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.

HALF TERM FAMILY ACTIVITIES AS PART OF DARK SKIES FESTIVAL

The Exmoor Dark Skies festival from the 19 – 29 October 2017 has something for all and provides some great half terms activities for families.

Local children and adults can experience the marvels of the stars above during a mobile planetarium session at Lynton (23 October), Dulverton (24 October), or Dunster (28 October) as part of the inaugural festival, whatever the weather. The sessions, lasting from 45 minutes to 1 hour, offer a 360-degree-space learning experience. High-resolution images, movies and sophisticated computer simulations are projected throughout Space Odyssey’s inflatable dome – above, behind and all around the audience – to create a breathtakingly immersive and inspirational experience.

Every fascinating session will be led by Simon Ould, an experienced science teacher and Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. Simon uses his extensive teaching knowledge to carefully adapt the delivery and content of each presentation for the particular group involved.  Simon said, “Adults and children are often blown-away by an experience in our dome. I’m delighted to be bringing our 6.5 metre Voyager dome to Exmoor as part of the Dark Skies Festival.

“For many children a session in the dome introduces them to the wider world, solar system and the universe for the first time. It really is unforgettable and can impact a child’s understanding for the rest of their life.”

The dome sessions start from just £3 for a child and £5 for an adult and advance booking is highly recommended. Sessions at Dunster also include some solar and stargazing and a workshop with astro-physics students from Exeter University. Visit www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/darkskiesfestival for more details, session times and booking. Alternatively call the Lynmouth National Park Centre on 01598 752509 (open 7 days).

There are over 35 events across Exmoor throughout the festival, which is sponsored by Airband. The festival is officially launched on Friday 20 October at Winsford Village Hall with the premier of a new short film on Exmoor’s Dark Skies followed by a presentation on Exmoor’s Dark Skies and opportunities to see the Northern Lights by presenter and astronomer Will Gater. Other events include a guide to Astrophotography with Dr Lillian Hobbs of the Royal Photographic Society on 19 October, special film showings of ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ and ‘Space Odyssey 2001’ and opportunities for a glow stick night swim with Channel Adventure.

Katrina Munro of the Exmoor National Park Authority said, “We’ve had huge interest in the festival with many events already fully booked, but there’s plenty of opportunities to enjoy the planetarium sessions and other events. Exmoor was the very first International Dark Sky Reserve to be designated in all of Europe and we are excited to be able to help people enjoy them during this festival. We’re hoping for clear skies but the vast majority of the events will be running whatever the weather.”

NICOLA DAVIES COMES TO NUMBER SEVEN DULVERTON

Number Seven Dulverton is delighted that Nicola Davies will be visiting them as part of her national celebrations marking her twenty-year career publishing the most inspiring and awarding-winning books. 2017 saw her 50th title roll off the press. Some of you may remember her from presenting the BBC’s Really Wild Show alongside Chris Packham and Terry Nutkins.

Aided by her publishers, Walker Books, Nicola has swapped skills from writing to illustration and has created an eye-catching window display which was first shown in Crickhowell.

It is currently on show at Number Seven where Nicola will be signing books, sharing stories and future publishing plans on Friday 1 September from 11am until 1pm; all are welcome. Among her most recent titles are Lots, King of the Sky, Tiny and A First Book of Nature.

Nicola is a natural storyteller and has some amazing experiences to share alongside an in-depth knowledge of all things zoological. Her gift is in making these facts so accessible to all ages and her books are a great testimony of her skill.

For further information do contact Davina Jelley info@numbersevendulverton.co.uk or call 01398 324457 or visit the website: www.numbersevendulverton.co.uk.

NORTH DEVON SCHOOLS SHOW JUMPING LEAGUE: OVERALL REPORT & REPORT FROM SOUTH MOLTON COLLEGE

Thank you to Vicky Fiddes for sending us this report of the North Devon Schools Showjumping League semi-finals, which took place last weekend. Vicki writes:

On Sunday 30 July North Devon Schools Show Jumping League held their semi-finals at Coxleigh Barton Equestrian Centre in Barnstaple.

The 50cm team competition was won by Chulmleigh Primary School’s team, The Cubs. The riders in the cubs team were: Zak Flanagan, Ella Otto, Morgan Callister and Fred Barlow. The 50cm individual winner was Lilli Fiddes from Braunton Academy, riding Redvears Peregrine.

The 60cm was won by Braunton Academy’s team, Trivium: Lilli Fiddes, Sienna Gray, Katie Holton and Poppy Priscott.  Katie Miles riding Apple Blossom from West Buckland took the individual win.

Sadly, during the 60 competition Chulmleigh rider, Ella, has a fall and broke her collar bone. We would like to take this opportunity to wish her a speedy recovery from everyone at NDSSJL and hope to see her back in action next season.

The 70cm team class was won by Bethany Robinson, Ellie Dawson, Molly Mellett and Caitie Streete, who were riding for Park Community College’s team 1. The individual winner was Grace Sinclair, riding Annandale Royal Warrant from South Molton Community College.

The 80cm team comp winners were South Molton. The riders making up Team Storm were Izzy Beard, Molly Matthews, Maisie Atkinson and Grace Sinclair. Grace and her horse Cregg Surprise  also took the  individual win.

The 90cm was run purely as an individual competition with Molly Matthews on Million Dollar Girls taking the win. She rides for South Molton Community College.

Head judge and course builder, Sara Gallagher, commented: “I have seen such an improvement from every one of the children, especially those who would not normally have the chance to go out and compete. I do love the team encouragement for each other.”

Show jumping trainer at NDSSJL,  Nancy Hutchings, said she had thoroughly enjoyed training lots of the individual and team riders and that the improvement in all the riders from the first show to now has been incredible to watch.

Organisers Jo Gay and Lucy Jenkinson and myself have thoroughly enjoyed running the series and can’t wait for the Championship event on 1 September at Coxleigh Barton. The League has been an absolute pleasure to run. Each and every child has done their school proud! They have all been fantastic to watch, have shown great team spirit and been very polite throughout every competition.

After our championship show at Coxleigh on 1 September, the new league will be starting on 1 October. The competition is open to all school age children in North Devon. Full info on how to get involved can be found on the North Devon Schools Show Jumping League facebook group or at Coxleigh.com.

And thank you to Mrs Sherwood, who sent us a report detailing how South Molton Community College got on at the semis. Here is what she wrote:

Showcasing show jumping talent, this year is the inaugural North Devon Schools Show Jumping League. A friendly, local competition held at Coxleigh Barton Equestrian Centre, the newly established league is encouraging and welcoming all North Devon pupils to take part. Representing their respective schools, the successes of individual pupils have been tallied across the league tables since the first event in April. The monthly qualifiers came to a head on Sunday 30th July.

Pupils from South Molton Community College have consistently performed exceptionally well – claiming first and second place in the 80cm class and first and second in the 90cm.

Horse riding requires huge amounts of dedication and resilience, winning classes has not been down to luck or chance. Our students have worked hard throughout the cold and dark winter months to prepare for this league. I am always impressed with how well they turn their horses out and how considerately they ride – always putting the horse or pony first.

The school’s Show Jumping Team have been sponsored by Acorn Saddlery this year, who have provided the team with their purple livery.

Andrew Finney, Principal of South Molton Community College, said: “We are immensely proud of our students and how well they represent our school and local community. We’re very much looking forward to the Championship in September.”

A lot of the students at South Molton Community College are part of their local Pony Clubs and often train and attend additional competitions. Most recently, Jess Cumings, Josh Flanagan and Molly Matthews qualified for Grass Roots Area Eventing, with Jess Cumings, Molly Matthews and Lily Cronk qualifying for Grass Roots Show Jumping. Caroline Sherwood said: “SMCC students are kind, motivated and hardworking – they can achieve anything they put their mind to – inside or outside of the classroom.”

Editor’s note – Exmoor Mag would like to hear from all schools with their individual reports if they want to send them in. Don’t be left out! Email  editor@exmoormagazine.co.uk to let us know how you got on at the Championship! Good luck to all the riders!

SUMMER OF ADVENTURE AT RHS ROSEMOOR

The Famous Five is the inspiration for a ‘Summer of Adventure’ at RHS Garden Rosemoor

  • Garden adventure trails celebrate 75th anniversary of first book
  • Mass picnic on 11 August for Enid Blyton’s 120th birthday
  • Famous Five stories continue to inspire love of being outdoors

2017 marks 75 years since the first book was published in Enid Blyton’s best-loved series The Famous Five. To celebrate the occasion the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has teamed up with Enid Blyton Entertainment and Hodder Children’s Books to offer a range of exciting events and activities across the four RHS Gardens this summer.

At RHS Garden Rosemoor in Devon, there will be a lively program of events and activities inspired by The Famous Five’s values – friendship, heroism, adventure, outdoors and daring. There are ‘Five Go on a Garden Adventure’ trails, and a delightful exhibition of Enid Blyton memorabilia, drop-in family craft workshops every weekday and Rosemoor is holding a mass picnic party on 11 August to celebrate Enid Blyton’s 120th birthday.

For children across the generations, Enid Blyton has inspired a love for flowers, plants, gardens and the outdoors through her descriptive powers, and particularly through the adventures of her five famous characters, Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy the dog. From camping on hillsides to exploring streams, from enjoying tasty picnics to discovering caves, many of The Famous Five’s adventures are firmly rooted in the great outdoors.

Enid had an abiding love and deep knowledge of flora and fauna. She wrote to friends of her pleasure at creating her first garden at Elfin Cottage, Beckenham, which included a wild, raised garden in one corner, shrubs and beds of old-fashioned flowers such as lupins, pansies, hollyhocks and roses, an area for fruit and vegetables and a round pond for waterlilies. Inspired by this, lovely descriptions of trees, flowers and birdsong occur even in the midst of her 21 The Famous Five adventures.

It was only at the start of the 1950s that publishers Hodder & Stoughton first used the term The Famous Five and, within a year or two, they had sold more than six million copies. Enid Blyton had only planned to write a handful, but sales were so strong that she went on to pen 21 Famous Five novels, with more than two million copies continuing to sell each year.

The RHS’s Liz Thwaite, said: “People’s love of gardens and gardening often starts when they are children – running, laughing and playing in them, exploring winding paths, going for country walks and discovering the wonders of plants and wildlife. We hope that this summer will create many new happy memories for children, inspired by our gardens and Enid Blyton’s wonderful adventure books.”

The adventure trail at Rosemoor will encourage children to help The Famous Five find Uncle Quentin, who has gone missing on a horticultural research mission. In addition to the trail, exhibition and craft activities there is a whole raft of other events taking place throughout the Summer Holidays.

For details of The Famous Five events and a host of other forthcoming dates for your diary at Rosemoor, see the website.

FAMILY FUN AT WIMBLEBALL LAKE OPEN DAY

On Sunday 2 July West Country charity South West Lakes Trust held their annual Open Day at a very sunny Wimbleball Lake. Over 1,900 people of all ages attended the event and were able to take part in a variety of activities, both on and off the water, including: bushcraft, canoeing, kayaking, rowing, windsurfing, paddleboarding, archery, high ropes, roller zorbing and fishing tasters.

For the little ones there was also face painting by Anna Fraser, a bouncy castle, provided by ‘Wellington Bouncy Castles’, and giant games. Visitors of all ages were also given the chance to try out a range of instruments from around the world with an all-day session provided by ‘Music Mash’.

Local stallholders were kept busy with a steady stream of visitors and there was also the chance to get up close to some of North Devon Hawk Walks’ magnificent birds of prey.

The hog roast proved extremely popular as did the wood-fired pizzas provided by Rebel Town Pizza. The Duck Café were also kept busy throughout the day serving some of their renowned delicious treats, including copious amounts of ice cream!

Luke Hoather, Centre Manager at Wimbleball Lake, said, “What an amazing day! So many people enjoying what Wimbleball has to offer, even the sun joined us. I would like to say a big thank you to the Wimbleball team, South West Fishing For Life, Wimbleball Lake Sailing Club and the Duck Café for helping to make the day such a success. We look forward to next year’s event!”

The next event taking place at Wimbleball will be South West Fishing For Life’s annual family fun day on 6 August, 12p-3.30pm. The afternoon will include a variety of craft stalls and lot of fun and games for the children. For more information about upcoming events at Wimbleball, and other South West Lakes Trust sites, please call 01566 771930 or visit www.southwestlakes.co.uk

SUMMER OF FREE FUN AHEAD AT BARNSTAPLE MUSEUM

Keep your children entertained for free this summer, with a host of events at the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon.

There will be free craft sessions from 10.30am to 3.30pm every Wednesday during the school holidays, all inspired by the ‘Hatched, Matched and Dispatched’ exhibition on display at the museum this summer:

  • 26 July – Design and decorate a colourful egg to take home
  • 2 August – Design your own peg doll or spinning top toy
  • 9 August – Create your own photobooth props and pose for a photo in the museum’s pop-up frame
  • 16 August – Design and colour your own mini-lantern house
  • 23 August – Bring your family along for a giant ‘Book of the Dead’ colouring event on the Square
  • 30 August – create your own skull mask, get your face painted ‘Day of the Dead’ style or create some amazing colourful jewellery

Meanwhile, on Saturday 29 July, you can bring along any interesting objects you may have found to a free Finds Identification Day at the museum. Share your finds with Will Partridge from the South West Heritage Trust, who will help reveal the history behind your discoveries.

Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture at North Devon Council, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “We are very pleased the museum continues to offer a great range of free events for local families and visitors throughout the holidays. These fun activities are all linked to the fascinating new exhibition that will soon be on display in the museum, so there will be lots to see and do while the children play. There is also a lovely cafe to enjoy at the end of your visit.”

The ‘Hatched, Matched and Dispatched’ exhibition runs from 22 July to 9 September, telling the history of North Devonians through their life stages, with stories and objects collected from local people.

The Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon is open from 10am to 4pm from 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.

 

BE A QUANTOCK EXPLORER

The Quantocks Events Programme starts this weekend with a woodland spring flowers walk from Aisholt so we thought this would be a good time to share a post from the team at the Quantock Hills AONB…

Grab your rucksack and flask of sugary tea and come and join the Quantock Rangers as the Quantock Hills AONB Service launches its Events Programme for 2017.

Explore the Quantock Hills with our Rangers and Specialists in a series of guided walks throughout the year. Walks include hunting for fossils on our Jurassic Coast Walk, a Wellbeing Walk to help celebrate ‘Naturally Healthy Month’ in May, a Family Bushcraft Day, an evening Bats and Owls Walk and even a Quantock Quiz Walk for the walker who enjoys solving puzzles!

The programme also includes a set of special walks run by the Quantock Volunteer Rangers called Quantock Explorer Walks. These are specially designed to introduce you to different parts of the Quantock Hills and to find out more about the wildlife, plantlife and history of that part of the hills. From Fyne Court to Cothelstone, the Bicknoller loop and a Hill Fort Walk too.

We are also helping to promote others running guided walks on the Quantocks, including a series of walks at Durbourgh Farm including a Dawn Chorus Walk, a Spring Flowers Walk and in the autumn a Fungi Walk. Also, June brings the Quantock Walking Festival run by the Sedgemoor Ramblers.

Quantock AONB Manager Chris Edwards says: “These events are about experiencing the very best of the Quantock Hills, from the 200-million-year-old fossils on the Quantock coastline, to finding out more about how prehistoric people used and changed this landscape. It’s about enjoying the outstanding nature of this important and nationally recognised landscape.”

To book onto an event and to see the programme go to the Quantock Hills AONB website at www.quantockhills.com/events/view you can also find us on Facebook at /Quantock.hills or on Twitter @quantockhills

EASTER AT HESTERCOMBE

With the spring blooms looking lovely and spring finally in the air, Hestercombe has plenty on offer for families looking to enjoy the outdoors this Easter.

Join in the fun with the children as they complete Hestercombe’s special Easter garden trail to find the contents of the Easter Bunny’s basket. When they’ve completed the trail, they can claim a delicious hand-crafted chocolate bunny, made locally by Cocoa’s. The trail runs until 17 April and includes an egg for the children to decorate themselves and costs just £1.50 to take part.

Grown-ups can enjoy something a little more refined for their Easter treat in the Column Room Restaurant, where Hestercombe is offering delicious triple chocolate scones, mini Easter biscuits and dark chocolate truffles with a decadent Easter afternoon tea. Views over the stunning Edwardian Garden and the Blackdown Hills will make your Easter extra special.

Don’t forget to visit the Hestercombe Gallery this Easter, where Hestercombe’s latest exhibition “Regions of Light” is being held, showcasing the work of Jem Southam, Rebecca Chesney, the Revd John Eagles and Paul Desborough.

BIG ADVENTURE DAY AT HADDON HILL THIS WEDNESDAY

Everyone is welcome to come and join in The Haddon Hill Big Adventure on Wednesday 12 April from 10am to 4pm. Hosted by Exmoor National Park with help from volunteers, it will be the first Big Adventure of 2017.

There will be a chance to explore the natural world with family friendly games and activities lasting all day, including bush-craft skills nature art activities including soil printing and picture making. There will also be scavenger hunts and species identification with the Exmoor Natural History Society.

Haddon Hill is a wide open space with plenty of room for everyone and there are toilets and parking available on site. The event is free, but donations to CareMoor for Exmoor, the National Park Authority’s donation scheme will be welcome,  the scheme supports vital conservation and access work that might otherwise not happen.

National Park Ranger Adam Vasey says: “This year at Haddon, in addition to the usual range of fun activities, we’re setting up a treasure hunt trail those families who complete the trail there will be a prize draw at 2pm where you can win some of our new Big Adventure T-shirts.”

Adam continued: “We’ve got a lot on offer this year with our Big Adventure events and, due to popular demand, we’re running four Family Campouts throughout the year. That will give both locals and visitors alike a chance to camp on Exmoor in some amazing locations.

“Don’t worry if you haven’t camped before, the experience is very suitable for novice/new campers, there’s more information on our website or come along to Haddon Hill and ask us some questions.”

For details of hundreds of events across Exmoor this year visit:  www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/enjoying/events

PHOTO by Steve Guscott