Thursday, 23 February 2012

Charity helpdesk to accept call of the wild

A local wildlife charity is this week re-launching its Wildlife Helpdesk which aims to give advice to people with enquiries about a range of wildlife issues. The Devon Wildlife Trust has opened the doors of the Helpdesk which is being run from its offices in Commercial Road, Exeter, next to the charity's headquarters at Cricklepit Mill. Up until now the organisation has run an ad hoc advice service to respond to the hundreds of calls it receives each year. Now with a £10,000 Awards for All grant from the Big Lottery Fund, the organisation has revolutionised the facility to provide a better service to the public, including the creation of a drop in facility for people in the local area. Verity Hunt DWT's Administration Officer said: "We get many calls on a wide range of issues such as planning, wildlife gardening and species identification. It is clearly a very popular and important service we are running but it's been crying out for more funding and more volunteers to help. It's fantastic to now be up and running and to be able to take more calls and for people to be able to drop in to see us. The grant has helped us maintain, improve and expand the service so we can respond more efficiently to more people's requests for information and advice." The service is being run primarily with the help of local volunteers who are using their time and knowledge to help others in need. Alice Waterson, one of Helpdesk's longer-standing volunteers, says: 'Being involved in the new helpdesk has been really exciting. We now have some great facilities here and we will be able to provide a really useful information service to the public. It's very rewarding to be helping local wildlife and in helping local people to learn and understand more about the species and habitats we have here in Devon'. People who wish to use the service can call 01392 260884 email or pop in weekdays between the hours of 10am and 4pm. For more information about Wildlife Helpdesk visit

Hartland Abbey Daffodil Days and Mothering Sunday

Saturday 17th March and Sunday, 18 March 2012, from 11am-4pm Hartland Abbey Daffodil Day and Mothering Sunday Hartland Abbey, Hartland, North Devon EX39 6DT. Hartland Abbey is holding their Daffodil Days again this year. It will be a lovely chance to come with the family to see the wonderful collection of historic daffodils, many planted 150 years ago. Dogs and children (under 5) free, over 5 £1. Adults £4.00. House open at extra charge For further information please ring 01237 441234 or visit

Explore Hartland with the North Devon Focus Picture Tour

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Natural bright spots amongst the gloom!

I caught sight of these vibrant fungi clingling to the lifeless gorse bushes high above Hartland Quay on the the South West Coast Path proving that Snowdrops aren't the only highlight on these gloomy February Days.If you nature lovers can identify them let me know.
Yellow Brain/Yellow Jelly?
Common Rustgill?

Clinging On!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Yapham - A Haven of Tranquility and Beauty

Yapham self catering cottages are situated on the stunning Hartland Peninsula equidistant between Bideford and Bude. This peninsula is a 'Hidden Gem', totally unspoilt and quite unique in it's rugged beauty and wildness. The three award-winning barn conversions are beamed throughout and full of character. Yapham Coastal Cottages are set down a private drive with marvellous views across the valley towards the sea. Ideally situated in landscaped gardens within seven acres of grounds including an ancient two-acre woodland and newly planted orchard you are assured of complete privacy. Guests are welcomed with a delicious Devon Cream Tea, chocolates and flowers. Yapham is ideally located for Exmoor, Dartmoor, the Eden Project and Cornwall. If you want to experience the best of North Devon’s coast and countryside then book your stay today. Yapham is a haven of tranquility and beauty with no noise or light pollution, you can almost touch the stars!
Click here for more accommodation details and availability

Hartland, Devon, EX39 6AN. Tel:01237 441916 
All three cottages are now dog friendly

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Bucks Mills Breaks and "The Braunds"

Melinda's Cottage, is a delightful cottage in the quiet village of Bucks Mills within a conservation area on the edge of beautiful Bideford Bay. Rumour has it that the cottages were built from the timbers of Spanish galleons fleeing the Armada. The Braunds, who lived in every cottage in the village, were thought to be descended from the Spanish survivors. However it is believed that this cottage was built in about 1830. The last Braund to live here was Melinda with her husband, who worked as a chauffeur, and her seven children. The cottage was originally thatched and it is now listed. It retains many original features including the very old range which was made by Bodley in Bideford. Today the cottage is owned by the Stevens who have stayed in many self-catering cottages and have tried to provide everything for a super holiday. It is available for holidays and short breaks all year round and is a good base for exploring Bideford, Barnstaple, Clovelly, Westward-Ho! and is also close to Hartland Quay. An honest 5 minutes walk from the cottage, the path leads you passed the old lime kilns to a pebbly, sandy beach with lovely rock pools and safe swimming. The North Devon Coast Path crosses the village, leading to Clovelly in one direction and through the woods to Peppercombe in the other. Click here for more accommodation details and availability

Melinda's Cottage, 5, Forest Gardens, Bucks Mills, Nr. Bideford, North Devon, EX39 5DY
Tel: 01458 850349 Email:
Click here to visit Melinda's Cottage's Web Page

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

"Chimes of Freedom", Bob Dylan and 80 artists salute Amnesty International's 50th Anniversary

"Chimes of Freedom", 75 Newly Recorded Bob Dylan Songs by Over 80 Artists, salutes Amnesty International’s 50th Anniversary and Life-Saving Human Rights Work
 (New York) – Two iconic forces that have impacted the past 50 years – the life-saving human rights activism of Nobel Peace Prize-winning Amnesty International and the incomparable artistry of Bob Dylan – are being saluted by 80 musicians who contributed new or previously unreleased recordings to Chimes of Freedom:  In addition to purchasing the album at, supporters will find actions they can take to help individuals whose freedom of expression is under threat.
The Collection Features Songs By
* Adele * The Airborne Toxic Event * Joan Baez * Natasha Bedingfield * Jackson Browne * Cage the Elephant * Elvis Costello * Darren Criss * Miley Cyrus * Dave Matthews Band * K’NAAN * Kesha * Mark Knopfler * Diana Krall * Lenny Kravitz * Kris Kristofferson * Ziggy Marley * Maroon 5 * Tom Morello * My Chemical Romance * Joe Perry * Queens Of The Stone Age * Raphael Saadiq * Seal & Jeff Beck * Silversun Pickups * Patti Smith * Sting * Sugarland * Pete Townshend * Lucinda Williams * Evan Rachel Wood 
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than three million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. Follow on Twitter: @NewsFromAmnesty. For more information, please visit:

Monday, 6 February 2012

Local wildlife records centre launches training days

Local wildlife records centre launches training days Devon Biodiversity Records Centre is this month launching a new programme of training courses focused on two of the county's most important wildlife habitats. The two-day courses are ideal for conservation professionals and consultants, as well as people just wanting to improve their botanical skills. Morning sessions are based at Woodah Farm in the Teign Valley, and then site visits are to nearby County Wildlife Sites and Devon Wildlife Trust nature reserves which are all known for their rich biodiversity. There are two courses planned; a Woodland Plant ID course in May and a Grassland Plant ID course in July. Each course costs £160 + vat (early bird fee) and is conducted over two days. The courses will focus on providing trainees with a better understanding of the habitat's ecology, survey methods and the necessary plant identification skills. Topics also covered during the courses will be habitat management techniques and how to identify invasive species. Ian Egerton, Devon Biodiversity Records Centre's Manager, said: "We have considered running training courses for some time as our survey staff have a high level of botanical experience and expertise specific to Devon's habitats. We were also keen to ensure that local courses were available at high quality sites in the county, so that travel could be kept to a minimum for both the environment and people's budgets. It's important that conservation professionals can add to their Continual Personal Development and we can also help train the next generation of wildlife enthusiasts who may be environmental students or budding botanists". For more information about the courses and to book a place visit

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Otterly in love at Valentines - public show fondness for Adopt a Species scheme

Devon Wildlife Trust's (DWT) is offering its popular adopt a species scheme this month suggesting to supporters that it is a great alternative gift for Valentines Day. The adopt a species scheme, launched in 2009 through the DWT website, and allows people to support the Trust's conservation work in Devon, protecting habitats and species for future generations to enjoy. People can choose to 'adopt' from a list of five lovable species: dormouse, otter, dolphin, bat and hedgehog. With each £20 donation, purchasers will receive a soft toy of their chosen species along with a welcome letter, fact sheet, certificate, a postcard of the species, a fun activity book, a pack of six colouring pencils and an update letter after six months. DWT's Phoebe Grubb said: 'This is a great way for people to support our work - adopt a species makes the perfect gift for nature loving adults at this time of the year! The packs come with great little cuddly animals and are a really nice way to show your love for someone special.' The money raised through the scheme goes towards the costs of carrying out conservation work throughout the county benefiting these species and the habitats that they need to thrive. To adopt a species today, visit or call Devon Wildlife Trust on 01392 279244.
Photo Otter copyright Darin Smith