Category Archives: Towns Around Exmoor

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’.

MINEHEAD MUSEUM’S FIFTH BIRTHDAY

Minehead Museum celebrates its fifth birthday today and, as it enters its sixth season, can now claim to be well established.  With nearly 10,000 visitors in 2018 (plus one parrot), the museum can rightly say it is a popular destination for both tourists and residents. During the past five years, not only have the number of visitors grown steadily year by year, but so, too, has the collection.

This year the museum will have more items on display than ever before but it is always pleased to be offered additional artefacts and documents relating to the history of the town. If you think you may have something of interest, please do let them know.

Without the support of a loyal base of volunteer stewards, the museum would not be able to remain open six days a week from late March to early November. If you, or anyone you know, should happen to have a spare morning or afternoon that you could offer to the museum, they would be delighted to hear from you. Stewards are the face of the museum and if you are interested in research and local history, it could be a rewarding way to spend some time.

Find out more on the website: www.mineheadmuseum.co.uk

PHOTO: Minehead Museum’s Punch & Judy puppets:
A well-known attraction at seaside towns, Mr Punch made his first documented appearance in England on 9 May 1662.

The puppets now on show in Minehead Museum belonged to Roy Van Dyke, magician, comedian and Punch & Judy performer. Born Roy Hobbs, in Alcombe Road, Minehead, he learnt his early skills from Cecil Govitt, a conjuror lodger in the family.

Roy was a Gold Member of the Magic Circle and a regular performer in the Gaiety Theatre, which he also managed for a number of years.

His Punch & Judy puppets are Minehead Museum’s latest acquisition, having been donated by the Hobbs family this year. They can be seen in the Museum, which opens for the season on 23 March, and which is located at the Beach Hotel.

 

WATCHET COASTAL COMMUNITY TEAM WINS MAJOR FUNDING

Watchet Coastal Community Team is delighted that their application for £240,000 for Place Based Social Action has been successful.  The project is one of only ten places countrywide to be awarded the funding from The National Lottery Community Fund and Department of Digital, Culture Media and Sport (DCMS). They are now able to deliver six strands of community action projects that aim to work with and engage local people to help solve local problems.

The funding is to support volunteering and social action in the town over three years, and is the result of a year’s worth of work by the WCCT to establish what the local difficulties were in the town and co-design solutions as to how local people might be involved in fixing some of those problems.  Led by Watchet Coastal Community Team as a membership organisation, the WCCT are particularly pleased to have Onion Collective as the delivery partner in the scheme, making full use of their experience and expertise.

The funding will support six projects that include: young people, peer tutors and a ‘mini university’ community transport, information sharing, deliberative democracy and digital gaming. Part of the mini university project will also be to refurbish the much-loved Harbour Community Bookshop building at 7 The Esplanade, as a community volunteer build.  If anyone is interested in becoming involved with any of the projects please contact Georgie Grant, secretary of WCCT at Georgie@onioncollective.co.uk  This successful bid is a great example of collaboration between the whole Watchet community, as well as Onion Collective, Watchet Town Council, West Somerset and Taunton Deane District Council, Somerset County Council and Watchet Coastal Community Team.  The WCCT are thankful for the level of collaboration and unified desire so see the best outcome achieved for the town.

The Placed Based Social Action programme is funded using £4.5 million of Government and National Lottery funding. It aims to support communities to put social action at the heart of plans which make a positive difference in the local area. It gives people the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the design and delivery of local services by bringing together communities, local authorities, public sector organisations, service providers, civil society organisations and businesses to address local priorities.

Following the three years of delivery for this project, up to five of the ten partnerships now put through will be awarded further funding of up to £255,000 to develop and expand their plans for another three years to December 2024.

Watchet Coastal Community Team is a partnership organisation made up of 30 local organisations, businesses, community groups and Town, District and County Council. The team work collaboratively to help further initiatives that help to benefit the town both economically and socially. The Watchet CCT now want to appeal to any local people who are interested in becoming involved with any of the projects, and who would like to know more.  To find out more about the projects called Georgie Grant on 07940 950396 or email her at Georgie@onioncollective.co.uk. There will be more information about the projects available shortly at the website at www.watchetcct.co.uk

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.

WINTER WORK PLANNED AT ROTARY GARDENS IN BARNSTAPLE

Further improvements at Rotary Gardens in Pilton will continue over the winter months.

North Devon Council’s parks team will be replacing some of the shrub beds, adding more colour with new herbaceous planting and installing some more seating around the gardens for visitors to enjoy.

A number of low-quality trees will also be taken out to open up the views around the pond area and will be replaced with more suitable tree species elsewhere in the gardens. This is the latest in a series of improvements in the park, including a tree trail, interpretation boards and memorial plinth.

Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture with North Devon Council, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “We like to let local residents know if we’re planning any tree work, so they don’t get alarmed. The trees we’re taking out are not of great value and aren’t suitable species for their setting. Those we take out will all be replaced with better specimens, more appropriate to the park and will much improve the look and diversity of the gardens in the future. I’m sure the extra seating will be appreciated, as it’s such a lovely space to sit and enjoy the views.”

Local ward member for Pilton, Councillor Mair Manuel, says: “We have been working together for some years on improving Rotary Gardens for the benefit of residents, visitors and community groups. The changes so far are very obvious and this additional work will further enhance the gardens, with the seating placed to take advantage of the tidying up that has been done, the new plantings and opening up of the views. All will add to the beauty of Rotary Gardens and confirm it as a great asset for the community of Pilton.”

Stay up to date with news and events from the council’s parks team on Facebook (www.facebook.com/northdevoncouncil) or follow @ndevoncouncil on Twitter.

CAN YOU HELP GIVE WATCHET THE RECOGNITION IT DESERVES

A new survey asking the Watchet residents to ‘Help get Watchet’s amazing community spirit recognised’ is being run by Watchet’s Coastal Community Team. They will be bidding to take part in the second round of the government’s Place-Based Social Action programme, and, if successful, will be able to apply for funding to deliver community projects. To understand what problems people would like to address, and ideas they might have in solving these difficulties, the survey will be distributed to every household in Watchet over August asking the following questions:

  1. What do you think the main difficulties here are?
  2. What ideas do you have for local people getting together to help make life better or easier here?
  3. Tell us the ways in which people and the community already help each other?

The survey can also be accessed online by following this link: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CCTSocialAction

As a thank you for contributing, the CCT are offering a prize draw of £100 to a community group or organisation, nominated by those who complete the survey.

Watchet Coastal Community Team is one of only 20 partnerships countrywide to be selected for the Place-Based Social Action programme. The project aims to show how strong community action can help solve the kinds of difficulties in the town that prevent it from flourishing as it should. These difficulties might range from isolation in older people, to a lack of opportunities for young people, or even more day-to-day issues such as dog mess and littering. Ideas for how people can get together to help solve these difficulties as a strong community can then be put forward in a bid in October 2018, and, if successful, could win funding to help deliver those ideas. The initiative is funded by Big Lottery Fund and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Watchet CCT chairman, Cllr Peter Murphy says: “Our community spirit here in Watchet is something to be really proud of, and we intend to celebrate it at a national level. In this project we also plan to make the most of that energy by directing it towards helping to solve some of the more serious problems here. We believe that the combination of community action and local services working in collaboration has potential to achieve great things and we are excited to see how this project develops. Please do take part in the survey and help make this project a success.”

Watchet Coastal Community Team is a partnership organisation made up of 30 local organisations, businesses, community groups and Town, District and County Council. The team work collaboratively to help further initiatives that help to benefit the town both economically and socially. To find out more visit: www.watchetcct.co.uk.

Or for more information contact Georgie Grant: Secretary, Watchet Coastal Community Team Georgie@onioncollective.co.uk/ 07940 950396.

NEW GRANT TO PAY FOR WATCHET SUMMERTIME FESTIVAL

Watchet Coastal Community Team (CCT) is delighted to have been awarded a grant of £4,200 by the Big Lottery’s Awards for All. The bid for the grant had been put together by a team comprising Watchet CCT, Watchet Summertime, Halsway Manor and Pebbles Cider bar, and is intended to celebrate the heritage of Watchet. The activities will be run by Watchet Summertime, and will include music, walks and workshops to celebrate Watchet’s heritage for everyone to enjoy.

The Watchet Summertime Team have been beavering away and, thanks to this grant and local sponsorship, the activities can now be seen in the brochure and posters which are being widely disseminated.

Music

The week starts (11 August) with a concert in St Decuman’s Church by the well-regarded Kitty Macfarlane, who is supported by Hannah Cumming and Jon Dyer (both of whom played a fantastic concert last at St Decuman’s last year).

The week continues with lots more music, starting with a Sea Shanty Workshop for all in The Boat Museum on Sunday, and gigs in local pubs and bars during the week. Lost Coyotes will play in Pebbles on Sunday evening, the talented Lukas Drinkwater in The London Inn on Monday evening and David Milton will be singing outside Contains Art on Wednesday evening (at the opening of the Summertime Art Exhibition).

Tom Moore and Archie Churchill Moss sing on Wednesday evening, The Open Mic Sessions, with lots of local musicians are in The Marquee behind the Star on Thursday evening, Martyn Babb, Tony Piper and crew will be ‘Hauling on the Halliards’ with their sea shanties on Friday evening at The Boat Museum, and there will also be a Family Ceilidh with Gadarene in Knight’s Templar School on Friday 17th in the evening.

The week comes to a musical close with Andy Barratt and friends, Jessie and The Skunknecks and Turnette Doone and the explosive and celebrated Summertime Firework Display by Fire Magic on Saturday 18th . Most of the music events are free for the audience except for the Opening Concert and the Family Ceilidh.

Walks
This year there are three walks, suitable for families who want to know more about the area. On Monday afternoon The West Somerset Mineral Line Association will start from The Market House Museum. David Milton will be your guide on his inimitable Watchet History Walk on Thursday early evening, and Paul Upton will talk you through Watchet’s Architectural Walk around the town with the option of extending your walk up to St Decuman’s Church and Well on Saturday morning.

Workshops
The Lottery Grant has enabled Watchet Summertime to hold several workshops during the week, all of which are free for participants; starting with the aforementioned Shanty Workshop with Pete Truin on Sunday 12 August. Two Rivers Paper Company will be on The Esplanade on Tuesday and showing all ages how to make paper. Watchet Market House Museum are running a workshop with the subject ‘Watchet and The Civil War’ in the Methodist School Room on Wednesday morning (15th).

There are also  two workshops geared up to 12 + young adults this year. Alice Maddicott is running a Poetry Workshop in the Library ‘Mythical Creatures and Alternative Realms’ on Wednesday 15th in the afternoon, and on Saturday morning 18th Cat Mills will run a Jewellery Workshop on The Esplanade (it will be free for participants to work with copper but there will be a small charge for items made of silver). On Friday afternoon, 17 August, Jan Martin will run a Book Binding Workshop outside Contains Art, which will be suitable for older children or adults.

Here are the listings issued by the organisers.

Monday 13th August
Watchet Summertime is running ‘A Day for Change’ on the Esplanade between 10am and 4pm. This will be a mixture of workshops and demos, information stalls and activities for all ages on the theme of positive changes we can all make in our lives. Come and find out more and get involved!

Tuesday 14th August
Tuesday is Family Craft Day, with workshops and demos all day, for all the family to have a go! Find your inner craftsperson, and make this the year you try something new. In the evening Watchet Summertime Art Exhibition will be launched (6pm onwards). Come and mingle with local artists and listen to David Milton sing.

Wednesday 15th August
As well as the workshops, Alexandra Simson (Story Well) will be doing two session of Storytelling, ‘Summer Magic with Story Well’ at 11am and 12 noon, in The Library. Her earlier session will be for younger children (up to 6 or 7) and the second session for children slightly older.

Thursday 16th August
Watchet Summertime’s Open Mic will be on The Esplanade from 10 am until late afternoon (then moving to the marquee behind The Star) with a host of local musicians. There will be Charity Stalls on The Esplanade all day, come and find out about local charities and spend to help them. In the evening Watchet Community Cinema are putting on an open air film, Grease on The Esplanade. Bring a chair and suitable clothing (though we hope for a lovely evening!). Maybe break out your fifties clothing and join in with the fun.

Friday 17th August
A day for children of all ages! In the morning Lyn Routledge will be demonstrating her Trapeze skills and encouraging the brave to join in. Watchet Town Council Fun Day starts at 12 noon and there will be Punch and Judy and Pirates, Storytelling and Puppets, Balloons and magic, Popcorn and candy floss, a ball pool and Sumo suits! Watchet’s Super Ducks will be competing in A Duck Race, in the afternoon. Which one will be the winner!

Saturday 18th August
Watchet’s celebrated Fireworks go off with a bang at 10pm, but before then there will be music of all types galore from 2pm and a Hog Roast from 6pm.

PLUS!

Monday 27th August Bank Holiday Monday
This year we will be holding our beautiful Candle Float on August Bank Holiday Monday (when tides are more suitable) but we will be selling the candles during Summertime week. Don’t miss out.

Please see the attached poster and listing for our full programme, or check out our FB page for Watchet Summertime or the webpage

www.watchetsummertime.btck.co.uk/

COMING UP THE REGAL THEATRE MINEHEAD

GUYS AND DOLLS
A Musical Fable of Broadway
Based on the Story and Characters of David Runyon
Music and Lyrics by FRANK LOESSER

The Regal Theatre presents it 2018 Summer Show at the Regal Theatre Monday 8 – Saturday 18 August with Guys and Dolls by Frank Loesser.  Opening on Broadway in 1950, the show received unanimously positive reviews from critics and won a raft of awards.  Frequently revived with star casts, this popular musical comedy is now performed at the Regal Theatre with an all-star cast of local talent

All the hot gamblers are in town, and they’re all depending on Nathan Detroit to set up this week’s incarnation of “The Oldest Established Permanent Floating Crap Game in New York”; the only problem is, he needs $1,000 to find a safe place for the game. Throw in Sarah Brown, who’s short on sinners at the mission she runs; Sky Masterson, who accepts Nathan’s $1000 bet that he can’t get Sarah Brown to go with him to Havana; Miss Adelaide, who wants Nathan to marry her; Police Lieutenant Brannigan, who always seems to appear at the wrong time and you have a set-up for a cracking show.

Based on the story and characters of David Runyon and with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, this is a popular musical which includes favourites like ‘Fugue for Tinhorns’; ‘Luck Be a Lady’ and ‘Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat’.

Performances begin at 7.30pm and tickets priced at £9 (adults), £8.50 (Friends of the Regal), £4.50 (16 and under & ES40s) and £20 (family ticket), are now available from the Regal Box Office (01643 706430), 10am – 3pm Monday – Friday. Opening night offer £5 per ticket. Hurry before tickets sell out!  No performance on Sunday 12 August. No matinées.

Apologies that online booking is currently unavailable. The service will be restored very shortly.

Also coming up…

The first of a monthly Sunday afternoon Jazz club
PETE ALLEN HOT 4
On Sunday 12 August from 3pm to 5.30pm in the Regal Theatre Bar

The Pete Allen Hot 4 gather to present the first of a monthly Sunday afternoon Jazz club.

For those who love jazz, this will be an entertaining musical selection of happy traditional jazz that everyone can enjoy and understand. A lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon listening to Pete on saxophone accompanied by drums, bass and piano or guitar/banjo.

Tickets all cost £12.00 and are now available from the Regal Box Office (details as above).

The Jazz Club will continue to meet on the second Sunday of each month.  Next date will be Sunday 9 September

MINEHEAD TO WELCOME TOP UK AND EUROPEAN JET SKI RACERS

P1 AquaX Championships will serve up two days of high-speed marine motorsport action at the Minehead Summer Festival on the weekend of 4-5 August.

More than 40 jet ski riders from seven countries will head to Minehead Bay on the West Somerset coast to compete for UK and European P1 AquaX titles. This will be the first visit to Minehead by P1 AquaX since the race series was launched in the UK in 2011, and it now stages events in the USA, Malaysia and mainland Europe.

The Minehead Summer Festival has come about through a partnership between the Minehead Events Group, Minehead Coastal Communities Team, ThunderCat powerboats and P1 AquaX. It is hoped that the weekend will become an annual event to entertain residents and attract visitors to the town to raise its profile and boost the local economy. The double bill of fast and furious jet ski and powerboat racing will be free to watch and Andy Hadley, chairman of the Minehead Events Group, said: “As a fun weekend for all the family to enjoy, we are hoping to attract visitors from far and wide to watch the top class jet ski and powerboat racing, and I want to thank local sponsors Amicus Law, Beaver Ford, CJ Lynch & Sons, Autohaus and Jewson for their support in making this event possible.”

Mayor of Minehead, Cllr Norman Hercock, is looking forward to the Summer Festival: “I’m sure all the sporting action that will take place on Minehead seafront will deliver a special and entertaining weekend for both local residents and holidaymakers alike.”

Former world champion jet skier and now Global Head of P1 AquaX, Lisa Barsby, explains: “Our events take place on the sea with simple, wide-open race courses that give riders the chance to open up their throttles and enjoy the full performance of the craft. The racing includes both sprint and endurance classes, lasting about 10 minutes and 30 minutes respectively, with the racers reaching speeds of up to 80mph.

The four-venue P1 AquaX EuroTour series kicked off on France’s Mediterranean coast in May – following the announcement that Experience Kissimmee, the travel and tourism authority in central Florida that promotes the destination, had become the title sponsor of this season’s tour – and then visited Normandy last month. After Minehead the racers will travel to Port Balis near Barcelona for the final round in October. The UK Championship has raced in Torquay and Porthcawl this Summer and Minehead now hosts the finale.

One of the competitors with only a short journey next week will be Simon Gill, the experienced and successful jet skier from Bristol who is the reigning UK and European champion in 2-stroke sprint. “Minehead is just down the road,” says Simon, “And I often ride that coastline. There’s a very fast rise and fall tide there, with a range of more than 12 metres in the Bristol Channel, so it could make for some exciting racing especially if there’s a bit of wind about to produce some interesting conditions.”

The jet ski action will start at 9.30am on Saturday (4 August) and 11.30am on Sunday (5 August), with the podium presentations to the winning riders taking place on The Esplanade at 4pm on Sunday. The racing will be filmed for television and shown internationally on leading sports channels and also on P1AquaX-YouTube.

For information about the weekend follow this link… p1aquax.com/Race-info/Minehead/2018/86196

MINEHEAD & EXMOOR MUSIC FESTIVAL

The Regal Theatre is proud once again to welcome the Minehead and Exmoor Music Festival for a week of rehearsals and performance. This is the 55th season of the Minehead & Exmoor Music Festival, which presents a week of concerts across West Somerset. 

The Regal provides a home where the orchestra rehearses and also hosts 3 major concerts.  (The Young Artists’ Concert on Sunday 22 July (at 7pm) and the Chamber Concert on Thursday 27 July (at 4pm) take place at the Methodist Church opposite the theatre.)

The orchestra, which plays a pivotal role in the Minehead Music Festival, was originally founded by Tim Reynish in 1963. It has been running in its present form for 30 years under Artistic Director and Conductor Richard Dickins.  Once again he has produced a fine programme of music which everyone is sure to enjoy. Every year he manages to persuade eminent international soloists as well as up-and-coming stars to come and perform with the orchestra.

The players are drawn from all over the country but most come from the London area where many of them perform with well-established orchestras and chamber groups. They produce high standards of performance which audiences eagerly anticipate.

Here is the festival line-up…

FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA CONCERTS AT THE REGAL THEATRE
CONDUCTED BY RICHARD DICKINS          

TICKETS: Adults £18.00, Students £3.00

Monday 23 July at Regal Theatre, Minehead
The Festival Orchestra conducted by Richard Dickins
Mozart:  Symphony No 35 (Haffner)
Paul Patterson: Double Bass Concerto
A world premiere performance
Soloist Leon Bosch
Mendelssohn: Symphony No 3 (Scottish)

Wednesday 25 July at Regal Theatre, Minehead
The Festival Orchestra conducted by Richard Dickins
Rossini:  Overture to The Barber of Seville
Bruch: Violin Concerto No 1
Soloist Maya Magub
Brahms: Symphony No 3

Saturday 28 July at Regal Theatre, Minehead
END OF FESTIVAL CONCERT
The Festival Orchestra conducted by Richard Dickins
Mozart: Overture to The Marriage of Figaro
Dvorak: Cello Concerto No 1
Soloist Laura van der Heijden  
Shostakovich: Symphony No 5

Tickets are now on sale at the Regal Box Office (01643 706430), 10am – 3pm Monday – Friday, 10am – 1pm Saturday.