Category Archives: north devon

THESE BOOTS WERE MADE FOR WOODSIDE

You might have seen a rope strung with colourfully painted walking boots across the East Lyn River on your walks recently. It is part of the bid to raise funds to replace a popular footbridge known locally as ‘Woodside Bridge’.

Over 40 boots were painted by the children of West Exmoor Federation and heaved into place across the East Lyn River by local volunteers from the Lynmouth Coastguard Search & Rescue.

Woodside Bridge once formed part of a short circular walk along the lower reaches of the river, returning to the picturesque village of Lynmouth via Middleham Memorial Gardens, created in memory of victims of the famous 1952 flood disaster.

It’s been a feature of the area for more than a century, but it wore out and had to be removed in 2016 and the Lyn Community Development Trust (LCDT) have since been fundraising to have it reinstated. They are now three-quarters of the way towards the £60K needed for a beautiful new bridge built in solid Exmoor oak and have secured commitment from Exmoor National Park Authority to help with installation and maintenance, when the remaining funds are raised.

Dave Wilde, Chair of the LDCT, said: “We came up with the idea of the boots as a way of bringing the appeal to the attention of the many walkers and visitors to the area, as well as local residents. It was lovely to see the schoolchildren getting involved and the boots they painted look wonderful. They’re the ones who will get to walk across the new bridge in future, so it’s great they have been able to help in such an inspiring way”.

Julia Bradbury has also shown her support for the campaign after the route featured in her hit TV series Britain’s Best Walks and online portal The Outdoor Guide, along with TV presenter Caroline Quentin, who took time to record a video appeal after finding out about the Bridge through her role as President of the Campaign for National Parks.

It’s also being backed by Exmoor National Park Authority through its CareMoor for Exmoor scheme, run by Philip Kiberd. He said: “What a brilliant idea, West Exmoor Federation have done a great job. I might ask them to paint my boots next. It’s amazing how everyone has got behind this campaign and LCDT, the schools, the coastguard and the National Trust all deserve praise for arranging it and allowing it to go ahead. Let’s hope it encourages lots of donations to the appeal and helps get the bridge back soon.”

Donate to the Woodside Bridge Appeal via CareMoor for Exmoor www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/caremoor, in person at the National Park Centre in Lynmouth or for Gift Aid via the LCDTat wonderful.org/appeal/woodsidebridgereplacementappeal-1f70a510.

RNLI ILFRACOMBE RECEIVES GRANT FROM NORTH DEVON COAST AONB

Ilfracombe Lifeboat station has an area reaching from Woolacombe in the west to Foreland Point in the east with call-outs to Lundy Island where necessary. As an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it attracts many visitors throughout the year.

The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service.  The station has initiated a project over the last 12 months to support the lifeboat station to purchase additional life-saving equipment.

Jenny Carey-Wood, AONB Manager, says: “Despite the beauty of the seas and coast of North Devon they can be a challenging environment to explore and enjoy. The improved  capability from this valuable new equipment will help to save lives and we are delighted to support the RNLI’s work.”

Chris Wallis, RNLI Operations Manager for Ilfracombe, says: “The grant of £3,500 from the North Devon Coast AONB Sustainable Development Fund will be of huge benefit to the work of the RNLI Ilfracombe Lifeboat station to help us save lives at sea and will be used to purchase valuable life-saving equipment.”

PHOTO: Jenny Carey-Wood, Manager at the North Devon Coast Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), presented Chris Wallis from Ilfracombe RNLI with a cheque for £3,500 from their Sustainable Development Fund earlier this month. The presentation took place at the Ilfracombe Lifeboat Station and was attended by volunteer crew members.

ILFRACOMBE RNLI THANKS VOLUNTEERS FOR LONG SERVICE AT AWARDS CEREMONY

An awards ceremony has been held at the Ilfracombe RNLI annual dinner to thank 12 RNLI volunteers for their service to the station. Eight awards were given out to crew for long service and a further four service awards were given to crew standing down.

Andrew Putt, the RNLI Regional Improvement Manager, gave out the awards at the annual RNLI dinner on 12 April 2019 at Ilfracombe Golf Course. The awards included a 40-year service award to all-weather lifeboat (ALB) Coxswain Andrew Bengey and 20-year service awards to Head Launcher and Launch Vehicle Driver Gary Belgrove, Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) Helm and ALB Assistant Mechanic Stuart Carpenter, Shorecrew Mark Gammon, Assistant Coxswain, Mechanic and ILB Helm Leigh Hanks, Deputy Launching Authority Ian Meadlarkin, Second Coxswain Carl Perrin and ALB crewman Steve Ashton.

The station also presented certificates to Andy Maslen who was leaving the station after 14 years’ service, and Matt Simpson who was standing down from the Ilfracombe Station after 23 years’ service. A further Letter of Thanks was given to Mark Weeks who stood down as a Tooltrak Launch Driver but continues as ILB Helm and ALB crew. Dr Sean Ross was awarded a Letter of Thanks from the Institution for his role as Lifeboat Medical Adviser, a role from which he has recently stepped down.

Andrew Bengey, Ilfracombe RNLI Volunteer Coxswain, who received an award for 40 years of service, says, “When I first joined the RNLI the crews were mainly commercial fishermen. The RNLI has changed a lot over the last 40 years – now there is much more training available and people now come from all walks of life. I still enjoy being a volunteer with the RNLI, there is great camaraderie and teamwork, and you know someone’s always got your back. Over the years I’ve probably been out on over 800 shouts and there’s a lot of satisfaction when you know that you have helped someone. The RNLI is a great organisation and I would recommend it to anyone.”

Chris Wallis, RNLI Operations Manager for Ilfracombe RNLI Lifeboat, says: “The RNLI depends on the work of volunteers to carry out many different types of roles. At Ilfracombe RNLI we are honoured and proud to give out these long-service awards to our dedicated volunteers who give up their time to help us save lives at sea.”

Photo by Jo Bolton.

BICCLESCOMBE PARK RECEIVED PRESTIGIOUS AWARD

Bicclescome Park in Ilfracombe has once again received a prestigious Pride in Parks award.

The park has been awarded four out of five stars for demonstrating excellent maintenance and development, good community involvement and care of the environment. Pride in Parks is run by Southwest in Bloom, in conjunction with the Royal Horticultural Society.

Bicclescombe Park is owned and managed by North Devon Council with the help of a dedicated team of volunteers from the Bicclescombe Park User Group.

Mark Kentell, Contracts Delivery Manager at North Devon Council, says: “Bicclescombe is a wonderful park and we are very proud that the judges agree. Of course, none of this would be possible without the volunteers who give up their own time to help keep the park at such a high standard. So I would like to send a big ‘Thank You’ to all of them.”

As well as this award, the park has flown the Green Flag, which recognises well-managed parks, since 2004. Judging for the 2019/20 Green Flag awards take place at the end of May and the results are expected in July.

If you would like to volunteer at Bicclescombe Park, please get in touch with the Bicclescombe Park User Group on Facebook or contact the council’s parks team on 01271 388308 parks@northdevon.gov.uk

NORTH DEVON NAMED AS ‘ENGLAND’S ADVENTURE COAST’

North Devon has been officially rebranded as ‘England’s Adventure Coast’ as part of an ambitious new campaign to boost tourism, encouraging visitors to discover, explore and enjoy the area.

Launched during English Tourism Week (30 March – 7 April), the new campaign will now be promoted across the country in a bid to promote North Devon like never before.

England’s Adventure Coast, which stretches from the Cornish border into Exmoor, features in a beautiful new video telling the story of North Devon and encouraging people of all ages to have adventures.

The inspiring video, made by local video production company Panoptic Motion, focuses on the outdoor landscape and the abundance of activities this offers, from wild swimming on Exmoor, to breathtaking coastal walks; from exploring pretty stone-villages, to surfing some of the best beaches in Britain.

The cinematic-style short advert is part of a wider campaign, including a comprehensive social media promotion and fresh new branding.

Nick White, Chair of the North Devon Marketing Bureau, said: “We are so very proud to announce North Devon as England’s Adventure Coast.

“It is such a special place in the country and it is our landscape that
truly sets us apart. We identified the natural resources of the region
to be something very special and wanted to recreate the spirit of
adventure the area offers to all ages.

“The campaign conveys the concept of adventure being much wider than about extreme sports: it is also about the heritage of the area, the wealth of locally produced food and drink and the independent businesses who embody the spirit of ‘adventure’. This is about celebrating that sense of adventure.

“Having a strong identity is vital in tourism – we hope this new brand
sets us apart, giving North Devon the platform it needs to compete in an increasingly competitive market.”

To watch the film, please visit: www.northdevon.com

BARNSTAPLE MAKES BID FOR HIGH STREET FUND

A new fund to revitalise High Streets across the UK opens this month and Barnstaple is making a bid for its share.

North Devon Council is working alongside Barnstaple Town Centre Management (BTCM) to apply for the government’s Future High Streets Fund, which has been set up to regenerate high streets and make them fit for the future. The first round of applications opened on 22 March and the council will be submitting its strategic vision for the town centre, taking on board ideas put forward at the BTCM meeting earlier this month.

Councils across the country will be submitting similar bids and not everyone will be selected. However, if the initial bid is successful and Barnstaple gets through to the second stage of the process, there will be a wider consultation with local businesses and residents of the town to ensure the vision meets the needs and aspirations of the local community.

Matthew Brend, Chair of Barnstaple Town Centre Management, says: “We all know that our town centre is evolving. Unprecedented changes in shopping habits and the retail landscape mean that we need to think about what function we want our town centre to play in the future. Barnstaple Town Centre has traditionally been the heart of our community, the place where people come to meet and socialise but with the changes in retail and lifestyles we need to ensure that there are still reasons for people to come and spend time in the town and ensure that it remains at the heart for generations to come. BTCM look forward to playing a local leadership role in delivering real change.”

Hannah Harrington, Barnstaple Town Centre Manager, says: “The Future High Streets Fund is an exciting opportunity that could help us turn our visions into reality. This is an initial stage in a very competitive process and Barnstaple will be up against a large number of other towns, who will all produce their own proposals however we believe we have a strong vision and our own unique set of circumstances which will hopefully make our bid successful.”

North Devon Council’s Executive Member for Economic Regeneration says: “This is an excellent opportunity for Barnstaple and any regeneration of North Devon’s largest town will also have a massive knock-on effect on the whole of the district. The High Street Fund isn’t about drawing down money to make the place look pretty, its for bold new visions, projects that will transform High Streets and make them fit for the future.”

If you would like to join Barnstaple Town Centre Management and put your forward your ideas for the town, contact Hannah Harrington (hannah@barnstaple.co.uk).

PHOTO: The Square, Barnstaple – Nos 3-7, built in 1844 by R.D. Gould of Barnstaple; Nos 1 & 2 were added in 1887. Photo by ‘Reading Tom’.

LYNMOUTH SINGERS PITCH IN TO HELP SAVE BRIDGE

A fundraising campaign to reinstate a much-missed footbridge in Exmoor National Park’s stunning East Lyn Valley, near Lynmouth, has soared past the £30K halfway mark following a flurry of support from local groups. This includes the all-female singing group, the LynTones, who generously donated all £680 of the proceeds from their 2018 performances.

Laura Whitfield from the LynTones said: “We’re a friendly community vocal group who just love to sing. Each year we pick a different cause to support, with the Woodside Bridge chosen last year. Many of us have grown up in the area and it’s great to be helping put back a piece of local history that means people can once again experience this lovely circular walk. It’s a wonderful place to live.”

The Lyn Community Development Trust (LCDT)’s Woodside Bridge Appeal aims to raise the £60K needed for a new bridge at Woodside, after the old one wore out and had to be removed in 2016. It will mean those out for a beautiful riverside stroll will once again be able to return to the town via a short circular route through Middleham Memorial Gardens, created in memory of victims of the famous 1952 flood.

All donations, including any Gift Aid, are being match-funded by Exmoor National Park Authority until the end of March, with the Lyn Masonic Lodge, the Lyn Art and Craft Society, Sandra Collier and yoga group, plus many generous individuals among those to have donated recently.

The campaign has previously attracted support from Julia Bradbury, after the route featured in her hit TV series, ‘Britain’s Best Walks’ and online portal The Outdoor Guide, and also TV presenter Caroline Quentin, who took time to record a video appeal after finding out about the Bridge through her role as President of the Campaign for National Parks.

Suzette Hibbert, Director of the Lyn Community Development Trust, said: “We’re so grateful to everyone who has so far donated to our Woodside Bridge appeal, showing just how much it means to have this ancient walking route back in our community. It’s a cause that has won the backing of celebrities, locals and visitors alike and we’re proud to be helping save this unique piece of Lynmouth’s charm.”

The LCDT is arranging a series of fundraising events for 2019, including two National Trust guided walks exploring the flora and fauna of the East Lyn River on 13 April and 8 June, a joint event with the Lynmouth Flood Memorial Hall on 20 April to remember the historic overland launch of the Louisa lifeboat in 1899 and the flood disaster of 1952, and a Race Night at The Bath Hotel on Saturday 18 May. An event at Hunters Inn is also planned for later in the year. For more information and to book visit the Lynmouth National Park Centre, call them on 01598 752509 or email NPCLynmouth@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk

Dan James, Sustainable Economy Manager at Exmoor National Park Authority, said: “Building a new bridge from solid Exmoor oak would secure the future of Woodside Bridge once and for all, unlike previous softwood versions which have quickly worn out. We are delighted to help support the cause with our match-funding offer and hope it will mean thousands more can enjoy this magnificent woodland walk.”

Donate to the Woodside Bridge Appeal via CareMoor for Exmoor at  www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/caremoor, in person at the National Park Centre in Lynmouth or for Gift Aid via the LCDT at wonderful.org/appeal/woodsidebridgereplacementappeal-1f70a510.

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.