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 – plus others from Somerset – Sarah Littler – Project Manager Rights of Way, Kate Doodson –, and Nell Barrington –

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:

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.


An exciting new, free event, the Eat Exmoor Food & Drink Trade Show, is for everyone involved in producing, preparing, selling and celebrating Exmoor food and drink.

The event is designed for hospitality and experience providers, chefs, retailers and food and drink buyers to meet local producers from the Greater Exmoor area, and is being held at the Beach Hotel in Minehead (TA24 5AP) on Wednesday 7 February.

There will be a range of cooking demonstrations and some short, inspiring and informative talks from chefs and producers as well as experts in the marketing of local food with themed toolkits for producers and food/accommodation businesses. With plenty of trade stands from local producers, this FREE day runs from 10am to 4pm and people are welcome to drop in any time or come for the whole day.

Dan James, Sustainable Economy Manager for Exmoor National Park, said, “This will be the ideal opportunity for the trade to meet up, make new contacts from Exmoor and beyond and really focus on the importance of local food and the Exmoor brand.”

Barrie Tucker, Head Chef at the Luttrell Arms, will be demonstrating how to cook a Porlock Bay oyster to perfection. In addition, award-winning chef Werner Hartholt will be showing how to develop the perfect menu and promote the use of local produce within it and social media consultant to Visit Exmoor will be on hand to share his wealth of experience managing social media channels and providing training courses. More details of talks and demonstrations can be found at:

Also at the Show, Visit Exmoor will also be launching their new Eat Exmoor Food and Drink Guide on the day. The guide will distributed widely and is available free from our National Park Centres from February 2018.

The Trade Show has been organised by Exmoor National Park, supported by Visit Exmoor and West Somerset Council. More details can be obtained by emailing or by calling 01398 323665.

Eat Exmoor is a partnership initiative between the National Park Authority and Visit Exmoor with support from West Somerset Council to encourage more visitors to enjoy the area’s delicious local produce and the landscape it comes from.

PHOTO: Barrie Tucker, Head Chef at The Luttrell Arms


A North Devon Council employee is to undergo a head and sideburn shave in support of his colleague’s daughter.

Nick Poole, a council skip driver for more than 25 years, plans to celebrate his birthday on 2 February by having his long hair and sideburns shaved off in honour of 27-year-old cervical cancer patient Kimberley Baldwin. Kimberley has been told that her cancer is terminal but she refuses to give up hope, so is currently raising money to pay for additional treatment. Sadly, cancer is a cause close to Nick’s heart as his 19-year-old son lost his life in 1995 to Hodgkin Lymphoma – cancer of the white blood cells.

Kim’s mother, Tania Fletcher, has worked alongside Nick for many years, so he wants to raise the funds to help towards her goal of raising enough money to pay for immunotherapy treatment, which is not available on the NHS, to either prolong her life or hopefully even cure her cervical cancer.  She also wants to campaign to reduce the age at which the smear test is given.  Currently women begin their smear tests from the age of 25, but this does not detect the cancer at an early stage for many younger women.  Kim’s cancer was already at an advanced stage when she was diagnosed, aged only 26.

The event will take place at Brynsworthy Environment Centre, with a stylist from Barnstaple hair salon, Jill’s Hair Design, chopping off Nick’s long locks as his colleagues look on.

Nick is a keen fundraiser, having previously taken part in charity head shaves to raise money for both Children in Need and The Red Cross.  For Nick’s 70th birthday in a few years, he plans to do a sky dive for charity and will also continue to grow his hair for even more charity head shaves in the future!

The head shave is taking place close to World Cancer Day , which is a global annual event held on 4 February. The event aims to unite the world in the fight against cancer and  to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and promoting education about the disease, as well as pressing governments and individuals to take action.

Every day, nine women in the UK are diagnosed with cervical cancer and three of those women will lose their lives to the disease. Cervical cancer is largely preventable thanks to cervical screening and the HPV vaccination programme and the number of women dying from cervical cancer has halved over the past 28 years as a result of the NHS screening programme as well as improvement in treatment.

Despite this success, over 3,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. The majority of women diagnosed with cervical cancer have delayed coming forward for screening which has impacted on their ability to have early changes treated.

If you would like to sponsor Nick’s head shave, and help raise the money that Kim needs for her treatment, please visit her Justgiving page:



Guest blog by Katherine Williams, Exmoor Hill Farming Network Officer

The Exmoor Hill Farming Network has welcomed an award of £49,997 funding from The Prince’s Countryside Fund to help it support the Exmoor farming community.  This will enable the Network, which is farmer-led, to continue and develop its work for the next three years (February 2018- February 2021).  This follows the success of two previous grants from the Fund, bringing the total awarded to date from the charity to £149,981.

Since the Network’s formation in 2014, 300 farming businesses on Exmoor now benefit from the knowledge exchange, training and news updates it provides. Our priority for the future is to strengthen and professionalise our range of services, developing the Network as the ‘Go-To Hub’ for knowledge, learning and peer-support through our office, our four peer-support groups (Forward Farming, Women in Farming, Micro-farming and Next Generation) and close working with specialist organisations.

The financial assistance from the Fund will enable the Network to focus on the impacts of Brexit, helping Exmoor farmers adapt and be resilient to the changes this will bring. We are taking a proactive approach, involving the next generation of Exmoor farmers in a costed proposal to Government.  Our plan, called ‘Exmoor’s Ambition’, is to develop new ways of delivering high-quality landscapes, delicious food, abundant wildlife and other public benefits from prosperous farms on Exmoor.

This award from the Fund contributes nearly half of the required for the forthcoming network activities over the next three years.  The Network is currently exploring the funding gap with the Exmoor National Park Authority and will be identifying ways of becoming more self-sufficient.

We have been delighted to have welcomed Natwest, Exmoor Farmers Livestock Auctioneers, Masons Kings and the NFU on board as key sponsors over the past two years and we will continue to offer sponsorship packages for local businesses and partners during our next phase. If you would be interested in hearing more about our sponsorship opportunities please contact the office.

Dave Knight, EHFN Chairman, said: “We at the EHFN are over the moon to have secured this help from the Fund for the next three years, this extraordinary support will hopefully allow us to push forward with our aims of growing the network now that we are well established.

“The Fund has supported us right from the beginning, it’s no under statement to say that without their backing, both financially and in terms of their support, the Network would not be where it is today. They have promoted us at every turn and opened doors for us, for which we are immensely grateful.”

Claire Saunders, Director of The Prince’s Countryside Fund, said: “Since our first grant to the Network we have been proud to see them develop and grow. This type of support is needed now more than ever before, and I am delighted that we can continue to give funding to assist the farming families of Exmoor build stronger, more resilient businesses. The Network is an inspiring organisation and always willing to share with others how they support their members, and the benefit they have provided to the local farming community.”

The EHFN will continue to bring very competitively priced training which is delivered locally and farmer-led events. The 2018 programme of events, training, workshops and peer group visits are led by your needs. Please let us know if there are specific topics you would like addressed.

The Network is an information and support ‘hub’ for Exmoor’s hill farmers, bringing information, demonstrations, training, grants and opportunities to farmers. The Network started four years ago and is funded by the Exmoor National Park Authority and The Prince’s Countryside Fund and well supported by Exmoor’s farming community.


For further information please contact Katherine Williams Network Officer on 01643 841455 or


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 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

PHOTO: Latte Art made with Miles Coffee.


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.


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:  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

PHOTO: The Dunster Castle Express by Sam Burton of


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 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

PHOTO: Latte Art made with Miles Coffee.


North Devon Council has successfully prosecuted a local man for two offences of fly-tipping.

Mr Darren Elder from Bratton Fleming pleaded guilty to both charges of fly-tipping under Section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 at North and East Devon Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 11 January 2018. He was convicted and ordered to pay £3,059 in costs by the court.

In late December last year, Mr Elder fly-tipped the waste when he was running late to return the hire vehicle he was driving during renovations to his property. The Council’s enforcement officers were able to trace him through the waste he dumped, and issued the fine for failure to have a waste transfer note or trade waste agreement as a result.

Councillor Rodney Cann, Executive member for Environment, says:

North Devon Council’s Executive Member for Environment, Councillor Rodney Cann says: “Fly-tipping is an anti-social crime, which costs councils millions of pounds a year to deal with. We are lucky to live in an area as beautiful as North Devon, and we each have an individual responsibility to keep it that way. This includes disposing of our waste in a legal and responsible way. It is disappointing that there’s a minority of residents who want to save themselves the cost of doing so by fly-tipping their waste, leaving the taxpayer or landowner to foot the bill. I hope this prosecution sends a clear message that we take a zero-tolerance approach to fly-tipping, and it will cost anyone who is caught committing this offence a lot more than it would to dispose of waste legally.”

To report fly-tipping, littering or other environmental offences, please contact You can also report incidents on the council’s website

Photo by Graham Hogg (library image, not a photograph of the waste in question)


Environmental charity the Westcountry Rivers Trust is urging local people to do their bit to look after the region’s rivers this year.

Nick Paling, Head of Evidence and Engagement at the Westcountry Rivers Trust (pictured), says: “Rivers are crucial to our health, happiness and prosperity. It is now well known that being in nature is good for our health and wellbeing.  Spending time by the river can be extremely relaxing and rejuvenating and a great antidote to modern life. Most of the time we take them for granted, but at the Westcountry Rivers Trust we would like to encourage more people to do their bit to look after their local river.

“Once you have discovered your local river, we hope you will be inspired to do more to protect it. From volunteering for a river clean-up, to taking part in monitoring activity, there is lots you can do to help the Westcountry Rivers Trust in our efforts to restore and protect the South West’s rivers.”

The Westcountry Rivers Trust has identified six ways people can help to protect their local river.

1. Get out and enjoy your local river
Many of our rivers are hidden underground, but the South West has a number of beautiful riverside walks. The Westcountry Rivers Trust website can help you to find your local river . Once you know where it is, try to visit it every now and again. If more of us get to know our local rivers we can also all do our bit to keep an eye on them and report any problems, such as littering or pollution.

2. Go for grass in your garden
More pressure on parking spaces means that many front gardens have now been paved or concreted over. Hard surfaces cannot soak up water, so this water flows across the surface into the drainage system, which can become overwhelmed and cause flooding. In many of our towns and cities, there is just not enough space for surface water to drain away. Localised flooding is becoming a real problem.

The Westcountry Rivers Trust is encouraging people to choose grass for their gardens. Nick Paling says: “If you really want to keep your paving or concrete, think about including at least some permeable surfaces – perhaps incorporate a planted border, place a water butt under your guttering or choose gravel for your driveway.”

3. Keep your drains clear
The water companies have a major job to keep our water clean and safe to drink. British households apparently pour enough fat down their drains every year to fill seven Olympic swimming pools. The Westcountry Rivers Trust recommends using empty jars or margarine tubs to collect it, then throw it away. Other common culprits for blocked sinks are coffee grinds, produce stickers and broken eggshell, which should instead be binned or composted to prevent unwanted waste entering our water systems.

4. Don’t waste water
Reducing your water usage won’t just save you money, it will also help the environment. From having a water butt in your garden, to taking shorter showers, there is so much that you can do. South West Water also provides free-water saving devices, which you can get here

5. Get your septic tank checked
If septic tanks are not emptied regularly or are not working properly, they can overflow and discharge straight into the river. This is a particular problem during heavy rain. So, if you have a septic tank – and plenty of rural homes in the South West do – then make sure you understand how to keep it working properly and stop it overflowing. This Government document outlines what you need to do.

6. Become a citizen scientist
The Westcountry Rivers Trust now has more than 100 volunteer ‘citizen scientists’ who are helping to monitor the health of rivers across the South West. Find out how you can join them here