Category Archives: General

SOMERSET STAGES RETURNS TO MINEHEAD

Minehead will once again play host to the only loose surface stage rally in the South of the UK as the Somerset Stages Rally returns to the town for its eighth April event.

As the competition released its regulations last week, organisers confirmed their offering of 42 competitive stage miles in the Brendon Hills and Exmoor National Park. The event will welcome competitors from the Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series, MAXXIS Tyres MSA English Rally Championship and REIS Motorsport Insurance ASWMC Loose Surface Rally Championship.

Comprising familiar forest roads on Exmoor, the 2017 Somerset Stages Rally will also consist of the unique 3.73 mile test along the all-asphalt Porlock Toll Road (run twice) which inevitably provides a challenge for the predominately loose surface contenders. Once again The Beach Hotel will play host to Rally Headquarters during the event and rally teams will base themselves along the Minehead seafront for the scheduled services throughout the day.

Over 100 of the UK’s best rally drivers will head to the West Country to tackle the rally which was named as the best ASWMC event in 2016 and event organisers Burnham-on-Sea Motor Club and Minehead Motor Club believe they have all the ingredients for a great rally for both competitors and fans alike.

“We have a fantastic base for the rally thanks to West Somerset District Council, Somerset County Council, Minehead Town Council and the Minehead Events Group,” says Jason Hayes Clerk of the Course. “The town provides an excellent backdrop to host the rally and certainly creates a fantastic atmosphere during the weekend.  Competitors and fans love it as well with spectators being able to get up close to the teams at the seafront service area as well as the start and finish celebrations along the seafront.”

And the stages are promising to provide crews with a challenge on all of the events 14 stages. “We have tried to provide a bit of variety again this year and have come up with a format that means we can have a few longer stages.  Add to that the challenging Porlock Toll Road stages and the event should provide both seasoned competitors and newcomers to the sport a thrilling day’s motor sport.”

There will be plenty of opportunities for fans to get a slice of the action with a Spectator Stage in the Kennisham forest complex, offering the chance to see the action twice during the day.

More information is available at www.somersetstagesrally.com and you can keep up to date with all the latest news on the event Facebook and Twitter feeds.
www.facebook.com/thesomersetstages
www.twitter.com/somersetstages
PHOTO: The 2016 event winner Luke Francis / John H Roberts in their Evo9 – please credit to Gasmark Media.

HELP GIVE A DORMOUSE A HOME

Dormouse numbers on Exmoor and in many other parts of the country are in decline, so to help reverse this, CareMoor for Exmoor* is launching a Winter Appeal to raise funds for 150 dormouse boxes at three woodland sites in Exmoor National Park.

Philip Kiberd, CareMoor funding officer, says, “We already have some dormouse boxes on Exmoor and know that they are being used, but over the years they become damp and we need to replace them and put up many more.

“To supply, install and monitor a dormouse box costs more than £20 and every penny helps, but all donations over £20 will receive an attractive ‘thank you’ card which could be sent to someone else if you’d like to make it a gift.”

Dormice are one of the world’s most ancient mammals and although their numbers have halved in the UK over the past 100 years, they are still be found on Exmoor, a nationally important habitat for the species.

Maintaining good dormouse population is particularly important as they are an indicator of the health of the environment in which they live. They are omnivorous – eating insects, flowers, nectar, berries and nuts, but they need a good source of food from April to October. This means if they are doing well the woodland is in a good condition for many other creatures, but when numbers decrease it suggests a lack of food that will also affect other animals.

The boxes provide shelter and safe nest sites for summer breeding.  Most mice have regular broods, but dormice (not actually a mouse, despite the name) live much longer, around 5 years, have smaller broods and usually only one a year.  A pair of dormice will usually have a brood of 4 – 6 of which maybe only one or two will survive their first year to breed themselves, making the population very vulnerable.

Patrick Watts-Mabbott, volunteer and outreach officer at Exmoor National Park, says: “The boxes also make monitoring the health and population of the dormice much easier, so if you would like to help us please donate what you can and give a dormouse a home this winter.”

Donations will be welcome online via www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/enjoying/CareMoor-for-Exmoor/dormouse-appeal  or by cheque to CareMoor for Exmoor, Exmoor National Park, Exmoor House, Dulverton, Somerset TA22 9HL or at any National Park Centre.

BRAVE KATE SHAVES HER HEAD FOR EQUINE CANCER CHARITY WILLBERRY WONDER PONY

Kate Trawin, who works with the vets at Molecare Farm Vets, South Molton, recently had her hair shaved to support the Willberry Wonder Pony charity and raised the grand total of £1,200

The event happened live in the South Molton branch of Mole Valley Farmers, where the clippers were wielded by local hairdresser Debbie Tapp. The crowd were appreciative of Kate’s selfless gesture and yet more donations were made to this worthy charity.

Willberry Wonder Pony was started by a horse loving teenage girl called Hannah Francis who sadly passed away in August. The charity has been taken to the heart of the equine community, as it raises money for people with cancer who have equestrian dreams. Just 12 months after being bought at Badminton Horse Trials, the toy horse has become a household name. Many equine personalities have supported Wilberry, who had the distinction of being a passenger aboard Mulrys Error, when event rider Ben Hobday – himself a cancer survivor – competed in the Badminton Horse Trials this year, raising awareness of Hannah and her legacy.

dscn1820-2Kate, a horse rider herself explains: “It feels a bit weird, but no doubt I’ll get used to it! I decided Brave The Shave after following Hannah’s blog when she was diagnosed with cancer. She passed away on 1st August and that, especially as a mum myself, really tugged at my heart strings. I wanted to do something to raise money and decided on the head shave.

“Debbie Tapp from Heasley Mill was in charge of shaving my head, as I wanted to make sure it was a professional job! To have raised £1,200 is absolutely fantastic, so thanks to Debbie, everyone who donated and for Mole Valley Farmers who allowed me to do it in front of an audience in the store.”

It’s not too late to make a donation – just go to the South Molton Mole Valley Farmers branch at Pathfields Business Park or alternatively see the Just Giving website – Kate Trawin and Kate’s Brave The Shave.

DORSET AND SOMERSET AIR AMBULANCE BACK MISSING TYPE CAMPAIGN

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance has announced that it is supporting this year’s Missing Type campaign for new blood donors.

The international campaign – first held by NHS Blood and Transplant in 2015 – brings together 25 blood services from 21 countries to call for new donors to ensure blood donation for future generations.

Throughout the campaign As, Bs and Os – the letters of the main blood groups – are disappearing in everyday and iconic locations around the world including America, Australia, Japan and Ireland. Patients from around the world have thanked blood donors in a moving video and famous names in participating nations are backing the campaign.

International Missing Type

With many of Dorset and Somerset’s Critical Care Team being regular donors, it was no surprise that they were keen to show their support. Removing the letters As Bs and Os from the DSAA helicopter was seen as a little extreme, so instead they created a board which changed the Charity’s logo to red and omitted the important letters before they travelled to a local donation centre to give blood themselves.

Now the crew of Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance are calling for people across the two counties to do the same and register as the new blood donors of the future. In England, there is a particular need for more young blood donors, more black and Asian donors and more donors with O negative and A negative blood.

Dr Phil Hyde, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Medical Lead, said: “Earlier this year, we announced an enhancement in our critical care capability with the carriage of blood products on board our aircraft. Emergency blood transfusions are usually given to patients who suffer life-threatening bleeding caused by major trauma or acute medical conditions. 40% of trauma deaths are due to bleeding, so being able to carry and administer blood products to these patients before they get to hospital could be a matter of life or death.

“We are delighted to be able to support the Missing Type campaign and hope that the people of Dorset and Somerset will help ‘fill in the gaps’ by registering as new donors. Blood transfusions save lives and we need people across Dorset and Somerset to register as new donors at www.blood.co.uk. Every donation helps or saves up to three people.”

Mike Stredder, Director of Blood Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, the service that collects, tests and processes blood for hospitals across England, said: “Blood donation is an amazing gift and we are really grateful to Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance for their support.

“Thanks to the generosity of our current donors, hospitals have the blood needed to treat patients and there is not a crisis in blood stocks. Despite overall blood use in hospitals declining, we need more people to start giving blood to replace those who can no longer donate and to ensure we have the right mix of blood groups to match patient needs in the future.

“We need more young donors to help ensure the future of blood donation. We also particularly need more donors from Black African, Black Caribbean, mixed race, Arab and South Asian heritage to become blood donors to reflect the ethnic diversity of patients.

“Don’t worry if you’ve never given blood before and don’t know what blood group you are – you find out shortly after your first donation. What’s important is that you register as a donor and book your first appointment to donate.”

  • To sign up as a new donor, visit: blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.
  • Support the campaign on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram #MissingType.

More information about the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance can be found by visiting: www.dsairambulance.org.uk or by calling: 01823 669604.

JIM BRAY PREPARES FOR 630-MILE COAST PATH WALK

Photo by Guy Harrop **FREE TO USE** 22/07/14. NHS Healthcare various image copyright guy harrop info@guyharrop.com 07866 464282
Photo by Guy Harrop **FREE TO USE**
22/07/14. NHS Healthcare various
image copyright guy harrop
info@guyharrop.com
07866 464282

A former communications manager for the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust is preparing to walk 630 miles along the entire South West Coast Path this summer to raise money for two local charities that support cancer patients and their families.

Jim Bray left his job with the Trust last month to take up an eight-week challenge entitled Jim’s Journey.

The 36-year-old will be raising money for the Seamoor Unit, the new £2.5million chemotherapy and day treatment centre at North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple, and Exeter-based charity FORCE.

Jim will set off from Minehead in Somerset today (10 June) and is due to climb more than 115,000 feet (nearly four times the height of Mount Everest), cross 288 bridges, catch 13 ferries, pass around 3,500 coast path signs and go up or down over 30,000 steps before reaching the finish at Poole Harbour in Dorset on Thursday 4 August.

He will be charting his journey with a daily photo diary on Facebook.

“I didn’t used to like walking or appreciate the benefits of it but after a spell of ill health towards the end of last year I was encouraged to walk more to help me get better,” said Jim, who lives in Sampford Peverell, near Tiverton.

“This year I’ve done a brisk walk for half an hour every day as well as a longer trek in Devon or Somerset once or twice a week, and I now feel fitter, healthier and stronger.

“I’ve enjoyed exploring nature, including coasts, moors and rivers, and like to take photos as I go, partly to try to inspire other people to get out and see the amazing scenery on our doorstep.

“I’ve experienced some of the Coast Path walks around Hartland, Heddon’s Mouth, Lynmouth and Porlock on the north coast and Noss Mayo, Salcombe, Ladram Bay and Branscombe on the south coast, and each one has a magic and intrigue that helps to cleanse the soul.

“I’m looking forward to exploring more dramatic cliffs and rock formations, secret coves, picturesque harbours and tranquil estuaries, knowing that every step I take will help to raise money for two excellent local charities and support patients and families affected by cancer.”

Jim joined the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust in 2012 and helped to promote the Chemotherapy Appeal – the fundraising campaign that enabled the Seamoor Unit to be built – as well as the official opening of the centre by HRH The Earl of Wessex last September.

He said: “I saw at first hand how fundraising can make such a phenomenal difference to the lives of patients receiving cancer treatment, and I was keen to do my bit as part of a big personal challenge.”

The Seamoor Unit Fund is a leading appeal run by Over and Above, the Trust’s charity.

Ian Roome, fundraising manager for Over and Above, said: “Jim’s Journey will be an incredible experience and our fundraising team and volunteers are looking forward to joining him on parts of the route.

“His fundraising will help to buy specialist medical equipment and bring in more support services such as aromatherapy treatments to enhance patient care in the Seamoor Unit.”

FORCE provides physical, emotional, psychological and practical assistance to patients and their families from its Support and Information Centre in the grounds of the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

The charity supports patients from across Devon, with some travelling from Somerset, Dorset and Cornwall to access its services.

It also funds local research and buys specialist equipment to improve diagnosis and treatment.

FORCE is the 2016 Captain’s Charity at Tiverton Golf Club, where Jim has been a member since he was nine years old.

Naomi Cole, community fundraiser for FORCE, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Jim for choosing FORCE as one of the charities to benefit from his fundraising this summer, and would like to wish him all the very best as he takes on the beautiful but challenging South West Coast Path walk.

“FORCE has spent the last 29 years working to help local cancer patients and their families.

“During 2016 we need to raise funds to meet commitments of £1.2million and as all of our work continues to rely entirely on voluntary donations, the support of fundraisers like Jim really is vital.

“We’re looking forward to hearing about Jim’s progress and no doubt admiring photos of some of the stunning coastline along the way.”

Jim is a member of the South West Coast Path Association, a charity that promotes the Path and raises funds to pay for vital improvements and repairs.

Esther Pearson, director of the Association, said: “Walking the Coast Path is regarded by many as a walk of a lifetime and I’m sure this will be the case for Jim’s Journey.

“The most popular stories our members enjoy reading in our newsletters are the inspirational accounts from those who have completed all 630 miles and the ups and downs it entails.

“It’s not for the faint-hearted, that’s for sure, but it’s a challenge that reaps rewards with memories that will stay with him for many years to come.”

Jim’s 56-day expedition will include 52 days of walking, at an average of over 12 miles a day, and four rest days.

The former Blundell’s School student will be staying in B&Bs, inns and hotels and is funding the trip himself, enabling all money raised to be split 50-50 between the two charities.

To sponsor Jim, visit his Virgin Money Giving page at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JimsJourney.

Individuals, businesses or groups who are interested in joining Jim for a section of his journey, organising their own walking challenge, offering commercial sponsorship or donating a prize for fundraising activities throughout the summer are asked to call him on 07425 133606 or e-mail him at jims.journey@outlook.com.

People can follow his progress and see his daily photo diary by liking the Jim’s Journey page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Jims-Journey-1102417966497648, or catch regular updates on Twitter via @Jims_Journey.

To see photos of the walks Jim has already completed this year, visit the Discovering Devon, Somerset and beyond page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/discoveringdevonsomersetandbeyond.

PHOTO: by Andrew Wheatley.

COAST TO COAST AIR AMBULANCE CHALLENGE

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance is holding its 6th annual Coast to Coast (C2C) Cycle Challenge on Sunday 15 May 2016 and is hoping that the public will come out in support of the 600 cyclists taking part.

The event, which is not a race, involves a challenging 54-mile cycle ride which starts at Watchet Harbour (pictured) in the north and ends at West Bay in the south, following a wonderfully scenic route through the beautiful Somerset and Dorset countryside. A staggered start will see the stronger cyclists set off first at 11am, with the less experienced riders departing at 11.15am. A shorter 11-mile route starts at the Royal Oak public house in Drimpton at 2pm and also finishes as West Bay.

Last year’s event saw people of all ages and abilities take part, raising over £64,000 for the life-saving charity. With only 600 places available, it was no surprise that the event was sold out within three days of on-line registration being open.

This ever-popular event is renowned for being an emotional and inspiring day out for everyone involved. That’s no surprise given the fact that the cyclists consist of patients who have experienced the work of the air ambulance first-hand and those who take part in memory of a loved one. Others get involved as part of a team or simply want to challenge themselves and support the charity in return.

Darren Avery
Darren Avery

Darren Avery is taking part in the event for the very first time. “As a cyclist who heads out into the far reaches of the countryside, I’m only too aware that either I or my companions might one day need the services of the air ambulance. A friend of mine was airlifted off the Mendip Hills after a mountain bike accident and badly injured his leg. I very much appreciate the knowledge that the air ambulance is there if ever we need their help.   It’s an honour for me to be able to ride and support them at the same time.”

Anthony Maynard was killed in a Road Traffic Incident in 2008.
Anthony Maynard was killed in a Road Traffic Incident in 2008.

Dave Maynard is taking part for the fourth year. He is cycling in memory of his 25-year-old son Anthony who lost his life after a road traffic incident. Anthony was on a training ride when he was hit by a van back in 2008. “This year is extra special as my wife Sue is also taking part. I think that’s amazing; a mother who loses her son whilst cycling decides to get on a bike herself and ride in his memory. If that’s not courage, then what is?”

Teams o’ Tumblers are once again coming out in force for their third year running. Last year, 36 members took part and raised a staggering £19,601.90. It certainly won’t be hard to spot them that’s for sure.

Even the Charity’s Chief Executive Officer Bill Sivewright and Medical Lead Dr Phil Hyde have set themselves challenges this year.

Dr Phil Hyde has been working with the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance for over three years. Actively involved in pre-hospital care since 2003, Phil also works at Southampton Children’s Hospital as an intensive care consultant. Wanting to play their part, Phil and his wife Hannah, together with their children George (3) and Emily (5), will cycle the 11 mile route on a tandem bike with a tag-along and a front seat.

Bill Sivewright, DSAA CEO
Bill Sivewright, DSAA CEO

Bill Sivewright is usually seen behind the scenes helping to organise the event on the day.   Last year he rode to support a friend but this year he is taking part in support of the Charity.

“After coming up with the idea of running the event five years ago, I trailed the route a number of times but for the first few years I was far too heavily involved with the admin to ride on the day. Last year I rode to support Clive Dickin, National Director of the Association of Air Ambulances, however this year I’m doing it for the Charity.

“It’s a fantastic occasion and the atmosphere is incredible. I’m sure it will be an extremely emotional day all round and the aches and pains will definitely be worthwhile. The event seems to get better year on year and that is mainly due to the wonderful team of volunteers, members of the public and local businesses who help us with marshalling and keeping the cyclists safe.

“Our thanks go to the event sponsors and the various pit stop locations along the route, without their help and support, we simply could not put on such a large scale event.

“Finally, a very big thank you to all the cyclists taking part who are encouraging their friends and family to sponsor them. Let’s hope the weather stays fine and we raise as much as possible and make this the best Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge yet!”

Supporters will be able to encourage the Coast to Coast cyclists at the starting point along the route or at the finishing line celebrations at East Beach Car Park in West Bay.

As well as individual sponsorship of the cyclists, the charity has set up two other ways in which donations can be made in support of the event. These can be made online by visiting: www.dsairambulance.org.uk or by mobile phone by texting: COAS16 £5 to 70070.

 

NEW CHAPEL OPENS AT NORTH DEVON CREMATORIUM

A brand new £1.14 million chapel was officially unveiled on Tuesday  at North Devon Crematorium in Barnstaple.

The 256 seat ‘Rowan’ chapel has been completed on time and within budget, transforming the current facilities and providing a crematorium fit for the communities of North Devon and Torridge.

The project has been funded by the North Devon Crematorium Joint Committee, which is made up of North Devon and Torridge District councillors.

Contractors South West Highways started onsite in July and have worked hard to keep disruption to a minimum, carrying out noisy work at weekends and stopping work during services.

The new chapel has been built on the main car park area and links to the existing crematorium building. The original chapel has also been refurbished and will still be available for smaller, more intimate services.

The building is designed to accommodate large services, with a ‘quiet’ room adjoining the hall to allow families with small children to feel part of the service, without the worry of keeping little ones quiet. There is also a large covered area outside for families to gather before and after services to lay flowers.

The parking area has also been expanded, with spaces reserved for disabled parking and hearses at the bottom car park, close to the chapel entrances.

Chairman of North Devon Crematorium Joint Committee, Councillor Simon Inch (pictured), says: “This project has been a pleasure to watch develop. Everyone has worked so hard to ensure that the new chapel is completed on time and what we have now is a stunning new chapel, provided at no extra cost to the taxpayer. The existing chapel was no longer adequate for our communities’ needs, with larger services spilling out of the room, which could make an already distressing time even more stressful. I am very proud to have been involved in providing this wonderful new facility for the communities of North Devon and Torridge.”

North Devon Council Leader, Councillor Des Brailey, says: “I am very pleased to attend the official opening of this impressive new chapel at North Devon Crematorium. I am particularly proud of the hard work and commitment of the project team at North Devon Council for managing the delivery of this superb new facility, which will make a huge difference to visitors to the crematorium, well done to everyone involved.”

Torridge District Council Deputy Leader, Councillor James Morrish, says: “The new facilities really will make a difference to local people and I think the members of the joint committee and project board should be congratulated for a job well done. This is a great example of collaborative team working, which in relation to the two councils working together to run the crematorium stretches back over 40 years. The upgrade to the facilities will ensure it remains an appropriate and relevant setting for the future.”

More information about North Devon Crematorium is on the North Devon Council website www.northdevon.gov.uk/crematorium.

 

 

BICCLESCOMBE PARK PROUD TO WIN PRIDE OF PARKS AWARD

Bicclescombe Park in Ilfracombe has scooped another prestigious award.

Having flown the Green Flag for the last 12 years, Bicclescombe Park has now achieved the highest rating of five stars in the Pride in Parks awards.

Pride in Parks, which is run by Southwest in Bloom in conjunction with the Royal Horticultural Society, is awarded to parks and open spaces that demonstrate good community involvement, excellent maintenance and development, and care of the environment.

Members of Bicclescombe Park user group entered the park for the award and were very pleased to accept the award at a ceremony in Exeter earlier this month.

North Devon Council’s Executive Member responsible for parks, leisure and culture, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “Wow! Another award for Bicclescombe Park and well deserved it is too. To achieve the highest marks possible by the judges just shows what a superb facility the park is and something which the council is very proud of. Well done to everyone involved, particularly our parks team and the very active community, who strive to keep the park to such a high standard.”

Wendy Dunlop-Jenkins, from the Bicclescombe Park User Group, was responsible for nominating the park. Wendy says: “Bicclescombe is such a beautiful park and doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves, so I decided to enter it for the Pride of Parks award. I was so thrilled when I heard that the park had won, and to get the highest rank possible is absolutely brilliant.”

Local ward member, Councillor Geoff Fowler, says: “This is excellent news for Ilfracombe, congratulations to everyone who had an input into making our park such a success for the community.”

If you would like to volunteer at Bicclescombe Park, get in touch with the Bicclescombe Park User Group on Facebook www.facebook.com/BicclescombePark or contact the council’s Parks team on 01271 388308 or email parks@northdevon.gov.uk.

 

(ESTHER) MARY MOORE (NEE YENDELL), MBE

OBITUARY by Susi Atkinson (Mary Moor’s neice)

Mary Moore MBE picMary Yendell (or Aunty Mary, as she was known to so many) was born 12 September 1927 at Crangs Heasleigh, Heasley Mill where she lived all her life until moving to Eastleigh Care Home.

Mary lost her father Laramy when he died suddenly aged 42. She was only 10 and the eldest of four sisters – Rosalie, May and Ruth. But from here on in many ways she headed up the family, working alongside her mother Mabel Yendell.

Keeping the family farm running was difficult during the tough 1930s, and soon the family were taking in paying guests and selling milk, butter and cream to supplement their farming income. The visitors were important both financially and socially, with many becoming life-long friends.

Life was busy and full and during the 1940s, when the US troops were training for D Day, Mabel and Mary told the story of how they served a cream tea to Ike (Dwight D Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe) at Molland. She also told how she believed some of the people billeted with the family during the war were SOE operatives (spies!) sent to Crangs to recuperate after overseas missions.

In the 1950s Mary met her future husband Frank Moore and as time went on she began her involvement in various voluntary organisations. She and her mother were staunch supporters of the chapel. And as founder members of Heasley Mill WI they started the produce stall in South Molton’s Pannier Market – Mary had said in the first week they took only 6d (about 3p!).

She also set up the Volunteer Bureau in South Molton, sat on North Molton Parish Council for many years and became very involved in the South Molton League Of Friends. It was through their efforts that the new Community Hospital was built in the 1988. Then, by working with Garfield Dullam, and the incredible generosity of the local community, £120,000 was raised for the Kidney Dialysis Unit which was built on the same site 15 years ago. A further £250,000 raised subsequently saw the addition of a new Physiotherapy and Out Patients wing at South Molton Hospital.

For this, and her other voluntary work, Mary received her MBE. At the presentation ceremony (held at South Molton Community Hospital rather than Buckingham Palace at her request) she stressed that the honour should actually have gone to all supporters, past and present.

Home at Crangs Mary always had an open door and everyone received a warm, farmhouse welcome. Friends and family knew how dropping by for five minutes could easily turn into a whole afternoon of tea, cake and conversation, inevitably meeting up with the other visitors who turned up at regular intervals. Mary seemed to know everyone’s family trees and her own family and their children were central to her – affectionately known as The Heasley Mill clan!

‘Aunty Mary’ will be sorely missed – she could be tough and depended on to speak her mind, while remaining generous and charitable to the end.

HEADWATERS OF THE EXE CATCHMENT PROGRAMME

The new Headwaters of the Exe project is working with farmers and land managers to ensure good water quality in the catchment of the River Exe. It is part of South West Water’s Upstream Thinking programme.

The project will run from 2015–2020 and is funded by South West Water and the Exmoor National Park Authority.  It covers an area of 27,559 hectares and includes the upper Exe, the Rivers Barle, Quarme, Pulham, Haddeo and smaller tributaries, as well as Wimbleball Reservoir.

The programme will deliver a range of work, including:

  • Advice to farmers, foresters and game shoot managers
  • A capital grant fund
  • Training events, site visits and demonstrations to promote good practice
  • Rights of way maintenance to reduce erosion and run-off in high risk areas
  • Monitoring to identify any localised water quality issues relating to sewerage
  • Control of invasive species.

Farming

The programme of support for farmers will consist of advice, training and events. Specialist advisers from FWAG SW are available to carry out free farm advisory visits to 50 farms in high-priority parts of the catchment and provide confidential reports. Farmers wishing to take up the advice will also be eligible for a capital grant of up to £2,500 to carry out work on the farm to help protect water quality. For further advice please contact Adam Lockyear, FWAG SW, on 01823 660684 or email adam.lockyear@fwagsw.org.uk.

Forestry

There is a programme of support for woodland owners and managers, including events, advice and capital grants. Woodland creation will be encouraged in appropriate parts of the catchment. Exmoor National Park Authority’s specialist woodland officers can provide free advice – please contact James Mason, ENPA’s Woodland Development Officer, on 01398 322275 or email jmason@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk.

Game Shoots

The catchment is a premier game shoot location, which is vitally important to the local economy. The project is able to offer capital grants and advice to shoot owners and managers for improvements to water management.

Access

The widespread network of public rights of way, permitted paths and open access land are an important asset for Exmoor. However, surveys have shown that silt and mud can rapidly enter rivers and streams from these tracks and paths. A programme of work is being carried out by Exmoor National Park Authority focussing on those paths which have the highest risk of erosion and run-off affecting watercourses.

Sewerage

Localised monitoring is being carried out to collect data relating to sewerage, particularly around discharge points for the smaller sewage treatment works. This monitoring will be undertaken by volunteers through the Riverfly Partnership/River Exe and Tributaries Association and will provide an evidence base for action under any future funding programmes.

Ecology

The catchment includes the River Barle Site of Special Scientific Interest, parts of which are assessed as being in “unfavourable condition”, partly because of the presence of non-native invasive species including Japanese knotweed, Montbretia, Himalayan balsam and signal crayfish. The programme is supporting the control of non-native invasive species in the Exe catchment through existing partnership projects.

Further information

If you would like to know more about the project please contact:

Bea Davis, Programme Manager (Headwaters of the Exe), on 01398 322278, 07970 099136 (email BDavis@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk) or Katherine Williams, Exmoor Hill Farming Network Officer, on 01643 841455, 07970 795808 (email KWilliams@northdevonplus.co.uk).

You can also find out more online at www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/headwaters.

Launch Event

Exmoor Hill Farming Network is organising a launch event, mainly for landowners within the catchment area at Zeal Farm, Hawkridge, TA22 9QJ, by kind permission of Mr and Mrs Andrew Pugsley, on Friday 22 January. The project will be launched by Stanley Johnson (former MEP, author, journalist, local landowner and conservationist). The launch event will start at 11am and will involve a series of brief presentations, followed by lunch and an optional walk to the river.

Please be aware that places are limited and for catering reasons it is necessary to book. If you would like to join this event please contact Katherine Williams, Exmoor Hill Farming Network Officer, by email: KWilliams@northdevonplus.co.uk or 01643 841455 by Monday 18 January 2016.

The map shown at the top of this page is  © Exmoor National Park Authority 2012. It was produced for Exmoor Magazine’s Spring 2012 issue feature by Michelle Werrett, ‘Wild Waters of Exmoor’ (see page 53 of that issue if you still have it!).