Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Time for a North Devon Break. Focus on Bucks Mills

Happy New Year from the North Devon Coast & Country Chronicle Time for a North Devon Break. Let's explore the quieter side of Bideford Bay around the pretty coastal village of  Bucks Mill. Bucks Mills is a hide-away village on the Atlantic Heritage coast just off the A39 Atlantic Highway between Bideford and Clovelly. Mainly comprising holiday cottages, once associated with three famous families, the Careys, The Pine-Coffins and The Braunds. This is an ideal base for South West Coastal Path Walkers with dramatic stretches to Peppercombe and Westward Ho! in one direction and Clovelly to Hartland Point in the other. No facilities in the village itself but excellent local produce and general stores sold at Bucks Cross Post Office Stores. There is a large car park before you get to the village, located down a long and winding road through ancient woodland. Excellent sandy beach with rock pools at low tide so perfect for family breaks. Nearest holiday park is Bideford Bay, just passed the post office stores, which has excellent facilities for families. Ideal location for families and walkers. Points of Interest: Church of St, Annes for Cream Teas in the Summer season and nature walks through Bucks Woods and the South West Coast Path, Lime Kiln, ancient Quay. Bucks Mills Car Park EX39 5DY: - Bus Service: 319 Barnstaple via Bideford to Bucks Cross. North Devon and Bideford Bay Area Map

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Bitter disappointment - Devon Wildlife Trust reacts to the Marine Conservation Zones consultation published today

Today Defra released its long-awaited consultation on the next stages of designation of Marine Conservation Zones in English and non-devolved waters. Along with other English Wildlife Trusts, Devon Wildlife Trust is bitterly disappointed by the lack of ambition shown in this consultation. Defra proposes to designate only 31 of the 127 sites recommended by experts and stakeholders at the end of August last year. This includes just 4 of the 14 sites recommended around the coasts of Devon. The four are Tamar Estuary; Skerries Bank and Surround; Torbay; and Lundy. The 127 recommended Marine Conservation Zones were chosen after two years of hard work by more than one million stakeholders from all sectors of the marine environment and at a cost of over £8.8 million to Government. Devon Wildlife Trust worked closely with a range of sea users from fishermen to offshore developers and sea anglers to boat users to reach consensus about which sites should go forward. There are huge gaps in the Government's proposals for the first round of designation. Of particular concern are:
  • No sites in North Devon: Bideford to Foreland Point and Morte Platform, both put forward by local people in recognition of its marine wildlife value - missing. North of Lundy, subject to ground breaking discussions around co-location of marine protection and development - missing. Hartland Point to Tintagel, high habitat and species diversity - missing. And the Taw-Torridge Estuary, a vital part of the north Devon coastal ecosystem - missing. 
  • No small estuaries in South Devon: The Erme Estuary - missing. The Devon Avon Estuary - missing. The Axe Estuary - missing. The Otter Estuary - missing. And the Dart Estuary - missing. This despite hours of negotiations with ports and harbours to minimise impacts on local commerce. 
You can visit these zones on The Wildlife Trusts interactive map and see some of the wonders they are home to at: Devon Wildlife Trust's Marine Advocacy Officer, Richard White, reacted to the Government's announcement: "Marine Conservation Zones should protect the species and habitats found within them from the most damaging and degrading of activities whilst mostly allowing sustainable activity to continue. The network was designed to ensure that we don't end up with isolated and vulnerable sites and to ensure that the wide range of marine habitats found in UK seas are protected. Failure to designate all but a very small proportion of sites recommended by these stakeholders will mean that we lack the ecologically coherent network that our seas so badly need to recover." The UK's marine habitats are rich and diverse but largely unprotected - which is why The Wildlife Trusts spent a decade asking the Government to pass the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. This included a commitment to designate this ecologically coherent marine network of protected areas. Designation of an ecologically coherent network would provide our seas with the protection they need to recover from past abuses and help them to be restored to their full potential. The Wildlife Trusts will be responding to the Government consultation at the end of January. They will be publishing their recommendations on the consultation on their webpage. Get involved now and sign up to become an MCZ friend so that we can contact you about the consultation in the New Year. Go to to sign up.
Thornback Ray, Sea Slug, Moon Jellyfish, Grey Seal 
All photos copyright Paul Naylor (

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Recognition for local volunteers

A leading local charity, Devon Wildlife Trust, has recently achieved the Investing in Volunteers Quality Standard, recognising the excellent work it does with volunteers. Devon Wildlife Trust regularly receives help from more than 300 volunteers, all of whom give up their time and talents to help the charity's vital work for local wildlife. The Trust's Dawn Lenn, who coordinates their efforts said: 'This has come as wonderful news. We try hard to manage volunteers well and to give people the opportunity to contribute positively to nature conservation. It's lovely to know we are getting it right. The benefit to Devon Wildlife Trust's work is tremendous with the number of hours volunteers donate each year in the tens of thousands.' Investing in Volunteers is the UK quality standard for all organisations involving volunteers. It aims to improve the quality of the volunteering experience for all volunteers and for organisations to acknowledge the enormous contribution made by volunteers. The award scheme is managed by the UK Volunteering Forum and delivered by Volunteering England. Devon Wildlife Trust was assessed against a range of best practice standards and proved to excel in all aspects of working with its volunteers. Dawn added: 'DWT was set up by volunteers 50 years ago, and volunteers have remained central to its activities ever since. I hope that achieving this award in our 50th anniversary year will help demonstrate to everyone who ever helped DWT just how highly they are regarded.' Devon Wildlife Trust's volunteers come from all backgrounds and all parts of the county. The range of tasks they undertake varies from office administration to undertaking practical management tasks on the Trust's nature reserves. Anyone wishing to join as a volunteer should visit or call 01392 279244.

Friday, 7 December 2012


Have you considered walking on a bed of hot coals? Well you can do it, you won't even need a stout pair of walking boots to take part in this alternative sponsored walk which are being held at the BIG Sheep on Sunday 16th December 2012. The chosen charity for this year's firewalk is Age Concern, however you are welcome to chose a chairty of your own. Fortunately, you do not need any experience to take part in this extraordinary event so if you would like to get involved you can contact Cathy Edwards on 01271 371343 or email for a sponsorship pack. If you'd just like to offer your support we are offering FREE admission to watch the participants complete their challenge.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Devon Doctors to help wildlife

The organisation responsible for the county's urgent GP out-of-hours healthcare has teamed up with Devon Wildlife Trust [DWT] in a bid to do its bit for the county's environment. As a social enterprise, committed to benefiting the community in which it operates, Devon Doctors has always attached great importance to environmental issues and jumped at the opportunity to become a corporate sponsor of Devon Wildlife Trust. Chief executive Chris Wright said: "While our first priority is always the wellbeing of our patients, we're mindful that we also have a responsibility to the environment and are at pains to ensure our carbon footprint is as small as possible." "Wherever we can we endeavour to assist callers to Devon Doctors over the phone but there will, inevitably, be occasions when we need to visit patients who are especially vulnerable, and unable to get to one of our treatment centres, in their homes. Indeed, last year our GPs visited more than 30,000 patients, as a result of which our drivers clocked up more than half-a-million miles." "While this is unavoidable, we're delighted to be able to redress the balance a little by lending our support to DWT." DWT's chief executive Harry Barton said: "We're thrilled to have the support of another not-for-profit organisation, which shares our aim of keeping Devon healthy. We look forward to working together for the benefit of the natural environment." In due course, Devon Doctors is looking forward to supporting DWT's Working Wetlands project and, in so doing, offsetting some part of its carbon footprint. The initiative involves the restoration of wetland areas, with the capacity to absorb atmospheric carbon in a similar way to coal but much more quickly, and is regarded as a local, long-term and effective alternative to standard offset schemes. What is more, Devon Doctors will be encouraging its staff to transform their gardens, and other locations, into bee-friendly zones in support of DWT's 2013 campaign to Get Devon Buzzing. This vital project encourages the use of plants that support the local bee population by providing bee homes, as well as campaigning for a reduction in the use of pesticides. "Devon Doctors is already acknowledged as one of the country's leading providers of urgent out-of hours care," said Mr Wright. "However, as a social enterprise, our corporate responsibility doesn't stop there and we look forward to working in partnership with DWT and to encouraging both staff and service users to protect the environment."
Devon Wildlife Trust's Tracey Ebbrell presents Devon Doctors Chief Executive, Chris Wright, with a certificate in recognition of their support. 

Monday, 3 December 2012

It's 'Ho-ho-ho-wholemeal' at Cricklepit Mill

A festive treat awaits visitors to one of Exeter's least known but most charismatic historic treasures. Devon Wildlife Trust is staging a Christmas-themed open day at its Cricklepit Mill headquarters, close to Exeter's ancient quayside. The 'Milling and Mince Pie' event takes place on Friday 14 December between 10am and 12noon. It is free, but booking is advised. On the day Christmas decorations will adorn the C18th watermill. Visitors will have a chance to see behind the scenes, watching the mill at work, grinding flour in the traditional way. A band of merry millers will be on hand to guide people through the fascinating processes and history of milling. At the end of their visit people will be able to re-fuel on mince pies made from the mill's own stoneground flour and locally-produced mincemeat. On sale will be a selection of the charity's Christmas cards, calendars, along with bags of wholemeal stoneground flour complete with free festive recipe leaflets. The Trust's Verity Hunt added: 'Cricklepit Mill is a wonderful old building, but at Christmas it becomes a magical one. Its ancient atmosphere combines with festive decorations to give a real sense of Christmas past.' 'The flour we produce here makes a wonderful and unusual Christmas gift. Cricklepit Mill is the only remaining working watermill in Exeter and our open days make a great way to explore this important part of the city's heritage. Taking home a bag of flour at the end of their visit gives people a fitting memento.' All proceeds from the sale of flour and Christmas gifts go to support The Trust's important work for wildlife across the county. Bookings for 'Milling and mince pies' are being taken now. Call Devon Wildlife Trust on 01392 279244 or email
'Devon Wildlife Trust's Cricklepit Mill is a magical place at