Category Archives: north devon

ILFRACOMBE SCHOOLCHILDREN QUALIFY AS JUNIOR PARK RANGERS

The latest group of Year 4 schoolchildren from Ilfracombe Junior School have made the grade as ‘Junior Park Rangers’.

Earlier this month, 120 children were presented with their certificates after successfully completing the four-week junior Park Rangers course, which covered topics such as orienteering, tree identification, mini beasts and pond dipping.

The course, organised by North Devon Council’s Parks team, is so successful that it has been running for the past 14 years. The course aims to raise awareness about the importance of parks and how we can help look after them. As well as learning practical skills, the children are taught about wildlife, biodiversity and the natural environment.

North Devon Council Leader, Councillor David Worden, says: “It’s great to see so many new Park Rangers.  The idea behind this scheme is to raise young people’s awareness of the importance of parks and why we need to protect them for future generations. So it’s reassuring to know that we have another group of youngsters who will be looking after them. It is also very important to the Parks team that the children enjoy themselves and have lots of fun while they are learning. The children were very enthusiastic in all the activities they took part in and I would like to commend them all for being a credit to both their school and their community.”

Joe Alcock from Ilfracombe Junior School says: “The children at our school really enjoy the Park Rangers activities they get to participate in and the course is a real highlight within the school year. The opportunity to learn more about the park and explore the beauty it offers is a real joy for all involved.”

If you would like to get involved as a volunteer at Bicclescombe Park, there is a very active group on Facebook – contact the council’s Parks team on 01271 388308 for more information.

PHOTO: Back row, left to right: Cllr Netti Pearson, Mike Jones (NDC Parks), Cllr Geoffrey Fowler; front: children from Ilfracombe Junior School Y4.

FOUR NORTH DEVON PROJECTS TO BENEFIT FROM FUNDING BOOST

Over £30,000 has been released for projects which will benefit residents across North Devon.

At a meeting of the North Devon Council Strategy and Resources Committee on 1 July councillors agreed to allocate S106* funding towards four projects which will improve facilities in the district.

  • £20,450 towards improvements to Tomlin Hall in Bickington (pictured)
  • £1,775 towards a shelter at Marlborough Road Cemetery in Ilfracombe
  • £5,000 towards Oakford Villas play area in North Molton
  • £3,520 towards improvements at Victory Hall in North Molton

A survey by Fremington Parish Council identified the facilities in Tomlin Hall as being in need of modernisation.  Funds will be used to improve the kitchen area and provide new plumbing and heating.

Funds in Ilfracombe will provide a shelter at Marlborough Road Cemetery to give visitors a place to shelter from the weather.

North Molton will benefit from improvements to the play facilities at Oakford Villas play area and essential health and safety work to upgrade the electrical system in Victory Hall.

Leader of North Devon Council, Councillor David Worden, says, “I am very pleased that these projects will receive the funding which is vital to help provide much needed facilities across the district. These open space funds, made as part of major planning applications, allow the council to give back to the community in a meaningful way.”

Local ward member for Bickington, Councillor Joy Cann, says, “As Bickington Councillors Helen, Will and I are all delighted to see Tomlin Hall receiving the funding it deserves and desperately needs for improvements.  Bickington is already a great place to to live and improving Tomlin Hall and providing a better community meeting space will enhance the village further.”

Local ward member for Ilfracombe West, Councillor Geoff Fowler, says, “Marlborough Road Cemetery is exposed at the best of times so to be able to get some respite from the elements for folk has to make sensitive visits more bearable.”

Local ward member for Ilfracombe West, Councillor Netti Pearson, says, “I am sure that visitors to the cemetery will be grateful for a place where they can sit in contemplation and shelter from adverse weather. There are too few shelters in Ilfracombe’s open spaces and I would like to see more installed in town in the future.

*Section 106 (S106) is money paid to the council by developers as part of the planning conditions of planning applications. The money can only be used for certain things, but is used primarily for public open space projects.

Photo courtesy of Tony Gussin.

NEW E-TICKETING SYSTEM FOR NORTH DEVON SHOW

For the first time visitors to this year’s North Devon Show will be able to buy an e-ticket which organisers say should help-fast track their entrance to the showground at Umberleigh for the one-day agricultural show on 7 August. The e-tickets also come at a discounted price.

Show Secretary, Theresa Soanes, said: “We’re really excited about the changes to our ticketing for this year’s show. Our staff will have electronic scan readers and so instead of people queuing at the ticket office, everyone will now come straight to the gates. People who’ve bought advance tickets will be scanned in quickly and those who pay on the gate should now also get inside more quickly.”

E-tickets can be bought via the North Devon Show website and an email will be sent as a confirmation of purchase. Inside the email will be a QR code which can either be printed out in advance or opened on a mobile phone to be scanned at the gate. Tickets can also be bought from certain shops and tourist information centres across North Devon (full list on the NDS website) also with a one pound discount.

Mrs Soanes added: “The show continues to improve each year as we offer more fun and activities for all the family so it was the right thing to do to update our ticketing system. But we know not everyone can buy online so we’ve made sure outlets across the district are selling tickets at the same low price as on the internet.”

Entry to the show costs £15 for adults and just £3 for children in advance, with a family ticket of £34 for two adults and three children. Prices for online tickets bought less than 48 hours before the show and on the day at the showground are £1 more.

Unlike many other attractions the entry fee for the North Devon Show includes lots of things to do including going to the Circus which returns this year after proving so successful last year. Organisers have introduced an education and animal-petting zone where children can get up close to a range of animals including miniature donkeys, Valais black nose sheep, alpacas and lots more. In the Countryside Area you can try your skills at clay laser shooting with no extra charge as well as watching ferret racing, fly casting and archery.

The success of the music stage last year has seen the arena expanded and the number of performers increased, with the stage moving to be central to the showground closer to the food and drink tents.

BICCLESCOMBE PARK OPEN DAY: ALL WELCOME

Enjoy a free day of family fun at Ilfracombe’s award-winning Bicclescombe Park this half term.

The open day is being held on Wednesday 29 May between 11am and 3pm, with the opportunity for residents to have their say on the future of Bicclescombe Park.

If you are free this half term, why not plan a visit? There will be lots of free activities on the day to keep the whole family amused, including:

• tennis taster sessions
• arts and crafts with Mrs Recycle
• face painting
• model boat displays
• circus and art workshops
• treasure hunt

Contracts Delivery Manager at North Devon Council, Mark Kentell, says: “Bicclescombe is a wonderful park and we look forward to seeing everyone at the open day.

“The park is continuously being improved, with the help of a very dedicated group of volunteers, and we hope to begin the final phase of the play area redevelopment very soon. So we are keen for members of the public to come forward with their ideas of what could be done to improve and enhance the park for everyone to enjoy.”

For more information, call the Parks Team on 01271 388326 or email parks@northdevon.gov.uk

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’.