Category Archives: News

Easier Going Exmoor

It’s easier going for wheelchair users and buggies and people with mobility problems now thanks to the recent instalment of more accessible gates at either end of the path that runs parallel to the Buttercross Community Orchard in Dunster.

The gates were installed by the Exmoor National Park field services team at the request of the Buttercross Community Orchard Committee.

Geoff Witherford, Treasurer of the Committee, said: “After the National Park Authority replaced the gate at the Buttercross entrance to the pathway, the committee realised that there was also a need to install an all-abilities access gate at the lower end of the path, so that young families and the elderly would be able to access the orchard more easily. This has kindly been supplied and installed by Exmoor National Park Authority, and we and the community are very grateful.”

Andrew Player from The Crown Estate, which owns the land, and funded the planting of the orchard last year, agreed saying that the previous gates had restricted access to some users, particularly parents with buggies walking young children to and from Dunster First School.

Andy said: “The orchard has proved a great community success, providing a popular place for people to sit and enjoy the surroundings, and this work has improved access to the site considerably, without opening it up to quads/motorbikes.

“The feedback that we have had about the access, and the project in general has been extremely positive, and this is shown by the fact that all 57 trees have now been sponsored, as well as kind donations of benches from Minehead Lions, Dunster Parish Council and Minehead Sawmills. We are grateful to the National Park Authority for working with us on this project.”

Commenting on the work, National Park ranger Adam Vasey said: “One aspect of the National Park’s Rights of Way Improvement Plan is upgrading gates to make Public Rights of Way more accessible for everyone. We were very glad to help out and it goes to show what a big difference a small change to a gate can make!”

Heating oil thefts – beware

A word of warning from a local B&B owner in Lynmouth who says to keep a careful eye on your oil tanks, as just before Christmas they had their oil stolen despite having a heavy-duty padlock on their tank.  The thieves just cut through the oil line and took what they wanted.  It is apparently an ever-increasing problem so hopefully we can all keep our eyes peeled and watch out for neighbours too.

There are some useful general home security tips on this link from Avon and Somerset Police

Simon King ambassador for Somerset

Visit Somerset’ is delighted to announce the inclusion of another famous Somerset face to represent the county as an ambassador.

Naturalist and broadcaster Simon King OBE will be supported by a great line-up of ambassadors that include Duncan Bannatyne from ‘Dragon’s Den’, Martin Roberts from BBC ‘Homes Under the Hammer’, together with Michael Eavis as the association’s patron.

Naturalist and broadcaster Simon King OBE has been making wildlife films for over thirty years and is a familiar name to millions as a presenter of various BBC wildlife series. In addition to his high-profile presentation roles on ‘Spring watch’, ‘Autumn Watch’ and ‘Big Cat Diary’, Simon has an impressive catalogue of credits to his name, from the David Attenborough ‘Life’ series, to landmark projects such as ‘Planet Earth’.

King has happily taken up the post to lend support to ‘Visit Somerset’s’ mission; to conserve and develop the county’s natural beauty and heritage for generations to come.

“I’m delighted to have been asked to help represent the magic of the county that is my home and in particular to help celebrate the astonishing natural riches that typify this part of the world” said Simon. “In particular, I am thrilled that Visit Somerset will be making the natural environment such an important part of their agenda, with support from the Somerset Wildlife Trust and other conservation bodies. Their collaboration will ensure Somerset’s marvelous wildlife and varied habitats are a key feature for visitors to the county”.

Simon’s website, ‘Wildlife Whisperer’ will be working alongside ‘Visit Somerset’ to help visitors to the county find the best features Somerset has to offer. The ‘Wild Places’ map on Wildlife Whisperer will guide visitors to the best reserves, wildlife attractions, hotels and places to stay in the county, and the world over. In addition, visitors to the website can enjoy a wealth of free to view films, live cameras that watch wildlife spectacles, blogs, news and wildlife watching products.

Among the charities he supports as patron is Secret World Wildlife Rescue in Somerset. Simon, an OBE holder (for contributions to conservation and wildlife photography), hopes that his new role as ambassador for Visit Somerset will help to raise awareness for this remarkable charity.

Secret World has been helping the wildlife of the South West for decades, and Visit Somerset will be offering a platform to inform people about the projects, open days and fund raising initiatives of the initiative.

Pauline Kidner, the founder of Secret World told us “Secret World Wildlife Rescue is proud to be part of ‘Visit Somerset’. Through our work caring for wildlife casualties we can promote the huge diversification of habitats that Somerset has, thus supporting a wide variety of wildlife rarely found in any other county in the British Isles. We are delighted therefore that Simon has also become an ambassador for Visit Somerset in supporting Somerset’s natural habitats.”

The charity is already featured as part of the Somerset explorer package – a group booking based project launched recently with ‘First solutions’ and Visit Somerset. This can be found at the following link

“Visit Somerset has big aspirations in terms of supporting and protecting Somerset’s natural heritage and this is a major step forward for us” says John Turner, director in charge of international development. Turner went onto say; “Somerset is already known for its natural beauty and having Simon on board to endorse this nationally and internationally is a great privilege”.

Graduate Success for West Somerset

Three local graduates and two Somerset firms have benefited from funding from West Somerset Council, with new funding for graduate internships up for grabs from today. The council works with the University of Exeter, which has a long history of effectively managing internship schemes and producing world-class graduates.

One firm to benefit from the 12-week long placement scheme is photo frame firm, Phlib Ltd, based at Roadwater near Watchet. The company selected Mat Dusting as their new Production and Design Assistant.

Mat said: “This internship is not like a normal job. I have been employed for my entrepreneurialism and as a result I am being given the chance to be part of all areas of the business, including sales and marketing. I couldn’t ask for more. I am so happy with this opportunity. It has given me the belief that my future career has unlimited scope.”

Two other lucky local interns were taken on by Highbridge-based business, Jo Bird and Co Ltd, which designs and manufactures storage cabinets for fire fighting, fire safety, lifesaving and emergency equipment for use in demanding locations from offshore and marine applications to onshore industrial uses.

Guy Atkins, Managing Director, commented: “We had a piece of work we did not have the time or resource to undertake so we decided to employ interns. We were clear about what we wanted them to do, so with basic guidance and training they were able to produce excellent work that helped us to make good business decisions.

“The recruitment process was straight forward and I would recommend this scheme to other local businesses. It worked out so well for us that we decided to offer one of our interns a full-time permanent post.”

Cllr David Sanders, Lead Member for Economic Regeneration at West Somerset Council, said: “We are committed to supporting young people to gain confidence and skills in the workplace for the benefit of the business and the graduate. We’ve made the application process as easy as possible so I urge people who think this may work for them to find out more.”

Jo McCreedie, Employer Liaison Officer for the University of Exeter, said: “A Graduate Business Partnership provides Somerset businesses with local graduates to undertake specific projects or assist with management tasks. The university advertises the role, sources candidates for interview and provides contracts, training and mentoring throughout the placement.”

For details on whether your Somerset-based business is eligible or if you are a local graduate and wish to know how to register for the scheme, please contact Jo on 01392 722617.

Want to know Who’s Who in The Archers?


Are you one of the five million listeners who tunes in regularly each week to The Archers?  Then Number Seven would like to invite you to a very special event; a first for them in fact.

On Saturday 12 November you will find Graham Harvey warming himself by the fire in the Number Seven kitchen. Number Seven’s Davina Jelley says: “We are very honoured to have his company and you are welcome to meet and greet him in person. He will also be happy to sign copies of Who’s Who in the Archers 2012; which is due for publication this month. Quiz him on how much is based on our local area! Copies will be available for you to buy from Number Seven and a signed copy would make an excellent Christmas gift for fans of this popular Radio 4 broadcast.”

Now in it’s sixtieth year, this long-running drama is a part of British life and the theme tune itself takes many of it’s listeners to secure and fond memories from their own lives, whilst listening to the ongoing antics of theAmbridge residents. Whether you’re a newcomer to the village or you’ve been visiting for years, this handy-sized reference guide is certain to help you enjoy Ambridge life to the full.

Graham is best known as the show’s agricultural story editor and has contributed to over 500 episodes of The Archers since joining the team in the mid 1980s. As a freelance journalist his specialism is  in the countryside, food and environmental issues, and he has written for a wide range of publications including The Sunday Times, the Daily Mail,New Scientist, and Country Life. It was Graham’s doing that fictional Ambridge Farmers, Pat and Tony, converted Bridge Farm to organic methods. Graham is passionate about real food and real farming and you can discover more about this passion on his website

Number Seven look forward to you joining them at on Saturday 12 November.
Graham will be in residence  between
11am and 4pm so do pop in to say hello.
What The Critic’s Say About Who’s Who in the Archers 2012 –

‘Invaluable’ – The Guardian 

‘An essential guide to the lives of the characters’ – Birmingham Evening Mail 

The Moor Skills project is a popular favourite for a new partnership scheme.

To help safeguard moorland farming skills, Exmoor Moorland Landscape Partnership has teamed up with Exmoor National Park Authority and The West Somerset Community College which will run advanced level-3 apprenticeships to combine work-based learning underpinned by college study.

“Every farmer we speak to is keen to share their skills with the young farmers of the future,” explained Jason Ball, of Exmoor Moorland Landscape Partnership.

“Farmers helped to shape the National Park’s world famous moors and coastal heaths. Their deep knowledge of the land, built up over a lifetime, is the key to its conservation. Fans of Exmoor’s landscape can see this connection and think it’s a great idea.”

“We are very excited about the apprenticeships,” said Charlie Olive, from The West Somerset Community College. “These young people show true dedication – they have all completed two years of training by completing a Level 2 BTEC in Agriculture at the College Farm and are looking forward to continuing their education and training in the this area by securing an Apprenticeship at local host farms.”

Mr Ball added, “We have funds available specifically to support moorland apprenticeships on Exmoor National Park. As a once-only opportunity, we can help three moorland farms to pay their new apprentices. However, our deadline for farms to apply will close very soon.”

Experienced land managers are also invited to be ‘Moorland Tutors’ to coach students on outdoor workshops about skills such as upland livestock husbandry, walling, hedging, and gorse control. The unique funding for Moor Skills comes from the Heritage Lottery Fund, LEADER 4 Torridge and North Devon, and Western Somerset Local Action

All details can be found at and farmers who wish to train an apprentice should call Jason Ball on 01398 322164 or Charlie Olive on 01643 706061.

RICS award for West Somerset Mineral Line

Tim Pywell, Chair of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Somerset Local Association met representatives of West Somerset Mineral Railway project recently to present a ‘Highly Commended’ accolade in the Building Conservation Category of the RICS 2010 South West regional awards for the Railway’s work.

The project required swift but sympathetic intervention to preserve three rapidly degrading historic sites forming part of the former West Somerset Mineral Railway – an important part of Exmoor’s late Victorian iron ore mining heritage. It included of the repair and rescue of Bearland Chimney, a scheduled monument; restoration and conservation works to allow the opening up of the ruins of Langham Engine House; and repair and conservation of a 1.1km long railway formation running between the top of Brendon Hill and Comberow.

Rob Wilson-North, Historic Environment Manager with Exmoor National Park Authority said: “I am delighted that the West Somerset Mineral Railway Project has received this Award. The judges liked the project as a whole and described it as ‘an impressive educational and leisure resource’. This reflects the commitment of all the project partners and is also testimony to the quality of the industrial heritage of this area.”