ANNUAL ARTISAN MARKET IN BARNSTAPLE THIS NOVEMBER

Over 90 talented artists and makers from across the South West will be gathering for one day in Barnstaple PannierMarket to showcase their wares as Devon Pop Ups present an Artisan Market that is sure to successfully resolve the most challenging of shopping and gift dilemmas.

The Artisan Market on Sunday 4 November will feature an eclectic mix of exhibitors across a whole range of disciplines: from home-made sweets to doggie treats, from headdresses to statement jewellery, macramé, ceramics, wood, leather, fine art, prints, illustrations, embroidery, photography and food. The wonderful thing that they have in common, and the condition for entry to the market, is that their creations are all handmade by the artisans themselves.

The stunning Victorian Pannier Market in Barnstaple is the historic setting for this innovative event which will also include drop-in workshops hosted by Scrapstore using upcycled materials, a totally FREE creative gift-wrapping service for all purchases made on the day, a variety of delicious food stalls and live music throughout the day.

The eclectic mix of artists on show at the Artisan Market will include Becky Lanyon (see photo top), the talented creator of the Artisan Market logo. Becky’s joyful wire wall hangings and freestanding wire sculptures, as well as her illustrated cards, are inspired by birds and animals, the shapes and patterns in nature as well as acrobats and dancers.

A creative and diverse mix of textile artists including Emma Manson of Pineapple Fibre Art with her range of bespoke vintage inspired crochet wall art using hand-dyed yarns, will be mixing with talented jewellers and ceramicists. These include Claire Lowe Jewellery, who is known for a colourful range of mixed-media jewellery made with silver and resin. and Jess Harrington, who creates botanical tiles that capture a unique and beautiful plant moment in plaster and preserve it forever.

Illuminating the market will be Dorset artist Alastair Kinghorn of CU Designs, the makers of a range of unique hand-made sculptural lighting using recycled copper, glass and locally sourced wind fallen timber. Adding a musical note, the Market is pleased to welcome Terry Riley who makes pottery ocarinas and vessel flutes tuned to concert pitch.

For an enduring and lasting memento of the day, Stephen Raff and Nicky Thompson of Contemporary Collodion will be making unique glass wet plate portraits with tradition wooden bellowed cameras and a portable darkroom. Practising the photographic process invented in 1851 they will be applying light-sensitive chemicals onto plates of glass and developing portraits whilst still wet.

There will be a £1.50 entrance fee (free entry for children under 16) for the Artisan Market at Barnstaple Pannier Market on Sunday 4 November 2018. The event starts at 10am and finishes at 4pm.

 

KITTY MACFARLANE: ‘NAMER OF CLOUDS’ ALBUM LAUNCH TOUR COMES TO SOMERSET

Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts, is delighted to be welcoming Somerset singer-songwriter Kitty Macfarlane to perform at the Manor on Sunday 4 November at 7.30pm, as part of a nationwide tour to support the release of her stand-out debut album, ‘Namer of Clouds’. ​

Released only last month, on Navigator Records, the album has already garnered huge acclaim from both the mainstream and folk press. The Guardian wrote, “Her remarkably accomplished debut album beguiles with its poetry and tenderness, and her eye for detail, vivid imagination and bright vocals make it a captivating listen. She is a talent to watch.” Speaking on BBC Radio 2 Folk Show, Mark Radcliffe declared tracks from the album as “Stunningly beautiful – what a production, what a sound”.

Over a few short years Kitty Macfarlane has rapidly risen to become a ‘must-see’ name on the UK folk scene.  While her support appearances on tours with Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman, and Blair Dunlop have fuelled her growing fan-base, it was her acclaimed 2016 EP ‘Tide and Time’ that got everyone talking; still in her early 20s, her “impressively mature” (fRoots Magazine) debut album is cementing her reputation as a major talent. Kitty is coming into her own with some remarkable songwriting, a marked empathy with the environment, and a strong sense of place; references to Somerset landscapes, wildlife and folklore pepper Kitty’s music, connecting to her love of the area where she grew up.

Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts, has been established as a charity since 1965. Nestling at the foot of the Quantock Hills, it provides a year-round programme of events and activities in traditional folk music, dance, song, storytelling, folklore and related arts and crafts. There’s ample free parking onsite, a bar and – of course – beautiful atmospheric settings for concerts with wonderful acoustics, and a chance to catch-up with the artists over a drink afterwards!

Tickets are priced £10, with a concessionary price of £4 for children and full time students of any age. Buy securely online at www.halswaymanor.org.uk.

GENERATION OF SCHOOL CHILDREN INSPIRED BY LORNA DOONE

A South Somerset school has visited Exmoor National Park for the 25th year running, giving thousands of students the chance to experience the landscape that inspired the world-famous romantic novel, Lorna Doone.

Students from Maiden Beech Academy, a middle school in Crewkerne, first visited Exmoor’s famous Doone Valley in October 1993, and have visited every year since. Approximately 100 Year 8 pupils attend each year, meaning the total runs into the thousands.

Guided by National Park leaders, they are taken on a walk from County Gate to Malmsmead Church to Cloud Farm, and on to the medieval ruins of the ‘Doone settlement’ – all prominent locations in the book. The return trip includes the steep climb from Badgery Water back up to County Gate, which is hard on tired legs, but remains a fun and exhilarating challenge that is remembered for years to come. During the visits, the children also have the opportunity to learn about field skills, such as river surveys, as well as map and navigation skills.

Lorna Doone was published in 1869 by R.D. Blackmore – one of the most famous British novelists of the Victorian era. The story incorporates wonderful descriptions of the most remote and rugged parts of Exmoor, as well as real events such as The Great Winter and the Monmouth Rebellion, plus folk traditions of the notorious Doone family and the highwayman Tom Faggus. It has never since been out of print.

Year 8 teacher Chris Stacey, who has been accompanying children on the visits for the past ten years, said: “The Lorna Doone books are almost worn out now, but the children so enjoy the story that the study continues. They love visiting the places described in the novel and being able to experience the wonderful landscape around the Doone Valley.”

Exmoor National Park’s Dave Gurnett, who has led all 25 of the visits, said: “It’s an incredibly atmospheric place and taking the children there makes such a difference to their understanding of the book. With just 12 per cent of UK children having never visited the countryside, we believe outdoor learning should form a vital part of every child’s education.”

Next year marks the 150th anniversary since Lorna Doone was first published, with the National Park encouraging local businesses and organisations to join in with the celebrations, planned to include a major Lorna Doone exhibition at Dulverton Heritage Centre, along with themed walks, arts events, literary sessions and a variety of other events around the National Park. Anyone interested in organising an event should contact Katrina Munro on KJMunro@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk or call 01398 322236.

HESTERCOMBE ONE STEP CLOSER TO RESTORATION

The restoration of one of England’s most important historic gardens, the unique Hestercombe Gardens near Taunton in Somerset, is one step closer thanks to a £1.5 million grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF).

The NHMF grant has enabled the Hestercombe Gardens Trust to acquire land totalling 320 acres, reuniting the world-class, Grade I registered landscape, gardens and buildings for future generations.

Now returned to its full size, what makes Hestercombe Gardens so important is that it combines four complete period gardens spanning four centuries of garden design.

The newly acquired land includes the site of a rare, early-seventeenth-century Water Garden which it is planned to restore together with other historic features within the park. Planted to its original design, Hestercombe’s Formal Garden is considered the finest example of the famous collaboration between garden designer Gertrude Jekyll and architect Edwin Lutyens.

The purchase also allows for the possibility of extending the current contemporary art gallery in the house to include outside spaces for the display of art. This will affirm the Trust’s ambition to become a national Centre for Arts & Landscape.

Popular TV gardener Monty Don, who has filmed at the site several times, considers Hestercombe one of his very favourite gardens.

Hestercombe Gardens Trust chairman, Sir Andrew Burns KCMG, said: “This is a tremendous vote of confidence in Hestercombe and recognises Somerset’s leading heritage garden as a site of outstanding national importance. We are enormously grateful to the National Heritage Memorial Fund and our other funders for their most generous and timely assistance in securing the future of Hestercombe for public enjoyment.”

Sir Peter Luff, Chair of NHMF, said: “On a par with Stourhead, Castle Howard and Blenheim, Hestercombe is an exquisite landscape with such an important story to tell in the history of English garden design. This was a once in a generation opportunity to restore it in full and one that we at the National Heritage Memorial Fund felt had to be seized .”

The history of Hestercombe
The Hestercombe estate was sold to The Crown Estate by the Portman family in 1944. In 1961 The Crown clear-felled all the eighteenth-century designed landscape, parkland and woodland for its timber value. This process also drained the lakes and destroyed a number of garden buildings. The statuary from the Lutyens garden was sold off and the Georgian landscape and surrounding woodland were replanted as commercial forestry.

In 1953 Somerset County Council rented Hestercombe House from The Crown to provide a headquarters for Somerset County Fire Brigade. In 1973 Somerset County Council began the restoration of the Formal gardens designed by Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll, which was awarded a European Heritage Award, the council also purchased the house and formal gardens.

The total cost of acquiring the land, following the Crown Estate’s decision to sell off its agricultural holdings, together with a picturesque gatekeeper’s lodge, which was acquired separately, was £2.7 million. Substantial and generous partnership funding to complete the purchase was received from three private trusts and the Garfield Weston Foundation.

Philip White MBE, Founder and Chief Executive, said that: “This had been a remarkable and possibly unique opportunity to put back together a nationally important historic landscape when so many others are broken up, which has been made possible thanks to the vision of Hestercombe’s trustees and its generous supporters.”

The Hestercombe Gardens Trust is very grateful to the leaders of both Somerset County Council, Cllr David Fothergill, and Taunton Deane Borough Council, Cllr John Williams, for their strong support and also to Taunton MP, Rebecca Pow, a long time champion of Hestercombe, who was able to promote the application at a national level.

BIG ADVENTURE DAY AT WEBBERS POST

Join Exmoor National Park for a Big Adventure Day this autumn half term at Webbers Post, set within the National Trust’s picturesque Holnicote Estate. There will be a host of free outdoor activities for all the family running throughout the day on Wednesday 31 October from 10am to 4pm.

Join in a bug hunt, help build a giant den, try your hand at campfire cooking, get your face painted, go on a fungi walk, make a witch’s broom, get help spotting wildlife from the Exmoor Natural History Society. Or simply sit back and enjoy the panoramic views over Horner Wood and the wild moorland stretching up to Dunkery Beacon, the highest point on Exmoor.

Webbers Post is a haven for Red deer, Exmoor ponies, bats and the rare heath fritillary butterfly, along with an awesome array of lichens and mosses. As it’s the rutting season, you may even be lucky enough to hear roaring stags on the nearby hills.

Patrick Watt-Mabbott, Exmoor National Park’s Volunteering and Outreach Officer, said: “It’s the last ‘Big Adventure’ of the year and, with the help of the National Trust and our wonderful volunteers, we’ve got some great activities lined up. There’s no need to book and everyone is welcome, so grab a picnic and wellies and join us for a wild day out!”

The event is free, but donations to CareMoor for Exmoor will be welcome. There are car parking and toilet facilities on site. For more information visit the Exmoor National Park website or contact the National Park Centre at Dulverton on 01398 323841.

UNVEILING OF THE SHROUDS OF THE SOMME AT QUEEN ELIZABETH OLYMPIC PARK

After his five-year mission to honour the dead of the First World War, artist Rob Heard will finally unveil his remarkable Shrouds of the Somme installation to the world on the morning of 7 November 2018.

Rob will be available for interview as the last of the 72,396 small shrouded figures are laid out by volunteers and members of 1 Royal Anglian Regiment in the shadow of the London Stadium at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The following day members of the public are invited to visit the free attraction which will form one of the major focal points as the nation marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

Each of the 12-inch shrouded figures represent the men who died in the bloodiest battle in British history but whose bodies were never recovered from the Somme battlefield.

The installation is so vast that when the shrouds are laid out they will cover 4,400 square metres – almost the size of a football pitch.

Find out more: www.shroudsofthesomme.com/

FUNDING BOOST FOR COAST EXPLORERS EXHIBITION

There’s something fishy going on at the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon.

The popular undersea world at the museum is being redeveloped and will make a welcome return to the museum when it reopens, thanks to a funding boost from the North Devon Coast Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The museum has been awarded a £4,000 grant from the AONB’s Sustainable Development Fund, which is funded by DEFRA, to help people understand the fantastic wildlife along the coast. The funding will be used to transform the undersea display into a more interactive exhibition, making use of the museum’s  precious specimens and introducing digital elements to engage visitors.

North Devon Council’s Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Brian Moores, says: “The old undersea room was a big hit with young visitors and the museum team wanted to keep its immersive feel, but make it more interactive and up to date. Following consultation with Coastwise, a local volunteer group which both monitors and educates people about our coastal environment, the new Coast Explorers idea was born. The new exhibition will include portholes into the undersea section to enable good views of existing specimens, as if you are in a submarine. It will include many more interactive opportunities to learn about our coastal creatures.”

Coast Explorers will include a section about the important coastal environment of Braunton Burrows and also provide an introduction to North Devon’s internationally designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.  The new gallery will encourage people to explore, learn about and care for our important natural and historic assets, including discussion of topical issues such as plastics in our seas.

AONB Manager, Jenny Carey-Wood, says: “We are delighted to support this new exhibition at the museum covering the wildlife, sea creatures and birds found along the outstanding coast of North Devon. The display will help children and adults to make the connection between what they do and the nature all around them, so they can enjoy its beauty and look after it for future generations.”

Follow the progress of the museum’s new extension project, including behind the scenes photos and information about the new displays at www.barnstaplemuseumblog.wordpress.com.

Top: Design for the new Coast Explorers exhibit.

 

WINTER WORK PLANNED AT ROTARY GARDENS IN BARNSTAPLE

Further improvements at Rotary Gardens in Pilton will continue over the winter months.

North Devon Council’s parks team will be replacing some of the shrub beds, adding more colour with new herbaceous planting and installing some more seating around the gardens for visitors to enjoy.

A number of low-quality trees will also be taken out to open up the views around the pond area and will be replaced with more suitable tree species elsewhere in the gardens. This is the latest in a series of improvements in the park, including a tree trail, interpretation boards and memorial plinth.

Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture with North Devon Council, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “We like to let local residents know if we’re planning any tree work, so they don’t get alarmed. The trees we’re taking out are not of great value and aren’t suitable species for their setting. Those we take out will all be replaced with better specimens, more appropriate to the park and will much improve the look and diversity of the gardens in the future. I’m sure the extra seating will be appreciated, as it’s such a lovely space to sit and enjoy the views.”

Local ward member for Pilton, Councillor Mair Manuel, says: “We have been working together for some years on improving Rotary Gardens for the benefit of residents, visitors and community groups. The changes so far are very obvious and this additional work will further enhance the gardens, with the seating placed to take advantage of the tidying up that has been done, the new plantings and opening up of the views. All will add to the beauty of Rotary Gardens and confirm it as a great asset for the community of Pilton.”

Stay up to date with news and events from the council’s parks team on Facebook (www.facebook.com/northdevoncouncil) or follow @ndevoncouncil on Twitter.

TOP 100 RANKING FOR THREE ACRES COUNTRY HOUSE EXMOOR

The Visit England Rose Awards 2018 were announced at the Independent Hotel Show in London on Tuesday and one Exmoor establishment was awarded the prestigious accolade of being among the Top 100 accommodation providers in the country.

The national Rose Award is presented to a range of outstanding hotels, B&Bs, guest houses and self-catering establishments, in recognition of their excellence in customer service. Nominations are put forward by Visit England Quality Scheme assessors and selected from assessor comments and feedback from overseas and domestic visitors. Winners are selected by a final judging panel looking for innovation that sets the business apart.

Winners of the title include Exmoor-based Three Acres Country House, a luxury guest house set in secluded peaceful grounds near Dulverton. A family business run by owners Edward and Julie Christian, they are assessed by Visit England who have consistently graded them with the highest ranking of 5 Stars with Breakfast and Gold Awards since 2007.

Edward and Julie Christian commented: “We are delighted that the high standards at Three Acres Country House have been commended because we go to great efforts to provide our guests with a comfortable, relaxed and enjoyable stay on Exmoor. To receive such praise from Visit England, the leading industry body who judge with impartiality, is reassuring both to us and visitors. We are keen to champion the wonders of Exmoor and feel privileged to be in a position to be able to share it with others.”

Three Acres Country House, Brushford, Dulverton, Somerset TA22 9AR
Tel: 01398 323730
www.threeacresexmoor.co.uk
Read more:  www.visitbritain.org/visitengland-announces-winners-2018-rose-awards

EXMOOR’S RIGHTS OF WAY RATED FIRST-CLASS

The following is a press release issued by ENPA

Rights of way on Exmoor have been assessed as some of the best in the country for a second year running, in the National Path Authority’s newly published annual Rights of Way and Access Report*.

96 per cent of public footpaths, bridleways and byways were classed as ‘open and easy to use’ – the highest of all National Parks, and the number of issues resolved within three months has increased to 84 per cent.

The report also records the highest ever output of ‘National Park furniture’ – with a total of 831 signs, 404 sign posts and 155 gates having been constructed and installed this year alone, using timber sourced from the National Park’s own woodland estate.

Lots of the assessment work is carried out by National Park volunteers, who this year provided crucial feedback on paths throughout 11 parishes, totalling 360 hours of work.

Each season they help to survey a randomly selected set of paths covering 10 per cent of the network. Using nationally recognised assessment criteria, volunteers score each route according to how easy it is to navigate, the state of vegetation, and the condition of stiles, gates, signage and surfaces.

Kevin Snewing, Path Watcher Volunteer, said: “A bonus of being a Path Watcher volunteer is that I get to walk parts of the National Park that I probably wouldn’t normally visit, and there are some gems out there. I was particularly impressed by the network above Lynton.”

Dan Barnett, Access and Recreation Manager, said: “Keeping the rights of way network in top condition is crucially important, not just for people’s enjoyment but also to protect precious habitats and reduce disturbance to farming. But we wouldn’t be able to achieve these kinds of targets without ongoing support from our partners and highly-skilled contractors, along with donations from the public through CareMoor for Exmoor, plus our fantastic volunteers. It really is a team effort.”

For more information about National Park volunteering opportunities visit: www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/get-involved