Monday, 29 February 2016

Wish you were here. Following in the footsteps of The Night Manager.

Hartland Abbey start their colourful season of events on the 6th March. Time to celebrate Mothering Sunday with the family and four-legged friends, get out in the fresh air and explore this beautiful valley on the Hartland Heritage Coast. The historic house, gardens and tea rooms will be open and if you want to follow in actor Tom Hiddleston's footsteps this is a chance for visitors to walk through the beautiful wild flowers to the sea and Blackpool Mill Cottage. Blackpool Mill Cottage was featured recently in Episode 2 of  BBC’s ‘The Night Manager’ a British-American television serial directed by Susanne Bier and starring Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, Olivia Colman and Tom Hollander. It is based on the novel of the same name by John le Carre.  Last night's episode, set in Hartland, Devon saw Jonathan Pine (aka Jack Lindon) honing his bad boy skills, mixing it up with the locals on the mean streets of (yep) Hartland Village, winding up a local drug dealer in the garage and having a pint of Blue Anchor and a smashing time in the Anchor Inn. Other sequences included Pine racing in and out of the village on his motorbike, roaring his way up the hill climb from Hartland Quay, running up the rugged terrain from Blackpool Mill on the Southwest Coast Path and taking a cold shower under the waterfall at Blegberry after some strenuous undercover work. Crikey I bet you "Wish you were here"! (Article P. Adams 29/2/2016)

 Blackpool Mill Cottage, Hartland was the Devon location for "The Night Manager"
6th March at Hartland Abbey from 11am–4pm.
Blackpool Mill Cottage was featured as ‘Barton College’ in the BBC’s adaptation of Sense and Sensibility

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Best foot forward for the Ilfracombe Art Trail.

What attracts artists to Ilfracombe? Beautiful architecture, huge Georgian terraces and gothic-style Victorian mansions, as well as cottages dating back to a time when Ilfracombe was a seafaring town. The dramatic coast has an abundance of sea birds and wild flowers, and inland the hills, woods, moors and rivers provide walks that can inspire anyone to stop and gaze. In 2012, Damien Hirst, an internationally known artist with strong links to the town created 'Verity', a 20-metre bronze/steel statue weighing in at 25 tonnes and she took her place on the pier. Following this wonderful gift to the town, new art galleries and shops started opening, including Damien Hirst's own gallery 'Other Criteria' and his restaurant 'The Quay' and an art renaissance ensued.

Ilfracombe Art Trail was the brainchild of Sue Hutchins, an artist from Bristol who moved to Ilfracombe 9 years ago. Bristol has many art trails and Sue thought that Ilfracombe would be an ideal place to host a similar event. Not only does it have an amazing array of talented artists but it has a good community spirit. After visiting Bristol's Easton Art Trail in 2014, Sue and her friend Jo Beech decided to launch Ilfracombe Art Trail. There was a lot of work to do and no money to do it with. But after generous donations from Ilfracombe's Town Councillors and the Ilfracombe Charity Book shop, Ilfracombe Art Trail was launched. A committee was formed, all women, the website was built and flyers designed. Local businesses offered their help free of charge, local radio and newspapers picked up the story and registration forms started coming in. The response was overwhelming, with some artists offering to share their houses with others who didn't have a venue of their own. Three house-owners let visiting artists use their homes even though they weren't exhibiting themselves. When Ilfracombe Art Trail opened its doors on 9th-10th May 2015, it had 27 open houses, 37 artists, 5 open gardens, Saturday night poetry in the Museum, Sunday night comic poetry in a pub, and 2 live bands playing in pubs. There was a poetry workshop, a 'meet the author' session in the Library, a willow-weaving workshop in the community garden and a large community painting happening in an artists' studio. There was even a group of wandering musicians who busked to entertain the crowds. As a sign of the event' s success, one venue counted 300 visitors through their door over the weekend.

Ilfracombe Art Trail 7th-8th May 2016 is proving to be even bigger, so successful that registration had to be closed early to maintain its ethos of an art trail that could be followed on foot over a weekend. With 29 venues, over 45 gallery-standard artists, free workshops (for adults and children), music and poetry, there will be something for everyone. It demonstrates that anything can be achieved if you have a group of dedicated, committed people and a town with a strong community spirit and a big heart. This is one event not to be missed.
Ilfracombe Art Trail 7th-8th May 2016
7th-8th May 2016
For further information please contact Ilfracombe Art Trail on 
or visit the website

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Real Ale Girls Power the St Annes Sofa Sessions. Free Live Music and Networking Evening at St. Anne's Art Centre, Barnstaple 16th February

North Devon Music Network's Lucy Betts and Dion Sears have been busy again organising the second North Devon Music Network Sofa Sessions which are being held on the 16th February at St. Anne's Arts Centre in Barnstaple.

The event will be a networking night for all lovers of live music including venues, performers and musicians. Performers on the night are up and coming and have been rarely heard before in North Devon. The sessions are free to play and attend.

The best outcomes are often the connections people make from the sessions. This event is being sponsored by The Real Ale Girls a North Devon firm run by 2 sister's who provide local real ale & cider to pubs, shops, hotels, festivals, weddings and parties.

Facebook event page:

North Devon Music Network. St. Anne's Sofa Sessions

Free Live Music and Networking Evening
February16th 7.30 pm St Annes Art Centre, Barnstaple, Devon EX31 1BH
 Contact: Dion Sears/Lucy Betts, St Annes Arts Centre
Facebook North Devon Music Network

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Barnstaple Stories - Short films uncover fascinating stories of life in Barnstaple

Do you remember Raymond's pasty shop in Barnstaple? Did you ever see elephants walking around town? How did Butcher's Row become knee deep in dough? 

Barnstaple Stories is a new collection of short films uncovering some fascinating stories Barnstaple life in days gone by. The project was commissioned by Barnstaple Town Council to record and share personal and family histories of life in the town.

Amanda McCormack, Creative Director of North Devon Moving Image who produced the films, says the project uncovered some delightful anecdotes "We held a drop-in event at Barnstaple's Guildhall in November, inviting people to come in and share their stories. The interviewees talked about their personal memories of growing up and living in Barnstaple and we were captivated by the little details of everyday life which are now just that - memories."

Reaction to the films has been really positive and the sharing event was such a success that Barnstaple Town Council have decided to run a monthly local history scrapbooking event. The first meeting will be at The Guildhall on Friday 4 March 2016 and is a chance for people to come along and bring their stories, photographs and documents. From the information gathered, the group will produce the Barnstaple History Scrapbook to preserve and share precious details of life in Barnstaple.

The Barnstaple Stories films are currently available on the North Devon Moving Imagewebsite and will soon be available to view on the touch screen display at St Anne's Arts Centre in Barnstaple.
Barnstaple Stories
Dick Raymond and Ian Irwin tell their Barnstaple Stories 
Barnstaple Stories
Peter Jewell talking to Amanda McCormack from North Devon Moving Image.