activity Centre Barn for a longer illustrated talk on what you can see from Wimbleball Lake at this time of year. There will also be an orbits activity to demonstrate why we have a full moon that night and Seb will also bring along a ‘build a constellation’ activity, plus an alien hunt!

Seb will also be signing and selling copies of his book, plus astronomy gift vouchers – ideal Christmas presents!

Refreshments will be provided by the Duck Café from 6pm in the Activity Centre.

Tickets are limited and cost only £7 for adults and £5 for children. For more information or to book call 01398 371460 or visit The event will be listed under ‘conservation event’.

PHOTO by Richard Wiltshire


Winter to be All Lit Up at RHS Garden Rosemoor

  • Enjoy the magical illumination of the Winter Garden as you have never seen it before
  • Thursdays – Saturdays, 4pm – 8.30pm, 18 November – 7 January
  • Normal garden admission; half-price entry after 4pm.
  • PLUS live theatre performances of ‘The Snow Queen’

The Winter Garden at RHS Garden Rosemoor in Devon is always a treat and one of the most beautiful sights in all seasons. This year, for the first time, visitors can enjoy the garden as they have never seen it before: illuminated by innovative hi-tech, dynamic, constantly colour-changing lighting to provide a magical trail around the trees and shrubs, starting on 18 November through to 7 January 2017.

Rosemoor prides itself on being environmentally friendly and the illuminations have been created using a permanent electricity supply with buried cables, so there will be no noisy, smelly generators. LED lights have also been used for low energy consumption.

On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays the gardens will be open until 8.30pm to maximise the effects of the lighting into the evening hours, and on those days garden entry will be half price after 4pm. The award-winning Garden Kitchen Restaurant will be serving simple family suppers, and the Rosemoor Shop will remain open until 7.30pm, too.

The launch of the illuminations coincides with the start of the extremely popular annual Winter Sculpture Exhibition and to make this weekend a must in the diary Rosemoor is also presenting an indoor live theatre production on Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen: the two performances on both Saturday and Sunday are already sold out, but two more have now been scheduled for 7 January at 12pm and 3.30pm. This is family Christmas theatre with a difference, and as audiences are limited to 100 seats, early booking is advised to avoid disappointment (RHS Events Booking line is 0203 176 5830).

For more information on events at RHS Garden Rosemoor visit Normal garden admission applies (free for RHS members). Garden open every day (except Christmas Day) 10am-5pm.


On Sunday 20 November Halsway Manor is offering a magical evening of harmonies and powerful arrangements with vocal trio Lady Maisery as part of their hotly anticipated new album tour, Cycle.

In an English folk scene currently bursting with bold and innovative folk music, Lady Maisery shine brightly. With their unique approach to harmony singing and thoughtful, striking arrangements of both traditional repertoire and original compositions, Hazel Askew, Hannah James and Rowan Rheingans are skilful explorers of the power, beauty and vitality of folk song.

Lady Maisery at Shrewsbury Folk Festival 2016

Each member is also an accomplished instrumentalist; they expertly create a rich tapestry of fiddle, banjo, harp, concertina, accordion and foot percussion. The trio are also one of the foremost English proponents of traditional mouth music, or “diddling”, a form of singing without words which is a perfect showcase for their sheer musicality.

Over the last five years, the trio have released two critically acclaimed albums (5 stars in the Financial Times, Album of the Week in The Independent) made many appearances on national radio and toured widely, performing sell-out shows across the UK and Europe.

Lady Maisery’s members are all highly respected performers in their own right: Hannah James is currently touring her first solo show ‘Jigdoll’ and also plays in folk legend Maddy Prior’s trio ‘3 for Joy’; Rowan Rheingans is half of the critically acclaimed duo The Rheingans Sisters and also plays with BBC Folk Singer of the Year Nancy Kerr’s Sweet Visitor Band; and Hazel Askew is well known as a musician and singer in award winning duo Askew Sisters and the early music group The Artisans. All three are also key members of the English/Scottish supergroup ‘Songs of Separation’ whose debut album and stunning premiere at Celtic Connections festival pushed them straight into the indie album charts top 20 in January 2016 – a very rare accolade British folk!

‘spine-tingling harmonies’ The Guardian
‘Ambitious and beautiful’ Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2
“Lady Maisery are women with ideas, purpose and urgency” ★★★★★ SONGLINES 

Bar opens at 7pm, performance starts at 7.30pm.
Tickets: £12

For more information visit or contact Halsway Manor: 01984 618274 ext 1 /




PAUL SARTIN, BENJI KIRKPATRICK & SAUL ROSE ……the pioneering, “bloke folk” triumvirate return with their third release, researched and recorded at Halsway Manor.

Four years after their critically-acclaimed album ‘Broken Down Gentlemen’, Faustus, the pioneering ‘bloke folk’ trio return with their third release – ‘Death and Other Animals’. Here they tackle, head-on, subjects from the Dance of Death to the plight of the common man, sand-swallowed ships to mythical black dogs.

During 2016 the band have been Artists in Residence at Halsway Manor, where they have had unlimited access to the Manor’s extensive library. Material found therein has shaped this album which includes four songs unique to Halsway’s little-known Ruth Tongue archive. Halsway has been omnipresent throughout the process as the band not only researched material but recorded the album in the Manor.

In addition to traditional music from the English canon, in which Faustus excel, they present a song by UK legend, Bill Caddick, and have set a poem by award-winning Olivia McCannon, to new music. Original melodies sit alongside old words (some from manuscripts lurking in a secret filing cabinet, still never published) and newly composed instrumentals are included on the album as well.

For more information visit

‘’One of Britain’s outstanding folk bands.’ **** The Guardian

‘Faustus’ musicianship shines bright with an album that is true to its roots, relevant to today and, above all, ridiculously enjoyable.’ ****