Category Archives: News from our advertisers

West Country Blacksmiths shortlisted for 2020 GAGA Construction Awards

Exmoor-based bespoke metalwork specialists West Country Blacksmiths have had a project at the Courthouse Mews development in Somerton shortlisted for the 2020 GAGA Construction Awards.

The awards celebrate the design and construction of bespoke metalwork both nationally and internationally. The work of West Country Blacksmiths has been shortlisted alongside projects including The Wave in Bristol, Luton Airport entrance canopy, the Giant Eagle of Triberg, Germany and the new training complex of the Premier league football club Brighton & Hove Albion FC.

The metalwork was produced as part of the development of the former Courthouse and Market Place buildings, which have been tastefully converted and extended to provide eight apartments and a two-bedroom house and dedicated Art Care Education (ACE arts) space in the heart of Somerton. The metalwork was bespoke designed and made to complete this development and included a fully automated gate with decorative archway, over 53 metres of wall-top railings, six Juliette balconies, handrails, balcony railings and a bench.

Each piece of handcrafted metalwork is galvanised with a unique acid etch finish to offer long-term, low-maintenance protection.

The blacksmiths used a range of skills and procedures to produce the metalwork include laser scanning and Cad designing, CNC profiling, forge work and highly accurate quality fabrication.

The concept for the metalwork was the brainchild of Frank Martin (Trustee and founder of ACE arts), who said, “Finding creative partners who are able to deliver on my personal inspiration is a rare talent, which West Country Blacksmiths have. As Creative Director my design brief was inspired by through mirror images, and it has become a reality in a medium I am not usually associated with. Everyone at Courthouse Mews is delighted with West Country Blacksmiths’ work, a unique and stunning finish to the development that has helped to  Somerton become “one of the most creative, contemporary and forward-thinking towns in Somerset.”

The award has now been running for 26 years, with previous winners including The Eden Project in Cornwall and the Imperial War Museum in Manchester.

This is the second successive nomination for these awards for the craftsmen of West Country Blacksmiths – after having two bespoke projects shortlisted from six projects for the 2019 design and detail award. Sadly, they missing out on the award that time, which was given to dePaor for the Pálás Cinema in Galway. However, 2019 was still a successful year for the blacksmiths who won the  highly acclaimed Staircase of the Year Award at the Architects’ Journal  for a bespoke staircase project completed for a property in the nature reserve of Sartfell Mountain on the Isle of Man in partnership with Foster Lomas Architects.

West Country Blacksmiths company director Kieren Roberts said, “We are very grateful of the recognition of our work. We are privileged to have an incredibly talented team and together we work extremely hard to produce metalwork to the very best standard regardless of the size and type of project. We thank everyone at the Courthouse Mews development; they were a privilege to work with and we are excited by our future opportunities. As a small company this type of recognition among some of the country’s biggest construction projects is unbelievable. The support we get from the local community is amazing and our focus is to serve the community of Somerset, producing the very best possible metalwork service.”

West Country Blacksmiths are based at the National Trust forge in Allerford on the edge of Exmoor. They produce bespoke metalwork locally and nationally, and their work can be seen in prestigious locations such as Kensington Palace. The team also continue to offer a traditional ‘blacksmiths shop’ whereby they repair and restore items for the local community.

Book your tickets for Rosemoor Glow

Tickets for Glow at Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Gardens are now on sale to the general public as the world’s leading gardening charity prepares to light up its gardens this winter for magical events throughout the festive season.

With many festive events cancelled, now is the time to treat yourself to something special. The winter at Rosemoor in North Devon is always one of the most beautiful sights in all seasons. In addition to its daytime beauty, once again visitors can see the garden transformed at night too by innovative colour-changing lighting into a magical festive trail around the trees, shrubs, water features and sculptures.

With the safety of visitors and staff its foremost priority in these challenging times, the RHS has put in place a number of measures to ensure everyone can enjoy the events with confidence. These include mandatory advance booking, one-way routes around the gardens and limits on numbers at any one time. All four RHS Gardens have recently been awarded Visit England’s ‘Good to Go’ certification, an industry-standard mark of reassurance that they are carefully following all the latest government guidance on Covid-19.

“We are thrilled to be able to welcome our visitors to Rosemoor for Glow this year, and we can’t wait to share the beautiful new displays we have planned,” says Helena Pettit, RHS Director of Gardens and Shows. “Glow is a highlight of the winter months for us and our visitors, and we have worked hard to ensure that these will be fun, enchanting and safe events for all the family.”

Taking visitors along a new (one-way) route, Rosemoor Glow 2020 will include the Winter Garden (back by popular demand), the Cool Garden with its rippling water rills, the Long Borders, through the Cottage Garden for the first time and once again down to The Lake with its incredible reflections. Also for the first time, there will be interactive sections as well as a few ‘light’ surprises along the way.

Please see the website for the selected dates between 19 November to 2 January. During Glow evenings the gardens will be open until 8pm to maximise the effects of the lighting and, on those days, normal garden entry includes Glow (free for RHS members). In this way you can enjoy a full day out seeing the gardens and sculptures by day and then also Rosemoor Glow by night.

Hot and cold refreshments will be available at various points around the trail and the Rosemoor Shop will also remain open until 8pm for Christmas Trees and decorations as well as exclusive RHS gift ranges.

Other events taking place:

Rosemoor’s extremely popular annual Winter Sculpture Exhibition will be up and running from 12 November to 31 January. Last year, record numbers of visitors enjoyed the eclectic mix of exhibits that are set against the backdrop of the garden. This year, the exhibition has been freshened up with a high proportion of new artists. Most of the sculptures featured in the exhibition are for sale.

To make the most of a visit to Rosemoor there is also a special day-time seasonal Garden Trail (one for autumn and one for winter) which includes many specimens from our national collection of hollies and featuring key highlighted plants and shrubs around the garden.

Every visit and every purchase supports the charitable work of the RHS. Normal garden admission applies (free for RHS members). The Garden itself is open every day (except Christmas Day) 10am-5pm. Tickets for Glow must be booked online. Routes are fully accessible and festive refreshments will be available. For further information, visit rhs.org.uk/Rosemoor.

Halsway Manor House breaks at the heart of the British Folk scene

If you fancy a last-minute holiday or change of scene for half term and enjoy a place with a story, Halsway Manor could be for you.

Halsway Manor is the National Centre for Folk Arts, a charity offering residential folk music courses throughout the year. But Covid restrictions have taken a toll on the programming and while some of the dance and European music events are postponed the venue is offering out its rooms for holiday accommodation. This is a rare treat to stay in a venue with history at the heart of the English Folk Music Scene.

Halsway Manor, with its medieval origins, offers simple, affordable and homely accommodation in beautiful building and grounds. You can expect the same warm and friendly welcome as course participants do with breakfast and evening dinner served in the dining room. The bedrooms recently received a makeover thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund award. The library is also open to guests with its decorative Tudor ceilings and collection of local folklore and music.

The Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty are the backdrop for Halsway Manor, making it a perfect base for cycling, walking and nature holidays. You can explore the local villages, footpaths throughout the Quantocks and Exmoor, and the West Somerset coastline all of which are within easy reach. There is plenty of space for arts and crafts activities. And after your day’s adventures you can relax by the fire and enjoy a drink in the panelled bar. Single, double and family rooms are available and each has its own bathroom. With so much space the Manor lends itself to these times and has Visit England’s Good to Go mark.

At a time when music venues and performing artists are struggling this is a great way to support this arts charity which supports musicianship and helps to keep traditional English Folk music scene alive.

To book a stay at Halsway Manor visit www.halswaymanor.org.uk tel 01984 618 274.

UK GARDENS ON CUSP OF AN ALMIGHTY EXPLOSION OF SUMMER COLOUR

UK gardens and green spaces are on the verge of a unique explosion of summer colour as the peak of two flowering seasons combine to create the most dramatic spectacle seen in years, says the UK’s gardening charity, but the best of it could be over in days.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) reports that this year’s weather has provided the optimum growing conditions* for summer flowering. The warm, wet winter followed by the sunniest May on record and then a bout of rain in June has produced an exceptional crop of summer blooms.

Stronger, bigger buds and more prolific flowering has created abundant displays of early blooms such as lilies, rhododendrons, irises, roses and hydrangeas, and mid-summer flowers such as verbena, rudbeckia, heleniums and geraniums are now coming into their own.

The apex of this floral extravaganza may happen this weekend and at the four RHS Gardens the show has already begun but the seasonal overlap could pass by quickly as early summer flowers are likely to start going over next week.

At RHS Garden Rosemoor, in Devon, Curator Jon Webster says, “Fiery displays of reds, oranges, yellows and purples on plants like red hot pokers, rudbeckia, dahlias and goldenrod are springing to life in the Hot Garden while whites, blues, pinks and silver foliage bring an oasis of calmness in the Cool Garden.” The largest rose gardens in the South West are also still brimming with colour and scent from over 2,000 roses.

RHS Partner Gardens are reporting colourful spreads including The Bishop’s Palace Gardens in Somerset which is also awash with daylilies including ‘Chicago Sunrise’, and pretty blue salvias – and their multi-coloured Bishop series dahlia collection is the best it’s ever been with Garden Manager James Cross saying: “Everything has come together to produce the best summer colour I have ever seen.”

Guy Barter, RHS Chief Horticulturalist, says: “Our work is done in the garden so happily all that’s left to do is enjoy the summer flowers. The unique blast of brilliant colour that’s about to hit will bring even greater enjoyment than normal but you’ll need to be quick to catch its full glory.”

All visitors to the gardens (RHS members and non-members) need to book online so that social distancing can be controlled and in accordance with Government guidelines for ‘track and trace’. Although there may be availability on arrival, the advice is to pre-book to avoid disappointment as some sessions get completely filled.

PHOTO: Dead-heading at Rosemoor to prolong flowering.

SCHOOL BECOMES MULTI-AWARD WINNER

West Buckland has been recognised twice in the last two weeks, for the quality of its boarding provision and for its innovation.

Shortlisted in the Independent School Awards for Boarding School of the Year 2020, the school is recognised for the high standard of boarding across all ages, together with its outstanding boarding facilities in Sixth Form and for the wide-ranging activities available for boarders.

In addition, Corporate Vision magazine has awarded the school ‘Most Innovative Day and Boarding School – South West’ for its approach to learning, its newly shaped curriculum offering students a better balance between academic and extra-curricular activities, and its response to the COVID-19 outbreak which has won universal praise for its student-teacher interaction and engagement.

Headmaster, Phillip Stapleton, sees this as just reward for his hard-working staff. “The staff have always put the interests and needs of the students first in all our decision-making and I’m delighted that we have been recognised for this. We have always believed that we are a forward-thinking school and that we offer a boarding provision that is both happy and active, ensuring our students have the right environment to learn and to thrive.”

CREATIVE WRITING COMPETITION RUN BY NUMBER SEVEN DULVERTON

Back in April, Number Seven Dulverton launched a creative writing competition called ‘The Swallows Return’. It was lovely to learn last week that the two winners are both well known to us – Michelle Werrett, who writes features for the magazine about landscapes and the environment, and Fiona Johnson, who runs the West Somerset Garden.

The competition was a creative partnership between Christopher and Davina Jelley who run Number Seven and the renowned, award-winning artist and author Jackie Morris for whom Number Seven is her principal UK outlet. The prizes were two beautiful drawings of swallows painted by Jackie.

Entrants were asked to write around a question inspired by The House Without Windows. This lyrical book, which was originally published in 1927, was written by Barbara Newhall Follett at the tender age of 12 and was republished in 2019, with illustrations by Jackie. It is an extraordinary paean to the transcendent beauty of the natural world, and the human capacity to connect with it. What better publication to inspire a creative writing competition launched near the beginning of lockdown – a time when we were all getting as much nature into our veins as possible and, perhaps more acutely than ever, anticipating summer and all that it brings, including the return of swallows – hence the title of the competition.

The question posed was:

And who hasn’t, at some point in their lives,
wished to walk away,
from all the familiar?
Would you walk
to the meadow,
the sea,
the mountains,
to seek a quiet sanctuary, a new beginning?

Davina and Chris were blown away by the responses and the shortlist was judged blind by Jackie. Davina writes: “Thank you to everyone who entered. We received over 50 submissions, many by post, even ‘by hand’ through our letterbox and others pinged in from across Europe, Canada and Australia. It was a delight to read your words and ‘escape’ with each of you in turn.

“Christopher and I read them aloud to one another, each one at least twice and then selected a dozen that shone out to forward on to Jackie. It was not an easy task, as each entry was naturally so individual. When we initially planned the competition, we had no idea that not just the UK but practically the entire world was adapting to the restrictions imposed by ‘lockdown’ and the pandemic – everyone was dreaming about where they longed to be or learning to wander within the confines of their home.

“We requested submissions by post and encouraged participants to step away from their computers, retreating with pen, paper and paint. Those who were unable to visit their local post office sent words by e-mail but they were typed with consideration, fonts were experimented with and photographs were attached.

“I met Jackie virtually – me from my sofa at home and she at her studio desk in Pembrokeshire. We were able to share our thoughts, drink tea and select who to send the inked swallows to. You may watch and listen here…

Number Seven Dulverton: The Swallows Return with Jackie Morris

So, two swallows have now landed in their new homes… with Fiona Johnson and Michelle Werrett. I hope that you enjoy reading their words and the landscape they visualise. Is it a familiar path? Where would you choose to walk?

Fiona’s words:

February
I stare at the frozen earth, stark, depthless, hardened clods, seemingly lifeless

March
I survey the ground, softened, crumbling and toss the seed, dry tiny pieces of life. They teeter on the particles and then tumble into the abyss. Many tears follow their course and anchor them.

May
I observe small promises, hints, shoots and slender buds. Tentative hopes emerging, trembling but these to nurture.

July

I see a riot, a chaos of colour life is skittering around my feet, dancing before my eyes and I plunge right in. It’s good, next year will better.

My meadow, My Restoration.

 

 

Michelle’s words:

Wildwoodwalk

I would walk where the woods are wild, where the wind in the tops whispers wishes to me. I should not follow the tracks of man but wander where other hearts roam free. I would cross the bank by the badger-worn run, skip over the stream where otters slide, follow the slots of the stag trodden path – the paw-padded, hoof-cut ways; far from the human world, away from work and worry, to the company of trees.

Where primroses light the gloom and birdsong promises of better days to come, echoing canopy holds woodnotes like precious treasure cupped in twiggy hands; a brightening of robin, elegance of blackbird, rapture of warblers and soft soothing pigeon. Finding peace in the sun-lanced green shade where I might linger the afternoon, threading the wildwood ways, to sit on moss cushioned log, lie in crunchy drifts or bounce on a branch in the breeze, here to pluck words from the wordless wild – they might be words like these.

Both winners were rather thrilled when they discovered they had been chosen.

Fiona said: “Thank you so much, I am so overwhelmed and excited that I danced a jig whilst uttering Cor! Having never entered a writing competition I am really surprised.” And Michelle celebrated by going outside to enjoy nature: “Oh, thank you, thank you, so much!!! How truly wonderful! Off for a celebratory walk!”

Davina concludes: “Thank you to Christopher Jelley for persevering and pushing the boundaries of our tech capabilities! And, of course, to Jackie Morris for her time and generosity. Xx”

Number Seven is currently open three days a week – Thursday, Friday and Saturday and we wish them lots of luck over the summer!

Copyright of the winning submissions remains with the respective author, please do not print or share without prior permission and quote source, Number Seven Dulverton.

RHS ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH STUDIOCANAL FOR THE SECRET GARDEN

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has announced a major collaboration with STUDIOCANAL to celebrate the forthcoming family film The Secret Garden. Set for release in April 2020, the film will be brought to life by the world’s leading gardening charity across its famed Gardens, Flower Shows and nationwide initiatives including the Campaign for School Gardening.

A new take on the much-loved novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, THE SECRET GARDEN tells the story of Mary Lennox (Dixie Egerickx – Genius, The Little Stranger and A Royal Winter), a prickly and unloved 10-year-old girl, born in India to wealthy British parents. When they die unexpectedly, she is sent back to England to live with her uncle, Archibald Craven (Academy Award® and BAFTA-winner Colin Firth – A Single Man, The King’s Speech, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Bridget Jones’s Baby) on his remote country estate deep in the Yorkshire moors, under the watchful eye of Mrs Medlock (BAFTA-winner Julie Walters – Mary Poppins Returns, Harry Potter, Mamma Mia) and with only  the household maid, Martha (Isis Davis – Guilt, Electric Dreams) for company. Mary begins to uncover many family secrets, particularly after meeting her sickly cousin Colin (Edan Hayhurst – Genius, There She Goes), who has been shut away in a wing of the house, and through her discovery of a wondrous garden, locked away and lost within the grounds of Misselthwaite Manor. While searching for Hector, the stray dog who had led Mary to the garden walls, she befriends local boy Dickon (Amir Wilson – His Dark Materials, The Kid Who Would Be King) who, through the garden’s restorative powers, helps her to fix Hector’s injured leg. Together, these three damaged, slightly misfit children heal each other as they delve deeper into the mysteries of the garden – a magical place of adventure that will change their lives forever.

Inspired by the film’s key themes of friendship, wonder, magic and healing, the collaboration between the RHS and STUDIOCANAL will give people of all ages an opportunity to explore the many ways in which gardens and gardening can help us connect with each other, and improve our physical and mental wellbeing through the magic of growing.

Young gardeners across the nation will be encouraged to unlock their imagination and try their hand at designing their own Secret Garden for the chance to have elements of their design recreated in their school or community. Details of how to enter will be available on the RHS Campaign for School Gardening website, at RHS Gardens and selected RHS Partner Gardens.

From 21 March to 3 May at RHS Garden Rosemoor, families can discover areas of the gardens they may never have visited before on the trail of six hidden keys. A range of inspiring workshops (30 March – 10 April) will encourage both adults and children to try out gardening tasks, arts and crafts and other creative activities and a range of branded books will be available to buy from the Gift Shop.

Families will also have the opportunity to discover the magic of gardening with The Secret Garden-themed workshops at RHS Flower Show Cardiff (17-19 April), RHS Chatsworth Flower Show (11-14 June), RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival (6-12 July) and RHS Flower Show Tatton Park (22-26 July).

Wild About Gardens, the joint campaign by the RHS and The Wildlife Trusts aiming to raise awareness of how to support garden-dwelling creatures, is also inspired by The Secret Garden for 2020. The focus will be on helping people learn about butterflies, with a booklet and online experience demonstrating how to attract these valuable pollinators to the garden by creating a butterfly box or border.

The Secret Garden is a wonderful story about the power of gardens to heal and bring people together – something all of us at the RHS truly believe in,” says Amanda Cole, Head of Marketing at the RHS. “When STUDIOCANAL approached us about this collaboration we knew immediately that it would resonate with our members and visitors, and we are delighted to be bringing the movie to life through our Gardens, Shows and campaigns. This biggest-ever brand partnership for the RHS will reach thousands of people and we hope that it will inspire them to discover a secret garden of their own.”

Stuart Henderson, Head of UK Marketing for STUDIOCANAL, adds: “We are delighted to be working with The Royal Horticultural Society on this far-reaching partnership. The young characters in The Secret Garden find their lives transformed when they engage with the natural world around them, demonstrating how outdoor spaces can help all of us improve our wellbeing – all of which makes the RHS the perfect partner for the new film. We are excited to work with them on this partnership, promoting the positive benefits of engagement with gardens and bringing this timeless story to the big screen for a new generation.”

The Secret Garden will be in cinemas nationwide from 13 April 2020.

KINGSLEY SCHOOLS CLIMATE CHANGE TEACHER ACCREDITED BY UNITED NATIONS

Steve Whaley, Head of Geography at Kingsley School Bideford, has become one of the first teachers in the UK to be a UN accredited Climate Change Teacher.

Mr Steve Whaley has been working hard to become an eduCCate Global Climate Change Teacher, accredited by UN CC:Learn. Mr Whaley can now deliver world-class climate change lessons to all pupils at Kingsley School and, through lesson observations and staff training, plans to share information and best practice with all teaching staff, so they too can take part in this new initiative. He will also continue to deliver climate change education through the geography lessons and his many extra-curricular activities.

Steve says, “As a keen environmentalist I was delighted to get the opportunity to deepen my knowledge and understanding of climate change. Achieving the United Nations accreditation was a challenging process of many different learning mediums and formal assessments but ultimately has left me far more informed and able to educate the students in my care.

“The timing is spot on, with climate change being at the fore of current affairs and with the launch of the Earth Centre at Kingsley.

“For the next century to be a success for humankind, environmental sustainability needs to be at the core of everything we do.  Our earth is creaking, and the big question: ‘Can the planet support and enable a population of 10 billion people to live contented and flourishing lives?’ remains unanswered. Being an accredited UN Climate Change Teacher and the launch of the new of the Earth Centre puts environmental sustainability at the heart of school life here at
Kingsley: increasing awareness, asking the right questions and developing the future leaders and practitioners for the future.“

Steve Whaley continued: “Climate change has been in the curriculum for years. The information I learnt on the course is astonishing and we really need to provide our students with the up-to-the-minute knowledge on climate change so we can empower them to make the decisions that can make a difference.”

The UN Climate Change Teacher Academy is being delivered by Harwood Education, in partnership with the One United Nations Climate Change Learning Partnership (UN CC:Learn). Teachers will be able to teach pupils vital lessons about climate change and earn certification from the United Nations.

ROSEMOOR GLOW 2019

The winter at the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Garden Rosemoor in Devon is always a treat and is one of the most beautiful sights in all seasons. This year, visitors can see the garden illuminated by innovative and dynamic colour-changing lighting to provide a magical festive trail around the trees, shrubs, water features and sculptures, along a new route which will this year include the Cool Garden for the first time with its rippling water rills and once again extended to The Lake.

On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays between now and 4 January (excl. 26 December) the gardens will be open until 8pm to maximise the effects of the lighting into the evening hours, and on those days, normal garden entry includes Glow (free for RHS members) so you can enjoy a full day out seeing the gardens and sculptures by day and then also by night.

The award-winning Garden Kitchen Restaurant will be serving  delicious simple family suppers 5-7pm, (booking is highly recommended to avoid disappointment). Take advantage of late-night shopping as the Rosemoor Shop & Plant Centre will remain open until 8pm too on these nights and will be the place to go for all those Christmas Gift and plant ideas.

Other events taking place:

Rosemoor’s extremely popular annual Winter Sculpture Exhibition will also be up and running from 14 November to 31 January. Last year, over 50,000 visitors enjoyed the eclectic mix of exhibits that are set against the backdrop of the garden. This year, the exhibition has been freshened up with a high proportion of new artists. Most of the sculptures featured in the exhibition are for sale.

To make the most of a visit to Rosemoor there is also a special Winter Wonders Garden Trail which includes many specimens from our national collection of hollies and featuring key highlighted plants and shrubs around the garden.

22-24 November
Christmas Design for Living Fair
The Garden Room will be full of the South West’s best craftspeople making it the ideal place to snap up an early Christmas present or two. Combining with Rosemoor Glow Friday & Saturday it will be open late 11am-7pm making it feel like a proper Christmas Market, whilst on Sunday it is open 10am-4pm when you can take advantage of Rosemoor’s delicious carvery.

14 and 15 December
Magic of Christmas Food & Craft Fair
A magical fair full of temptation and delights, from a mixture of artisan food and craft stalls. Combining with Rosemoor Glow, on the Saturday it will be open late 11am-7pm, making it feel like another wonderful Christmas Market, whilst on Sunday it is open 10am-4pm when you can take advantage of Rosemoor’s renowned Exmoor beef carvery.

8, 15, 18 and 22 December
Christmas Lunches
The Garden Kitchen restaurant will be serving delicious Christmas Carvery lunches between 12-3pm (Sundays), 12-2.30pm (Wednesday).

20-23 December
Father Christmas and his elves family experience (ticketed event)
There is of course only one real Father Christmas! This year, before he heads out on his sleigh, he will be here at RHS Garden Rosemoor to entertain your family with a festive storytelling session in his magical workshop theatre. He’ll be joined by his elves who will teach children Santa’s favourite Christmas song and help them to make a beautiful decoration for their Christmas Tree. Your family will have the opportunity to meet some of Santa’s Reindeer and of course, each family will get the chance to meet the big man himself.

Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the memory. Online booking is essential to avoid disappointment. On 20 and 21 December, why not combine your visit with the Glow event for a wonderful family day out.

Every visit supports the charitable work of the RHS. For more information on events Rosemoor visit www.rhs.org.uk/rosemoor Normal garden admission applies (free for RHS members). Garden open every day (except Christmas Day) 10am-5pm.

MORE EXCITEMENT FOR WEST COUNTRY BLACKSMITHS AT HOME AND AWAY

It has been an exciting time for Exmoor-based craftsmen West Country Blacksmiths who were featured on Grand Designs last week (read more here).

For another high-profile commission, they have also recently produced over 750 bespoke stainless-steel flowers and 4,500 leaves for the prestigious Chelsea Barracks development, built on the former Army barracks which was brought by the Qatari Diar.

The blacksmiths were awarded the unique opportunity to work in collaboration with London-based designer Tord Boontje to develop the designs and make the metalwork used to decorate the Townhouse balustrades of the development.

Each balcony of the development has a different combination of 12 flowers – all commonly found in Britain. The flowers include wild roses, garden roses, winter roses, almond blossoms, carnations, peonies, cosmos, violets and anemones.

The blacksmiths received high praise for this project and were pleased to welcome a team from Chelsea Barracks to film them at work for promotional materials and a documentary due in 2020.

Designer Tord Boontje said,  “Nowadays, it’s not so common to find blacksmiths – and especially really good ones. The better the blacksmith is, the higher the quality of the craftsmanship and the more beautifully my designs will be translated. So I spent a lot of time researching blacksmiths in Britain, and visited many different workshops.

“Eventually, I struck on West Country Blacksmiths, an exciting and accomplished team of metalworkers operating out of a seventeenth-century forge in Somerset. “They are a very highly skilled, energetic young team who are a pleasure to work with. And they have a very nice way of interpreting my designs and making them into metal.”

Closer to home, West Country Blacksmiths have restored the weathervane on the bell tower of the Market House Museum in Watchet as part of the museum’s 40th anniversary celebrations.

The wrought-iron and copper weathervane has been a feature of the Watchet rooftops for over 32 years. However, both time and exposure to the sea air had taken its toll on the weathervane, damaging the copper sailing boat and corroding the metalwork.

Allerford Forge were commissioned to restore the weathervane by the museum committee and fully funded by the Watchet Market House Museum.

The craftmen removed the weathervane for a short period to allow the ship’s sails to be replaced and the remaining copperwork to be cleaned and repaired. The smiths also restored the mainframe of the weathervane by removing over 30 years of rust and paint from the metalwork, reforging missing and damaged components and weld repairing where required.

Once the repairs were completed the blacksmiths galvanised and heritage black painted the brackets and repatinated the copper top.

The weathervane was reinstalled by the team in October and it is hoped to be there for many more years to come.

The weathervane is owned by the museum and was first installed in the bell tower in 1987, replacing a plain one which is now displayed on the lighthouse in the harbour.