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gccajjafNumber Seven Dulverton is organising a Walking Book Club special at the shop on Wednesday 12 May and are to be joined by the author Jackie Morris.

East of the Sun, West of the Moon is a beautiful, mysterious story of love, loyalty and above all, freedom. Jackie Morris has magically retold and sensitively updated this traditional fairytale. Accompanied by her distinctive watercolours and suitable for readers age nine and upwards, this book has been embraced by many adult readers.

Join Number Seven for an evening stroll with the book’s author, discuss her work, hear her read and then head back to Number Seven for a supper straight from the pages of the book. The walk will depart from outside the shop at 7pm and venture into the nearby woods of Dulverton. The ticket price for this event is £20 which includes supper and also a copy of East of the Sun, West of the Moon which Jackie will sign for you during the evening. To keep this event magical and informal numbers are to be kept limited. Older children are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult. For those of you that may already own a copy of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, you will receive £10 in credit to spend on Jackie’s other titles, of which there are many to choose from. For tickets and details contact Number Seven on 01398 324457

Ideally the walkers need to have read the book before they join the walk as with a regular book club format.

Hope Bourne by Chris Chapman

Hope Bourne by Chris Chapman

The Simonsbath Festival 2014 starts on Bank Holiday Monday May 5 at 2.30pm with May Day celebrations for all the family. Children’s art workshops will open events at the Old Pottery in Simonsbath and popular local storyteller Frances Harrison will be telling magical tales about the Exmoor Forest. Maypole dancing follows with live music from Howard Harrison on guitar and Ben van Weede on fiddle.

For the next six weeks the tiny village of Simonsbath, and the magical moorland that surrounds it, will be the setting for an exciting mix of events, from classical concerts, world music, jazz and opera to a film premiere, talks and walks, and much more.

Throughout the festival period Boevey’s Tea Rooms will host an exhibition of art by local artists featuring mainly Exmoor themed work including paintings in oil, watercolour and pastel as well as printmaking.

The first week of the festival is very much focused on the family. As part of its broader activities in the community, Simonsbath Festival has arranged for the accomplished young brass quintet Westcombe Brass to run a series of workshops during the week in local schools – Dulverton Middle, and Exford and Cutcombe first schools – working towards a joint concert with the children at 6pm on Friday May 9 at St Luke’s Church, Simonsbath.

Westcombe Brass will be performing songs from the First World War and music composed during that era to mark this year’s centenary. They will be playing some pieces on their own and some with the participation of the children.

A film about legendary Exmoor writer and artist Hope Bourne by acclaimed photographer and documentary film-maker Chris Chapman will be premiered on Saturday May 10 at 7.30pm at St Luke’s. Hope Bourne spent 24 years living in a tiny caravan in remote isolation in the ruins of a farm on Exmoor where she led a life of self-sufficiency, painting and sketching the moor, writing a column for the local paper and later combining this creativity in a remarkable series of books. Chris Chapman first met Hope when he was working as presenter and photographer for the HTV television series Secrets of the Moor, in which Exmoor featured in 1992. His initial fascination and affection for Hope provide the foundations for a friendship which lasted nearly 20 years until her death in 2010. In his film Chris embarks on a journey of discovery to unravel the mystery and legend surrounding Hope’s life and tells the story of an extraordinary woman who was both bold and courageous, and whose legacy on Exmoor is greatly revered.

Simonsbath Festival runs from May 5 to June 20 and is a non-profit making community venture with financial support from the Exmoor National Park Partnership Fund and the Heart of Exmoor.

For information or to request a full-colour printed festival programme phone Victoria Thomas on 01643 8313434, email simonsbathfestival@mail.com or visit the website www.simonsbathfestival.co.uk. To book tickets phone Marian Lloyd on 01643 831451.

Budding bog ecologists out in the rain on Exmoor and loving it: Dulverton Middle School, taking part in the National Moorland Indicators of Climate Change Initiative (MICCI). Photo by Madeline Davey.

Budding bog ecologists out in the rain on Exmoor and loving it: Dulverton Middle School, taking part in the National Moorland Indicators of Climate Change Initiative (MICCI). Photo by Madeline Davey.

Local young scientists recently joined forces with the Exmoor Mires Project Scientists at the mire site of Blackpitts on Exmoor to undertake essential MICCI experiments (Moorland Indicators of Climate Change). West Buckland School and Dulverton Middle School braved the elements to participate in the national scheme, which is part of National Science Week, whereby experiments are conducted to assess the unique characteristics of the bog.

The results obtained from the experiments conducted will be submitted into the national database for this initiative and will also be used as a baseline for future results at this site – it is hoped that many more schools will take part in future events and that this site will be used year-round. The experiments went down well with students and teachers alike and were very insightful into the consequences of climate change. One student said: “I learnt a lot about different ways of recording data, and was fascinated that I was holding 5,000 year old peat!” Mrs Helena Clements (teacher) said: “Despite the bitter wind the children certainly gained a lot from the experience, and it was great to give them the opportunity to learn so much more about their moorland environment.”

The event was made possible by a trusty band of wonderful volunteers and funding by the Heritage Lottery Scheme, through the Heart of Exmoor Project. If you are involved in a school, this would make a great fieldtrip for a class of any age. Also, if you feel inspired and would like to get into the wild moors of Exmoor to do practical restoration work, or inspire the younger generation by volunteering at events such as MICCI and Bogtastic Day, please contact Dave Rolls on 01398 322164, or email drolls@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk. There is also information on how to get involved on the Exmoor National Park website. Help is always needed and always appreciated!

Lynton Preschool, with Toddler committee members, Cllr Julian Gurney and Kevin Harris

Lynton Preschool, with Toddler committee members, Cllr Julian Gurney and Kevin Harris

Parishes in the Lynton area have teamed up to provide much-needed play equipment for local children. Lynton and Lynmouth, Brendon and Countisbury, Parracombe and Martinhoe have jointly funded a project to enhance a toddler play area in the town.

The Lynton Toddler Committee has raised £11,000 towards the project and the combined parishes have secured a further £3,776 in Town and Parish (TAP) funding from North Devon Council. A further £1,000 was given to the project by North Devon Homes.

The project transforms an old, poor-quality play area into a new facility designed specifically for local preschool children. The new play area includes a small ship, two baby swings and two child swings, a car springer and a merry-go-round. Safety surfacing completes the project. Laura Dyer from Lynton Toddler Committee says: “We took on the project because we wanted to encourage more outdoor activities for young children. Being outside in the fresh, open air is always a good thing and the pirate ship is really developing their play imagination. The new equipment is just perfect for toddlers.”

Executive Member for Community, Councillor Yvette Gubb, says: “This will make a real difference to local families, as it’s the only play area in the centre of Lynton and it’s close to the school and shopping area. The Lynton Toddler Committee has made an amazing effort in their fundraising and I’m really pleased that the council can help by adding TAP funding to support the project.”

Local ward member, Councillor Julian Gurney, says: “What a fabulous fund raising effort by the Lynton Toddler Committee, they really have excelled and I am so pleased that the we can help out with some TAP funding from North Devon Council. I’m sure the new facilities will be appreciated and well used by many children in the years to come.”

The site is owned by Lynton and Lynmouth Town Council. Town Clerk Kevin Harris, says: “This is a fabulous facility for the pre school and primary age groups from Lynton and adjoining parishes to enjoy safe-play while getting fresh air and exercise.” The TAP fund was set up by Devon County Council and North Devon Council to support partnership projects between parishes. For more information about the TAP fund contact North Devon Council on 01271 388327 or email grants@northdevon.gov.uk

east the water 2Torridge District Council and local developer Simon Maunder and his company Oceanside Developments have concluded discussions and signed contracts on the development of East the Water Wharves in Bideford. A delighted Torridge leader councillor Philip Collins said: “Torridge has been considering the potential development of this area for many years and remains determined that at the heart of any successful plan must be an attractive public open space with free waterside access and features and facilities that will enhance the enjoyment of Bideford residents and visitors alike. It’s been a long time coming but I’m very keen to progress this development, with really modern upmarket restaurants, shops and accommodation this will be a huge step in the regeneration of Bideford. The benefits will reach far beyond just the town but the wider Torridge and northern Devon area too.”

Simon Maunder, from Oceanside Developments, said: “This is a significant milestone in the development of the wharves. Torridge District Council has set the bar very high to ensure the scheme really works for Bideford. It will become a vibrant destination and the nautical leisure hub for the whole of North Devon. The waterfront public spaces are extensive and the residential aspect has been kept to a minimum, primarily to fund the associated Marina and other public amenities. It’s taken longer to get to this point than I envisaged, but I’m still as excited about it as I was two years ago when I submitted my bid alongside the many other interested parties. I truly appreciate that there is much at stake for Bideford and found that there were many different stakeholders who needed to be considered when devising the design detail. That phase is now complete and the actual build now moves to the forefront.”

Work on the wharves will start when the final planning and survey issues have been agreed this summer, with Bideford Marina hopefully opening to the public in 2016.

Back : Stewart Barr, Richard Brazier, Lee Bray, Robin Milton, Helen Blackman, Chris Binney; front: Keith Howe, Rachel Thomas [Society Ch.], Mereil Martin.

Back: Stewart Barr, Richard Brazier, Lee Bray, Robin Milton, Helen Blackman, Chris Binney; front: Keith Howe, Rachel Thomas [Society Ch.], Mereil Martin.

 “We believe that the lessons of Exmoor apply to all” wrote S. H. Burton in 1966. At a special Conference organised recently by the Exmoor Society, in partnership with Exeter University and the Exmoor National Park Authority, Rachel Thomas, Chairman of the Society set the scene, telling the story of how Exmoor’s designation as a national park 60 years ago was fiercely fought.

National parks in England and Wales were different from international ones in that there were no pristine landscapes that could be set aside and owned by the State. The concept applied in this country in 1949 was confined to beautiful and relatively wild country with extensive tracts of open land with high value for outdoor recreation and where hill farming had been practised for centuries. Exmoor was named because of its “spectacular coastline, fine heather bracken and grass moorland, beautiful wooded valleys and upland farmland and antiquities in great propinquity”.

She argued that in our crowded islands we needed to protect spectacular landscapes that held evidence of our past, provided space for nature and natural resource use, and gave pleasure to so many people. She stated that the national park concept has passed the test of time and has shown that it is adaptable to new challenges and priorities and has demonstrated that by encompassing land based rural development, landscape protection can be stronger and public benefits enhanced. She concluded by saying: “Exmoor is unique, still relatively wild and tranquil, the brand is strong, the people resilient. Let us have the passion and commitment to retain its special qualities for the nation”.

Academics from Exeter University explained to the Conference how their importance research work on Exmoor was of relevance nationally and internationally. Climate change is said to be one of the most significant long-term threats facing the natural environment, and Professor Richard Brazier, Associate Professor of Geography outlined his research on the Exmoor Mires Project. He showed that by blocking up drainage ditches on the peat areas of Exmoor’s moorland, it is likely that water could be stored for longer in the peat soils and be released more slowly as base flow in the summer months, and possibly help reduce downstream flooding. Carbon could also be retained and sequestered in the mires. How communities can come together and respond to flooding was demonstrated by Dr Stewart Barr, also an Associate Professor of Geography who through his workshop in Dulverton in November last year, showed how local solutions could be found. Dr Keith Howe, Senior Research Fellow of the Centre for Rural Policy Research, summarised recent trends in hill farming on Exmoor in the last decade, including a decrease in livestock numbers but that farming families with moorland were more resilient to change and likely to have named successors to continue the family farm.

Finally, the recent increased numbers of archaeological finds on Exmoor, going back to the Mesolithic period was said by Dr Lee Bray, who did his PhD research at Exeter University to show the importance of Exmoor internationally for understanding the prehistoric period. Other speakers and delegates highlighted the needed to find more about Exmoor and to bring together local as well as academic knowledge in order to manage this complex landscape sustainably.

Easter bunnyOn Good Friday and Easter Saturday (18 and 19 April), children can join the hunt to find three Easter egg pictures hidden in the market for a chance to win a delicious chocolate egg.

The Easter bunny will also be bouncing around the market handing out treats on the Saturday, with Borderline Morris dancers entertaining shoppers between 11am and 1pm.

Executive Member for Economic Regeneration, Councillor Malcolm Prowse, says: “There are always lots of treats on offer at the market but at Easter the choice gets even better. The Easter bunny is always popular with the children, giving mums and dads the chance to shop and pick up some fresh local produce or gifts. The market also reopens on Mondays from Easter, so we’ll be able to enjoy the market six days a week from now until Christmas!”

To take part in the Easter egg hunt, children will need to write down all of the Easter-themed words written on the pictures around the building, along with their name and contact details, to be entered into a free prize draw.

Entry forms can be collected from the ‘history barrow’ inside the market and posted in the competition box. The winning entry will be selected following the Easter Bank Holiday.

For more information about what’s on at the market, like their page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/BarnstaplePannierMarket.

 

 

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