Category Archives: Events

The 60th Brompton Regis Show and Gymkhana will be held on Saturday 17 August

First held on 14 August  1954 and still going strong, the Brompton Regis Show continues to attract local families and people from afar to take part in the many events and have some good wholesome family fun!

Back in 1954, carthorses were still one of the mainstays of farming and at the early shows carthorse races were a big attraction. This traditional real country show has lost none of its atmosphere and welcoming charm. It continues to be run entirely by the community in order to raise funds for local charities and good causes… and, just as importantly, to provide a good day out for all the family.

The horse show and gymkhana are major attractions, with riders and horses from a wide area competing in 35 different classes in showing, show jumping, fancy dress and the gymkhana, including special classes for Exmoor ponies. All classes have an attractive perpetual trophy and colourful rosettes to be won and competition is friendly but tough.

The dog show is one for family pets that anyone can enter on the day and, if the number of waggy tails is anything to go by, everyone enjoys it. There are several Pedigree Classes including ‘Best in Show’ and some popular Family Classes where owners can show off their dogs or the dogs can show up their owners!

You will be able to download the schedules for both the horse show and dog show from the village website when they are available.

Some high-quality exhibits can be expected in each of the Handicraft, Cookery, Flower, Vegetable and Egg Shows which are entered by members of the local community. Something new at this year’s Egg Show will be the newborn chicks on display.

Among some new attractions,  the West Somerset Morris Men will be helping the show to celebrate its 60th anniversary.   The organisers are also hoping to have a police dog demonstration but this has yet to be confirmed.

Alternatively, take a quiet moment to look for bargains at each of the produce, plant, white elephant and book stalls, all of which will have a lot on offer.  Also, new this year will be a Kidz R Us stall where we will have toddler’s toys, books and clothes for sale. The stall-holders are always a very friendly bunch ready to offer you a welcoming smile and tempt you with a real bargain.

If you have children, there will be plenty to occupy them. They can have their face painted and make themselves a hat, have a go on the bouncy castle or coconut shy, try their skill at the football penalty challenge or skittles and have a go at the children’s games… not to mention a chance to take part in the children’s races. Adults can try their luck on the show raffle and tombola, the bottle stall, the skittles and coconut shy, making a bid at the auction of some very attractive pledges or just taking their time to look round the Second World War vehicles that will be on display and some other attractions that have yet to be finalised. There will also be the traditional parade of the West Somerset Foxhounds.

Throughout the day, the refreshments tent will be open where you will be able to enjoy freshly made tea or coffee, a great range of home-made sandwiches and cakes and some hot food from the BBQ.

At the end of the day, there will be a grand auction (sell off) of exhibits from the Show Tents followed by the announcement of raffle and auction winners. Don’t miss it!

They entrance fee is just £2 each with FREE parking and FREE entry for children.

The show starts at 10am at the Cricket Field, Brompton Regis (follow the signs). Post Code TA22 9NJ.

Exciting additions to railway collection

Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon is delighted to announce four significant additions to its local railway display.

Tiverton Museum is well known for its much-loved 1935-built GWR Loco 1442 ‘The Tivvy Bumper’, as well as its extensive collection of railwayana from the iconic Culm Valley and Exe Valley Branches closed by the Beeching Axe 50 years ago.

“With four important recent additions to the collection, trains are like buses. The museum hasn’t added any significant objects to the railway gallery since it was refurbished thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant in 2006. But in the space of a few weeks we have been lucky enough to secure four great additions to the collection,” comments Pippa Griffith, Curator.

From the Culm Valley comes HEMYOCK EAST GROUND FRAME and the GWR half harp gas lamp that hung over the booking office at Uffculme.

Another cast iron sign TIVERTON JUNCTION BOX comes from the signal box which formerly controlled the junction of the West of England main line, Culm Valley and Tiverton branches

Exe Valley services ran from Exeter St David’s via Tiverton to Dulverton on the Taunton-Barnstaple line where valley trains had their own platform. From the Down platform comes the sign that hung under the footbridge ‘To THE EXE VALLEY TRAIN’.

Tiverton is conveniently located near the West Somerset Railway, M5 and North Devon Link Road so the museum hoped that enthusiasts visiting the West County may call into to see how much we have to offer across our extensive museum.

Exe Valley trip

Tiverton Museum is currently planning to run a special event on 5 October 2013 to mark the anniversary of the closure 50 years ago of the Exe Valley Line in October 1963.

The museum is planning to run a vintage bus along the former Exe Valley line from Brampford Speke to Dulverton, making some appropriate stops along the way. There will be a very limited number of places and the museum anticipates that tickets will sell very quickly. The tour will be led by railway historian Amyas Crump. For further information on the day please contact the museum.

Evenings with the stars, the bats and the deer

The nightlife on Exmoor is buzzing and this summer visitors are invited too.

The shy Red Deer of Exmoor come out to play at dusk. They are the UK’s largest land mammal and a magnificent sight in their natural habitat. ‘Deer Searches’ will be departing from either Simonsbath or Anstey every Tuesday 7:30pm – 9:30pm between 23 July and 20 August (£3 per adult: children under 16 free). The game of hide and seek will meander along for around 3 miles so walking boots rather than high heels are advised.  Call 07772 989737 for more details.

Come the evening the elusive Nightjar, which is virtually impossible to spot during the day, emerges to pick up a partner.  Join an Exmoor National Park Ranger on a ‘Nightjar Walk’ (8:30-10:30pm 4, 11, 18 July £3 per adult, children free) to seek out these long-winged, short-legged birds and hear their distinctive ‘churring’ mating call.  Meet at Nutcombe Bottom nr Dunster.  Call 01398 323841 for more information.

Bat detectors make spotting these nocturnal creatures much easier (and more fun) as they fly in and around their night-time party place of choice at Tarr Steps. Exmoor National Park Rangers will explain all about the fascinating world of bats during this evening of discovery (13 August 8:00 – 9:30pm, free, just turn up). Call 01398 322282 for more information.

See the full moon rising like a huge disco ball above the Brendon Hills and the sea (or feel your way up Dunkery in thick fog, seeing nothing but swirling mist and listening to the many strange, wild Exmoor night sounds). Whatever the weather, an Exmoor National Park Ranger will be the guide to walk Dunkery by Moonlight on Wednesday 21 Aug (8:30-10:30p: free).  Meet at Webbers Post or call 07772 989934 for more information. If the stars don’t come out that night amateur astronomers can hire high-performance telescopes from Exmoor National Park Centres in Lynmouth, Dunster and Dulverton for just £25 (plus returnable deposit) per night.

A dazzling display of falconry and Mist, star of Chanel 5’s ‘Sheepdog Tails’, will put on an early evening show for all the family against the magnificent backdrop of the National Trust’s Dunster Castle every Tuesday (23 Jul – 27 Aug 5 – 7pm : family Ticket £10).  This is pure family entertainment in the castle parkland.  More Information from Visitor Services on 01643 821 314.

And finally look out for the traditional sight of West Somerset Morris men who will liven up any party night. They’ll be entertaining their way around the area in July and August for free (but grateful for donations – its thirsty work!)

Book your place at Food Fest!

Foodfest, North Devon’s premier food and drink festival, is back and exhibitors are being urged to book their place now for the event showcasing the finest regional food in the area.

Bookings are now being accepted for the annual celebration of North Devon’s finest food, which will take place on Sunday 20 October at Barnstaple’s Historic Pannier Market.

Foodfest features over 75 local food and drink exhibitors, chef demonstrations, tastings and live music.

Top chef Michael Caines MBE of Gidleigh Park will be making a guest appearance for the third year running, providing cooking demonstrations and talking to visitors about how local food influences his cooking.

Now in its sixth year, event organisers North Devon+ have seen it increase in popularity since it began in 2008: last year there were over 13,500 visitors and 75 exhibitors, and five top chefs from some of the best local restaurants.

Kristy Webbe, from North Devon+, said: “This event is not only about showcasing and celebrating our unbeatable local food and drink – it’s also about promoting our area and supporting our suppliers, growers and traders.

“Last year the event generated £297,000 – a huge boost for the area and the town’s retailers, providing a much needed boost to the local economy.

“It’s the biggest food event in North Devon – stalls and stands get snapped up very quickly so we are telling our exhibitors, old and new  to apply now, to ensure they get their space to promote their products.”

Foodfest is just one part of a programme of activities that ND+ are involved with to support the local economy – working with partners in the food and drink sector is one element, but they also bring together key partners across the county and beyond with other elements of their work.

Devon based handmade quality pie producer Wessex Pantry, which has exhibited at the event since it began, has seen their production and distribution increase as a direct result of taking part.

Mervyn Watling, Director at Wessex Pantry said: “We’ve been exhibiting at Foodfest for six years and we’ve seen real results – online sales and awareness of our products has increased dramatically.  The event puts local food producers, restaurants and North Devon on the map and we are looking forward to attending in 2013.”

Foodfest will take place on Sunday 20 October 2013 time at Barnstaple’s Historic Pannier Market.

The event would not be possible without the support of BID Barnstaple, North Devon Council, The North Devon Fisheries Local Action Group and Johns of Instow and Appledore.

The exhibitor booking line opens on the 1st of July. For more information, or to request an exhibitor form please email Kristy Webbe at or call North Devon+ on 01237 426426.

Super sleuthing at Arlington Court

On Sunday 30 June the Pantaloons theatre company will be returning to Arlington Court to put on their spectacular show, Sherlock Holmes.

The Pantaloons are well known for taking well-loved classics and giving them a contemporary twist, making them accessible for new audiences. Past productions include The Canterbury Tales, The Grimm Fairy Tales (performed at Arlington Court last year), A Christmas Carol and many of Shakespeare’s plays.

By choosing to produce Sherlock Holmes, the touring group have stepped away from the traditional open-air theatre repertoire of Shakespeare, Austen or children’s literature, and chosen something unusual.  The stories and characters of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are timeless, still attracting TV and film adaptations even 120 years after Holmes’ first appearance.

“We are tackling Sherlock Holmes,” says producer Mark Hayward, “because we like to take on things that are ridiculously ambitious to stage and find ingenious ways to convey these to an audience.  With Holmes we have a high-speed boat ride down a foggy Thames, a moonlit chase across rooftops, and daring escapes and fights all with a cast of just four actors.”

“The outcome of the play might be very different at each performance,” says Hayward. “In fact, depending on suggestions from the audience or even what the weather does, the show will change a lot. It’s a very exciting concept but we don’t want to spoil anything by revealing too much now.”

As with their previous productions, audience participation is key – fuelling live music, improvisation and entertainment for all ages. Those with a sleuthing nature can attempt to solve the case before the final curtain, by summing up all the evidence.

“The real strength of the Holmes stories, aside from the adventure elements and clever mysteries, is the relationship between Holmes and Watson and brilliant dialogue that still sparkles straight off the page,’ says Hayward. ‘It makes adapting the stories for stage a real joy.”

The grounds at Arlington will be open for picnics from 6pm, with the tea room offering light snacks and hot and cold drinks during the interval. The performance starts at 7pm.

Tickets cost £12.50 for adults, £8 for children and £32 for a family group (2 adults and 2 children), with a 10% discount available for anyone buying over 10 tickets. Book now on 01271 850296.

Rosemoor Rose Weekend Saturday 22 June and Sunday 23 June

From 22-23 June, Rose Weekend will return to RHS Garden Rosemoor in Devon, as a spectacular celebration of the nation’s favourite blooms. With over 2,000 roses, the garden will be bursting with colour and scent to create a perfect summer day out.  Visitors can indulge themselves in the glories of the garden in June as well as enjoy walks, talks, advice and children’s trails.

Boasting one of the largest collections of roses in the West Country, RHS Garden Rosemoor is home to two dedicated rose gardens, bringing together 200 different cultivars and a wealth of colours and perfumes.  Floribunda and large-flowered hybrid tea roses mix with climbers to clothe arches and obelisks in the modern setting of the Queen Mother’s Rose Garden, whilst the Shrub Rose Garden mixes old fashioned and traditional varieties.

Throughout the weekend there will also be a guided walks through the rose gardens, and a rose-themed market where there will be stalls selling crafts, foods and other products all associated with the quintessentially British garden flower. Phillip Scott, RHS Garden Rosemoor’s Rose expert will be available to identify roses brought in by visitors from their own gardens.  If Phil can’t help, the Reading Room will also be open to help visitors identify any unknown varieties, and for those looking for new roses to take home, the team in the Plant Centre will be on hand to advise and assist in finding the perfect rose.

Visitors can also vote for the best smelling rose in the garden with our special Rose Trail and there are also family activities in the Marquee including making your very own floral perfume or secret potion.

On Saturday 22 June, a representative from RHS award-winning nursery, David Austin Roses will be on hand and the Plant Centre team will be available all weekend, to show how to grow roses to best effect and what companion plants to grow with them.

Activities are free after normal garden admission although some have limited spaces available.  For more information please visit the website or telephone 01805 626800.

Treborough affiliated Horse Trials

Plans for Treborough affiliated Horse Trials are well underway and entries are now being taken for the 80cm, 90cm and 100cm classes. (See British Eventing website for details, non members can enter on a day ticket basis).

At long last the ground is dry enough to start work on the course and behind the scenes the Treborough team is firming up all the arrangements for judges, volunteers and sponsors as well as booking all the “essentials” such as the toilets – it’s not all glamour running a horse event!

The course will also offer other events over the summer, please see their website for details –

Arlington Court makes exploring more accessible

An all-terrain mobility scooter that can go ‘off road’ is opening up the National Trust’s Arlington Court Estate near Barnstaple, to people who have difficulty walking.

The ‘Tramper’ scooter has been provided by the Devon Exeter-based charity Living Options Devon as part of a scheme to open up the countryside to people with limited mobility.

Called Countryside Mobility South West, the scheme has introduced Trampers through a network of around 30 sites across the region including this latest one in North Devon; other Tramper sites in Devon include the National Trusts Heddon Valley on Exmoor, RHS Rosemoor near Torrington and on the Tarka Trail at Fremington Quay.

The scheme is proving extremely popular with people of all ages who want to get out and enjoy the countryside and for Rosamund Osbourn from Combe Martin in Devon, the Tramper has opened up new possibilities.

Rosamund commented: ‘Twelve months ago I visited Arlington Court with my husband, a keen walker, and used my own, lightweight, mobility scooter since a lung condition prevented me from walking very far. Sadly, my own scooter was unable to cope with the rough tracks and steep gradients. As a Countryside Mobility member, I was delighted to find that this Spring the National Trust at Arlington had acquired a Tramper, a more powerful, larger wheeled and versatile member of the scooter family.

Rosamund continued: “This enabled me to ride beside my husband throughout the park, to the distant lake and up and down the winding tracks. It was the next best thing to being able to do the walk yourself and gave a wonderful sense of freedom and independence. The Tramper is secure, easy to drive and most comfortable to use. I recommend it to any disabled person with a hint of adventure and a desire to get out into the real countryside.”

Natalie Savage, The National Trust’s Visitor Services Manager at Arlington Court, said: ‘We have always worked hard to make the house and grounds accessible to all, but the rolling hills and winding paths that make up the wider Arlington Estate have always been a challenge for anyone who has difficulty walking. Now we have the Tramper we can safely give people independence to explore areas of the beautiful wider estate’.

The Trampers can go up and down slopes, over bumps and tree roots, through shallow puddles, mud and soft ground and are for use by anyone aged 14 or over who has a permanent or temporary condition that affects their ability to walk.

With a top speed of four miles an hour they can keep pace with the briskest walking companion.

James Maben from Countryside Mobility explains: “Trampers are for everyone who wants to enjoy the countryside but can’t manage much walking. You do not have to be registered as a disabled person, or have a Blue Badge. Many people have found that Trampers have given them back their freedom, enabling them to enjoy time outdoors alone, with their partner or on a family outing.

To use the Trampers, people simply choose a site and arrange their first visit, joining as members of Countryside Mobility on arrival – costing £10.00 per year or £2.50 for 4 weeks.

Training is provided on how to use a Tramper lasting approximately 10 minutes along with maps and guidance on where the Tramper can be used, before they are then given a membership card, which enables them to use a Tramper at any partner site without the need for further training.

The scheme has been supported with a grant from Natural England as part of its Access to Nature programme, funded from the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme and is being developed through a partnership between organisations that manage countryside sites across the region.

The scheme is now up and running at Arlington Court, so to book the Tramper please call 01271 850296 or for full details about Countryside Mobility and a list of the other Tramper locations available visit or call 01392 459222.

You can also find out more about Countryside Mobility and the Trampers by following them on Twitter @CMSouthWest or Facebook CountrysideMobility.

Biggest display of original British surfboards and memorabilia from the 1960s ever seen in the UK

Glen Short at Newquay, 1965
Glen Short at Newquay, 1965

A major new exhibition at the award-winning Museum of British Surfing will look at the decade when modern surfing culture first washed ashore on the UK’s beaches in the 1960s.

Exactly 50 years after the Britain’s first surf shop opened its doors, ‘Sixties SURFER!’ will tap into the source of this new wave of surfers, and the enduring footsteps they left in the sand for generations of dedicated wave-riders to follow.

Museum founder Peter Robinson sets the scene: “A massive sea change occurred in the swinging Sixties when the UK met Malibu, Bondi and the Beach Boys head-on, and a new surfing culture was imported from foreign shores. In the 70 years before this surfing had been quite a genteel affair with a handful of hardy pioneers, wooden surfboards & woollen bathing suits.”

‘Sixties SURFER!’ will be the biggest display of original British surfboards and memorabilia from the 1960s ever seen in the UK, and will sample the films, photography, music and fashions of this groundbreaking decade.

“Make sure you come along and ‘hang ten’ with us this year, and check out the radical ‘baggies’, ‘Malibu boards’ and first wetsuits that changed the face of British surfing forever,” says Peter.

The exhibition has been made possible by sponsorship from businesses across Devon and Cornwall including 1960s wetsuit pioneer Gul, Wavelength surfing magazine, Finisterre clothing, Skinners Brewery, The Thatch pub, Marsdens Cottage Holidays, Parkin Estates and The Red Barn pub.

The Museum of British Surfing is a registered charity and opened in Braunton, North Devon for the first time in April 2012.  It is the first and only dedicated museum celebrating surfing history in Europe.

Alongside the new temporary exhibition, there are sections on early surfing history,  North Devon surfing and the environment and special children’s activities.

The earliest recorded surfing in Britain took place in 1890 when two Hawaiian princes and their English guardian rode waves at Bridlington on the East Yorkshire coast.