Category Archives: Events

EXETER JOCKEY CLUB CHAMPIONS DEVON AIR AMBULANCE RACE DAY 2019: TICKETS AVAILABLE

The popular charity race day returns with a full day of family-friendly fun and an exclusive dining experience in support of Devon Air Ambulance.

The Jockey Club at Exeter Racecourse is once more supporting the local charity with a Devon Air Ambulance Race Day on Sunday 24 November, 2019.

This year’s event will feature a dedicated race of the county’s famous and much-loved Dartmoor ponies, who are typically more familiar with the challenging terrain of the moors than the even, maintained grass of the racecourse.

Horse enthusiasts are in for a treat as not only will they enjoy the Dartmoor Hill Pony charity race, but they will also have the chance to watch the spectacle of seven other more conventional races.

For £75 per person, the charity hospitality package includes the charity race followed by the conventional races, the advice of a professional Race Day presenter and tipster, and a delicious menu comprising locally sourced ingredients created by Head Chef, Ian Brimacombe.

Jack Parkinson, Exeter Racecourse General Manager, said: “We are delighted to welcome back the Devon Air Ambulance Trust to Exeter for its Charity Race Day. It’s an outstanding organisation that serves the people of Devon every day by delivering critical care in time-critical situations. The Air Ambulance has attended Exeter races on several occasions over the years and we are indebted to them. We hope that families will come and enjoy a day at the races, and our charity race too, when a team of Dartmoor Hill Ponies will be dashing to the line for glory.”

Devon Air Ambulance crew and volunteers will have a presence at the Race Day, collecting donations, selling raffle tickets and chatting about the charity – there may even be an appearance from charity mascot, Ambrose Bear.

Devon Air Ambulance Fundraising Manager, Tracy Owen, said: “We’re looking forward to returning to Exeter Racecourse for this enjoyable fundraising event. Last year it cost £7.5 million to keep Devon’s two emergency air ambulances flying and because we are independent of Government and National Lottery funding it is entirely thanks to our supporters that we raised this sum. We’re very grateful to the Jockey Club at Exeter Racecourse for their continued support of the charity.”

Businesses looking to take staff out for a social or savvy shoppers looking for an unusual early Christmas gift might want to secure their place in what will be either the Travado or Golden Jubilee Suite – both of which are private boxes with fantastic views over the course – for the Devon Air Ambulance Race Day.

Tickets can be purchased by phoning 01392 466666 and speaking to the fundraising team, or by visiting the Devon Air Ambulance website: bit.ly/DAARaceDay2019 

BAMPTON EVENT CELEBRATES HISTORIC BUILDINGS

The Bampton Heritage and Visitor Centre are delighted to be holding a special event on Friday 20 September to unveil their new ‘Our Buildings’ exhibition boards, oral histories and family trail.

The exhibition, which will be on display in the centre for a limited period from the end of September, is the result of a year-long project researching and collating information about the history of some of the town’s buildings. The project was supported by a grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Volunteers visited various homes and then conducted research both online and at the Devon Heritage Centre in Exeter. They looked into a buildings’ ages, construction and architectural details as well as their different uses over time and the people who lived there.

Another strand of the project was to trace residents who had recollections of the town and its buildings from the middle of last century – they were then recorded and the material carefully edited to form a digital oral archive of the town for future generations.

Bridge House Luke Street

Judi Thomas, a trustee of the Heritage Centre, who was in charge of the oral history recordings, said, “All too often we leave it too late to record the memories of older family members and residents but their accounts form such a valuable addition to the heritage of our town. Young people in particular can learn such a huge amount about everyday life from the past by listening to recordings.”

Judi Thomas and other Heritage Centre volunteers have also been working closely with teachers and children at Bampton School who have been learning more about their town. Two classes visited the Heritage Centre and were taken on a special guided town trail during which the children were taught more about some of the town’s buildings and history from the centre’s guides. Judi added “We’re delighted to have the support of the school teachers as we aim to encourage residents and visitors of all ages to appreciate our rich social and industrial heritage and historic buildings.”

The group have also produced a new booklet which gives the history of St Michael and All Angels Church – believed to the town’s oldest building.

Katrina Munro, chair of the Trustees, said, “This project has helped everyone involved to learn so much about our town. Many of the buildings we see today have a rich and colourful history and many have fine architectural features. Through this exhibition, we hope more people will visit our town and learn about our heritage. We’re very grateful to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for supporting the project. Aspects such as the exhibition, family town trial, new guide book to the church and oral archive will help us to reach as many people as possible.”

The Heritage and Visitor Centre, which is based inside St Michael and All Angels Church, is open from Wednesday to Saturday 11am to 3pm.

Everyone is welcome to join the volunteers for the Exhibition launch at the Centre on Friday 20 September starting at 7pm. Free refreshments will be served.

There will be a special Bampton Guided Town Trail at 11am on Saturday 21 September. Find out more or book a space by emailing bamptonheritage@btinternet.com or phoning Wendy Boothroyd on 01398 331219. Guided town trials can also be arranged for groups on other dates.

SCHOOL LAUNCHES EXCITING CREATIVE ARTS EVENTS FOR NORTH DEVON PUBLIC

West Buckland School is opening its doors as a new venue for the arts in North Devon, with the launch of ARTS@WB, an exciting cultural programme of stand-up comedy, dance, music, art and drama events, open to the North Devon public. The majority of the productions will be held in the school’s fabulous 150 Arts building, where visitors will also be able to browse exhibitions from distinguished artists.

ARTS@WB has been created by the school’s Director of Music and Performing Arts, Emma Kent, who many will know from her work with the North Devon Sinfonia and who has always been a great supporter of the arts in North Devon.

“ARTS@WB is a really exciting new venture for the school and the wider community,” she said. “Hopefully everyone will find something in the programme which will whet their appetite for culture and the arts and tempt them to visit our beautiful campus to enjoy a social and thought-provoking evening.”

As well as enjoying the main attraction, visitors are encouraged to come early, pick up a glass of something and enjoy a browse around the school’s stunning 150 Arts building where there will be a number of exhibitions on display from emerging artists.

The programme is suitable for people across the age groups and there are a limited number of student tickets, priced at just £1.

Legally Blonde and Katie Derham

Highlights for the 2019-2020 programme include a critically acclaimed circus and dance performance by Nikki Rummer and JD Broussé, a comedy club night featuring Noel Brodie, Jo Coffey, Chris Leworthy and Angie Belcher, a show-stopping production of the West End hit Legally Blonde at the Queen’s theatre and an Evening with Katie Derham – an insight into the life of the well-known arts journalist and presenter of the Proms season on the BBC.

For more information, or to download a copy of the full ARTS@WB brochure, please visit: www.westbuckland.com/arts-at-wb.

TOP: “Thirsty” by Paper Birds, just one of the many exciting productions at West Buckland School as part of their ARTS@WB.

HISTORIC BUILDINGS FESTIVAL AND PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION

Exmoor’s first ever Historic Buildings Festival is due to kick off this month, with a week of events celebrating the National Park’s impressive array of buildings from throughout the ages.

From 16-22 September, a wide range of expert walks, talks and practical demonstrations will be on offer celebrating this cultural heritage. Guest speakers and skilled craftspeople will shed light on how and why these structures came to be and what they can teach us about how our ancestors lived and worked. The Festival forms part of Heritage Open Days*, when places right across the country throw open their doors to celebrate their heritage, community and history.

The week of largely free events will begin with an open day to see conservation in action in Simonsbath’s Ashcombe Gardens, where a project is underway to restore and uncover the story behind a Picturesque garden and the unusual Scottish croft-house that formed part of it. This is the first time the public will have an opportunity to go inside the buildings since restoration works began, and the first time they have been without scaffolding for many years.

Find out the story of Lynton and Lynmouth’s famous cliff railway and walk in the footsteps of computer pioneer Ada Lovelace to discover the extensive network of intriguing paths, viewpoints and tunnels found on her former Porlock estate. Get an exclusive tour of medieval buildings in Dunster as part of a project to trace and record the town’s early history and take part in a convoy of military vehicles on route to the former secret Second World War radar station and tank training grounds found on Minehead’s North Hill.

Festival organiser Thomas Thurlow, Exmoor National Park Authority’s Historic Buildings Officer, said: “Whether it’s the medieval hall houses of Dunster, the late Georgian Scottish croft-style buildings of Simonsbath, or the industrial structures of the West Somerset Mineral Line, all these buildings have a story to tell and have helped shape the landscape we see today. There are so many historic treasures to be found on Exmoor if you know where to look and we can’t wait to showcase these amazing buildings.”

The full programme of events can be found on the Exmoor National Park Authority website at www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/historicbuildingsfestival and is available in printed form free from National Park Centres in Lynmouth, Dunster and Dulverton.

People may also wish to take part in the Exmoor Society photographic competition, which this year includes a historic buildings category (the closing date is 30 September). Find out more at www.exmoorsociety.com/content/news/alfred-vowles-photographic-competition-2

PHOTO: White Rock Cottage in Simonsbath seen without scaffolding for the first time in decades.

EXMOOR DARK SKIES FESTIVAL PROGRAMME

Over 50 events in celebration of Exmoor’s spectacular starry skies are set to take place across the National Park this autumn, as bookings open for the region’s third annual Dark Skies Festival.

From 14 October to 3 November, venues across the National Park will take advantage of its status as one of three designated International Dark Skies Reserves in the country, to host a range of experiences inspired by the wonders of the night sky.

Following many sell-out events during the first two years, the Festival will this year span three weeks, covering the half term breaks for both Devon and Somerset as well as some quieter spells when the children are back to school.

Sarah Bryan, Chief Executive of Exmoor National Park Authority, said: “The tranquillity and stunning landscapes of Exmoor make it the perfect place to walk, stargaze and take a break from the bustle of busy modern lives and we hope that through the Festival many more people will discover the magic of its night skies.”

The Festival caters for a wide range of ages and interests, with highlights for families including this year’s Astro Party at Wimbleball Lake, a 360-degree planetarium experience in Dunster, Bampton or Barnstaple, or the National Park’s first ever Dark Skies Big Adventure with the National Trust.

Wildlife lovers may wish to partake in a guided starlit walk or dusk safari, ending with warming local produce supper or hot chocolate and marshmallows. Meanwhile, the more adventurous might enjoy night mountain biking or a guided walk with an Exmoor National Park Ranger to see the Orionids meteor shower in peak flow.

Foodies will find countless opportunities to indulge in delicious astronomy-inspired suppers married with expert talks and stargazing.

And not forgetting astronomy enthusiasts, who will be spoilt for choice with guided stargazing opportunities, talks on choosing the right telescope or the latest astronomy apps, plus the chance to hone astrophotography skills.

This year children up to 16 years can also enter an Exmoor dark skies-inspired story writing competition, with the winner getting a free astronomy and space workshop for their school, hosted by Jo Richardson of Somerset-based company ‘Space Detectives’.

Katrina Munro of Exmoor National Park Authority coordinates the festival, which is sponsored by rural broadband providers Airband UK. She said: “Many people have never experienced what it’s like to look up into a truly dark sky, see the thousands of stars and feel that inevitable sense of wonder. Exmoor tourism businesses, farms and organisations including the National Trust, Forestry England, South West Lakes Trust and Exmoor Pony Centre have all teamed up with the National Park to ensure there’s something for everyone throughout the three-week festival period.

“We have such a variety of great places to stay, many within the darkest areas of the National Park, but all within easy access of the various events. Events can all be booked separately, allowing people to pick and choose those that interest them most.”

The full programme of events is available at www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/darkskiesfestival or from National Park Centres at Dulverton, Dunster or Lynmouth. Details of places to stay are included and further accommodation can be found at www.visit-exmoor.co.uk . For more information phone the Lynmouth National Park Centre on 01598 752509, open 7 days a week.

PHOTO: Dark Skies over Exmoor by Peter Hendrie.

VINTAGE & HANDMADE FAIR

Preparation is now in full swing for this September’s Vintage & Handmade event on Sunday 22 September at Barnstaple Pannier Market.

The show promises to be a colourful and theatrical spectacular with a 50s circus-themed backdrop to an incredible selection of exhibitors: an eclectic mix of vintage & retro traders, work that has been beautifully upcycled or recycled and stunning work from artisans across the South West including jewellery, prints, paintings, ceramics, candles, woodwork and textiles.

Barnstaple Pannier Market will be transformed – behind the curtained entrance you will find a ring master, usherettes with trays, vintage games, a vintage lemonade stand hosted by North Devon Against Domestic Abuse (NDADA) and a live swing band.

Cool creative workshops can be pre-booked including paper-flower making and hand-stitched embroidered brooches.

There will also be food traders and a tea & coffee lounge.

Put the date in your diary, you definitely don’t want to miss this one. Dig out your favourite vintage glad rags as dressing up for this event is actively encouraged.

BARNSTAPLE URBAN SPORTS FESTIVAL

Barnstaple is set to host an exciting new event, as the Urban Sports Festival and a range of adrenaline sports come to town in September.

The Barnstaple Urban Sports Festival is a one-day event designed to showcase non-mainstream sports to the local community, with entertainment on offer for all the family. The festival will take place on Sunday 8 September at various locations across the town.

North Devon, which has recently been labelled ‘England’s Adventure Coast’ by Visit England, has a strong connection with adrenaline sports, thanks to its surf culture and outdoor lifestyle. The festival will feature exciting sports such as BMX, skateboarding, rollerskating, scooter trials and parkour, celebrating Barnstaple’s offer as an ‘urban playground’.  As well as the various activities being demoed, there will be have-a-go sessions for children and adults, street food, live music and competitions on offer.

Barnstaple Town Centre Manager, Hannah Harrington, says, “We are incredibly proud to be hosting the Urban Sports Festival in Barnstaple. This will be a free community festival-style event that will be great fun for participants and spectators alike. Get the date in your diary and bring your family along to enjoy the day with us.”

North Devon Council’s Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economic development and regeneration, Councillor Malcolm Prowse, says: “This promises to be an exciting event for the people of North Devon and we would like to see as many residents attending it as possible. You don’t have to be an adrenaline junkie to go along and enjoy the day but, who knows, you may feel inspired to take up a new hobby!”

More information about the event is available online www.urbansportsfestival.co.uk If you’re interested in getting involved in please contact Vanessa Harrison vanessa.harrison@northdevon.gov.uk or 01271 388216.

EXMOOR POETRY BOOK LAUNCH AT THE DUNSTER SHOW

The launch of a new collection of enchanting poems inspired by encounters with Exmoor hill farmers, along with poetry readings and a book signing by the author, are just some of the exciting activities on offer in the ‘Big Exmoor Tent’ at this Friday’s Dunster Show (16 August).

Poet Adam Horowitz received grants from Exmoor National Park Authority’s Partnership Fund and Exmoor Society to spend time on Exmoor Hill Farming Network farms signed up to the Pasture-Fed Livestock Association – an alliance of farmers committed to feeding livestock solely on grass for the benefit of nature, animal welfare and the planet.

The resulting poetry evokes both the drama of the landscape and the delicate balance between farming and nature that helps to create it, and will be available to buy for the first time as part of an expanded second edition to The Soil Never Sleeps, published by Palewell Press and available for £9.99. Also for sale will be artwork by Jo Sanders, whose illustrations depicting two Exmoor Horn sheep feature on the cover of the new book.

Adam, who stayed on two different hill farms during his time on Exmoor, said: “I helped out where I could and absorbed the beauty of the national park and the practical concerns that go in to maintaining that beauty, as well as the continued health of the soil and the land.

“My hope is that The Soil Never Sleeps – which weaves celebration of the land with the voices of the farmers and the science of farming – will play a small part in the ongoing, and very necessary conversations about the future, and continued vitality of the British landscape.”

The Big Exmoor Tent is sponsored by internet service provider Airband, who provide both wireless and fibre broadband for rural and hard-to-reach areas.  Alongside poetry, it will feature a host of activities celebrating the National Park, including birds of prey from North Devon Hawk Walks, local produce direct from the farm, green woodworking demonstrations, information about volunteering, badge-making, quizzes and free National Park pocket guides. Discover Exmoor’s amazing array of fauna and flora with the Exmoor Natural History Society, find out how to get active with Exmoor Adventures and get top tips for enjoying the area from Visit Exmoor.

Ben Totterdell, Exmoor National Park’s Interpretation and Education Manager, said: “This year marks 70 years since the legislation that created national parks, and we’re immensely proud to be one 15 that now exist in the UK. The Dunster Show is a fantastic celebration of the deeply rural ways of life that sustain these stunning landscapes and we hope as many people as possible will pay us a visit to discover all that goes into helping protect them and get top tips for enjoying them.”

Airband, who are sponsoring the Big Exmoor Tent, said they were delighted to be part of the event: “The world needs more poetry and the best poetry can be truly magical,” said Airband’s Devon Project Manager Martin Hewlett.

TERRIFIC TUESDAYS AT TIVERTON MUSEUM

by Carrie Thomas, Visitor Information Officer at Tiverton Museum

Join us at the museum this summer for our Terrific Tuesdays, fun activity days for your little learners. This school holiday your youngsters can discover something about how people used to live, learn a new skill and maybe even get a bit messy!

It’s wash day on Terrific Tuesday, 6 August. We’ve got it easy these days with washing machines and tumble dryers so let us take you back to the Victorian era, put on your apron and mob cap and find out just how tough the weekly wash could be. Our Victorian Laundry day is free with normal admission.

Get hands-on with our Sewing Day workshop on Terrific Tuesday, 13 August. Boys and girls aged 8-16 can learn hand stitching, embroidery and have a go at using our vintage hand-crank sewing machine to create a drawstring bag, hair bow, phone case, felt badge or PE bag. Pre-book this workshop on Eventbrite or at the museum for £10 including all materials.

Our brilliant stone-painting sessions are back by popular demand on Terrific Tuesday, 20 August. We provide the stones, paint and a bit of inspiration so come along and get creative! Last year’s session sold out fast so pre-book on Eventbrite or at the museum to guarantee your space.

We’re marking the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of WW2 with an opportunity to learn more about life during wartime on Terrific Tuesday, 27 August. See an American Jeep, taste food made from real WW2 recipes and follow the trail to explore our WW2 collection. This is a drop-in event, free with normal admission.

See our website or find us on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram @TivertonMuseum for full times and prices. Discounts available for museum members.

Keep an eye out for more Terrific Tuesdays coming later in the year!

NOCTURNAL ADVENTURES AT FREMINGTON NATURE RESERVE

A free event for nature lovers is being held in Fremington next week.

The popular annual bat and moth evening at Fremington nature reserve takes place on Thursday 25 July from 8.30pm. As the sun goes down, lots of creatures begin to wake up and you can work with local wildlife experts to explore the nature reserve to find out more about these nocturnal residents.

You will be able to find bats using bat detectors and identify the wonderful array of insects captured in the moth traps, which will be released afterwards.

The event is being run by local wildlife experts in conjunction with North Devon Council, North Devon Biosphere Reserve and Fremington Parish Council.

North Devon Council Leader, Councillor David Worden, says: “The nature reserve is brimming with wildlife and this is a fantastic opportunity to explore and enjoy the area at night, with the added bonus of having a wildlife expert on hand to answer all your questions. It’s free and open to all ages. There is no need to book – just come along on the night!”

Please meet at Fremington village green, bring a torch, wearing clothing appropriate for the weather and sturdy footwear suitable for uneven ground.

For more information please contact the council’s parks team on 01271 388326 or email parks@northdevon.gov.uk. Follow the council’s Facebook page to keep up to date with news and events from the Parks Team.