A SUMMER BREAK FROM CARE AT FREMINGTON

Rest, relax, revitalise. That’s what summer holidays are for. And Care South’s welcoming care homes are the perfect choice for respite care holidays this summer. If you provide care for a loved one it can be difficult to take a holiday, even if it’s just to stay at home and enjoy some time relaxing. Being able to do that without having to worry about the care can make all the difference.

A respite stay at any of Care South’s homes gives complete peace of mind that you or your loved one are getting the best care in a home-from-home environment. Respite care breaks can be beneficial for older people, too. They offer a chance to enjoy a change of scenery, meet new people and try out some new activities and experiences. Changes of scene are hugely beneficial to elderly people; new environments stimulate the senses and recharge the brain. A respite break can also be a gentle introduction to more permanent care.

Respite breaks mean relatives can be occupied with fresh conversation and activities and there is always something happening. Residents often find respite breaks do wonders for loved one’s confidence and self-esteem, as they know trained staff are around in case they need support.

Care South has residential, nursing and dementia care homes across the South of England that offer respite care. Many residents join the homes for short-term respite care all year round, but the summer is particularly welcoming. The activities team organise lots of sunny day trips and activities in the gardens, and it’s a great opportunity to spend time in the company of fellow residents, as well as rid the worry of needing to cook meals, shopping and housework.

Just one of the lovely homes is Fremington Manor near Barnstaple. This home was recently awarded an overall ‘Outstanding’ rating by the national care organisation, the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The inspectors highlighted the outstanding work by the care home staff in delivering the highest quality care, treatment and support tailored to all residents’ individual needs. Fremington Manor is set in beautiful grounds with lovely views, excellent facilities and quality care to make guests ‘feel at home’ for as long as they choose to stay.

For further information about respite breaks at Fremington Manor, please contact 01271 377990 or visit www.care-south.co.uk

SOMERSET RIVERS AUTHORITY TO SPEND £2.76M ON FLOOD WORKS

A new £2.76million programme of flood works across Somerset has been approved by the Board of Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA).

Following the Board’s annual budget-setting meeting, 28 projects costing £1.703 million will be carried out at hundreds of sites over the coming year and beyond.

Another £1.057million is being put towards a multi-million pound scheme to improve the River Sowy (also known as the River Parrett Flood Relief Channel) and King’s Sedgemoor Drain on the Somerset Levels. This scheme will deliver greater benefits than any other single activity in Somerset’s 20 Year Flood Action Plan, which was drawn up during the devastating floods of 2013-14. Those floods submerged 150km2 of land, affected 600 homes and 7,000 businesses, closed 81 roads and cost Somerset up to £147.5milion.

There is no increase in the SRA’s council tax charge, which is still at the same level it was in 2016.

All SRA works go above and beyond the usual activities of other Flood Risk Management Authorities in Somerset, such as councils, Internal Drainage Boards and the Environment Agency.

Cllr John Osman, Chairman of Somerset Rivers Authority, said: “Every single element of the SRA’s programme of works for 2019-20 has been designed to give the people of Somerset greater flood protection and resilience.

“Various kinds of works have been approved because different parts of the county have different needs, and Somerset Rivers Authority allows local people to set their own priorities.

“In practice, that means some activities are focused on the big need for extra maintenance of watercourses, and of thousands of structures such as culverts and silt-traps and drains and gullies. Beyond that, there’s improvements, innovations, and investigations, and numerous collaborations in towns and in the countryside. Longer term, we’re helping to fund a major project that will help local people decide how they want to adapt to the effects of climate change on flooding problems in Somerset.

“I’m proud to have led Somerset Rivers Authority since it was launched just over four years ago. I’ve seen for myself what can be achieved through us all working together. We’re doing more to tackle flooding, in new and better ways, we’re doing more to make people’s lives safer and easier. That wouldn’t be happening without the SRA.”

For much fuller details of new SRA activities countywide, visit: www.somersetriversauthority.org.uk/flood-risk-work/sra-enhanced-programme-works-2019-20/

PHOTO: Carhampton stream maintenance work for the SRA.

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.

 

WHITE HORSE EXFORD SHORTLISTED FOR COUNTRYSIDE ALLIANCE AWARDS

The Exmoor White Horse Inn has been shortlisted to win a Countryside Alliance Award in the Pub category.

The Awards are the Countryside Alliance’s annual celebration of British food and farming, enterprise and heritage through our small hard-working businesses. The awards are now in their fourteenth year and have become the definitive rural business award to win.

They are set apart from other award schemes because they are driven by public nomination, offering customers the chance to say why their favourite businesses are worthy of national acclaim. The awards received over 17,000 nominations this year, so The Exmoor White Horse Inn has done extremely well to be shortlisted.

Serving the Exmoor Community for over 30 years they are now the longest serving licensees in the inn’s 500 year history. Welcoming visitors by wheel by hoof and by foot, the inn is an intrinsic part of the Exmoor National Park.

Countryside Alliance Awards Director Sarah Lee commented: “We have been overwhelmed by nominations this year. The secret to the Rural Oscars’ popularity is that they honour the people involved in these businesses and not just their produce or services. They exist to sing the praises of those who work hard to keep our communities and rural economy ticking, but don’t seek the spotlight. These awards provide a cause for celebration in a time of great uncertainty in the countryside. Our local produce is second to none and there are many community heroes and businesses worthy of national recognition.”

Peter & Linda from The Exmoor White Horse Inn commented: “We are thrilled to have been shortlisted as regional finalist. It is especially gratifying as we are celebrating our 30th year as custodians of The Exmoor White Horse Inn in the heart of the Exmoor National Park.

More information about the awards can be found here.

Photo by Peter Hendrie.

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.

A LIFE IN COLOUR: THE ART OF DORIS HATT

The life and works of a remarkable Somerset artist, with a revolutionary spirit, are being celebrated in a new exhibition opening at the Museum of Somerset on 16 March.

The twentieth-century artist Doris Hatt (1890–1969) was a Somerset pioneer of British modernism. She exhibited her vibrant works over almost five decades, beginning in 1920, and contributed to many exhibitions in the South West.

Sam Astill, Head of Museums at the South West Heritage Trust, said: “Doris Hatt was a woman ahead of her time – a feminist and socialist whose remarkable life and artistic achievements have remained surprisingly little known.”

Doris’ painting style developed over time as she absorbed the major influences of twentieth-century modernism, including cubism, purism, abstraction and the works of Cézanne, Picasso, Braque, Dufy and Léger. Her work includes portraiture, still lifes and landscapes. Clevedon, Watchet, East Quantoxhead and Wedmore are among the recognisable South West landscapes depicted in her art.

Doris’ modernist approach extended beyond her work as an artist. She designed her own Art Deco/Bauhaus style home in Clevedon where she lived with her partner Margery Mack Smith, a school teacher and weaver. It became a meeting place for radical activity in both the arts and politics. As a member of the Communist Party, Doris twice stood unsuccessfully for local election.

Co-curator Denys Wilcox from The Court Gallery added: “For 50 years Doris was an acknowledged but under-appreciated artist. We look forward to this exhibition bringing Doris Hatt the wider recognition she so richly deserves.”

The exhibition ‘A Life in Colour: The Art of Doris Hatt’ is being produced in association with the Court Gallery. It will be open at the Museum of Somerset, Taunton, from 16 March to 29 June.

The Museum of Somerset is part of the South West Heritage Trust, an independent charity that protects and celebrates Somerset and Devon’s rich heritage.

Visit museumofsomerset.org.uk

#dorishattcolour

PROJECT TO RECREATE LOST GARDENS NEAR SIMONSBATH GETS UNDERWAY

A project to recreate a 200-year-old picturesque garden in the former royal forest of Exmoor, near Simonsbath, got underway last week following major funding from the Western Somerset LEADER programme and Exmoor National Park Authority.

The garden was once the vision of wealthy businessman John Knight, who in 1818 purchased a vast area of remote, uninhabited wilderness formerly used by the Crown for hunting and largely untouched since the Bronze Age. He set about building a grand mansion amidst an elaborate ‘Picturesque Landscape’ – a concept central to the Romantic Movement focused on harnessing natural beauty to enhance the sense of drama in the landscape.

For reasons that aren’t well understood his dream was never finished and his importance in shaping the Exmoor landscape remained largely overlooked until letters and documents dating from the time were uncovered in a loft near Kidderminster in 2016. These revealed ambitious plans to reclaim a vast area of remote valleys, mires, moors and woodland, along with the creation of a bespoke road and canal network, plus numerous buildings and farmsteads.

Even by modern-day standards it was a remarkable feat – with a 29-mile-long boundary wall, at least 12 miles of roads, two farmhouses, two canals, networks of land drains and the cultivation of more than 2,500 acres of moorland all documented as completed within the first 18 months. But amid faltering finances, a family feud over inheritance and his wife’s ill-health, the mansion remained unfinished, whilst the once awe-inspiring gardens sank back into obscurity.

Now, in the year of the 70th anniversary of the Parliamentary Act that gave rise to the UK’s National Parks, a team of volunteers working alongside the Simonsbath Programme Steering Group and Exmoor National Park Authority hope to bring the gardens back to life through work to reopen one of the original picturesque walks and restore historic buildings that formed part of the original garden.

Charlotte Hornsby, garden volunteer and member of the Simonsbath Programme Steering Group, said: “I’ve always been interested in historical gardens and so to be involved in one in my village is just fantastic. It was such an exciting day to finally start bringing John Knight’s picturesque vision back to life. It will truly be an Unexpected Garden of Exmoor.”

Rob Wilson-North, Exmoor National Park Authority’s Head of Conservation and Access, said: “The lost gardens of Ashcombe are a very rare example of a Picturesque landscape – a concept that underpinned the Romantic Movement and helped put the countryside at the very heart of Britishness, setting the tone for the creation of the UK’s National Parks over a century later.

“We hope these gardens will not only evoke the spirit of the Knight family and their important role in Exmoor’s past, but also help celebrate the special role of National Parks in shaping our cultural identity.”

Anyone interested in volunteering to help with the project should contact Patrick Watts-Mabbot on 07973727469 or email getinvolved@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk.

RNLI ILFRACOMBE LAUNCHED TO ASSIST WITH SEARCH FOLLOWING CAR CLIFF FALL

Volunteer RNLI crew launched relief all-weather lifeboat, Stormrider, to assist the emergency services in the search for possible casualties following an incident where a vehicle fell from steep cliffs onto the beach at Sillery Sands, near Lynmouth.

The call was received at 9.05am on Saturday 9 March and the volunteer crew quickly mobilised and launched the relief Shannon class all-weather lifeboat Stormrider. Sea conditions were rough, with a near gale force 7-8 westerly wind and strong tides with four-metre swells. In these challenging conditions the journey out to Sillery Sands took 35 minutes and the RNLI lifeboat arrived on scene at 9.40am.

Once on scene, volunteer crew could see the badly damaged car at the foot of the steep cliff at the water line. The Ilfracombe Coastguard Rescue Team, Lynmouth Coastguard Rescue Team and the police were in attendance at the scene. At this point RNLI crew were informed that the driver had managed to escape from the car, but it was unclear whether there was anyone else in the vehicle at the time  it went over the cliff.  Lynmouth Fire Service and Barnstaple Fire Specialist Rescue team also attended the scene and were able to search the wreckage of the car and confirm that no-one was inside.

The RNLI lifeboat crew were tasked by the coastguard and police with searching the cliffside and shoreline to check whether there were any other casualties. Using their knowledge of the conditions and tides, the crew searched the shoreline and cliff area, and identified a number of objects for investigation by the coastguard team. No casualties were found. The coastguard sent a cliff technician down the cliff and all of the objects were retrieved. The RNLI crew searched the area for an hour and half before before being stood down at 11.10am by the emergency services. The lifeboat then returned to the station by 11.40am.

Carl Perrin, RNLI Volunteer Coxswain for Ilfracombe RNLI lifeboat, who led the search says: “Our volunteer crew performed well to assist the police and coastguard in the search for casualties. The team have trained extensively to carry out this kind of task and today they used their training and local knowledge to carry out this search with strong winds and a heavy seas making conditions challenging.

“There were a number of people gathered around the rocks at the shoreline to observe the rescue. In such rough and unpredictable sea conditions, we would remind people to take extra care and to respect the water.”

PHOTO at top of story: Stormrider by Neil Perrin.

EASTER HOLIDAY OPPORTUNITY FOR YOUNG MUSICIANS

Calling young musicians and singers of secondary school age; do you want to do something amazing with your Easter break this year?! Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts, would love to welcome you to their ‘Halsway Young Folk – Intro’ week. This is an exciting and enjoyable music residential (Monday 8 to Friday 12 April), run by young professional folk musicians, to introduce you to traditional music. You’ll need to have experience as a singer or musician (any instrument is fine), but it’s ok to be completely new to folk.

You’ll stay at Halsway Manor, near Crowcombe, for a week packed with practical music workshops. You’ll work in large and small groups discovering folk music: you’ll learn new songs and tunes, you’ll create new musical interpretations and arrangements, you’ll work on performance skills, and rehearse for a performance at the end of the course. You’ll be working hard during the days, but the evenings will include fun activities for you to get to know each other, socialise and have fun.

The week is led by musician / teacher Will Lang, with Nicola Lyons (4Square), Alex Garden (The Drystones) and Claire Bailey (Pastoral Lead). Together they’ll support you in developing your musical skills, and help you create music that you love and can be proud to perform.

Interested? Each place costs £195 to include full board (accommodation and all meals), tuition and all activities. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Contact Halsway Manor for an application form: 01984 618274 ext 1 / office@halswaymanor.org.uk or visit the website www.halswaymanor.org.uk.

Bursary places may be available to young people with exceptional talent or for whom the opportunity would be especially beneficial, but whose financial circumstances would otherwise exclude them from the programme.

Further ‘Halsway Young Folk’ courses in 2019 include ‘Junior’ for ages 8-12 (Tue 20 – Thu 22 Aug), ‘Intermediate’ for ages 13-18 (Mon 29 July – Sat 3 Aug), and ‘Advanced’ for ages 16+ (Mon 19 – Mon 26 Aug). See website for details.

APPLICATIONS ARE INVITED NOW FOR THE 2019 PINNACLE AWARD

The 2019 Pinnacle Award, organised by The Exmoor Society, is now open to young people aged between 18 and 27 years who live, work or study in the Greater Exmoor area.  It offers up to £3,000 to an individual or group who have an idea for a business venture based on Exmoor, for example in agriculture, forestry, food and drink, conservation, horticulture, craft, tourism, or any outdoor land-based activity. 

The Award, now in its eighth year, was set up by The Exmoor Society to help young entrepreneurs live and work on Exmoor. As a conservation body, the Society fully recognises the importance of providing opportunities for young people to continue to live in the area by encouraging entrepreneurial activity.  The award also helps to promote the idea that beautiful landscapes and livelihoods in a National Park do go together.

Previous applications have come from people with ideas as diverse as making cider and developing a herd of pedigree cattle.  The award so far has helped fund young people either to set up or take forward businesses such as agricultural contracting, country clothing and woodland management.  There were three successful applicants in 2018: Polly Goodman, Philip Stephens and Camilla Waterer, who were developing goat meat from local herds, vehicle canopies from lightweight material and horse-drawn carriage rides over the moor for celebrations and special picnics.  All three applicants impressed the judges so much that Trustees decided to offer the full award to each one.

The application process is designed to be accessible to all, with a basic form to complete and a reference provided by a mentor or sponsor.  Applicants will be invited to an informal interview where judges will be looking for business ventures related to Exmoor’s rural character and likely to provide a sustainable living, with perhaps the potential in the future to offer further employment. Chairman of the Society, Rachel Thomas, said: “There is a great deal of concern that young people have to leave Exmoor because of the lack of employment.  By providing seed core money through the Pinnacle Award, the Society hopes to enable them to stay in the area and keep the moor alive and thriving.”

The Society hopes to attract even more entries for the award this year which is now open for applications with the closing date being 30 June 2019.  Forms are available on the Society’s website at www.exmoorsociety.com or by contacting its Dulverton office on 01398 323335, info@exmoorsociety.com.

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