Friday, 28 July 2017

It's Woolsery Show Time

It’s Woolsery Agricultural Show on Monday July 31st set against the backdrop of Bideford Bay at Clovelly Court. The photos here were taken at the show in 2014 so we are hoping for some blue skies and sunshine again for this colourful event. The first Woolfardisworthy "Colt Show", now the Woolsery Show, was held in 1892 and apart from the war and foot and mouth it has continued to be a draw for locals and visitors. It is now held annually on the last Monday in July. For Clovelly Court follow the signs tor Clovelly Village off the A39 Atlantic Highway between Bideford, North Devon and Bude, Cornwall.
 Woolsery Show 2014 - Photo copyright Pat Adams North Devon Focus
Woolsery Show 2013 - Photo copyright Pat Adams North Devon Focus
Woolsery Show 2013 - Photo copyright Pat Adams North Devon Focus
Tap here for Woolsery Show website
Tap here for What's On Clovelly and event details
Tap here for photos of Woolsery Agricultural Show 2017
Tap here for North Devon Focus on Woolsery Agricultural Show 
Tap here for North Devon Focus on Woolsery - A Village with two names 

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Good News Day for Northam Burrows Country Park Visitors

It was announced in the local press yesterday (18th July) that the Northam Burrows Visitor Centre will be re-opening in time for the Summer holidays after the major fire which occurred over the Bank Holiday in May 2017. 

Although the centre was badly damaged the rangers adapted well while the reconstruction work was underway as can be seen in the photo below taken on a sunny Saturday in June. The North Devon Biosphere Foundation loaned the events trailer which served as a temporary display area and information point. If you know the name of the happy ranger please leave a comment

The re-opening will coincide with the launch of the Burrows’ Summer programme of events including talks and walks, rockpool rambles, herbal potions, dinosaur days, underwater crafts, circus skills and more. 

Northam Burrows Visitors Centre temporary display area and information point - Photo copyright Pat Adams
Happy to Help - temporary display area and information point - Photo Pat Adams
Northam Burrows Country Park - Photo copyright Pat Adams
Walk beside the sea beside Northam Burrows Country Park - Photo Pat Adams
Northam Burrows Country Park - Photo copyright Pat Adams
Walk beside the sea beside Northam Burrows Country Park - Photo Pat Adams
The saviour of the Sand Dunes is Marram Grass  - Photo copyright Pat Adams
 The saviour of the Sand Dunes is Marram Grass - Photo Pat Adams
View over to the North Devon Biosphere from Northam Burrows Country Park - Photo copyright Pat Adams
Braunton Burrows across the Torridge Estuary - Photo Pat Adams
Northam Burrows Visitors Centre & temporary display area and information point. Photo copyright Pat Adams
"Business as usual" while reconstruction work is underway on the fire damaged Northam Burrows Visitor Centre - Photo Pat Adams 

Northam Burrows Country Park lies at the mouth of the Taw Torridge Estuary and is protected from the raging Atlantic Ocean by a famous Pebble Ridge which runs the length of the two mile stretch of beach at Westward Ho! The Burrows consist of over 600 acres of coastal grassland, sand dunes and salt marsh known as The Skern. This area certainly appears to be a bleak, barren wasteland, but looks can be deceptive. It is a designated site of scientific interest and although there is a dearth of vegetation on the actual pebble ridge save the odd sprig of sea spurge, the Burrows supports a variety of plant life including Dune Pansy, Glasswort, Sea Holly, Sharp Rush and Storksbill. The saviour of the Sand Dunes is Marram Grass which grows vigorously in this inhospitable landscape. This common land is shared happily by all manner of tiny creatures, birds, butterflies, horses and sheep as well as golfers and walkers. The oldest links course in England is sited within the park and a separate section is set aside for local horse riding stables.(Article North Devon Focus on Northam Burrows)

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Prof Iain Stewart revealed as charity’s new president

Plymouth University academic and TV geologist Professor Iain Stewart MBE has been revealed as the new president of top local conservation charity Devon Wildlife Trust.

Prof Stewart is only the third person to take on the honorary role since the conservation charity was founded 55 years ago in 1962. His appointment was made after a unanimous decision by Devon Wildlife Trust’s 15 strong Board of Trustees. He succeeds Prof Ian Mercer CBE, the eminent conservationist who had held the position from 1985 until his death in September 2016.

Prof Stewart spent a recent visit to Devon Wildlife Trust’s Wembury Marine Centre finding out about the work the charity does for local people and nature. Prof Stewart spoke of his new role as The Trust’s president:

“It’s a tremendously exciting opportunity. Wildlife conservation is fresh territory for me and it’s going to be a big learning curve, but it will allow me to indulge myself in all the things I loved as a kid – the natural world and a sense of adventure.

I thought a lot about whether to take this role up with Devon Wildlife Trust. I said yes because the charity is local to me. They are right in my neighbourhood. But I also said yes because for a lot of people wildlife is an entry point to something much bigger. There’s an overlap between people who are interested in wildlife and issues in my working world such as climate change.”

The geologist, who is Director of the Sustainable Earth Institute at Plymouth University’s School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, joined pupils from Coombe Dean Secondary School, Plymouth on a guided rockpool safari to discover the wildlife which lives in Wembury’s many tidal pools. Among the group’s finds were shore crabs, pipe fish and cushion stars. Prof Stewart said:

“Spending time with these young people you can see there’s loads of energy, it’s just buzzing. One of the best things about this kind of event is that it provides really simple excitement from being outdoors and exploring nature. It’s the kind of thing I did as a child and I also did it with my kids on this very beach. You get the sense that the children here today don’t think they are learning science, they are just having fun, which is fantastic.

Devon Wildlife Trust is an exemplar as to how you can combine good science and a passionate membership, with effective decision making. I’m proud that I am now to be a part of it.”

Devon Wildlife Trust’s Chair, Dr Peta Foxall, joined Prof Stewart on his visit and welcomed the news of the appointment. She said:

"I am delighted that Iain has accepted the Board’s invitation to become President of Devon Wildlife Trust. Iain’s knowledge and expertise as a geologist and his infectious enthusiasm for the subject means that he will be a great ambassador for the work of the Trust.”

Harry Barton, Devon Wildlife Trust’s Chief Executive, spoke of the role Prof Iain Stewart would now take up. He said:

“I’m absolutely delighted about Iain’s appointment, as I am sure will be our 31,000 members and our many other supporters. Iain is a brilliant communicator and has turned audiences on to geology all over the world through his TV series, such as How Earth Made Us. I have no doubt that he will be a wonderful advocate for our work too.

Wildlife and wild places remain Devon’s best assets but they face some serious pressures today. I’m so pleased that Iain has agreed to become our president and help us champion their cause.”

Prof Stewart was born in East Kilbride, Scotland and studied geography and geology at Strathclyde University. He came to Devon in 2004 to take up a teaching and research post at Plymouth University. He was later appointed Professor of Geoscience Communication, believed to be the first position of its type in the world.

He lives in Plymouth with his partner Paola and two teenage daughters. In a profile piece with the Sunday Telegraph in 2010 Prof Stewart described his favourite Devon haunts as Dartmoor, the waterfalls at Lydford Gorge and the county’s wonderful beaches.

Prof Iain Stewart, Devon Wildlife Trust’s new President, at Wembury Marine Centre, near Plymouth
 Prof Iain Stewart, Devon Wildlife Trust’s new President, at Wembury Marine Centre, near Plymouth
Prof Iain Stewart, centre, with Devon Wildlife Trust’s Chair, Dr Peta Foxall, and Devon Wildlife Trust’s Chief Executive, Harry Barton.
Prof Iain Stewart, centre, with Devon Wildlife Trust’s Chair, Dr Peta Foxall, and Devon Wildlife Trust’s Chief Executive, Harry Barton.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Counting on Butterflies with the Butterfly Conservation

Mid-July already and I must say there have been plenty of bees a-buzzing but the butterflies seem to have been few and far between up to now around my North Devon patch.

On my walk-abouts and in my garden I have seen one Green-veined White, Peacock, Speckled Wood and Orange Tips early on in May and over the past couple of months have spotted a Brimstone, Green-Veined White and Large/Small White, a couple of Red Amiral, one Peacock, Small Tortoishell, Meadow Brown, Heath Brown, a few Comma, a Skipper and a couple of Six-Spot Burnet Moths! Earlier today I got a record shot of a Ringlet.

On reflection I suppose that's not bad really but they are in so few numbers especially as the Buddleia (aka Butterfly Bush) has been flowering in my garden for a couple of weeks now, so I am hoping they arrive on mass in the next couple of weeks in time for the Butterfly Conservation Big Butterfly Count which this year is from 14th July-6th August. It's a fun thing to do especially for a family with budding young naturalists as they can learn to recognise different species using an illustrated butterfly chart or or free mobile phone app.

The big butterfly count, is a UK nationwide survey aimed at helping assess the health of the environment. It was launched in 2010 and has rapidly become the world's biggest survey of butterflies. You can show your support by signing up HERE

Sir David Attenborough, President of Butterfly Conservation, Alan Titchmarsh MBE, Nick Baker and Mike Dilger, Vice Presidents of Butterfly Conservation and the actress Joanna Lumley OBE have given their enthusiastic backing to the project and will support its launch and operation.

Before setting out on your quest to count or photograph butterflies it is also useful to know the different habitats and food plants favoured by individual species.

Comma -  Photo copyright Pat Adams North Devon Focus
 Comma - RHS Garden Rosemoor, Great Torrington, North Devon  2 July 2017
Meadow Brown -  Photo copyright Pat Adams North Devon Focus
 Meadow Brown - RHS Garden Rosemoor, Great Torrington, North Devon 2017
Large White (Female) -  Photo copyright Pat Adams North Devon Focus
 Large White (Female) Welcombe, North Devon 1st July 2017
Large Skipper -  Photo copyright Pat Adams North Devon Focus
Large Skipper - Welcombe, North Devon 1st July 2017
Peacock -  Photo copyright Pat Adams North Devon Focus
 Peacock - My Garden North Devon 24th May 2017
Green-veined White Photo copyright Pat Adams North Devon Focus
 Green-Veined White - My Garden North Devon 1st July 2017
Speckled Wood - Photo copyright Pat Adams North Devon Focus
Speckled Wood - My Garden North Devon 28th May 2017

Article/Photos copyright Pat Adams (All Rights Reserved)

Monday, 10 July 2017

Book signings by local Devon author, Liz Shakespeare

Readers who enjoy books with local settings will have the opportunity to buy signed copies this summer. North Devon author Liz Shakespeare, whose latest book has recently been featured on BBC TV and radio, has a busy summer ahead visiting many South-West events.

Liz has become well-known as an author who brings to life the people, history and landscapes of Devon. She 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, The Postman Poet, is a novel telling the true life story of Edward Capern, a humble Devon postman whose poems, written while walking the rural lanes of North Devon on his daily round in the mid-19th century, won plaudits from the Prime Minister and the support of the biggest literary names of the day. Liz drew on historical research and details in the poems to tell the extraordinary story through Edward’s eyes as he struggles to support his family, a story that captures the opportunities and inequalities of Victorian North Devon. Alongside the novel, she has published a selection of Capern’s poems, and in recognition of his commitment to social justice she will be donating £1 to the Northern Devon Foodbank from the sale of each copy of this book.

Historical research was also the 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. 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.

North Devon Author Liz Shakespeare

Liz will be signing copies of all her books at the following events:
  • Magpie Marquee at the Mid-Devon Show on 22nd July
  • Dunster Country Fair on 26th July
  • Launceston Show on 27th July
  • Woolsery Show on 31st July
  • In the Crafts and Gifts Marquee at the North Devon Show on August 2nd
  • Okehampton Show on August 10th,
  • Dartmoor Folk Festival on August 12th and 13th
  • Chagford Show on August 17th,
  • Holsworthy Show on August 24th
  • Clovelly Crab and Lobster Festival on September 3rd
Further details of Liz’s books can be found on her website
  North Devon Author Liz Shakespeare

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Wider Focus: First Taste from Flyte. New release "Cathy Come Home", Debut Album & UK Headline Tour Dates

'Cathy Come Home' is a first taste of what's to come from Flyte's highly anticipated debut album, set to be released on August 25th. 

In the school of Grizzly Bear, Alt J, and Fleet Foxes they have used their four voices to guide their sound, avoiding crashing cymbals and layers of electric guitars in favour of a more crafted, carefully constructed approach. Lead singer Will Taylor's style of lyric writing weaves threads of George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh with Nick Drake and Ray Davies, tapping into the English malaise and coming of age nostalgia like so many writers before him. Tap here to Watch the Cathy Lyric Video 

Flyte separately admit that as early as age ten, a career in music was their only ambition. Drummer Jon Supran and bassist Nick Hill met guitarist Will Taylor at their local comprehensive school, where Will's parents both taught English. They later came upon keys player Sam Berridge busking at Tottenham Court Road station after moving to Hackney in their late teens. Accomplished songwriters who quickly earned a reputation for their trademark vocal arrangements and live show, the band released a flurry of alternative singles before pairing up with Courtney Barnett producer Burke Reid to create their first full length record.

Flyte's debut album is out on August 25 2017.


Fri 15 Sep 2017  United Kingdom Southampton The Joiners

Sat 16 Sep 2017 United Kingdom Brighton Patterns

Tue 19 Sep 2017 United Kingdom London Scala

Mon 25 Sep 2017 United Kingdom Cambridge Portland Arms

Tue 26 Sep 2017 United Kingdom Norwich The Waterfront Studio

Wed 27 Sep 2017 United Kingdom Wolverhampton Newhampton Arts Centre

Thu 28 Sep 2017 United Kingdom Cardiff Gwdihลต Cafรฉ Bar

Sat 30 Sep 2017 United Kingdom Leicester The Cookie

Sun 1 Oct 2017 United Kingdom Oxford The Cellar

Mon 2 Oct 2017 United Kingdom Guildford Boileroom

Wed 4 Oct 2017 United Kingdom Hull The Polar Bear

Thu 5 Oct 2017 United Kingdom Leeds Chapel

Fri 6 Oct 2017 United Kingdom York The Fulford Arms

Sat 7 Oct 2017 United Kingdom Manchester Neighbourhood Festival

Mon 09 Oct 2017 United Kingdom Nottingham The Bodega

Tue 10 Oct 2017 United Kingdom Birmingham Academy 3

Wed 11 Oct 2017 United Kingdom Liverpool Buyers' Club

Thu 12 Oct 2017 United Kingdom Bristol Exchange

Flyte "Cathy Come Home" UK Headlie Tour and Debut Album
Connect with Flyte

"Echoes of early solo macca" – The Sunday Times