Category Archives: News from our advertisers

NEW SUBSCRIPTION GARDEN PLANT SERVICE ON EXMOOR

GardeningBoxes.co.uk are a new company based on the edge of Exmoor providing subscription deliveries of garden plants. Customers can tailor the subscriptions to suit their outdoor space, with options to select plants for sun or shaded areas, and can pause and restart subscriptions at any time. The GardeningBox option is designed to provide high-quality repeating (perennial) planting for a bed 3m2 over the course of a year subscription, whilst the ContainerBox subscription comprises 3 deliveries of plants to provide year-round colour in a large (45cm) container.

Director Matt Healey says, “As a professional gardener for the past 20 years, friends told me that they struggled to select appropriate plants for their gardens and found it difficult to know how best to maintain them. We established GardeningBoxes to give people confidence and enjoyment in their gardens, by providing high-quality plant deliveries matched with easy-to-follow online advice, videos and articles which are free to subscribers. We are confident that we can provide excellent value to our customers and help them achieve a garden to be proud of.”

GardeningBox deliveries are free to UK addresses (excluding Highlands and Islands). The GardeningBox option is priced at £33 (monthly subscription), whilst the ContainerBox refreshes at £45 every four months. Gift options are also available. For more information visit the website at www.gardeningboxes.co.uk.

GOLDEN TIMES FOR THE SWAN IN BAMPTON AS IT RECEIVES MORE ACCOLADES

The team at an award-winning Devon pub are celebrating this week (December 10, 2018) after receiving more prestigious plaudits and acknowledgements for their food and hospitality.

The Swan, Bampton, retained its four AA Gold Stars and two AA Rosettes for Culinary Excellence for the fourth-year-running and chef-patron Donna Berry was a finalist in both the Devon Life and Trencherman Awards.

Donna’s husband and co-owner of the gastropub with rooms, Paul Berry, said: “We’re absolutely delighted. November was a very special month for us and these awards and accolades are a marvellous celebration of what we do and what our team delivers.

“We’re super proud of Donna, who was a finalist in not one, but two, major industry awards this autumn. She was up against some of the South West’s best chefs in the Best Chef category in the Trencherman Awards 2019 and it was amazing she was in the top three.

“The other three contenders for the title were Bruce Rennie from The Shore Restaurant, Penzance, Jude Kereama from Kota, Porthleven, and Matthew Beardshall from Wilder in Nailsworth. Jude was crowned the overall winner, but Donna did incredibly well to be listed with these three heavyweights of the culinary world. They are no strangers to the spotlight and you may have seen Jude recently on TV when he just lost out to Tom Brown from Cornerstone in Hackney Wick in London during the Great British Menu.

“Donna was also a finalist in Devon Life’s Best Chef of the Year and narrowly missed out on the top spot to another worthy, local contender: Nicholas Hack from the Cadeleigh Arms in Tiverton. So, it’s been a fabulous November for us and we couldn’t be more delighted with being finalists in these two awards.

“We’re also celebrating another major accolade, as we’ve been awarded two AA Rosettes for Culinary Excellence for the fourth-year-running and have also retained our AA Four Star Gold Inn status, so we couldn’t be more delighted.”

Two Rosettes are awarded to restaurants that display a consistency in their approach, precision in their cooking and obvious attention to the selection of quality ingredients.

AA Hotel Services’ Hotel & Restaurant Inspector, James Hartley, said: “Congratulations to Paul, Donna and all the team. This is deserved success based upon commitment, consistency and quality. The Swan continues to offer an engaging combination of impressive cuisine, genuine hospitality and cosseting bedrooms, all contributing to a rewarding guest experience.”

The Swan has also received some more good news recently relating to the ‘Estrella Damm’ Top 50 Gastropub Awards.

Paul added: “We’ve found out that we’re in the ‘Estrella Damm’ Top 50 Gastropub listing for 2019 for the third year running but will not find out our actual placing until January at the official awards event. The top 50 is a big thing for us as it’s recognition on a national level from colleagues within the industry.”

The ‘Estrella Damm’ Top 50 Gastropub Awards are voted for by food writers, celebrity and top hospitality industry chefs, pub guide editors, industry chiefs and food operators.

“Once again it’s been a wonderful year for us. We’d like to thank our customers, suppliers and the whole team at the pub, everyone is part of this.”

To find out more about The Swan, please call 01398 332248 or visit www.theswan.co.
 

UNDER-16 RUGBY SQUAD ROW FOR WALES

Members of the King’s Under-16 rugby squad completed an epic rowing challenge recently in aid of Cancer Research UK. Staff and pupils travelled a total of 274km, the entire length of Wales, on a rowing machine in just 11.5 hours.

The idea was introduced to the group by the Under-16 coach Dafydd Jones as a means of accomplishing something off the pitch to dovetail with their impressive achievements through their rugby. The boys, along with fellow Under-16 coach Tristan Stone, immediately embraced the idea, suggesting a number of charities both locally and within the UK, before Cancer Research UK was selected ‘out of the hat’.

Following an early start, the boys showed grit and determination as they undertook the lengthy workout. As a result of their hard work, the team have already raised in excess of £1,400 for the charity, with donations still pouring in.

Commenting on the event, Dafydd said: “I am immensely proud of their efforts and the way in which they continually drove each other on throughout the event – their teamwork and commitment to the cause was inspiring.”

Well done to the following pupils who were involved: Joe Wark, Ryan Phillips, Joss Chippendale, Connor Morrall, Tommy Richardson-Jones, William Hall, Tom Newman, Ethan Jordaan, Jamie Glaisher, Jack Masters, Alex Dalton, Charlie Spurr, Billy Turner, Harry Blakey, Oliver Mathew, Sonny Baker, Mr Tristan Stone, Mr Dafydd Jones.

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.

 

WEST BUCKLAND SHORTLISTED FOR BOARDING SCHOOL OF THE YEAR

West Buckland School, in North Devon, has been shortlisted for Boarding School of the Year, in the TES Independent Schools Awards 2019.

In recent years the school has seen investment into its facilities to the tune of £14million, including the building of a state-of-the-art Sixth Form boarding house and study centre, both of which were specifically designed to ease the transition between school and a more independent living regime found at university.

The Sixth Form boarding house consists of 70 beautiful single en suite bedrooms and light, spacious social and breakout areas, as well as kitchen facilities, available to both day and boarding students. It is not surprising that, in only its third year, and with A-level results in 2018 being the highest for ten years, at 78% grade A* to A, the boarding house in the Sixth Form is at full capacity, with beds for September 2019 filling fast.

In addition, the school offers a very attractive 4-night weekly boarding offer which has become extremely popular with local students. Headmaster, Phillip Stapleton, is delighted with the TES recognition. “West Buckland is all about delivering an innovative and personalised education. Set amid the beautiful and peaceful Devon hills, our Sixth Form boarding facilities represent a gold standard that inspires and delivers on our aim to produce young men and women with the capacity to face exciting futures. The perfect blend of structure and independence is not only reflected in the popularity of our boarding offer but, more importantly, in the impact on pupil outcomes.”

‘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

KING’S CELEBRATES OFFICIAL RIDING LICENCE

King’s College is celebrating becoming a licensed riding establishment after passing the local authority inspection at the end of last month.

The new facility, which is just a few minutes’ drive from King’s College, is proving very popular and the new King’s horses have settled nicely into their new home.

The King’s Equestrian Centre comprises eight boxes in an enclosed yard, and is situated at the end of a quiet lane, well away from any traffic, with easy access onto woodland paths and open countryside, which is ideal for riders of all levels.

Emma Edwards, Head of Equestrian, who is a champion carriage driver and competitive rider herself, said: “It seems to have been a long time in the planning stages but now, at last, we have got the King’s Equestrian Centre open.

“This is a hugely exciting development for us and is already proving itself to be popular with pupils, both from home and overseas.”

GIN MEETS BEER AND THE RESULT IS THE GROUND-BREAKING EXMOOR GOLD GIN

Exmoor Ales was the first brewery to produce a golden ale with Exmoor Gold back in the 1980s, while Wicked Wolf was the first gin-maker on Exmoor. So it seems only right that the two of them have got together to produce the limited-edition Exmoor Gold Gin, the first gin to incorporate in its ingredients a distillation of beer.

The two drinks’ producers are no strangers to one another, having worked together to produce Wicked Wolf, a 4.2% juniper-infused golden ale, released under the brewery’s ‘Exile’ range of beers. This time, though, it is the gin-maker’s chance to take the spotlight with a limited-edition 42% gin.

Pat Patel is the co-founder of Wicked Wolf, which is based in the lush and breathtakingly beautiful Lorna Doone countryside around the village of Brendon. “The idea for both the juniper-infused ale and the gin came from a meeting, which was originally about Exmoor Ales distributing our gin,” he says. “I just thought that as we both wanted to promote Exmoor it made sense working together to produce an ale and a gin.

“For the gin, we take Exmoor Gold and double distil this to create a distillate which is basically a smooth beer schnapps; we then use this as a botanical distillate when blending the gin. Our process for making our gins remains the same, in that we distil each botanical individually, to capture the total range of flavour, then blend to our recipe, giving us a smooth, fuller-flavoured gin.”

According to Exmoor Ales Managing Director, Jonathan Price, “With Wicked Wolf on Exmoor already supplying most of our regular pubs on Exmoor with their gin, it made sense to collaborate. Our head brewer made a joke about an Exmoor beer-influenced gin, which then inspired Pat to experiment with both Exmoor Gold and Exmoor Beast, producing astounding results. Exmoor Gold Gin is the first and borrows the brewery branding…perhaps Exmoor Beast might follow.

“As for the flavour of the gin, it is subtle and beguiling and clearly a gin out of the Wicked Wolf den. There is not the slightest taste of beer, but instead a rich creaminess to the spirit as is the hallmark of the beer. Both distillery and brewery are very pleased with the result and also excited that we can collaborate to produce this taste of Exmoor. Dare I also say, it will make a wonderful Christmas present for the beer and gin connoisseur.”

Wicked Wolf was set up by Pat and wife Julie Heap in 2015. They had met in college in Falmouth and then moved to London and worked in graphic design. During this time they discovered Brendon, fell in love with the village and bought the old chapel, from where they run their design business, also called Wicked Wolf. As for the name, it comes from a pub in London where the couple used to meet.

“When we moved to Exmoor we looked to do something that was about our interests,” says Patel. “I have always had an interest in food and flavours and smoke food as a hobby; cheese and sausages for instance. We also love gin — we have between 30 and 40 bottles of different gins in our collection. So going on to making it was a natural progression.

“We wanted to make a good standard gin where there would be an exemplary balance of 11 botanicals in our unique blend. With this in mind we used dried Seville orange and lemon peel and also added lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, which give a more complex citrusy note. However, the flavours produced by grains of paradise, juniper and coriander, which are traditional gin flavours, remain the backbone of the gin. Business is going well; we have expanded and added an extension for the distillery to increase production. We sell nationally and into Europe and are in talks to export to Asia.”

The company currently produces four gins:
Exmoor Gin, 42%, RRP £35
Full Moon limited edition, 42%, RRP £38
Exmoor Gold limited edition, 42%, RRP £38 (only 1000 have been made)
Silver Bullet limited edition, 57%, RRP £57 (only 300 have been made)

For more details contact pat.patel@wickedwolfgin.com (www.wickedwolfgin.com) or jonathan.price@exmoorales.co.uk (www.exmoorales.co.uk)

KITTY MACFARLANE: ‘NAMER OF CLOUDS’ ALBUM LAUNCH TOUR COMES TO SOMERSET

Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts, is delighted to be welcoming Somerset singer-songwriter Kitty Macfarlane to perform at the Manor on Sunday 4 November at 7.30pm, as part of a nationwide tour to support the release of her stand-out debut album, ‘Namer of Clouds’. ​

Released only last month, on Navigator Records, the album has already garnered huge acclaim from both the mainstream and folk press. The Guardian wrote, “Her remarkably accomplished debut album beguiles with its poetry and tenderness, and her eye for detail, vivid imagination and bright vocals make it a captivating listen. She is a talent to watch.” Speaking on BBC Radio 2 Folk Show, Mark Radcliffe declared tracks from the album as “Stunningly beautiful – what a production, what a sound”.

Over a few short years Kitty Macfarlane has rapidly risen to become a ‘must-see’ name on the UK folk scene.  While her support appearances on tours with Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman, and Blair Dunlop have fuelled her growing fan-base, it was her acclaimed 2016 EP ‘Tide and Time’ that got everyone talking; still in her early 20s, her “impressively mature” (fRoots Magazine) debut album is cementing her reputation as a major talent. Kitty is coming into her own with some remarkable songwriting, a marked empathy with the environment, and a strong sense of place; references to Somerset landscapes, wildlife and folklore pepper Kitty’s music, connecting to her love of the area where she grew up.

Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts, has been established as a charity since 1965. Nestling at the foot of the Quantock Hills, it 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!

Tickets are priced £10, with a concessionary price of £4 for children and full time students of any age. Buy securely online at www.halswaymanor.org.uk.