MASONS KINGS SPONSOR EXMOOR HILL FARMING NETWORK

Masons Kings, the John Deere agricultural dealership in Somerset and Devon, is excited to announce its sponsorship with farmer-led organisation Exmoor Hill Farming Network.

The Network (EHFN) works to improve farm incomes, profitability and sustainable land management in Exmoor’s upland areas.  As the region’s leading agricultural dealership, Masons Kings will be helping to raise awareness of this invaluable work, as well
as providing support for EHFN members.

Dave Knight, Chairman of the EHFN, said, “We’re really looking forward to working with Masons Kings, in particular our local depot at Exebridge. The Network is open to all on the moor, it arranges activities, support and training, bringing farmers together to learn from each other and from experts in the industry like Masons Kings.”

Roger Prior, Director at Masons Kings, said, “The whole team at Masons Kings is looking forward to the partnership, sharing our knowledge and expertise with the Exmoor Hill Farming Network community.”

The sponsorship supports funding from the Prince’s Countryside Fund and ENPA to further EHFN’s work and activities over the forthcoming months.

Find out more: contact Katherine Williams, EHFN Officer on 01643 841455/ 07970 795808 or kwilliams@northdevonplus.co.uk

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.

 

 

 

FAMILY FUN AT WIMBLEBALL LAKE OPEN DAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

VINTAGE WEEKEND AT RHS ROSEMOOR

RHS Garden Rosemoor goes back in time during the weekend 22 – 23 July with two days packed with all things retro, vintage and antique.

Visitors to the stunning 65-acre gardens in Devon, with its formal gardens, woodland walks, stream and lake, walled fruit and vegetable garden, and fully licensed restaurant, will also be in for a real treat with a display of vintage vehicles, motorbikes from North Devon British Motorcycle Owners Club and vintage caravans.

New for 2017, Rosemoor will have a World War II re-enactment from the 4th Battalion Somerset Light Infantry including: Queen Alexander nursing, an air raid precaution, The Land Army, The Home Guard, The Auxillary Territorial Service and paratroopers. Continuing the 1940s theme on Saturday afternoon, there is a special guest Sandy Sparkle from Torquay doing a series of 30-minute sets of typical songs from the era.

The Vintage Horticultural & Garden Machinery Club will once again have a presence. This national organisation with over 900 members was formed to promote an active interest in the preservation, exhibiting and operation of vintage equipment used in horticulture, allotment keeping and home gardening. Some of their vintage farm and horticultural equipment will be shown operating during the weekend.

In addition, in the new Garden Room, Rosemoor’s permanent events building, there will be an Antique and Collectors Fair, organised by Devon County Antiques Fairs with stalls and sellers from across the South West featuring an eclectic selection of quality antiques and collectables of all sorts – vintage fabrics, ceramics, furniture and perfume bottles as well as silver and glass.

For more information on events at RHS Garden Rosemoor visit www.rhs.org.uk/rosemoor or telephone 01805 624067.

Normal garden admission applies (free for RHS members)

SUMMER OF FREE FUN AHEAD AT BARNSTAPLE MUSEUM

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon is open from 10am to 4pm from Monday to Saturday, admission is free. Check out the museum’s Facebook page to keep up to date with all the latest news and events.

 

GALLERY4ART AT HALSWAY MANOR

Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts, is proud to present a week of Art inspired by the Somerset countryside in its house and grounds this August. The Somerset group of professional artists, Gallery4Art, will be showcasing their contemporary artworks in a colourful exhibition from Monday 7  to Friday 11 August. Entry will be free to view the work and paintings, and prints and sculpture will be available to buy at affordable prices.

“Gallery4Art never fail to put on a dazzling array of interesting art – we just wish we could take it all home with us.”  Visitor to G4A’s 2016 Halsway exhibition.

Running alongside the exhibition will be a day of workshops so you can try your hand at techniques used by the artists. On Tuesday 8 August you can choose from experimental screen printing with Jim Munnion, textiles with Sarah Meikle, wire and mixed media sculpture with Mel Deegan, wildlife willow sculpture with Sophie Courtiour or whimsical watercolour painting with Alison Jacobs.

The workshops cost £65 per person and this includes materials. No previous experience is required, and full support and advice will be given by the artists who are all experienced tutors. For more information and details on how to book go online to halswaymanor.org.uk/event/summer-exhibition-of-contemporary-art/

To book on workshops or activities please phone Halsway Manor (this is recommended as places fill fast) on 01984 618274


MARINE INTERNSHIP AT LEE BAY

Hannah Hereward surveying. Photo by Benjamin Cowburn

Hannah Hereward is a Marine Biology Masters student, from the University of Plymouth and Marine Biological Association. She is also a marine intern with A Rocha UK. A Rocha UK work in partnership with Lee Abbey Devon to conserve wildlife and habitats at this Christian conference centre on Exmoor National Park’s North Devon coastline.

The first aim of Hannah’s studies was to identify the diversity of habitats and species at Lee Bay, Lynton. Hannah found 17 habitats and 110 species. Secondly, she identified the seasonal patterns of growth rates and abundance of a large, brown seaweed (oarweed, Laminaria digitata) and its UK primary grazer, the blue-rayed limpet (Patella pellucida). The oarweed’s peak growth was in May, with maximums of 2cm per day! The blue-rayed limpet abundance peaked in the summer, with maximums of 47 on one oarweed.
Oarweed & blue-rayed limpets. Photo by Hannah Hereward.
Seaweed habitats are critical for carbon absorbtion and as habitat for many species. Reducing pollution on the coast and mechanical damage are important conservation measures.
Why not head down to the coast this summer, at low tide, to explore the wonders of this marine forest and surrounding rocky habitats.
PHOTO at top: Lynmouth Bay kelp beds (photo: Hannah Hereward)

WILDLIFE TRAINING EVENTS WITH ENPA

The fifth wildlife training programme for Exmoor is now under way. As with previous years the range of topics is diverse – from bats to bees and butterflies – as is the level of training provided. From wild flower identification for complete beginners to advanced mire vegetation monitoring, there is sure to be something for everyone.

Some of the events provide specific survey training, including surveys for nightjars, marine mammals or glow worms. Formal surveys carried out by trained volunteers provide valuable information for the conservation of Exmoor’s wildlife. We are immensely grateful to all volunteers for the time committed to this important work.

In contrast, some of the events are ‘discovery’ sessions which aim to provide an introductory insight into some of Exmoor’s fascinating but perhaps less well recorded wildlife, such as dragonflies, lichens and fungi. Although there is no formal survey to follow these discovery sessions, Exmoor National Park hopes that participants will feel inspired by their new knowledge and will continue recording wildlife on Exmoor.

The events delivered through the training programmes have proved very popular so, to avoid disappointment, make sure you book your place early. To find out more about the training events or to book a place visit www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/get-involved/events-and-training

Wildflower training event- photos by Bea Davis

TICKETS ON SALE FOR SOMERSET WEST LOTTERY

Tickets are now available online for the Somerset West Lottery and the chance to scoop a £25,000 jackpot and help local good causes.

The first draw takes place on Saturday 29 July, with 60p from every £1 ticket going to local charities and good causes. Players can choose which cause they want to support. It’s free for good causes to register for the Somerset West Lottery and more are encouraged to sign up.

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.

Katrina Midgley, Chief Officer of Engage, the first good cause to sign up, said: “We were keen to support the lottery not only for the benefits it can bring to us as a charity and our work but also for the benefit it will bring to the areas of Taunton Deane and West Somerset. We will be actively encouraging all the charities and community groups that Engage supports to sign-up as good causes.”

Clare Pound of Home-Start West Somerset, said: “For small charities, getting this money is going to make a lot of difference, and will go a long way. We’d encourage other local good causes to sign up.”

Players have a 50 to 1 chance of winning one of the prizes, which range from the £25,000 jackpot to three extra tickets.

Cllr Jane Warmington, the Borough Council’s Executive councillor for community leadership, said: “The Somerset West Lottery is a great way to support charity and voluntary organisations, while the council manages its reduced budgets.

“We believe this option, with an external company taking responsibility for the prize fund costs, mitigates any risk to the council.

Cllr Dave Westcott, Leader Member for Community and Customer at West Somerset Counci, said: “We will be encouraging local causes to register as a beneficiary of the lottery. The society lottery concept is an idea other local authorities are exploring and has been successfully launched by several councils already.”

A lottery management company, Gatherwell, has been appointed to run the scheme, having already launched similar lotteries with Portsmouth, Corby, Peterborough and many others.

Ben Speare, Gatherwell’s managing director, said: “We are delighted that Gatherwell has been awarded the opportunity to run the new Somerset West Lottery.

“We’re looking forward to helping support Taunton Deane and West Somerset local causes in partnership with the council.”

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

PHOTO: Home-Start West Somerset. Left to right: Siobhan Lennon-Patience (mum, service user and newly appointed trustee), Pam Shambrook (volunteer) and Clare Pound (Minehead Home-Start manager).

This photo was used in our spring issue’s article about the charity. Click on the pages below to read it here if you missed it!

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