Category Archives: north devon

MAJOR IMPROVEMENTS PLANNED FOR ILFRACOMBE HARBOUR

The following is a news release as issued by North Devon Council:

Major improvements are being planned for Ilfracombe Harbour to make it safer and more welcoming to its visitors.

The plans include:

  • creating an official entrance so people know they are entering the harbour
  • improving the facilities for the commercial operators with brand-new, fit-for-purpose, ticket sales kiosks that are modern, inviting and designed in cooperation with the interested boat trip operators
  • removing the 1950s booths which will open up the vista of the harbour entrance to be more welcoming for residents and visitors
  • widening the road, vastly improving the safety of pedestrians and cars
  • creating a larger trading area for the commercial boat operators along the side of the pier, alleviating the cramped and congested area occupied by the old booths, creating a more pleasant environment for all harbour users
  • enabling the underlying pipework that provides fresh water to be upgraded which is currently hard to access.

Chairman of Ilfracombe Harbour Board, Cllr Geoff Fowler, says: “The current booths were never built for their current purpose and do not reflect the image of regeneration that Ilfracombe is striving for. There is now the opportunity to look to the future and bring in a new era of vitality to the harbour for the benefit of everyone.”

Deputy Chairman of Ilfracombe Harbour Board, Cllr Ian Meadlarkin, says: “Ilfracombe Harbour is a wonderful facility but it needs to be made safer and more inviting. These plans are about celebrating the heritage of the harbour but also making it fit for purpose for the future.”

The new kiosks are due to be installed in April with a planning application for the road widening expected to be made later in the year.

A public consultation will take place on what the public would like to see marking the new entrance.

HILLSBOROUGH NATURE RESERVE ACTION DAY: CAN YOU HELP?

Do you have some time to spare to help out at an action day at Hillsborough Local Nature Reserve?

Following on from a successful task day in December last year, North Devon Coast Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and North Devon Council will be carrying out another day of hands-on conservation work at Hillsborough’s Iron-Age hillfort in Ilfracombe. The team needs help to cut back overgrown shrubs on Wednesday 13 February, with the aim of revealing the Iron-Age earthworks currently hidden beneath vegetation.

Once the earthworks have been revealed, further funding has been provided by Historic England which it is hoped will shed new light on the archaeology of the hillfort through an innovative aerial survey. High-resolution images of the monument will be captured by a professional drone pilot at a later date, which will be shared through the AONB website and digital platforms.

Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “This is a wonderful opportunity for the local community to get involved in the care of the historic Hillsborough hillfort, which will enhance the historic, as well as the natural environment of an already beautiful area.”

Heritage Officer at North Devon Coast AONB, Joe Penfold, says: “The Iron-Age hillfort on Hillsborough is at least 2000 years old. As one of best examples of an Iron-Age ‘promontory hillfort’ in the area it has stood the test of time, but still needs active management to help preserve it. So hands-on help from local people is very welcome.”

Volunteers of all ages, backgrounds and abilities are invited to get involved. The events start at 10.30am and finishes at 3pm. Volunteers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear. All tools and light refreshments will be provided.

A limited number of places are available to assist with the aerial survey too.

For further information about the Coastal Heritage Project and to book your place on either the conservation task day or survey project, please contact Joe Penfold on 01271 388644, or email: joe.penfold@devon.gov.uk, visit their website – www.northdevon-aonb.org.uk/ – or follow them on Twitter @explorethecoast

PHOTO: The last Hillsborough Volunteer Task Day on 12 December 2018.

OPPORTUNITY TO RUN ILFRACOMBE’S POPULAR LAND TRAIN

The contract is up for renewal to run Ilfracombe’s popular land train.

North Devon Council will be going out to tender for an operator to take the wheel in April. It is five years since the ‘Dotto’ land train took to the streets of Ilfracombe, following a successful funding bid to the EU Leader 4 programme. Since then it has become an established tourist attraction, providing an all-weather ride for visitors taking a whistle-stop tour of the town and all it has to offer.

The service runs from Hillsborough, through High Street, Church Street, Wilder Road, St James Place to The Pier and back to Hillsborough via The Cove from April to October.

North Devon Council’s Executive Member for Economic Development, Councillor Pat Barker, says: “The land train is now a firmly established seasonal attraction in the town and is very popular with Ilfracombe’s numerous visitors. This is an attractive opportunity for anyone to build on what has already grown into a very popular service. Please get in touch with us for an informal chat if you’re interested.”

The opportunity to tender can be found here. For more information contact Vanessa Harrison in the Economic Development team on 01271 388216 or vanessa.harrison@northdevon.gov.uk. The deadline for tendering is 25 February.

QUINCE HONEY FARM IS ON THE MOVE

There’s a buzz in the air as popular attraction Quince Honey Farm is on the move to a brand-new, purpose-built site, with the opening weekend being on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 April. The new venue can be found at Aller Cross near South Molton, Devon, just off the A361 North Devon Link Road, and promises to be even bigger and better than before.

One of Britain’s leading honey farms, Quince Honey Farm is a family-run business which was first established in 1949 by George Wallace with two hives of bees. It is now run by George’s son Paddy, his wife Jean and their son Ian with a team of hardworking, dedicated staff.

Quince Honey Farm Partner, Ian Wallace, said, “We have reached the limits of our current site, with no room left to grow, so the move to the much larger site is essential. It’s a very exciting opportunity to create a unique tourist attraction in North Devon and expand our beekeeping operation to produce even more delicious UK honey.”

The new attraction will have a sweeping driveway that will take visitors past the wild-flower meadows and fruit orchard down into the main complex. The buildings will be spaced around a large hexagonal central garden, with the new light and bright Visitor’s Centre being the first port of call. The main entrance will house the Farm Shop selling their range of seasonal honeys, beeswax items and gifts, and the Restaurant that will serve up delicious home-made dishes, drinks and special honey cream teas with views out to the gardens and woodland.

One of the main attractions at the new site is The Honey Factory which promises to be an educational, memorable and interesting area to visit. It features a large ‘Products of the Hive’ exhibition and viewing windows into the honey production area. A behind-the-scenes guided tour will also be offered, enabling visitors to get a close-up look at how honey is extracted from the hive and then bottled in jars ready to sell in the shop.

The Play Hive Adventure Park will see the return of the ever-popular indoor soft play area, improved at the new site with an extension and more seating for parents. It also features an attractive lake and large outdoor play area, creating a fantastic space for children and families to enjoy together.

Quince Honey Farm’s well attended daily activity programme will return, including beekeeping demonstrations and taster sessions, candle rolling and critter encounters, plus new activities such as a beekeeping tour and garden trails will be introduced, making the most of the new surroundings.

The centrepiece for the new attraction will be beautifully landscaped hexagonal gardens that can be explored and enjoyed all year round. Here visitors can take in the wonderful display of colours and textures, with seasonal planting and unique features such as dry stone walling and willow structures.

The Quince Honey Farm team are passionate about bees and the role pollinators play in our eco-system, and the only stipulation for the new gardens is that all planting should be bee-friendly. It means that it will have an exciting place in the natural world, as it will become the first known gardens and woodland in the UK planted specifically for bees.

Plans are also afoot to create a bespoke, eye-catching building to house the unique BeeWorld Exhibition and Beekeeping Museum.

Ruby Mapp, Marketing & Business Development Manager said, “We are creating an enjoyable, educational and unique attraction for people of all ages. To open the doors on this exciting project, welcome visitors in and see all our hard work come to fruition will be extremely rewarding.”

There will be plenty of opportunities to visit and take a look for yourself; the special launch weekend takes place on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 April, and from then it will be open seven days a week. Please visit the website for further details: www.quincehoneyfarm.co.uk/

PHOTO: Courtesy of The Maker Series


SPREAD SOME WARMTH THIS WINTER BY DONATING YOUR WINTER FUEL PAYMENT

Thank you to Somerset Community Foundation for sending us this information…

Somerset Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter campaign, which encourages people to join the growing number of contributors who donate some or all of their Winter Fuel Payment to help local people living in fuel poverty, was launched before Christmas but there is still more that can be done to help.

Last year, over 500 older people living in fuel poverty in Somerset were helped to keep warm and better connected through the winter months, thanks to pensioners and other local donors who gave to Surviving Winter.

A Surviving Winter grant doesn’t just go towards paying the heating bill. It is also the first step towards connecting the recipient to a local Surviving Winter delivery partner; this can become the foundation for a new relationship that can help to overcome the isolation and loneliness many older people experience.

Last winter a single older lady, who already experienced mental health problems and severe anxiety, found a recent diagnosis of fibromyalgia almost too much to bear. The condition had a rapid effect on her mobility and ability to work and before long she found herself in debt. She became extremely depressed and isolated, spending most of her time fully dressed and in bed. It was the only way to keep warm as she could no longer afford to buy fuel for her open fire.

One of SCF’s delivery partners visited her at home. They filled in a Surviving Winter application form and organised a delivery of subsidised firewood to her house. With fuel to heat her home, she felt able to invite people in without feeling ashamed that her house was cold, and she didn’t have to go to bed to keep warm. Her Surviving Winter grant helped alleviate the loneliness she was experiencing and made paying the bills easier. This would not have happened if Surviving Winter did not exist.

Somerset ‘celebrities’ who have donated their Winter Fuel Payment to the campaign include Glastonbury Festival organiser Michael Eavis MBE, the Rt Rev’d Peter Hancock, Bishop of Bath & Wells, West Country Master Baker Robert Burns MBE of Burns the Bread and Westcountryman Les Davies MBE.

Help Somerset Community Foundation to continue to help more isolated and vulnerable older people this year.

To make a donation to Surviving Winter, visit www.somersetcf.org.uk/winter or call 01749 344949. Gift Aid forms are also available to download from the Somerset Community Foundation website or you can fill in the Surviving Winter Gift Aid Declaration Form when you send your cheque.

If you run a local community project and would like to find out more about grant funding, please call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949 or visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk

A similar scheme is run in Devon (more to follow soon): mydonate.bt.com/events/devonsurvivingwinter/449732

FIVE-YEAR STRATEGY TO RID NORTHERN DEVON OF SINGLE-USE PLASTICS

A five-year strategy and action plan to rid northern Devon of single-use plastics has been agreed by members of the Plastic Free North Devon Consortium.

The consortium, which was set up in April last year to combat the global problem of plastic pollution through local action, consists of representatives from a number of charities, voluntary groups and organisations including:

Barnstaple Town Council
Barnstaple and District Chamber of Commerce
Beaford Arts
Devon County Council
Ilfracombe Town Council
Keep Britain Tidy
National Trust
North Devon Coast AONB
North Devon Council
North Devon’s Biosphere Reserve
Plastic Free North Devon
PETROC College of Further and Higher Education
South Molton Town Council
Torridge District Council
2 Minute Beach Clean
Westward Ho! Business Association

All members have now agreed the strategy for the consortium, which will work across four key areas – communities, tourism, farming and fishing, and other businesses – with the aim of making the biggest and most immediate impacts on the plastic problem in our area.

The consortium’s strategy includes an action plan, which has a number of aims:

  • increase education about the impact of plastic waste
  • reduce plastic consumption
  • remove plastic that has entered the natural environment
  • recycle or dispose of used plastic appropriately
  • deliver projects to ensure their message is reaching the people and businesses of northern Devon

The action plan focuses not only on the shoreline, but also on the problem of plastics in the rural inland areas.

Executive Member for the Environment at North Devon Council, Councillor Rodney Cann, says: “We as a consortium have a lot of work to do over the next five years and beyond, but I’m delighted that we have been able to agree such an ambitious and rounded strategy that will help us to make a huge impact on the circulation of single-use plastics in northern Devon.”

Plastic Free North Devon coordinator, Claire Moodie says: “The consortium is one of the most exciting things to come out the ‘Plastic Free North Devon’ movement. Having a joined-up vision and strategy supported by credible and competent organisations is crucial to engaging with every aspect of our community. Our vision goes beyond reducing single-use plastic; this is about driving and supporting systematic change throughout our communities which protects and enhances the natural environment we rely on.”

For more information on how you can reduce your consumption of single-use plastics and to find out about local events, follow Plastic Free North Devon’s Facebook page.

HELP OUT AT ILFRACOMBE’S HILLSBOROUGH HILLFORT ACTION DAYS

We have just received this press release from North Devon Council about two action days at Hillsborough Hillfort. The first one is tomorrow (sorry for the late notice!) – and there are some spaces left!

North Devon Council is calling for volunteers to help at two action days at Hillsborough Local Nature Reserve.

A new project led by the North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, invites volunteers to ‘adopt a monument’ and look after our precious local heritage.

On Wednesday 12 December, AONB staff, along with North Devon Council parks team, will be carrying out hands-on conservation work on Hillsborough Hillfort, one of the many Iron-Age monuments along the AONB coastline. Volunteers of all ages, backgrounds and abilities are invited to help reveal the ancient ramparts, currently hidden beneath the vegetation cover.

A further event is also planned for the new year, on Wednesday 13 February, for finishing up on winter tasks.

Executive Member responsible for Parks and Leisure, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the local community to get involved in the care of Ilfracombe’s historic landscape. If you haven’t been to Hillsborough Hill Fort before, this would be the ideal time to discover this amazing ancient monument right on our doorstep.”

Executive Member for Environment, Councillor Rodney Cann, says: “This is a wonderful project that will enhance the historic, as well as natural environment of an already beautiful area. It should be an enjoyable and active day out, no experience is needed as training and support are provided.”

Heritage Officer at North Devon Coast AONB, Joe Penfold, says: “The Iron-Age hillfort on Hillsborough is at least 2,000 years old. As one of best examples of an Iron-Age ‘promontory hillfort’ in the area, it has stood the test of time, but still needs active management to help preserve it. As with many ancient monuments, erosion and scrub growth can take their toll, so hands-on help from local people is very much welcome. With support from the Heritage Lottery Fund our new project, ‘Coastal Heritage,’ is for people of all ages and backgrounds who want to learn about, and to help look after heritage, both at Hillsborough and other special places along the North Devon coast.”

The events start at 10.30am and finish at 3pm. Volunteers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear. All tools and refreshments will be provided.

To book your place on the conservation task day, please contact Joe Penfold on 01271 388644, or email: joe.penfold@devon.gov.uk. For further information about other Coastal Heritage volunteering and training opportunities throughout the AONB visit www.northdevon-aonb.org.uk/events or follow us @explorethecoast

INDUSTRY AWARD FOR ILFRACOMBE’S HARBOURMASTER

Ilfracombe’s harbourmaster has picked up an internationally recognised award for services to the port and dredging industry.

Captain Georgina Carlo-Paat received the DPC (Dredging and Port Construction) Magazine Commendation for Services to the Industry Award at a ceremony last month, an achievement which highlights an outstanding individual who has made a positive impact and contribution to the industry.

The 2018 Dredging and Port Construction Awards promote innovation, efficiency and sustainability in the dredging industry. The industry is constantly evolving to keep pace with the wider maritime sector, introducing new, more environmentally friendly means of operations, incorporating new technology such as sensors and digitalisation, and also taking on more ambitious projects.

Georgina Carlo-Paat says: “It was an honour to receive this award and it was a privilege to be able to represent Ilfracombe Harbour at the award ceremony in the company of such internationally acclaimed people.”

Chief Executive of North Devon Council, Mike Mansell, says: “George is no stranger to achievement, which is why we were so pleased to appoint her as our harbourmaster. This award is well deserved, so many congratulations.”

Georgina has been in position as Ilfracombe’s harbourmaster for six months and is one of very few women who hold that role in the UK. She was one of the first of a new wave of women in the UK to become a Class 1 Master Mariner, which means she can sail any ship, of any size, anywhere in the world.

PHOTO: Georgina Carlo-Paat (centre) receiving her award (courtesy DPC Awards).

NEW BRIDGE LIGHTS WILL ILLUMINATE BARNSTAPLE’S HERITAGE

Barnstaple’s historic Longbridge will be all lit up, when new lights are fitted early next year.

North Devon Council secured funding to make improvements to the pedestrian links from Barnstaple train station to the town, and is using some of the funds to install new lights to illuminate the town’s historic bridge.

Barnstaple Longbridge is a thirteenth-century stone medieval structure which has been widened on three occasions to allow for the changing transport needs of the town. The lighting project, which has the support of Historic England, Barnstaple Town Council and the Barnstaple Coastal Community Team, was granted listed building consent at the end of last month. Work will be carried out in January by local contractors M&E Alarms, who will install lights on each of the columns.

Executive Member for Economic Regeneration, Councillor Pat Barker, says: “Not only does the Longbridge provide a vital transport link to the town centre, it is one of the town’s oldest structures, popular with local photographers and visitors. This project will make the townscape more dramatic at night and shine a light on one of the town’s most significant historic features.”

Local ward members for Barnstaple Longbridge, Councillors Des Brailey and Dick Jones will be pleased to see the new lights installed. Councillor Jones says: “Des and I are looking forward to seeing the bridge all lit up, it’s one of the town’s most iconic landmarks and we should do more to show off the town’s best features for residents and visitors alike. The new lights will also complement the new museum extension and draw more focus to the Longbridge as the gateway to the town.”

There may be some minor disruption when the work is carried out early next year, with more details released closer to the time.

NEW SIGNS POINT ILFRACOMBE VISITORS IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

New finger posts have been installed in Ilfracombe, as part of a joint project to improve tourist links in the town.

The new posts direct visitors to places of interest and attractions around the town, such as the High Street, theatre and harbour. Each post displays the average time it takes to walk to each attraction, which is particularly useful for families and those with difficulty walking.

The fonts and colours used on the posts follow accessibility guidelines, so they are easy to read and understand. 

North Devon Council and Ilfracombe Town Council applied for funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development through the Leader 5 Rural Development Programme and this was match-funded by Ilfracombe Town Council, North Devon Council and Councillor Mike Edmunds’ Devon County Council Investing in Devon fund.

Mayor of Ilfracombe, Councillor Val Gates, says: “The new finger posts have helped to modernise the look of Ilfracombe and are making it easier for tourists and residents alike to migrate around many features of the town. A number of volunteers from various groups in Ilfracombe have also been involved and are thrilled with the results. I’d like to thank each one of them for their efforts with this project.”

Meanwhile, North Devon Council is working closely with the Ilfracombe Regeneration Board on a masterplan to regenerate Ilfracombe seafront. The masterplan will provide an overall scheme for the area that can be broken down into smaller projects that will be easier to deliver as funding comes available.