Category Archives: Towns Around Exmoor

DR WATSON & THE ENIGMA OF MARY KELLY AT THE REGAL THEATRE MINEHEAD

From 19–21 April, Waterfront Theatre Company takes to the stage at the Regal Theatre in Minehead with their latest production –  Dr Watson & The Enigma Of Mary Kelly, written and directed by Fred Owen.

The year is 1901 and Whitechapel is gradually recovering from Jack the Ripper’s 1888 Reign of Terror. The new Whitechapel Art Gallery has opened on the High Street and the great and the good are in attendance to toast its success, including Dr John Watson who runs a clinic nearby.

Watson bumps into his old friend retired Inspector George Lestrade, who is attending the launch with William Wiggins, a reporter. Wiggins claims to have sensational information obtained from the stolen memoirs of Melville Macnaghten – the identity of Jack the Ripper.

Watson, Lestrade and Wiggins set out to prove him right or wrong before publishing the scoop of the new century. However, the search for one answer throws up a variety of new questions, some of which threaten to unleash a wave of despicable new horrors on the ever-brooding East End.

Performances Thursday – Saturday, 19 – 21 April begin at 7.30pm and tickets costing up to £8 are available from the Regal Box Office (01643 706430), 10am – 3pm Monday – Saturday.  Book online at www.regaltheatre.co.uk.

 

CALLING ALL ‘SHAPPY BOYS’ AND BRANNAM’S WORKERS

WOW! The next theme for the Pop-Up Museum’s memory workshop is the ‘World of Work’. A series of targeted workshops are running during April and May at Barnstaple Pop-Up Museum in Bridge Chambers, to gather information and stories about various aspects of Barnstaple and North Devon’s trades and industries.
The museum is calling for ex-‘Shappy boys’ from Shapland and Petter and ex-Brannam’s potters and workers to come and spend some time with them and share their memories of these well-known Barnstaple firms.

Sadie Green, Activity Plan Co-ordinator at the museum, says: “On 10 April we would love to hear from people who work, or used to work, in offices, banks and finance and the public sector. We have a 1950s BT switchboard and it would be great to meet any ex-BT workers! On 17 April we want to meet ‘Shappy boys’ from Shapland and Petter, as we have lots of objects from the company. Also, on 24 April we want to hear from any ex-Brannam’s pottery workers who are willing to share their stories. If you can’t make those dates, please call in and see us any Monday or Tuesday in April and May – enjoy a cup of tea and bring your stories to write down on the day. Our volunteer story collectors look forward to welcoming you.”

Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “The Pop Up is always looking for community experts – everyone is welcome to visit, especially if you have lots of knowledge about any of the workshop topics or if you used to work for one of the companies mentioned and are willing to spend a bit more time with them to share your stories.”

The Pop-Up is open to the public on Mondays and Tuesdays (except public holidays) from 11am to 3pm. Please visit the Pop-Up Museum to find out more, share your story with our volunteer story collectors, or become a community expert.  Get in touch with Sadie at the museum on 01271 346747 to find out more, or visit the Facebook page at PopUpBarnstaple.
Both photos used here are from Shapland and Petter, an outing and a group shot of Shappy apprentices, although we do not have any more details – do you recognise anyone?

HAVE YOUR SAY ON MINEHEAD ESPLANADE

People in Minehead with an interest in seeing the resort’s visitor appeal strengthened have the chance to help shape the Enterprising Minehead project.

The aim during the next phase is to enhance the Eastern Esplanade – the section near the West Somerset Railway terminus – with ideas starting to come forward.

Minehead Coastal Communities Team (MCCT) – the organisation that has the funding to spend – is now inviting people to come forward and have their say before any hard and fast decisions are made.

An initial meeting has been held with community groups’ representatives when some positive ideas were tabled – now the consultation is being opened up more widely.

Mood boards featuring concepts that could be brought to life will be on show at Minehead Tourist Information Centre (TIC), along with a questionnaire for feedback and suggestions.

The consultation will run from 10-15 April and the TIC’s opening hours are: Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 4pm and Sunday 11am – 4pm.

“I really hope people will come along, share their ideas and get involved. A tremendous amount of hard work went in to winning the funding in the face of some strong competition.

“This is a once-in-a-generation chance to harness that funding and make it work hard for the benefit of Minehead, its residents and economy. We have great community spirit here in West Somerset – let’s see it in action,” said Cllr Roger Thomas, who chairs MCCT.

Details of the consultation and background information and images can be found on MCCT’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/MineheadCCT

ROTARY CLUB GIFTS 50 TREES FOR TIVERTON

Tiverton Rotary Club has gifted 50 tree saplings to the Council in support of the Rotary Tree Challenge.

The Rotary Tree Challenge is a nationwide challenge encouraging each Rotary member to plant at least one tree to help save the environment in time for this year’s Earth Day on 22 April 2018.  With over 47,000 members in Great Britain and Ireland, the potential number of trees planted would be equivalent to a forest the size of 100 football pitches!

To initiate the challenge, 6 trees were planted during a joint ceremony on Thursday 22 March as part of a wider planting programme in and around Tiverton.  The ceremony took place along the old railway line near Manley Bridge.  In attendance were Rotary members Sue Godfrey (organiser), Tricia Collier and Les Rendell along with the Council’s Leader Clive Eginton,  Darren Beer and Mick Jelliman  from the Grounds Maintenance team.

Further potential sites are being planned and agreed by the Council to enhance existing woodland and open spaces, including Elmore Football Club, Market Walk, West Exe and along the BMX track.

The tree saplings include a mixture of species, including beech, oak and hornbeam  and were supplied by the I Dig Trees planting scheme (a collaboration between OVO Energy and The Conservation Volunteers).  Once all 50 of the trees have been planted, the Council will maintain and accept responsibility for them throughout their life.

Rotary member and organiser Sue Godfrey said: “We are delighted that Mid Devon District Council welcomed the offer of trees by the Rotary Club of Tiverton. We all need to get involved in caring for our environment. This not only benefits wildlife but also enhances the quality of life for all of us in the Tiverton area.”

Clive Eginton said: “I’d like to thank the Rotary Club of Tiverton for this magnanimous gesture; it really is fantastic that they’ve donated 50 trees of 5 different varieties and I hope that the people of Tiverton and the surrounding areas will enjoy these trees for many decades to come.”

The environmental benefits of this campaign will replenish forests and ensure habitats for wildlife are restored. The challenge is also a great way to involve communities, with activities varying from extending and under-planting existing woods to enhancing parks and open spaces.

If you would like to get involved in the Rotary Tree Challenge, grab your wellies and make contact with your local Rotary Club using the Rotary Club finder. Alternatively, check the Rotary tree-planting schemes and take part without getting your hands dirty.

CAMERAS AT THE READY FOR CLASSIC CARS IN LYNMOUTH!

Practical Classics car magazine is bringing a number of classic cars to Lynmouth for a photo shoot on Monday 29 January. Some of the cars will be going up on the Lynton Lynmouth Cliff Railway (whilst the passenger carriages are removed for winter maintenance).

The last time that cars were transported up the cliff via the railway was in 1952 during the Lynmouth Flood Disaster as a way of getting stranded cars out of Lynmouth and back to Lynton (and briefly as a one-off marketing stunt in the 1960s with an E-Type jag that was owned by a local businessman).

Viewing will be from the public areas and the bridges only but if you are interested in attending for photos / film / interview / editorial then it may be possible for site access to be arranged. The site contact for attendance or enquiry is Ashley Clarke (Chief Engineer / Manager) and his number is 01598 753486.

The cars will also be photographed in some of the other iconic locations around the twin villages, including Valley of Rocks, Rhenish Tower and Countisbury Hill. Practical Classics are writing an article about the Cliff Railway, its past role in transporting goods and cars and they are also showcasing the local area with a drive from Lynmouth to Porlock.

PHOTO: George Newnes’ car, which is believed to have been a Renault and was probably the first car ever taken up on the railway.  If you look closely, he can be seen sitting in the back on the right.  This image (courtesy of the Cliff Railway) was included in our article by Tony James about the railing back in the autumn of 2016.

EXMOOR FOOD AND CRAFTS: NEW MINEHEAD SHOP TO PROMOTE LOCAL PRODUCERS

A recently formed group of local food producers and craftspeople is opening a brand new shop at No. 4, The Avenue, Minehead, on 15 January 2018.

Following the recent decision to close the Exmoor Producers Association Shop on Friday Street Minehead, some of its members, along with a many new producers, got together to form a new ‘not for profit’ community group.

Pam Barr, herself a local pork farmer from Little Oak Farm (see winter issue of the magazine and photo above), is chairing the new group called Exmoor Food & Crafts. Pam said, “There is real enthusiasm and excitement among our members – the new shop which will allow a great platform for locally produced goods. We’ll be offering a great selection of Exmoor and Greater Exmoor handmade crafts and fabulous food items including honey, jam, chutney and meat.”

Local producers who might be interested in selling their goods though the new shop are invited email Pamela via info@exmoorfoodandcrafts.co.uk or pop in after 15 January.

Dan James, Sustainable Economy Manager from Exmoor National Park said, “We’ve been delighted that this new group is going to promote local produce in this way. It is essential that residents and visitors can easily source the items being made here on Exmoor and the new shop will give a real focus for the wider activities of the group. ”

 

CHRISTMAS AT BARNSTAPLE PANNIER MARKET

Support your local traders and enjoy a host of festive events this Christmas at Barnstaple’s historic Pannier Market.

The Christmas countdown has well and truly begun, so kick off your Christmas shopping at the market, open Tuesday to Sunday throughout December.

Connect and Create Fest is back on Sunday 3 December, with a fantastic mix of unique and creative stalls, live music, art and craft workshops, licensed bar and lots of fund raising activities for local causes. This family-friendly event runs from 10am to 6pm, entry is free.

On Thursday 7 December Barnstaple Town Council will be hosting their annual Christmas Fayre and carol service from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. This highlight is guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit and will be make your late-night shopping an evening to remember.

There will be a wide range of yummy festive treats available at the monthly REAL food market from 10am–4pm on Sunday 10 December. Stock up on some tasty, local supplies to make your Christmas dinner unforgettable.

And there are further opportunities for late-night shopping on Thursday 14 and 21 December, with the market open from 6–10pm. Both evenings include a delicious Christmas street food party, which will keep your energy up for all that shopping! On 21 December you can get up close to real elves, make your very own reindeer food and elf elixirs with Buzzlewick’s Elf Emporium. Whilst there, don’t forget to write your letter to Santa at the Polar post office and hand it to the postmaster elf himself, to make sure it gets to the North Pole in time for Christmas! The elves will be on duty in the market from 11am to 3pm and from 5pm to 7pm.

If you like to leave things to the last minute, the last Sunday Christmas market will take place on 24 December from 10am–4pm. Pick up some final treats before the big day! The market will close at 4pm on Christmas Eve, reopening on Wednesday 27 December. It will also close at 4pm on Saturday 30 December, reopening Tuesday 2 January.

Executive Member for Economic Regeneration, Councillor Pat Barker, says: “Barnstaple Pannier Market always feels particularly special at this time of year. As usual there is a wonderful range of events planned in the run up to Christmas, with something for all the family to enjoy. Make sure you pay a trip to the market when you are out doing your Christmas shopping and support the many local traders who make it such a special place.”

Parking in the town is free after 6pm in all North Devon Council car parks  and free all day on Sundays in long-stay car parks at Fairview, Seven Brethren, Lower Pilton and Tarka.

CAN YOU HELP DEVELOP A BRAND FOR MINEHEAD

Workshops and surveys are being carried out with local residents and visitors this month  in order to develop a new tourism brand for Minehead.

Leading this work is the Minehead Coastal Community Team. Town and district Councillor Roger Thomas, who chairs the team, said: “We are seeking to get a cross-section of views from residents, visitors and businesses on what makes Minehead special and how this can be distilled into a clear message that will help in attracting more visitors to the town.”

A variety of methods is being used to capture these views, including workshops, street and phone interviews in Minehead and Taunton, online surveys and a review of what other seaside towns have achieved.

Roger continued: “We would welcome involvement from anyone who is interested. In particular we would like to hear from people who would be interested in attending one of the two one-hour workshops taking place in Minehead at 1pm and 5.30pm on Thursday 23 November. For those people who can’t make it we would appreciate your time in completing an online survey.”

The development of a new brand for Minehead is being carried out as part of the Enterprising Minehead project, which aims to significantly raise the quality of what’s on offer for visitors. Match funding has been secured by the Regeneration Team at West Somerset Council that will see £1m of investment in improving the seafront, and developing new events, skills and marketing.

A recent procurement exercise to deliver the branding work led to the employment of RH Partners and Flotilla Media. Work will be delivered in two phases, starting with the development of a brand identity for Minehead in November, and then the development of branding designs in December. Local residents will then have a second opportunity to express their views on the potential design options in open events being planned for January 2018.

If you are interested in taking part in one of the workshops at the Beach Hotel on 23 November 2017 or doing one of the online surveys, please contact Robert Downes by email at tourism@westsomerset.gov.uk.

  • Minehead Coastal Communities Team (MCCT) is a partnership group of organisations that are working collectively on projects to improve the town. The team is made up of representatives from business, the community, Minehead Town Council and West Somerset Council.
  • The Enterprising Minehead project takes its lead from the priorities and strategic direction set out in the Minehead Economic Plan which was developed by the Minehead Coastal Communities Team in 2016. The plan can be viewed at westsomersetonline.gov.uk/Business/Economic-Strategies.
  • Further information on Enterprising Minehead project can be found at westsomersetonline.gov.uk/Business/Regeneration-and-Development-Projects.

SOLAR-POWERED TOURISM FOR WATCHET: PLEASE VOTE NOW

A funding application to pay for solar panels on the community-led Visitor Centre and Boat Museum in Watchet has been shortlisted, and is now up for public vote.

The project, which is a Marks and Spencer Energy Fund application, is called ‘Solar Powered Tourism’. Solar panels would save money and create income for the building, so freeing up funds to spend on high quality tourism marketing for the town, which would help to boost its economy. Grant-funded solar panels would also help the boat museum to retain its free entry.

To find out more, and to cast your vote, go to: www.mandsenergyfund.com/projects/solar-powered-tourism.

The application has been made by Onion Collective, a community interest company in the town who facilitated the creation of the Watchet Visitor Centre in 2016. The building is an extension to the Watchet Boat Museum, which simultaneously underwent refurbishment. This followed consultation with the people of Watchet to determine what local people felt was needed to give the town a stronger future. The response was almost unanimous: a more buoyant local economy, provided in large part by an increase in the tourist offer.

The Visitor Centre building work was carried out thanks to grant funding from a Hinckley Point Community Impact Mitigation fund and the Trust House Charitable Foundation. A local voluntary group, known as the Watchet Community Makers then carried out much of the internal refurbishment of the boat museum, supporting the town and learning skills along the way.

If the application is successful, the panels will be installed at the end of this year. Planning permission has already been granted. The system will be battery ready, which also leaves scope for a future sustainable community business to be run from the building.

The Marks and Spencer Energy Fund is run annually, and provides UK community organisations with an opportunity to win a share of £300,000 to support their renewable energy projects and technologies.

 

BID FOR A PROSPEROUS MINEHEAD

The launch of the proposed Minehead Business improvement District (BID) is being held at Butlins Village, Warren Road, Minehead tomorrow, Tuesday 5 September.

Minehead Chamber of Commerce has invited businesses in the proposed BID area to attend this event when they will outline ideas about how a BID scheme in Minehead could increase the vitality and viability of the town centre.

Guest speaker, Paul Batt, Chairman of Weston BID, will share his experiences of their BID, and what the scheme has meant for his business and Weston super Mare over the past six years.

Graham Sizer, Vice-Chairman of Minehead Chamber of Commerce, said: “The proposed BID will help us to deliver projects and initiatives to support the town centre, helping business to thrive. This is about the business community taking a leading role in how our town develops in the future. We need the town’s business community to get involved in helping us to decide the priorities and actions that a BID could bring to our town. When we carried out interviews for the Feasibility Study earlier this year, we were delighted by the positive reception that this proposed scheme received from a wide range of business people in town. I do hope as many of those who received invitations will join me to hear about this great opportunity for business to work together to create a prosperous future for Minehead.”

Lucy Ball from Destination Management & Marketing, who carried out the feasibility study for a Minehead BID, will explain to guests how BIDs work and how such a scheme could benefit Minehead. She will also outline the next steps in the process of developing a BID for Minehead. Lucy commented, “The crucial element of all successful BIDs, is the involvement of local businesses from the outset of the scheme. We hope that representatives from across a broad spectrum of the Minehead town, business community will want to join the BID Steering Group to help us to get this scheme right for the town.”

Of more than 270 BID schemes nationally that have gone to ballot, the great majority have voted in favour of these schemes. Businesses involved in BIDs have found they have been given a voice to influence how the towns they operate within are managed, and are able to deliver projects and have the influence necessary to survive and flourish.