Category Archives: Coast

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN RESCUED OR HAD A NEAR-MISS IN OR BY THE SEA?

As part of a new project aimed at reducing coastal drowning across Devon and Cornwall, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is inviting members of the public who have been rescued from the sea, or anyone who has had a ‘near miss’, to come forward and share their experiences.

Through the Design Out Drowning project, research will be undertaken and new solutions sought to reduce the number of people who drown around the coast.

A key element of the research process will involve exploring and analysing stories from people who have been rescued – or those who have almost come to harm – from the sea around Devon and Cornwall.

Cornwall-based company Made Open Communications Ltd is supporting the project and will be carrying out research to identify any potential new opportunities for products and services that could be introduced to help reduce drowning. This research will include talking to people who have been rescued from the sea, or those who have had a ‘near miss’ or witnessed other people coming to harm around the coastline of Devon and Cornwall.

Will Roberts, RNLI Senior Innovation Manager, said: “The RNLI is committed to reducing coastal drowning. From our prevention and education work, to the vital role of our beach lifeguards and our 24/7 search and rescue lifeboat service, we work hard to ensure people stay as safe as possible around the coast.

“Through the Design Out Drowning project, we’re keen to see if there are any new sustainable initiatives, products or services that could be implemented around Devon and Cornwall that could prevent people from coming to harm in the future.

“Our research team is really keen to hear from anyone who has been rescued from the sea or almost come to harm along the coast of Devon and Cornwall. Their insights might help us to identify interventions that could be put in place to reduce the chances of someone else coming to harm.”

To share an experience, members of the public can contact the research team on 01872 862547, or complete a short online survey at designoutdrowning.org/survey.

NEW GRANT TO PAY FOR WATCHET SUMMERTIME FESTIVAL

Watchet Coastal Community Team (CCT) is delighted to have been awarded a grant of £4,200 by the Big Lottery’s Awards for All. The bid for the grant had been put together by a team comprising Watchet CCT, Watchet Summertime, Halsway Manor and Pebbles Cider bar, and is intended to celebrate the heritage of Watchet. The activities will be run by Watchet Summertime, and will include music, walks and workshops to celebrate Watchet’s heritage for everyone to enjoy.

The Watchet Summertime Team have been beavering away and, thanks to this grant and local sponsorship, the activities can now be seen in the brochure and posters which are being widely disseminated.

Music

The week starts (11 August) with a concert in St Decuman’s Church by the well-regarded Kitty Macfarlane, who is supported by Hannah Cumming and Jon Dyer (both of whom played a fantastic concert last at St Decuman’s last year).

The week continues with lots more music, starting with a Sea Shanty Workshop for all in The Boat Museum on Sunday, and gigs in local pubs and bars during the week. Lost Coyotes will play in Pebbles on Sunday evening, the talented Lukas Drinkwater in The London Inn on Monday evening and David Milton will be singing outside Contains Art on Wednesday evening (at the opening of the Summertime Art Exhibition).

Tom Moore and Archie Churchill Moss sing on Wednesday evening, The Open Mic Sessions, with lots of local musicians are in The Marquee behind the Star on Thursday evening, Martyn Babb, Tony Piper and crew will be ‘Hauling on the Halliards’ with their sea shanties on Friday evening at The Boat Museum, and there will also be a Family Ceilidh with Gadarene in Knight’s Templar School on Friday 17th in the evening.

The week comes to a musical close with Andy Barratt and friends, Jessie and The Skunknecks and Turnette Doone and the explosive and celebrated Summertime Firework Display by Fire Magic on Saturday 18th . Most of the music events are free for the audience except for the Opening Concert and the Family Ceilidh.

Walks
This year there are three walks, suitable for families who want to know more about the area. On Monday afternoon The West Somerset Mineral Line Association will start from The Market House Museum. David Milton will be your guide on his inimitable Watchet History Walk on Thursday early evening, and Paul Upton will talk you through Watchet’s Architectural Walk around the town with the option of extending your walk up to St Decuman’s Church and Well on Saturday morning.

Workshops
The Lottery Grant has enabled Watchet Summertime to hold several workshops during the week, all of which are free for participants; starting with the aforementioned Shanty Workshop with Pete Truin on Sunday 12 August. Two Rivers Paper Company will be on The Esplanade on Tuesday and showing all ages how to make paper. Watchet Market House Museum are running a workshop with the subject ‘Watchet and The Civil War’ in the Methodist School Room on Wednesday morning (15th).

There are also  two workshops geared up to 12 + young adults this year. Alice Maddicott is running a Poetry Workshop in the Library ‘Mythical Creatures and Alternative Realms’ on Wednesday 15th in the afternoon, and on Saturday morning 18th Cat Mills will run a Jewellery Workshop on The Esplanade (it will be free for participants to work with copper but there will be a small charge for items made of silver). On Friday afternoon, 17 August, Jan Martin will run a Book Binding Workshop outside Contains Art, which will be suitable for older children or adults.

Here are the listings issued by the organisers.

Monday 13th August
Watchet Summertime is running ‘A Day for Change’ on the Esplanade between 10am and 4pm. This will be a mixture of workshops and demos, information stalls and activities for all ages on the theme of positive changes we can all make in our lives. Come and find out more and get involved!

Tuesday 14th August
Tuesday is Family Craft Day, with workshops and demos all day, for all the family to have a go! Find your inner craftsperson, and make this the year you try something new. In the evening Watchet Summertime Art Exhibition will be launched (6pm onwards). Come and mingle with local artists and listen to David Milton sing.

Wednesday 15th August
As well as the workshops, Alexandra Simson (Story Well) will be doing two session of Storytelling, ‘Summer Magic with Story Well’ at 11am and 12 noon, in The Library. Her earlier session will be for younger children (up to 6 or 7) and the second session for children slightly older.

Thursday 16th August
Watchet Summertime’s Open Mic will be on The Esplanade from 10 am until late afternoon (then moving to the marquee behind The Star) with a host of local musicians. There will be Charity Stalls on The Esplanade all day, come and find out about local charities and spend to help them. In the evening Watchet Community Cinema are putting on an open air film, Grease on The Esplanade. Bring a chair and suitable clothing (though we hope for a lovely evening!). Maybe break out your fifties clothing and join in with the fun.

Friday 17th August
A day for children of all ages! In the morning Lyn Routledge will be demonstrating her Trapeze skills and encouraging the brave to join in. Watchet Town Council Fun Day starts at 12 noon and there will be Punch and Judy and Pirates, Storytelling and Puppets, Balloons and magic, Popcorn and candy floss, a ball pool and Sumo suits! Watchet’s Super Ducks will be competing in A Duck Race, in the afternoon. Which one will be the winner!

Saturday 18th August
Watchet’s celebrated Fireworks go off with a bang at 10pm, but before then there will be music of all types galore from 2pm and a Hog Roast from 6pm.

PLUS!

Monday 27th August Bank Holiday Monday
This year we will be holding our beautiful Candle Float on August Bank Holiday Monday (when tides are more suitable) but we will be selling the candles during Summertime week. Don’t miss out.

Please see the attached poster and listing for our full programme, or check out our FB page for Watchet Summertime or the webpage

www.watchetsummertime.btck.co.uk/

RSPB SAY ‘GIVE GULLS LOVE, NOT CHIPS’

News release issued by the RSPB

Gulls consistently get a bad press, but the RSPB is calling on people this summer to take a more understanding view of this most misunderstood of creatures. The RSPB and the RSPCA is offering practical advice to address the problems that sometimes occur between urban gulls and people.

Morwenna Alldis, spokesperson for the RSPB South West, said: “Personally I love gulls – I like a bird with a bit of personality and gulls have that in spades. They’re bombastic, cheeky, incredibly adaptable, opportunistic, intelligent, and if there was a prize for ‘bird parent of the year’, protective urban gull parents would win. However, our urban gull is often misunderstood. We need to change the way we behave around gulls and try to live harmoniously alongside them.”

The RSPB and RSPCA both cite examples of where relations have broken down. Last summer the RSPCA appealed for information after a gull was discovered on an industrial estate in St Austell with a crossbow bolt through its body. The injuries were too severe for the gull to make a recovery and it was put to sleep to prevent further suffering. This sort of attack is not an isolated incident.

Llewelyn Lowen, RSPCA Scientific Officer, explains: “Every year we receive calls about gulls which have been persecuted and the victims of abusive attacks. Many have stones thrown at them, others are left homeless after their nests are illegally destroyed and they may become the target of people taking pot shots at them with airguns.

“Gulls and their nests are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and it is illegal to intentionally kill, take or injure wild birds and action can only be taken against them under licence.”

The RSPB says one of the main issues people have with gulls is linked to the birds’ nesting behaviour. Morwenna continues: “May to July is prime gull-nesting season and during this period they can be quite noisy, which is an understandable annoyance if they’ve chosen a roof near you. But keep in mind that this period is short-lived.

“Gulls are also incredibly protective and proactive parents; they have to be as their chicks are quite worrisome. Before they fledge, gull chicks start to explore their rooftop homes, which can lead to them falling from the roof and sometimes even injuring themselves. When a chick is away from the nest, gull mum and dad will swing into action, protecting their vulnerable offspring from all possible harm – and that includes us.

“If a gull feels that you’re too close to its youngster, and so a potential threat, it will fly over you at great speed and alarmingly close – rarely making contact the first time. This is a warning – it’s meant to frighten you into backing off. If you encounter an anxious gull parent protecting their young, perhaps in your garden or place of work, the best advice is to walk carrying an unfurled umbrella. Again, this is just a temporary measure until the chick has fledged.”

The RSPB say that second main area of concern for people is the way some of the birds feed, but warn much of the problem is of human origin. Morwenna continues: “For years many people have openly fed gulls from their own hands – fish and chips on the beach were often shared with the gull eagerly pacing at people’s feet. Many people still leave bin bags of ripe-smelling food waste on the pavement (not in a bin or gull proof sack), again an easy snack for a gull. And, with the discarded curry containers, soggy burger buns and half eaten kebabs scattering the street outside many local takeaways – it’s little wonder that gulls see us as their free meal ticket. A gull can’t discern between a sausage roll dropped on the floor (free-pickings) and the one you’re unwrapping for lunch in the local park, humans have inadvertently taught gulls that our food is their food. We must all stop feeding gulls both in inland and seaside towns and in our gardens if we want to recondition their current behaviour.”

RSPCA’s Llewelyn Lowen said: “Unfortunately many see these birds as pests, but all it takes is a little care and understanding to minimise any inconvenience caused by gulls. The RSPCA believes that deterrents and non-lethal methods of control are the best way to reduce gull-related problems. Not feeding the gulls, disposing of rubbish properly, and limiting gulls’ nesting opportunities in urban environments will help to reduce any problems.”

PHOTO: Editor’s own.

‘COAST’ EXHIBITION AT WHITE MOOSE

If you love the sea and you are an art fan, don’t miss ‘Coast’ – an exhibition at White Moose Gallery in Barnstaple, that takes place between 20th July and 7th September, showing the work of four well-established North Devon artists all responding to the area’s coastline:

Ilfracombe ‘Plein Air’ painter Mark Rochester captures dramatic viewpoints looking from dizzying heights into the isolated bays along the North Devon coastline. Walking to his chosen sites, carrying all his painting equipment, sometimes presents quite a challenge, especially in all weathers!

Barnstaple-based Mike Woollacott beautifully and skilfully captures the area’s estuaries and seascapes. Painting in acrylics, his work is highly collectable and can be found in private collections across the UK.

Duncan Hopkins, based in Bideford, is fascinated by the waves, movement and reflective light of the sea in his fabulous drawings, pastels and paintings.

Complimenting these three painters, Chittlehampton ceramicist Roger Cockram will be showing his porcelain-ware, inspired by the rock pools along the North Devon coast. Roger’s work is collected world-wide and he’s often asked to exhibit and give lecture tours abroad, most recently to India.

For information on the ‘Coast’ exhibition and the artists, please see; www.whitemoose.co.uk or contact info@whitemoose.co.uk

TOP: Duncan Hopkins’The Hour Glass Shore’

MINEHEAD’S MARITIME MILE

News Release From West Somerset Council

Minehead’s Maritime Mile was launched last week, to give the resort a fresh, new boost designed to attract more visitors in time for the start of the main holiday season.

At an informal ceremony last Tuesday, Minehead’s Deputy Mayor Cllr Gail Everett cut the ribbon to open the new attraction.

The £80,000 project, largely funded through LEADER – an EU scheme that allocates money to help rural areas – will complement the Enterprising Minehead project that has won substantial funding to make the resort the go-to seaside destination by making the most of its traditional appeal as a seaside resort – with a twenty-first-century twist.

The Maritime Mile creates a new heritage interpretation trail, running the length of the seafront to showcase Minehead’s maritime history, myths and legends. The trail has the central theme of ‘find and follow the shells’ and be way-marked to draw people along the route. It will link to existing features like the South West Coast Path and England Coast Path.

An open-air gallery is being built at the trail’s central point to display images and artefacts from Minehead’s past. And there’s an App (suitable for Android and iOS devices).

The App features a quiz designed to entice people to walk to the Harbour and complete the trail, those presenting correct answers to Minehead Visitor Centre will be eligible to collect a prize. This feature technology will also link to the new Minehead destination website for visitors widening Minehead’s appeal as a tourist destination.

The new, high-tech App features *augmented reality, videos and 3D images to make the walk more exciting and interactive – and it links to the new website being launched – www.mineheadbay.co.uk – to further enhance Minehead’s appeal to new and wider audiences.

The state-of-the-art responsive website has been developed to capitalise on marketing the town as a key destination and will also link to the seafront trail/walk and its innovative technology.

The Minehead Coastal Community Team projects have been developed in collaboration with Minehead Museum, Minehead Development Trust, and Butlin’s.

Cllr Andrew Hadley, West Somerset Council’s Lead Member for economic regeneration, said: “The Maritime Mile showcases Minehead’s history and heritage and is a great new feature to enhance what we can now offer our visitors – and encourage more people to enjoy Minehead.

“We are lucky to have a fascinating history that can be brought to life through harnessing the incredible technology that is available now. “

Katrina Midgley, who chairs Minehead Coastal Community Team, added: “This is the first in a series of enhancements to Minehead’s Esplanade, aimed at attracting local people and tourists to enjoy our seafront. I am delighted to see the work of Minehead Coastal Community Team coming to life. I would like to thank everyone who has been instrumental in making this happen.”

*Augmented reality uses computer-aided graphics to add an additional layer of information to aid understanding and/or interaction with the physical world around you.

PHOTO: Ribbon cutting: from the left are Katrina Midgley (MCCT chair), Nicky Bradley, Bernard Maynard-Smith, Gail Everett (Minehead Deputy Mayor), Gary Woolmer, Maureen Smith, Nicki Maclean, Roger Thomas, Mandy Chilcott.

 

 

NORTH DEVON PIONEER PROJECT

Press release issued by North Devon Council

Are you a super surfer, kayaking king or prefer to stand-up paddle, dive, sail or swim in the sea? Maybe you want to have a go at these sports but something puts you off?

North Devon Council wants to hear from local people in North Devon and Torridge about how they do (or don’t) use the sea to exercise, in order to better understand the value, issues and benefits of using our marine environment. Anyone with an interest in outdoor watersports is encouraged to take part in a short survey online at www.northdevon.gov.uk/consultations before 19 June.

North Devon has been selected to be part of a study which explores how we can best manage our marine assets (geology, soil, air, water and living things) for the benefit of the environment, economy and people. The council wants to capture all the useful knowledge that local people have about how North Devon’s marine environment is used and appreciated by the people who live all across the coast.

Executive member for Environment, Councillor Rodney Can, says: “North Devon has an exceptional coastline and we are very proud of our marine environment, which is enjoyed by our local residents and thousands of visitors every year. Being chosen as part of the Marine Pioneer project recognises North Devon’s national importance and I would encourage anyone who enjoys outdoor watersports, including surfing, kayaking, kite-surfing and sea swimming to get involved. Equally, if you would like to take part in outdoor watersports but don’t, we would like to know the reasons why.”

Executive Member for Economic Regeneration, Councillor Pat Barker, says: “As well as the obvious benefits to our environment, the results of studies like this are really important when we apply for funding for important projects to deliver new facilities in the area. This has a knock-on effect on our local economy and enhances the health and prosperity of the area as a whole. You have until  June to take part in our survey so please get online today if you are involved, or want to be involved in outdoor watersports in northern Devon.”

The consultation stretches to outdoor watersports clubs and a separate survey has been sent to each club in the area. If you have not received this survey, please get in touch with the council’s Economic Development team on 01271 388369.

More information about the Marine Pioneer Project is available at www.northdevonbiosphere.org.uk/marinepioneer.

PLASTIC FREE DEVON CONSORTIUM FORMED

North Devon is one step closer to becoming a plastic free district, thanks to the formation of a new consortium.

Earlier this month representatives from a number of charities, voluntary groups and organisations met at a workshop hosted by North Devon Council to discuss how they could each contribute towards making North Devon plastic free. They decided that, by working in collaboration, they could provide residents, businesses and visitors with a clear understanding of how to make a practical difference to their coastlines and communities.

The new consortium will work in partnership with Plastic Free North Devon (PFND), a grassroots community movement that uses the framework developed by environmental charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) in their Plastic Free Coastlines campaign. The local community organisation is supported by SAS and The Pickwell Foundation, and recently received additional funding from the Big Lottery Fund and Fullabrook Community Interest Company. It aims to inspire North Devon residents, tourists and businesses to reduce their ‘plastic footprint’ and drastically reduce the consumption of single-use plastic throughout the whole of North Devon, not just the coastal areas.

The consortium will be made up of a number of groups and organisations, including:

•  Plastic Free North Devon
•  North Devon Council
•  North Devon Biosphere
•  North Devon Coast Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
•  The National Trust
•  Beaford Arts
•  Barnstaple & District Chamber of Commerce
•  Martin Dorey, founder of the 2 Minute Beach Clean
•  Petroc
•  BeachCare, Keep Britain Tidy
•  Ilfracombe Town Council
•  Beth Newsome from Seadog, representing small food and drink businesses.
North Devon Council’s Executive Member for the Environment, Councillor Rodney Can, says: “I am delighted that we are taking such positive steps towards making our beautiful district plastic free. By working in collaboration with Plastic Free North Devon, and other groups who share our concern about plastic pollution, we will be able to deliver a clear message to the public and businesses on how they can make some positive changes of their own. Plastic pollution is everyone’s problem; we all need to take responsibility for the plastic we use, and how we dispose of it, in order to tackle this global environmental crisis.”

Surfers Against Sewage’s South West regional representative and PFND coordinator, Claire Moodie, says: “The formation of this consortium is an amazing opportunity for the plastic free movement to really gain momentum and take action fast and effectively across the region. The sharing of resources and expertise between the stakeholders involved will help spread the message to every part of North Devon and ensure we move forward together to protect our precious environment. Everyone has the opportunity and responsibility to make a difference – however big or small, every action counts. This campaign is about empowering every community to come together, make their voices heard and start a wave of change.”

Writer and founder of 2 Minute Beach Clean, Martin Dorey, says: “I firmly believe that the only way we’ll solve our plastic crisis is through community, collaboration, people and passion, and this initiative does all this brilliantly. It unites a lot of caring, committed people to work in the best interests of us all.”

The new consortium will be meeting in early May to develop the Plastic Free North Devon action plan.

More information on how you can reduce your consumption of single-use plastics is available on Surfers Against Sewage’s website. To keep up-to-date with Plastic Free North Devon’s news follow their Facebook page.

INVITATION TO TENDER: HARBOUR MARKET AND CONCESSION DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR

Minehead Coastal Communities Team has levered Coastal Community funding to develop a new harbour market and attract suitable seaside concessions for Minehead seafront.

The opportunity is for a self-motivated market, event organiser or similar, with marketing and PR experience and excellent communication skills. The position will be a varied, and be on a self-employed basis. The contract will be to develop, market, promote, manage and coordinate delivery of Harbour Markets and Concessions in Minehead. This part-time contract opportunity is over a two year period, with an expectation to become self-sustainable following that period.

Please click on the links to view the job descriptionperson specification and draft contract containing more detail of the role.

If you have any questions please email tender@westsomerset.gov.uk. Please note the closing date for applicants is 24 April 2018, at 12 noon.

LEE CONSERVATION AREA EXTENDED

The conservation area for Lee is being extended with more historic characteristics and qualities set to be protected.

At a meeting of North Devon Council’s Executive this month, councillors agreed to recommendations in a report that Lee Conservation Character Appraisal 2018 and the revised boundary for the area are formally adopted by the council. This means that the conservation area for the village has been almost doubled from 11 hectares to 20.8, extending further to the north, east and west as well as including more open spaces.

The character appraisal identifies the key characteristics and qualities of the conservation area for the village and has been produced following public consultations last summer. The appraisal includes most of the suggestions put forward by members of the public and consultees who took part.

Lead member for Strategic Planning at North Devon Council, Councillor Jeremy Yabsley, says: “Conservation areas and character appraisals play an important part in helping to protect special features and locations of an area that are unique and make it what it is. They are not designed to stop development or change to an area but to recognise the special qualities and characteristics so that we can preserve and enhance them for future generations to enjoy.

“I understand that the consultations were very well attended by people of all ages putting forward their ideas and suggestions about what we should include in the appraisal as well as the proposal to extend the conservation area. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to attend, this just goes to show how taking part in these events when we hold them can make a real difference to a village or town.”

There are 41 conservation areas across the North Devon district, most with their own character appraisal and management plan. Conservation areas aim to recognise the architectural and historic interest and importance to the community of the locations within it.

When planning applications are considered the council will look at the conservation area, its character appraisal and management plan to see if the proposals will preserve or enhance the area before making a decision.

PHOTO: Courtesy North Devon Coast AONB

MARINE MATTERS FOR THE NORTH DEVON PIONEER

News from the North Devon Biosphere

The North Devon Marine Pioneer held its second stakeholder workshop recently, at Alverdiscott Community Hall in North Devon. A wide range of people from across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset braved the snow to participate in this event.

With over 40 attendees, it was a lively day with input from a range of different marine sectors, including the fishing industry, local government, tourism and recreation, maritime industry and conservation.

The beginning of the day was led by the Marine Pioneer partners; they presented some demonstration projects commencing as part of the North Devon Marine Pioneer. Later, participants were asked for their advice and expertise, focusing on four subjects: marine governance and management; the local fishing industry; the Taw Torridge estuary; and how we can sustainably fund the management of North Devon’s Marine Protected Areas.

“This workshop showed just how engaged North Devon people and our neighbours are with their sea, estuaries and rivers. This was a successful day and the information from the day will be used to guide our next steps in the Pioneer,” says Chrissie Ingle, the Marine Pioneer Coordinator.

What is the Marine Pioneer?
The Government has committed to ensure that our natural environment that provides our prosperity and health is protected and improved for us and future generations. The 25 Year Environment Plan was launched on 11 January by Theresa May and sets out how this would be achieved.

To help accomplish this there are four ‘Pioneer’ areas – where new approaches from the plan will be trialled. The four pioneers are: the landscape of North Devon, the marine environment in North Devon and Suffolk, a river catchment in Cumbria and the urban area of Greater Manchester.

What has happened so far?
There have already been two North Devon Marine Pioneer workshops: one in March 2017 produced long-term aims and ambitions for North Devon’s Marine area, with agreed goals such as ‘improved local fisheries management’, ‘robust protection of biodiversity’ and ‘increased local decision-making’. The second, in November 2017, was a focussed workshop with licencers and planners to consider how our natural marine environment can be better incorporated into local decision making – both reports from these workshops can be found online at www.northdevonbiosphere.org.uk/marinepioneer.html

From this second workshop local information and experiences can define how we proceed with the Pioneer. There will be a report from the day, which will be made available on the North Devon Biosphere’s Marine Pioneer webpage www.northdevonbiosphere.org.uk/marinepioneer.html

PHOTO by Andrew Wheatley.