Edition 113 - April 2008

Artwork by: Linda Hughes

Artwork: Judie Weedon


Easter, the earliest since 1913 - and it will not be so early again until 2060 - is now past and after the long week-end break, schools are looking forward to breaking up for what is normally the 'Easter' holiday.

Again, this year, the spring flowers seem to be ahead of themselves - camellias and magnolias fully in bloom, snowdrops gone and daffodils going over. Certainly February was a crisp, sunny month, with blue skies by day and the occasional frost by night. However, at the time of writing March appears to be going out 'like a lion', wet and windy.

By the time you read this, our new Shop will be fully operational. On behalf of us all, a big thank you to the Committee who have worked so hard to ensure that we retain a shop and to Jackie, Anita and all their helpers. We wish you good luck and every success in the future. The new shop looks really great, so now we must all give it the support it deserves.

Our colourful cover is the delightful work of a new artist - Linda Hughes from Berrynarbor Park. Thank you, Linda, we hope we don't have to use our umbrellas too frequently with April showers!

With all but a couple renewing their subscription, over 120 readers remain on the mailing list and the additional donations they have included are very welcome. In recent months the cost of paper has increased which in turn puts up the printing charges, so that each copy now costs approximately 85p, or more than £5 for the six copies a year, to produce. Although donations received help to allay these costs, please give this some thought when picking up your copy and popping something in the collecting boxes.

There are quite a few events happening over the next couple of months, so make a note of them in your diary and join in wherever possible.

As always I must thank everyone who has contributed to another bumper issue, it is only due to them that the Newsletter continues and we are now at Issue No. 113. But, has anyone spotted the deliberate mistake? October and December both claimed 111, so No. 112 has gone missing! Items for the June issue will be needed by MONDAY, 12TH MAY please - earlier is very much appreciated, but later is not!

Judie - Ed



On the 5th February, we welcomed Rosemary Cooke who brought along various baskets made of willow and other materials from the hedgerows and demonstrated how they are made. They make natural and attractive containers and can be used for a variety of purposes. The raffle was won by Ethel Tidsbury.

The March Meeting, on the 4th, was when Gerry Marangone enthralled us with an account of his early childhood living in a small village in Italy. Life was very hard, there was little money for food but they were happy. When he was 10 he went on a train with his cousin up into the mountains to work on building a new road. He was responsible for collecting dynamite from a store and carrying it to the area to be excavated! This job was, however, cut short by the arrival of the Germans, so after being paid off [a very small amount], he and his cousin had to walk most of the way home - once again with very little food to fortify them. During the war years, he remembers his parents harbouring an English parachutist whose plane had been shot down nearby. They kept him in the loft until he was well enough to move on, but they knew that if he was discovered, the whole family would be shot. Gerry's sister had met and married an English soldier and had come to live in Combe Martin. She wrote to Gerry asking him to join them to help on the smallholding. So, at the age of 17, Gerry came to live in Combe Martin and, as they say, the rest is history!

The raffle was won by Rosemary Gaydon. Mr. S. Hoddinett, from the North Devon Hospice, will be coming to talk to us on 1st April, and Mr. L. Tovey will be visiting us again on 6th May. This time he will be showing slides of gardens he has visited.

Fourteen members are visiting Castle Drogo on Monday, 28th April. Janet and Liz are organising this and have booked a 15 seater mini-bus, so there is still one seat available. The annual subscription has been kept at £12 and there are now 28 fully paid up members.

New members and guests are always very welcome. Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month at 2.00 p.m. in the Manor Hall.

Doreen Prater



Jackie would like to thank everyone, but especially the helpers in the shop for their support and encouragement during her son Tom's six month tour of Afghanistan. She is happy to say he is now on his way home and will soon be safely back home with mum and dad!


Artwork: Helen Armstead


The repainting of the inside walls of the church is finished at last and everyone agrees how much better it looks - fresher and cleaner with a happy choice of colour. It was no easy task for the contractors, especially as everything had to be tidied away for Sunday services and special events. It was also interesting to see how many people visited the church during the week, in spite of notices on the gate advising that work was in progress. It is encouraging that the church is so well used and a focus for the school, parishioners and visitors alike. Plans are now in hand to repaint the vestry with the left over paint.

A strange service for Berrynarbor on Mothering Sunday! No families with young children appeared, although the adults [numbering the same as last year] enjoyed singing the hymns and taking part in Rector Keith's address, all going home with bunches of daffodils. Church festivals are coming round early this year and some of us are perhaps being taken unawares, but you were missed!

With Easter Day on 23rd March, Pentecost [Whit Sunday] will be celebrated with a Family Communion on Sunday, 11th May at 11.00 a.m. The 11th May also sees the start of Christian Aid Week when envelopes will be delivered around the village for those who wish to donate.

The PCC held their Annual Meeting on Monday 10th March, looking back on 2007 and forward to 2008. Rector Keith thanked the Churchwardens and the PCC for all their work in maintaining the life and witness of the church. Doreen Prater and Stuart Neale continue as Churchwardens and all members of the PCC pronounced themselves willing to continue to serve: Sylvia Berry, Marion Carter [Secretary], Jean Ede, Janet Gibbins, David Steed, Mary Tucker [Treasurer] and Sue Wright. Marion has also been elected Sidesman. Any of these people may be approached at any time with queries, suggestions, etc.

Friendship Lunches will be held at The Globe on Wednesdays 23rd April and 28th May, the Globe 12.00 noon onwards. Everyone welcome.

Mary Tucker


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


Our belated congratulations to Win and Dennis Collins [late of Barton Lane and now at Westbury on Trym] on the occasion of their Golden Wedding, celebrated with their family on 27th January. Our love and very best wishes to you both.



Berrynarbor Church Choir

For many years I have been in the very happy position of being the Choirmaster and Organist for our Choir and I certainly hope that this will be the case for many years to come. Its a privilege to be part of this wonderful choir and I wish to go on record in thanking all members, past and present, for their loyalty, enthusiasm and wonderful singing over the years! We've also had quite a few laughs along the way as well!

In my opinion, one of the most important reasons for our success - not to mention enjoyment - is that we sing a wide range of music with compositions from Bernstein's 'West Side Story', Lloyd Webber's 'Requiem', Rutter's 'What Sweeter Music', plus the wonderful music of Mozart and Elgar. It wouldn't be fair to select a 'favourite', but I recall one of the most moving pieces of music we have ever performed was at the November Remembrance Service two years ago when we sang the moving and beautiful song 'Bring Him Home' from 'Les Miserables' - the lyrics being so meaningful for the occasion. We've even sung in French, German, Polish and Latin at the annual Christmas Carol Service.

Two years ago we had a choir of some 16 members, encompassing soprano, alto and tenor voices. Unfortunately, due to some of our members moving away and others affected by illness, today we are reduced to a mere 7. Here I must convey my sincere thanks to members of Combe Martin Choir who have, when required to sing for special services, kindly come to our rescue to boost our numbers.

In the past I've made appeals to people living in our parish - and elsewhere - to encourage men, women and children who are interested in singing, to join us on Monday evenings, from 7.30 to 8.30 p.m. in St. Peter's Church. Sadly, apart from one lady, the response has been nil. Can I say straight away that it is'nt essential to read music, although it is a bonus if you can, and that any new member will be made to feel more than welcome, and to enjoy what we are there for, to sing and make music!

We sing at all the major events in the church calendar - Mothering Sunday, Easter, Harvest Festival, Service for Loved Ones, Remembrance Sunday and, of course, Christmas.

If you would like to join us - even if it's only to find out what's involved - please don't hesitate to contact me on 889115 at any time [if I am out, feel free to leave a message and I will return your call as soon as possible.

It would be so sad if our choir were to cease functioning through lack of numbers, for we are an intrinsic part of the musical fabric within this beautiful village!

Please don't let this happen - come along and join us and enjoy!

Stuart Neale


Part I

It was 1942 and the last day before the school summer holidays. Dave and Tom were evacuees and had become good friends.

Dave Brooks lived at Goosewell with his mother. He was a tall, dark haired lad with rosy cheeks, popular with his fellow pupils.Tom Clark lived in Barton Lane. He, also, was tall for his age, with a freckled face and ginger hair.

The two were sitting together, talking on the school bus from Ilfracombe as it approached Watermouth. "How about tomorrow?" said Tom, "Perhaps you could come over and we could go birds' nesting."

Dave's eyes lit up. "Yeah, OK, I'll be at yours, say about half-nine. I've got to be back home by half-one as mum's going shopping in Ilfracombe and wants me back for lunch."

The next morning Dave filled his backpack with a few things before making his way to the stone style in the wall on Hagginton Hill. He climbed over and made his way down to Mill Farm. It went through his mind that he might be chased by that vicious cockerel which usually attacked him, but fortunately it was not there.

Once across the farm, he trudged up the field to Birdswell Lane on which there was a gate to Tom's back garden. He knocked on the back door, which was immediately opened by Tom with a smile and the words "What kept you?"

"What do you think about sea gulls' eggs?" he asked. "Good idea," replied Dave and off they went over the fields to the main road and down to the old coast road.

Both boys carried catapults and very often liked to go to a rubbish dump just a few yards up the old coast road on the right. There, they crunched across old food tins, bottles, and all kinds of general rubbish.

"Right, we set up the bottles like this", said Dave, putting six large bottles and two jam jars on an old chair. "Ten paces back and see which of us can break the most," Tom answered. He won 5 to 3, and then they were on their way.

Some way up the old coast road is a particular cliff and both lads knew about it from other friends who had told them that there were sea gull eggs to be had there.

Stopping, Dave announced, "I think this is the spot."

"Well, it's all very well, but how can we climb down there?" asked Tom. It was sheer apart from a couple of ledges. Dave looked down at the huge drop to the rocks below." I've brought some clothesline which we can tie to that tree. It'll be Ok, you'll see."

The line was tied to the tree and dropped over the cliff.Tom, eager to get some eggs, wanted to go first.

Looking at his watch, Dave told Tom that he wouldn't be able to stay much longer as he had to leave time to get back to Goosewell. "That's fine," Tom replied, "I can manage if you want to go."

Not wanting to go but also not wanting to incur his mother's wrath by being late, Dave set off. "See you tomorrow," he shouted back.

By now Tom was lowering himself down. Suddenly the clothesline snapped! He tried desperately to claw the face of the cliff, but to no avail. He thought he was going to die but at that moment his feet miraculously landed on a firm and reasonably safe ledge. He was now stuck about ten feet from the top of the cliff.

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

What will happen? Will he fall? Scroll to article 29 to find out!

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester


Tony's tale of the two boys is, of course, fictional, but in the 1940's, the collecting of birds eggs, by young lads in particular, was a pastime or hobby.Today, however, it is illegal. Climbing cliffs is also not a wise thing to do! So, for any young readers, as the saying goes:'Don't try this one at home'!

The following, which you may find of interest, is the advice given by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds on egg collecting and old egg collections:

    It has been illegal to take the eggs of most wild birds since the Wild Birds Protection Act 1954 and it is illegal to possess or control any wild birds' eggs taken since that time under the Wildlife and Countryside Act. It is illegal to sell any wild bird's egg, irrespective of its age.

    Possession of wild birds' eggs is an offence of strict liability so that anyone who chooses to be in possession of eggs is obliged to show, on a balance of probabilities, that their possession is lawful. The potential maximum fine for each wild bird's egg is £5,000 and/or six month's imprisonment.

    Despite the fact that legislation prohibiting the taking of certain wild birds' eggs has been in existence since 1880, the practice still continues and, in the case of particularly rare birds, it can have serious implications for their conservation. Rare breeding species particularly vulnerable to egg collectors include Slavonian and black-necked grebes, ospreys, white-tailed eagles, red kites, and red-necked phalaropes.

    Collectors can devote their life to the pursuit of eggs and can become obsessed with the practice. They usually take the whole clutch of eggs, and may also return for a second clutch. Often rarer species of birds are targeted. An egg will rot if the contents are left inside so eggs must be 'blown'. Collectors will take eggs at every stage of incubation, although freshly laid eggs are preferred as it is easier to blow out the yolk and the white of the egg.

    Since the introduction of custodial sentences for these offences by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, a number of collectors have been sent to prison for up to six months. This appears to have had a positive effect in reducing egg-collecting activity in the UK

    However, it remains a problem and there is some evidence that egg collectors are operating increasingly abroad. Whilst the law is mainly intended to deal with active egg collectors, it means that anyone with any collection of British birds' eggs is breaking the law. Some people have old egg collections in their possession, perhaps discovered in a loft or handed down by an elderly relative. 

    If you have a genuinely old collection there's no need to be unduly worried. If you can show that the eggs were taken before the Protection of Birds Act of 1954 came into force, you will not be convicted of possession. You do not have to prove this 'beyond all reasonable doubt' but merely to show that it is likely 'on a balance of probabilities'.

    In effect, provided you could satisfy a court that the eggs were taken before 1954, you have nothing to fear. In practice, it is unlikely that with genuinely old collections a case will ever get as far as a court. Experienced investigators and prosecutors should quickly recognise these old collections and are unlikely to think prosecution is appropriate in such cases.

    Nevertheless, if you choose to keep the eggs of wild birds, you should be aware that it is possible you may be called upon to explain yourself in court. If that happens, it is up to you to show that your possession is lawful and not up to the prosecution to show otherwise. The prosecution has only to prove the actual possession.


Brian Wright

Solution in Article 30.



Some of you may remember these grand old songs had quite a vogue between the wars, when the 'Great Days of Sail' were still a living memory. My own acquaintance stems from a series, given by the BBC Male Voice Choir, I believe.

Sea Shanties evolved as a means of keeping the crew in synchronisation when hauling on the ropes or other duties requiring a concerted effort, thus achieving maximum efficiency. Besides this, I believe, they had a social side, establishing a mood of good humour and ensuring even the slackers pulled their weight. They were led by the Shantyman who set the key and tempo, often to the accompaniment of his concertina or other instrument. They varied from quick and lively to slow and steady, and below are three different examples:

Oh! Blow the man down, bullies. Blow the man down.
Way! Hey! Blow the man down!
Oh! Blow the man down bullies. Blow him right down.
O give me some time to blow the man down!

Oh we'll blow the man up and we'll blow the man down,
Way! Hey! Blow the man down!
We'll blow him away into Liverpool Town,
Oh give me some time to blow the man down.

As I was a-walking down Paradise Street,
Way! Hey! Blow the man down!
A charming young damsel I chanced for to meet,
O give me some time to blow the man down.

I says to her, "Sally, and how d'ye do?"
Way ! Hey! Blow the man down!
She says, "None the better for seeing of you!"
Oh give me some time to blow the man down.

Oh we'll blow the man up and we'll blow the man down,
Way! Hey! Blow the man down!
We'll blow him away into Liverpool Town,
Oh give me some time to blow the man down.

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes




With thoughts turning to this summer's planting and blooms, a quick return to last year to congratulate those ex-pats from the village on their gardening success in the Barnstaple and District Horticultural Society Show held at St. Johns last October.

The chief award for Fuchsias and the Best Cacti in Show went to Les Bowen, whilst Stella took the award for Pot Plants and Cut Flowers. Pictured here are Laurel Draper's prize-winning show-stopping Spider Chrysanthemums.

A new class, spider chrysanthemums sport bizarre, narrow, curly and wavy petals, like plants from another planet. From small beginnings, two years ago, Laurel's collection has grown considerably and he attributes much of his success to some extremely handy hints from Plymouth's national 'spider man', Dave Thornton, and the absence of caterpillars - a bonus of our strange summer.

Spider plants, with their 10" wide blooms, are used by the Japanese to decorate traffic islands and motorway verges.



By the time you read the April issue of the Berry Newsletter, Easter will hopefully be a happy memory! The gardens have been full of colour for weeks and now holiday-makers and school children join us to enjoy this beautiful area.

The Potting Shed, in the grounds of Langleigh Guest House, is open daily betweenf 9.30 a.m. and 2.00 p.m. [closed Mondays], selling our large range of Flower Pot Men, always with new models on offer.

Donations from the sale of the non-profit making booklet, Berrynarbor Flower Pot Men, which is on sale at The Potting Shed, Berrynarbor Community Shop and Sue's of Combe Martin, will shortly be paid to: Children's Hospice South West, The NCH, Berry in Bloom and the Berry Newsletter.

Berry in Bloom also receives a small payment of 5p from the sale of each Flower Pot Man postcard, sold at the Community Shop and Potting Shed.

Thank you to all our bottle cork collectors - the corks are occasionally silently deposited on the doorstep!

For non-local readers, the Flower Pot Men may be viewed on our web site: www.flowerpot-man.com . Happy springtime to you all.

Rainer and Jill



Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


Just like buses, after waiting for some time for one to arrive, two come along close together! That is just the case for June and Len Coleman who are delighted to announce the safe arrival of June's second grandson. George Henry was born to Charlotte and Ian in London on the 14th February, weighing 7lbs 13oz. With her first grandchild arriving on Christmas Day and George on St. Valentine's Day, June says she'll have no trouble in remembering their birthdays!

Geoff and Penny Gove are also delighted to announce the arrival of their second grandchild, but in their case it is two little granddaughters. Grace Beatrice, a daughter for Emily and David Thubron, was born in Plymouth on the 4th March, weighing in at 7lbs 14oz.

Our congratulations and best wishes to you all.



"Fools and fanatics are sure about everything - wise men have doubts."

Bertrand Russell


Monday 5th May

2.00 to 5.00 p.m.
Manor Hall, Berrynarbor

Free Entry
Plants and Flowers,
Gardeners' Questions and Answers
[ask the experts about your plant problems]
Cream Teas, Gardening Sundries, Raffle

The Hall will be open from 10.00 a.m. for those wishing to bring plants or set up stalls. If you have not yet booked your space, please contact Kath Thorndycroft [01271] 889019 or leave a message at the Shop


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


In a short time, on the 7th May, we shall be holding our Annual General Meeting and we should like to have some new members on our Committee.

We work hard to satisfy the needs of the community and all the new regulations which seem to occur on a regular basis. For this work and for new ideas, we should welcome members of the users of the hall and people with a community spirit to join us and help keep the hall in good order for everyone. Please give me a ring on [01271] 882353.

The roof has been temporarily repaired and a new controller and fan will be fitted shortly. The overhead heaters have been serviced and our new chairs have arrived.

Archivist We have old minute books and information on the Manor Hall collected in boxes in several locations. We are hoping to find someone who might be interested to draw all the information together to look after our local history.

If you would be interested in carrying out this work, please do give me a ring.

Bob Hobson - Chairman


Artwork: Paul Swailes


January was a pretty miserable month, with low after low arriving from the west bringing wind and rain. There were only 10 days when we did not record rain and on the 21st we had a 'shower' in which 16mm [5/8"] fell in under half an hour! The total rainfall for the month was 185mm[7 1/4"] which was the highest total for January since 1999, which had 240mm [9 7/16"]. The maximum temperature was 12.5 Deg C which was about average but the minimum of 0.7 Deg C was warmer than the average. The wind was fairly strong for most of the month, gusting to 25 knots or over on 11 days, with a maximum gust for the month of 39 knots.

By contrast, February has been a much quieter and drier moth, with some sharp overnight frosts followed by glorious sunny days. The month started unsettled with some rain and fairly windy, but after the 8th a high pressure moved in, the rain died away and the winds became gentle breezes. This dry period continued until the 22nd, after which it became more unsettled. After January's soaking, it was a dry month with a total of only 55 mm [2 3/16"] of which 20mm [3/4"] fell in a single 24 hour period. Apart from 1998, which had only 32 mm [15/16"], this was the driest February we have ever recorded. The average maximum temperature was 10.3 Deg C with a high of 13.8 Deg C on the 9th. The lowest temperature we recorded was -3.5 Deg C on the 17th and the average low was 2.7 Deg C. We also recorded a wind chill of -7 Deg C. Wind speeds varied throughout the month with a maximum gust of 29 knots on both the 5th and 22nd.

The sunshine figures confirm the differences between the two months: in January 7.20 hours was recorded, the lowest for a January, and in February the total of 43.01 hours was the highest for a February since records were taken.

The snowdrops are starting to go over now but the daffodils are coming out well, the birds sound very happy and there is a definite feeling of spring in the air.

Simon and Sue



BERRYNARBOR TODDLER GROUP meets every Friday between 9.30 a.m. and 12.30 p.m. in the Manor Hall. For just £1.50 per child [aged 6 months to 3 years], mums and dads get a cup of tea while their children get a snack and play with children of a similar age.

For further details, please ring Naomi on [01271] 883708 or pop in one Friday morning and see for yourself what the toddlers are up to.

THE FIRST FARMER'S MARKET held At the Manor Hall on Easter Saturday was a great success and congratulations to organisers Louise Richards and Jane and Bobby Bowden. A sum of £134 was raised which will be split between the School, the Pre-School and the Toddler Group as well as the Community Shop.

Jane, Bobby and Louise would like to thank everyone for coming in their hundreds to support the event - some of the stall holders said it was the best farmers' market in which they had taken part and hopefully there will be another one, perhaps towards the end of May.

A VILLAGE SOCIAL & DANCE will be held at the Manor Hall on the evening of Saturday, 5th April, from 8.00 to 11.00 p.m. With proceeds going to the Manor Hall, tickets in advance are available at the Shop at £4.00 or on the door at £5.00. There will be dancing of all kinds - modern, rock and roll, ballroom, old time, etc. - to the live music of Alan Yates [guitarist and vocalist with backing tracks] from Ilfracombe. Please bring your own 'picnic' refreshments, drinks and glasses, and come along and have a good time!

'DRIVING MISS DAISY' - No, Driving Joyce Clay! Are you reliable, have preferably at least 10 years driving experience and are prepared to drive Joyce around locally? In return for giving your time, you would have the free use of Joyce's car for your own personal needs. The car would be taxed, insured, serviced and topped up with petrol and could be kept either at Lee Lodge or at your own home. The regular runs Joyce would require are: to Braunton and back for church each Sunday, to Woolacombe for bridge every Monday afternoon and to Lunch Club every other Tuesday.

There would, of course, be the occasional shopping trips and visits to the Medical Centre in Woolacombe or appointments in Barnstaple. If you think you could help Joyce, please make a call, in the first instance, to Shane Stevens on 07769 653 477.

Combe Martin Parish Church Open Gardens 28th and 29th June 2008

In our 8th year, we look forward to meeting friends and visitors from far and near. Our villagers open their gardens for the public's pleasure and monetary benefit of the Parish Church funds. Of course, alongside the garden attractions, there will be Cream Teas provided at least at two venues!

Programmes will be on sale at Sue's Newsagents and the Combe Martin main Post Office early in June. Any enquiries, please contact either Janet on 882244 or Pam on 883469.

This year's Knit In: The Craft Group were joined by members of Berrynarbor Ladies' Group on the 11th February to knit strips for the North Devon Hospice, each knitter making a donation rather than seeking sponsorship.

Well refreshed during the afternoon, a bag of colourful strips was collected and taken with £100 to the Hospice.

A letter of thanks has been received thanking all the knitters for their support.



A warm welcome to Della Vallance who, after working on a tug boat for the last year, has come from Leeds to join her mother, Sally of Yoga fame!

Della has already become involved in the village, acting as PR for the BBC Show. Currently she is genning up on her journalism qualifications, is doing Work Experience with the North Devon Journal and plans to stay in the area and we hope you will be very happy here.

An 'outdoor girl', Della, like her mother, is in to Yoga, but also enjoys art and photography. Della is the person to contact If you have an item you would like put in the Journal.

We are delighted to welcome Annie and Colin Trinder, after a brief sojourn in East Devon, back to the village and back to Hagginton Hill, but with not quite such a long, steep climb up the hill home this time! We look forward to seeing you again at all the village events and hope you will be very happy in your new home.


'Thank you to everyone in Berrynarbor'

Hi! My name is Wendy and I am Sally Barten's daughter. I read your wonderful magazine on the internet and Mum sends me her copy when she has finished with it. I love to keep up to date with what is going on in the village, 'though I don't recognise a lot of the names now.

In January this year, my husband Ariu was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Although the initial surgery was successful, he suffered post operative infection, kidney failure and septic shocks which resulted in several more surgeries and a couple of stints in intensive care.

During those days and hours, I spent a lot of time thinking about my home town. Years ago, my Dad told me a rhyme made up, I believe, by the stone masons that built the church: 'Hartland for length, Berry for Strength and Combe Martin for beauty'. I would stomp along the hospital corridors repeating 'Berry for strength, Berry for strength' over and over to myself. It helped me stay sane, 'though I'm sure some people thought exactly the opposite when they came across me muttering to myself!

We received many well wishes and letters, many of which came from Berrynarbor. We are truly grateful to have been in so many people's thoughts and prayers and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

I am very pleased to tell you that Ariu has made an incredible recovery and has now returned to good health. The doctors will monitor him closely, but they are pleased with his progress.

We hope to return to Berrynarbor for a visit in the not too distant future.

With kind regards,

Wendy Sio


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


The Rectory
Combe Martin

Dear Friends

With Spring in the air, it reminds me of the short story by Oscar Wilde about the selfish giant. You probably know it very well. I didn't until a couple of months ago when the Sunday School at Combe Martin retold the story to the congregation.

The giant wanted to keep the children out of his garden where they used to play. He built a wall around it to keep them out. Then winter set in, and stayed for months, but just in his garden. Outside spring had come, but not for him. He was very sad and eventually realised how selfish he had been. Winter stayed in his garden until he suddenly heard a bird singing. He looked out and saw the trees coming into flower because the children had found a way in and were playing in the branches. He was delighted and allowed the children to play in his garden. Spring and summer had come! However, one tree was still in winter because a young child couldn't reach the branches to climb up. The giant ran over and lifted the child into the branches, and immediately it came into flower.

The giant loved to see the children in his garden and the garden bloomed, but he never saw this one small child again until he was very old, when he saw him by the tree in bloom. As he ran over his heart filled with rage. "Who did this to you?" he demanded when he saw holes in his hands and feet. "These are the marks of love." said the boy, "And as you allowed me to play in your garden, so come into mine. Paradise."

Read the story for yourself. Oscar Wilde's version is much better than my couple of sentences, but it makes one or two points.

If we are selfish we put up boundaries to keep others out of our world. We devalue ourselves as well as others. We actually need others to become fully alive.

Springtime reminds us not only of life coming back to the earth, but also of our need to let life back into our existence. The quality of life is so important and by helping others, we actually help ourselves. It also reminds me that children are great at breaking down barriers! When we are trying to be all stern and serious they will say or do something which will make us laugh, and "open us up". The story also reminds me that the risen Jesus (still with the marks of his passion) came to bring us life, and that we should have it in all its fullness.

A Happy Eastertide to you all.

Your Friend and Rector,

Keith Wyer


Artwork: Helen Weedon


Early April. The sound of puffing is heard along the western ridge of the Cairn. A steam train pulling out of Ilfracombe station, perhaps? Unlikely; the track was pulled up over thirty years ago! Instead, a jogger is panting heavily as she strides out along the old railway line. Only occasionally does she look up, revealing a furrowed brow and piercing eyes looking straight ahead. They fail to acknowledge their surroundings.

With her mind transfixed on her every next step, she fails to hear the rasping shrieks resonating through the air. They come from the southern end of Pall Meadow. After a few minutes, the noise is replaced by the sound of slow flapping wings. Soon a jay appears from over the ridge of the meadow, struggling to gain height, passing directly over her head before landing in a tree within the grounds of the Round House. Perhaps its slow flight was the result of an injury, the shrieks were certainly loud enough to justify an aggressive squabble with another jay.

The jogger passes the buddleia which borders the old railway line. New green shoots are fast appearing. In the undergrowth beneath, a wren bobs about in search of food. Opposite the wren, upon a prominent ash tree, stands a chiffchaff. His repetitive two-note song is a welcome sound upon the Cairn, his arrival acting as a reminder that spring is on its way. The jogger is oblivious.

Even when she lowers her head again, she overlooks the lesser celandine which are increasing by the day. Their splash of yellow is a welcome sight. Just for one second, the jogger's foot, pounding heavily, sidles up against an unblemished celandine flower. Above its heart-shaped, glossy leaves, the flower's eight petals display a faultless, symmetrical circumference. The flower nods its head in the cool spring breeze as though asking to be appreciated. Primroses also line the path. One stands out in particular, its rosette made up of twelve bright yellow flowers. Although tucked away beneath the buddleia, the morning sun pokes through the branches and highlights the plant. "You are common, we are rare, so just take the time to stop and stare" it calls to the jogger.

She trundles on, allowing the chiffchaff's call to become just an echo. Yet before it peters out, the two-tone songs of the great tit and the coal tit start to replace it. For a while, the jogger runs to the melody of three tunes, each containing just two notes but distinguishable by their own speed. It is as though they have been wound up like an old record player, one bird whistling at seventy-eight revolutions per minute, one at forty-five and the other at thirty-three. Their tunes are soon replaced by another echo, for our jogger has left behind the wonderful sights and sounds of early spring. No doubt unaware of the decrease in light around her, the arched walls within the Slade Tunnel reverberate to the din of thumping footsteps and heavy breath.

The jogger, of course, is not alone in missing the rural delights which are literally springing up around her. The worker has targets to beat. The parent has children to meet. The dog walker has jobs to complete. So perhaps it is about making time available and, at this time of year, one does not have to wait long before nature springs into action. For example, whilst sat in my summerhouse, collecting my thoughts in preparation for this article, a female blackbird made regular visits as she collected material for her nest. Admiring her patience, as she rummaged beneath the hydrangeas and picked up each tiny twig before rolling it within her beak in order to test its suitability, was a constant distraction, but a most pleasurable one.

So, if you can, try and make the time to stop and stare. This really is a wonderful period in the countryside's calendar.

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

Stephen McCarthy



North Devon Hospice is looking for helpers to call on our supporters once a month to collect their lottery subscriptions.

You could be responsible for a street, an area or a town. It's really up to you. Travel costs will be reimbursed and remuneration available. If you think you could help your hospice by becoming a lottery collector, please call Mike Penny for an initial discussion on [01271] 347217.

North Devon Hospice - Care on your doorstep

North Devon Hospice provides specialist care for people suffering from life-threatening illnesses and their families. As well as our bedded unit and day hospice facilities, we have a dedicated team of 8 specialist community nurses who, last year, made over 5,500 visits to patients' homes. These essential services are only made possible with the amazing support of the North Devon community.

Celebrating North Devon Day - Saturday, 24th May

Teresa Crossman came up with the wonderful idea of celebrating the history, culture and beauty of this lovely area in which we live at the same time as raising funds for the local Hospice. which would not exist were it not for the generous support it receives from local people.

Whether it's a cream tea, an open garden or BBQ, or another fund raiser, it is hoped that everyone will join in! Could you organise an event? Each event will receive a free North Devon flag, posters and help from the Fundraising Office of the Hospice.

If you think you might be interested please contact the Fundraising Office on [01271] 344248 and make this day a very special one.

Walk for Life - Sunday 25th May [all walks start at 10.00 a.m.]

Now that spring is in the air, it's time to leap up, step out and enjoy the magnificent scenery that is on our doorstep. 10 walks to choose from, from 2.7 to 10 miles. £5 per adult, £2.50 per child and a free T-shirt! For further details contact the Hospice Fundraising Team on [01271] 344248 or Judie on 883544.

Jazz at the Abbey

Digby Fairweather - Kenny Ball - Val Wiseman

Saturday, 21st June 2008 Hartland Abbey, 6.30 p.m. onwards
Ticket Price £25 to include Supper:
Hog roast or Vegetarian Option, Salads and Pudding

All proceeds to North Devon Hospice and Cancer Research UK
Tickets available from: Hugh Thompson on [01271] 344248




Dear All

I write as Chairperson of Berrynarbor Pre-School. We are a charity providing a pre-school facility within the village.

At present we have 17 children attending various sessions during the week. We have received support from Sure Start, but predominantly rely on fund raising by parents for equipment and development.

The School's own budget is met each year by a combination of Local Authority funds and extensive local fund raising. Capital expenditure and improvements are extremely difficult on such tight budgets.

A small garden area was developed in 2002. This is now unusable due to wear and tear. We believe that the installation of 'wet pour', or similar, will solve this problem and hope to have this work complete by the summer. Parents will do as much work as is practical and we have already raised £1,550. However, we shall need an additional £2000 to complete the project.

I should like to ask if there is anybody who would be kind enough to make a donation, either financial or something we could raffle or auction at a future event.

I thank you on behalf of everyone involved with the Pre-School and will keep you informed of our progress. If anyone needs to contact me, please feel free to ring on 01917 562216.

Jenny Beer - Chairperson

  • Thank You: We should like to say a big thank you to the Combe Martin Wurzels for their donation of £100 to replace the ride-on toy which was taken.
  • Congratulations: A huge thank you to Emma and all her staff who were awarded a 'Good' in their recent Ofsted Inspection.
  • Four Star Hygiene: We had a surprise visit from Environmental Health and Housing and achieved a hygiene rating of four stars!
  • Dates for your Diary:
    • Saturday, 5th April: Spring Fete, Manor Hall, 2.00 to 4.00 p.m. All welcome. Cake Stall, Easter Egg Hunt, Face Painting, Raffle, Children's Games, Tea and Coffee.
    • Saturday, 24th May: Nearly New Stall, Manor Hall. Time to be confirmed. Everyone welcome. Clothes, Toys, Books, etc., Tea and Coffee.



It wasn't hard to find, amongst Peter Rothwell's work, an aptly suitable illustration for the evocative words of the quotation given for the Local Walk in the last issue. The quotation came from a poem by the Rev. R.S. Thomas entitled

The Other

There are nights that are so still
That I can hear the small owl calling
far off and the fox barking
miles away. It is then that I lie
in the lean hours awake and listening
to the swell born somewhere in the Atlantic
rising and falling, rising and falling
wave on wave on the long shore
by the village, that is without light
and companionless. And the thought comes
of that other being who is awake, too,
letting our prayers break on him,
not like this for a few hours,
but for days, years, for eternity.


A staunch Welshman and advocator of the Welsh language - although he wrote his poems in English - Ronald Stuart Thomas was born in 1913. He was ordained as a clergyman in the Church of Wales in 1936, a position he held until his retirement in 1978.

Writing some of the finest religious poetry of his generation and writing over 1500 poems, Thomas was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 1964 and in 1996 nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature. He died in 2000 at the age of 87 and is buried close to the door of St. John's Church, Porthmadog, North Wales.

In the year Thomas died, this prayer was written by 13 year old Anna Crompton and selected as The Celebration 2000 Millennium Prayer

Prayer for the Third Millennium

Dear Lord, our heavenly Father,
At the dawn of a new millennium,
in a world of darkness, give us your light;
in lands of war and prejudice, grant us peace;
in a world of despair, give us hope;
in a world of sadness and tears, show us your joy;
in a world of hatred, show us your love;
in a world of arrogance, give us humanity;
in a world of disbelief, give us faith.
Give us courage to face challenges of feeding the hungry,
clothing the naked,
housing the homeless and healing the sick.
Give us the power to make a difference in your world, and to protect your creation.
Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Amen




As I write, our new shop is due to open on 31st March, so hopefully as you read this, you will already have visited it and bought goodies! We hope too that the Post Office will have moved their equipment successfully and will open on 3rd April.

Everyone has worked so hard to get everything ready: Kingston Construction who pulled out all the stops to catch up on an initial delay; John Boxall who became unofficial 'Clerk of Works'; Sandy, Brian and Alex who sorted out all the day to day problems, and Anita, Jackie and a myriad of helpers who moved the shop.

Thanks to them, we can now enjoy shopping in a pleasant and spacious place - and enjoy a cup of coffee, or send an e-mail before we leave!

We have decided to 'go with the flow' and have our own "green" long-life shopping bags with our logo on that sell at £1.00. We have also decided that in the interests of hygiene, we shall no longer use second-hand plastic bags - and anyway, it looks as if they will become scarcer. Thank you to everyone who has brought plastic bags for re-use over the past 3 1/2 years. For anyone who hasn't a bag, there are new plastic ones available at 5p each.

We have two exciting fund-raising events for the May Day holiday:

  • Friday, 2nd May: Berrynarbor Community Shop Second Golf Tournament for the Sandy Anderson Grocer's Cup. Forms are in the shop and John Boxall has details 882675
  • Bank Holiday Monday, 5th May: Plant Sale and Garden Fare in the Manor Hall - for details see this newsletter, village posters or 'phone Kath on 889019

Happy Shopping!

PP of DC



[8th June 1724 - 28th October 1792]

The first Civil Engineer

The name John Smeaton leapt out of the Daily Telegraph last week, but it belonged to the heroic Glaswegian baggage handler who received a gallantry award from the Queen. Nevertheless, it reminded me of an earlier John Smeaton, who built, amongst many other notable things, the third Eddystone Lighthouse, 14 miles south west of Plymouth and which today sits on dry land on Plymouth Hoe - Smeaton's Tower.

John Smeaton first described himself as a CIVIL engineer in 1768, identifying a new profession distinct from MILITARY engineers, graduating from the Military Academy at Woolwich.

The son of a Yorkshire lawyer, he was born at Austhorpe Lodge, Whitkirk, 4 miles outside Leeds. Whilst still at Leeds Grammar School, in his mid-teens he showed great talent for engineering and use of mechanical tools, but was encouraged to go into a legal career and worked briefly in his father's practice before persuading his pa to let him follow a mechanical profession. With father's agreement, he became a mathematical instrument maker, producing several technical innovations including a novel pyrometer with which he studied the expansion of various materials.

He then became interested in large-scale engineering, and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society at the age of only 29. In the mid 1750's he made a tour of the Low Countries where he studied canal hydraulics. In 1759 he won the Royal Society's Copley Medal for publishing a paper on water wheels and windmills.

In 1756 the Royal Society asked him to come up with a design for a third Eddystone lighthouse. The first, an octagonal wooden one built in 1698 lasted only 5 years and was washed away, together with its architect Henry Winstanley, during a violent storm. The second one, made of wood and iron, burnt down after 47 years when a fire broke out in the lantern. During the blaze, the cupola began to melt and as the duty keeper looked up, he swallowed 7 ounces of molten metal. No one believed him until doctors found it in his stomach after he died several days later. The metal is now on show in Edinburgh Museum.

Smeaton based the design for his lighthouse on an oak tree - a tall natural object that could withstand gales. His idea was revolutionary. He used 1, 493 blocks of granite and Portland stone, and built them up like the rings of a tree, dovetailed together with marble dowels and oak pins. He also pioneered the use of 'hydraulic lime', a type of mortar that will set under water, a starting point for the modern use of cement and clay. Just like a tree, the tower bent in high winds and it must have been terrifying on the rock when the waves crashed right over the 72 feet high tower. But it worked, and became the prototype for all future lighthouses built on rocks. Costing £43,000, it opened in October 1759. In 1810, oil lamps with reflectors replaced the candles, and 35 years later, lenses were fitted. It worked for 120 years and would no doubt still be there today, but the foundation rock started to erode.

When it was replaced in 1882 about two thirds of the structure was removed stone by stone and re-built on Plymouth Hoe where it opened in September 1884. From its refurbished lantern room, it offers superb views of the Sound and city. If you look out from the Hoe on a clear day, you can still see the hump where it stood on Eddystone rocks, next to the present Douglass' light.

Smeaton's Tower is open daily except Christmas and Good Friday and visitors pay £2, [£1 for seniors and children 6-16]. Various events take place throughout the year, and you can even get married there!

After Eddystone, John Smeaton went on to construct pumps, ports, mines and jetties as well as windmills, watermills, bridges, and canals. His best remembered project from these was constructing the Forth and Clyde canal which took 22 years and stretches across central Scotland.

Still, it is Eddystone lighthouse that forms part of the coat of arms of the Institution of Civil Engineers, features in the portrait of John Smeaton, and if you look at an old penny, you will find it tucked just behind Britannia's left hand!

John Smeaton died after a stroke on 28th October 1792 whilst walking in the garden of the house where he was born. His legacy is more than just his engineering projects, many of which are still around today. He fulfilled a wish that practising engineers should dine together and exchange ideas rather than becoming potentially hostile to each other in public dealings. This started the Society of Civil Engineers founded in1771, and is still a social society today although re-named in 1830 as the Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers.

Many of his methods of construction, site management and supervision are still used but one of his important viewpoints was that managing people correctly was as important as his design and construction methods. He was a man before his time!

Stone, wood and iron are wrought and put together by mechanical methods,
the greatest work is to keep right the animal part of the machinery.

John Smeaton

PP of DC



This photograph was taken in August 1901 outside a workshop at the far end of Goosewell, on my great-grandmother's 90th birthday.

From left to right, the picture shows Harry Slee and Albert Jones, who lived at 12 and 14 Hagginton Hill; next to them is my uncle, John Ley, and my father, Tom Ley - her grandsons.

Great-grandmother's name was Mary Chugg and she married twice. My grandmother was her only child from her first marriage, who married Thomas Ley in March 1869. They lived at Hall Farm and when my great-grandmother lost her second husband, she went to live at Hall Farm. By then there were twelve grandchildren.

My father used to tell me how they loved 'little grandma'. She died at Hall Farm in 1903 when she was 92.

Vera Lewis [Ley] - Epsom


Part II

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

You will recall that Tom was stranded on a ledge down a cliff on the old coast road.

He was worried! He could not climb up or down. He hoped he might be seen, perhaps, by someone in a boat. At that point it started raining and to help keep dry, he pulled his coat up over his head. Two long hours passed when he heard a faint 'clip clop'.

"I know that sound," he said to himself, "That's old Fred Snell, the travelling oil shop man." Fred Snell with his horse Dandy plodded the area, selling pots, pans and most things for the household.

"Help! Please help me!" Tom shouted as loud as he could. Although Fred didn't hear him, it happened to be the spot where he usually stopped for a break. He jumped down from his cart and gave Dandy his daily apple. It was only then that he heard Tom's calls.

"Where the dickens are you?" he called.

"Down the cliff!" Tom screamed back. Fred looked over the edge at Tom, "What are you doing down there?"

"Birds' nesting, but please do something!" was the answer. "I've got some rope," called Fred, and tying it to the same tree as the clothesline, threw the end down to Tom.

Tom climbed up, looking very pale and frightened.

"Bet you won't do that again!" said Fred.

"No, I won't and thanks, thanks, thanks" replied Tom. He made his way slowly home where his mother greeted him with "You look a little pale. Anything exciting to report?"

"No," answered Tom, "Nothing."

Tony B.





Several months ago, when I was at mother's [Ivy White], I picked up the Berrynarbor Newsletter and took it back to Wales with me. On the Monday evening I read it, with interest as usual, especially the article about Orchard House.

The following morning I went to Abergavenny Market, where someone was selling postcards. I stopped for a quick look and the first one I picked up was of Berrynarbor with an arrow pointing to Orchard House! Turning it over, I saw it was from Heather Fogg who was staying with her grandparents - postmarked June 1961. What looks like the ruins of the Temperance Hall can be seen at the rear.

The next card was of the road outside Orchard House at the end of two rocks and showing the old hollow oak tree - a great hiding place when I was a child. To find them both at the same time seemed quite a coincidence. For £9 I was also able to buy a card of Watermouth. Do you think Tom Bartlett could date the cards for me [Yes, he has!] and I wonder if anyone has any clues as to who the gentleman is?

Twiss of Ilfracombe c1904

Harvey Barton c1939

Readers may also be interested in the photograph of The Cottage, also a newspaper article I found on the internet.

The photograph, taken about the turn of the century, shows the dancing class outside The Cottage - now known as Old Court. My grandmother, Rosie Bray [Rosina Huxtable], and known to many in the village as Granny Bray, is seated bottom left, with next to her Fred Richards and seated behind her, her brother Reginald.

The following article appeared in a Swindon newspaper in March 2004.

A Century for Ella

"A well-known Swindon lady celebrated her 100th birthday when the Mayor of Swindon delivered a greetings card from the Queen at a family lunch.

"Helena Victoria Hall, who everyone knows as Ella, was born on 5th March 1904 at the Princess Christians Nursing Home in Windsor, the first and only baby born there. Her Godmother was Princess Christian, one of Queen Victoria's many daughters.

"She was married at 18 years of age to Harry Graves. They later had a daughter 'Zan'. Harry was a shoemaker and repaired and made shoes for the Eton College School. The couple moved many times with the army between 1934 and 1947, repairing and re-claiming shoes for the Armed Forces to re-use. Taught by her husband, Ella became adept at soling and healing shoes. She used to black the shoes and pair them up. She also kept the books for Harry.

"When based in Tidworth and Aldershot, they ran youth clubs and also provided accommodation for retired army chaplains.

"After leaving Army service, Harry and Ella moved to Berrynarbor, Devon, where they ran the paper shop. "I walked seven miles a day delivering papers," Ella said. "They were wonderful years. When I was delivering there was always someone who would say, "Here, I've got a story for you Ella. We made a lot of friends in Devon."

Ella and Harry lived at Little Sanctuary. Harry had a large shed in his garden from which he did his shoe repairs. He also ran a taxi service in the village. I expect there are people who still remember them. Sadly, Harry died whilst they were living in Berrynarbor and later Ella remarried and moved to Swindon.





As promised, details of the Art and Photography Sections are now available.

ART: Any medium may be used for all classes - watercolour, oil, acrylic, pen and ink, pencil [even collage], etc. Other than class 3, which is obviously smaller [A5], maximum size must not exceed A3 [297 x 420mm].

1.       A Seasonal Subject
2.       'Fruit and Flowers' - A Still Life
3.       'Merry Christmas' - a Greetings Card
4.       'All at Sea'
5.       A Portrait
6.        An Abstract Picture or Design

PHOTOGRAPHY: maximum size 5" x 8"

1.       My first ... .
2.       'Fruit and Flowers' - A Still Life Composition
3.       Four Seasons: A set of 4 photographs [1 entry only] to be mounted together on paper or card 24" x 24" maximum
4.       Through the Window
5.       Caught!




We have all been enjoying the snippets of sunshine over the past few days and are looking forward to the summer. The children [and adults] have been working hard and the warmth did wonders in giving us all a lift. We have had a new window fitted in Class 3 and the sunlight is streaming in.

Both Classes 3 and 4 have been learning about finances over the past term and have run two separate fund raising days. Class 4 raised money for the Dogs' Trust. A lady came in with one of the dogs and spoke to all the classes about responsible pet ownership and how the money that the children raised would be used. Class 3 raised money for The Children's Liver Disease Foundation and organised a day of yellow themed activities.

You may have seen us in the Journal.

Class 1 has enjoyed a jump rope festival at Ilfracombe College. The children joined with other pupils from local schools to practise skipping and jumping skills. They had a lovely morning and came back bouncing with energy. Class 4 have travelled to Combe Martin Primary School for a netball tournament. Mrs. Lucas was very proud of the sportsmanship shown by our oldest children.

We celebrated Easter with our Easter Service on the Thursday. The youngest children presented work about springtime and new life; the oldest children retold the Easter story using drama and Class 3 considered the commercial side of Easter.

We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of some visitors from Bristol! Children from Mrs. Carey's old school are coming to Berrynarbor. The children will be working on some science with Class 4 at the beach. A return visit to Bristol is planned for the summer term.

CAN YOU HELP? We are keen to improve our lunchtime activities. At the moment the children eat their dinner and then play in the playground. If we had another adult on duty at lunchtime, we could extend opportunities for play and recreation to other parts of the school. We have advertised repeatedly for Lunchtime Assistants to no avail. Do you know anyone who could work in our School over lunchtime? Training is available and we really are a nice bunch of people to be with!



Artwork: Harry Weedon


Having been away for most of the winter, it was lovely coming back to the village and seeing the snowdrops and primroses. There is nowhere in the world lovelier than a Devon village, and ours in particular.

We held our first meeting at The Globe on 5th March and it was well attended. It was agreed to help our new Shop by supplying some new tubs and to ask the School to help by planting them up. We shall be entering the Best Kept Village and Britain in Bloom competitions again this year.

Our main fund-raising events will be the Open Garden events which are set for:

Sterridge Valley on the 8th June
and the Main Village on the 6th July

[a change from the 29th June - our first choice - as the
Combe Martin Gardens are open on the 28th and 29th June].

Unfortunately, the first Litter Pick on the 16th March was cancelled due to the pouring rain. As soon as the decision was made to cancel it, out came the sun! However, most areas were covered the following day and some of the tubs in the village were supplemented with spring flowers to make a cheerful display for Easter.

Please look out for our 'Blooming' Posters for further Litter Pick Dates.

Years ago I was lent an old American Cake Book dating back to the 40's and 50's. Some of the cakes had weird ingredients, such as mayonnaise and beetroot, but one really caught my eye! I tried the recipe out and tested it on friends and family [poor souls]. To our amazement the cake was moist, sweet and slightly spicy - yum, yum, but you have to admit you would never guess the main ingredient 'Tomato Soup'!! So, for April Fools Day I give you Tomato Soup Cake. Do try it out and get your family to guess what's in it, they will be amazed!


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


  • 1 small can Tomato Soup
  • 1 cup [6oz] Sugar
  • 1 Free Range Egg
Cream Cheese Filling:
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
Cream together
  • 2oz Cream Cheese
  • 1 tbs Soft Butter
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 9oz Plain Flour
  • 6oz Icing Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence

Cream the sugar and fat until fluffy, beat in the egg. Put the bicarb of soda into the can of soup and add to the creamed mixture. Sift all the dry ingredients together. Add to the 'wet' ingredients and beat together.

Bake in a greased and lined 8" tin at 180 Deg C/370 Deg F for 1 hour. Turn out and cool on a rack. When cold, split the cake and fill with the cream cheese filling or use it as a topping.





This past year has been quite eventful for Berrynarbor Parish Council and for the village. The new Community Shop will, by the time you read this, be operational due only to the tremendous effort and enthusiasm of its Committee, the local community and the North Devon District Council, the Parish Council has also been pleased to support this project wherever possible.

The Council was pleased to welcome Mr. David Richards and Mrs. Angela Boyd who have joined the Council. We were sorry that due to ill health, Councillor Len Coleman resigned after many years and we thank him for his commitment and loyal service over many years.

The closure to the general public of footpaths at Watermouth Cove has caused great concern and we await the outcome of the Footpath Committee in June when the public consultation period has closed.

The Council has two projects which it would like to see underway shortly:

  1. Claude's Garden - we shall be working closely with the Berry in Bloom group. This garden has previously been very expensive for the village to maintain and so our aim is to make it as maintenance free as possible.
  2. The Children's Playground - is high priority and I should hope to have something more conclusive to report by the next Newsletter.

Finally, I should like to thank our Parish Clerk, Mrs. Sue Squire, and all the Councillors for their support, hard work and commitment, who have the good of Berrynarbor and its parishioners at heart, and also to those who have either worked for or helped this Council in any way.

Sue Sussex - Chairman [01271] 882916



A First for Devon - Somateria Spectabilis

If the church had not been locked, we should not have seen the rare bird. We had planned to visit Landcross church, which is situated within a loop of the River Torridge and then try to gain access, through a narrow strip of woodland, to the river itself, though no official path was shown on the map.

The hedge banks along the lane leading to the little church were full of spring flowers. One of the cottages next to the churchyard was being re-thatched. A red admiral [normally a migrant butterfly but increasingly to be found over-wintering here] fluttered over a wall and an unusually pale buzzard circled above.

Promisingly, the heavy door moved forward, but only by a couple of inches. The church was locked after all and so joined a long list of village churches on Torridgeside which we have been unable to enter. Nor could we find any public rights of way nearby, so it was on impulse, as we returned to Bideford, that we decided to have a wander over Northam Burrows instead.

Arriving at the Skern, we stood to watch a large flock of Golden Plovers, swirling and twisting in a billowing mass, appearing black then bronze. They landed densely packed together.

A local man told us that a King Eider had been seen in the area that week, though he had not observed it himself, and that it was the very first time one had been discovered in Devon. [The Common Eider is recorded in the Taw/Torridge some years but groups are more often to be found off the South Devon coast.]

As we set off across the grass, some walker passing by said that if we were interested, the King Eider had been resting on the sand bank in line with Airy Point. We crossed the blue cobbles of the Pebble Ridge and trudged over a carpet of bladder wrack, which made a satisfying crackle as the seaweed's blisters burst.

A group of Brent Geese floated past serenely in a line close to the shore. We scanned Pulley Ridge, in the middle of the estuary, but could see nothing unusual among the gulls and waders there.

Then, in the distance, we saw a solitary figure with a telescope near the water's edge. We noted the direction he was looking and then saw it! The duck was swimming all by itself in the section of the estuary called 'The Crumbles'. It was mainly black with a light front and a white patch on the side of the stern.

The King Eider dived a couple of times and surfaced with a crab dangling from its bill. It was lovely to watch this rare visitor from the Arctic looking so at home, catching its food in our North Devonian waters.

The man with the telescope kindly invited us to view the King Eider through his scope, enabling us to appreciate the bird's most distinctive feature. Above the short red bill is a large orange 'shield' which is not present in the Common Eider [which also has a white back instead of a black one].

The King Eider is a large duck, 55 to 62 cms, about the size of a shelduck. It is a vagrant to the British Isles in winter; sometimes among flocks of Common Eiders off the north and eastern coasts of Scotland.

When there are interesting and unusual creatures about, there is a great camaraderie and exchange of information among people out and about enjoying the countryside.

It was the end of February; a mild, still day with good visibility. The weather reports claimed it had been the sunniest February on record and the warmest for a hundred years.

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

Sue H



3rd [and fortnightly] Quiz Night at The Globe, 8.30 p.m. start
4th School & College: End of Spring Term
5th Pre-School: Spring Fete, Manor Hall, 2.00-4,00 p.m.
Village Social & Dance, Manor Hall, 8.00 p.m.
12th Horticultural & Craft Show: Gardeners' & Crafters' Lunch, Manor Hall from 11.00 a.m. onwards
15th Parish Council: Annual Meeting, 7.00 p.m. Penn Curzon Room
16th Mobile Library in Village from 11.20 a.m. Wine Circle: 8.00 p.m. Manor Hall: "The Same but Different", John Hood
21st School & College: Start of Summer Term
23rd Friendship Lunch, The Globe, 12.00 noon onwards
27th The Globe: Quiz Night, 8.30 p.m.
28th Ladies' Group: Visit to Castle Drogo
30th Mobile Library in Village from 11.20 a.m.
2nd Community Shop: Golf Tournament at Ilfracombe Golf Club - details from John Boxall [882675]
5th May Day Bank Holiday
Community Shop: Plant Sale & Garden Fare, Manor Hall, 2.00 - 5.00 p.m.
6th Ladies' Group: Manor Hall, 2.00 p.m: Mr. Tovey - Garden Slides.
7th Manor Hall Management Committee: AGM, Manor Hall
11th St. Peter's Church: Pentecost Family Communion, 11.00 a.m. Start of Christian Aid Week
Last Quiz Night at The Globe, 8.30 p.m.
13th Parish Council Meeting, 7.00 p.m., Manor Hall
14th Mobile Library in Village from 11.20 a.m.
21st Wine Circle: 8.00 p.m. Manor Hall: AGM followed by Presentation by Jan Tonkin
24th Pre-School: Nearly New Stall, Manor Hall. North Devon Hospice: Celebrating North Devon Day
25th North Devon Hospice: Walk for Life
26th to 2nd June: School and College - Half Term Spring Bank Holiday
28th Mobile Library in Village from 11.20 a.m. Friendship Lunch, The Globe, 12.00 noon onwards.
2nd School & College: Return after Half Term
3rd Ladies' Group: Manor Hall, 2.00 p.m.
8th Berry in Bloom: Open Gardens, Sterridge Valley

Manor Hall Diary:

MondaysCraft Group, 2.30 p.m.
Badminton, 7.30 p.m.
Tuesdays2nd & 4th in month: N.D.Spinners
Yoga, 7.00 p.m.
Wednesdays9.00 -10.00 a.m. Pilates Keep Fit Workout
ThursdaysWhist Drive, 7.30 p.m.
FridaysShort Mat Bowls, 7.00 p.m. *
SundaysShort Mat Bowls, 2.00 p.m. *

[* winter time only]

Mobile Library:
(Assistant - Jacqui Mackenzie)

11.20 - 12.05 p.m.Sandy Cove
1.15 - 1.35 p.m.The Square
1.45 - 2.05 p.m.Sterridge Valley




At the March meeting, Alex Parke gave an excellent presentation with some superb wines. The April meeting, on the 16th, will be a presentation entitled "The Same but Different" and given by John Hood.

The May meeting, on the 21st, will be the Annual General Meeting, followed by a presentation by Jan Tonkin, who is highly knowledgeable and always gives a lively and thought provoking meeting, with excellent, often unusual wines. This will be the last meeting for the 2007/8 season.


Artwork: Angela Bartlett



A.H. Hawke of Helston, Cornwall, took this fine photographic view of the centre of our village around 1929-30. It shows a completely thatched Bessemer Thatch, Dormer Cottage [Miss Muffet's], the church steps and Pitt Hill with Fuchsia Cottage.


'Arrived about 3 o'clock, lovely voyage. This is our cottage, there are about 10 rooms in it, all lovely and clean and comfy.'

Those of you who have been reading my articles for some time will remember that in View 65 I wrote all about the fire at Bessemer Thatch on the 5th May 1937, when all the thatched roof and much of the house was destroyed. At that time it was owned by Canon Jolly and the damage was estimated at nearly £1,000. It was said that the fire had been caused by a spark from a nearby chimney. Canon Jolly remained the owner right up until his death in 1972.

Alfred Herbert Hawke was a well-known and highly acclaimed photographer and postcard publisher. He carried out his business from a studio and shop in Meneage Street, Helston, and travelled all over Cornwall, North Devon and Exmoor, taking photographs of villages and seaside resorts. I have, probably, hundreds of his cards and the postmarks vary from 1920 [Clovelly] up to the late 1930's. He was not known to take photographs of large towns or cities, or even inland villages other than a few on Exmoor, like Brendon, Oare and Rockford. He was well known as the photographer for the Helston Flurry [Flora] Dance and Padstow Hobby Hoss Day; also of elections, wrecks, fires, hotels and country houses! Known as some of his earliest pictures, are those of the visit by the Lord Mayor Treloar of London to the Flora Day and St. Keverne in 1907, and of the new Helston fire engine in 1910. I have twenty different postcards of Berrynarbor and Watermouth with postmarks ranging from 1928. I also have a further 27 of Combe Martin, with postmarks dating from 1928 onwards.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, March 2008
e-mail: tomandinge40@gmail.com



North Devon Journal, 7th June 1858:

Combe Martin Petty Sessions: Present: N. Vye, Esq., in the chair, Rev. John Pyke, S.T. Slade-Gully and J.C. Roe, Esqrs; Justices.

Assault: George Pugsley of Berrynarbor was charged by Jane Rogers with an assault. Complainant stated that on 13th May she went after some water to a meadow, near her house; when there the defendant came up to her, pushed her along, broke two pitchers which she carried, and kicked the sherds into the water; he then told her to seek recompense. It appeared in evidence that the defendant was placed to look after the meadow by the occupier. He was fined 1s, with expenses, 5s. Another charge was then preferred for breaking the pitchers which being admitted, a further fine of 9d was inflicted, with expenses 5s.

ALEHOUSE IRREGULARITIES - Elizabth Ballment, who keeps the 'Globe Inn' at Berrynarbor, was charged with keeping open her house at improper hours. C.C. Hodge preferred the charge, and stated that on the 9th of May, defendant's house was open twenty minutes after midnight, and that he found three men there, drinking and smoking. On Sunday, the 23rd, he also found four men in the house, drinking at twenty-five minutes after three o'clock. She was fined 20s, for each offence, with expenses, 15s.6d.

Tom Bartlett



e-mail: info@marwoodhillgarden.co.uk
Website: www.marwoodhillgarden.co.uk

Currently the camellias and magnolias are looking magnificent, especially the 30' high jewel of the garden, 'Marwood Spring' , which stands just in front of the house.

The banks and areas around the lakes have been transformed into carpets of gold and orange from the thousands of daffodil bulbs planted over the years and the Plant Centre has a large selection of unusual plants for sale.

The Garden Tea Room is now fully open, selling delicious home-made soups, light meals and cakes. There is a new children's menu and people with special dietary needs are also catered for.

We shall be attending the Cornwall Garden Show on 5th/6th April, Rosemoor on 26th/27th April and the Devon County Show on 15th-17th May. On Friday, 18th May, we are open for the National Garden Scheme when all admission takings will be donated to the NGS, which the gardens have been supporting for some 50 years.

There is always something to see in the gardens, so why not get yourself a season ticket. For just £18 you can visit the gardens whenever and as often as you like and there is always a warm welcome in the Tea Room.

Patricia Stout - Property Manager