Category Archives: Towns Around Exmoor

CAMERAS AT THE READY FOR CLASSIC CARS IN LYNMOUTH!

Practical Classics car magazine is bringing a number of classic cars to Lynmouth for a photo shoot on Monday 29 January. Some of the cars will be going up on the Lynton Lynmouth Cliff Railway (whilst the passenger carriages are removed for winter maintenance).

The last time that cars were transported up the cliff via the railway was in 1952 during the Lynmouth Flood Disaster as a way of getting stranded cars out of Lynmouth and back to Lynton (and briefly as a one-off marketing stunt in the 1960s with an E-Type jag that was owned by a local businessman).

Viewing will be from the public areas and the bridges only but if you are interested in attending for photos / film / interview / editorial then it may be possible for site access to be arranged. The site contact for attendance or enquiry is Ashley Clarke (Chief Engineer / Manager) and his number is 01598 753486.

The cars will also be photographed in some of the other iconic locations around the twin villages, including Valley of Rocks, Rhenish Tower and Countisbury Hill. Practical Classics are writing an article about the Cliff Railway, its past role in transporting goods and cars and they are also showcasing the local area with a drive from Lynmouth to Porlock.

PHOTO: George Newnes’ car, which is believed to have been a Renault and was probably the first car ever taken up on the railway.  If you look closely, he can be seen sitting in the back on the right.  This image (courtesy of the Cliff Railway) was included in our article by Tony James about the railing back in the autumn of 2016.

EXMOOR FOOD AND CRAFTS: NEW MINEHEAD SHOP TO PROMOTE LOCAL PRODUCERS

A recently formed group of local food producers and craftspeople is opening a brand new shop at No. 4, The Avenue, Minehead, on 15 January 2018.

Following the recent decision to close the Exmoor Producers Association Shop on Friday Street Minehead, some of its members, along with a many new producers, got together to form a new ‘not for profit’ community group.

Pam Barr, herself a local pork farmer from Little Oak Farm (see winter issue of the magazine and photo above), is chairing the new group called Exmoor Food & Crafts. Pam said, “There is real enthusiasm and excitement among our members – the new shop which will allow a great platform for locally produced goods. We’ll be offering a great selection of Exmoor and Greater Exmoor handmade crafts and fabulous food items including honey, jam, chutney and meat.”

Local producers who might be interested in selling their goods though the new shop are invited email Pamela via info@exmoorfoodandcrafts.co.uk or pop in after 15 January.

Dan James, Sustainable Economy Manager from Exmoor National Park said, “We’ve been delighted that this new group is going to promote local produce in this way. It is essential that residents and visitors can easily source the items being made here on Exmoor and the new shop will give a real focus for the wider activities of the group. ”

 

CHRISTMAS AT BARNSTAPLE PANNIER MARKET

Support your local traders and enjoy a host of festive events this Christmas at Barnstaple’s historic Pannier Market.

The Christmas countdown has well and truly begun, so kick off your Christmas shopping at the market, open Tuesday to Sunday throughout December.

Connect and Create Fest is back on Sunday 3 December, with a fantastic mix of unique and creative stalls, live music, art and craft workshops, licensed bar and lots of fund raising activities for local causes. This family-friendly event runs from 10am to 6pm, entry is free.

On Thursday 7 December Barnstaple Town Council will be hosting their annual Christmas Fayre and carol service from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. This highlight is guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit and will be make your late-night shopping an evening to remember.

There will be a wide range of yummy festive treats available at the monthly REAL food market from 10am–4pm on Sunday 10 December. Stock up on some tasty, local supplies to make your Christmas dinner unforgettable.

And there are further opportunities for late-night shopping on Thursday 14 and 21 December, with the market open from 6–10pm. Both evenings include a delicious Christmas street food party, which will keep your energy up for all that shopping! On 21 December you can get up close to real elves, make your very own reindeer food and elf elixirs with Buzzlewick’s Elf Emporium. Whilst there, don’t forget to write your letter to Santa at the Polar post office and hand it to the postmaster elf himself, to make sure it gets to the North Pole in time for Christmas! The elves will be on duty in the market from 11am to 3pm and from 5pm to 7pm.

If you like to leave things to the last minute, the last Sunday Christmas market will take place on 24 December from 10am–4pm. Pick up some final treats before the big day! The market will close at 4pm on Christmas Eve, reopening on Wednesday 27 December. It will also close at 4pm on Saturday 30 December, reopening Tuesday 2 January.

Executive Member for Economic Regeneration, Councillor Pat Barker, says: “Barnstaple Pannier Market always feels particularly special at this time of year. As usual there is a wonderful range of events planned in the run up to Christmas, with something for all the family to enjoy. Make sure you pay a trip to the market when you are out doing your Christmas shopping and support the many local traders who make it such a special place.”

Parking in the town is free after 6pm in all North Devon Council car parks  and free all day on Sundays in long-stay car parks at Fairview, Seven Brethren, Lower Pilton and Tarka.

CAN YOU HELP DEVELOP A BRAND FOR MINEHEAD

Workshops and surveys are being carried out with local residents and visitors this month  in order to develop a new tourism brand for Minehead.

Leading this work is the Minehead Coastal Community Team. Town and district Councillor Roger Thomas, who chairs the team, said: “We are seeking to get a cross-section of views from residents, visitors and businesses on what makes Minehead special and how this can be distilled into a clear message that will help in attracting more visitors to the town.”

A variety of methods is being used to capture these views, including workshops, street and phone interviews in Minehead and Taunton, online surveys and a review of what other seaside towns have achieved.

Roger continued: “We would welcome involvement from anyone who is interested. In particular we would like to hear from people who would be interested in attending one of the two one-hour workshops taking place in Minehead at 1pm and 5.30pm on Thursday 23 November. For those people who can’t make it we would appreciate your time in completing an online survey.”

The development of a new brand for Minehead is being carried out as part of the Enterprising Minehead project, which aims to significantly raise the quality of what’s on offer for visitors. Match funding has been secured by the Regeneration Team at West Somerset Council that will see £1m of investment in improving the seafront, and developing new events, skills and marketing.

A recent procurement exercise to deliver the branding work led to the employment of RH Partners and Flotilla Media. Work will be delivered in two phases, starting with the development of a brand identity for Minehead in November, and then the development of branding designs in December. Local residents will then have a second opportunity to express their views on the potential design options in open events being planned for January 2018.

If you are interested in taking part in one of the workshops at the Beach Hotel on 23 November 2017 or doing one of the online surveys, please contact Robert Downes by email at tourism@westsomerset.gov.uk.

  • Minehead Coastal Communities Team (MCCT) is a partnership group of organisations that are working collectively on projects to improve the town. The team is made up of representatives from business, the community, Minehead Town Council and West Somerset Council.
  • The Enterprising Minehead project takes its lead from the priorities and strategic direction set out in the Minehead Economic Plan which was developed by the Minehead Coastal Communities Team in 2016. The plan can be viewed at westsomersetonline.gov.uk/Business/Economic-Strategies.
  • Further information on Enterprising Minehead project can be found at westsomersetonline.gov.uk/Business/Regeneration-and-Development-Projects.

SOLAR-POWERED TOURISM FOR WATCHET: PLEASE VOTE NOW

A funding application to pay for solar panels on the community-led Visitor Centre and Boat Museum in Watchet has been shortlisted, and is now up for public vote.

The project, which is a Marks and Spencer Energy Fund application, is called ‘Solar Powered Tourism’. Solar panels would save money and create income for the building, so freeing up funds to spend on high quality tourism marketing for the town, which would help to boost its economy. Grant-funded solar panels would also help the boat museum to retain its free entry.

To find out more, and to cast your vote, go to: www.mandsenergyfund.com/projects/solar-powered-tourism.

The application has been made by Onion Collective, a community interest company in the town who facilitated the creation of the Watchet Visitor Centre in 2016. The building is an extension to the Watchet Boat Museum, which simultaneously underwent refurbishment. This followed consultation with the people of Watchet to determine what local people felt was needed to give the town a stronger future. The response was almost unanimous: a more buoyant local economy, provided in large part by an increase in the tourist offer.

The Visitor Centre building work was carried out thanks to grant funding from a Hinckley Point Community Impact Mitigation fund and the Trust House Charitable Foundation. A local voluntary group, known as the Watchet Community Makers then carried out much of the internal refurbishment of the boat museum, supporting the town and learning skills along the way.

If the application is successful, the panels will be installed at the end of this year. Planning permission has already been granted. The system will be battery ready, which also leaves scope for a future sustainable community business to be run from the building.

The Marks and Spencer Energy Fund is run annually, and provides UK community organisations with an opportunity to win a share of £300,000 to support their renewable energy projects and technologies.

 

BID FOR A PROSPEROUS MINEHEAD

The launch of the proposed Minehead Business improvement District (BID) is being held at Butlins Village, Warren Road, Minehead tomorrow, Tuesday 5 September.

Minehead Chamber of Commerce has invited businesses in the proposed BID area to attend this event when they will outline ideas about how a BID scheme in Minehead could increase the vitality and viability of the town centre.

Guest speaker, Paul Batt, Chairman of Weston BID, will share his experiences of their BID, and what the scheme has meant for his business and Weston super Mare over the past six years.

Graham Sizer, Vice-Chairman of Minehead Chamber of Commerce, said: “The proposed BID will help us to deliver projects and initiatives to support the town centre, helping business to thrive. This is about the business community taking a leading role in how our town develops in the future. We need the town’s business community to get involved in helping us to decide the priorities and actions that a BID could bring to our town. When we carried out interviews for the Feasibility Study earlier this year, we were delighted by the positive reception that this proposed scheme received from a wide range of business people in town. I do hope as many of those who received invitations will join me to hear about this great opportunity for business to work together to create a prosperous future for Minehead.”

Lucy Ball from Destination Management & Marketing, who carried out the feasibility study for a Minehead BID, will explain to guests how BIDs work and how such a scheme could benefit Minehead. She will also outline the next steps in the process of developing a BID for Minehead. Lucy commented, “The crucial element of all successful BIDs, is the involvement of local businesses from the outset of the scheme. We hope that representatives from across a broad spectrum of the Minehead town, business community will want to join the BID Steering Group to help us to get this scheme right for the town.”

Of more than 270 BID schemes nationally that have gone to ballot, the great majority have voted in favour of these schemes. Businesses involved in BIDs have found they have been given a voice to influence how the towns they operate within are managed, and are able to deliver projects and have the influence necessary to survive and flourish.

BLENHEIM GARDENS VOLUNTEERS

Going back to grass roots help is bringing Blenheim Gardens in Minehead back to its blooming best.

Volunteers, working with West Somerset Council’s open spaces staff, have put in countless hours – gaining recognition from Britain in Bloom and the heartfelt thanks of West Somerset Council during Love Parks Week.

The national initiative, running from July 14-23, is encouraging people to use their parks and enjoy the experience.

Blenheim Gardens is West Somerset’s flagship park and covers six acres in the centre of Minehead. Created in the 1920s, the gardens are mature with spring and summer bedding displays, a wide range of trees, shrubs and perennials that thrive in the mild maritime climate.

The park has its own bandstand for summer concerts and brass bands – always a family favourite – as well as a seasonal putting course, a Burma Star Memorial Garden which provides an area for quiet reflection, and seating.

There are plans to make Blenheim Gardens more sustainable with a greater emphasis on perennials and shrubs rather than thirsty annual bedding plants.

Cllr Martin Dewdney, the council’s Lead Member for the environment, said: “Blenheim Gardens is quite simply beautiful. The park is a wonderful oasis close to the beach and the centre of Minehead and I know it is well loved by residents and visitors.

“The volunteers do so much for the park and I would like to take this chance to thank them on behalf of the community and the council. Blenheim Gardens is a place to treasure, thanks to our volunteers.

“There is something for everyone in the park – plants to enjoy, a pitch and putt course, grass for the children to play on and the very popular café. In the summer, there’s a programme of music in the Bandstand featuring traditional brass and silver bands as well as local groups.”

Blenheim Gardens has a Facebook page, where you keep up to date with the latest events.

This photo is thought to date back to the 1930s.

 

 

 

REGENERATION PLANS FOR BUTCHERS ROW, BARNSTAPLE

Plans are on the table to regenerate one of Barnstaple’s most iconic streets.

North Devon Council is setting aside some of its planned maintenance budget to spruce up Butchers Row in the coming months. It is also in talks with Barnstaple Town Centre Management to understand customer needs and changing shopping habits and to discuss plans to regenerate the historic street.

Last year the council refurbished Barnstaple Pannier Market, which runs the length of Butchers Row. Attention is now being turned to the historic units that the council lets to local businesses and work is likely to begin in the next couple of months.

Head of Resources at North Devon Council, Jon Triggs, says: “Butchers Row is probably one of the most photographed streets in Barnstaple and is an important historical feature of the town. Over the next couple of months we will be looking in detail at what can be done to improve and regenerate the Row, which is Grade II listed and, as such, needs extra care.”

There are currently some vacant units along the Row available to let. Contact Wright Commercial for more information on 01271 377333 or www.thewrightproperty.co.uk.

 

MINEHEAD WINS MAJOR SEAFRONT BOOST

Minehead’s “Enterprising Esplanade” has won a significant financial boost thanks to the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund.

The project that aims to breathe new life into The Esplanade – the mile-long stretch of seafront – has been awarded £130,696.

The project is being led by the Minehead Coastal Communities Team, and is designed to give the resort an economic boost and make the most of its spectacular stretch of seafront.

The initiative aims to create new trading opportunities on The Esplanade and will restore six Edwardian shelters that are a reminder of past glories.

There are plans to convert one shelter into a trading post as a pilot project. The team is planning to encourage more seafront tourism attractions to make sure visitors thoroughly enjoy their time at the seaside, while a festival and Harbour market are also in the pipeline.

The initiatives will stretch the best part of a mile along the Esplanade, complementing and celebrating the best of the past and present – and looking to the future to help boost Minehead’s economy.

The Minehead Coastal Community Team comprises representatives from Minehead Town Council, West Somerset Council, Minehead Chamber of Trade, Minehead Development Trust, Minehead Eye, Engage West Somerset, West Somerset Railway, and others.

 

COMING UP AT REGAL THEATRE MINEHEAD

The Regal Theatre, Minehead have been very lucky to book the  European Union Chamber Orchestra for Wednesday 5 April.  Directed by Eva Stegemann, the programme will comprise three Mozart works:– Serenade in D K.185, Oboe Concerto K.314, and Adagio for Cor Anglais, as well as Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings.

Soloist Nicholas Daniel (Oboe And Cor Anglais) has played on every continent  and appeared  with leading orchestras across the globe and in the BBC Proms.

EUCO has performed in 73 countries  in major concert halls and Festivals, broadcast on television and radio across  Europe and the USA and had several UK concerts broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.

Performances begin at 7.30pm and tickets costing up to £18 are now available from the Regal Box Office (01643 706430), 10am-3pm Monday to Friday, 10am-1pm Saturday.

Also coming up:

Friday 31 March at 7.30pm
THE DEANE BIG BAND

On Friday 31 March the ever popular Deane Big Band returns to the Regal Theatre with a good time for all as they bring in some toe-tapping big band classics from the swing era. The band will be playing lots of Glenn Miller hits, as well as some by Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Buddy Rich and Duke Ellington.

Chris Franks will sing songs like ‘Come fly with me’ and ‘ Let’s face the music and dance’; Chris does not have blue eyes like Mr Sinatra – but he does sound just like him!

Hannah Deason-Barrow will sing about that ‘Old Devil Called Love’ but don’t worry – everyone will end up ‘Feeling Good’.

With two great singers as well as a full 17 piece big band – it will be a big sound and joyful evening.

Performances begin at 7.30pm and tickets costing up to £9 are now available from the Regal Box Office.