Category Archives: Coast

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.

Great South West Walk – putting 40 years of love into the South West Coast Path!

The Great South West Walk – putting 40 years of love into the South West Coast Path – will be an event to celebrate the South West Coast Path Association’s 40th Anniversary with a walk of the entire South West Coast Path. Broken down into a relay of 56 legs, people can take part in individual days (or half days) through to making a walking holiday of it.

Each leg will be guided by local experts, rangers and path wardens, who will share their knowledge about the area and highlight points of interest.

3 April – South Coast starts in Poole

16 April – North Coast starts in Minehead

The event culminates in a birthday party at Land’s End as the last two legs of the walk come together on 7 May.

You cannot just turn up on the day, you must register to take part in advance as there are various logistics to be organised for each walker (e.g. transport).

Please contact the South West Coast Path Association to book your place on 01752 896237.

For full information, including legs and dates of the walk, visit www.GreatSouthWestWalk.co.uk

Get hold of your copy of the spring Exmoor Magazine, out this week in the shops, to read a five page feature on the walk.

Your chance to vote for the Best Dog Walk in the West

Dartmouth-based TV explorer and expert diver Monty Halls, whose adventures with his beloved dog Reuben are captured in the hit TV series Great Escapes, is getting behind an exciting new competition to find the Best Dog Walk on the South West Coast Path.

“When it comes to dog walks, we’re spoilt for choice on the South West Coast Path – there are miles and miles of breathtaking routes to explore with your dog, not to mention great dog-friendly beaches and pubs along the way. My dog Reuben, a black Alsatian/Newfoundland cross, is its biggest fan – his favourite walk is from Cadgwith to Kynance Cove on the Lizard. One sniff of the Coast Path and he’s away!”

Dog walkers are invited to nominate their favourite from 630 miles of stunning Coast Path, stretching from Minehead in Somerset to Poole in Dorset. It could be a two-mile stroll with your four-legged friend through a fishing village in Devon, a longer trek across open fields in Cornwall, or a short scamper across a dog-friendly expanse of sandy beach in Dorset – one thing’s for sure, you won’t be short of options. What’s more, one lucky winner will be chosen from the nominations to receive a year’s supply of Laughing Dog all-natural dog food and oven-baked oaties.

The deadline for competition entries is 31 January. For more information, full terms and conditions and details on how to enter your nomination, visit www.southwestcoastpath.com/dogs.

Captain of the West returns to Baggy Point

On Sunday 28 October, Mark Harandon, otherwise known as ‘The Captain of the West’ is returning to North Devon to take visitors on an adventure walk around National Trust’s Baggy Point.

Mark, who is currently appearing at the Minnack Theatre in Cornwall, is a well known story teller who travels the South West and beyond with his work and has performed at numerous National Trust properties. He is always a resounding success on the Trust’s Smugglers and Wreckers adventure walk which takes place on Morte Point during August.

Visitor Services Manager Hannah Jefferson comments: ‘We always get the most amazing feedback from our smugglers and wreckers walk, with people coming back each year to enjoy it again and again, so we’re really pleased to be able to bring a new adventure walk to Baggy Point for October half term. Mark is a captivating story teller, who gets people of all ages wrapped up in the atmosphere and excitement of a place.’

National Trust Ranger Jonathan Fairhurst comments; ‘We’ve been working with Mark to help develop the adventure walk and it’s been fantastic to see how he has really taken in the coastal and farmland setting with its local stories and weaved them into a great family adventure. Even if you think you know Baggy Point really well, Mark’s story telling makes you really consider it in a different light – it’s going to be great fun seeing families enjoy this unique experience.’

British Kitesports championships final

Photo by Roy Riley

The final showdown of the British Kitesurfing Association’s (BKSA) national tour will play out on Westward Ho! beach this October when the UK’s best kite surfers compete to win the British title at the British Kitesports championships.

The RWE npower renewables Kitetastic Finals Week will take place from Sunday 14 to Saturday 20 October at Westward Ho!, near Bideford. Over 100 competitors will attend the week-long event which features a number of disciplines all propelled by powerful kites. The event will finish with the BKSA British Champions being crowned at a special prize giving evening on Saturday 20th.

Event organiser and BKSA Chairman Richard Gowers is excited about the tour’s culmination. Richard said: “This is the first time we have held a major kiting event at Westwood Ho! and I can’t think of a better place for us to bring the tour to a close. The beach has plenty of open space and works in most wind directions. Although the first few events of the year suffered from light winds, we have had a fantastic season that has taken us across all areas of the UK. The talent and ability of the competitors taking part today is phenomenal and the race for British Champion is still very open.”

The competition will feature top female and male kitesurfers who will compete in the water in freestyle, race and wave events, whilst on the beach competitors will take part in freestyle kite landboard and kite buggy competitions.

This is the final event on the BKSA tour, which has held legs in seven venues across the UK, including Watergate Bay in north Cornwall, Clacton on Sea in Essex, Redcar on

Teesside and Troon in Scotland. Peter Sawyer from Kitemare, a Barnstaple kitesurfing shop and sponsor of the event, said: “Westward Ho! is a great place for kite sports. A few years ago there were only a handful of locals out there and now on a good day you might see 50 to 100 people and its a very friendly atmosphere. I have been travelling up and down the country competing for years, so it is nice to finally have a competition at my home beach. There are a few local sponsored riders that haven’t competed on a BKSA tour event before and so it’s going to be a kind of grand unveiling for them. Jon Bleaker and Dan Sweeney are definitely ones to watch in the pro men freestyle. They both trained abroad last winter and are equally hungry for success.”

Sponsored by RWE npower renewables, local kitesurfing shop Kitemare and Torridge District Council, the Kitetastic Finals Week starts on Sunday 14 October with the Wavemaster all fleets event.

Westward Ho! is one of the few beaches in Devon that welcomes kitesurfers, buggies and landboards. With its wide sandy beach, is regarded by kiting enthusiasts as one of the best venues in the UK with up to 60 people kite surfing and kite buggying at peak times.

Also called kiteboarding or flysurfing, kitesurfing is an extremely young sport with a very recent history. Kitesurfing involves standing on a surfboard in the water while holding and steering a multi-line kite in the air, which propels the surfer across the water. Although the sport originated from the advent of windsurfing and the kite itself, kitesurfing didn’t truly emerge until the late 1990s and wasn’t popular until the beginning of the 21st Century.

Fancy having a go yourself? With the support of Torridge District Council and Sport England, the organisers are putting on a week of FREE coaching session for beginners to try out the sport. To book your free place email events@kitesurfing.org

Funding for the sustainable development of the Northern Devon fishing communities

£1,050,000 has been secured to help develop the fishing industry and the fishing communities along the Northern Devon coast with a particular focus on Ilfracombe, Bideford, Appledore and Clovelly. The vision is for the sustainable development of the Northern Devon fishing communities by increasing opportunities for business, jobs, skills, investment, social and cultural benefits in this world class environment.

The funding, which has been made available from the European Fisheries Fund and Defra (Department for Food & Rural Affairs) through the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), will be used by the Northern Devon Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) to help the area’s fishing communities under the following objectives:

• Help develop and enhance the market for Northern Devon fish

• Raise knowledge and awareness of Northern Devon fish and fishing among locals and visitors

• Improve profitability and competitiveness of the fish economy

• Strengthen fishing communities to meet future challenges and opportunities

More information: http://www.northdevonplus.com/what-we-do/flag_home.aspx

Surf’s Up… UK’s first Surf Museum opens for summer of surf in North Devon

The Museum of British Surfing will open the doors to its new exhibition venue in Braunton, North Devon for the first time on Good Friday 6 April.

Its inaugural exhibition is ‘The Art of Surf’ – displaying 200 years of art in surfing from the sketches of early explorers through to works by contemporary British surfing artists.

Among the modern artists featured will be Conrad Shawcross, Ben Cook, Mark Haywood, Al Lindsay and Maria Rivans.

“Explorers and early travellers drew surfers, surfers decorated their boards – especially in the 1960s and 70s, advertisers plundered surfing imagery right the way back to the early 1900s – and today there’s a flourishing British surfing art scene,” said the charity’s director and founder Pete Robinson.

The first dedicated surfing museum in Europe was started in 2003, running successful touring exhibitions – it relocated to North Devon in 2009 and has spent the last 3 years securing the building and funding, completing the design work, and so far creating two new jobs.

The project’s main funders are Leader 4 Torridge & North Devon, North Devon District Council and North Devon Areas of Outstanding natural Beauty.

While ‘The Art of Surf’ exhibition will be the main feature, there’s also a section on British surfing history, North Devon surfing and the local environment, and a timeline of British surfboards  – displaying about a quarter of the museum’s collection.

“We couldn’t have done it without amazing support from surfers not just around the UK, but around the world – donating items and money,” said Pete, a former award-winning ITV News reporter. “I’d especially like to thank my wife Bianca and the charity’s Trustees – they’ve been truly amazing.”

The Museum of British Surfing is believed to have the largest and most historically significant collection in Europe, with members of the public donating many key items to be kept for future generations to enjoy.

Each year a new themed exhibition will be displayed, exploring different themes in surfing history and culture – and the museum will continue its popular touring shows around the UK.

The museum’s researchers are part of a worldwide network of surf historians – their latest discovery to be revealed soon is that surfing took place in Britain in the 1800s.

The Art of Surf runs until 24 December this year. Admission charges apply – see website for details and special events: museumofbritishsurfing.org.uk

Recent surf history discoveries by the Museum of British Surfing:

  • Crew members sailing with Captain James Cook tried Hawaiian’s surfboards in 1779
  • Agatha Christie was a keen surfer in 1922
  • The earliest known film of stand-up surfing in Britain dates back to c.1929
  • Photos exist of stand-up surfers in Britain during the Second World War

Explore the North Devon Coast with the help of a new website

A new website, pioneered by the North Devon Coast Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, has just been launched to promote the fantastic natural assets of the North Devon coastal area. The AONB spans from Welcombe to Combe Martin – a tall order to explore easily until now. Explore the Coast website highlights not only just how much there is to see and do, but how to do so with your own personalised itinerary, without spending a penny or getting in the car.

The website www.explorethecoast.org opens up new avenues for tourism, with easy to use facilities to discover very best spots for scenery, nature and history, all at the click of a mouse. This dedicated website aims to inspire both local residents and visitors alike to follow the road less travelled, leave the car behind and explore the coast around them.

The large majority of information is designed to be accessed via a Googlemap, with hundreds of points of interest detailing great views, historic and natural features of the landscape as well as showing cycleways, the South West Coast Path and permissive paths and Public Rights of Way. The website also includes themed interpretation guides, family-friendly resources and links to related websites and downloads. It’s something to delight all ages, interests and help people find new ways to get outside and explore our outstanding coastal landscape.

Clever free tools contained within the site allow users to create tailored itineraries to suit individual interests and preferred activities. Accommodation providers and other organisations can also use this tool to create their own tours for customers, branded with their own details.

At the launch, TDC Cllr Brian Redwood said, “This website is absolutely excellent and will be a great asset for visitors, residents and local communities to explore the North Devon Coastal area. It has great potential for visitors, residents and local business use as it pulls together so much information on the local area in a very accessible way.”

The website was pioneered as a result of focus groups with small businesses from the tourism industry held about three years ago who highlighted the need of visiting families to spend part of their holiday local to their accommodation. Whilst visitors like the beaches and theme parks, exploring the natural environment local to their accommodation was also important. There was clearly a need for activities they could do for free and without having to use their cars.

Linda Blanchard, North Devon Coast Manager, commented “This inspiring project is astonishing in its depth and breadth of information, its use of cutting edge technology whilst being very user friendly. From a ‘light touch’ information source to a detailed report on a subject of special interest, this website has incorporated it all. The website will be ideal for visitors and residents who wish to enjoy the North Devon Coast and learn more about its special qualities.”

The AONB and many of their partners had access to large amounts of research done by academic institutions and local researchers which was potentially of immense interest to visitors and the local community, but currently locked up in dry databases and reports available in a technical format. This added layer of information, previously unavailable, has been skilfully incorporated into the website.

Explore the Coast Project Officer Clare Manning said, “This is a fantastic opportunity to explore the hidden treasures of North Devon and a great asset to the local community including schools and community groups. Both locals and visitors to the area will undoubtedly discover many things they never knew before!

Special access has also been created to allow members of the community to contribute their knowledge to the site, together with review functions for people to comment their thoughts on every location on the map.

Anne Hulbert, from Westward Ho! Community History Project commented that, “It is really excellent to have so much information finally in one place. This is something history groups like us will also be able to contribute information towards on our own areas to share with those interested in the area.”

Northam Burrows Countryside Manager, Shawn Corrin also added that, “This website is fantastic and long overdue. There is so much in this area to explore, see, enjoy and appreciate and this website pulls it all together for all interests. We have such a wealth of heritage and wildlife right here on our doorstep and I look forward to contributing information for the section on Westward Ho!”

Training events are currently being scheduled across the AONB – so if you are a community organisation or tourist provider and would like to know more about making the most of the site please contact clare.manning@devon.gov.uk or phone 01237 423655.

The Explore the Coast project is funded through the Leader4 programme and delivered with Defra as the Managing Authority. The Project is part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for European Development 2007-2013: Europe investing in rural areas.