Thursday, 17 July 2014

Clovelly - In Time to the Music

Clovelly embraces it's fishing and maritime history each year with a series of fun festivals. This Sunday it's the Maritime Festival  in aid of  the North Devon Hospice. This is a clip from last years Lobster and Crab Fest. I was relaxing, listening to the Tennessee Waltz and watching the boats coming in and out of the harbour seemingly in time to the music.

Click here to see North Devon Focus "Spirit of Clovelly" photos of Clovelly Lobster and Crab Fest 2013
"Tennessee Waltz" was performed Nick Wyke & Becki Driscoll

Clovelly Maritime Festival, Sunday 20th July. Starting at 10am, the day will be full of fun and cram-packed with a programme of all sorts of activities and entertainment for all ages. There'll be lively music, cookery demonstrations, crafty creations and family activities throughout the day. The quay will be full of seafood kitchens, arts and crafts and facepainting too. The New Inn, in the heart of the village, will be offering two lunch specials and fresh strawberrry and cream teas with home made scones. So do come along and enjoy this fun-packed day out, held in aid of the North Devon Hospice.
**Young people (7-16 years) will have free entry if they come dressed as a pirate or a mermaid. Under 7s have free entry anyway, but we would love it if they come dressed up too.
Standard admission charges to Clovelly include all entertainment.
Click here for Clovelly Event Information

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Scarce dragonfly finds new Devon home

A real rarity has been discovered at a Devon nature reserve. The rarity in question is an aptly named dragonfly known as the scarce chaser. It was seen recently at Devon Wildlife Trust's Old Sludge Beds nature reserve on the outskirts of Exeter. The charity's site is a well-known haven for local wildlife, but the sighting of a scarce chaser still came as something of a surprise. The nature reserve is now thought to be one of only a handful of places in Devon in which scarce chasers have ever been recorded. The dragonfly was spotted by Keith Richards, a member of the British Dragonfly Society. At first Keith was unsure of his find but after taking photos he had it confirmed by the British Dragonfly Society who told him: "This is a very interesting record - the first ever seen at the Old Sludge Beds. The species first appeared at the nearby Exminster Marshes in 2007 and small numbers have been seen there since. It's possible that the species has bred at the Old Sludge Beds, but more likely it has flown over or under the M5 to get there." The adult male scarce chaser has a bright blue abdomen with patches of black, while the adult female and juvenile male each possess bright orange abdomen. It is about 45 mm in length with a wingspan of 74 mm. This dragonfly is considered a 'species of special concern', making it one of the rarest in the UK. Stephen Hussey from Devon Wildlife Trust said: "We are thrilled by this news. This dragonfly's appearance at our nature reserve suggests we are being successful with our management. Scarce chasers need wetlands with dense vegetation. In the last 100 years our countryside has lost many of its wetlands and wildlife like this dragonfly has struggled to survive. But at the Old Sludge Beds the mix of wet lagoons, reeds and submerged plants seem to have provided it with the ideal conditions. We are so pleased that it has found a home with us." The scarce chaser was spotted in early summer and with a flying season which extends into August it could be seen for some weeks to come. Steve added: "Old Sludge Beds nature reserve makes a wonderful place to visit in the summer. Being close to Exeter and the Exeter Canal cycle path the reserve already attracts good numbers of visitors. But the news that this rare dragonfly has taken up residence may mean that those numbers are boosted still further." The Old Sludge Beds is one of 48 wildlife havens looked after by Devon Wildlife Trust. The charity is keen for people to know that they are free to enter and make wonderful places to explore the county's landscapes and wildlife. More details from
Scarce Chaser Photo: Copyright Keith Richards. (All Rights Reserved)

Tuesday, 8 July 2014


A new short film by North Devon film maker Jo Stewart-Smith takes a close up look at the work of Ilfracombe lobster fisherman Geoff Huelin. The first short film in the Boat Stories series, Lobster Potting and Berried Hens, looks at life as a lobster potter and explores the positive effects that the Lundy no-take zone has had on the lobster population off the shores of North Devon. Sarah Clark from Devon and Severn Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) explains in the film "This has been the only no take zone for many, many years which allowed that opportunity to start looking at the benefits of closing an area to fishing. The research has shown the abundance within the no-take zone, the increased population of lobsters and the potential for spillover" (increase in the population of lobsters outside of the zone available for catching). Lobster Potting and Berried Hens is a delightful glance at a traditional family business and emphasises the importance of working with nature in this special part of the world. Amanda McCormack, Creative Director of North Devon Moving Image (NDMI) who are hosting the Boat Stories project loves the film "We are really pleased with what Jo and her crew have done with the Boat Stories brief. As well as sharing stories of contemporary life in North Devon an important part of our remit is to give work to local film makers. We want to fly the flag for the documentary film industry in North Devon and this project shows that we definitely have local talent worth celebrating." The major funder of the Boat Stories project is Northern Devon FLAG (Fisheries Local Action Group). FLAG Programme Manager Jenny Carey-Wood says “Using film to entertain, inform and engage is vital in reaching a wide audience of children, local people and visitors, to meet the FLAG priority of increasing awareness and understanding of both fishing and the marine environment in North Devon. " Jenny adds "This excellent first film about an Ilfracombe potter has already been enthusiastically received by local, national and European audiences.” All of NDMI's films are to be shared freely and will not only build a moving image archive for the future but serve to highlight the way we live our lives in North Devon today. In this film Geoff Huelin sums up "I can't see why we can't continue fishing as we are, as we've always done. Providing the berried lobsters are released and the undersized lobsters are put back and it's managed sensibly ... there's a living for everybody." 
The film is available to watch online via the Boat Stories website where you can also read about the making of the film, find out more about commercial and leisure boats in northern Devon and keep up to date with future productions.
Photo:Jo Stewart-Smith takes a close up look at the work of Ilfracombe lobster fisherman Geoff Huelin. "Lobster Potting and Berried Hens" copyright

Monday, 7 July 2014

Lynmouth to host public search for seashore creatures on the 13th July

A new 'citizen science' project to discover more about Exmoor's coastal wildlife is holding its first public event on the beach at Lynmouth on Sunday 13 July. The Exmoor coast is home to a wide range of marine wildlife, from Atlantic grey seals to colourful strawberry beadlet anemones. But there are many gaps in our knowledge of how different species are faring and how their numbers might be influenced by threats such as invasive species and climate change. The Shoresearch Exmoor project aims to collect information on the animals and plants of the seashore, at eight beaches along the coastline of the national park. A combination of expert-led surveys and public rockpooling events will help to build a clearer picture of Exmoor's coastal wildlife. Surveys have been under way since the spring, and now for the first time all beach-lovers and wildlife enthusiasts can get involved in Lynmouth on Sunday - with no prior knowledge required! Shoresearch Exmoor activities are being led by volunteer interns at Devon Wildlife Trust, all recent graduates from Plymouth University's Marine Institute. Volunteer Sara Marshall said: "The event at Lynmouth is a fantastic opportunity for local people and visitors to get better acquainted with Exmoor's rich coastal wildlife. Our range of species cards will help you identify the creatures we find amongst the rocks." Sara continued: "There are fascinating creatures to look out for in Lynmouth's rockpools - you might see starfish that can regenerate lost arms, or anemones with more than 200 tentacles. But by also looking out for exotic species of oyster and seaweed from the Pacific Ocean that have colonized here, people can really help increase our understanding of invasive species on the Exmoor coast." Much of the Exmoor coastline is included in the Bideford to Foreland Point recommended Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ). This is one of three north Devon MCZs being considered for designation by the government next year. Devon Wildlife Trust's Senior Marine Conservation Officer Richard White said: "Bideford to Foreland Point was proposed by the local community as an area to protect local marine wildlife. But designation of this stunning stretch of coast as a Marine Conservation Zone has been delayed by the government due to a lack of evidence. By getting involved in the Shoresearch Exmoor event at Lynmouth, everyone can help increase the evidence we have so the case for protecting local wildlife is made stronger. And all you need to do to help is enjoy a fun day at the beach!" The event starts at 10:30 on Sunday with a rockpool ramble at midday, followed by a timed species search. All activities take place on the east side of Lynmouth beach with the meeting point clearly signed by coloured Devon Wildlife Trust flags and banners. To find out more about the project and the Shoresearch Exmoor event at Lynmouth visit or call in to the Exmoor National Park Visitor Centre at Lynmouth Pavilion.

Photo: Strawberry Beadlet Anemone Copyright Sara Marshall (All Rights Reserved)

Photo: Common Starfish  Copyright P Naylor (All rights Reserved)