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Keen walkers are being encouraged to come to North Devon and Exmoor this month (May, 2017) for an Outdoor Festival run by Visit Exmoor that coincides with National Walking Month.

The event hopes to inspire everyone from hardened ramblers to novice strollers, from far and wide, to pull on their walking boots and head for the area.

Outdoor enthusiast, Claire Sellar-Elliott, co-owner of The Jubilee Inn at West Anstey along with Executive Chef Sam Salway, said: “This part of North Devon and Exmoor is perfect for walkers of all abilities, as there is plenty to see and do with paths that are either challenging or easy to do.”

The Jubilee Inn is in the heart of deepest Devon, not far from the official ‘Gateway to Exmoor’– the bustling and picturesque market town of South Molton.

“Right on our doorstep here is the 117-mile Two Moors Way, which traverses the whole county, coast-to-coast, from Plymouth to Lynmouth. We get lots of walkers popping in to have teas, coffees and lunches with us en route.

“Often our guests stay with us to explore the immediate area on foot, so we provide pack lunches, everything from basic and family options, to luxury champagne hampers, on request too.

“We also welcome a lot of cyclists and caravan-holiday visitors who come to the area to enjoy the outstanding views and landscapes. We provide secure bicycle storage and free parking for those transporting their bicycles to the area from further afield, if they wish to use us as a base for a wider holiday.”

The Visit Exmoor Outdoor Festival aims to promote everything from coastal to forestry and moorland walks, as well as paths taking in the area’s quaintest villages and many other activities are being promoted too.

“Festivals like these are a great way for everyone to explore North Devon and Exmoor and take in some of our finest vistas, and just to enjoy the simpler things in life like hedgerow flowers and birdsong.

“But it’s not just about visitors coming into the area, the festival overlaps with National Walking Month, which is designed to encourage us all to get out and walk more, wherever we live. Experts say adults need to do at least 20 minutes of walking a day for health, fitness and general well-being, so it’d be really great if locals got involved too and came out walking in the area this month as well.

“We’re also close to the South West Coast Path, which has wonderful, breath-taking views. There are lots of circular walks here too, perfect for all abilities.

“But it’s not just about us humans, this part of Devon is wonderful for anyone with a dog as well and we are super dog friendly here with pet-friendly rooms. A senior member of staff also has their own Cruft’s Winner and offers doggy bathing and care!

“Those wishing to take their horses onto Exmoor for some outstanding trail riding are actively encouraged too as we’ve got box parking and local horsey knowhow to hand!”

For more information about this year’s event, which comes under Visit Exmoor’s Outdoor Festival, please visit

To link with the Outdoor Festival and National Walking month, The Jubilee Inn is offering visitors throughout May a special buy one, get one half price offer for Wednesday and Thursday lunchtimes from dishes selected from its daily Menu du Jour.*

It is also offering guests a special buy one, get one half price on all main course Sunday roasts until 31 August, excluding the Bank Holiday weekends. Booking is essential to participate in any offers.

For further details about The Jubilee Inn, which is on the B3227 at West Anstey near South Molton, please call 01398 341401 or visit


King’s College, Taunton set a new record when they won the Independent Schools’ Football Association (ISFA) Girls’ Under 18 eleven-a-side cup by beating ACS International School Cobham 9-1 in the final at the home of Thame United at the end of April.

King’s became the first team in the history of the competition to retain this national title. In addition, this is the third time in the past four seasons that they have lifted the trophy, underlining  the status of King’s College, Taunton as the leading independent school in England for girls’ football.

On the first evening, King’s dominated proceedings from start to finish, and by half time led 4-0 thanks to goals from Lucie Waddon (2), Karolayne Alencar and Sarah Hill.

After the break, King’s extended their lead, with goals from substitute Lannece Hole, Beth Barzotelli, Kayane Alencar, Captain Beth Beale and Sarah Hill, before Repton pulled one back late in the game.

Chris Heayns, the Director of Football at King’s Schools, said: “This is a very special group of players who have worked hard and come together to produce some outstanding football. In doing so, they have set an excellent example to the younger players following them through school. They fully deserve this success.”

The football program at King’s has come a long way under Chris Heayns, who has been in charge for eight years. The program continues to evolve to provide the right opportunities, and to ensure the experience for each player is the best it can be.

“We want every player to achieve the very best he or she can be, at the same time getting a sound education and enjoying all of the other opportunities the school offers,” said Chris.

“Many of the girls play in women’s football leagues and there is no doubt that our links with Exeter City Ladies and other clubs has been a valuable part of their development. Three girls who were part of the winning side joined our Sixth Form on scholarships two years ago. In September will be taking up scholarships in North America.”

King’s are once again offering Sixth Form Scholarships worth up to 50% in a range of subjects for candidates who have the talent and the aspiration and show outstanding potential in their field, who would like to join Year 12 in September 2017.

As well as receiving top-class coaching to develop their particular skills, all pupils at King’s benefit from being part of an exceptionally happy and caring community. The school offers highly regarded academic subjects that universities prefer, small class sizes, and teachers who inspire pupils to reach their full academic potential. There is a range of excellent facilities, a broad offering of co-curricular activities, and opportunities to stretch pupils academically, which include visits, seminars, clubs and societies that are open to all.

Anyone who would like to find out more should make contact with the school’s Registrar, Kate Rippin, on 01823 328204 or visit



The Hestercombe Wedding Open Day takes place on Sunday 7 May and will present this beautiful wedding venue ready for a wedding along with a hand-picked selection of florists, photographers, outfitters, make-up artists and cake makers from across the region.

See Hestercombe’s stunning Bampfylde Hall set up for a wedding, explore the picturesque gardens and watch some interesting demonstrations from suppliers. Jan Waters of Hillcommon-based JW Blooms will be showing her floristry skills, creating a hand-tied bouquet and floral crowns using flowers cut fresh from her flower field that morning.

Pip Southgate will be giving wedding make-up demonstrations to make sure you look picture-perfect for your big day, and Jinks Art will also be giving a demonstration of their wedding stationery and painting a watercolour of the venue on the day.

Other exhibitors include In the Wild Art by Helena Willford, for individual wedding stationery, Gemma Waterjohns for the perfect wedding day hair, Golden Harp music, Tilda Rose and Eden Wedding Florist for fabulous floral displays. For delicious bespoke favours, Cocoa’s Locally Handmade Chocolates will take you to chocolate heaven and be sure to impress your guests.

For exquisite, locally grown and ethically produced blooms JW Blooms will show you how to create perfect wedding posies and to demonstrate how much better British-grown flowers look and smell to their overseas counterparts, and Charlotte Jane Cakes will talk you through your options with their fabulous wedding cakes.

Christian Michael Photography, and Bristol-based Jamie Dodd Photography are on hand to demonstrate how they capture the most stunning wedding images for your special day; and for that most important detail, the dress, there is Parham House Brides, based in Dunster, to offer you advice and samples about the type of look you are going for. Astaires outfitters and tailors will leave the man in your life looking dapper and ready to go with a sharp suit and all the right accessories, and Pumpkin and Pye offer alternatives to the traditional floral bouquets, with buttons and artificial flowers.

With such a variety of wedding specialist in one place, you’ll find those all-important decisions much easier to make, and you’ll be in the superb setting of Hestercombe Gardens, with its three centuries of garden design, formal and landscape gardens, great cascade, Pear Pond, and fabulous garden buildings.

Come along to the Wedding Open Day and make planning your big day a little easier.

  • Exclusively for Wedding Open Day visitors – take advantage of Hestercombe’s exciting offer. Book your Hestercombe wedding and receive a complimentary drinks reception as a special thank you from the team! (valid until the end of June 2017)


Acclaimed folk duo Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith will be appearing at Halsway Manor near Crowcombe on Sunday 7 May at 7pm, for an early-evening ‘unplugged’ performance.

“Every now and then an act jumps out at you and knocks you back,” says folk broadcaster Mike Harding. “Top notch” is the verdict of Folk Radio, “rousing stuff” say the Observer, while “Everyone at fRoots is pretty excited about Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith, and for good reason” (fRoots Magazine).

Jimmy and Sid arrived on the scene in 2014 with their unique style of strong harmony singing and considered musical arrangements. Recent album ‘Night Hours’ (Fellside Records) won the duo both critical and audience acclaim, with the pair becoming festival favourites last year, and their success is set to continue with a new album released this summer.

Jimmy and Sid play traditional and original folksong of the British Isles. They tell stories of hardship, joy, struggle and celebration held together with driving banjo and guitar arrangements and close vocal harmonies. They have both been heavily influenced by the songs and singers of East Anglia, where they both grew up, but their music also reflects the diversity of voices within the folk and acoustic world. They weave traditional English folksong with Irish, Scottish and American tunes, and their own compositions draw on many different styles.

The songs on their new album have been picked up from sessions, singarounds, gigs, recordings and learned from friends. The stories are varied but there is a common thread of political struggle and resistance, and the decline of the industries that were the backbone of England for many generations.

Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts, has been established as a charity since 1965. Nestling at the foot of the Quantock Hills, it provides a year-round programme of events and activities in traditional folk music, dance, song, storytelling, folklore and related arts and crafts. There’s ample free parking onsite, a bar and – of course – beautiful atmospheric settings for concerts with wonderful acoustics, and a chance to catch-up with the artists over a drink afterwards!

Tickets for the gig are priced £10 / £4 for anyone in full-time education. To book, call 01984 618274 (option 1), email or buy securely online


Regional charity South West Lakes Trust has launched the ultimate family ‘to do’ list. Put down the iPads, immerse yourself in nature and fill your summer with new adventures and experiences with South West Lakes Trust’s ‘101 thing to do this summer’ booklet.

From dramatic tors, open moorland and historical ancient monuments, to wildlife-rich woodlands, lakes and ponds – the lakes really are the ultimate children’s playground! Little adventurers will love exploring and discovering all of the fun things to do!

South West Lakes Trust takes great pride in the care it provides to over 40 inland waters, from the tip of Cornwall to West Somerset, ranging in size from 1 to 900 acres! Some sites provide unrivalled public access to watersports, angling, walking and cycling. Other more sensitive sites, such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Sites of Special Scientific Interest or Local Nature Reserves, are managed by the charity’s dedicated Countryside Team.

Explore the South West lakes and discover all the fun things to do as a family. Climb trees, build dens, go on a mini-beast hunt, track animal footprints or take to the water and experience something different – stand up on a paddleboard, race in kayaks or shout ‘arrr’ from a boat.

Andy Parsons, Chief Executive of South West Lakes Trust, said, “We are passionate about people from all walks of life being able to benefit from the wonderful countryside around our lakes. Our work is based around five themes that underpin the work of our charity and our people, one being ‘Play and Explore’. Fewer children are getting a chance to climb trees or play hide and seek in a woodland, so through our ‘Play and Explore’ campaign we aim to provide places for young people and their families to play together. Our 101 things to do this summer booklet is the perfect ‘to do’ list – getting more families outdoors and exploring.”

Download your copy for free from or purchase a booklet for only £2 from the activity centres or cafés at Stithians Lake near Redruth, Siblyback Lake near Liskeard, Tamar Lakes near Bude, Roadford Lake near Launceston or Wimbleball Lake near Dulverton. You can also download activity sheets, too – get your kids identifying trees, discovering bugs and learning through playful quizzes.

Tick off all the things you and your children have tried and share your adventures with us #101swlakes. How many can you do?

For more information visit the South West Lakes website or call 01566 771930.


Four Year 9 pupils from King’s College have recently won a prize in a local competition to write a new tune for the carillon in St Mary Magdalene Church in Taunton.

Following the replacement of the bells in the church tower, a competition was launched, asking local school students to create a new chime.

The competition organisers were impressed with the standard of entries and were faced with the difficult task of choosing the winners. In the 11-14 age group the joint winners were two pairs from King’s: Callie Stead and Jenna Kirby with ‘Gather Round’, and Charlie Spurr and Finley Payne with ‘Church Bells Sound’.

Commenting on their success, King’s College’s Director of Music, Colin Albery said: “This is fantastic, to have two pairs as the joint winners, and all four from King’s. It just goes to show that those Third Form music lessons have been paying off! I congratulate these pupils wholeheartedly on such a great achievement. Keep up the good work.”

The church will be holding a special service on Sunday 30 April with the theme ‘What do our bells say when they ring out and what should they say?’ The speaker will be Marcus Paul, formerly Deputy Head of Queen’s College. During the service the winners of the competition will hear their tune played on the new carillon for the very first time. The winners will have the opportunity to see how their music is transferred to the carillon and to go up to the ringing room to see the bells.


Following a £1.2m investment for the tourism industry in the South West, The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Garden Rosemoor is pleased to announce that their newest corporate hire and wedding venue will be completed this month.

The Garden Room, as it is to be known, is set in the stunning grounds of RHS Garden Rosemoor and is already receiving enquiries and securing bookings for weddings and awards nights well into 2018.

Able to accommodate up to 460 people for conferences or 250 to sit-down banqueting, the Garden Room is in an inspirational setting – the perfect place for corporate hire including conferences, training, product launches and trade shows and special celebrations such weddings, awards nights and private parties. Rosemoor’s award-winning restaurant team is fully equipped to cater for every need.

The Garden Room joins a number of other venues that are available for hire at Rosemoor which include The Peter Buckley Learning Centre, with its two state-of-the-art teaching classrooms, exhibition room and gardens and a lecture / exhibition hall. It is also one of ten venues licensed for weddings or civil ceremonies in the garden including intimate stables and shelters. In addition to weddings, the extremely experienced Rosemoor team hosts over 100 events, courses and workshops every year with everything from live music concerts and theatre productions to art and sculpture exhibitions, craft, food, plant and antiques fairs; flower shows and competitions.

One of the first of these events is a Wedding & Special Occasions Fayre on Sunday 7 May when Rosemoor will showcase everything that the garden and Devon has to offer a would-be bride or party organiser. Normal garden admission applies although tickets are free for this event for pre-booked bride and groom couples. Please visit or telephone the events team on 01805 626810.



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.


The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Garden Rosemoor will be bursting with more blooms than usual when it hosts RHS National Rhododendron Show and Competition on 22 and 23 April.

The Rhododendron Competition will be the first event to take place in the brand new Garden Room – a purpose-built permanent building suitable for all kinds of events throughout the year including conferences and wedding receptions.

Come and marvel at the remarkable variety and colour of these beautiful, spring-flowering plants. This National Show has more than 60 classes covering all types of rhododendrons, plus trade and advice stands as well as magnificent displays of magnolias and camellias, too. With competitors coming from as far afield as Oxfordshire and Hampshire, it promises more spring colour than ever before. Past competitors have included Exbury Gardens, Caerhays Castle, The Savill Garden, Trewithin, Marwood Hill and several National Trust properties in the South West including Glendurgan and Trelissick.

The Rhododendron Competition is entirely free to enter and open to anyone who wishes to exhibit. Professional and home gardeners alike will compete for prizes for the best blooms. Judging takes place on Saturday morning from 10am with the show open to the public from 11.30am. On Sunday the displays will be available for viewing 10am – 4pm.

Entry forms are available direct from RHS Competitions Manager, Georgina Barter at:

The Rhododendron Competition is the main event for gardeners but there are many other events taking place at RHS Rosemoor throughout this spring,


Musicians from four Devon schools had the chance of a lifetime to perform alongside some of the country’s leading instrumentalists in an inspirational concert of work by modern composers. The concert was the culmination of a series of workshops between the London Chamber Orchestra and pupils at Blundell’s, Blundell’s Prep, Uffculme and Exeter Cathedral Schools.

More than a 100 young musicians performed in the main part of the concert which was the piece Simple Gifts by Paul Edlin. The fourth movement of this was generated during improvisation workshops with twelve Blundell’s musician ‘mentors’ and then by working with pupils from all the schools to put the whole piece together. The concert also featured choristers and vocalists from Uffculme, Blundell’s Senior and Prep Schools and all musicians performed under the baton of Christopher Warren-Green, the LCO’s principal conductor. Other pieces performed included Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland by the LCO and Blundell’s Chamber Orchestra and Shaker Loops by John Adams, performed by the LCO.

The project began in November when eight LCO musicians spent the morning giving flash mob performances at Blundell’s Senior and Prep Schools and at Uffculme School and introduced young pupils to the instruments of the orchestra. In the afternoon, the three schools took part in chamber music masterclasses as well as brass ensembles and jazz groups, culminating in an informal concert.

The work with the LCO has been 18 months in the planning, hosted by Blundell’s School and with the initial starting point that the project should unite the community and involve other local schools. The legacy will continue into another concert at Cadogan Hall, London, in May, when lyrics composed for Simple Gifts by Blundell’s musician mentors will be sung by hundreds of students from around the country as part of a larger LCO music project.

PHOTO: The four schools in concert with the London Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of Christopher Warren-Green.