Category Archives: west somerset

MILES CELEBRATES 130 YEARS

It’s always best to leave enough time for the tea to infuse in the hot water as it allows for the depth of flavour and strength to develop. A quick dip just doesn’t give the same taste. At Miles this principle applies to the business and day-to-day life, which reflects in the longevity of the company. 2018 sees 130 years of tea and coffee heritage with the Miles family.

2017 saw continual sales growth, showing that taking time to create only the best products does pay off. One of the main areas of growth was with the award-winning West Country Original loose-leaf tea, with its tea blend recipe being a closely guarded secret for years.

John Halls, Operations Director, said: “It’s a real achievement to see growth in such uncertain times. We pride ourselves in protecting our West Somerset workforce and continually upgrading our rural production sites. We have invested in new machinery which will see new products being launched this year and look forward to sharing more about this soon. We are pleased to announce that, for the fifth year running, Miles have been independently ranked among the top four UK tea brands. This year our coffee has been ranked as the second most popular UK coffee brand for farm shops and delis to stock in Best Brands 2017/18 edition which is out this month.”

PHOTO: John Halls, Operations Director with Best Brands Magazines, a pack of Miles award winning West Country blend tea in the tea aisle at the Miles factory

 

 

TWO CONCERTS COMING UP AT HALSWAY

There are two great gigs coming up at Halsway Manor in the next fortnight…

Catch Faustus www.faustusband.com, the pioneering, “bloke folk” triumvirate  of Benji Kirkpatrick, Paul Sartin & Saul Rose as they return to Halsway for a live gig on Thursday 15 February at 8pm.

Previously nominated for the Best Group Award in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and Artist In Residence at Halsway Manor Centre for Folk Arts across 2016 supported by funding from Arts Council England, Faustus brings to the stage three of the leading lights of their generation: Saul Rose (Waterson:Carthy, Whapweazel, War Horse), Benji Kirkpatrick (Seth Lakeman Band, Bellowhead) and Paul Sartin (Bellowhead, Belshazzar’s Feast). They have a plethora of experience between them, brought together here in a virtuosic display of musicianship and testosterone representing the best in the current vibrant English folk scene.

Faustus released their acclaimed third album ‘Death and Other Animals’ in October 2016, tackling head-on subjects from the Dance of Death to the plight of the common man, sand-swallowed ships to mythical black dogs. The album has huge local resonance as it was researched, rehearsed and recorded at Halsway Manor on the Quantock Hills, during Faustus’ time as Artists in Residence. “Beastly good” said Folking.com, “Modern day folk Buccaneers… so blindingly dazzling you’ll need to don a pair of RayBans before listening” said LouderThanWar.com.

Faustus are leading a course ‘From Page to Performance’halswaymanor.org.uk/event/faustus-from-page-to-performance/ at Halsway in the run-up to the gig, and the evening will open with performances by participants, before the mighty band take to the stage!

Or you might like to try Piva! They will be performing at Halsway on Tuesday 20 February at 8pm…

Early music at its most entertaining, Piva have rightly gained a reputation for their lively performances and entertaining shows. Taking late-sixteenth-century dance and ballad tunes, Piva brings the music of the renaissance to life on authentic instruments – bagpipes, hurdy-gurdies, recorders, viol, curtals, rauschpfeifen, crumhorns, shawms and violins.
“Sheer good fun!” – Early Music Today

Founded in 2002, Piva have firmly established themselves as one of this country’s leading early music ensembles. Playing throughout the UK and Europe, they have gained a reputation for their lively performances and entertaining shows. The members of Piva have wide and diverse musical backgrounds in playing renaissance, jazz, classical, baroque, folk and roots music. They bring all of these diverse musical influences together and fuse them with their knowledge of renaissance music and instruments. The result is early music with attitude!

For both concerts, tickets are priced £10, with a concessionary price of £4 for children and full-time students of any age. Call 01984 618274 (option 1), email office@halswaymanor.org.uk or buy securely online www.halswaymanor.org.uk.

COAST PATH WORKSHOP AT DUNSTER

A tailored workshop designed to help local businesses from transport providers to tearooms make the most of the Somerset section of the England Coast Path is being held in Dunster in February. The section, which was opened in 2016, runs for 58-miles, from Minehead to Brean, following some of the country’s most spectacular coastline and opens up a new and exciting experience for walkers.

The workshop, at the Luttrell Arms Hotel on 22 February, offers the chance to find out how:

  • the new Coast Path can benefit business
  • to attract more walking tourists/visitors
  • the latest trends in social media and walking tourism will impact business on the Coast Path
  • local distinctiveness and authenticity can increase business
  • to create unique experiences
  • to build a great social media campaign around the new coast path product
  • to provide the best customer service to visitors coming to the coast path to ensure they return and spread the word to attract new visitors.

Cllr Andrew Hadley, West Somerset Council’s Lead Member for economic regeneration and growth, said: “The new Coast Path is a great natural asset for West Somerset and I hope that local businesses involved in tourism will join the workshop to discover how they can make the most of it.

“Tourism is a vitally important industry locally with as many as a third of the local workforce employed in this sector. The path is another attraction to add to the many we are proud of and it will attract more visitors, providing new opportunities for tourism businesses.”

Exmoor speakers include: Max Lawrence – www.hospitalityassured.com plus others from Somerset – Sarah Littler – Project Manager Rights of Way, Kate Doodson – www.cosmic.org.uk, and Nell Barrington – www.barringtonassociates.co.uk.

A finger buffet and refreshments will be included along with time for networking with like-minded businesses. Those attending will receive a pack of information on how to get the most from the Coast Path with loads of helpful links, ideas and contacts.

Places are limited so please book now here: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-the-somerset-coast-path-can-benefit-your-business-workshop-in-dunster-tickets-42272178223?aff=HTAPemail

PHOTO: The opening of the Somerset section of the England Coast Path back in 2016. You can read the story which we published at the time here.

LOCAL LOTTERY OFFERS VALENTINE’S PRIZE

The Somerset West Community Lottery is building a head of steam with a special Valentine’s day prize on offer.

Everyone who buys a ticket this month will be entered in a special draw next month for the bonus prize of two tickets on the West Somerset Railway’s Dunster Castle Express.

The prize is generously sponsored by the heritage railway and the prize draw takes place on 10 February. The winner will be able to redeem the tickets at any time between April and October this year while the Express is running.

The community lottery is now ready to start awarding grants to local good causes through the Somerset Community Foundation. More than £4,000 is available in Taunton Deane and a further similar sum is available in West Somerset.

Applications are open to voluntary and community groups in West Somerset and Taunton Deane; the maximum grant – £1,000.  For more information, please visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/somersetwestlottery  The closing date for applications is 26 February 2018.

The lottery is a joint initiative by Taunton Deane Borough and West Somerset Councils and an example of the two authorities working together in partnership.

Players have a 50-to-1 chance of winning one of the prizes, which range from the £25,000 jackpot to three extra tickets. From each £1 ticket, 60p goes to local good causes, 20% goes to the prize fund, and the balance meets running costs and VAT.

The lottery management company, Gatherwell, has been appointed to run the scheme.

To buy your tickets or register as a good cause visit www.somersetwestlottery.co.uk

PHOTO: The Dunster Castle Express by Sam Burton of www.zummerzetphotography.co.uk

BE A BARISTA WITH MILES TEA & COFFEE

Miles Tea & Coffee are offering a new ‘Barista Experience’ at their factory in Somerset.

The first class will take place on Thursday 22 February as part of the Exmoor Food Festival. Miles’ barista expert has a wealth of experience from working in Italy for many years and he is a member of the Speciality Coffee Association Europe (SCAE).

The class will last three hours, during which attendees will learn to distinguish the subtle differences between coffee beans, master the perfect cup of coffee and see some creative latte art.

Previous knowledge of coffee is not a requirement, but a passion for coffee is a must!

Places are limited; to book, email info@djmiles.co.uk. The first course has an introductory price of £33 per person. Location will either be at the Miles Tea & Coffee Minehead or Porlock site, start time to be 9.30am.

Can’t make it? Why not join the company’s monthly roastery tours on the last Thursday of the month, pre-book only, check online for more details or email info@djmiles.co.uk.

PHOTO: Latte Art made with Miles Coffee.

DW&LCT AND SOMERSET LIBRARIES SERVICE SET UP AN ACADEMIC RESOURCE IN DULVERTON LIBRARY

Dulverton Weir and Leat Conservation Trust and Somerset Libraries Service are pleased to announce that Dulverton Library is to become an Academic Associate of the Trust in its project to save Dulverton’s medieval Urban Watermill Landscape (weir & mill leat).

An academic resource section covering many aspects of the project is now available to be perused by users of the library on: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 10am–1pm and 1.30-4pm and on Saturdays 10am-12.30pm.

Philip Hull, Trustee of DWLCT, says: “A significant amount of academic research has been done on the medieval weir and leat by the Trust, its partners and academic associates. This research will continue in the future and much of this is available on our website at www.dulvertonweir.org.uk. But we wanted to present the research in written form in a suitable location. Our research is continuing and we look forward to sharing it on the internet and with Dulverton Library.”

Sara Long Library Supervisor, West Somerset Libraries, Somerset Libraries Service, says: “We are delighted to be offering the community this additional service to show a new insight into the historic weir and leat. We hope local people will take this opportunity to use this hands-on resource, which is particularly aimed at those without access to the internet.”

SNOWDROP VALLEY 2018

In 2018 the valley will be closed to traffic from Saturday 27 January to Sunday 25 February. During the road closure the lanes into the valley (Drapers Way and Steart Lane) are closed by a legal road closure order and any vehicle entering the valley without an authorised Vehicle Pass will be reported to the Police.

For walkers there is a marked walking route down into the valley from the long stay car park at the livestock market, the walk is about a mile and takes around 30 minutes. On Exmoor the weather can change quickly so all visitors should make sure that they wear appropriate clothing and footwear for winter walking. Walking boots, or at the very least a good pair of wellies, are essential as the walking routes use local footpaths and bridleways, and there are always some muddy areas. For the more intrepid there are additional, longer walking routes offered, taking between 45 minutes and 3 hours; full details and maps are on sale in the Wheddon Cross car park.

During the middle two weeks, Saturday 3 February to Sunday 18 February, access is via the Park and Ride buses, run by AtWest, which leave from the village car park at Wheddon Cross, next to the Rest and Be Thankful Inn. Buses run regularly from 10.30am to 3.40pm with the last bus back from the valley at 4.30pm. The return bus journey costs just £6 for adults, £5 for senior citizens, and £2 for children aged 5-15, with children under 5 travelling free. There are tail lifts for anyone with mobility issues or using a wheelchair – please ring or email in advance to let the organisers know you are coming. Long-stay parking for cars and coaches is provided at the livestock market 150 yards further down the road from the buses towards Dunkery Beacon. Coach parties must be pre-booked with the co-ordinator.

During the scheme many members of the local community get involved and there is a great team of volunteers who help to run the Snowdrop Café, in the Moorland Hall, providing delicious teas and cakes to support local charitable organisations. There are great meals and teas to be found at other businesses in the village such as the Rest and Be Thankful Inn and the Exmoor House Hotel, as well as a wide variety of accommodation options from self-catering cottages to B&Bs and more to extend your winter trip to Exmoor.

Full information, as well as regular updates throughout the scheme can be found at www.wheddoncross.org.uk/snowdropvalley.htm. For coach bookings and disabled access please contact the Co-ordinator, Gemma Parry, on 07507 797169 or email snowdropvalley@googlemail.com and don’t forget to like Snowdrop Valley on Facebook!

Written with the help of Ros Simons, an artisan, writer and teacher of the old ways ~ you can find out more about her and her work at www.ros-simons.co.uk.

PHOTO: Late winter light in Snowdrop Valley by Andy Stuthridge, as published in our article on snowdrops by Rosemary FitzGerald in the spring 2015 issue of Exmoor Magazine. Photograph copyright Andy Stuthridge.

LOTTERY FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR COMMUNITY GROUPS IN TAUNTON DEANE AND WEST SOMERSET

Grants of up to £1,000 are available for local charities, voluntary or community groups, sports clubs, or social enterprises based within either Taunton Deane or West Somerset and the deadline to apply is Monday 26 February.

The Local Community Fund, which is administered by Somerset Community Foundation on behalf of Taunton Deane Borough Council and West Somerset District Council, was set up to support community projects in the local area by distributing money raised from the Somerset West Lottery, which raises money within the community for the community, enabling people to support the causes they care most about, while also helping good causes to connect with their supporters.

A ticket for the Somerset West Lottery costs £1 per week, 60p of which goes directly to good causes – more than double what the National Lottery gives. Players can choose to support a named local good cause, or they can decide to award their contribution to the Local Community Fund. Grants are awarded from the fund by a panel of Borough or District Councillors, depending on where the project is being delivered.

Groups wishing to apply for funding, should visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/somersetwestlottery or call Somerset Community Foundation on 01749 344949 for more information.

If you run a local community project and would like to find out about our other funding programmes, please call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949 or visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk

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. ”

 

WATCHET TEENAGERS TAKE THE LEAD

An innovative project taking place in Watchet, to get local teenagers to design and build their own common room, has just begun, with a hugely successful architect-led design workshop.

In late November 25 local teenagers come together to design a structure for Splash Point Pleasure Ground in Watchet, under the guidance of award-winning architect, Kate Darby, national timber expert, Charley Brentnall, local volunteer group, the Watchet Community Makers, with Georgie Grant and Sally Lowndes from the Onion Collective as facilitators. The workshop, funded by the Youth Social Action Fund and the Courage Family Fund, took place in Watchet’s Phoenix Centre, and included free pizza.

After working together to establish what was wanted and needed for local teenagers, and how these ideas might translate to the site, the teenagers were split into four groups, and asked to draw, then 3D model their ideas using balsa wood. They all then voted on their favourite structures, and the key aspects of each that should be incorporated into the final design.

The workshop was deemed a huge success by all involved, and Kate was particularly taken aback by the level of comfort the local teenagers felt in creating and discussing their ideas.

Architect Kate Darby said: “It was fascinating to see so many engaged and creative young people come together to design with such confidence. All of the models incorporated really interesting architectural features, and the teenagers also did a wonderful job of presenting their work to the room. My job now is to amalgamate the key features into one coherent structure that fits their brief. A first draft will be presented to them for comments before I make amends and the Onion Collective can submit to planning.

“I’m delighted to be involved in this project, and am really looking forward to working with these teenagers again in the summer, when we bring this building to life in Watchet.”

Local teenager, Chris White, who attended the design session, said: “I really enjoyed the workshop. It was great to work with an architect and understand the process involved with designing a building. Kate was brilliant. I’m looking forward to seeing how she’ll bring all our ideas together.”

Splash Point Pleasure Ground is a community area on the clifftop in Watchet that looks out onto the marina. It’s managed by community-led regeneration company, Onion Collective CIC, on behalf of the town. The grounds are accessible via the England Coast Path that begins at the Goviers Lane Railway crossing in Watchet.

Onion Collective facilitated a similar project in 2015, when a group of 50 local volunteers built a pavilion at Splash Point over the course of a single weekend. It is now enjoyed by many as a place for picnics, barbecues and events. This time the Onion Collective is working with teenagers to make the site a place that they also feel able to appreciate and enjoy.

Onion Collective Project Officer, Sally Lowndes says: “This project came about because local teenagers came to us to ask for help identifying a space they could use for socialising.

“We’re thrilled that so many came to the design workshop. It just shows what an amazing community we have here in Watchet. The level of focus and natural design talent the teenagers brought to the table was also hugely impressive. We’re all really excited to watch this project progress.”

If you know a Watchet-based teenager who wants to be involved in this project, feeding back on the design, or helping with the build, they can get in touch by contacting Onion Collective on info@onioncollective.co.uk / 01984 633496.

The project was funded by Somerset Community Foundation’s Youth Social Action Fund.

Somerset Community Foundation’s, Andrew Ridgewell says: “Somerset Community Foundation awarded a grant from the Youth Social Action Fund (YSAF) for the project, matched with contributions from its local donors. The YSAF is part of the national #iwill fund which encourages young people to engage in social action – such as campaigning, fundraising, and volunteering.”