NATIONAL CREAM TEA DAY IS HERE!

CareMoor for Exmoor has teamed up with Visit Exmoor to celebrate National Cream Tea on Exmoor.

National Cream Tea Day offers a great opportunity to promote your venue and help raise funds and awareness of CareMoor for Exmoor.

Why not join those already participating and sign up to host a cream tea for CareMoor (i.e. include a donation as part of cream tea sales) or promote CareMoor during the day to visitors, making collection boxes and opportunities to donate available.<

CareMoor and Visit Exmoor will be actively promoting National Cream Tea Day from now, up to and including 29 June, on social media: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as on the ENPA blog, and their websites and within our National Park Centres, through press releases to local and national press and through their partner networks. As the day is National Cream Tea Day any venue taking part will also get extra publicity via the National Cream Tea Society.

They will also be providing some additional promotional material to any participating establishment to display ahead of the event and on the day.

Competition
To capture public interest we will be running a twitter ‘competition’ asking visitors to vote on that old-age question. Should it be cream first with jam on top; or jam first with cream on top? Cream tea-ers will be invited to tweet their vote and a picture of their cream tea & venue. Why not join in? To take part, simple drop them a line letting them know what you are doing and they will add you to their Cream Tea venue map and social media promotions. What better way to enjoy flaming June than with a cream tea!

PHOTO: We would like to draw readers’ attention to the non-partisan choice of image for this story. We are risk averse on this one!

NEW INVESTIGATION INTO DUNSTER’S BUILDINGS

A new project to record and date Dunster’s medieval buildings in one of Exmoor National Park’s oldest settlements launches this week. It was kick-started after a number of buildings were found to have arch-braced roofs and true cruck frames, indicating they dated back to the 14th and 15th centuries.

A free event for people to learn more about the two-year project is being held at Tithe Barn in Dunster on Sunday 3  June from 1.30 – 5.30pm, with historical talks including Richard Parker from the Time Team Dig Village Project, who have been researching Dunster’s history and archaeology over the last few years.

There will be an array of historic maps on show with experts on hand to help residents try and locate their house on maps from different time periods, plus guidance on how to estimate a building’s age. People are also being asked to bring along old photos of Dunster that might help provide clues to the history of the village, and there will be some fun family activities too.

Mary Ewing from Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society (SANHS), which is leading the project in association with Exmoor National Park and Dunster Museum, with sponsorship from Historic England, said: “There’s been a lot of interest in uncovering Dunster’s past recently and it’s great to see so many members of the community getting behind this exciting project.

“We’re delighted to now be furthering this work through the most thorough investigation of Dunster’s historic buildings to date. We hope to be able to give as many residents as possible the chance to find out the history of their house using cutting-edge techniques such as dendrochronology, which uses tree rings from the building’s timbers to pinpoint the exact year they were formed.”

Shirley Blaylock, historic environment conservation officer at Exmoor National Park, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for today’s residents to get a glimpse into Dunster’s past and contribute to important research. We look forward to seeing how the story unfolds.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about the project should contact Mary Ewing via the SANHS office on 01823 272429 or info@sanhs.org

PHOTO: Dunster’s High House, now called The Nunnery (but which was never a convent), photographed by Julia Amies-Green for our Winter 2016 issue article by Mary Siraut – ‘Medieval Origins’. The article was all about medieval buildings on Exmoor. The magazine is available as a back issue here.

CHANCE TO HELP MAKE BARNSTAPLE MUSEUM’S NEW EXTENSION AN INSPIRATION FOR THE TOWN

Can you help local artist Taz Pollard create inspiring ceramic work to decorate the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon’s new Long Bridge Wing extension?

The museum is calling for former workers from Brannams Pottery and Shapland & Petter to help with the design of a panel of terracotta tiles, which will adorn the outside of the new building.  A creative workshop is being held at the Pop-Up museum on Friday 1 June with Taz Pollard, who has been chosen to create the work.

The museum has been awarded £14,800 from the Arts Council towards the £25k project, which will include a frieze of tiles around the top of the building inspired by the significant work of the town’s potters and furniture makers, particularly during the Arts and Crafts period.

Taz Pollard runs a studio in South Molton and has carried out extensive research in North Devon potteries. Taz says: “I’m really excited about this project as I will be able to revisit my research into Barnstaple pottery and delve deeper into the designs of Shapland and Petter furniture and C.H. Brannam pottery by working closely with former workers on the designs. It will be a challenge to create something contemporary but which reflects the designs and rich heritage of Barnstaple’s past.”

North Devon Council’s Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “Part of the planning conditions for the new building call for the extension to reflect the artisan trades of Barnstaple and Taz Pollard seems the perfect artist to help achieve this. Taz is a talented and experienced artist who is used to working with children and local communities and I look forward to seeing her weave the traditions of the past into the future of the building.”

Later in the year Taz will also be running practical workshops for children from local schools, other local artists and pottery students to help develop the designs of more terracotta tiles, which will flank the outside walls of the new gift shop.

If you worked for Brannams or Shapland & Petter and would like to help inspire Taz’s designs please contact the museum on 01271 346747. The workshop will be held from 11am to 1pm on Friday 1 June.

PHOTO: C.H. Brannam, Litchdon pottery.

OLIVIER AND FINN SERVE UP TASTY NEW ROLES AT THE SWAN

Olivier Certain has this month (May, 2018) been officially appointed Head Chef at The Swan in Bampton and Finn Hutchison has also joined the kitchen team at the 2018 ‘Estrella Damm’ Top 50 Gastropub.

Olivier joins from the multi-award-winning Clavelshay Barn near Bridgwater and Finn from the Michelin-starred Masons Arms at Knowstone in Devon.

Co-owner of the gastropub with rooms, Donna Berry, who jointly runs the business with her husband and fellow Chef Patron, Paul, said: “We’re delighted that Olivier has joined us. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge and expertise, and really complements our style here. As does Finn, who is also an exceptional young chef. They will strengthen our talented team greatly and help us all take the business forward. We’ve exciting times ahead!

“But, rest assured, Paul and I are not taking a back seat, we’ll be here and all working together as a team to continue to develop the menu and what we offer to our loyal customers. The pair will very much work alongside us and you’ll continue to see us both in the kitchen, at the bar and front of house generally. We’re not disappearing!”
Marseille-born Olivier moved to Somerset in 1998 following his Michelin star training in La Bonne Etape Chateau Arnoux and Les Roches in Le Lavandou. His first job in the area was with Andrew Dixon at Porlock Weir where he was second chef.

In 2006, he joined Woods in Dulverton as head chef where he achieved 2 rosettes and the accolade of Somerset Dining Pub of the Year 2008, 2010 and 2011. In 2009, he reached the finals of the South West Chef of the Year competition.

In 2017, he was crowned Somerset Life’s Best Chef at the magazine’s annual Food and Drinks Award and he was also a finalist in the 2018 Trencherman’s Award, and was in great culinary company. His fellow finalists included Michael Caines, Josh Eggleton and Nathan Outlaw, who all have Michelin stars.

Olivier, who joined Clavelshay Barn in 2016, which has won Taste of the West Gold Award for the last six years running, as Head Chef.

Meanwhile, Finn joins The Swan from well-known chef Mark Dodson’s Mason Arms. In July 2006, The Mason Arms’ restaurant was awarded a Michelin star, which it still holds 12 years on.

The Swan, which is an AA Four Star Gold Inn and the oldest pub in Bampton, was named as one of the top 50 gastropubs in the country for the second year running this year.

In 2017, the pub was polled at 50 and this year it’s 28th in the rankings and received a highest climber award. The ‘Estrella Damm’ Top 50 Gastropub Awards are voted for by food writers, executive chefs, celebrity and top hospitality industry chefs, pub guide editors, industry chiefs and food operators.

It has scooped a plethora of awards for its food in the past few months and years including being named Gold Tourism Pub of the Year 2018 at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards, voted Best Dining Pub for 2018 in the Trencherman Awards and receiving a Gold Tourism Pub award in the 2017 Devon Tourism Awards. It has two AA Rosettes for Culinary Excellence as well.

The Swan’s team has a passion for food and embraces the use of produce from the area to create some real pub classics, such as sausages and mash, cod and chips, pies, grilled rump steak and sweets.

Donna said: “We try to keep our dishes simple yet bursting with flavours and imagination. From the freshly baked bread at the start of the meal, to tempting puddings, our kitchen produces everything we serve here at the pub.”

The Swan’s menu is created from fresh, seasonal ingredients, sourced from nearby, on a daily basis by Paul and Donna and their team.

Paul, who is a leading chef with more than 20 years’ experience in the industry, explained: “We are dedicated to using all the local or regional produce available to us, needless to say we are so lucky living here in the Westcountry, we have local farmers supplying us with their beef, pork and lamb and the fishing communities providing us with the freshest cod for our classic cod and chips.”

To find out more about The Swan and to book a table for the Exmoor please call 01398 332248 or visit www.theswan.co.

ALAUDIAE TAKE TO THE STAGE AT ST LUKE’S FOR SIMONSBATH FESTIVAL

After a brilliant evening in the company of ENPA chief executive Sarah Bryan, the fantastically talented opera singers Miranda Westcott and Claire Egan will take time out from their busy schedule of performances at prestigious venues such as the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, to give a concert at St Luke’s on Saturday 26 May at 7.30pm.

Members of the vocal trio Alaudiae, mezzo-soprano Miranda Westcott, from North Devon, and soprano Claire Egan return to Simonsbath Festival to present a hugely varied mix of songs celebrating A Woman’s Love and Life, from sixteenth-century madrigals to reimaginations of recent pop hits such as John Legend’s ‘All of me’ and Beyonce’s ‘Halo’.  At the centre of the evening’s programme is Schumann’s cycle ‘Frauenliebe und Leben’, balanced by a selection of folk music from the British Isles, with many other delights.

Miranda and Claire are joined by Arngeir Hauksson (theorbo, renaissance guitar, lute, percussion) and Marc Verter (piano).

Arngeir regularly performs for Shakespeare Globe productions and Marc performs in the UK and abroad at venues such as the Wigmore Hall, Barbican Centre and St John’s Smith Square.

Tickets cost £15 to reserve the seat of your choice; standard tickets £10 (£11 on the door); student/unemployed £7.50; with free admission for 14s and under.  Refreshments are available and a snack may be booked in advance for the interval.

And it’s your last chance to catch this year’s fabulous Simonsbath Festival Art Exhibition, now in its final week and closing on 28 May, at The Old Pottery, Simonsbath, in the centre of the village just by the Exmoor Forest Inn. One of the printmakers will be on hand on most days to explain the processes they use to produce their work. Phone Sandy Schott on 01643 831844 for details.

To buy tickets for Saturday’s concert, visit www.simonsbathfestival.org.uk, email tickets@simonsbathfestival.org.uk or telephone Marian Lloyd on 01643 831451.

To receive a full colour, printed festival programme or to join the mailing list email info@simonsbathfestival.org.uk or to find out about becoming a Friend of Simonsbath Festival and enjoy ticket discounts and priority booking while also supporting the festival, email friends@simonsbathfestival.org.uk or call Polly on 01643 831302.

LINK ROAD IMPROVEMENTS WILL UNLOCK NORTH DEVON’S ECONOMIC POTENTIAL

Last week’s announcement that £83 million has been awarded to improve the A361 has been met with delight by North Devon Councillors.

The first phase of a multi-million pound upgrade to improve the North Devon Link Road will widen the stretch of road between Barnstaple and South Molton and will significantly improve safety along the route. Improving transport links between the M5 and North Devon will also unlock the district’s potential for growth and enhance the economic prosperity of the area.

Leader of North Devon Council, Des Brailey, says: “This is a great result for Devon County Council and for North Devon as a whole. Improvements to the Link Road are long overdue and will be essential if we are to meet our economic development potential. We need this kind of investment in our infrastructure to allow us to grow and flourish as a district. Huge thanks to our MP Peter-Heaton Jones and our county councillor, Andrea Davis, for all the hard work they have put in to make this happen.”

Executive Member for Economic Development and Regeneration, Councillor Pat Barker, says: “This is wonderful news for North Devon and as well as the obvious improvements this will make to safety, the economic impact will be immeasurable. This investment is a massive boost for us – it will make North Devon more attractive to businesses, open up more outside investment in the area and improve job prospects and prosperity. If it’s good for business, then it’s good for North Devon.

“Our economic development team has been supporting this project throughout and we look forward to continuing to work closely with Devon County Council as the scheme develops. I would like to thank our MP Peter Heaton-Jones for his constant lobbying, without which I feel sure we wouldn’t have had such a good result.”

Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Councillor Andrea Davis, says: “The North Devon Link Road is a vital route for the county as a whole, and this announcement confirms that the government has recognised the issues of getting in and out of North Devon.

“The uplift to our economy in North Devon of the improvements to our main route will give a huge boost to our economy, the benefits will be felt by local residents, businesses and our visitors.

“Devon County Council and its partners including the Local Enterprise Partnership have been tireless in their support for this regionally important route, today the result of all this activity has paid off for our beautiful area of Devon.  We at Devon County Council look forward to the continued partnership working to now deliver the scheme and will be looking for opportunities to seek funding for the North Devon Link Road strategy adopted by the DCC cabinet last year.”

PHOTO: Left to right: Cllr Jane Whittaker (Leader, Torridge District Council); Peter Heaton-Jones MP (North Devon); Cllr Andrea Davis (Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Devon County Council); Chris Grayling MP (Secretary of State for Transport); Geoffrey Cox MP (Torridge & West Devon); Cllr Pat Barker (Deputy Leader, North Devon Council).

KING’S PUPILS ENRICH BIODIVERSITY OF SCHOOL GROUNDS

As part of the school’s sustainability strategy, sixteen green-fingered pupils from King’s College spent the afternoon planting trees around the school grounds.

The day began with a tree planting demonstration by groundsman, Nick Radford, who taught the pupils how to cut the turf into a T shape, before planting the trees in the soil. In pairs, the team planted over 30 trees, including cherry, silver birch, rowan, hawthorn, oak and field maple.

The trees were kindly donated to King’s Schools by The Woodland Trust, the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity. The charity receives funding from organisations such as DEFRA and Sainsbury’s, and aims to provide schoolchildren with the opportunity to plant trees. This is part of a nationwide project to extend the number of trees and woodland areas to create new spaces for wildlife.

Christina French, Head of the King’s Sustainability Strategy, said: “We are so thankful to the Woodland Trust for giving the pupils the opportunity to plants trees and enrich the biodiversity of the school. This is certainly in keeping with the school’s sustainability ethos, which takes a very student-led approach.”

SOUTH WEST LAKES TRUST AND SOUTH WEST WATER PHOTO COMPETITION

After the huge success of last year’s ‘Love your Lakes’ photo competition South West Lakes Trust and South West Water have decided to hold it again this year.

The competition, now in its sixth year, aims to encourage people of all ages to make the most of the fantastic photo opportunities at their lakes across Devon, Cornwall and West Somerset. The lakes of the South West are popular among amateur and professional photographers alike and the opportunities are endless.

This year there will be four photo categories – ‘Play and Explore, ‘Active Outdoors’, ‘Love your Lakes and ‘Discovering Local Culture’. South West Lakes Trust are passionate about people from all walks of life being able to benefit from the wonderful countryside around their lakes. These categories are four of the five themes that underpin the work of South West Lakes Trust’s charity and our people:

FIVE CAMPAIGN THEMES

  1. Play and Explore Reconnecting children and their families with the outdoors through play
  2. Love Your Lakes – Caring for and improving our natural environment
  3. Active Outdoors – Promoting and delivering health and wellbeing in the outdoors
  4. Discovering Local Culture – Celebrating and engaging people with our built and social heritage
  5. Building Outdoor Skills – Training and personal development for those furthest from work

More information about the campaigns can be found here – www.swlakestrust.org.uk/our-work/

Photos must be taken at one of South West Lakes Trust’s lakes. A fantastic prize of a £250 will be awarded to the overall winning photograph, with £100 for each individual category winner. Runner-up prizes will also be up for grabs and a special prize will be awarded to the photo which receives the most public votes.

The ‘Love your Lakes’ photo competition is free to enter and will be judged by Andy Parsons, Chief Executive of South West Lakes Trust, Alan Hyde, South West Water’s Head of Community Relations, and last but at no means least renowned professional news and sport photographer Richard Austin.

Richard has been working at the top end of the newspaper and magazine industry for more than a quarter of a century. His photographs are used all over the world in newspapers and magazines, and as a modern day media photographer Richard has the ability to adapt his photographic work not only to news and sport but also in the expanding business world of Public Relations and Web Site photography.

Andy Parsons said: “Everyone in our area has a lake within thirty minutes’ drive of their home, providing an ideal setting for perfecting photography skills. Throughout the year the landscape changes, shadows lengthen and shorten and greenery appears and disappears, giving photographers the fascinating challenge of capturing their favourite locations in differing stages. I really look forward to judging the competition this year, knowing that it is a great leveller, open to people of all ages and abilities. Please feel encouraged to take a trip to a lake near you – you never know what wildlife you will encounter or how much fun it can be trying to capture that special scene.’

Alan Hyde added: “We’re pleased to be supporting South West Lakes Trust’s photo competition again this year. Every dam is an amazing feat of engineering and the lakes that they create provide lots of opportunities for family fun, whether that’s watersports or simply picnicking and enjoying the scenery. Take your camera with you, send us your best pictures and I look forward to seeing the results in the autumn.”

To submit your photos visit www.swlakestrust.org.uk/photo-competition

PHOTO: Wimbleball Lake by Judith Taylor

ANDREA OKE BEGINS ARTIST RESIDENCY AT HALSWAY

Somerset Arts Works, in partnership with Halsway Manor, are pleased to announce a new and final Somerset Art Works commission as part of ‘A Landscape of Objects’ funded by Arts Council England.

Somerset visual artist Andrea Oke will take up a residency at Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts, deep in West Somerset. With parts of the building dating from the 15th century and with a mention in the Domesday book, Halsway Manor is imbued with a rich folk heritage that encompasses dragons, devils, murder and Odin’s ghostly blacksmith. Yet much of this folk history is now forgotten creating a borderland of shadows and concealments. Through the combination of traditional craft and digital media Andrea will reanimate Halsway Manor’s landscape by exploring some of the forgotten people and the stories that shaped the bedrock of this place.

In the ‘Shadowland Project’ Andrea says “By creating a visual landscape of folklore and placing Halsway at its centre I hope to start new conversations that prevent both the stories and the storytellers from being lost to us forever.”

During the project Andrea will be researching the folklore and history of Halsway and its immediate surroundings, utilising resources from within Halsway’s library collection and Somerset’s Heritage Centre, as well as talking to people and visiting local sites. The research will inspire and inform a pop-up exhibition of original artwork at Halsway Manor that can be visited as part of Somerset Open Studios (Thu 27 – Sun 30 September, 10am – 5pm. Admission free). There will also be opportunities to meet the artist (Sat 29 September, 2pm) and participate in family friendly workshops (Sun 30 September, 10am-12noon and 2-4pm. £10 per family. Places should be booked in advance via Halsway Manor – 01984 618274).

Crispian Cook, Chief Executive of Halsway Manor said “We are delighted to be hosting Andrea Oke here as Artist in Residence. It is particularly exciting that she is here at a time when we are undergoing changes with our restoration project and widening our creative engagement. Andrea’s work here will enrich what we are doing and provide a wonderful chance for members of the public to experience an artist at work during Somerset Open Studios 2018.”

Andrea is keeping a blog throughout her residency, visit shadowlandproject.wordpress.com to follow her progress.

Shadowland Project is the final commission of Somerset Art Works project A Landscape of Objects, funded by Arts Council England. A Landscape of Objects has consisted of a series of site-specific commissions, residencies, bursaries and curated shows, including new work from local to international artists, during 2017-18. This is a major artistic programme by SAW to encourage research by artists into the spirit of the place, local identity and rural context in the making and presenting of contemporary arts and craft, investigating innovative and imaginative uses of important man-made landscapes and our relationship to them.

NATURALLY HEALTHY MONTH

Exmoor National Park are hosting a free event in Minehead at the end of May to inspire us all to boost our health and wellbeing by getting outside in the beautiful countryside in and around Exmoor.

Taking place at Blenheim Gardens and Minehead Beach on Saturday 26 May 2018 (11am-5pm), the event forms part of a month-long festival across Somerset and Devon for ‘Naturally Healthy Month’ throughout May.

Active Devon and Public Health in Somerset are coordinating the Naturally Healthy Campaign on behalf of the Devon and Somerset Local Nature Partnership’s, with support from the Wildlife Trust and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Somerset. Over thirty organisations have now signed up, with more than 100 events planned – the vast majority of them free of charge – covering all five districts of Somerset.

Naturally Healthy Minehead coordinator Lucy McQuillan, from Exmoor National Park Authority, said, “This is a brand new event, celebrating just some of the ways that you can enjoy the beautiful countryside around Minehead and Exmoor National Park.

“Naturally Healthy Minehead is about giving people the chance to try something new – whether it’s yoga, Nordic walking, mindfulness, games on the beach, short guided walks, golf, boules, crafts or learning about Exmoor bogs! Whatever you fancy, it’s the perfect opportunity to step outside and let nature nurture.”

Tim Braund, head of information and communication at Exmoor National Park, said: “Research shows that connecting with nature can have a positive impact on people’s physical and mental health and sense of wellbeing. Being outside has even been linked to improved heart health, through increased activity and reduced stress and anxiety, so for some it can be a genuine lifeline.

“We would love people living in Somerset to get behind Naturally Healthy Month by sharing their experiences on social media using the hashtags #letnaturenuture and #stepoutside, and by letting friends and family know about the wonderful programme of events happening right here on their doorstep.”

A full list of the events across Somerset can found on the Somerset Local Nature Partnership website www.slnp.org.uk.

PHOTO: Taken at Valley of Rocks.