CONCERT: KEVIN DEMPSEY AND JOW BROUGHTON


Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts, are delighted to be welcoming an outstanding duo, Kevin Dempsey and Joe Broughton, to perform at the Manor on Sunday 10 February at 7pm. ​ Since forming in 1999 this duo have recorded four albums and toured extensively in over 20 countries around the world. Combining emotive songs, striking instrumental capability and plenty of energy, they never fail to create a playful and entertaining atmosphere.

Kevin has a fantastic voice and is widely regarded as one of Europe’s great acoustic guitar players, whilst Joe is a master of fiddle pyrotechnics. The list of musicians they have played with is impressive – Whippersnapper, Mary Black, Joss Stone, Dando Shaft, The Urban Folk Quartet, Fairport Convention, The Albion Band, Dave Swarbrick, Percy Sledge, and, of course, folk super group, Bellowhead. To pigeon-hole their style of music would be to do them a disservice. They draw on folk music from all corners of the world and their experience in jazz, soul, classical, pop and Rock music takes their style into original and uncharted territory.

The performance at Halsway will be a small and informal gathering and a great opportunity to get up close and personal with the duo.

Tickets are priced £10; £4 student concessions. Buy securely online at www.halswaymanor.org.uk.

Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts, has been established as a Charity since 1965. Nestling at the foot of the Quantock Hills Halsway Manor 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!

BACK GARDEN ASTRONOMY WEEK LAUNCHES


Exmoor National Park – an International Dark Sky Reserve – is teaming up with local businesses for Back Garden Astronomy Week (2-10 February), BBC Sky at Night Magazine’s new campaign designed to inspire the nation to discover the wonders of stargazing.

People are invited to sign up in advance at www.skyatnightmagazine.com/backgarden to receive a free 50-page digital starter pack and newsletter, showing them how to find some of the most alluring objects in the night sky, all visible from the back garden with just a pair of binoculars.

Followers of Exmoor National Park on Facebook or Twitter (@ExmoorNP), or readers of their dark skies newsletter (sign up at www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/stargazing), could also be in with a chance of winning some great prizes over the course of the week. Wild About Exmoor will be giving away a star-studded guided night walk for up to six people up Dunkery Beacon – the highest point on Exmoor. Those wishing to explore the night sky a little deeper and further during their next stay on Exmoor could win a week’s free hire of an amazing 6-inch Skywatcher Dobsonian telescope from Dark Sky Telescope Hire.

Chris Bramley, Editor of BBC Sky at Night Magazine, said: “We’re really excited about this new opportunity to celebrate some of the best sights the night sky has to offer and to help make astronomy more accessible to a wider audience. It’s great that some fantastic partners have joined us in the project, including Exmoor National Park, who have some great giveaways lined up for us.”

Exmoor National Park was designated as Europe’s first International Dark Sky Reserve in 2011, in recognition of the darkness of the sky and work to limit light pollution. The dark skies are valued and protected by the Exmoor National Park Authority, who also run the Exmoor Dark Skies Festival, taking place from 14 October to 3 November 2019.

Katrina Munro, who coordinates the Festival, said: “People have long visited Exmoor by day for its incredible landscapes and tranquillity, and now more and more are discovering the many wonders of its night skies. We hope that, through this initiative, more budding astronomers will be inspired to come and discover what makes Exmoor so very special for stargazing.”

Look out for a four-page feature on astrophotography in the new issue of Exmoor Magazine, out imminently!

PHOTO: Paul Howell Pictor Images

SPREAD SOME WARMTH THIS WINTER BY DONATING YOUR WINTER FUEL PAYMENT

Thank you to Somerset Community Foundation for sending us this information…

Somerset Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter campaign, which encourages people to join the growing number of contributors who donate some or all of their Winter Fuel Payment to help local people living in fuel poverty, was launched before Christmas but there is still more that can be done to help.

Last year, over 500 older people living in fuel poverty in Somerset were helped to keep warm and better connected through the winter months, thanks to pensioners and other local donors who gave to Surviving Winter.

A Surviving Winter grant doesn’t just go towards paying the heating bill. It is also the first step towards connecting the recipient to a local Surviving Winter delivery partner; this can become the foundation for a new relationship that can help to overcome the isolation and loneliness many older people experience.

Last winter a single older lady, who already experienced mental health problems and severe anxiety, found a recent diagnosis of fibromyalgia almost too much to bear. The condition had a rapid effect on her mobility and ability to work and before long she found herself in debt. She became extremely depressed and isolated, spending most of her time fully dressed and in bed. It was the only way to keep warm as she could no longer afford to buy fuel for her open fire.

One of SCF’s delivery partners visited her at home. They filled in a Surviving Winter application form and organised a delivery of subsidised firewood to her house. With fuel to heat her home, she felt able to invite people in without feeling ashamed that her house was cold, and she didn’t have to go to bed to keep warm. Her Surviving Winter grant helped alleviate the loneliness she was experiencing and made paying the bills easier. This would not have happened if Surviving Winter did not exist.

Somerset ‘celebrities’ who have donated their Winter Fuel Payment to the campaign include Glastonbury Festival organiser Michael Eavis MBE, the Rt Rev’d Peter Hancock, Bishop of Bath & Wells, West Country Master Baker Robert Burns MBE of Burns the Bread and Westcountryman Les Davies MBE.

Help Somerset Community Foundation to continue to help more isolated and vulnerable older people this year.

To make a donation to Surviving Winter, visit www.somersetcf.org.uk/winter or call 01749 344949. Gift Aid forms are also available to download from the Somerset Community Foundation website or you can fill in the Surviving Winter Gift Aid Declaration Form when you send your cheque.

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

A similar scheme is run in Devon (more to follow soon): mydonate.bt.com/events/devonsurvivingwinter/449732

DEVON AIR AMBULANCE SET TO FLY UNTIL 2AM EVERY DAY

Devon Air Ambulance (DAA) has announced another extension of the operational hours of its emergency service which will now fly until 2am every day of the week with immediate effect.

DAA’s Chief Executive, Heléna Holt, said, “This landmark is another step towards our goal of eventually providing Devon with a 24-hour emergency Air Ambulance service. There isn’t a timescale yet for when this will be, but it remains one of our key objectives.”

Heléna Holt was at pains to thank the charity’s “amazing fundraisers and supporters” who have made this significant development possible.

Since the extension of flying time to midnight in 2016, DAA has assisted 118 patients during the hours of darkness.

Nigel Hare, DAA’s Operations Director, said: “Flying into the hours of darkness isn’t necessarily about flying the patient to hospital. It’s also about getting the right specialist care to the patient, quickly.

“Our community landing sites across the county allow us to land at a pre-surveyed site, with lighting that we can turn on and off by using just a mobile phone, saving vital minutes. Our doctors and specialist paramedics can administer essential treatment.”

Heléna Holt added: “A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes with parish councils and communities to create a network of community landing sites. It truly is a testament to our amazing supporters that what seemed a dream just a few years ago has now become reality.”

FIVE-YEAR STRATEGY TO RID NORTHERN DEVON OF SINGLE-USE PLASTICS

A five-year strategy and action plan to rid northern Devon of single-use plastics has been agreed by members of the Plastic Free North Devon Consortium.

The consortium, which was set up in April last year to combat the global problem of plastic pollution through local action, consists of representatives from a number of charities, voluntary groups and organisations including:

Barnstaple Town Council
Barnstaple and District Chamber of Commerce
Beaford Arts
Devon County Council
Ilfracombe Town Council
Keep Britain Tidy
National Trust
North Devon Coast AONB
North Devon Council
North Devon’s Biosphere Reserve
Plastic Free North Devon
PETROC College of Further and Higher Education
South Molton Town Council
Torridge District Council
2 Minute Beach Clean
Westward Ho! Business Association

All members have now agreed the strategy for the consortium, which will work across four key areas – communities, tourism, farming and fishing, and other businesses – with the aim of making the biggest and most immediate impacts on the plastic problem in our area.

The consortium’s strategy includes an action plan, which has a number of aims:

  • increase education about the impact of plastic waste
  • reduce plastic consumption
  • remove plastic that has entered the natural environment
  • recycle or dispose of used plastic appropriately
  • deliver projects to ensure their message is reaching the people and businesses of northern Devon

The action plan focuses not only on the shoreline, but also on the problem of plastics in the rural inland areas.

Executive Member for the Environment at North Devon Council, Councillor Rodney Cann, says: “We as a consortium have a lot of work to do over the next five years and beyond, but I’m delighted that we have been able to agree such an ambitious and rounded strategy that will help us to make a huge impact on the circulation of single-use plastics in northern Devon.”

Plastic Free North Devon coordinator, Claire Moodie says: “The consortium is one of the most exciting things to come out the ‘Plastic Free North Devon’ movement. Having a joined-up vision and strategy supported by credible and competent organisations is crucial to engaging with every aspect of our community. Our vision goes beyond reducing single-use plastic; this is about driving and supporting systematic change throughout our communities which protects and enhances the natural environment we rely on.”

For more information on how you can reduce your consumption of single-use plastics and to find out about local events, follow Plastic Free North Devon’s Facebook page.

STOGUMBER SHOP NOMINATED FOR ‘RURAL OSCAR’

A small village shop in rural West Somerset has reached the regional finals of the Countryside Alliance Awards 2019.

Central Stores Stogumber, which is run by Roger Howe, is a local village shop and Post Office in the remote village of Stogumber, which nestles between Exmoor and the Quantock Hills.

The awards, also known as the ‘Rural Oscars’, review thousands of nominations and select nine regional champions from five categories.  The winning five finalists will be given the title of national rural champions in a ceremony attended by MPs and ministers.

This photo was taken about 11 years ago when Roger and Anne took over the shop.

As well as offering Post Office services during the week, Central Stores stocks a wide selection of groceries, provisions and gifts.  The shop is an important hub for the village where people can meet others and find out about what is going on in their local community.  Roger’s additional services include selling tickets for local events, supporting charitable and environmental initiatives, delivering groceries to disabled residents and offering local businesses and craftspeople the chance to promote and sell their products and services within the shop.  Roger’s wife Anne, who is disabled, runs the store’s website and Facebook page and has a particular interest in helping to protect the local environment through recycling initiatives.

“We are so thrilled to have reached the finals of this prestigious competition,” said Roger.  “Central Stores has received nominations from people in the village as well as from those living elsewhere who have used it when on holiday or visiting family, and we are very proud to be a valued hub in the community.”

Find out more about the awards:
www.countryside-alliance.org/campaigns/caawards/

PHOTO AT TOP: Local residents celebrating the publication of Circular Walks around Stogumber, which is available to purchase in Central Stores for £3.

 

PHOTO COMPETITION TO CELEBRATE 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF NATIONAL PARKS

The UK National Parks and Campaign for National Parks have launched a new photography competition to celebrate the 70th anniversary of National Parks in the UK.

Around the theme of a ‘Moment in time’, the competition comes 70 years since the 1949 Act of Parliament that began the family of National Parks in the UK, that today includes beloved landscapes such as Exmoor, Dartmoor and the Peak District.

Pictures could explore the incredible history of world-famous heritage sites, the people, wildlife and landscapes of the UK’s 15 National Parks.

Tim Braund, Head of Communication and Information at Exmoor National Park, said: “This is a great chance for everyone to share their favourite Exmoor National Park moments in time this January. Whether it’s a spectacular dark sky or a selfie on a walk, there’s no better way of kicking those January blues than with a celebration of the UK’s beautiful National Parks.”

Andrew Hall of Campaign for National Parks, the national charity dedicated to the English and Welsh National Parks, said: “We are really looking forward to paying homage to the legacy of the men and women that fought for our access to the most beautiful countryside through this competition.

“We are so lucky to have some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes on our doorstep. Whether it is the rugged coast of Pembrokeshire or morning mist in Exmoor, we can’t wait to see what you can do with a camera!”

The winner will receive a feature spread in Campaign for National Parks’ membership magazine, Viewpoint.

To enter, participants simply have to read the terms and conditions and tag their images on social media with the hashtag #NP70Moments

For terms and conditions and further details go to: www.cnp.org.uk/photography-competition

Photo: Towards Lynmouth where Exmoor meets the sea, ©Julia Amies Green, runner-up in 2018 Campaign for National Parks summer photo competition.

MINEHEAD LITERARY FESTIVAL AND SHORT STORY COMPETITION

Minehead’s first literary festival will take place on Saturday 27 April at the Methodist Hall, Minehead, featuring presentations by four leading writers with ties to the area who will explore the importance of place in their writing. An art exhibition will also run from April 1 to May 6 at the Regal Theatre and Toucan Wholefoods to celebrate Minehead Literary Festival, with work by local artists which will also focus on the theme of the  importance of place.

Speaking at the literary festival will be one of the country’s foremost writers of novels and short stories, Tessa Hadley. Winner of the 2018 Edge Hill Short Story Prize and author of critically-acclaimed novels Clever Girl, The London Train and The Past, Tessa Hadley has a special connection with the area which shines through her work.
BBC radio producer, writer and bird watcher Tim Dee (pictured) will also share his knowledge of the area and particularly his insights into the natural world. Author of titles including Four Fields and The Running Sky – A Birdwatching Life, Tim is an exceptionally original storyteller, mixing autobiography with nature writing to captivating effect. His most recently published book, Ground Work – Writings on People and Places, is an anthology of new work by some of the most exciting authors writing about the natural world today, and was described in a Guardian review as “an extraordinary and life-affirming book”.

Best-selling author of first novel The Huntingfield Paintress and winner of the Jane Austen Short Story Award in 2014, Pamela Holmes has been fascinated by the area since she lived and worked on a farm on Exmoor in the 1970s (see Exmoor Magazine, Issue 85, Winter 2018, page 92).

For the younger audience, popular local writer Victoria Eveleigh will be giving a special illustrated presentation about her much-loved series of books Katy’s Exmoor Ponies and The Horseshoe Trilogy. Billed as ‘Tea Time with Tortie’, this event promises to be a highlight of the festival and offers a chance to meet the best contemporary writer of pony stories around.

A writing competition, with separate classes for adults and
children, will be organised in the run up to the festival, details of which can be found below. Catering for the Festival will be provided by Toucan Wholefoods.

For more information and details about how to book:
W: www.mineheadliteraryfestival.org
E: mineheadliteraryfestival@gmail.com
T: Janet Styles on 01643 822097.

Minehead Literary Festival: Short Story Competition

Children aged 5 to 9 years old are invited to submit an illustrated story or poem, up to 250 words, using the theme ‘The Magic Train’.

10- to 15-year-olds should compose a short story or poem, up to 500 words, on the theme ‘The Day all the Teachers Disappeared’.

The children’s competition is facilitated by West Somerset Academies Trust and Cafe Write. Please post entries to WSAT, Minehead Middle School, Ponsford Road, Minehead TA24 5RH or email them to mineheadliteraryfestival@gmail.com, to arrive before 31 March 2019, with the competitor’s name, age and contact details.

For adults (16+), the theme is ‘Minehead: Gateway to Exmoor’. Typed entries of up to 500 words, prose or poetry, should be submitted to mineheadliteraryfestival@gmail.com or posted to Literary Festival Comp. 2 Hillview Road, Minehead TA24 8EG, arriving before 31 March 2019; all entries must include the competitor’s name and contact details.

Winners will be announced at Minehead Literary Festival on 27 April.

 Photo by Claire Spottiswoode

NEW SUBSCRIPTION GARDEN PLANT SERVICE ON EXMOOR

GardeningBoxes.co.uk are a new company based on the edge of Exmoor providing subscription deliveries of garden plants. Customers can tailor the subscriptions to suit their outdoor space, with options to select plants for sun or shaded areas, and can pause and restart subscriptions at any time. The GardeningBox option is designed to provide high-quality repeating (perennial) planting for a bed 3m2 over the course of a year subscription, whilst the ContainerBox subscription comprises 3 deliveries of plants to provide year-round colour in a large (45cm) container.

Director Matt Healey says, “As a professional gardener for the past 20 years, friends told me that they struggled to select appropriate plants for their gardens and found it difficult to know how best to maintain them. We established GardeningBoxes to give people confidence and enjoyment in their gardens, by providing high-quality plant deliveries matched with easy-to-follow online advice, videos and articles which are free to subscribers. We are confident that we can provide excellent value to our customers and help them achieve a garden to be proud of.”

GardeningBox deliveries are free to UK addresses (excluding Highlands and Islands). The GardeningBox option is priced at £33 (monthly subscription), whilst the ContainerBox refreshes at £45 every four months. Gift options are also available. For more information visit the website at www.gardeningboxes.co.uk.

RNLI IN SEARCH OF NEW RECRUITS

It may be deepest January, but the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is in search of new recruits to spend the summer working as fundraisers on some of the South West’s most popular beaches, as applications open for 2019.

An essential role in inspiring support for the RNLI’s lifesaving work, each year around 150 fundraisers spend the summer on the beach and at some of the UK’s top summer events, encouraging visitors to become supporters of the charity while also providing essential local safety advice to thousands of holidaymakers.

Annabelle Hobson, Senior Face-to-Face Fundraising Manager, said: “Our fundraisers are vital to the charity over the summer, working with lifeguards to provide beach visitors to the South West with important safety advice as well as encouraging them to support our lifesaving work. We’re looking for outgoing and passionate people to join the team and support our cause.

“A summer job fundraising with the RNLI will help develop valuable skills for a host of future careers, and those who have joined us in the past say the experience is life-changing. So, along with good rates of pay, being part of a lifesaving team working on the beach and at some of the country’s most popular events for a national charity, it really has to be one of Britain’s best summer jobs!”

Full training is provided to all successful candidates, to ensure they feel confident and capable in the role. Applications are now open and will remain so until Sunday 20 January 2019.

Find out more about how you can make a difference and apply to be part of the RNLI’s amazing lifesaving teams at rnli.org/bestsummerjob or search for #BestSummerJob on Facebook and Twitter.