Category Archives: Events

CONCERT: KEVIN DEMPSEY AND JOW BROUGHTON


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

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

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

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

Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts, has been established as a Charity since 1965. Nestling at the foot of the Quantock Hills Halsway Manor provides a year-round programme of events and activities in traditional folk music, dance, song, storytelling, folklore and related arts and crafts. There’s ample free parking onsite, a bar and – of course – beautiful atmospheric settings for concerts with wonderful acoustics, and a chance to catch up with the artists over a drink afterwards!

BACK GARDEN ASTRONOMY WEEK LAUNCHES


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PHOTO: Paul Howell Pictor Images

MINEHEAD LITERARY FESTIVAL AND SHORT STORY COMPETITION

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

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

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

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

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

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

Minehead Literary Festival: Short Story Competition

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

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

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

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

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

 Photo by Claire Spottiswoode

SUCCESS AT WESTCOUNTRY EQUINE FAIR

The Westcountry Equine Fair held at Westpoint, Exeter, on 1 and 2 December was a great success for both exhibiting companies and the many competitors and displays taking part.

This year organisers, Contour Exhibitions, saw a fantastic increase in the number of entries to the various competitive events, highlighting the enjoyment people derive from the Fair.

Four Pony Club teams took part in the fast-paced Pony Club Horse & Hound Show Jumping Challenge, with Taunton Vale Harriers the winning team on Saturday 1st. Hattie Barnes riding Star from Tiverton Hunt Pony Club was the most stylish rider and Ruby Russo with Bess from Cotley Hunt Pony Club was the fastest runner. South Pool Pony Club were the winners on Sunday 2 December, with Poppy Burner riding Puff from South Pool Pony Club being the most stylish rider and Jasper Kolowski (Silverton Pony Club) being the fastest runner.

The unaffiliated Quadrille Competition is in its second year and the quality of performances was absolutely amazing. Cornwall Trec Group was the winning team this year with their theme Sister Act at the Moulin Rouge (see photo).

Imagine being a young rider competing in front of a large crowd. 14 youngsters did just that and they were amazing. The Junior Show Jumping Competition sees children 14 years and younger on ponies 13.2hh and under jump a course. Alfie Diaper, age 9, riding Buddy II, was first and also claimed the prize for the most stylish rider; Finlay Adams, age 13, riding Doylan Fairy Footsteps, was second and also best turned out; and Ella Stephens, age 11, riding Amees Flame, took third place.

The Best of the West theme ran through, with some amazing displays from stars from the West of England including John Chubb, Tim Cheffings and the Indoor Driving trials.

This year also saw a large number of new equestrian companies and new products at the show, as well as the old favourites. We look forward to seeing them all again in 2019.

The event is going from strength to strength and we are looking forward to more fun in 2019. The dates are Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 December at Westpoint in Exeter.

Exmoor Magazine’s equine writer, Cindy Cowling, and her daughter Ellen had a great time! Cindy said, “The Westcountry Equine Fair never fails to deliver! The only equine fair in the West Country dedicated to the horse and rider, whether you go to watch one of the indoor Master Classes from some of the country’s top riders, or get up to speed with new innovations such as Husks ‘air technology’, this two-day event should be in every rider’s or equestrian enthusiast’s diary.”

 

WESTCOUNTRY EQUINE FAIR THIS WEEKEND

The Westcountry Equine Fair this weekend welcomes the return of the unaffiliated Quadrille competition and is set to bring glamour, colour, fun and story-telling once again!

The Westcountry Equine Fair takes place on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 December at Westpoint in Exeter and is delighted to host the quadrille competition, which will take place on the Saturday of the show at 2.15pm. Six teams will take part: Blackdown Hills Riding Club; Brent Knoll Riding Club; Cannington Equestrian centre; Cornwall Trec Group; East Devon Pony Club and Friends of the Dartmoor Hill Pony. All the competing teams have chosen some amazing themes for their display.

Each team will have four riders and the displays to music will last five minutes.

The Westcountry Equine Fair is well known for its competitive elements, with the horse & hound show jumping challenge now on both show days and the junior show jumping competition on Sunday. Both have been running for a number of years and have proved very popular. The Junior Show Jumping Competition has 15 competitors, all 14 and under – an amazing platform for them. The horse & hound pony club challenge has four teams of four riders and four runners with dogs, a fast-paced and fun-filled challenge for both teams and the audience!

The show is not complete without the amazing equestrian shopping village. Stay stylish with the latest fashions, keep up to date with new products and excellent advice and of course plenty of the main brands, show offers, competitions and book signings. With over 200 companies, this is a great equestrian shopping experience for the horse and for the rider. Don’t forget you don’t need to carry those heavy shopping bags around, as there is the shop-and-drop facility in the foyer – all donations to South West Equine Protection.

To book your tickets in advance and save money visit www.westcountryequinefair.co.uk or call 01392 421500 (office hours) and follow on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated.

CONCERT AT HALSWAYS: MARTIN TAYLOR & MARTIN SIMPSON

Award-winning jazz guitarist Martin Taylor has teamed up with acoustic and slide guitar virtuoso Martin Simpson to perform a number of selected dates across the UK – including an appearance at Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts, on Sunday 2 December at 7pm.

The pair share the stage throughout the performance – adding to each other’s songs and instrumental pieces, and taking them to sublime new heights. This is an unmissable evening for guitar and acoustic music fans, in the company of two guitar-playing legends working in harmony.

“Martin Taylor is one of the most awesome solo guitar players in the history of the instrument. He’s unbelievable.” (Pat Metheny)

Martin Taylor was name-checked on BBC Radio 2’s Breakfast Show as being considered THE best guitarist by no less than Jeff Beck – leading to a live session on the show the next morning. Completely self taught, he has enjoyed a remarkable musical career spanning four decades and during that time has invented and developed a way of playing the guitar that is admired, and often imitated, by guitarists all over the world.

As well as being a true guitar innovator, he is also a master concert performer, dazzling audiences with his solo shows, which combine virtuosity, emotion and humour, with a strong stage presence. He has collaborated with musicians from many different musical genre including Stephane Grappelli, Chet Atkins, Eric Clapton, Bill Wyman, George Harrison, Dionne Warwick, Bryn Terfel and Jamie Cullum. In 2002, he was appointed MBE “For Services To Jazz Music”, in The Queen’s Birthday Honours List, which he received personally from Her Majesty The Queen at an investiture at Buckingham Palace.

“Martin Simpson’s performances elicit powerful emotions and subtle, understated beauty.” (Guitar Player)

After 35 years as a professional musician, Martin Simpson is widely acknowledged as one of the finest acoustic and slide guitar players in the world, and his interpretations of traditional songs are masterpieces of storytelling. His solo shows are intense, eclectic, spellbinding and deeply moving.

Martin has been nominated an astounding 23 times in the 11 years of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards – more than any other performer – with 9 consecutive years as nominee for Musician of The Year, which he has won twice. Whether playing American old-time music, blues, a Dylan song or his own material, Martin Simpson is unpredictable, individual and a guitarist of immense subtlety.

Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts, has been established as a charity since 1965. Nestling at the foot of the Quantock Hills, Halsway Manor provides a year-round programme of events and activities in traditional folk music, dance, song, storytelling, folklore and related arts and crafts. There’s ample free parking onsite, a bar and – of course – beautiful atmospheric settings for intimate concerts with wonderful acoustics, and a chance to talk with the artists over a drink afterwards!

Tickets are priced £20; buy securely online at www.halswaymanor.org.uk.

 

‘MATERIALITY’ EXHIBITION OPENS AT HESTERCOMBE

An exhibition inspired by the surroundings of Hestercombe will showcase the work of three artists this autumn/winter.

Sarah Bennett, Megan Calver and Philippa Lawrence have been directly engaged with Hestercombe House and Gardens over three years and the resulting exhibition has developed from these experiences.

Materiality: provisional states runs from 10 November 2018 until 24 February 2019 at Hestercombe Gallery and features exhibits using a range of media from photography, sculpture to drawing and text.

Sarah Bennett’s practice investigates institutional sites, both historical and contemporary, in UK and international settings, employing a range of artistic research methods and material processes including: digital recording, facsimile object making, observational drawing, and embodied actions. She is Head of School of Art and Architecture at Kingston University, and chairs educational events in art schools, universities and arts organisations in Europe and the USA.

Megan Calver’s new work is an iteration of her enquiry into expressions of taste and attitudes to perceived imperfections, first presented in a group show at Hestercombe in 2015. Megan Calver’s approach is process-led and for the past ten years she has focused her site-related investigations throughout the South West of England where collaborations with people and places have grown and taken hold.

After a deep study of the Hestercombe landscape, Philippa Lawrence offers works that ask us to perceive things we may have overlooked or not considered, tracing humankind’s activity in managing an estate and nature. Philippa has exhibited widely both in the UK and internationally, including in America, Japan, Czech Republic, Canada, Iceland and Australia.

Collectively interested in issues related to labour and the management of landscape and nature, Materiality: provisional states aims to examine and critique human and non-human centred activity found in Hestercombe’s past and present. The exhibition stems from archival research as well as ‘Disclosures and Dialogues’, a series of dialogue sessions with artists, curators, historians, academics and garden practitioners.

 

THE RURAL LIVING SHOW 2018

Next weekend – 17 and 18 November – sees the ever-popular Rural Living Show. This annual event has become a firm fixture in the run up to Christmas for those seeking the many unique and exciting items available at King’s Hall School over the weekend. Every year the show includes the work of many craftspeople both from Somerset and further afield – with demonstrations of traditional crafts throughout – basket making, wood turning, lace craft, corn dollies, candle-making – enabling you to buy things which are often totally one of a kind.

On offer will be jewellery, metalwork, glass, pottery, fabrics, paintings, lifestyle, and much, much more. The food marquee is legendary with its fine array of pies, sausages, smoked fish, bread, cakes, chocolates… the list is amazing, and all from local and committed producers

The event’s nominated charity as always is Children’s Hospice South West, who provide support for 400 families from the South West. Their running costs are about £6 million annually.

For younger visitors, there are face painters and a Magic Show on the balcony of the Sports Hall – all for donations to the Children’s Hospice.

The Rural Living Show is on:

17th November: 10.00 am to 5.00 pm
18th November: 10.00 am to 4.00 pm
Entrance: £4.00
(Children under 16 free)

www.rurallivingshow.co.uk
rurallivingshow@gmail.com

For more information, ring: 01823 323363

Photo: Blue bird from Blueberry Glass

ANNUAL ARTISAN MARKET IN BARNSTAPLE THIS NOVEMBER

Over 90 talented artists and makers from across the South West will be gathering for one day in Barnstaple PannierMarket to showcase their wares as Devon Pop Ups present an Artisan Market that is sure to successfully resolve the most challenging of shopping and gift dilemmas.

The Artisan Market on Sunday 4 November will feature an eclectic mix of exhibitors across a whole range of disciplines: from home-made sweets to doggie treats, from headdresses to statement jewellery, macramé, ceramics, wood, leather, fine art, prints, illustrations, embroidery, photography and food. The wonderful thing that they have in common, and the condition for entry to the market, is that their creations are all handmade by the artisans themselves.

The stunning Victorian Pannier Market in Barnstaple is the historic setting for this innovative event which will also include drop-in workshops hosted by Scrapstore using upcycled materials, a totally FREE creative gift-wrapping service for all purchases made on the day, a variety of delicious food stalls and live music throughout the day.

The eclectic mix of artists on show at the Artisan Market will include Becky Lanyon (see photo top), the talented creator of the Artisan Market logo. Becky’s joyful wire wall hangings and freestanding wire sculptures, as well as her illustrated cards, are inspired by birds and animals, the shapes and patterns in nature as well as acrobats and dancers.

A creative and diverse mix of textile artists including Emma Manson of Pineapple Fibre Art with her range of bespoke vintage inspired crochet wall art using hand-dyed yarns, will be mixing with talented jewellers and ceramicists. These include Claire Lowe Jewellery, who is known for a colourful range of mixed-media jewellery made with silver and resin. and Jess Harrington, who creates botanical tiles that capture a unique and beautiful plant moment in plaster and preserve it forever.

Illuminating the market will be Dorset artist Alastair Kinghorn of CU Designs, the makers of a range of unique hand-made sculptural lighting using recycled copper, glass and locally sourced wind fallen timber. Adding a musical note, the Market is pleased to welcome Terry Riley who makes pottery ocarinas and vessel flutes tuned to concert pitch.

For an enduring and lasting memento of the day, Stephen Raff and Nicky Thompson of Contemporary Collodion will be making unique glass wet plate portraits with tradition wooden bellowed cameras and a portable darkroom. Practising the photographic process invented in 1851 they will be applying light-sensitive chemicals onto plates of glass and developing portraits whilst still wet.

There will be a £1.50 entrance fee (free entry for children under 16) for the Artisan Market at Barnstaple Pannier Market on Sunday 4 November 2018. The event starts at 10am and finishes at 4pm.

 

BIG ADVENTURE DAY AT WEBBERS POST

Join Exmoor National Park for a Big Adventure Day this autumn half term at Webbers Post, set within the National Trust’s picturesque Holnicote Estate. There will be a host of free outdoor activities for all the family running throughout the day on Wednesday 31 October from 10am to 4pm.

Join in a bug hunt, help build a giant den, try your hand at campfire cooking, get your face painted, go on a fungi walk, make a witch’s broom, get help spotting wildlife from the Exmoor Natural History Society. Or simply sit back and enjoy the panoramic views over Horner Wood and the wild moorland stretching up to Dunkery Beacon, the highest point on Exmoor.

Webbers Post is a haven for Red deer, Exmoor ponies, bats and the rare heath fritillary butterfly, along with an awesome array of lichens and mosses. As it’s the rutting season, you may even be lucky enough to hear roaring stags on the nearby hills.

Patrick Watt-Mabbott, Exmoor National Park’s Volunteering and Outreach Officer, said: “It’s the last ‘Big Adventure’ of the year and, with the help of the National Trust and our wonderful volunteers, we’ve got some great activities lined up. There’s no need to book and everyone is welcome, so grab a picnic and wellies and join us for a wild day out!”

The event is free, but donations to CareMoor for Exmoor will be welcome. There are car parking and toilet facilities on site. For more information visit the Exmoor National Park website or contact the National Park Centre at Dulverton on 01398 323841.