Tuesday, 25 September 2012

One Year Ago Today. Swell Time at Westward Ho!

As the region prepares itself for more rain and flood warnings we look back one  year ago today and a swell time at Westward Ho!. It was a warm, balmy day with a particularly high tide. People never seem to tire of the sight of the mighty ocean pounding on Westward Ho! slipway rocks and the Pebbleridge. It was fantastic to capture the stunning rainbow highlight as the “Wild Horses” crashed over the shore before splashing up high on the pebbles. Surfers were taking advantage of the huge waves, even the lifeguard took a trip out on his belly board. This is just one of the Autumn Highlights around Bideford Bay, it’s also a time for dramatic skies, coast and country walks amidst berry laden hedgerows and burnished bracken. Be on the look-out for late butterflies and fungi,  the departure of the swallows and the arrival of the winter flocks on the Skern. For more Autumn Highlights check out the North Devon Focus Flickr slideshow. Article Pat Adams 25/9/12

Monday, 24 September 2012

'World's BIGGEST Coffee Morning' at the Big Sheep - Friday 28th September

The Big Sheep will be hosting the 'World's BIGGEST Coffee Morning' organised by Macmillan Cancer Care from 10am to 12 noon to raise vital funds for this wonderful charity who provide medical, emotional, practical and financial support for people living with cancer in our local community. As well as offering coffee and cake and a lovely friendly environment where people can meet and enjoy a chat, the BIG Sheep will also be holding Cha Cha Cha dancing demonstrations and inviting visitors to come along and have a go swaying their hips to the sounds of some fantastic Latin music - a great way to burn off all the cake calories!
The BIG Sheep Friday 28th September 2012  - Visitors taking part in the coffee morning will also be able to enjoy FREE entry to the BIG Sheep from 10 am to 12 noon.

Friday, 21 September 2012


A pair of Devon beavers now have their own blog! The online messages are being released by a leading conservation charity, the Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT). The blog centres on the life and goings on of a pair of European beavers which are part of a controlled experiment being run by Devon Wildlife Trust's Working Wetlands project. The beavers live in a securely fenced 3 hectare compound in north-west Devon. The charity is monitoring their everyday lives plus the effects they are having on their compound, to its tree and scrub covering, to its ground water levels and to water quality. DWT is also keen to learn more about the impacts of beavers on wider wildlife. Beavers once lived throughout the UK including Devon and were an important part of the natural regulation of our river and stream systems. They are believed to have been hunted to extinction in the C16th. The blog is being written by volunteer Vicky Halse. Vicky has a background in studying animal behaviour and was particularly keen to learn more about the beavers, how they interact with each other and with their surroundings. Vicky said: 'Having visited the site a number of times I've been amazed by just how busy they've been. Although the beavers have only been living in their compound for little more than a year, in that time they've worked hard to enlarge their lodge (home), build small dams and construct watery pathways known as 'canals'. It looks like there will be plenty to talk about in the blog!' The project, which will measure the impact the animals have on local water quality and wildlife, has been funded by Viridor Credits Environmental Company and The Truell Charitable Foundation. To read the blog and to find out more about the beavers' progress visit the 'What we do' pages of www.devonwildlifetrust.org 
Watch video of Devon Wildlife Trust's beavers at work here:
Devon Wildlife Trust is 50 this year. Find out more about how you can get involved in our golden celebrations! http://www.devonwildlifetrust.org/50-years-of-dwt/

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Caught on Camera. Clovelly Lobster & Crab Feast 2012

Sea mist and soft gentle rain added to the charm of Clovelly Harbour for the annual Lobster and Crab Feast. A remarkably windless day for the North Devon Coast, the colourful pennants and bunting fluttered limply on the beached not bobbing boats beneath the harbour wall. Clovelly events are always fun and there was a never-ending stream of folk making their way down to the already crowded Quay where there were an assortment of  arts and craft products on sale including hand-made ceramics, decorative plaques, holistic products and jewellery along with the RSPB and the National Lobster Hatchery promotional stalls.  Local fayre made by local folk, traditional award winning beer brewed down the A39 at Abbotsham, Cornish sea salt, pancakes, scrumptious hand-made cakes and savoury tarts. The local fishermen had caught a bumper harvest of crustaceans and the Red Lion bar and restaurant were packed with diners tucking into lobster, crab and seafood platters washed down with a free glass of bubbly. The highlight of the day was the Cookery Competition for the best lobster or crab dish, which was filmed by STV Productions for a new BBC2 cookery programme "Country Show Cook Off". In addition to the local entrants, TV celebrity chefs, Jun Tanaka and Galt Blackiston, secretly entered their dishes and for the first time, after four other UK events, were delighted to be awarded first and second places by the judges. Folk music was provided by Maggie Duffy & Mike Weed, Steve Tyler & Andy Clarke and The O'Marleys whilst the kids were kept entertained by Scallywag the pirate, balloon modelling, face painting, magic and some bang on AONB craft activities. As the tide was out families could also explore the beach and the waterfall beyond the Lifeboat House. Catch of the day deep fried crab balls, lobster salads, mackerel and moules mariniere, the “Perham Line” stretched all the way down to the end of the Quay. (Article by Pat Adams)
Caught on Camera. BBC Filming the action in Clovelly

Cookery Competition Judges: Dom Boothroyd, of the National Lobster Hatchery, The Rev. Shirley Henderson, vicar of Clovelly All Saints Church, Felicity Sylvester, cookery demonstrator and director of Brilliant Fish and Clovelly's Harbour Master and fisherman, Stephen Perham.
The event was in aid of the National Lobster Hatchery, Padstow, who exhibited some of their baby lobsters prior to releasing them into Clovelly Bay at the end of the day. In addition to the Prize Draw income, Clovelly Estate will donate £400 towards their re-stocking project.
Don't worry if you missed it make a date in your diary for the Clovelly Herring Festival, 18th November 2012
What's on next at Clovelly

Monday, 10 September 2012

"In Search of England"

H.V. Morton's best selling book, "In Search of England", was published in 1926. In it the journalist and travel writer described Clovelly as"just too quaint" and amazingly little has changed in almost 100 years since. The broadcaster, John McCarthy, has been following H.V. Morton's travels and has recently recorded a programme at Clovelly, which includes interviews with celebrity actor, Joss Ackland CBE, The Hon. John Rous, owner of the estate, Stephen Perham, Harbour Master and Niall Taylor, member of the H.V. Morton Society and author of website http://www.hvmorton.co.uk/. The programme will be broadcast on Radio 4 at 11am on Friday, 21 September. Don't Miss it http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/programmes/schedules/fm
Joss Ackland CBE, Stephen Garner (Producer) and John McCarthy
The Hon. John Rous, Stephen Garner (Producer) and John McCarthy
All photos courtesy Clovelly Estates.  
To find out the latest news and events visit http://www.clovelly.co.uk
John McCarthy is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 4 programmes "Saturday Live" and "Excess Baggage"

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Chance to explore Devon heathland. Free family-friendly open day.

Devon Wildlife Trust is running a free open day this month giving people the chance to explore a rare and wonderful heathland nature reserve. The family-friendly open day is being held at Bovey Heathfield Local Nature Reserve, close to Bovey Tracey. It takes place on Saturday 15 September and runs from 11am until 4pm. The event celebrates 10 years of Devon Wildlife management of this precious place. The event offers a 'behind the scenes' look at a lowland heath - a landscape which has disappeared from much of the countryside in recent decades. A series of guided wildlife walks will be led by Devon Wildlife Trust staff and volunteers. Mini-beast hunting, storytelling, pond dipping and other children's activities will also feature. A tea and cake stall will be on hand to feed hungry visitors! Jo Pullin from Devon Wildlife Trust said: "This wonderful nature reserve looks stunning at this time of year, with heather and gorse in full bloom. Open days make great introductions to our county's amazing wildlife. The day will be great chance to visit a special piece of Devon's countryside and learn about the animals which call it home." Those wishing to go on one of the walks should book in advance with Devon Wildlife Trust on 01392 279244. For all other activities people are welcome to just come along and take part. Bovey Heathfield Local Nature Reserve is located in Heathfield Industrial Estate. From Battle Road turn into Cavalier road. The entrance lies close to the entrance of Dragoon Close (postcode TQ12 6TU). And for anyone who can't make the open day, a longer self-guided wildlife walk links Bovey Heathfield to the Devon Wildlife Trust nature reserves of Little Bradley Ponds and Chudleigh Knighton Heath. A leaflet download is available for the walk at www.devonwildlifetrust.org/wild-walks/