Thursday, 19 December 2019

Glad Tidings from Bideford

Season's Greetings from the North Devon Coast & Country Chronicle
Thank you for visiting
Here's hoping for another "Event"ful year in 2020.
πŸŽ„πŸŽ…πŸ€ΆMerry ChristmasπŸŽ„πŸŽ…πŸ€Ά
Happy Holidays
Santa Calls at Bideford - Photo credit B. Adams
Santa Calls at Bideford - Photo credit B. Adams
Explore the Coast and "Country"side of Bideford Bay with the North Devon Focus Picture Tour
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Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Down on the Farm - Six Short Films about Farmers and Farming in North Devon

A short film commission has produced six five-minute documentaries about farmers and farming within the unique environment of North Devon’s UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The films are a revealing insight into the lives of our farming neighbours and will provoke thought and discussion around our food and where it comes from.

Community film making organisation North Devon Moving Image (NDMI) commissioned these emerging documentary film makers from around the UK to bring their individual film making creativity to the telling of these farmers’ stories.

Amanda McCormack, Creative Director of NDMI says “Since founding North Devon Moving Image six years ago it had always been my intention to make some films about farmers in north Devon. In my mind, it was a project that couldn’t NOT be done. As well as creating, collecting and sharing films it is an important part of our remit to encourage and facilitate new film makers. So, putting the two together, I decided to run North Devon’s first short documentary film commission and (as you will see) it has been an amazing success!”

“Giving the film makers a year in which to make their films has meant that they really got to know their subjects and you will experience the impact of this in the intimate and passionate stories they tell in their Down on the Farm films.

These films are important. They have value in preserving a snapshot of farming today, reflecting and celebrating a very important part of north Devon’s essence. They will do the job of enlightening, inspiring and entertaining those who watch them, connecting people with their farming neighbours and encouraging thought and dialogue around the food we eat.”

 The films are free to watch via the North Devon Moving Image website and thanks to generous funding from local, regional and national organisations, NDMI are able to offer a free screening licence to any groups who would like to show the Down on the Farm films on a big screen.
Down on the Farm - Six Short Films about Farmers and Farming in North Devon
Down on the Farm - Six Short Films about Farmers and Farming in North Devon
North Devon Moving Image CIC is a community film making organisation delivering arts and heritage projects creating, collecting and sharing short films to inspire, enlighten and entertain.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Devon Wildlife Trust calls for token effort to combat dying trees

Leading local conservation charity Devon Wildlife Trust is asking the public to help it address one of the biggest challenges facing the county’s countryside and its wildlife.
It wants shoppers at Tesco stores across Devon to help it gain a major monetary boost from the supermarket giant. It’s asking people to drop the little blue tokens they receive at the check-out into the nearby collection boxes which read ‘Devon Wildlife Trust – Saving Devon’s Treescapes’.
The initiative is the latest effort from the charity in its attempt to address the widespread and disastrous effects of ash dieback disease. Devon Wildlife Trust’s message is very much that ‘every little helps’ in the battle to fill the hole which will be left by the widespread loss of ash trees, one of the most common and best-loved of all our trees.
It is estimated that ash dieback will kill at least 90% of Devon’s ash trees in the coming years. The fungal disease is now established and widespread, having arrived in the UK in 2012. Dead and sickly ash trees are a common sight in the South West. The disease and its impact on landscapes is being compared to that of Dutch Elm Disease which ravaged elm trees in the 1960s and 70s.
In response Devon Wildlife Trust is leading the fightback, with the Devon Ash Dieback Resilience Forum, in its Saving Devon’s Treescapes project. It wants to work with local communities across the county to plant and then look after thousands of replacement trees. These won’t be ash trees, but they will be of other native Devon species including oak, field maple, aspen , lime, beech, birch and hazel.
Saving Devon’s Treescapes is one of three local causes shortlisted for a Tesco Bags of Help Centenary Grant, which could be worth up to £25,000 to help it in its fight to restore Devon’s rural and urban landscapes. The charity is hoping that the public will get behind it and show their support.
Peter Burgess is Devon Wildlife Trust’s Director of Conservation and Development. He said: 
“The facts are stark. We anticipate losing most of the two million ash trees in Devon. That’s a lot of holes in our hedges, in our parks, gardens, roadsides and riverbanks. Their loss is also a huge blow for our already struggling wildlife. Ash trees provide food, a place to live for a wide range of other plants, animals and fungi, and crucially corridors which connect the web of life in the county.
We know that planting replacement, disease-resistant, native species trees is the most effective response we can make. But to do this we need the public’s help. So, I would ask, please can all Tesco shoppers add their little blue tokens to save Devon’s Treescapes ? By doing so they will be making a world of difference to the local wildlife and landscapes that we all love.”
The chance to help the Saving Devon’s Treescapes project runs in Tesco stores until 31 December 2019.
Devon Wildlife Trust is leading the Saving Devon's Treescapes project on behalf of the Devon Ash Dieback Resilience Forum, a cross-sector partnership of more than 30 organisations established in 2016.

Sick and dying ash trees. Photo copyright Devon Wildlife Trust (All rights reserved)
Sick and dying ash trees. Photo copyright Devon Wildlife Trust (All rights reserved)

More on Devon Ash Dieback Resilience Forum at
Devon Wildlife Trust is the county’s leading environmental charity, with 35,000 members. The charity manages 51 nature reserves and six Valley Parks across Devon, including a range of beautiful landscapes such as woodlands, meadows, wetlands and heaths. Devon Wildlife Trust relies on charitable donations, grants and the generous support of its members and the general public to raise more than £4million every year. Money raised is spent maintaining our work for wildlife conservation and education in Devon, for present and future generations. More at

Monday, 25 November 2019

Devon Wildlife Trust becomes owner of major new wildlife haven in North Devon

Devon Wildlife Trust has purchased the 80 hectare wetland which forms part of the northern edge of the Taw Estuary, close to the village of Braunton. The undisclosed purchase price was met by the charity after it received a generous donation from a local resident and bird watching enthusiast, Mr Mark Ansell. The Trust now intends to make the site its latest nature reserve.

After a breach to its sea wall in 2017, Horsey Island now consists of an extensive intertidal salt marsh and wetland. It is a haven for wildlife and is especially important as a feeding and roosting place for thousands of birds including many rarities. A flock of more than 1,200 golden plover has been seen roosting and feeding there. Ospreys, Spoonbills, Glossy Ibis and Great White Egrets have all been recorded there in the recent past. These and many other seasonal sightings have made the site popular among birdwatchers.

With the addition of Horsey Island Devon Wildlife Trust now manages 57 nature havens covering well over 2,000 hectares of the Devon countryside. The Trust aims to improve the site still further as a place for nature and provide opportunities for people to enjoy the spectacular bird life in this quiet corner of North Devon.

Horsey Island has a long and interesting history. The land was reclaimed from the sea in the 1850s to create farmland. Two earth bank defences were constructed to keep the sea out; one an outer wall facing the sea, and the other known as ‘Great Bank’ (not part of the new nature reserve owned by Devon Wildlife Trust), which runs between the site and Braunton Marshes further inland.

However, in recent times Horsey Island’s defences have been compromised. In 2017 a major breach occurred to its outer wall, inundating its interior with sea water. Rising sea levels and more frequent violent storms have since widened the breach. Today its interior is open to the tide and in the place of what was once farmland a fascinating system of tidal creeks, salt marsh and mudflats has been formed.

Peter Burgess, Devon Wildlife Trust’s Director of Conservation and Development, said:
“Horsey is an exciting, dynamic place which is now being shaped by natural processes, dominated by the daily tides which ebb and flow into the reserve. Shifting sands and muds are starting to be colonised by salt marsh plants. It is now an exceptionally important location for roosting and feeding wading birds and stands as one of the best locations in the county to see murmurations of wading birds from the security of the Coast Path”.

Devon Wildlife Trust’s Chief Executive, Harry Barton, said: 
“The purchase of Horsey Island is a wonderful opportunity. It will allow us to protect and enhance a stunning area of intertidal habitats in North Devon. Over the coming months we will be developing ambitious plans for the site in discussion with local stakeholders so that it reaches its full potential as a stunning place for wildlife and the local community.”

At present Horsey Island has no direct public access, but good views of the site and its wonderful birdlife can be had from the South West Coast Path which runs adjacent to it.

Devon Wildlife Trust has a successful track record of managing newly created tidal wetlands elsewhere in the county. In 2012 it took on the management of a similar nature reserve at South Efford Marsh nature reserve, near Kingsbridge, in South Devon. Since then the charity has successfully overseen its transition from rough grassland to saltmarsh and mudflats. The nature reserve has become one of Devon’s premier birdwatching venues.

 View across Horsey Island. Photo copyright Andy Bell (All rights reserved)
 View across Horsey Island. Photo copyright Andy Bell (All rights reserved)
Golden plover flock with lapwing in foreground (Nb. not taken at Horsey Island). Photo copyright Andy Parkinson (All rights reserved)
Golden Plover flock with Lapwing in foreground (Nb. not taken at Horsey Island). Photo copyright Andy Parkinson (All rights reserved)

Friday, 8 November 2019

Ode to Remembrance. "For the Fallen"

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

The Nation will honour the fallen on Remembrance Sunday when wreaths of poppies are laid on local war memorials and a two minutes silence is held at 11 a.m. The "Ode of Remembrance" is an ode taken from Laurence Binyon's poem "For the Fallen", which was first published in The Times in September 1914. Wikipedia Stub:

 "The Unknown Soldier"   - The stunning commemorative display at RHS Garden Rosemoor (2018) - Photo Pat Adams North Devon Focus
 "The Unknown Soldier"
The stunning commemorative display at RHS Garden Rosemoor in July 2018, celebrating the centenary of the end of the First World War. The "Unknown Soldier" (by Artist: George Hider) amidst one hundred ceramic Poppies (by Artist: Renee Kilburn). The Great War started on the 28th July 1914 and ended on 11th November 1918

For Remembrance Sunday Events around the region visit the North Devon Gazette
In the United Kingdom, Remembrance Sunday is marked by ceremonies at local war memorials in most cities, towns and villages, attended by civic dignitaries, ex-servicemen and -women (principally members of the Royal British Legion), members of local armed forces regular and reserve units (Royal Navy and Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Marines and Royal Marines Reserve, Army and Territorial Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Auxiliary Air Force), military cadet forces (Sea Cadet Corps, Army Cadet Force and Air Training Corps as well as the Combined Cadet Force) and youth organisations (e.g. Scouts and Guides). Wreaths of remembrance poppies are laid on the memorials and two minutes silence is held at 11 a.m. Church bells are usually rung "half-muffled", creating a sombre effect.
Wikipedia Stub:

NOVEMBER HIGHLIGHTS. “WHAAM” - Westward Ho! & Appledore Music Showcase

“WHAAM Showcase” - Westward Ho! & Appledore’s Music Showcase representing North Devon bands and singers performing in aid of the Royal National Life Institution's Appledore Lifeboat Station.

On 22nd November this Showcase will feature some of the most innovative and talented musicians in North Devon presenting a broad spectrum of music from rock ’n roll bands, individual singers, dancers and various acts and will take place at The Pier House, Westward Ho!

The Mayor and Mayoress of Northam, Councillor Mr & Mrs John Hyman will officially open WHAAM.

Acts will include Dave & Les, The Sarah Anne Westcott Studio Dancers, Rough Justice and Wyldwood Bands, Charlotte Pirrone, Winner of the 2019 Westward Ho's Got Talent and a few acts from the Sunset Festival, Westward Ho!

There will be a Grand Raffle in aid of the RNLI. The Principal Sponsor is Robert Braddick of BRADDICKS LEISURE and other Sponsors include Kitemare – Surf & Kiteshop.

“North Devon has a first class reputation for being a centre of excellence for live music events.” said Showcase organisers, John Barton and Peter Sawyer. “We’re excited to be a part of this and to be bringing a showcase of local musical talent to the wider public”.

Doors open at 6.15pm and the entertainment will run continuously from 7.00pm to 10.30pm with a short break at 9.05pm for the Grand Raffle.

All this for only £5.00 a ticket for adults and £3.00 for Children under 16.

Tickets will be sold online and sales outlets at The Co-operative Food, Golf Links Road, Westward Ho! and Market Street Kitchen, 25 Market St, Appledore, and at the door of The Pier House. (All proceeds to the RNLI Appledore).

“WHAAM” - Westward Ho! & Appledore Music Showcase  Friday 22nd November  at The Pier House, Westward Ho!
“WHAAM” - Westward Ho! & Appledore Music Showcase
Friday 22nd November at The Pier House, Merley Road, Bideford EX39 1JU

Thursday, 7 November 2019

For the Record. "Bideford 'The Little White Town' in North Devon Dubbed as Racist"

What's the story? "Bideford in Devon changes 'Little White Town' signposts after racist claims"
Bideford made local and national news at the beginning of November and the contraversy spilled over into Social Media and TV culminating in a "Little White Town" debate between Bideford councillor Dermot McGeough, Susanna Reid and Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain. Catch Up here -

Bideford has been known as the ‘Little White Town’ for more than 150 years after author Charles Kingsley coined the phrase in reference to its large number of white buildings. Here is an extract from Charles Kingsley's description of Bideford - "The Little White Town which slopes upward from its broad river tide" (Scroll down for full description from the novel Westward Ho!). Looking from these photos,  I reckon his words are appropriate. ?.

Bideford "The Little White Town" - Photo copyright Pat Adams (North Devon Focus)
Bideford Long Bridge - view across the River Torridge to the town from East the Water. Photo credit Pat Adams (North Devon Focus 2010)
Bideford "The Little White Town" - Photo copyright Pat Adams (North Devon Focus)
 Bideford Quay - view across the River Torridge to the town from East the Water. Photo credit Pat Adams (North Devon Focus 2010)
Extract Charles Kingsley's description of  Bideford from the novel "Westward Ho"
All who have travelled through the delicious scenery of North Devon must needs know the little white town of Bideford, which slopes upwards from its broad tide-river paved with yellow sands, and many-arched old bridge where salmon wait for autumn floods, toward the pleasant upland on the west.  Above the town the hills close in, cushioned with deep oak woods, through which juts here and there a crag of fern-fringed slate; below they lower, and open more and more in softly rounded knolls, and fertile squares of red and green, till they sink into the wide expanse of hazy flats, rich salt-marshes, and rolling sand-hills, where Torridge joins her sister Taw, and both together flow quietly toward the broad surges of the bar, and the everlasting thunder of the long Atlantic swell.
Charles Kingsley -
Kingsley Museum at Clovelly

Facebook Post 1st November -

Saturday, 2 November 2019

December Highlights. Northam Care Trust Charity Christmas Fair & Grotto

The Northam Care Trust will be hosting its annual Christmas Fair & Grotto on Sunday 8th December.

There will be many stalls with festive crafts & gifts to purchase, fun games and activities to enjoy and Santa will be in his grotto to hear the children's wishes and give a gift.

Hot food and refreshments are available, as well as our bountiful cake stall. Enter and park for free, and bring the family along.

All money raised at this Charity event will go towards a mobile hoist to allow our clients to be fully supported whilst still enjoying holidays.

Northam Care Trust. Charity Christmas Fair & Grotto on Sunday 8th December from 12pm - 4pm at Rose Hill Activity Centre,
Charity Christmas Fair & Grotto 
on Sunday 8th December from 12pm - 4pm
 at Rose Hill Activity Centre,
 Heywood Road, Bideford, EX39 3PG.
The Northam Care Trust is a charity formed as Northam Lodge in 1978 and our mission is to support people with learning and physical disabilities in having choice and control in achieving the best possible quality of life, evidenced by real quality outcomes and supported by our passion for excellence. They are based in Northam and Bideford in North Devon and have developed person centred support for people with profound and multiple learning and other disabilities and complex needs in residential and day activities. Excellent communication, respect, dignity, engagement, support for carers and a set of values and behaviours underpin our work and add value with personalisation at the core. They are the only organisation in North Devon and North Cornwall providing this high care specialist service and are a vital resource for families and carers whose relatives live in our accommodation or use our community support facilities including the range of day activities we offer at Rose Hill. Tap here to find out more about the Northam Care Trust Past and Present
The Northam Care Trust

Monday, 28 October 2019

Presentation of the Cyril Webber Cup to Sadie Davies at Clovelly

The formal presentation of the engraved Cyril Webber Cup to Sadie Davies took place on Clovelly's Apple Day at the Red Lion Harbour Bar on 23rd October. 

Sadie was the first lady and only the fourth person to have achieved the formidable feat of completing the 15 mile swim from Hartland Point to Lundy last August. She raised more than £6000 for her chosen charities. 

The Cup was presented to Sadie by John Webber (son of Cyril Webber), attended by Gary Readman (who swam to Lundy from Hartland Point with Steve Maclure in September 2017); Simon De Burgh, her trainer; Quinton Davies, her husband, The Hon. John Rous, owner of Clovelly and others.
Sadie's challenge next summer is to explore the coastline around North Devon and swim from Clovelly to Westward Ho!

Presentation of the Cyril Webber Cup to Sadie Davies at Clovelly. Photo Ellie Jarvis
Presentation of the Cyril Webber Cup to Sadie Davies at Clovelly.
L-R. Front: Quinton Davies, Sadie Davies, Simon De Burgh
L-R Behind: John Webber, Gary Readman, The Hon. John Rous
Photo Ellie Jarvis 

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

November Highlights: Experience the enchanting and uplifting music from ‘Faeland’ at St Anne's Community & Arts Centre, Barnstaple

Faeland are a folk-pop band from Stroud & Bristol, UK. In 2018. Faeland founders, Rebecca & Jacob, took a professional leap of faith and released their debut album ‘All My Swim’. The album quickly gained support and acclaim from BBC 6Music, Uncut Magazine, Shire Folk Magazine, BBC Introducing and a host of others; acclaim of which is almost unheard of for a band’s debut release. 

The first two singles earned radio play and praise from Tom Robinson, Gideon Coe (BBC 6 Music), BBC Introducing and BBC Scotland, among many others. Faeland’s music is a beautiful selection of original, modern folk compositions influenced by music from both sides of the Atlantic. Their songs give the duo’s personal spin on classic themes of humanity, such as love, healing, and magic. 

Despite tackling difficult themes and life experiences, there is a strong vein of optimism running through the music of Faeland; as Rebecca says they are “fully committed to making music that changes lives for the better and adds something good to human existence”. 

Key musical influences include classic artists such as Joni Mitchell, Fleetwood Mac, Nick Drake and Paul Simon, alongside more modern stars like First Aid Kit, Gillian Welch/David Rawlings, Bon Iver, R.E.M., Nick Mulvey and Hem. 

With nature and humanity’s relationship to the natural world being such a big inspiration for Faeland’s music, Jacob explains their unusual name – “we are named after Failand, a countryside village near us that connects us with the land around our home and our favourite woodland. The spelling change to "Fae" hints at the magical/mystical/other as well as the transcendental nature of their music. 

There is something in the words and melodies which goes deeper than the everyday, touching on the mystical and the unspoken. In St Anne's the songs will be performed on acoustic guitars, accordion, banjo, charango, violins, lush vocals and Celtic harp.

"Faeland" folk-pop band debut album ‘All My Swim’

  'Faeland' will be performing at St Anne's Community & Arts Centre, Barnstaple, EX31 1SX 
on the 1st November
Tickets: Contact Plough Arts Centre 
Tel: 01805 624624 - Website - Email
Connect with Faeland 
"Faeland" folk-pop band debut album ‘All My Swim’

About "Faeland". “All My Swim” and “Faeland” are the first manifestations of musical partnership Jacob Morrison and Rebecca Nelson. Both Nelson and Morrison come from families of artists, creatives and healers. Rebecca was born and brought up on the island of Guernsey, and Jacob in Hackney, London. They both trained to university standard and have between them played with a host of folk, country, Americana, jazz and world artists across the south of England. They met through Bristol’s ever thriving music scene and have played together ever since