Category Archives: Competitions and offers


With the onset of spring, and as a nod to their newest restoration project at Hestercombe, young writers are being invited to enter their poetry competition on the theme of ‘spring’.

With the unveiling of Sibyl’s Temple, a recreation of a magnificent eighteenth-century building in Hestercombe’s Georgian Landscape garden, winners of the competition will get the chance to read their poem at the official ceremony on Wednesday 17 April and will also be invited to take part in a writing masterclass with one of the competition’s judges, international bestselling author Vicky Holmes. Winners will also get £25 in book tokens to spend on their favourite reads.

Best known as Erin Hunter, Vicky Holmes is creator of the global phenomenon Warrior Cats which is currently being turned into a movie franchise by the producer behind the Harry Potter films.

In the UK, she is more familiar as Daisy Meadows, author of Rainbow Magic, and as Lucy Daniels who created the enduring Animal Ark series. Vicky has never grown out of her childhood love of horses, all of which feature in the popular series Heartland and Chestnut Hill under the name Lauren Brooke.

Alongside Vicky, there will be a number of special guest judges, including Hestercombe’s Chief Executive, Philip White MBE.

The age categories for the competition are split into three: 11 and under, 12-15 and 16-21.

How to enter:

Online at

By post to: Spring Poetry Competition, Hestercombe Gardens, Cheddon Fitzpaine, Taunton, Somerset, TA2 8LG.

Please include the name and age of the poet, and a contact number on postal entries.

Closing date for entries is 1 April.


Mole Valley Farmers can now announce the winners of the ‘Design Your Own Wellies’ competition are Megan Dallimore aged 10 from Bridgwater, and Logan Irwin age 5 from South Molton. Megan and Logan will each receive a pair of their own design wellies, as will all their classmates!

The competition, which received many entries, was open to local primary-school-age children. The winning designs will be produced under the company’s own Hawkridge brand of country clothing. The wellies will be available in autumn 2016, being sold throughout the group’s nine branches across the South West and throughout 36 Mole Country Stores.

Matthew Monaghan, Product Manager, says: “This was a lovely competition, which was well supported. Many thanks especially to the teachers who entered their whole classes. While it was difficult to choose the two winning designs, we felt both the duck with umbrella and sheep in field designs were strong visually, and had a particular charm of their own. Our in-house team are now working to make the designs into real boots for the autumn/winter season 2016.”


A free exhibition displaying the winning pictures for the 2016 South West Coast Path Photographic competition is open for visitors to enjoy at the Dunster National Park Centre and will be on display until the end of October.

Amateur and professional photographers were encouraged to enter their best pictures of the Coast Path in this annual photo competition. The South West Coast Path is one of the world’s greatest walks. The aim of the competition is to showcase its landscape and wildlife by taking beautifully crafted photographs.

The SWCP passes through many Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty as well as Exmoor National Park. Many people enjoy completing it in sections over several visits, using taxi services to transport their luggage onto their next stop point or making use of the Moor Rover bus which can be booked in advance subject to availability, phone 01643 709701 for more details.

This year’s twelve top photos are featured in the 2016 South West Coast Path calendar, with the 1st prize winner on the front page. Each copy sold will raise a minimum of 25p for the South West Coast Path Association for path improvements

There were over 900 entries in this year’s prestigious competition which was won by keen amateur photographer, Brian Howe from Camberley, Surrey with his image of Chapman’s pool in Dorset.

The first runner-up was a picture taken at Porth Nanven by last year’s winner Peter Edwards. A stormy picture of Porthleven by Lloyd Cosway was joint third along with Richard Taylor’s picture of the Dartmouth Daymark.

All the photographs are on show and canvases are available to buy through auction.

PHOTO: Great Hangman heading down to Combe Martin by Andrew Wheatley.


Mole Valley Farmers are offering one lucky primary school-age girl and boy the opportunity to design a pair of wellies, which will be put into production and sold throughout the group’s nine branches across the South West.

The wellies will become part of Mole Valley Farmer’s own Hawkridge country clothing collection for autumn/winter 2016. The two winning children will each receive a pair of their own design wellies, as will all their classmates! To enter, they just need to be between the ages of 4 – 11 when they submit their entry, and live in the South West area.

Entry forms can be found in the October edition of the Mole Valley Newsletter.

Helen Bellerby, Product Manager, says: “We hope that the chance to see their winning wellie design on the shelf in our stores will be a great incentive for kids to enter. Teachers can also get involved, as all the children in the winnner’s classroom receive new wellies in the new, funky designs! So whether they are wanna-be designers or happy scribblers, why not encourage them to grab their crayons and get colouring!”

Competition closes 31 October.

PHOTO: two pairs of wells from Mole Valley Farmers’ own Hawkridge brand.  

Win a Romantic Four-Night Break at Bickleigh Castle

Bickleigh Castle is offering readers of Exmoor Magazine the chance to win a romantic four-night mini-moon.  This is for anyone to enter, whether they are getting married or not!

bickleigh bedThe lucky couple will be able to revel in the splendour of the Tudor Bridal Suite with its enormous carved four-poster bed and roll-top bath.

Bickleigh Castle is set in the heart of Devon, and there is a plethora of things to do and see in the area, whether you want to go walking on Exmoor, shopping in Exeter, exploring National Trust properties, shooting, fishing, off-roading or just relaxing amidst magically romantic surrounds.

The winners will be able to book their mini-moon at any point in 2015 subject to availability, for Monday to Thursday nights. Breakfast is included.

To enter the competition please answer the following
question:  What date does the Great Hall at Bickleigh Castle originate from?

Please email your answer to by
15 May 2015, putting ‘Exmoor Mag comp’ in the subject line.

Get Snapping for Museum’s Anniversary Competition

The Museum of Barnstaple & North Devon is now calling for entries to its popular annual Heritage Photographic Competition.

Designed to appeal to everyone who likes taking photos, including budding photographers under the age of 16, the competition is a celebration of northern Devon life and scenery. The closing date for entries is 6 October 2014.

This year sees an exciting new category added to the competition, ‘Museum 25th’, in celebration of the museum’s silver anniversary.

2014 is also a big year for Exmoor National Park, which is celebrating its 60th birthday. To mark its diamond anniversary the title for the Exmoor Moorland Landscape Partnership’s Heart of Exmoor prize will be ‘Celebrating Exmoor’s Heritage’. The North Devon Coast Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty is 55 years old this year, they have chosen ‘Your Very Special Place’ as their category theme.

Museum Development Manager, Alison Mills, says: “North Devon in Photographs is one of the mainstays of the museum’s temporary exhibitions programme and I’m really looking forward to seeing how our local photographers celebrate this special year!”

Executive Member for Culture, Councillor Derrick Spear, says: “There is so much beauty in North Devon that local photographers are really spoilt for choice. And for those of us who prefer to look at photos than take them, the images will be on display in the museum from November right through to January.” new balance u400

The Heritage Photographic Competition judge is contemporary photographic artist Dave Green, who is renowned for his innovative fused montages and his multi-layered ‘ghostcard’ technique.  With a background in graphic design and commercial photography, Dave is also a qualified and experienced teacher of photography and regularly exhibits his creative work both locally and as far a field as the USA.

Selected images will be displayed in the museum’s ‘North Devon in Photographs’ exhibition from 15 November 2014 to 10 January 2015.

For more information and an entry form pop into the museum (open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm), email  or call 01271 346747.

PHOTO: Previous highly commended entry by Robin Mellor.


Exmoor Flag Updates

The competition to design the official flag for Exmoor is gathering pace. Entries are flowing in both electronically and in the post. Designs received so far have been imaginative in their portrayal of Exmoor and have come from a wide variety of sources.

The oldest entrant so far is a 93-year-old Devonian lady who has always loved painting. The youngest competitor is a two-year-old little girl from Brushford near Dulverton who has drawn an Exmoor Pony. One gentleman wrote on his entry form “Many thanks folks for providing this inspiring initiative for us Exmoor-ites – whatever happens, I look forward to the result.”

The Exmoor Flag Project Team would like to stress that the important thing is to get across your idea on your design. It doesn’t matter if it is drawn with crayons, pencils or professionally produced on a whizzy computer programme. All entries will be judged on their interpretation of Exmoor onto a flag and the finalists will be graphically treated to ensure an even playing field when put forward to the public vote in August.

The Exmoor Flag Project Team are delighted to announce the judging panel who will have the extremely difficult task of short listing all the wonderful designs down to four finalists.

The judges are as follows:
Johnny Kingdom – Exmoor wildlife enthusiast & TV personality
Naomi Cudmore – Editor, The Exmoor Magazine
Dan James – Exmoor National Park Authority, Sustainable Economy Manager
Toni Jones – Exmoor Society, Member of the Executive Committee
Robin Ashburner – Exmoor resident & the UK’s leading flag and heraldry expert
Exmoor Flag Project Team – Tony & Ceri Keene and Edward & Julie Christian

The panel will be overseen by judge Philip Tibbetts, the Community Vexillologist for the Flag Institute who are endorsing the Exmoor Flag design competition. The winning flag will be registered with the Flag Institute to be flown forever more.

The owner of the winning Exmoor Flag will not only have the honour of their design being registered by the Flag Institute as an official United Kingdom flag, but will receive the very first copy of the flag, professionally hand made on Exmoor.   In addition the winner will be presented with a hamper overflowing with Exmoor produce and products, tickets for visitor attractions and vouchers for meals at popular venues. All these gifts have been generously donated by local businesses to support and celebrate this new era for Exmoor.

So to be part of this historic event you will need to enter. See for entry forms and design guidelines. The deadline is on Monday 21 July, so there is still time to get your creative juices flowing.

The West Somerset Railway’s Exmoor Flag Competition Special Train

The Exmoor Flag Project team were given unprecedented permission to board one of The West Somerset Railway’s iconic steam trains earlier this week to promote the competition to design the official flag for Exmoor.

The 12.30 Raveningham Hall 6960 steam locomotive out of Minehead Station became a flag design train for the afternoon, with both children and adults getting inspiration for their flag creations from the stunning Exmoor countryside as they rumbled along the tracks.

Exmoor Flag & West Somerset Railway - Fenris JonesFenris Jones (pictured) aged 11 and his younger brother Thaine (6), on holiday from Western-super-Mare, are looking forward to drawing their flag designs when they get home on Friday. Travelling in the same carriage that transported Harry Potter and his chums to Hogwarts School made it too exciting to think about designing flags at that time.

One little girl handed in her beautiful flag creation depicting an Exmoor Pony when she left the train at Watchet. And Joshua Huckett (pictured at he top of this page), currently on work experience with WSR in the Buffet Ca,  was keen to enter, as was the case with many other passengers who had fascinating stories to tell of their experiences of Exmoor, be it visiting on holiday, living in the area or in the army assisting with the Lynmouth floods back in the 1950s.

The Exmoor Flag Project team members Ceri Keene and Julie Christian would like to pass on their thanks to Colin Howard, Acting Sales & Marking Manager for organising today’s event and for WSR promoting the design competition with posters at all the stations along the historic line.

The 4 finalists for the public vote will be announced in August and the new Exmoor Flag will be unveiled in a special ceremony in October.

Competition to create the official flag of Exmoor

History is in the making as the competition to design the official flag for Exmoor launches with a buzz of interest and a special event at Dulverton Middle School.

Exmoor will be the first area encompassing a national park to have its very own flag.   The winning design will be chosen by public vote and will be registered with The Flag Institute, the organisation responsible for maintaining the national registry of United Kingdom flags. The Exmoor Flag Competition is financially supported by the Exmoor National Park Partnership Fund and the Exmoor Flag Project team, and is endorsed by The Exmoor Society.

2014 is the 60th anniversary of the foundation of Exmoor National Park, so the timing is perfect for all those who live, work, visit and love Exmoor to express their pride in all that they think is great about this beautiful corner of the country.   Inspiration for the flag design can be drawn from Exmoor’s unique landscape, its windswept moors, ancient woods, valleys, farmland and coast or its indigenous wildlife.

Dulverton Middle School pupils were treated to a special flag assembly on Tuesday 17 of June, with a talk by Robin Ashburner, the UK’s leading flag and heraldry expert.  Robin lives on the outskirts of Exford where he runs his company Specialist Flag Services. Robin demonstrated how certain flags including the Union flag have evolved through history, and showed examples of more modern flags for counties and areas explaining what they symbolise.

Julie Christian and Ceri Keene from the Exmoor Flag Project, along with Robin Ashburner, were then invited by the Art Teacher Elizabeth Johnstone to join a creative session with the year 8s.  The children had the opportunity to discuss what Exmoor meant to them personally and they began the creative process of symbolising those ideas into a flag design.

The Exmoor Flag Competition will be free to enter and open to all. Young and old, amateur and professional, individually or as a group – all will be judged impartially and purely on merit, irrespective of artistic ability. Schoolchildren will have exactly the same chance as experienced designers. Entry forms along with hints and design guidelines will be available on The Exmoor Flag website, published in the local press and available in Exmoor National Park Centres and tourist information centres across North Devon and West Somerset.

The first round of judging will be conducted by a panel made up from a cross section of Exmoor people, The Flag Institute and the Exmoor Flag Project team. A shortlist of four designs will be put forward to a public vote and the winner will be announced in October. Along with receiving a prize unique to Exmoor, the winner will be presented with the first copy of the flag and have the honour of their creation being registered as the official flag for Exmoor, to be cherished forever more.

The Exmoor Flag Project Team, from left to right: Tony Keene, Ceri Keene, Julie Christian and Edward Christian.
The Exmoor Flag Project Team, from left to right: Tony Keene, Ceri Keene, Julie Christian and Edward Christian.

Special Luttrell Arms Offer: Sunday Night Celebration Package for Lovers and Romantics

celebration packageWhy not celebrate spring with this special offer for romantics: one night’s accommodation with breakfast at The Luttrell Arms Hotel, Exmoor to include a bottle of Prosecco in your room and Nutcombe Chocolates from £40 per person. See website for full details and how to book your stay or call 01643 821555 and speak to one of their team.

February discount on the West Somerset Railway

Diary 01
S&DJR No 88 with a Santa Express at Whiskey Trail by
Alan Turner, courtesy West Somerset Steam Railway

This February families can enjoy the journey for half the price, saving 50% on each pre-booked Adult, Senior and Child Day Rover Ticket. Visitors booking in advance will receive 50% off Day Rover tickets for all RED Timetable days on this heritage steam railway which runs from Minehead on the coast to Bishops Lydeard near Taunton. Pre-book online at or call 01643 704996