Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Hi there, I would just like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and would also like to thank you all for visiting and supporting the North Devon Focus Coast and Country Chronicle site this year. I do hope you have enjoyed the news, photographs and posts. I love North Devon, it's events, towns and villages and of course the wonderful local flora and fauna. I hope my photographs capture the beauty and diversity of the area throughout the seasons. After promoting North Devon in one way or another for nearly thirty years, I now just take photographs and blog for fun but no matter what time of year, whatever the weather there is always something to see and enjoy in the Bideford Bay Area. The last of the Christmas Fairs, Markets and Fun Days are on Saturday 21st December. Be sure not to miss the last day of Bideford Winter Fairs, Saturday 21st Dec from 10.00am at the historic Pannier Market.There will be lots of family friendly fun including some festive antics from the 'Entertainingly Different' gang. There is also a Farmers' Market at Jubilee Square, Bideford from 9-1am and of course The Big Sheep at Abbotsham are also holding the last of their Christmas Farmers Markets. Just a reminder that the last Quince Honey Farm Christmas Fun Day in South Molton is also on the 21st. Click here for Local Church Services and Events
Promoting the Coast and "Country" Side of Bideford Bay since 2002
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Thursday, 5 December 2013

Free rural training events for managers of land in the River Torridge Catchment Area

Free rural training events launched Landowners and farmers who manage land in the river Torridge catchment in north Devon are being offered the chance to take part in a series of training workshops and demonstration events during the coming winter months. The subjects being tackled cover critical farming tasks including woodland and soil management. The workshops and demonstrations are free to attend and form part of the work of Northern Devon Nature Improvement Area (NIA). The project is striving to improve the local landscape for people and nature through restoring, expanding and joining up wildlife-rich areas. It covers 72,000 hectares in the river Torridge catchment. It is one of 12 partnership projects which were created a year ago following a competitive bidding process for a share of £7.5million new funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Natural England. Since its beginnings in 2012 the Northern Devon NIA has worked with over 200 local landowners and farmers. Its project manager Lisa Schneidau explained why the training events were being organised: "Many landowners in the Torridge catchment are already doing a great deal for wildlife, whether it's managing Culm grassland, laying hedgerows or planting woodland. These events help us to bring together local experts and people with experience of land management techniques and challenges, and share knowledge on how different issues can be practically tackled - for the benefit of those already doing wildlife work, and those landowners who would like to do more." The landscape management events are being staged at venues across north Devon over the coming weeks - some indoors and some out on site. They are free to attend, refreshments will be provided but places are limited.  
Landowners and managers who are interested in attending should book a place by contacting the Northern Devon NIA's offices in Cookworthy, near Holsworthy on 01409 221823 or email info@northerndevonnia.org 
The training events and demonstrations include:
  • Weds 11 December 'Woodland planting best practice for landowners', 10am at Cookworthy 
  • Thurs 9 January - 'Woodland planting best practice for contractors', 10am at Cookworthy 
  • Tues 14 January - 'Soils and soil management', 10am at Cookworthy 
  • Thurs 22 January - 'The economics and value of woodlands and firewood', 7pm at Hatherleigh 
  • Wednesday 5 February - 'Hedge management and woodfuel', 10am at Cookworthy 
  • Thursday 6 February - 'An introduction to hedgelaying techniques', 9.30am at East Putford 
  • Wednesday 12 February - 'Woodfuel and woodland access', 10am at Shebbear 
  • Wednesday 26 February - 'Squirrel control and woodland management', 10am at Halwill 
  • Wednesday 19 March - 'Managing woodlands for wildlife', 10am at Peters Marland 
The Northern Devon NIA project team is also planning to stage a series of swailing workshops this winter. Swailing is the controlled burning of grasslands. It provides a traditional and effective way of renewing rough pasture, especially the Culm grasslands for which north Devon is especially renowned. Swailing requires dry weather - something which is not always predictable in north Devon! The project team is therefore asking potential participants to provide them with their contact details. Then when weather permits the team will issue a 'call-out' with details of where and when swailing workshops will take place.  
Up to date details regarding all training opportunities provided by Northern Devon NIA can be found at www.northerndevonnia.org


Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Winter Sports and more at the Big Sheep. Snowboarding Simulator, Toboggan Slope and Ice Rink

The Big Sheep will be adding a big Wow Factor to Winter from this weekend. You can enjoy the toboggan slope for children and adults and get into the wintery spirit racing at high speeds from the top to the bottom of the slopes! You can be sure that your woolly hats, scarves and gloves will be coming off as you warm up from running back up to the top of the slope for numerous rides! Alongside the new toboggan slope will be the synthetic skating rink, back again for you to practice your skating skills. Toddlers can also have a go at skating with their new ski boots suitable for small children. NEW for this winter season will be their new snowboarding simulator. All winter activities are undercover in the new events building. Christmas Farmers Markets will be held on the run up to Christmas on the 7th, 14th and 21st December, there is also a Gingerbread Workshop on the 21st December and Breakfast with Santa on the 22nd December.  Visit web site to book tickets or find out more
Christmas Farmers Markets - Please click here to view the full stall holders list