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.

BEN FOGLE COMES TO SOMERSET FOR HIS LAND ROVER MAKEOVER

The award-winning broadcaster and adventurer Ben Fogle has been into Williton recently getting a makeover for his classic Land Rover.

Ben (45) who has become famous for his love of the wilderness and inaccessible places, owns a Puma Defender 90 Land Rover – but recently wanted to upgrade various parts of his top-of-the-range four-wheel drive.

To get the job done he turned to Williton-based Exmoor Trim, who made various changes to all manner of gear including the hood (above) and even the steering wheel (bottom).

“Ben has always had a love for Land Rovers – he even wrote a book called Land Rover: The Story of the Car That Conquered the World,” said a spokesman for the specialist company.

“So, when the time came for Ben to make a change, he chose Exmoor Trim fitting technicians to do the work, saying it ‘felt like the right fit’.”

Exmoor Trim, which produces seats, hoods, canvas seat covers and hundreds of other accessories for Land Rovers, worked with Ben on making a bespoke ‘stayfast’ hood.

The high-tech cover was handmade by specialists in Exmoor Trim’s hood department.

Ben’s Land Rover was then sent across to Exmoor Trim’s fitting centre where the fitting technicians made numerous changes, including mounting a classic Evander Wood Rim steering wheel and new slimline boss kit.

The adventurer said he was delighted with the changes: “My thanks to Exmoor Trim for the beautiful new canopy on my Land Rover… She looks amazing!” he said.

WEST BUCKLAND SHORTLISTED FOR BOARDING SCHOOL OF THE YEAR

West Buckland School, in North Devon, has been shortlisted for Boarding School of the Year, in the TES Independent Schools Awards 2019.

In recent years the school has seen investment into its facilities to the tune of £14million, including the building of a state-of-the-art Sixth Form boarding house and study centre, both of which were specifically designed to ease the transition between school and a more independent living regime found at university.

The Sixth Form boarding house consists of 70 beautiful single en suite bedrooms and light, spacious social and breakout areas, as well as kitchen facilities, available to both day and boarding students. It is not surprising that, in only its third year, and with A-level results in 2018 being the highest for ten years, at 78% grade A* to A, the boarding house in the Sixth Form is at full capacity, with beds for September 2019 filling fast.

In addition, the school offers a very attractive 4-night weekly boarding offer which has become extremely popular with local students. Headmaster, Phillip Stapleton, is delighted with the TES recognition. “West Buckland is all about delivering an innovative and personalised education. Set amid the beautiful and peaceful Devon hills, our Sixth Form boarding facilities represent a gold standard that inspires and delivers on our aim to produce young men and women with the capacity to face exciting futures. The perfect blend of structure and independence is not only reflected in the popularity of our boarding offer but, more importantly, in the impact on pupil outcomes.”

EXMOOR VOLUNTEERS SHORTLISTED FOR UK NATIONAL PARKS AWARD

Volunteers behind a project to restore historic signposts across Exmoor National Park have been shortlisted for the UK National Parks Volunteering Awards 2018. Sponsored by Columbia Sportswear, the award recognises the outstanding contribution that volunteers make in helping care for these precious landscapes and inspiring others to safeguard them for future generations to experience and enjoy.

Two years ago, many of Exmoor’s traditional cast-iron signposts were looking shabby and at risk of falling into disrepair. In response to concern from local communities over the issue, Exmoor National Park Authority teamed up with Heritage Lottery fund and Somerset County Council to fund a project that would recruit volunteers to help restore and refurbish them, and trace their history.

Stuart and Mike are two of the fantastic army of over a hundred volunteers!

Project leader Charlotte Thomas from Exmoor National Park, said: “More than 100 volunteers have contributed to this project, helping with everything from the initial surveys and historical research, to actually painting and refurbishing the signs. We’ve even had people coming forward with bits of old signpost found in outbuildings that are now back in their rightful place, saving hundreds of pounds in restoration costs. Being shortlisted for this award is a great way of celebrating all that’s been achieved by these wonderful volunteers.”

Two other projects from Northumberland and Dartmoor National Parks have been shortlisted alongside Exmoor for the ‘projects’ category – one of four categories of award.

The judging panel this year was made up of the volunteer coordinators from all of the National Parks, who made the following statement: “Judging these awards is a humbling experience as it gives us the opportunity to learn about so many people and projects that are making an immense contribution to the 15 National Parks across the UK. It was a difficult choice this year as there were so many inspiring entries. We’d like to congratulate those who have been shortlisted and we would like to thank everyone who is volunteering to help our staff look after National Parks!”

The winners of each category will be announced at the Kendal Mountain Festival on 17 November 2018. All winners will receive great prizes provided by Columbia Sportswear and £1000 bursary is given to the group and project winners to help their volunteer work.

NEW SIGNS POINT ILFRACOMBE VISITORS IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

New finger posts have been installed in Ilfracombe, as part of a joint project to improve tourist links in the town.

The new posts direct visitors to places of interest and attractions around the town, such as the High Street, theatre and harbour. Each post displays the average time it takes to walk to each attraction, which is particularly useful for families and those with difficulty walking.

The fonts and colours used on the posts follow accessibility guidelines, so they are easy to read and understand. 

North Devon Council and Ilfracombe Town Council applied for funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development through the Leader 5 Rural Development Programme and this was match-funded by Ilfracombe Town Council, North Devon Council and Councillor Mike Edmunds’ Devon County Council Investing in Devon fund.

Mayor of Ilfracombe, Councillor Val Gates, says: “The new finger posts have helped to modernise the look of Ilfracombe and are making it easier for tourists and residents alike to migrate around many features of the town. A number of volunteers from various groups in Ilfracombe have also been involved and are thrilled with the results. I’d like to thank each one of them for their efforts with this project.”

Meanwhile, North Devon Council is working closely with the Ilfracombe Regeneration Board on a masterplan to regenerate Ilfracombe seafront. The masterplan will provide an overall scheme for the area that can be broken down into smaller projects that will be easier to deliver as funding comes available.

CAMPAIGN FOR NATIONAL PARKS URGES SOLUTIONS TO BIG CHALLENGES

The following is a press release from Campaign for National Parks

Campaign for National Parks has welcomed the Government’s call for evidence for the review of England’s designated landscapes, which was launched on Saturday 20 October. The review, which will report 70 years after the 1949 Act that established National Parks, looks at all aspects of England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs).

Julian Glover, who recently addressed Campaign for National Parks’ annual parliamentary reception, is leading the review. In his speech he noted that, “We’ve done well but we can do even better” and called for “interesting and bold ideas” in response to the challenges facing National Parks.

Campaign for National Parks urges everyone to participate in the consultation and submit their ideas to the panel. The charity, which was created in the 1930s to campaign for the creation of the Parks, wants to see the Parks become better protected, made even more beautiful and enjoyed by everyone.

Fiona Howie, chief executive of Campaign for National Parks, said: “Around 100 million people visit the National Parks each year to enjoy breath-taking views, nature and adventure. But the Parks are also home to rural communities. At times this inevitably causes tensions.

“We believe the National Parks are a fantastic success story but we welcome the chance to consider how to make them even better. We want to see the review take on the challenge of making the Parks better for wildlife and more accessible for everyone.”

Earlier this year Campaign for National Parks criticised the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy select committee for failing to exclude building nuclear waste facilities in the National Parks, helped successfully campaign against inappropriate zip wires in the Lake District and are currently campaigning against a destructive bypass in the South Downs.

“The National Parks were founded for the benefit of the people of England and Wales and are now famous across the world. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to improve them for everyone to enjoy. We welcome Julian’s call for bold ideas that will make a difference and achieve meaningful change so that England’s best landscapes are fit for the next 70 years,” concluded Fiona.

PHOTO: by Andrew Wheatley, from a previous issue of Exmoor Magazine.

LOOKING FOR: HUMAN GUIDE DOGS!

This is a story which Guide Dogs have asked us to publish in tandem with the article which you will find on page 112 of the new issue of Exmoor Magazine, which is out now.

You may well have heard of Guide Dogs, we’re a national charity working to ensure that blind and partially sighted people do not lose their independence. There are around two million people in the UK living with sight loss, and all experience a different level of vision and mobility. We offer a range of mobility services to help people keep their independence, and have an amazing number of dedicated staff, volunteers and, of course, dogs who support the Guide Dogs mission.

One of the services that Guide Dogs runs is called ‘My Guide’. It is a service whereby a trained, sighted (human) guide, is partnered with someone with sight loss. Many people with sight loss need support in gaining confidence to get out and about, and to achieve personal goals. My Guides accompany service users to facilitate tasks such as running errands, practising everyday routes, using public transport, or going to the gym to build confidence in these areas (playing fetch optional!).

Bethany Akielan, My Guide Ambassador, says, “When someone loses their sight, they can also lose confidence; or in the worst cases become socially isolated. Introducing a My Guide into someone’s life makes a real difference. In volunteering a couple of hours a week, it can make the seemingly insurmountable, possible for a service user.”

Guide Dogs provides full training for all volunteers in how to safely sighted guide and a general introduction to sight loss. We have several people waiting to be matched to My Guide partnerships in Exmoor and the surrounding areas. Being a volunteer is a great opportunity to learn new skills, socialise, and broaden your knowledge of supporting someone with a visual impairment.

Suzanne, a service user in Exeter, says, “Jan, my My Guide volunteer, has been invaluable in making my relocation from Sussex to Exeter a positive experience. Moving meant I had to make a mental map of my new surroundings and Jan has been key in supporting my independence in my new home town.”

If you’d be interested in finding out more about My Guide and other volunteering opportunities with Guide Dogs, head to our website: www.guidedogs.org.uk/ and click on ‘How Can I Help’ or call the South West Team on 0345 143 0204.

‘MATERIALITY’ EXHIBITION OPENS AT HESTERCOMBE

An exhibition inspired by the surroundings of Hestercombe will showcase the work of three artists this autumn/winter.

Sarah Bennett, Megan Calver and Philippa Lawrence have been directly engaged with Hestercombe House and Gardens over three years and the resulting exhibition has developed from these experiences.

Materiality: provisional states runs from 10 November 2018 until 24 February 2019 at Hestercombe Gallery and features exhibits using a range of media from photography, sculpture to drawing and text.

Sarah Bennett’s practice investigates institutional sites, both historical and contemporary, in UK and international settings, employing a range of artistic research methods and material processes including: digital recording, facsimile object making, observational drawing, and embodied actions. She is Head of School of Art and Architecture at Kingston University, and chairs educational events in art schools, universities and arts organisations in Europe and the USA.

Megan Calver’s new work is an iteration of her enquiry into expressions of taste and attitudes to perceived imperfections, first presented in a group show at Hestercombe in 2015. Megan Calver’s approach is process-led and for the past ten years she has focused her site-related investigations throughout the South West of England where collaborations with people and places have grown and taken hold.

After a deep study of the Hestercombe landscape, Philippa Lawrence offers works that ask us to perceive things we may have overlooked or not considered, tracing humankind’s activity in managing an estate and nature. Philippa has exhibited widely both in the UK and internationally, including in America, Japan, Czech Republic, Canada, Iceland and Australia.

Collectively interested in issues related to labour and the management of landscape and nature, Materiality: provisional states aims to examine and critique human and non-human centred activity found in Hestercombe’s past and present. The exhibition stems from archival research as well as ‘Disclosures and Dialogues’, a series of dialogue sessions with artists, curators, historians, academics and garden practitioners.

 

THE RURAL LIVING SHOW 2018

Next weekend – 17 and 18 November – sees the ever-popular Rural Living Show. This annual event has become a firm fixture in the run up to Christmas for those seeking the many unique and exciting items available at King’s Hall School over the weekend. Every year the show includes the work of many craftspeople both from Somerset and further afield – with demonstrations of traditional crafts throughout – basket making, wood turning, lace craft, corn dollies, candle-making – enabling you to buy things which are often totally one of a kind.

On offer will be jewellery, metalwork, glass, pottery, fabrics, paintings, lifestyle, and much, much more. The food marquee is legendary with its fine array of pies, sausages, smoked fish, bread, cakes, chocolates… the list is amazing, and all from local and committed producers

The event’s nominated charity as always is Children’s Hospice South West, who provide support for 400 families from the South West. Their running costs are about £6 million annually.

For younger visitors, there are face painters and a Magic Show on the balcony of the Sports Hall – all for donations to the Children’s Hospice.

The Rural Living Show is on:

17th November: 10.00 am to 5.00 pm
18th November: 10.00 am to 4.00 pm
Entrance: £4.00
(Children under 16 free)

www.rurallivingshow.co.uk
rurallivingshow@gmail.com

For more information, ring: 01823 323363

Photo: Blue bird from Blueberry Glass

SOMERSET GARDENERS GROW SUPPORT FOR ST MARGARET’S HOSPICE

St Margaret’s Hospice was delighted to host a celebration event at Brympton House, near Yeovil, to thank the Somerset gardeners who kindly opened their gardens, allotments and farms this summer to raise vital funds totalling £16,600 for the hospice.

The use of the venue and gardens was kindly donated by the owners, and was enjoyed by this year’s participating gardeners along with the open garden volunteers who had supported them on their open days.

Each garden owner and volunteer received a thank you certificate, presented by Marisa Lovell-Fox, Head of Fundraising at St Margaret’s Hospice, who said: “We are humbled by the generosity of the garden owners in the Somerset and Sherborne community, who have so kindly allowed people to share their beautiful gardens, and enjoy tea and cake, while raising essential funds needed to keep our services free and accessible to local people. We have been overwhelmed by the donations received this season, which show an increase of £7,000 from the previous year.”

Susan Bickle, the scheme coordinator, added: “We had an amazing response to our Open Gardens season this year, with a variety of different visits available, from small courtyard gardens to large woodland and lakes, with allotments and farms in between. Unlike some of the national open gardens schemes, all of the donations raised from the St Margaret’s Hospice Open Gardens season are used to support local patients and families in Somerset and the Sherborne area of Dorset.

We are keen to hear from anyone who would like to take part in the 2019 season either to open their garden, allotment, orchard or farm, or to offer help as a garden volunteer. There are many ways to support the scheme, even if you are unable to open a garden, such as having a plant sale, serving refreshments at your local flower show, or having a scarecrow trail in your village. We are also seeking local businesses who would like to advertise in our 2019 Open Gardens brochure or donate a prize to the Open Gardens raffle.”

St Margaret’s Hospice is all about making each day count for their patients, families and carers – if you would like to be part of making this happen through the Open Gardens scheme, please contact Susan Bickle, Open Gardens and Fundraising Volunteer Coordinator, for more information on 01935 709182 or 07736 886145 or by email on susan.bickle@st-margarets-hospice.org.uk.

0345 224 1203