Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Stepping up to the South West Coast Path Challenge 2016.

Following the inaugural South West Coast Path Challenge in 2015, the next great stomp for charity kicks off on Saturday for a month-long series of events to raise funds to help protect this National Trail.

Organised by the South West Coast Path Association in partnership with the National Trust, registered participants are invited to set their own challenge or take part in one of the organised walks taking place throughout October.

Beginning with a 10-mile walk from Minehead to Porlock on Saturday (1st October), around 70 people are taking part, completing the first leg of the 630-mile route that provides continuous coastal access around the entire south west peninsula.

Among the participants are 14 school children from Wellington School. Their teacher, Mr Nigel Smith said:
“Wellington School are proud to support the Association’s Challenge as the students use the path for their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award and believe that it is vital to protect and preserve the path for future generations to enjoy.”

A husband and wife team have joined forces with their friends as part of their own challenge to eventually walk the entire 630-mile length of the South West Coast Path.
Keith Bailey said:
“I started my journey walking from South Haven Point in Dorset, the official end point of the Coast Path. The Minehead Challenge gives my wife Wendy and I the opportunity to walk the first section and so our future walks will now fill in the gaps in between.”
“Fundraising to enable the volunteers and teams to continue their amazing work is essential - particularly as government and local authority budgets come under increasing strain. I and my fellow team members are looking forward to contributing, albeit in a small way, to the continued funding needs whilst having an enjoyable day together on the Somerset coastline.”

Setting off from the start marker in Minehead, the route takes in the rugged moorland countryside and the highest coastline in England. Highlights include the stunning Exmoor scenery and a chance to spot rare plants and animals, including red deer.

You’ll witness the evidence of coastal erosion, where the 6000 year old shingle ridge across Porlock Bay was breached, resulting in dramatic flooding of the fields behind at each high tide to form Porlock Weir, where the walk ends.

If that gives you a taste for this coastal odyssey, you can join another 10-mile walk from Durlston to South Haven Point at the end of the month on Saturday 29th October.

Last year’s event saw more than 700 people clocking up around 9,000 miles and raising thousands of pounds in sponsorship. It is hoped that this record will be beaten and with more than 300 people taking place this weekend alone, it’s on track for success.

Money raised will go towards Path improvement projects to help protect the coastline for future generations. It costs at least £1,000 to maintain just 1 mile of Coast Path, plus an additional £2,000 for the Trust to take care of the land the surrounds it.
Funding for the trail has been in sharp decline for the past five years and it’s this motivating factor, to help plug the funding gap, that has inspired many of its rangers and National Trust staff to step up to the Challenge and organise their own events on the land that they care for on a daily basis. 
South West Coast Path Challenge 2016 -  Photo Porlock Weir copyright Andreas Byrne (All Rights Reserved)
 South West Coast Path Challenge 2016 -  Photo Porlock Weir copyright Andreas Byrne (All Rights Reserved)
For further information and to take part visit the Association’s website at 
or call 01752 896237. 
Registration costs from £10 per person and you’ll receive a fundraising pack and a Challenge 2016 t-shirt.  
Follow news of the Challenge @SWCoastPath #630challenge and on Facebook/southwestcoastpath

Saturday, 24 September 2016


They're back again! The Pistoleros are riding into Barnstaple again Although they've never really been away. Barry Ashworth's evergreen bunch of dubwise vagabonds will be rocking festivals thru the summer, and now it's back to the towns and city's previewing tracks from there soon to be released 7th album And it's going to be another corker.

Their last album 'The Return Of The Pistoleros' makes them sound like a Latin prison gang, extras in a spaghetti western, a marauding mob of Tequila-swigging mobsters, or a Mexican drug cartel. Some of which have a grain of truth to them. Joking aside, though, it's been a long road to get to where they are - one of the most popular and best-loved acts on the circuit - but it's testimony to their perseverance and staying power that their popularity still keeps increasing.

The Dubs have been dubbed 'The Pistoleros' in recent times by their army of fans - so it seemed only natural to adopt the tag for their latest album on Rob Da Bank's Sunday Best imprint. El Pistolero is also the nickname of Uruguay talisman Luiz Suarez, who knocked England out of the 2014 World Cup. But as Barry is a Liverpool fan, he's happy to still have this association. Just. The Dub Pistols coalesced in the mid-'90s and initially surfed the big beat wave along with acts like the Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim. They had some minor chart hits like 'Cyclone' and 'There's Gonna Be A Riot' on Concrete Records, remixed the likes of Moby and Limp Bizkit, and made dramatic inroads into America.

Their debut album in 1998, 'Point Blank', cemented their position as party-rockers extraordinaire, and by the time it came to their second album around the Millennium - 'Six Million Ways To Live', with guest vocals by reggae great Horace Andy and lead singer of The Specials, Terry Hall - they were more concerned with some of the world's problems. The album was due to come out just before September 11th 2001 - the date of the Twin Towers terrorist attack in New York - and so had to be postponed. It was the start of the now-familiar Dub Pistols self-deprecating mantra: what could possibly go wrong?

As the noughties progressed, they signed to Sunday Best and went a bit more poppy for 'Speakers & Tweeters', which included cover versions of 'Rapture' by Blondie, 'Peaches' by The Stranglers and 'Gangsters' by The Specials - a track they had been making their own live. After guesting on their second album with 'Problem Is', estranged Specials singer Terry Hall started singing live with them, and the warm reaction he received from music fans was instrumental in him agreeing to reform his infamous 2-Tone band a few years later.

Next Dubs album 'Rum & Coke', so named after some infamous recording sessions in Barbados, introduced more guest vocalists such as former Freak Power man Ashley Slater and Beats International gal Lindy Layton, and with last long-player 'Worshipping The Dollar' in 2012  they consolidated their position as one of the foremost festival-rockers in Europe.

The Dubs toured with Neville Staple from The Specials at the start of 2014, and this led to the toaster guesting on 'Real Gangster' on the new 'Pistoleros' album. On the album, 'Our Life' is a free-spirited dub cut featuring long-term Dubs vocalists Lindy Layton and TK Lawrence. Languid beats song 'Say Goodbye' features the deep jazzual tones of Ashley Slater, 'Report' showcases major new hip-hop talent Genesis Elijah freeflowing over some lilting Dan Bowskill verses, and 'Kill Your Sound' has great reggae vocalist Seanie Tee all over it. 'Roll & Come In' sees the legendary Earl 16 (Leftfield etc) return to add sweet words to this spacious dub cut, and regular MC Darrison guests on dubwise drum & bass party track 'Ride With It'. And there's plenty more where that came from - it is, indeed, another corker.

Like their incendiary live shows, this new long-player is a riotous mix of dub, drum & bass, hip-hop, punk and ska. They'll be heading out on tour this autumn in support of the new 'Pistoleros'  release, so watch out! The gun-slinging outlaws are back in town - and this time, they're swigging Tequila.
Dub Pistols return to The Factory Petroc, Barnstaple 30th September 2016
Dub Pistols return to The Factory Petroc, Barnstaple 30th September 2016

DOORS 19.30 - 23.00 TICKETS: £15.00 +BF
BEATS WORKIN - 01271 321111

The Factory Petroc Brannams Campus Oakwood Close Barnstaple Devon EX31 3NJ

Friday, 23 September 2016

Countryfile's Ellie Harrison urges people to 'Say Yes to Wildlife'

Countryfile presenter Ellie Harrison is the face behind a new campaign to help reverse the fortunes of the South West's struggling wildlife.

The campaign features a short film released by Devon Wildlife Trust and other Wildlife Trust's in the South West and which showcases the work they do for people and nature. It includes images of Devon's Wembury Bay and Dartmoor, along with wildlife favourites including otters, hedgehogs and barn owls.

In the film Ellie Harrison explains:
"Growing up in the countryside meant the sounds and sights of the great outdoors filled my childhood with wonder."
However she concludes:
"Sadly today much of our wildlife is fighting for its existence."

It's a claim supported in a recent report. The State of Nature released on Wednesday 14th September brought together expert research on how our wildlife is faring. The report's conclusions were stark with 56% of species surveyed found to be in decline since 1970 and a startling 15% of all species surveyed facing the threat of extinction.

In Devon once familiar animals have become scarce with cuckoos declining by 80% since 1977, and the sites at which lapwings are breeding having shrunk by 97% to just two isolated spots.

However, against this bleak background the film provides a positive message for the future. Ellie explains how she was inspired by the work of The Wildlife Trusts restoring urban and rural landscapes for people and nature. The film also showcases the efforts of hundreds of Wildlife Trusts' volunteers who work in the South West to protect wildlife for the future. It also depicts the charity's many nature reserves and their role as vital havens for wildlife.

It was this inspiration which moved Ellie Harrison to speak out for nature: "When my local Wildlife Trust asked me if I'd lend my support I immediately said,yes! Yes to helping nature recover on land, in rivers and in the sea. I said yes to fighting for the things that I love and value."

Devon Wildlife Trust's Steve Hussey said:
"We're delighted that Ellie Harrison is backing our 'Say Yes to Wildlife' campaign. Her film shows how much nature means to her and how its present day predicament has moved her to back The Wildlife Trusts."
"We're hoping other people will follow Ellie's example and 'Say Yes to Wildlife' and we think the best place to start is to watch her wonderful new film."

You can watch Ellie's video at the Devon Wildlife Trust's website
Countryfile's Ellie Harrison urges people to 'Say Yes to Wildlife'

Tap link to view State of Nature Report