Category Archives: Heritage

The Bampton Heritage and Visitor Centre is now open

The brand new Bampton Heritage Visitor Centre opened to the public on 14 September.

On Friday 13 September a fund-raising launch event was held to celebrate the opening of the centre.

Over 130 members of the Bampton community attended and enjoyed live music, west country cheeses and wine.  They were also the first to see a brand new DVD prepared locally to commemorate the Exe valley railway and Bampton railway station which closed 50 years ago next month.  Short speeches were given by the church’s Vicar, Rev Lynne Burgon and also Neil Parish MP who attended to show his support for the project.

Commenting after the launch event, chair of the Bampton Heritage and Visitor Centre team Katrina Munro said “This evening has been a huge success and so well attended.  There was a great community spirit and the event had the atmosphere of a lively social gathering.  The centre is not just about attracting visitors; it’s also about bringing the community together including long standing Bampton families and newcomers and celebrating the history of our great little town.  The location within Bampton church is the ideal setting and will work well for all.”

Since 2011, volunteers in Bampton have been working on the project.  The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a grant of £23,300 to the centre and a further £12,000 was raised from a variety of local sources.

Displays include modern high quality interpretation boards, local artefacts and photos.  Themes include the famous Bampton Charter Fair, held on the last Thursday of October every year since 1258. A large 1960s model showing the town’s old railway station will be permanently on display.

Residents and visitors will be able to visit the centre from Wednesday to Sunday to find out local information from the centre’s volunteers.

There will be activities for children inside the centre and guided town trails can also be arranged for groups.

Some aspects of the project are still under development and this will include themed exhibitions throughout the coming year.

More details can be found on the town’s website

Launch of the Bampton Heritage and Visitor Centre

The brand-new Bampton Heritage Visitor Centre will open to the public on 14 September.

Since 2011, volunteers in Bampton have been working on a project to open a heritage and visitor centre inside the town’s Grade I listed church.  The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded a grant of £23,300 to the project and a further £12,000 was raised from a variety of local sources.

Commenting on the opening, chair of the Bampton Heritage and Visitor Centre team Katrina Munro said “This is a great facility for the whole community and will attract visitors to our town.”

Induction PhotoDisplays include modern high quality interpretation boards, local artefacts and photos.  Themes include the famous Bampton Charter Fair, held on the last Thursday of October every year since 1258, and the Exe Valley railway.  A large 1960s model showing the town’s old railway station will be permanently on display.

Nerys Watts, HLF’s Head of South West, said: “Home to around 100 listed buildings and with its long and eventful history, Bampton has a wonderful heritage to be proud of. We were delighted to be able to support the development of the Heritage and Visitor Centre which will ensure that local people and visitors alike will be able to learn about and celebrate Bampton’s past for generations to come.”

Residents and visitors will be able to visit the centre from Wednesday to Sunday to find out local information from the centre’s volunteers.

There will be activities for children inside the centre and guided town trails can also be arranged for groups.

More details can be found on the town’s website

Heritage Lottery Fund boost for Lynmouth Pavilion project

Exmoor National Park Authority has secured just under £250,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a wide range of learning, outreach and heritage work connected with Lynton and Lynmouth and the Exmoor National Park based at the Lynmouth Pavilion, which is currently under construction. Together with an additional £50,000 from the Local Authority and the value of voluntary time given to the project, the total funding will have a value of just under £340,000.

Part of this new money will fund two three year posts; a full-time Project Officer and part-time Volunteer Coordinator to work with the local community. This work will include working with schools (including West Exmoor Federation of Primary Schools), colleges (including Ilfracombe and Petroc) and community groups to research the local heritage in collaboration with local societies and heritage groups; a rolling programme of family-friendly event days, evening talks and walks, seaside safaris, woodland rambles, history tours, heritage workshops and specialist days for groups and individuals. A defined area within the interpretive displays on the ground floor will enable people to communicate their own experiences of Lynmouth and Exmoor and there will also be space for temporary exhibitions and smaller displays.

Local societies and heritage groups with an interest in Exmoor will be invited to help deliver an exciting and engaging programme that will offer a whole range of ways of exploring what makes Exmoor such a special place.

Ben Totterdell, the National Park’s Interpretation & Education Manager said: “We are very grateful to HLF for this funding which will enable so many more individuals and organisations to become part of this exciting project to produce displays, films, stories, events and even a mobile phone app that reflect their own experiences and knowledge of the landscape, history and wildlife of both Lynton and Lynmouth and the wider Exmoor Area.

“These materials will in turn help others to enjoy and understand and explore our unique heritage. The project will be based around the Lynmouth Pavilion, which is currently being completely rebuilt, and will help to make the most of what will be an amazing facility for both local people and visitors.”

Work on the new pavilion building is progressing well and it is hoped to have the building ready for use later this year.

Richard Bellamy, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said: “This is an exciting project that will create a long-lasting and sustainable future for the historic Lynmouth Pavilion and provide a vibrant community space for people to explore and share the history of Lynton, Lynmouth and Exmoor National Park. It’s great to know that volunteers will form a key part of this project and gain valuable skills along the way helping to share their knowledge with the public.”

Commenting, Sir Nick Harvey MP for North Devon, said: “I am very pleased to hear that the Exmoor National Park Authority has secured this significant grant, which will enable them to continue their excellent work promoting Lynton, Lynmouth and Exmoor present and past. I look forward to seeing the dynamic project around Lynmouth Pavilion taking shape so people across the community can celebrate our fantastic heritage here in North Devon.”


Exmoor Awareness to explore Moorland Heritage and Second World War connections

The final Exmoor Awareness session of the year is being held on Tuesday 26 March from 10am to 4pm in Minehead offering a fascinating insight into Exmoor’s moorland heritage and connections with the Second World War .

Exmoor Awareness provides tourism providers with the opportunity to gain a greater insight in to the special qualities of the National Park, with expert speakers and guides. The morning session will be held at Minehead Methodist Church Hall with presentations from the National Park Authority’s Conservation Manager Rob Wilson-North and Shirley Blaycock (Historic Environment Conservation Officer), along with Faye Balmond (Moorland Heritage Officer for the Exmoor Landscape Partnership Project) and Dr Lee Bray (Historic Environment Officer for the Exmoor Mires project). There will be a round-up of different moorland heritage projects currently being undertaken, information about the new Dig Porlock venture and a presentations on Exmoor’s use by the military during the Second World War.

Following a local produce buffet, the afternoon will consist of a field trip taking in key sites on North Hill with an opportunity to look around a Second World War radar station and other sites connected with the conflict.

“The history and heritage of our moorlands is fascinating” said Dan James, Sustainable Economy Officer for Exmoor National Park Authority. “Every year visitors come to enjoy the breathtaking views that the moorlands of Exmoor provide and this session will allow tourism providers to learn a huge amount of extra information about the heritage of the area to pass on to guests.”

The session costs just £15 including refreshments and lunch in addition to the presentations and field trip. Advanced booking is essential by phoning Dan James on 01398 322234 or downloading a booking from here:

Lynmouth Pavilion project wins Heritage Lottery Fund support

Exmoor National Park Authority has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) of development funding of £23,500 to help the Authority progress its plans for a full grant of up to £250,000 for the Lynmouth Pavilion project.

The application was in competition with other supportable projects, so a ‘first-round pass’* is an endorsement of outline proposals. Having been awarded a first-round pass, the project now has up to two years to submit fully developed proposals to compete for a firm award, although the Authority plans to submit their proposals this autumn.

Exmoor National Park Authority is developing the iconic Lynmouth Pavilion into a high quality National Park Information and Interpretation Centre.  Ben Totterdell, Interpretation Manager at Exmoor National Park Authority says: “Thanks to generous support from Devon County Council’s ‘Invest in Devon’ Fund, the Authority was able to put the funding in place for the capital build costs. We are now seeking further funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund that will enable us to add value to the interpretation of the unique heritage of the area and work with the community and a range of partners.

“This will ensure that the Pavilion reaches its potential as an exciting, world-class centre for learning and exploration that will inspire people about Lynton and Lynmouth and the wider Exmoor National Park area.”

The Pavilion building, which is situated on the seafront at Lynmouth, dates back to the 1930s. Although the condition of the building means that it will have to be demolished later this year, work will start on the construction of the new, sustainable building in the same 1930s design. Elements of the structure are to be removed and reused including the steel roof structure and decorative steel brackets to the balcony and it is anticipated that the Centre will be open in Spring 2013.

Hopes for old hospital turn to Heritage Lottery Fund

Trustees are calling for public pledges of support for their project to turn Minehead‘s redundant hospital into a vibrant hub of economic, cultural and community activity.

The Minehead Development Trust (MDT)[1], which has been working on the project for more than four years, aims to buy the site and develop it as a financially sustainable asset for Minehead, bringing social and economic benefits to the town.

MDT Chair Jenny Lennon-Wood explained: “We are working hard to submit bids for Coastal Communities and Heritage Lottery funding in late spring or early summer. If successful, we will be able to secure the site and sensitively develop its heritage buildings as an attraction for visitors and a social focus for the community.

“We now need public pledges of money to underpin our bid so that potential funders can see that the project has broad public blessing. Pledges do not have to be big. They can start at a pound, five, or ten pounds. Of course, the upper end for pledges is limitless but we know that the current economic climate means raising funds isn’t easy.

“However, all pledges count and we just ask that, whatever donation a person or organisation wishes to make, they are prepared to honour it at a later date when we’re ready to go ahead with our plans.”

The Grade 2 Listed Old Hospital, which occupies a prime site on Minehead’s main thoroughfare, The Avenue, has lain empty since the new community hospital opened at nearby Seaward Way last year. The Development Trust’s Vision[2] is to use the site’s unique central location as a catalyst for social and economic revitalisation at the very heart of the town.

MDT hopes to provide key services within the building and is consulting County councillors on the possibility of including the Library. With the eventual aim of bringing in a Visitor Information Centre, the Trust has also submitted proposals to run this service from a new central outlet; these are currently under discussion with local councils.

MDT is also working with the Minehead Conservation Society to create a museum celebrating the town’s history and with the Regal Theatre on exciting arts and entertainment ideas. To ensure that the project is financially viable in the long term, plans also include retail, office space and some housing.

On the strength of its proposals, MDT has successfully won backing from a variety of funding bodies[3] and undertaken a large amount of work to demonstrate that the centre can be developed as an asset for the whole community as well as a much-needed all-weather attraction for visitors. To acquire the site, the Trust is engaged in on-going discussions with the owners, NHS Somerset[4].

Membership of MDT represents a wide range of community groups, including arts and heritage, business, churches, the voluntary sector and local councils. The project also has the backing of Sir Julian Luttrell, whose family originally developed the building for the people of Minehead.

Graham Sizer, Chair of the Minehead Chamber of Trade, said: “Without a doubt, the most successful seaside resorts have under-cover attractions for visitors to enjoy when the weather is not so good. Whether it’s the pier at Weston-Super-Mare, the Tate Gallery at St Ives or the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton – they all have interesting all-weather activities or entertainments which Minehead currently lacks.

“The benefit of our proposals, as well as giving the town a vibrant centre for visitors, is that we are equally keeping the needs and wishes of our community at the heart of the project. It will be a fully accessible all-year asset for everyone.

“However, to make this massive project a reality we need show that it has the backing of people in our community. This is the chance for local people to help transform the town centre for the better.”

To make a pledge, simply fill in and send off the form to Jenny Lennon-Wood, Chair of Minehead Development Trust, c/o Amherst & Shapland Limited, 4 Irnham Road, Minehead, Somerset TA24 5DG. Forms are available online at or paper copies are available from Minehead Town Council in The Parade, Minehead, and West Somerset Council’s offices in Williton or Summerland Road in Minehead.