Category Archives: Coast

Morte Point outdoor sculpture exhibition unveiled

You may have noticed that a series of interesting sculptures  appeared on Morte Point over the summer. The five pieces, designed by local contemporary artist Jay Clement, are each displayed in a carefully selected location on the National Trust headland and celebrate the area’s long and complex relationship with the sea.

Clement has highlighted key points from Mortehoe’s fascinating history and relates them, through his sculpture, to a much broader context. The temporary exhibition aims to spark discussion on important issues such as locality, the environment and social change.

“It is important for all mankind to understand that it is inevitable that a perpetually accelerating system based on a finite resource will simply fail. We should, however, take heart in our ability as a species to adapt, particularly when in crisis,” says Jay.

Jonathan Fairhurst, National Trust Head Ranger for Croyde, Woolacombe and Mortehoe, adds: “Jay lives in Mortehoe and shares our love of this special place. The sculptures help to encourage us all to think in more depth about how the varied and interesting history has helped to make Morte Point the place it is today. The project will bring an extra dimension to the headland, and we hope that visitors will enjoy seeing Jay’s sculptures in this fantastic setting.”

This temporary exhibition runs until September next year, and features five contemporary sculptures in an array of mediums:

‘Coalition’ uses local slate to create a wall which incorporates the motion of a breaking wave, and reflects the volatile connection between land and ocean.

‘Speechless’ takes the form of an abstract map and holds the secrets of local lobster and crab holes found along this ancient stretch of coast, passed on to the artist by his grandfather. This work highlights the issues faced by a loss of community through socioeconomic effects and rapid change.

‘Eternal Sunshine’ depicts the varied sails used on the Bristol Pilot Cutter ships that were used to help larger vessels navigate the Bristol Channel and its rocky coastline. Made of Mortehoe slate, the sails feature non-functional compasses to reference the wrecked ships and great losses of life in these waters prior to the advent of the Cutter.

‘Untitled 1’ brings together flint tools and fragments believed to have been used by hunter gathers on Morte Point between 6,500 and 10,000 years ago. “Finding and handling these fragments I felt an instant connection with their creator,” says Jay.”

Salvage from wrecks and smuggling is well documented in the area ‘Totem’ made from withy poles and found rope, symbolises the poverty in the area where locals would salvage anything that came from the ships to enhance their basic existence. The artist asks visitors whether they want to embrace the inevitability of change and consider its effects.

The sculptures were constructed with help from National Trust volunteers and local schoolchildren. Jay says: “Morte Point was the inspiration for a lot of my early work. By involving the public, especially young people, I hope the project will engage with the local community and general public not just the international art world. I would like to thank the National Trust, the volunteers that worked on the project and the AONB for their support.”

Richard Butler, Chairman of the Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) says: “We were delighted to provide some grant support for this project through the SDF. We feel the Exhibition is innovative and enhances the natural beauty of our outstanding landscape here at Mortehoe on the North Devon Coast AONB.”

For more information on the sculptures, the North Devon Coast Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty has helped to fund a guide booklet through its Sustainable Development Fund. This guide is now free to download from the AONB website, www.explorethecoast.org and Jay Clement’s website. Free printed versions of the guide book will also be available locally in some outlets.

For further information on the sculpture exhibition and to download the booklet visit www.jayclement.co.uk

A year in pictures along the South West Coast Path

Start Bay by Nick Shepherd
Start Bay by Nick Shepherd

The beauty of the South West Coast Path is revealed in the new 2014 calendar which goes on sale this month – making it the ideal Christmas gift for anyone with a passion for walking and the Great Outdoors. From the azure sweep of Holywell Bay in Cornwall and snowy Start Bay in Devon, to the famous Durdle Door in Dorset and the picturesque Porlock Weir in Somerset, the 12 photographs were chosen from the shortlist of entries in the annual photography competition.

The front cover features the overall winner of the competition, a stunning photograph of Start Bay with ewes grazing in a snow-covered foreground (above), which was chosen by our judge of the 2012 competition, Adam Burton, who said of this image: “This was an absolute standout favourite for me by a country mile. It has everything: a great view, beautiful subject matter and conditions, strong composition and wonderful rich light.”

If the pictures featured in the calendar inspire you to get out on the Coast Path to experience this breathtaking coastline for yourself, don’t forget to take your camera with you and enter this year’s competition. There are great prizes to be won, including a holiday with Cornish Cottage Holidays, and you may even see one of your photographs in the 2015 calendar. Visit the website for details of how to enter at www.southwestcoastpath.com/photo-competition

The calendar is available from local retailers and from www.swcpa.co.uk, priced £7.99 including postage.

A proportion of the sale price from each calendar goes towards Coast Path improvements.

Explore the best of the South West coast with new rail trails

Summer is the perfect time of year for a walk on the South West Coast Path – it’s also the perfect time for traffic jams as people head for the coast!  Help is at hand with a new series of walking itineraries that let the train take the strain out of travelling to the South West, arguably one of the most scenic train journeys in the UK. You’ll arrive at your destination refreshed and ready for the spectacular walk ahead.

Here is a selection from the South West Coast Path website – each itinerary takes in different mainline stations and branch lines at the start and end points.  For more details and other itineraries, visit www.southwestcoastpath.com/rail-trails

A spokesman for First Great Western said: “The South West offers access to the most beautiful stretches of the coastline in the country, including a number of walking trails, a host of pubs, restaurants and other facilities within easy reach of a station.  First Great Western is privileged to provide services to some of the region’s leading tourist destinations.”

Padstow to St Ives: (67 miles in 6 days at an average speed)
This is an idyllic stretch of the South West Coast Path, a place of fishing-boat harbours, rolling Atlantic breakers and long sandy bucket-and-spade beaches. The pure bright light draws artists from all over the world, and warm air from the Gulf Stream encourages many exotic species: tropical plants flourish in the popular resorts, and dolphins and porpoises are sometimes seen offshore. The coastline is dotted with the chapels and wells of sixth century Celtic saints, but there are darker tales too of giants and sinners among the mines and dunes.

Weymouth station to Lulworth Cove (14.4 miles)
From the rugged rocks of Portland, to the hustle and bustle of the seaside resort of Weymouth, followed by quiet rural paths leading to high, undulating chalk cliffs on the way to Lulworth Cove, this walk becomes progressively harder as you leave Weymouth and set off along the impressive cliffs of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. As you approach Lulworth be sure to look back to the breathtaking views of the limestone arch of Durdle Door, the high cliffs of White Nothe and Weymouth Bay and Portland beyond.

Dartmouth to Torquay (19.4 miles in two days)
From the maritime port of Dartmouth in South Devon to the heart of the English Riviera at Torquay, this walk offers a diverse Coast Path experience. The nature and geology along this stretch of Coast Path provides some of the most spectacular scenery of the entire trail, which contrasts beautifully with the urban landscape. It takes you through part of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the UNESCO designated English Riviera Global Geopark where the rocks date back over 300 million years.

Corfe Castle to Poole (19.5 miles in two days)
A saunter around the Jurassic coastline of the Isle of Purbeck, starting inland at Corfe Castle, where the Normans built a stronghold, and dropping down to the coast through a green valley bright with gorse. Follow the Purbeck Heritage Coast through a landscape of chalk cliffs and limestone quarries, as well as spectacular chalk stacks offshore, and grasslands with more species of native wildflowers than in any other area of Britain.

Falmouth station to Par (36.5 miles)
3 days along the Roseland Secluded coves and wooded valleys are found in some sections of this walk along the south coast of Cornwall, while in others there are high windswept headlands jutting out to sea. This route takes in the lush Roseland Peninsula, part of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, as well as a series of fishing ports and the headlands of Dodman Point and Black Head.

Highly acclaimed photographer to judge South West Coast Path annual photo competition

Worbarrow Bay, Dorset, by Ben Osborne
Worbarrow Bay, Dorset, by Ben Osborne

Award-winning photographer Ben Osborne, who specialises in wildlife and landscape photography, has been named as one of the competition judges for this year’s annual South West Coast Path photo competition. Best known for his images of Antarctica in the book of the BBC series “Life in the Freezer”, Ben’s work has been published in numerous magazines including National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, Geo and Radio Times. In 2008 he was awarded an honorary fellowship from the Royal Photographic Society and in 2007 he was Overall Winner of The Wildlife Photographer of the Year, the biggest wildlife photography competition in the world. He is also recognised for his recent Jurassic Journey Project, an audio-visual journey along the World Heritage coastline, bringing together photography, music, poetry and sculpture made from flotsam and jetsam.

Ben says of the Coast Path: “It’s that constant backdrop of the sea and its beautiful, reflective quality that makes the South West Coast Path such a special place to photograph. The Coast Path also has the variety that you look for as a photographer: whether it’s the granite cliffs of Cornwall, the geological interest of the Jurassic Coast or the dramatic land forms of the North Devon and Somerset coastline, each has its own distinctive mood, atmosphere and quality of light.”

The South West Coast Path’s annual photo competition, which closes on 31 December, is open to budding photographers of all ages and abilities. The overall winner’s prize includes a £700 voucher towards their stay at a property courtesy of Cornish Cottage Holidays, as well as the chance to grace the official 2015 Coast Path calendar and annual membership of the South West Coast Path Association.

Visit www.benosbornephotography.co.uk for more information about Ben’s work.

Full details about how to enter your images and terms and conditions are available via the website at www.southwestcoastpath.com/photo-competition <http://www.southwestcoastpath.com/photo-competition>

‘William Stukeley – Saviour of Stonehenge’ at Hartland Abbey

A fascinating exhibition has just opened at Hartland Abbey.  It is an insight into an eccentric eighteenth-century ancestor of the Stucley family, best known for saving Stonehenge and Avebury from the ‘Stonekillers’, the destroyers of these ancient Neolithic monuments which are now such an important part of our national heritage.

Stukeley was a Physician, Archdruid, Vicar, Antiquarian, Archaeologist, Artist and Architect, Writer, Poet, Musician, Numismatist, Cosmologist, Traveller and friend of Sir Isaac Newton, Edmund Halley and many of the movers and shakers of the Age of the Enlightenment. Stukeley was the first biographer of Sir Isaac Newton, having been with him when the famous apple fell from the tree. On display are many aspects of his life including a facsimile of his memoirs of Newton, his books on Stonehenge and Avebury and many of his drawings from his Itinerarium Curiosum of the 1720s, a fascinating insight into eighteenth-century Britain, and much more.

Entry to the exhibition is free to visitors who have purchased valid tickets to the house and gardens at Hartland Abbey.

Visit this fascinating historic house, the beautiful woodland and eighteenth-century walled gardens, the walks to the beach, the museum and exhibition and enjoy a light lunch or cream tea in the Old Kitchens Tea Room.

Opening Times 2013

House, Gardens, Grounds, Beachwalk and Tea Rooms:

11.30am-5pm Sunday to Thursday (closed Fri and Sat)

(House and William Stukeley Exhibition 2pm-5pm, last admission 4.30pm) until 6 October

www.hartlandabbey.com

South West Coast Path repairs carried out at Bucks Mills

Funding has allowed National Trust rangers to replace a badly worn out flight of steps at the pretty village of Bucks Mills on the North Devon coast.  The steps have also been resurfaced and are now ready to help, both locals and visitors alike, access this wonderful section of the coast and enjoy the breathtaking views. The funding also allowed a new way marker to be bought and installed to help people navigate their way around.

The funding for the repairs came from the South West Coast Path Association, the National Trust, the Rural Development Programme for England and also from a nearby local business, Steart Farm Touring Park, whilst a local contractor from Woolsery was employed to carry out the work.

The work at Bucks Mills is just one of five projects being undertaken on land cared for by the National Trust between Bideford and Welcombe Mouth.

“We are extremely grateful to the organisations and to the owners of Steart Farm who have all provided funding which has made the work possible and it is great to have the improvements completed in time for summer,” said Justin Seedhouse, the National Trust Area Ranger.

Robin and Lesley Croslegh took over the derelict touring park and have totally transformed it and many of their customers are attracted by the beautiful scenery and walking opportunities around Bucks Mills.

Robin said: “We are happy that we have been able to support both the South West Coast Path and the National Trust in restoring steps at Bucks Mills. Since we reopened the derelict caravan and campsite at Steart 18 years ago we have been fortunate to count as our customers many of those walking this section of the Coast Path.”

The South West Coast Path launches Motographer of the Year 2013 competition

Durdle Door by Katharine Davies, taken on an iPhone
Durdle Door by Katharine Davies, taken on an iPhone

The South West Coast Path team is encouraging budding mobile phone photographers of all ages to capture a moment in time on the Coast Path as part of its Motographer of the Year 2103 competition, which launched last week.  It could be a shot of a couple resting a while to admire the view or a child collecting seashells – the only rule is that it is taken on a mobile phone and includes a person out on any stretch of the 630-mile South West Coast Path.

Among this year’s judges is the award-winning travel and landscape photographer David Noton, who runs photography workshops on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, and award leader of BA Photography at Falmouth University, Deborah Baker, who has worked with artists including Mary Ellen Mark and Robert Mapplethorpe.

Says David Noton, whose work has long taken inspiration from the South West Coast Path: “The joy of being on the South West Coast Path can be enhanced with photography. The very process of trying to capture the experience to share with friends and family makes us look at what’s all around us on the cliff tops, headlands and in the coves with an analytical eye, noticing details and tricks of the light that maybe we wouldn’t without the stimulus of photography. A good picture is the product of a perceptive eye, so this competition is a great opportunity for anyone with a camera phone to get creative and share their unique vision of people experiencing the pleasures of the outdoor life on the South West Coast Path with the rest of the world.”

Deborah Baker adds: “I am very supportive of this competition as mobile phone imagery contributes to all genres of the medium with incredible ease of use and remarkable technical quality. On our photography courses we feel that it is important to encourage a diversity of photographic practices. This is a wonderful opportunity for all to create stunning imagery in a location that’s hard to beat anywhere in the world.”

The winner will receive an iPad mini.

Mobile photographers are invited to submit their entries via the South West Coast Path Facebook page or Twitter @swcoastpath using the hashtag #MOTY2013 by the deadline of 30 September2013. For full details of how to enter the competition and terms and conditions, please visit www.southwestcoastpath.com/MOTY2013

The Great South West Walk – putting 40 years of love back into the Coast Path.

On Tuesday 16 April, Exmoor National Park Ranger Tim Parish will be leading off the Great South West Walk (GSWW) at the start of the north coast section. The Walk has been organised by the South West Coast Path Association to celebrate its 40th anniversary which takes place this year.

The event is a relay of 56 sponsored walks to cover the whole 630 mile path around Dorset, Devon and Cornwall and the entire Exmoor coast through Somerset. The GSWW begins at the start of the South West Coast Path in Minehead, walking to Bossington, then in the afternoon from Bossington to Porlock Weir.

Walkers joining the anniversary event will be asked to try to raise sponsorship, with every pound making a difference, so that further funding can be levered from relevant organisations via matched giving. Pre registration is essential to do any part of the GSWW.

With the option of a half day or full day walk, or even a number of sections over several days, the 630 miles has been broken down into 56 legs along the north and south coast, with both meeting with a birthday party in Land’s End on the 7 May 2013.

More information about each leg of the walk, the dates and registration forms are available at or contact the SWCPA on 01752 896237. You can also follow the event on Twitter @LoveSWCoastPath, http://www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/40th-anniversary/

Funding worth £250,000 has been already been secured for improvement works to the South West Coast Path. It will enable 50 improvement projects to take place around the 630 miles of the path, although with the wettest winter for years there is still much to do.

The South West Coast Path Association said it was “delighted” to have reached its target with more fundraising efforts taking place soon.

New life for Exmoor’s coastal bus service

Exmoor’s 300 Coastal Link, dubbed ‘Britain’s most scenic bus service’ – is set for a bright future following a decision by the Exmoor National Park Authority.

The National Park Authority’s Partnership Fund will provide funding to allow the service, which links Minehead and Lynmouth along the spectacular Exmoor coast, to build a new business model and develop the service following the loss of subsidy to the service from the Transport Authority.

The route is served by an open top bus in the summer season and is popular with walkers, sightseers and local residents offering a unique view of the spectacular coastline and wild moorlands of Exmoor. The operator, Quantock Motor Services Ltd, will be developing a journey guide to provide passengers with detailed information on what to see and do along the route. They will also be looking to introduce a new single-decker vehicle with an open top area providing more resilience in the shoulder months and the opportunity to overlay additional services in the peak season, including a through link to Ilfracombe from Minehead. It is hoped that these developments, along with changes to the ticketing options will enable the route to become self sustaining financially following the National Park Authority’s one-off contribution of £30,000.

“This is a great service that allows people to experience the National Park in a unique way, as well as offering car free opportunities to local residents and visitors alike,” said Frances Nicholson, Member of Exmoor National Park Authority and Chairman of the Partnership Fund.  “Local communities and businesses really benefit from the route and there will be opportunities for them to support the service in the future through advertising in the journey guide. We’ve been very impressed with the operator’s commitment to provide an ongoing year round service that can stand on its own feet. Our contribution will support the bus through the change from unaffordable subsidy to an independent and sustainable service for the coming years.”

Stephen Morris, Managing Director of Quantock Motor Services Ltd said: “I am very pleased to receive this funding as it reassures us that there is continued interest and support for this service which hopefully now has a brighter future.”

Developments to the route will be introduced over the summer and it is intended to operate a year round service with up to 5 journeys a day operating 7 days a week during the peak season.

For details on this service and other car free opportunities within the National Park please visit www.exploremoor.co.uk for inspiration, information and ideas including an interactive transport map, car free walks and a range if itineraries in addition to timetable links.

For more information on Quantock Motor Services Ltd visit www.quantockmotorservices.co.uk  or call 01823 430202. Information on the Exmoor National Park Authority’s Partnership Fund can be found online at www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk or calling Dan James, Sustainable Economy Officer, on 01398 322234.

Public Appeal For The South West Coast Path

With record levels of rainfall causing the highest rate of cliff falls ever seen in one year along the South West Coast Path, the public is being urged to come forward and help raise much needed funds through a special event.

Over the 630 miles of South West Coast Path, there are usually two or three cliff falls each year, with a total of 11 falls in the past five years; yet between November 2012 and mid-January 2013, there have been 21.

Four of these 21 falls have quickly been re-opened with relatively minor diversions as a result of work by rangers and wardens and the co-operation of neighbouring landowners.

But 17 longer diversions remain, where negotiations and surveys for re-routing are taking place; agreement will need to be reached with landowners for appropriate new routes, and then work is required to construct the new path.

These longer diversions detract from walkers’ enjoyment of the path and poses the question – if walkers have to go a long way inland, is it really a Coast Path?

There is uncertainty over how all of this will be funded, but one organisation is rallying the troops and asking the public to support them with a special birthday present for the path.

Secretary of the South West Coast Path Association, Steve Church, explains: “Celebrating our Association’s 40th anniversary this May, plans have been under way for many months to arrange the Great South West Walk, to raise sponsorship for projects along the Coast Path that will improve accessibility, ensuring that it is safe to use all year round.”

Steve continues, “With a target of £250,000 from funding bodies, corporate support and sponsorship from walkers, negotiations are now underway to divert part of this funding to address some cliff fall works, as well as the original objective of improvements to the path.”

The National Trust and the Highway Authorities are also diverting funds to this work, but it may not be enough.

Steve explains: “Funding for the South West Coast Path, as a National Trail, is generally 75% from Natural England (because of its national significance) and 25% Highway Authorities/National Trust. Since 2009-10, funding from Natural England and the Highway Authorities has fallen by 30%. While this fall is in line with NE’s overall budget reduction over this period, it does mean there is minimal leeway to cover the unexpected costs of addressing the falls.

“Walkers using the South West Coast Path spend over £300 million a year with tourism and associated business, and so support thousands of jobs. The path also generates other benefits such as improvements to health, access to some of the country’s finest landscapes and use as a medium for sponsored walks by a range of charities. It also brings kudos nationally, being consistently rated among the world’s greatest walks (most recently by Lonely Planet in 2012),” said Steve.

All of this is in jeopardy if a rapid programme of repairs cannot be undertaken. This situation, however, can be remedied if all partners play their part and the public lend a hand, or a foot….

The South West Coast Path Association’s “Great South West Walk” takes place in April and May with a relay of 56 sponsored walks to cover the whole 630 mile path around Dorset, Devon and Cornwall (as well as the Exmoor coast through Somerset).

Each leg will be guided by local experts, rangers and path wardens, who are all assisting the SWCPA with this event, and helping to minimise the effect the diversions have on the event.

The Association is now appealing for the public to step forward and take part by registering before 4 March.

Walkers joining the anniversary event will be asked to try to raise sponsorship, with every pound making a difference, so that further funding can be levered from relevant organisations via matched giving – so do join in to celebrate and show your support for this wonderful asset.

More information about each leg of the walk, the dates and registration forms are available at www.GreatSouthWestWalk.co.uk or contact the SWCPA on 01752 896237. You can also follow the event on Twitter @LoveSWCoastPath.