Monday, 22 December 2014

‘Fairy’ found on north Devon coast in new sea creature discovery

A new variety of sea anemone has been found off the coast of north Devon. Just 6mm tall, the tiny animal was spotted by retired teacher Robert Durrant in Hele Bay, near Ilfracombe. But it took an international exchange of emails and photos before the anemone was identified as a new variety. As it lacks a common name, Robert has proposed calling the small, pretty creature the ‘fairy anemone’. As a volunteer marine recorder for Coastwise North Devon, Robert wasn’t particularly looking to find a new species. He takes up the story: “It was found by accident at Hele Bay really – I took a photo and posted it on Facebook and experts hadn’t a clue. So I decided to take a specimen for my aquarium at home to feed the anemone to see how it would develop – and get some more photos to try to identify it.” There are more than forty recognised species of sea anemone found on our coasts, with the dark red beadlet anemone the most commonly seen. Although their appearance gives the impression of a flowering plant, the tentacles on these animals make them very effective predators. Once Robert had started to feed the anemone in his aquarium, it grew a little. He also noticed it reproducing asexually by breaking off small fragments of its body then moving away from them. In time, these smaller pieces will develop into individual anemones. The breakthrough in identification came after Robert tried a different way of photographing the animal. Robert said: “I took a backlit photo which showed very clearly the transparency of the anemone as well as the tiny tubercules on it.” After more online correspondence a French expert, Wilfried Bay-Nouailhat, identified it as a different variety of an anemone known to science as Aiptasiogeton pellucidus. Robert explains: “This anemone had been found in Portland Harbour in 1976, then further along the Dorset coast over the next two years – after that it disappeared off the radar.” But the differences between the anemones found in Dorset in the 70s and that of Robert’s find in 2014 are enough that experts agree they are different varieties of one species. As the scientific name for the Hele Bay discovery, Aiptasiogeton pellucidus var comatus, is a bit of a mouthful, Devon Wildlife Trust asked Robert for a suggested common name. Robert’s preference? “I’d like to call it the fairy anemone, as it’s so small, delicate and elusive.” Since this record, further anemones have been found at Newlyn in Cornwall which are individuals of the ‘Hele Bay’ variety, rather than the previously familiar ‘Portland Harbour’ variety. Devon Wildlife Trust’s Dan Smith commented: “It’s amazing that new animal discoveries can still be made right on our shores. The north Devon coast is particularly rich in marine habitats and species, which is why local people nominated the area from Bideford to Foreland Point as a Marine Conservation Zone. Government missed this site off the list in the first designations of MCZs in 2013, but we have a chance to secure protection for this stunning section of coast in the new year.” Dan continued: “Bideford to Foreland Point is one of three recommended MCZs for north Devon which the Government is considering for designation in 2015 – and public support could help secure protection for these marine sites.” 
The Government is expected to begin a public consultation on new Marine Conservation Zones in January. People can discover how to get involved on The Wildlife Trusts website: So the fairy on top of the Christmas tree is not the only one to have caught the eye this winter. Another ‘fairy’ off the north Devon coast shows how even the experts can still be dazzled by the wildlife beneath the waves.
  Photos of the anemone copyright Robert Durrant (All rights reserved)

Friday, 19 December 2014

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Thank you for visiting the North Devon Focus Coast and Country Chronicle. Hope you will visit us again in 2015.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Wildlife haven set to grow

Devon Wildlife Trust has announced that one of its most popular and beautiful nature reserves is about to grow. An extra 3 hectares of land have been bought by the charity to add to its existing 33 hectare nature reserve of Andrew's Wood, near Loddiswell, in South Devon. The purchase was made possible after the Devon Wildlife Trust secured generous support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and donations from DWT supporters. The new land is known locally as Wizaller Wood and is a charming mix of silver birch, oak, ash, hazel and willow. Along with hundreds of plants and animals the wood is home to bats, wildflowers and woodpeckers. The new wildlife haven will be looked after by Devon Wildlife Trust's Jackie Gage. Jackie said: 'Along with local volunteers I've helped look after Andrew's Wood for the past 7 years and in that time it's become one of my favourite of all the 49 Devon Wildlife Trust nature reserves. So I was thrilled when the news came that Wizaller Wood was coming our way. It will make a wonderful new extension to what is already a haven for local wildlife.' The woodland is thought to be especially rich in rare lichens, mosses and fungi. Alongside these local dormice are another species that stand to benefit from the news. Andrew's Wood is already something of a 'dormouse hotspot' with a well-established colony. Jackie said: 'Dormice are animals which have struggled in many parts of the country during recent decades. But here at Andrew's Wood we have a good population. The funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund is allowing us to put up a further 30 dormouse nest boxes in the new Wizaller Wood part of the reserve. These should ensure that the dormice can thrive and spread.' Visitors to Wizaller Wood are being welcomed by the Trust. Like all of its nature reserves it is free to enter and has a network of marked trails, which although muddy, make good winter walks. Jackie added: 'Visitors to Wizaller Wood will see that we've already been busy managing the place for wildlife. We've cleared invasive species such as rhododendron, created wildflower glades and coppiced some trees to encourage new tree growth. A new public path has also been cut to join the reserve with the local network of public footpaths, ensuring that it becomes more easily accessible to local people and visitors.' 
Andrew's Wood and its new extension Wizaller Wood can be reached from the A38. Take the Ugborough-Yealmpton turn off. Turn left on to the A3121, and at Kitterford Cross go straight across towards Loddiswell on the B3196. At California Crosstake the left-hand fork just past a petrol station (signed Loddiswell). The entrance and car park at Andrew's Wood lie 250m beyond Coldharbour Cross. A track leads down into the nature reserve.  
More details on this and DWT's 48 other nature reserves from

 Devon Wildlife Trust Andrew's Wood nature reserve is growing. Photo copyright Simon Williams. (All rights reserved)

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Fantastic fungi finds on Devon nature reserves

Two rare and distinctive fungi species have been spotted on Devon Wildlife Trust nature reserves in one week. Hazel gloves (Hypocreopsis Rhododendri) fungus can be found in hazel woodland in western Britain. It was recorded for the first time at Devon Wildlife Trust's Vealand Farm nature reserve, near Holsworthy, this week. Likened in appearance to miniature rubber gloves, this fungus sometimes grows on blackthorn, but is primarily found on hazel. Hence the name 'hazel gloves', though in Sweden it is known as 'Trollhand.' The fungus was found by DWT reserves assistant Adam Rhodes, who said: "We were delighted to spot Hazel Gloves on a hedgerow at Vealand Farm as it's really rare - it's classified as 'Near Threatened' by the IUCN." Devon and Cornwall are the most important areas in England for this fungus as it specialises in Atlantic hazel woods. Hazel Gloves was considered by Natural England ten years ago to be possibly on the verge of extinction in the UK, as there had been no records for more than 35 years. It's not the easiest fungus to see, as Adam explained: "Hazel Gloves might be under-recorded as it's usually found up in the tree canopy - so to see it on a hedgerow was a double surprise." The other fungi find was a true exotic, as its original home is on the other side of the world. Clathrus Archeri rejoices in two striking common names: 'Devil's Fingers' and 'Octopus Stinkhorn.' Its vivid colours and tentacle-like shape make it unmistakeable to the eye - while its distinctive rotting odour makes it even more memorable. Like the native common Stinkhorn, this fungus emits a foul scent to attract flies to help spread its spores. Native to Australia and New Zealand, devil's fingers was first recorded in England in Cornwall a century ago. How does a fungus travel round the world? In boxes of military equipment shipped to the south-west from the Antipodes early in the First Word War is one theory. Already recorded once this autumn at DWT Dart Valley nature reserve on Dartmoor, it was seen again by journalist Lucy Purdy at the weekend on a walk from Poundsgate. Lucy described her find: "I spotted this amazing, sea-creature like fungus on Dartmoor, so I read up about it and found the name 'Devil's Fingers'." Also known as 'Octopus Stinkhorn', as the fungus grows it can assume a shape that's even more like a starfish than an octopus. But how prominent was the 'stink' of this stinkhorn? "I can confirm the rotting flesh stench" said Lucy. Mid-December is fairly late in the year for fungi forays but the mild autumn has led to later sightings of some species in 2014. DWT's nature reserves at Vealand Farm and Dart Valley are both open to the public, free of charge, every day of the year.
Clathrus Archeri (Devil's Fingers' and Octopus Stinkhorn.) 
Photo copyright Lucy Purdy (All rights reserved) -  
Hypocreopsis Rhododendri (Hazel Gloves)
Photo copyright Adam Rhodes (All rights reserved)

Monday, 15 December 2014

Charity wants us all to have a 'wild Christmas'

A local charity is offering people ideas for a wild Christmas with a difference. Leading conservation charity Devon Wildlife Trust has developed a series of ideas for 'wild Christmas escapes' and is urging people to spend just a small part of the festive season and get away from the excesses and stresses of this time of year. Devon Wildlife Trust's Steve Hussey explained the idea: 'Despite all the merry making Christmas can bring with it a series of challenges to our health and well-being. And if this seems a bit Scrooge-like then which of us can really say that we haven't had a Christmas past in which we've felt trapped by the combination of too much food, too many relatives and too many repeats on the telly?' Steve added: 'We wanted to offer people a chance to escape some of the stresses of Christmas by re-connecting with local nature. It's important not to forget your wild side and this needn't mean consuming more food and drink or spending hours looking at a screen. Instead it means taking a bit of time to get outdoors with the wonderful wildlife and wild places which are local to you. Exploring your wild side provides a great way of re-charging your Christmas spirit.' Devon Wildlife Trust looks after 49 nature reserves around the county including some of Devon's most beautiful landscapes and most wonderful nature, and the charity believes that a visit to anyone of them this Christmas will be time well-spent. Steve Hussey added: 'Wherever you are you in Devon you can feel the positive impact of wildlife. In Exeter you can experience one of nature's great winter spectacles with a visit to the Old Sludge Beds nature reserve to see the huge starling murmurations as birds congregate in their thousands each evening. In Plymouth you can enjoy a walk through woods at Warleigh Point nature reserve to the edge of the Tamar and the estuary's stunning winter wading birds. In North Devon you take a stroll beside the white water of the River Torridge at Halsdon nature reserve near Great Torrington or if feeling more energetic climb the wildest sections of the Coast Path in to Marsland nature reserve near Hartland.' For those looking for Christmas escape ideas Devon Wildlife Trust has set up a series of 5 'Wild Walks' through its nature reserves. Ranging from 3 to 6 miles the walks are another way to escape the sometimes overwhelming world of Christmas. The walks provide a perfect way for families to get out of the house and burn off a few of the Christmas calories. Details of the Trust's Wild Walks can be found at And if you can't get out to the great outdoors this Christmas period, then the Trust's message is make sure you get nature to visit you. Your garden's birds will welcome the opportunity for an energy boost provided by some of your Christmas leftovers - a bit of crumbled Christmas cake, some bacon fat, an end of cheese left on the bird table will be much appreciated. Steve continued: 'In return for feeding them garden birds will put on a Christmas show the likes of which you won't get from repeats on the telly. Putting just half an hour aside to watch their comings and goings can re-connect you with the wild world outside your kitchen window. Seeing who arrives, watching their behaviour, their squabbles, the jostling for food, the different table manners and eating techniques - it can be just like what goes on around many human Christmas dinner tables, but without the emotional baggage!' To plan your wild Christmas escape visit the charity's website
 'Tree hugger: the Devon Wildlife Trust is giving people ideas to re-connect with nature this Christmas. Photo copyright Tom Marshall (All rights reserved)

Wednesday, 10 December 2014


Irish star Hozier’s global hit Take Me To Church has been announced as 2014’s most streamed track of the year. This morning Spotify announced the song as their global number 1 most shared song on the service in 2014, and the biggest song in the world at this moment. It follows confirmation that Take Me To Church had already topped their global chart (with over 87 million streams to date), and further cements the young Wicklow musician as the first tangible example of a breakthrough streaming superstar. The track currently sits at 1 on the Shazam worldwide chart. At the turn of this year, the video to Take Me To Church had quickly gone viral, and now sits with over 40 million views on YouTube. It caps a hugely successful, breakthrough year for Andrew Hozier-Byrne, having picked up his first Grammy nomination this month for Song of the Year, and debuting his critically acclaimed eponymous album at number 2 in the US Billboard chart (the second biggest debut album of the year), number 5 in the UK, and enjoying five weeks at number 1 in his native Ireland. To date, Hozier has sold-out all his headline shows across the globe and will headline two nights at London’s Shepherds Bush Empire in January, a little over one year from headlining the 100-capacity Troubadour in Earls Court back in January 2014. The debut album, ‘Hozier’, is out now through Rubyworks/Island Records. Watch Take Me To Church here

Hozier Live UK
21st December - Belfast, Ulster Hall(Sold Out) 
21st January - Oxford, O2 Academy, (Sold Out) 
23rd January - Birmingham, The Institute (Sold Out) 
31st January - London, O2 Shepherds Bush Empire (Sold Out) 
1st February - London, O2 Shepherds Bush Empire (Sold Out) 
22nd May - Newcastle, O2 Academy (New Date) 
25th May - Manchester, Albert Hall (New Date) 27th May - Glasgow, Barrowlands (New Date) 
28th May - Leeds, O2 Academy (New Date) 
1st June - London, The Roundhouse (New Date)
 Available on iTunes

Tuesday, 9 December 2014


It's Silver Darlings season - local, sustainable and nutritious Clovelly Herrings are now available in North Devon up until Christmas and Boat Stories has a film to get you in the mood. Fishing for Clovelly Herring is a scenic and moving short film featuring traditional herring fisherman Stephen Perham. Producer Jo Stewart-Smith tells us why this is a film she has been eager to make for some time “When I first met Stephen, Clovelly lobster and herring fisherman and harbour master, around seven years ago I was both inspired and fascinated by what he had to say.” “A fisherman who heads out on his own in a tiny open boat, with only oars or sail, into Bideford Bay; passionate about what he does, determined to keep a tradition going – against the odds, captured my imagination and I always knew he would make a great film and tell a great story.” Fishing for Clovelly Herring is not just a tale of a disappearing way of life but a fascinating glimpse into the tight knit community of this unique North Devon village whose cobbled streets are traffic free. We see brothers, sisters, cousins and children all celebrating the heritage of Clovelly at its famous herring festival. We experience the tranquility of the little harbour as Stephen and his cousin Peter Braund row out to cast their nets at dawn and see their resigned but amused reaction to some cheeky little whiskered poachers! “I was really keen to film this boat story as it ticks all my boxes and, following a recurring Boat Stories theme, combines wildlife, conservation and sustaining local communities through traditional methods into one great story." says cameraman Simon Vacher "Filming Stephen’s story boat to boat using a radio microphone meant we got some really great sequences and the changing morning light brought a magical quality to the calm water.” Clovelly herrings are only caught up until Christmas so now is your chance to buy local and enjoy the silver darlings, supporting this sustainable fishing method and low impact way of life. Stephen Perham says "If you can't get people to start eating the herrings, then youngsters like my nephew Joe won't have any future in it." He concludes " Fishing in the picarooner, rowing up the shore, is probably not for everybody but I don't want to be the last one that does it. It's the knowledge of the coastline, the tides, mending and setting nets, you lose all those skills. And once they've gone you never get them back. Never."
You can read more about the five minute film Fishing for Clovelly Herring and find out where to buy fresh fish on the Boat Stories website
Photos copyright NDMI (All rights reserved)
  • Still from the film - Stephen Perham
  • Simon Vacher filming on board Stephen Perham's picarooner
  • Jo Stewart-Smith, Simon Vacher and Oscar Adams filming at Clovelly Herring Festival
  • Simon Vacher, Oscar Adams filming Stephen Perham at Clovelly Herring Festival

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Plymouth marine photographer the focus of national award

One of the UK's top underwater photographers has received a new environmental award for his volunteering work for marine wildlife. Devon-based photographer and author Paul Naylor is the first recipient of the Marsh Award for Marine Conservation, honouring his contribution in capturing the beauty of the UK's marine wildlife, and educating countless people in the value of the nation's undersea environments. Paul, who lives at Wembury near Plymouth, was nominated by four regional Wildlife Trusts - Devon, Cornwall, Kent, and Lincolnshire. In making the award on Monday 1 December at Plymouth's Mount Batten Centre, Devon Wildlife Trust's Chief Executive Harry Barton paid tribute to him: "Paul's underwater images truly are extraordinary photographs. We have used them for countless campaigns. Paul has an incredible talent, and he is incredibly generous giving us every picture for free. We believe the value of those images is worth more than £10,000 to the Devon Wildlife Trust alone. I can't think of a more deserving person to receive this award. In the interests of marine conservation we thank him so much." Also making the award was Joan Edwards, Head of Living Seas for The Wildlife Trusts. Joan added: "Paul's stunning photographs of British marine life are vital for our work. They allow us to showcase our marine environment, bringing to life species and habitats which many people don't get to experience, and demonstrate how important the protection of our seas is." Paul Naylor is widely recognised as one of the UK's top underwater wildlife photographers. Over the years, he has built up a wonderful collection of images of British marine species and habitats, bringing the beauty of underwater world to new and wider audiences. His books which include a guide to 'Great British Marine Animals' have provided a fascinating insight into the life, behaviours and struggles of the species he photographs. On receiving his award Paul said: "I am delighted to win the award because I'm very passionate about spreading the word for our amazing marine life and supporting The Wildlife Trusts with my underwater photography. I also feel humbled at being chosen, knowing what wonderful work all the other volunteers do". Paul's passion for marine wildlife was first sparked by snorkelling trips on the Norfolk coast as a teenager. Paul added: "Having now completed 2,000 dives all around the British coast, our native marine animals still enthral me. I am incredibly fortunate to be privy to their hidden lives. I am passionate about showing people, from schoolchildren to politicians, just what beautiful and vulnerable creatures live close to our shores. The intriguing lifestyles of so many animals, including those that appear humdrum at first glance, is a great way to reinforce the message that our marine life is special and deserving of much better care." The body making the inaugural award for Marine Conservation is the Marsh Christian Trust. Established in 1981 it runs a portfolio of awards across several conservation themes. The Trust's Jo Probert explained the reasons for establishing this new honour: "We set up this Award in partnership with the Wildlife Trusts because we were concerned about the conservation of marine wildlife. Our other Awards for marine conservation recognise both international and academic achievements, so with this Award we wanted to highlight the important work which marine volunteers are undertaking in the UK. Hopefully the Award will help recognise the outstanding efforts of these volunteers in their protection of the Living Seas and raise the profile of their essential work." Photo: Paul Naylor (centre) receives his award from Harry Barton Chief Executive of Devon Wildlife Trust (right) and Jo Probert of the Marsh Christian Trust (left)
Photo: A Devonshire cup coral copyright Paul Naylor (All rights reserved) This is just one of the many hundreds of Paul Naylor's beautiful images which showcase the UK's rich underwater world.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Love for North Devon Nature Mapped by Beaford Arts

Beaford Arts is drawing a digital map of creative responses to nature in northern Devon. As creative partner of the Northern Devon Nature Improvement Area (NIA), Devon Arts organisation Beaford Arts has set up the Responding to Nature project, asking local people to put their favourite places on the map in words, pictures and sounds. Via the Responding to Nature website each submission is geotagged to the exact position where its creator produced it. Responding to Nature is a Cultural Ecosystems Services project. It aims to tap into the emotional experiences of being in nature and help us achieve a deeper connection with our environment and understand its value through art. Beaford Arts is inviting people of all ages to submit their responses to nature in drawings and paintings, poetry and prose, films, audio recordings or sculpture to build up a multi media picture of what our natural environment means to us. To get the collection started Beaford Arts recently held a competition for children in north Devon primary schools which brought in some inspirational stories, poems, pictures and films. There were two age categories and the winner of the 7 years and under group was Hettie King, aged 5, for her collage entitled 'I Love Nature' and first prize in the 8-11 years category went to 9 year old Jack Ayres for a musical piece called 'Jack's Rap - My Place to Escape'.
Hettie King 'I love Nature'
Raran's Garden by Isaac Champion
Keiran Beer  Tarka Trail

Jack's Rap can be heard via this link to Smule

You can see all the entries from the competition together with other independent submissions on the Responding to Nature website where you can also find out more about the project.
If you would like to take part and send in your own creative response please post your work of art to Claire Ayres, Education Project Manager, Beaford Arts, Crown Yealm House, Pathfields Business Park, South Molton, Devon EX36 3LH or email it to
Full list of prize winners:
7 years and under
1st place – HETTIE KING, age 5 (Monkleigh Primary) ‘I love nature’
2nd place – GABRIEL NAPIER, age 6 ½ (Monkleigh Primary) ‘Nature Life’
3rd place – EMMA ROVENSKA, age 5 (Clawton Primary) ‘The Story of the Pinecone Family’
8 years – 11 years
1st place – JACK AYRES, age 9 (Holywell CoE Primary) ‘Jack’s Rap – My Place to Escape’
2nd place – ISAAC CHAMPION, age 10 (Monkleigh Primary) ‘Raran’s Garden’

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

December Highlights.. Countdown to Christmas around North Devon

This is a sparkling time in the region when local shops, businesses, cinemas, galleries, museums, theatres and pubs pull out all the stops as we count down to the holiday season. As well as traditional services in our local churches and chapels, there are many Christmas themed events in schools, towns and villages. It’s lighting up time, get ready for Christmas Carols, Christmas Fayres, Christmas Concerts, Christmas Markets and Pantomimes. The Christmas Lights are already twinkling in Barnstaple, Bideford and Ilfracombe, this Sunday it’s the turn of Clovelly and Great Torrington. Whether shopping for Christmas fayre, fresh local produce or unique gifts North Devon has lots to offer. Our local Pannier Markets are of course open all year round including the Bideford Farmers Market in Jubilee Square now on the second and fourth Saturdays in the month throughout the winter. Bideford Town Council will be hosting a series of Winter Fairs with fun for all the family and free parking around the town at Bideford Pannier Market on the four Saturdays leading up to Christmas There are also Christmas Farmers' Markets at the Big Sheep on Saturdays on the 6th, 13th and 20th December while over in Hatherleigh, on the 6th December, the Ruby Country Market looks like a brilliant mix of traditional market shopping with a vast array of goods on sale, local music and attractions to entertain while you browse and shop. There will be some Christmas Fun at Quince Honey Farm in South Molton with Santa and the Snow Hive, festive fun and more. Don’t forget the Richard Long Exhibition Contemporary Art in the Countryside ARTIST ROOMS On Tour is running until 10th January 2015 at the Burton Art Gallery. Finally it’s going to be a White Christmas at Woolly’s Winter Wonderland at the Big Sheep from the 6th to 24th December. A magical light show plus all the spirit of festive family fun with Santa and his secret VIP guest. You can even try ice skating and tobogganing or have a go on the Snowboard simulator. PS……The word’s out that Clovelly is holding it’s first Boxing Day Barbi.. Scroll down for more event details

Winter Wonderland Bideford Pannier Market will transform into a winter fair on the four Saturdays leading up to Christmas. From 10am until 1.30pm, the town council will be hosting the winter fairs, with fun for all the family and free parking around the town. See press for full details 
Christmas Farmers Markets at the Big Sheep. The South Wests largest Farmers Market with over 50 local produce stalls. Sponsored by the North Devon Journal Free range turkeys, organic meats, sprouts on stalks, cheeses, cakes, puddings, biscuits, fudge, chocolate, bread, fish and Christmas trees are just some of the delights which will be on offer… Christmas Farmers Markets will be held on Saturdays 6th, 13th, 20th December.
6th December Christmas Concert with the Two Rivers Wind Ensemble. 7.30pm Lavington Church, Bridgleland Street, Bideford. Programme includes highlights from "Frozen".
6th December Christmas Fun at Quince Honey Farm, South Molton 10am-4pm. Meet Santa and his festive friends. Play in the Snow Hive, festive fun, food and drink and face painting.
6th December 9amThe Ruby Country Market is not an Antique & Collectors Fair, not an Art & Craft Fair or a Food Festival but a Traditional Market combining all of these events rolled into one with Local Music and Attractions to entertain you whilst you browse and shop from a vast range of local businesses, talent and charities.. This is the third Festive Market to be held and as the plans come together for this-2pm one, it is promising to be rather special. There will be a bumper Food Hall/Shippen raffle in support of the Devon Air Ambulance Trust and if you buy a ticket you may go home with your Christmas lunch!- See more at: 
7th December Christmas Lights in aid of the R.N.L.I. Christmas is a magical time at Clovelly. A local brass band leads the procession down to the harbour and accompanies Christmas carols sung with a local choir. A hog roast, punch and mince pies follow and Father Christmas makes a surprise visit. At about 5 p.m. the switch is thrown and the entire village and harbour are lit up. It's a fantastic sight and there is a grand finale of fireworks to... 
7th December Ilfracombe's magical Fore Street Christmas Market is just the place to become immersed in the Christmas spirit. Featuring Santa Clause in his grotto and stalls from local businesses and craftspeople, the market takes place from 3pm to 7pm on Sunday 7th December 2014.
21st December Breakfast with Santa at the Big Sheep. Christmas is a magical time of year for all children so why not sprinkle that extra bit of magic and make this Christmas even more special by treating the children in your life to Breakfast with Santa at the BIG Sheep in Bideford on Sunday 21st December. Hot or Cold Breakfast Exclusive time with Santa…
26h December This Boxing Day, come to Clovelly for a lunchtime treat! The Red Lion Clovelly presents. . . . .‘New Orleans Style’, Boxing Day Barbecue Bring your family and friends for a relaxing Boxing Day lunch time and enjoy our New Orleans style’ Barbecue at the harbour with a background of live jazz music. 12.30 –3pm. FREE entry to the village on the day
 For more North Devon Events see Local Press: What's On North Devon Gazette - North Devon Journal
Photo Bideford Highlights 2 December 2014 Copyright B. Adams (All rights reserved)
North Devon Tourist Information Centres
Barnstaple Tourist Information Centre, North Devon Museum, The Square, Barnstaple, North Devon, EX32 9LS
Bideford Tourist Information Centre, Burton Art Gallery, Kingsley Road, Bideford, EX39 2QQ 

Braunton Tourist Information Centre The Bakehouse Centre, Caen Street, Braunton, North Devon, EX33 1AA
Combe Martin Tourist Information Centre Cross Street, Combe Martin, North Devon, EX34 ODH 

Holsworthy Visitor Information Centre: The Memorial Hall, Holsworthy, 
Torrington Tourist Information Centre, Castle Hill, South Street, Torrington   
lfracombe Tourist Information Centre The Landmark Theatre, The Seafront, Ilfracombe, North Devon, EX34 9BX
Lynton Tourist Information Centre Lynton Town Hall, Lee Road, Lynton, North Devon, EX35 6HT T

South Molton Tourist Information  1 East Street, South Molton, Devon, EX36 3BU 
Woolacombe Tourist Information Centre The Esplanade, Woolacombe, North Devon, EX34 7DL 
Click here to add an event go to North Devon Focus Coast & Country Chronicle Community Calendar 

Tuesday, 2 December 2014


Anthony Henry a.k.a. Tippa Irie, Grammy nominated recording artist and UK reggae veteran, hailing From the infamous Saxon Sound System, having a list of hits including Complain Neighbor on Green Sleeves Records and member of the UK all-stars. Tippa has been at the top of the UK Reggae scene for time.

Support comes from

Irie Bingo comprising of a duo of roots vibe bad boys. Blazenstein, operator and selector for the mighty Irie Bingo Soundsystem out of Devon. Playing music for the revolution and inspired by soundsystem tradition of bringing news to the people. Heavy conscious music to shake the chains of Babylon.

Shire Roots, conscious Reggae MC hailing from the Southwest, strong roots vibes from this man

Joe Joe Jdb Burn – this young man, straight out North Devon this is our very own musical prodigy fresh from his new release on Defcon records, Joe is representing hard for the North Devon family, bless up this yoot man flying the flag for us Southwest crew!

OneDrop Soundsystem crew with Irie Selecta and King David on the early tip and maybe the late one as well !
Doors open 9pm - late
Advance tickets £12 [more on the door]

Physical tickets available from: Beats Workin, Barnstaple
Online tickets available from:

(Ticket outlets subject to booking fee)

Monday, 1 December 2014

Local Play with National Significance - The Common Hopes to Hit the Road

"An inspiringly insightful piece of contemporary theatre with important messages for our collective future – we ARE the land" ... Positive response to Beaford Arts' The Common might just get this show on the road. After two sellout performances of this series of dramatic dialogues about our relationship with the local environment, Beaford Arts hopes to take The Common on a national tour. Lucy Deasy, General Manager of Beaford Arts, says "Our objective as the cultural partner of the North Devon Nature Improvement Area (NIA) was to create a piece about the value of the land. Our mission was to engage with two local communities, work within them, engage them and produce a show that would resonate with the varied audience within those communities." 
Feedback from those who saw the shows in Dolton and Hatherleigh, where The Common was researched, developed and performed, certainly seems to indicate success "It was a triumph. Full of admiration for the performers. Very moving and you got the Devon nuances." Others wanted to share the love @ruthresearch tweeted "A lovely evening in the company of @beaford & @YourOldChina last night, do hope there is a longer life for #TheCommon" and another comment simply says " Brill! Sock it to Whitehall". Producer, Fin Irwin worked with theatre company China Plate to create the show " It has been a pleasure to work on a project that has had such a high and diverse level of engagement. From the environmentalists to the local farmer and the pub landlord, everyone has had a story to tell and has been keen to tell it. The positive response from the participants and audience alike was overwhelming and proved that this project will create a lasting legacy in the memories of those who saw it." This is a local production with national significance. The rural issues explored in The Common are relevant to communities nationwide and Beaford Arts hopes to roll the show out to the other eleven Nature Improvement Areas around the country "Our future goal is to tour the play to other NIAs, Westminster and maybe beyond." says Lucy Deasy. 
Beaford Arts The Common - Photos copyright (All rights reserved)
Beaford Arts 

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Ho, Ho, Ho from the Big Sheep, Black Friday Deal, FREE Christmas Light Show & More

Buy One Child Ticket to see Santa... Get One Free!!
Thinking of coming to see Santa for our opening weekend, on 6th and 7th December?
BOOK your tickets BEFORE MIDNIGHT on Friday 28th November 2014 and get one ticket FREE!!
One Child Ticket to see Santa must be purchased to receive a second for FREE. Tickets must be purchased before midnight on Friday 28th November via website:

Free Entry to Christmas Light Show
This Weekend

We are opening our Santa's Grotto a week early for our visitors to take a sneak peek at our Christmas Light Show for FREE!!

Come and take a look at the grotto, as the Christmas Lights dance to a festive tune!

Usual prices apply to BIG Sheep attractions. Santa won't be making appearances until 6th December.
Christmas Nearly New Baby & Toddler Sale

Help raise money for POPSI -  (Parents of Premature and Sick Infants) Read More
Saturday 29th November    10:30am - 2:30pm

Local Christmas Markets for local gift ideas, a good time to meet local author, Liz Shakespeare

Anyone in search of an original Christmas present should go along to the Ruby Country Market on Saturday 6th or South Molton Christmas Show on Sunday 7th where they will have the opportunity to buy signed copies of books with local settings. The name of Liz Shakespeare has become well-known in the South-West as an author who brings to life the people and landscapes of Devon. Liz was born and brought up in Bideford and has a long Devon ancestry which she feels has given her a good understanding of Devon and its people. Her most recent book, All Around The Year, is a collection of twelve poignant stories, deeply rooted in the Devon countryside, and each linked to a month of the year from January through to December. For each story, she has created a character whose life is influenced by the landscape around them. She relied on historical research for inspiration for her previous books, The Turning of the Tide, a true story of a young Clovelly mother confined in Bideford Workhouse, Fever: A Story from a Devon Churchyard, and The Memory Be Green: An Oral History of a Devon Village.

Saturday Dec 6th from 9am-2pm
Saturday Dec 6th from 9am-2pm
Liz will be signing copies of all four books at the Ruby Country Market at Hatherleigh and at South Molton.Pannier Market

Charity invites everyone to a festive day of family activities

Christmas is just around the corner but as the shops start to get busier, Devon Wildlife Trust is offering a day away from the crowds. The annual Christmas celebration at the historic Cricklepit Mill may only be a few minutes' walk from the High Street, but to the tired Christmas shopper it will feel like a world away. Christmas at Cricklepit is being held on Saturday 6 December from 10.30am to 3.30pm and is a day of free family activities. Visitors can have a go at willow weaving and make Christmas decorations ready to hang up on their tree at home. There will be seasonal storytelling and the chance to meet Father Christmas! Our garden birds may also need a little extra help at this time of year as the weather gets colder so Devon Wildlife Trust will also be encouraging everyone to make a pine cone bird feeder to take home. Mince pies and hot drinks will be available, while visitors can also buy from the charity's wonderful range of Christmas cards, calendars and other wildlife-related gifts. Devon Wildlife Trust's Jasmine Atkinson said: "Christmas at Cricklepit is the perfect escape from the hurly-burly of Christmas shops. The day will be full of Christmas magic and excitement, and it's free!" She added: "Cricklepit is a historic mill and one of the best places to see wildlife in the heart of the city. Make sure you explore the garden with the Christmas nature trail. We were treated to great views of otters in the mill stream only a couple of weeks ago so you never know what you might see!" 
Devon Wildlife Trust's Cricklepit Mill can be found on Commercial Road, Exeter, EX2 4AB and is just a two minute walk from Exeter's historic quayside. The mill is easy to access by public transport. Only a 15 minute walk from Exeter Central train station and a 2 minute amble from the Quay bus stop. There is no parking at the Mill, but on street parking and car parks can be found close by. For more information about this event and the work of Devon Wildlife Trust visit Cricklepit Mill's visitor area and gardens are normally open to the public 9am-5pm weekdays, throughout the year. Entrance is free. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Sixty Second Snapshots Capture Local Characters for Short Film Collection

A short film competition has produced a series of sixty second films featuring some of north Devon's most interesting characters. North Devon Moving Image (NDMI) ran the Short Shorts competition to encourage local people to submit their own contributions to the community film making organisation's collection. The first prize went to Jason Parker for his film Why Paint? featuring local artist Derek Spencer. BBC Radio Devon presenter Judi Spiers was one of the judges. She chose Jason's film for her shortlist saying "Great use of music complimenting the elemental shots ... that and such a personal story really created a mood - not always easy in such a short amount of time." Second prize, a night out at The George Hotel in South Molton, went to Alice Bollen for her one minute film about Stephen Perham, Clovelly Harbour Master and fisherman. Alice says she chose Stephen as her subject "because he has such an interesting life. Stephen represents many generations; past, present and future, whose work is part of the fabric of rural North Devon tradition. I wanted to convey the feeling that for Stephen, bringing in the catch was as normal and everyday as driving to and from the office is for others." In third place was Oscar Adams's Short Short about Torrington's town crier and erstwhile Amsterdam drag queen Big Al, winning tickets to Bideford Cinema. Judge Joel Cooper, Head of Content at the North Devon Journal said of Oscar's film " talk about a colourful character! I loved the little snippets in to this man’s fascinating life and would be eager to hear more." Coming fourth was a group of talented young film makers from Goodleigh Primary School who produced a charming profile of their school's postman Chris. The children said: "We chose Chris as our colourful character because he delivers our post everyday, and always says "good morning" with a smile. We thought it was really cool that he is a volunteering DJ on the voice. It was really kind of him to let us come and see what he does. He also makes curries to help raise money for charities; he has cooked curry for our school to raise money which helped us to go on more school trips. When we went to his house it was filled with the scent of spices! Something else we found interesting about Chris was his Lotus because not many postmen, DJs have a flashy car in Barnstaple! He is an all round soulful person!" Thanks to North Devon Theatres the children and their teacher, Miss Grant, will be going to see this year's panto Jack and the Beanstalk for their prize. The Short Shorts collection is available to view on the Films page of the North Devon Moving Image website. Keep an eye out for our next competition coming early next year!•
 Amanda McCormack and Peter Jewell present first prize to Derek Spencer who collected on behalf of Jason Parker•
 Still image from Why Paint? by Jason Parker showing artist Derek Spencer
The Winners:
  • First Prize - Sony Handycam from J&A Cameras - Why Paint? by Jason Parker
  • Second Prize - a night out at The George in South Molton - Stephen Perham by Alice Bollen
  • Third Prize - Bideford Cinema tickets - Big Al by Oscar Adams
  • Fourth Prize - tickets to North Devon Theatres Panto - Chris the Postie by Goodleigh Primary School
The Judges:
  • Judi Spiers - BBC Radio Devon
  • Jo Stewart-Smith - Independent Film Producer
  • Joel Cooper - Head of Content, North Devon Journal
  • Peter Jewell - Co-Founder, Bill Douglas Cinema Collection 
Photos copyright NDMI (All rights reserved)

Young People Air their Views on the News at Video Production Workshops in Barnstaple

A weekend of video production workshops at St Anne's Arts and Community Centre in Barnstaple gave local youngsters the chance to air their views on today's news. Under the guidance of community film makers North Devon Moving Image (NDMI) two production teams (aged 8-11 and 12-16) researched and developed their programmes from script to screen in a single day. The resulting 'What the Papers Say' style short films see the young TV presenters discussing topics ranging from World War One to breast cancer awareness. Amanda McCormack, Creative Director of NDMI, was proud to present the crews with DVD copies of their short films at a screening event last Friday (21 November 2014) at St Anne's. "It was fascinating to hear what young people today make of what is going on in their world." said Amanda "I was really impressed at how seriously each member of the team took their role, whether it was in front of or behind the camera. I really think we may have some future media stars in our sights here!" St Anne's Manager, Dion Sears, received funding from the Davie Barnstaple Trust to run the workshops. “This has been a fantastic project and one which we would like to repeat each year." says Dion "Giving young people new creative opportunities is a really important part of the programme at St Anne’s. It’s great that the young people who took part can continue to meet at our monthly youth film club which is free, come along too everyone is welcome!” 
You can watch the films - North Devon News and Youth Comments - via the Films page of the North Devon Moving Image website.
Photos copyright NDMI (All rights reserved)

Company gives backing to local wildlife haven

An award winning national property company has added its support to one of Exeter's most precious havens for wildlife. The company, Renaissance Villages, has generously donated £1,500 to leading local conservation charity Devon Wildlife Trust to help with the vital upkeep of its Old Sludge Beds nature reserve. The reserve occupies wildlife rich reed beds, woodland and ponds on the banks of the River Exe close to the city's Countess Weir Swing Bridge. Matt Boydell, Devon Wildlife Trust's Nature Reserve Manager, welcomed the news of backing from Renaissance Villages: 'Our 49 nature reserves are some of the most beautiful and important green spaces remaining for Devon's people and wildlife. Old Sludge Beds may not have the most picturesque name, but it is a vital place for some wonderful wildlife including otters, warblers, dragonflies and bats. And, because it is close to Exeter and next to the busy Exeter Canal bike path, the reserve is also very popular with visitors.' Matt continued: 'Keeping nature reserves in tip-top condition for people and wildlife takes up a great amount of time and money for our charity so help from Renaissance Villages is very welcome news. Their support will be used to manage this delicate wetland reserve, maintaining its water levels, repairing its well-trodden boardwalks and improving it as a great home for wildlife.' Renaissance Villages specialises in high quality, age-exclusive homes for discerning buyers set within new private village communities. The company's luxury development on Topsham Road in Exeter, Millbrook Village, is within walking distance of the Old Sludge Beds nature reserve. Commenting on the company's new relationship with Devon Wildlife Trust and its Exeter nature reserve, Renaissance Villages Managing Director, Iwan Jones, said: 'We are delighted to support Devon Wildlife Trust and contribute towards the conservation of the Old Sludge Beds. It's wonderful to have a nature reserve so close to Millbrook Village and we know the fascinating site will be of great interest to our residents.' Devon Wildlife Trust is delighted to welcome Renaissance Villages as a corporate supporter, joining the ranks of more than 40 Devon companies who are backing the charity. Iwan Jones commented: 'It is very important to Renaissance Villages that we build a strong relationship with the local community in Exeter, and we're really proud to be supporting Devon Wildlife Trust. We greatly admire the organisation's work, which is so vital both for the region's wildlife and its people.' Devon Wildlife Trust's Old Sludge Beds nature reserve is free to enter and open 365 days a year. 
New corporate and individual supporters make a great deal of difference to the charity's work and details are available from
Devon Wildlife Trust's Old Sludge Beds nature reserve has received a significant boost from property company Renaissance Villages.' Photo copyright DWT (All Rights Reserved)

Friday, 21 November 2014

LOOKING DOWN ALONG A world of flavour at the Clovelly Herring Festival

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Former chair of North Devon Biosphere takes up leading wildlife charity role

A north Devon man who has spent a lifetime in the cause of international environmental movements has joined the board of a leading local wildlife charity. Former chair of North Devon's UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Mike Moser, is taking up the role of trustee with the Devon Wildlife Trust. Mike was unanimously elected by supporters of the wildlife charity at its recent Annual General Meeting held in Plymouth. Mike's CV reads as a career spent devoted to conservation and includes spells at the British Trust for Ornithology, Director of Wetlands International and English Nature. Today he continues to work, mainly with the United Nations, supporting wetland, forest and coastal conservation projects in developing countries. For the past three years Mike has also overseen the ground-breaking conservation work done with local farming communities as chair of the Northern Devon Nature Improvement Area. Despite a busy professional life Mike still finds time to manage a small farm and woodlands at his home near Chulmleigh in north Devon. Now Mike is joining the trustee board which oversees the running of another leading conservation organisation: the Devon Wildlife Trust. Marking the announcement of his new role Mike said: "Devon is one of England's most beautiful counties, but that beauty belies serious problems of habitat fragmentation, degradation and continuing loss of wildlife. It could and should be much better! Wildlife will only thrive again when we have restored and joined up our fragmented habitats so that they can function properly. Devon Wildlife Trust is a champion for this landscape-scale conservation, and I aim to bring added-value to the organisation by drawing on my international, national and local experience. I'm delighted to be elected and look forward to helping to develop the charity's work for wildlife." Devon Wildlife Trust Chief Executive Harry Barton welcomed Mike's appointment: 'We're very pleased to welcome Mike. As one of our trustees he joins Devon Wildlife Trust at a very exciting time. He'll now be part of our development as we open the major new visitor centre Seaton Jurassic in East Devon, as we continue to expand our 49 nature reserves and as we campaign for better protection for Devon's wonderful marine wildlife. The challenges facing Devon's precious environment have never been more profound and the work of Devon Wildlife Trust has never been more urgent. I'm glad Mike will be with us to help!' Mike Moser's new role as a Devon Wildlife Trust trustee followed the retirement from the board of another north Devon wildlife champion, Ian Ferguson. Ian has become a familiar face at countless community events, campaigns and meetings over an astonishing 50 years of volunteering for the charity.
  North Devon conservationist Mike Moser has joined the trustee board of Devon Wildlife Trust.
Photo copyright DWT (All rights reserved)

Monday, 17 November 2014

Nature Improvement Areas are boosting England's wildlife, communities and rural economy. Devon project leading by example.

Wildlife, communities and local economies are reaping the benefits of England's new Nature Improvement Areas, according to a report published today Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs) set up by the government in 2012 have helped farmers to access EU grants, made valuable contributions towards university research and boosted the £210 billion rural economy. They've also attracted outside investment - more than £730,000 from business partners and £7.8 million from NGOs and not-for-profit organisations. Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said: "A healthy environment and a healthy economy go hand in hand. These Nature Improvement Areas show how protecting our precious wildlife and outstanding landscapes can help grow our £30 billion rural tourism industry and create more jobs for hardworking people as part of our long term economic plan." Almost 19,000 hectares of threatened habitat - equivalent to 23,000 football pitches- have been created or restored since the NIAs were set up with £7.5 million of government funding. Volunteers have spent 24,300 days - or 66 years in total - surveying wildlife and improving habitats, and more than 11,000 people have taken part in educational visits. Locally the Northern Devon Nature Improvement Area is the largest of England's 12 NIAs, covering 72,000 hectares of the river Torridge catchment. The project is leading by example exceeding many of its targets: since April 2012 it has worked with landowners and local people to restore more than 1,300 hectares of wildlife habitat, working with 51 parishes and 249 different landowners. So far the project has held 137 community events, taken 47 school groups out on site, and held 32 land management workshops. Lisa Schneidau, Northern Devon NIA Project Manager, said: "The NIA partnership in Devon is going from strength to strength. We aim to continue for many years yet in achieving our vision of a working landscape, rich in wildlife, valued by everyone. It's inspiring to be part of such a vibrant, positive network of projects which are showing how this vision can be achieved. As we work towards the end of this round of Government support for NIAs, we urge the Minister to build on the good work already achieved through NIAs, and provide leadership and support for existing and new NIA projects into the future." The Together England's 12 NIAs are spread throughout the country, from glistening sands of Morecambe Bay to the butterfly-filled South Downs in Hampshire. These wild habitats are now bigger, better connected, and more widespread, enabling wildlife such as butterflies and water voles to thrive. NIAs were first announced in the Natural Environment White Paper, the first government White Paper on the environment for 20 years, with the aim of creating 12 initial areas to reconnect nature on a significant scale through local partnerships. The NIA partnerships have improved access to the countryside, creating new public footpaths and connecting a network of paths which will span 540km by 2015. The NIA partnerships are on track to restore, create, enhance and maintain a further 5,500 hectares by 2015, joining up people and communities with their landscapes.

The river Torridge has been the focus for the Northern Devon Nature Improvement Area's work over the past three years. Photo copyright Kevin New (All rights reserved)

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Charity raises support for wildlife through Christmas cards and gifts.

In the past money raised has been used for vital projects including to providing winter homes for Devon's dormice and restoring wild flower meadows for butterflies and bees. This year, Devon Wildlife Trust has added a number of new lines. A brightly coloured Kingfisher and a snowy Cow join the Barn Owl and Squirrel along with the popular multi-image card. The Wildlife Trusts 2015 calendar is also available and features 13 stunning images of the UK's wildlife. Orders can be made online, by phone or by post. Devon Wildlife Trust is also offering a special Christmas gift for countryside lovers. A year's membership of Devon Wildlife Trust provides the opportunity for countless free days out in some of Devon's most stunning landscapes. As an extra Christmas offer, gift membership also includes a choice of free illustrated book. Devon Wildlife Trust is also urging people to think of treating the wildlife-lovers in their life with a very special Christmas gift. Adopting a species makes an unusual present. Choices include bee, hedgehog, bat, otter, dormouse and dolphin - with the recipient receiving a cute soft toy, activity book, fact sheet and more. Jasmine Atkinson, DWT's Communications Assistant said 'Our Christmas card orders have already started to come in and the new designs are proving popular. Buying cards and calendars from Devon Wildlife Trust is a great way to help wildlife from the comfort of your living room!' Jasmine added 'It is sometimes difficult to find unusual presents. Our Christmas gift membership offers a present that will last all year and is perfect for friends and family who love wildlife and the Devon countryside'. Cards are printed on sustainably sourced card and really show off some of Devon's best-loved animals. All the profits from the sales of Devon Wildlife Trust's cards and gifts go directly to support its work for the county's wildlife. People who wish to purchase cards should visit or call Devon Wildlife Trust on 01392 279244. The cards are also available through the Cards for Good Causes outlets across the county and from The Trust's Cricklepit Mill headquarters in Exeter.

All Christmas card designs can be viewed at

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Fishing for the Long Haul? Short Film Looks at Life on a Commercial Fishing Boat in North Devon

Sun is out, sea is calm and skipper Paul Stone smiles as he and his crew land a net full of squid in 'Fishing for the Long Haul?' the latest short film in the Boat Stories series. The film was shot back in the summer before a ban on fishing for ray off the UK Coast effectively closed the Bristol Channel to North Devon trawlers, putting many fishermen out of work. 'Fishing for the Long Haul?' sails with Stone and his crew, Tom Leather and Logan Suddick, out of Ilfracombe to trawl for squid in the Bristol Channel. The film opens a window on life at sea; we find out what it is that keeps these men out there, missing their families and risking their lives and what their Plan B might be if they can't fish any more. Boat Stories producer Jo Stewart-Smith talks about working with the North Devon fishermen “Despite the ups and downs of the fishing year, Paul was always funny; quick to follow bad news for their livelihoods with a joke or a quip. We tried to keep some of the humour and character in our short story – difficult when you’re taking more than twenty four hours on a boat down to five minutes!" Before the current fishing ban, Paul talked about how the North Devon Ray Box helps with conserving local fish stocks. The Ray Box is a voluntary 'no take zone' set up by members of the local fishing industry to protect their livelihoods. Situated six miles north of Lundy the box is an area closed to fishing for a few months of the year to let the ray rest and breed. Paul says "It's part of the overall plan ... it’s one of several things we’ve done to make a sustainable fishery in the area. At the end of the day if you want a future in the job you've got to look after it." Stephen Pitcher Chair of Northern Devon FLAG (major funders of the film making) commented on the value of the Boat Stories series "These films show us things many of us were barely aware of, before we became involved in supporting the fisheries and fishing communities of North Devon. We often, in the work of the Fisheries Local Action Group, hold community events and can talk ourselves blue in the face on the subject, but the films show in a few minutes what can take hours to describe. They show the power of the moving image to convey the reality, the hard graft, the challenging environment, the skills, commitment and, yes, passion of fishermen for their trade. They enable us to inform people of the lives of the fishers and their environment and the consequences of decisions taken by or affecting them." Jo Stewart Smith is grateful to those in the North Devon fishing industry who spoke to her during the research for this film. "Despite being frantically busy they were all extremely welcoming and helpful. I particularly want to thank Paul and the crew for allowing Boat Stories on board to share their busy lives and for looking after our cameraman Mark Brindle so well." You can watch the film on the Boat Stories website and read Jo's film making blog and articles on the Ray Box and ray fishing ban.
Fishing for the Long Haul was filmed and edited by Mark Brindle from Maniac Films in Croyde, with music written and performed by Rowan Lincoln Gordon from Burrington. The Ray Ban: Marine Management Organisation (MMO) Reforming and managing marine fisheries for a prosperous fishing industry and a healthy marine environment "The MMO closed this fishery on 12 October as landings information indicated that, (after allowance is made for landings already made but not yet entered onto the MMO database) the UK quota for this stock has been exhausted."
Photos: Crew of the Sparkling Star: Paul Stone, Tom Leather and Logan Suddick copyright NDMI (All rights reserved)

Monday, 3 November 2014

November Highlights. A celebration of North Devon Coast and Countryside events

It's lighting up time, literally and usually by now we'll have switched on the heating and settled down in front of a cosy fire to watch Strictly and X Factor and soon it'll be I'm a Celebrity and we could be stuck indoors till next Spring!! The good news is there are plenty of fun events this month to lure you away from the telly. The Northern Devon Nature Improvement Area are holding some free courses for woodland owners wishing to learn how to fell and extract small amounts of timber for personal use or sale using a variety of techniques. Remember, remember the 5th November when the North Devon skies will be lighting up for Guy Fawkes Night and there are a number of  organised Bonfire and Fireworks Parties around the region including a big fun night of boogying and bopping, fireworks and fun at the Big Sheep including a special toddler firework display earlier in the evening. Novemeber is also a time to celebrate the humble herring. Clovelly was once a major centre for herring fishing and their annual Herring Festival is held to promote these tasty, nutritious 'Silver Darlings' and support carefully managed fishing as carried out by our local fishermen. The village once depended on the harvest of herring, which are caught in superb condition for a short season off its coast. Records go back over 400 years and in 1749, there were a hundred herring boats in the port. When fishing was good, 9000 herring could be landed at one time. Those days of massive catches are long gone and there remain just two herring fishermen who still employ sustainable fishing methods using drift nets and long lines. Kids can enjoy the North Devon A.O.N.B. event-themed, free craft activities, there will be Shanty singers, street entertainment, local food and craft stalls, flax making and a photographic exhibition of Clovelly herring fishing and Kipperland will make sure this is a "smoking" fun day out for all the family.

4th November FREE courses ‘All things wood-fuel’ this Autumn with Northern Devon NIA. With ever rising populations of the non-native grey squirrel, damage to young trees through bark stripping is at epidemic proportions in North Devon. If you have young trees or are hoping for regenerating seedling in your wood to have a chance of establishing this course is a must. View details
5th November Guy Fawke's Fire Works Party at the Big Sheep. Bonfire and burgers - Fireworks and Fun - Boogying and Bopping! Special Toddler Firework display earlier in the evening at 6pm Doors open at 5pm Junior Fireworks - 6pm Bonfire Lit at 7pm Main Fireworks at 7.45pm Indoor Playground closes at 9:30pm Remember, remember the 5th of November - Bonfire and…
12th November North Devon Arts Broomhill Arts Hotel 8pm. A talk by Michael Brennand-Wood,an innovative and inspiring artist working in textiles. Free to NDA members, guests £5
14th and 15th November Beaford Arts The Common will be performed in Dolton on Friday 14 November and Hatherleigh on Saturday 15 November. Tickets are free but limited so booking is essential.  Details as follows:
Dolton Village Hall, Friday 14 November 2014 at 7.30 pm Tickets FREE but must be reserved via Beaford Arts,, telephone 01769 572573, collect from The Royal Oak, Dolton
Hatherleigh Community Centre, Saturday 15 November 2014 at 7.30 pm Tickets FREE but must be reserved via Beaford Arts,, telephone 01769 572573, collect from Hatherleigh Community Centre
16th November Clovelly Herring Festival. Maritime historian and writer, Mike Smylie, will return with his 'Kipperland' exhibition, which is devoted to the history of the herring. He will also be turning herring into delicious and delicate-tasting kippers and bloaters in his smokehouse. There will also be net making, flax processing and a curragh on show provided by 'Flaxland'. There'll be a wide variety of herring dishes in the quay kitchens, cookery demonstrations, live shanty singers, street entertainment, other local food and craft stalls, a photographic exhibition of Clovelly herring fishing and A.O.N.B. event-themed, free craft activities. To see the 'Silver Darling' menu at the Red Lion Harbour Restaurant, please click here Standard admission charges include all entertainment.
27th November FREE courses ‘All things wood-fuel’ this Autumn with Northern Devon NIA. Learn how to fell and extract small amounts of timber for personal use or sale using techniques including a compact tractor, small crane and extraction using horses. Practical solutions for everyday woodland owner problems are all high on the agenda. For the less mechanized or equestrian amongst you there will be practical coppicing advice including the use of tools. View details
27th November Ilfracombe High Street Lighting of the Lights. The lights ceremony with a parade, music, stalls and late night shopping.
 For more North Devon Events see Local Press: What's On North Devon Gazette - North Devon Journal
 Herring Boats are coming. Picarooner and a Coracle. Photo Clovelly Herring Festival 2013 P. Adams (all rights reserved) 
Check out more pics and post Catching the Essence of Clovelly
 North Devon Tourist Information Centres
Barnstaple Tourist Information Centre, North Devon Museum, The Square, Barnstaple, North Devon, EX32 9LS
Bideford Tourist Information Centre, Burton Art Gallery, Kingsley Road, Bideford, EX39 2QQ 

Braunton Tourist Information Centre The Bakehouse Centre, Caen Street, Braunton, North Devon, EX33 1AA
Combe Martin Tourist Information Centre Cross Street, Combe Martin, North Devon, EX34 ODH 

Holsworthy Visitor Information Centre: The Memorial Hall, Holsworthy, 
Torrington Tourist Information Centre, Castle Hill, South Street, Torrington   
lfracombe Tourist Information Centre The Landmark Theatre, The Seafront, Ilfracombe, North Devon, EX34 9BX
Lynton Tourist Information Centre Lynton Town Hall, Lee Road, Lynton, North Devon, EX35 6HT T

South Molton Tourist Information  1 East Street, South Molton, Devon, EX36 3BU 
Woolacombe Tourist Information Centre The Esplanade, Woolacombe, North Devon, EX34 7DL 
 To add an event go to North Devon Focus Coast & Country Chronicle Community Calendar