Category Archives: Events

‘BIG DIPPER’ CAMPAIGN WILL HELP FESTIVAL REACH STAR POTENTIAL

Exmoor National Park is supporting a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of light pollution and help conserve our dark night skies, set to play a starring role in the region’s Dark Skies Festival starting this week (17 October–4 November).

The ‘Big Dipper’ campaign is the brainchild of the Dark Sky Alliance, a national group made up of conservationists, astronomers and tourist operators, including a number of National Parks. With the nights drawing in, and over 40 Festival events poised to get underway, it’s a timely reminder of the need to limit excess light pollution to ensure Exmoor’s starry night skies can continue to be experienced to their full.

Exmoor is one of only a handful of internationally accredited Dark Sky Reserves, making it one of the best places in the country for stargazing. It means that the amount of light pollution within and around the National Park is tightly controlled, so shooting stars, constellations, planets and the Milky Way are all easily visible with the naked eye or just a pair of binoculars.

Exmoor National Park’s Katrina Munro, who is coordinating the Festival, said: “Exmoor is one of the few places in Britain where you can see our night skies in all their stellar glory, but to get the best out of the experience it helps to be guided by an expert.

“From astro-themed family party nights at Wimbleball Lake and a touring pop-up Planetarium, to wild swims, night runs and moonlit hilltop walks, this year’s Festival has something for everyone, from the adventurous to the curious. Last year many events sold out, so we would urge people to book without delay on the Exmoor National Park website or our National Park Centres.”

As part of the Big Dipper campaign, property owners are being urged to consider how much outside lighting they use and ensure where possible that lamps are dipped downwards.

Many outside lights, especially LED floodlights and security lights, can be too bright and installed in such a way that much of the light is directed up into the night sky. This contributes to the orangey-white sky glow above our towns and cities, which spreads out into the countryside, spoiling the night-time view.

The campaign has already won backing from the BAA Commission for Dark Skies, along with Sir Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, who said: “It’s important that efforts are sustained to cut light pollution further so we can all marvel at the night sky wherever we may live. This campaign deserves wide support.”

Pamela Morris, Senior Landscape Officer for Exmoor National Park, added: “Simple steps, like dipping outdoor lighting and limiting the use of more powerful security lights, can have a big impact on our view of the stars. The night time environment is a crucial natural resource for people, wildlife and also astro-tourism, and we look forward to celebrating its many wonders at this year’s Dark Skies Festival.”

The Big Dipper campaign is asking people to:

• Ensure lights point down and are fully shielded.
• Only illuminate areas you need to and don’t leave lights on all night – use a timer or motion sensor.
• Employ lighting that is no brighter than necessary.
• If possible don’t use LEDs emitting bright white/blue light, but rather warmer colours.

The power of a light is best characterised by its lumens output, usually listed on the packaging.  About 500 lumens is ample to illuminate a back garden.  Many LED products also state the light’s colour temperature. Units of 3,000K and below, which produce a warm white colour, are less harmful to the night-time environment than 4,000K and 5,000K lights.

For advice on minimising light pollution visit www.britastro.org/dark-skies or darksky.org/lighting/lighting-basics/

PHOTO: Dunkery Beacon by Keith Trueman

BARNSTAPLE’S FOODFEST IS BACK!

There’s just over a fortnight to go before FOODfest returns to Barnstaple Pannier Market. Organised by Barnstaple Town Centre Management, with support from North Devon Council, this annual event this year takes place on Sunday 21 October. Now in its 11th year, FOODfest is a gastronomic treat showcasing the very best local artisan food businesses from across North Devon.

Hosts Seth Conway and Dez Turland from Brend Hotels will be joined by four of the best chefs who work in the region:

• Mark Dodson, chef patron of the Michelin-starred Masons Arms, Knowstone
• James Mason from the Coach House by Michael Caines at Kentisbury Grange
• Thomas Carr from the Michelin starred Olive Room & Seafood Grill
• Jamie Coleman Head Chef at The Notley Arms and South West Chef of the Year 2016

The chefs will be live on stage in the market during the course of the day to demonstrate their talents, provide cooking tips and answer questions from the audience.

If your tastebuds are already tingling and you can’t wait for FOODfest, you can book a table at the launch event taking place on Tuesday 16 October at 6.30pm in The Taw Restaurant, Petroc. Enjoy a sumptuous four-course tasting dinner menu prepared by the four top South West chefs appearing at FOODfest and the hospitality and catering students from the college. The chefs will be sharing their skills and culinary knowledge with the students by each designing and cooking a course for the FOODFest launch meal. The evening is £35 per head and tables can be booked by calling 01271 852483 or emailing thetaw@petroc.ac.uk.

Executive Member for Economic Regeneration, Councillor Pat Barker, said: “FOODfest is back and it looks better than ever! With more than 70 exhibitors showcasing some of North Devon’s finest food and drink, what’s not to like? The launch event sounds amazing and what a fantastic experience for the catering students at Petroc to be inspired and encouraged by some of the South West’s best chefs. Book early to avoid disappointment!”

Barnstaple Town Centre Manager, Hannah Harrington, said: “FOODfest is one of the highlights of our calendar and we can’t wait to welcome everyone back to the market for the eleventh time. We’ll also have seating and street food on Butchers Row again, and this year we’ll be spilling out onto Market Street too with an outdoor living and entertainment space – we just keep getting bigger and better.”

FOODfest runs from 10am to 3.30pm, with free entry to the Pannier Market. Thanks to sponsors Rangemoors, Ashgrove, John’s of Instow and Appledore, Brend Hotels and Barnstaple Town Centre Management.

DARK SKIES OPENING AND CHILDREN’S POETRY COMPETITION

700 students from Ilfracombe will be treated to a 360-degree immersive planetarium experience for the opening day of the Exmoor Dark Skies Festival next month (17 October), thanks to a generous donation from the Ilfracombe Rotary Club.

Inside a mobile planetarium, the children will be taken on a 3D journey around the wonders of the solar system by an experienced astronomer. A further two ticketed public planetarium sessions will take place at Ilfracombe Academy in the evening, followed by guided stargazing outside.

It’s hoped the experience will provide plenty of inspiration for entries to the Festival’s Dark Skies Poetry Competition. The winners, as judged by award-winning local poet Mark Totterdell, will receive prizes courtesy of Sunday Afternoons and Astronomy Now magazine for the following three age categories: under 11s, 11-15 and over 16s. Anyone wishing to enter should send their poem to info@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk or ‘Dark Skies Poetry Competition, Exmoor House, Dulverton, TA22 9HL.’ The deadline is 17 November.

Exmoor National Park’s Katrina Munro, who is coordinating the Festival, said: “We hope the competition will inspire everyone to look up at our starry skies, identify planets and constellations and capture the sense of wonder that unfolds. There are ten prizes to be won and the winning poems will be put on public display around Exmoor.”

The pop-up planetarium will later appear at Dunster Tithe Barn on Saturday 3 November, alongside an astrophotography exhibition by Paul Howel of Pictor Images and a chance to try solar-gazing or star-gazing with Exmoor Stargazers. It’s one of 40 events set to take place at venues across the National Park from 17 October – 4 November, aimed at everyone from seasoned stargazers to beginners and families. The full programme is available from National Park Centres in Dulverton, Dunster and Lynmouth or at www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/darkskiesfestival .

Katrina added: “We are extremely grateful to the Ilfracombe Rotary Club for their kind sponsorship, allowing so many school children to have this wonderful experience, and to our festival sponsors, AirBand. With so many events across the region, we hope to inspire as many people as possible to discover the thrill of gazing up at one of the country’s darkest skies.”

LYN FOOD FEST COMING UP

Follow your nose to discover the finest food Exmoor has to offer at the Lyn Food Fest, taking place this year on Sunday 30 September at Lynton Town Hall. There will be a host of stalls selling an impressive display of tempting delights from all around the area.

Make room in the freezer to stock up on free-range chicken, sausages, ruby red beef, pork and Exmoor lamb. Look out for organic veg, locally grown herbs and spices, chilli plants and home-made preserves. It might be as well to organise a lift home; there’ll be Devon sparkling wine, Exmoor Gin distilled in the Brendon Valley, Porlock Cider and even Thunder Toffee Vodka. For teetotallers there’s delicious Somerset apple drinks and fine pressed 100% natural fruit juices.

Adding an international flavour to the event there will be Spanish and Basque specialists Goierri Foods, The Anglo-Indian Chef and German gourmets Marion’s Deli all based in Devon. Loosen your belt for brownies and baklava, chocolate, churros and cheese.

The Festival runs from 10.30am-4pm in the forecourt, foyer and main hall. There is a café and festival bar.

Organiser Christine Bowden and her volunteer team have many years’ experience in both the food trade and exhibiting at local, national and international events. All profits from the food festival go to local charities in the Lynton and Lynmouth area. “We made a healthy profit last year,” says Christine. “Money raised goes to support small local projects that make a difference to our area. It’s great fun too.”

“This is a great opportunity to celebrate the delicious local produce we have here. The varied greater Exmoor landscape is a veritable store cupboard of delights, “ said Visit Exmoor Marketing Manager Jennette Baxter. “It is always, deservedly, a very popular event, so get there in good time!”

For more information see www.LynFoodFest.co.uk

For more information on Visit Exmoor see www.Visit-Exmoor.co.uk  

LEAF AND TREE EXHIBITION BY LOCAL ARTIST IN DULVERTON

Bampton print maker Lizzie Mee’s exhibition, ‘Leaf and Tree’, opens at the Guildhall Gallery in Dulverton on Monday 1 October and runs until Saturday 6 October. The exhibition features linocut and aquatint prints which have been inspired by Lizzie’s love of the local countryside.

As part of the exhibition, Lizzie is running a special print workshop in the gallery which covers two sessions (both 10am-1pm) on Tuesday 2 and Thursday 4 October for £75 and a workshop on Saturday 6 October 10am-1pm for £45. Lizzie is an experienced teacher and workshop leader. These sessions offer a unique opportunity to explore how Lizzie has made her prints, and for people to have a go at lino printing themselves. All materials are included; booking is essential through lizziemee@hotmail.com

Lizzie Mee says, “I am very excited to be showing my work in Dulverton. I love spending time around the twon and on Exmoor. I hope that people see the inspiration of the local landscape within my prints.”

Lizzie Mee is a print maker based in Bampton. She has been printmaking for around 15 years, and has been a teacher for longer! Lizzie studied at Falmouth Art College and has printed at Spike Island Print Studios in Bristol before moving to Devon.
lizzieprint.wordpress.com

MAGICAL EVENING OF SONG AT MINEHEAD METHODIST CHURCH

There will be another magical evening of song on Saturday 29 September at Minehead Methodist Church starting at 7.30pm. Two years ago, the initial concert was very well received and led to many requests for a repeat performance. Once again, the concert will feature the highly acclaimed Minehead Male Voice Choir and talented soloist Eloise Routledge. All proceeds will be donated to the West Somerset Advice Bureau, a local charity which provides a free, independent advice service to residents across West Somerset.

The Choir has a loyal following of supporters and always provides excellent entertainment with many favourite songs which range from shows, musicals and films, to traditional, folk, spiritual and operetta. Founded in 2000, the Choir has 40 members and is very capably led by Jacqueline Butterworth, an experienced and highly accomplished Musical Director.

Eloise is an experienced opera singer and concert soloist, having performed in the UK and abroad with companies such as Garsington Opera, Holland Opera and Welsh National Opera, and in venues from Birmingham Symphony Hall, Nottingham Albert Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall, to Sydney Opera House and major concert halls across Australia as guest soloist on tour with Treorchy Male Voice Choir. Now based in Somerset, Eloise has been singing more locally at Bristol’s Colston Hall and Wells Cathedral, and enjoys bringing a range of repertoire from opera to show greats and well-known favourites to her audience.

It promises, once again, to be a very enjoyable Magical Evening of Song and an opportunity not to be missed!

Tickets are £8.50 and will be available from Toucan Wholefoods in The Parade, Minehead, The Tantivy in Dulverton and from reception at the West Somerset Advice Bureau, Market House Lane, Minehead. Alternatively, please telephone 01398 371248. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door.

ART TREK OPEN STUDIOS FIFTEEN YEARS ON

This much-loved North Devon Open Studios event is entering its fifteenth year and going from strength to strength. With many local artists and makers new to the event this year (14-30 September), they join others who have taken part many times, helping keep Art Trek the fresh, vibrant and enticing event visitors have come to expect.

There’s an array of art forms being showcased in 2018, including wood and stone carving, ceramics, painting, original printmaking, wood engraving, photography, textiles and weaving, cartoons and illustration, artisan market stalls, basketmaking, rope making and knotted sculpture, etc.

This year Art Trek has international guest artist and ceramicist, Sandy Brown, opening in her amazing studio at The Sandy Brown Museum, housed in The Old Glove Factory, Appledore, where she will also be collaborating on ‘The Glorious Modern Banquet’ with award-winning chef, Lyndsay Platt of The Glorious Oyster fame. This special evening event will take place on Friday 21 September. Details of ‘The Glorious Modern Banquet’ and other Art Trek Special Events, along with all the artists taking part, can be found on www.arttrek.co.uk

The Art Trek brochure is available at White Moose, Trinity Street, Barnstaple and at various galleries, TICs, libraries, shops and businesses or for enquiries please email info@arttrek.co.uk or call; 01271 379872.

PHOTO: Artwork by Sandy Brown.

SOMERSET OPEN STUDIOS 2018

Now the largest event in Somerset for visual artists and makers, Somerset Open Studios draws Art Weeks back to its roots this year, focusing on artists in their working environment. Between 15 and 30 September 2018, artists demonstrate how they make their work: their process, practice and inspiration. The event allows a rare opportunity to see inside artists’ studios, temporary working spaces and other locations to find out what goes on behind the scenes. Open Studios showcases established names as well as introducing new and emerging artists.

Open Studios visitors can find out first hand about the creative process through demonstrations, workshops, talks and visits, to educate, inspire and delight. Art appreciators of all ages are welcome at Family Friendly venues and also at a Family Friendly finale weekend on 29 and 30 September, with special events and activities for all.

Artists’ Open Studios can be found in unexpected and unusual locations and the event is an ideal opportunity to explore the different and distinct regions of the county and make some surprising discoveries.

The 2018 Open Studios Guide is out now and features nearly 300 artists in 192 venues. It is available in tourist information points, libraries, museums, galleries and cultural locations, as well as cafes, bookshops and other selected outlets or you can browse an online version at somersetartworks.org.uk.

Top: Artwork by Emma Bradshaw

The artists exhibiting in West Somerset this year are (venue numbers in brackets and all details on the website):

 

DEVON OPEN STUDIOS BEGINS TODAY

This September, 8th -23rd, Devon Open Studios showcases the talent and creative lives of the artists who live and work in Devon, when hundreds of artists are the stars of the show as they open their studios to the public.

Imagine finding free art exhibitions everywhere you go, with the unique chance to enter the personal space of an artist, talk to them about their work and buy art directly without paying a gallery commission. Whether meeting a solo artist in their private studio or discovering pop-up artist collectives in some of Devon’s most stunning heritage buildings, art lovers can gain exclusive access to the inner workings of the Devon art community.

Visitors can discover art on self-guided tours, brochure in hand, visiting as many artists as they wish or just follow their whim and the little yellow studio arrows dotted around some of the most strikingly diverse and spectacular landscapes in Britain, from the wilderness of the moors, across bucolic villages and towns to the rugged beauty of, not one, but two incredible coastlines.

Opportunities abound to join events, workshops and meet artists face to face in their working environment: whether it’s painting, sculpture, textiles, furniture, glass-blowing, photography, printmaking, crafts, ceramics, or fantastical puppetry; there’s something for everyone.

“Devon Open Studios – it’s so inspiring and I love getting to meet the artists, chat with them and see their work up close as well as their studio spaces. I travel around to visit studios so I see places I might not have gone to otherwise. The whole thing is a brilliant idea and makes for very enjoyable time. ” Visitor 2017

This year, 259 artists will be opening their doors to the public and exhibiting their work in more than 153 locations across Devon. The popularity of the event has soared, with over 34,387 visitors in 2017 and over £203,402 spent in reported sales of nearly 6,093 items sold.

Devon Open Studios is an event organised by Devon Artist Network (DAN), which promotes, celebrates and champions the arts in Devon. Artist members, resident or working in Devon, are provided with a home page to showcase their work on the DAN website, receive regular arts newsletters and the opportunity to join events, workshops and exhibitions.

More information about Devon Artist Network’s Devon Open Studios can be found on the website: www.devonartistnetwork.co.uk. A free guide to the event with colour-coded maps and every artist illustrated is available from tourist information centres, libraries, hotels and galleries and can also be downloaded here. Please check the brochure to confirm dates, times, and find out helpful directions.

Devon Open Studios began as a pilot project in 1999 and now, 19 years later, the FREE annual event which spans 16 days including 3 weekends in September, is one of the largest in the country.

Come and discover new artists in their studios, and buy directly from them .

QUANTOCK HILLS AONB OUTSTANDING WEEK EVENTS IN SEPTEMBER

Saturday 15 September marks the beginning of ‘Outstanding Week’, a national week celebrating our 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) across Britain, with a week of Outstanding events and project run by AONBs across the country.

September has always been an outstanding month in our countryside, with harvests being brought home, trees and meadows taking on their autumnal colours, skies offering a full palette of hues, musky bonfires lingering in the evening air and a welcoming calmness for visitors.

September this year, however, promises to be even more outstanding!

The AONB Family has worked together to organise a week (and a bit) long programme of events to help people enjoy and be inspired by Britain’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). Starting on Saturday 15 September and continuing through to Sunday 23 September, the events for all AONBs can be found on www.landscapesforlife.org.uk/events/outstanding-week/

The Quantock Hills AONB have a couple of special events planned to celebrate this outstanding week – a ‘Creatures of the Night Walk’ being led by rangers so you can see how the woodland comes to life after dark and also a ‘Whittling in the Woods’ workshop for adults who’d like to learn more about this ancient craft.   Go to www.quantockhills.com/aonbevents to find out more.

As NAAONB’s Jill Smith, explains, “Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are some of the most beautiful, cherished and outstanding landscapes in the UK. They are vibrant and dynamic and offer a wealth of opportunities for people to enjoy our countryside.

Outstanding Week helps people connect with nature, getting them out into and engaging with the the UK’s outstanding landscapes by enjoying local food and drink, country shows, dark sky discovery nights, walking festivals, archaeology walks, wood fairs, foraging, wildlife walks, coastal and marine days, thatching courses, drystone walling competitions, charcoal making, bioblitz, inspiration through art and music and many, many other activities.

“Whether you are looking for an outstanding view, intending to reward yourself with a cream tea or trying to kick start a new health regime, you can’t fail to have a great time in one of the UK’s 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. They are Landscapes for Life in so many different ways”.

See www.landscapesforlife.org.uk/events/outstanding-week/

Twitter @naaonb & @aonbfamily #outstandingweek for new events to enjoy each day.

PHOTO: Birches Corner near Lydeard Hill, from our autumn issue Quantock Hills Special Feature (courtesy Quantock Hills AONB).