Edition 128 - October 2010

Artwork: Class 1 : 1st - Millie Gray

Artwork: Judie Weedon


What a day we had celebrating the Newsletter Coming of Age! More about the day appears later. Importantly, I must thank everyone who supported the events in any way but more importantly, I should like to thank everyone for my special gifts - my fountain pen, unique mouse-mat featuring the cover of the 21st birthday issue and a lovely lavender plant. Having recently visited the Cheristow Lavender Farm, I now know how to tend and prune it! Thank you all.

So, we won't say too much about the weather - a little better at the time of writing this, but why does it always change the minute the schools break up? And now the darker evenings are setting in and at the end of October [30th/31st], we put the clocks back - winter is on its way!

As always we send our thoughts and best wishes to those who are unwell at present, but send a warm welcome to all newcomers to the village. We hope you will be very happy here.

The delightful and colourful pictures on the front and rear covers and the centre pages are the work of the pupils from the Primary School. These pictures were drawn at the end of the Summer Term on the theme of 'This Changing World' and judged as part of the Horticultural and Craft Show, and are the winners. Congratulations to them all.

The next Newsletter will be December/Christmas and items for that issue, including Christmas Messages [see page 41] should be at the Shop or Chicane as soon as possible please, and NO LATER than Monday, 15th November.

Once again my thanks to everyone who has contributed to this issue - without you there wouldn't be a Newsletter!

Judie - Ed



After the summer break, the speaker on 7th September was David Nochar from the Citizens Advice Bureau. His talk was both informative and at times amusing.

David is based at the Bideford office which covers Bideford, Torridge, mid-Devon and Bude. The CAB is an independent organisation receiving funding from the lottery, local government and local fund raising, but receives no funds from the government. In 1935 the government felt there was a need for this kind of service and the CAB was established in 1939. During the war the CAB operated from all sorts of places, including a horsebox, and until the 1950s was government funded. When money became tight, they lost their funding. In 2010 the CAB became computerised. The CAB provides free, independent, confidential and impartial help and advice to everyone. At the Bideford office there are eight case workers dealing with consumer rights, debt, homelessness, income tax, breakdown of relationships and unemployment. They are now receiving funding for a court desk to deal with home repossession. They also offer family support and advice for cancer sufferers and their families in association with Macmillan Nurses. Currently they are seeing people with terrible debt problems due to unemployment as well as dealing with increased redundancy and unfair dismissal cases. They can offer legal aid and have contact with a legal advisor where necessary, and offer other languages when dealing with cases involving migrant workers. The Bideford office has twelve trustees, paid staff and volunteers as well as specialist information which can be sought on-line. David said that although at times the work can be very harrowing, he loves doing the job.

The vote of thanks was given by Rosemary Gaydon. It was agreed to have a cream tea at Pipcotts Tea Room in West Down on Tuesday, 2lst September. The raffle was won by Margaret Weller.

On 5th October, the speaker will be Deri Rundle speaking about Water Aid in Rwanda. Michael Mant from Shelterbox will be with us on 2nd November and the Christmas Party will be on 7th December. Please come and join us - you will be made very welcome.

Marion Carter and Doreen Prater




Never more will the wind cherish you again, Never more will the rain.
Never more shall we find you bright in the snow and wind.
The snow is melted, the snow is gone, and you are flown.
Like a bird out of our hand, like a light out of our heart,
You are gone.

Hilda Doolittle 1886-1961


Phyllis was one of five children, Winnie, Denzil, Margaret and Sheila being the others, born to William and Nellie Draper at number "Ninety Four", Berrynarbor, now known as Jacobs Well. In1946 the family moved to Ilfracombe and Phyl subsequently joined the Army as a driver, based at Regents Park barracks, also at Chester and other places around the UK. While at Regents Park she delivered mail to Buckingham Palace.

After Army life, she joined the NAAFI at St Merryn in Cornwall and later the GPO telephone service, working as a telephonist at Banbury and Bristol.

During the war, twins Jack and Jean Rollings were evacuated to Berry and stayed with the Draper's at 94. In 1953, while in Bristol, Phyl was visiting Jean and Jack when she met their older brother Dennis. In 1954 they married and had 56 happy years together living in Bristol.

Sadly, last autumn Phyl broke her hip, her recovery was forestalled by deep vein thrombosis, which resulted in the amputation of her left leg. She battled on valiantly but finally died peacefully on the morning of August 1st at the age of 81.

She leaves husband Dennis and two sons Philip and Martin and a grand daughter Lorna and is survived by her sister Margaret Draper who lives in Ilfracombe.

Many villagers will remember Phyl, and I am grateful to Philip Rollings for letting us know the sad news and we send him and all the family our thoughts at this time of sorrow.


It was very sad to learn that, when looking forward to her holiday in a week or two, Win passed away peacefully in her sleep on the 16th September. A lovely way for her to be reunited with Dennis, her husband of fifty years, but a shock for her family. We send them our condolences and prayers at this time of sorrow.

Win and Dennis moved to Bristol to be nearer to their family in 2006, having lived and been very happy and involved in the village for twenty-four years.



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.

From 'For the Fallen' [1914]
by Laurence Binyon [1869-1943]

Standing on the cobbled path that leads up to our Church entrance, I have sheltered under an umbrella on several Remembrance Sundays. This has been an occasion to read the names of the Berrynarbor residents who died in the two World Wars.

One name, the first name on the list of Second World War dead, is a woman - the only female in this sad list. How did she, Jane Malcolm, come to be on the list, and how did she die?

Mary Tucker and Bett directed me to a file at the back of the Church containing details of all those named on the Memorial, and this proved very useful.

Jane Malcolm was a Nursing Sister with the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Nursing Service. She was the daughter of Napier and Urania Malcolm, whose graves lie at the back of the Church, near the water tank. Her brother is also buried there. I understand they lived, at one time, at The Old Court.

Jane died on the 1st October 1942, at the age of 33. She was stationed in Egypt and is buried in the Moascar War Cemetery, which is just off the Ismalia-Cairo Road.

Unfortunately, I was unable to find out exactly how Jane died. As this family lived in the village, I am hoping that someone reading this remembrance story might be a relative, or know of how this brave lady died.

Women are still serving all over the world in conflicts, and in more diverse roles. On Remembrance Sunday, 14th November, it may be opportune to remember them, through Jane Malcolm of Berrynarbor.

Yvonne Davey


One such person, and perhaps there are more, is Kirsti Richards, daughter of Julie and David, who having served as a Medic with the Army in Iraq is currently completing her first tour of duty in Afghanistan. We send her our good wishes.




Church services from July have gone well. All the stops were pulled out for the Archdeacon's visit on the 18th. The choir came in to lead the singing and the good congregation was further augmented by family and friends of Betty Dudley-Ward, whose ashes were interred in the churchyard after the service.

Since the beginning of August we have been very fortunate in having the 'retired' Revd. Chris Tull coming over from Challacombe to celebrate the Eucharist and other services have been led by our Readers and Churchwarden, Doreen Prater, all well supported by our regular congregation.

At the end of August we received the devastating news that Mike Taylor had died suddenly in Combe Martin. As Reader, he had been working very hard holding the fort and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Janet and family.

To fill the gap David Rushworth, a Reader from Pilton, is coming over to help as are Celia Withers from the Parish Church and Philip Young from the Baptist Church in Combe Martin. We are well blessed to have so much support.

The Harvest Festival will be celebrated on Sunday, 3rd October, with a Family Service at 11.00 a.m. The church will be decorated on the Thursday and Friday before [there is a Blessing of a Marriage on the Saturday]. Please let Sue Neale [883893] know if you would like to make a donation towards the cost of flowers or if you can bring anything in from your garden. Gifts of produce will be especially welcome - we have not had so much in recent years - and everything will be auctioned after the Supper on Wednesday, 6th October. Tickets for the buffet supper priced £5 for adults and £2 for children, will be on sale at the Community Shop, and the evening will begin with the service in the church at 6.30 p.m.

Looking forward to other special services: All Saints Day will be commemorated at the Sunday 11.00 a.m service on 31st October, when candles will be lit in memory of loved ones. Remembrance Sunday will be on the 14th November. The service will begin at 10.45 a.m. in church and poppy wreaths will be laid at the War Memorial by the Parish Council and St. Peter's. A collection will be taken up for the Royal British Legion. Advent begins on Sunday 28th November, when the first candle will be lit on the Advent Wreath.

Fund Raising: The final total for Gift Day came to £650. Thank you to everyone. The Summer Fayre on the 3rd August was a great success thanks to all the help received in preparation and setting up on the day. The way everyone rallies round is much appreciated and our sincere thanks go to all those who regularly give raffle prizes and items for the various stalls, not forgetting those unable to attend on the day who make donations to the church. Special thanks are due to Ivan, June and family who having organised the barbecue without any charge for many years, are finding pressures at work which means they cannot commit themselves to continue in the future. With expenses paid, a splendid £1,165 has been raised for church funds.

Again thank you to everyone who gave towards the village collection for the Shelterbox Flood Appeal for Pakistan which raised £160. Conversely, WaterAid will be St. Peter's charity for Harvest. WaterAid, as you know, works to give poor, deprived communities throughout the world access to clean water and improved sanitation.

Friendship Lunches will take place at The Globe on Wednesdays, 27th October and 24th November. Everyone is welcome to come and join us, please ring Mary Tucker on 883881 in the first instance.

Mary Tucker


Artwork: Paul Swailes


I must start with a big Thank You to everyone who helped and supported, in whatever way, to this year's highly successful Berry Revels. Whether through donations of raffle prizes, baking of cakes and the like, the contributions were truly appreciated. Also of tremendous importance was the help provided in setting up the event and running of the various stalls in the evening, when we had the help of at least 45 volunteers! And finally, thank you to all those who joined the activities and spent money! You've probably already seen the notices around the village but, to recap, the result was a net £1,360.

The next thing to report is a project in the Main Hall to improve the options for lighting. Many requests for which came from our Hall User Questionnaire earlier this year. Hopefully by the time you're reading this article, the work will have been completed and lighting improved for close-up work for craft, spinning and upholstery people, and also capable of being subdued for parties, dining and stage functions.

We've addressed the issue of heating the Main Hall and taken expert advice on different options, remembering that the building is used just intermittently, at different times of the day, with no two days being the same. The big downside to most of the alternatives to the present system is a long warm up time, requiring systems to be running for longer periods, with complex programming and much higher running costs! Against that background, I have to report on your Committee's decision to stick with the current overhead gas heater system for the foreseeable future. For the future, as technology changes and improves, more cost effective options may arise.

There are Beaford Arts Events for your diary in October and November [details appear elsewhere] . . . please, please try and attend.

Finally comes a request for further help on the Manor Hall Committee. Essentially, we're in need of a new recruit or two [even 3!] to join and help steer the future direction and running of this key village facility. Ideally we'd like to see new, younger blood coming forward. Interested and want to know more? Give me a call on [01271] 889298.

Colin Trinder


On Sale

Come and visit the Plant Centre where there is a wide range of magnolias, including 'Marwood Spring' and new ones from America and New Zealand, on sale, as well as flowering shrubs, trees and herbaceous plants - Japanese anemones, Heucheras and Crocosmia.

The Gardens and Tea Room will be closing at the end of October, but if you are looking for a venue for meetings, talks or family gatherings, why not try the Tea Room? The Tea Room can be booked for your event and, of course, your group's festive Christmas meal.

Can't think of that Christmas present? Our exceptional value Season Ticket and Vouchers for Entry and Cream Teas make ideal gifts. 'Stunning Christmas Decorations' is a Beaded Baubles Workshop to be held in the Garden Tea Room on Saturday, 6th November. The day will start with coffee at 10 o'clock and will include a Soup Lunch and afternoon tea, before finishing around 4 o'clock. All this for just £10.00! There is no need to bring anything, beads and accessories will be available to purchase. Numbers will be limited, so booking is essential.

Please ring Patricia on [01271] 342528 or e-mail her on info@marwoodhillgarden.co.uk to book or for further information.


Artwork: Paul Swailes


We needn't have worried about a hosepipe ban, the first 24 hours of July produced 25mm [1"] of rain, which ended up as the wettest day of the month. After the long, settled period we had in June, July was more unsettled with a lot more cloud and it was quite breezy. It rained on St. Swithin's Day. which was worrying, but since we have had several days without any rain. The total rainfall for the month was 92mm [3 11/16"] which was fairly average, as was the maximum temperature of 25.6 Deg C, though the minimum of 10.7 Deg C was above normal. Surprisingly, Chicane recorded 181.39 hours of sunshine, the second highest since 2003, beaten only by 195.95 hours in July 2006. The maximum wind gust was 29 knots.

August was disappointing again this year, cool with some very wet days. On Thursday the 20th, the rain started after lunch and by 11.00 p.m. we had recorded 3l7mm [1 1/2"] with another 6mm [1/4"] falling overnight and then a week later we had 46mm [1 11/16"] in a 24 hour period. The total for the month was 167mm [6 3/4"]. the third highest total that we have recorded in August. Temperatures were below average with a maximum of only 22.4 Deg C, which was lower than April, May or June. For most of August the thermometer hovered around 20 Deg C at best. The minimum of 7.4 Deg C, the lowest for the month since 1994. The hours of sunshine for the month were well below average with only 2008 being lower. Winds were frequently from a northerly direction which helped to keep the temperatures down and there were some quite breezy days, although as we are sheltered from that direction, we recorded a maximum gust of only 23 knots.

Simon and Sue

St. Swithun or Swithin was born c800 and became Anglo-Saxon Bishop of Winchester from 30th October 852 until his death on the 2nd July 862.

Subsequently he became patron saint of Winchester Cathedral. His historical importance as Bishop is overshadowed by his reputation for posthumous miracle-working. According to tradition, the weather on his feast day, 15th July, will continue for forty days.



The census is an estimate of all the people living in the UK. It takes place every 10 years and asks everyone the same questions on the same day to give a complete picture of the nation. This decade's census will take place on Sunday 27 March 2011.

It is an important tool in planning for the future. It helps the government and local councils allocate funds, decide future policy and plan important services such as transport, housing, health and schools.

The 2011 Census will offer a wide range of employment opportunities throughout England & Wales. Benefits will include:

  • Flexible working hours that you can fit around your current commitments
  • The opportunity for a short-term income boost
  • Opportunity to add new experience to your CV
  • The chance to work within your local community
  • The chance to play a part in ensuring decision makers have the information needed to make effective decisions that could affect local communities

Recruitment starts from 20th September. For more information on how you could get involved, visit www.censusjobs.gov.uk



The North Devon Access to Services Project [NDASP] is pleased to announce good progress of the pilot of North Devon Taxi Voucher Scheme, which was introduced in February this year. The scheme aims to help the residents of rural North Devon who have difficulties with transport.

Eligible residents can purchase a voucher book of taxi vouchers with a travel value of £50 for just £5!

The scheme is for young people, elderly and/or disabled residents of Mortehoe, East Down, Berrynarbor, Combe Martin, Kentisbury, Trentishoe, Arlington, Bratton Fleming, Challacombe, Parracombe, Martinhoe, Lynton & Lynmouth, Countisbury & Brendon . The vouchers, which are subsidised by Devon County Council, are a way of giving help to isolated people and establish if there is a need to continue the project.

If you would like any more information about the Taxi Voucher Scheme or other projects that NDASP are currently working on please contact 01271 855951.



Some of you will know that I have been making enquiries about the poor television reception in our village since our signal changed from analogue to digital in 2009. If you have satellite TV only you probably do not have the problem. So, to keep everybody informed I thought you might like a summary of the progress so far.

I have been in contact with the Senior Viewer Relations Manager at Digital UK. The latter is a non profit making organisation, independent of the broadcasters, and set up at the government's request to give advice to the public about the digital switchover and to refer queries and complaints to the relevant organisation who can best deal with these matters. The transmitter is operated by a private international company which can be investigated by the broadcasters e.g. BBC, who have a contract with the transmitter company. The Office of Communications [OFCOM] is the independent watchdog which investigates problems of reception. Broadcasters get their licences from OFCOM. So you can see that this investigation into our poor TV reception is like unpeeling an onion, layer upon layer, before getting to the core of the problem.

Anyway here is the letter I wrote to Digital UK on 06/08/10:

I am writing on behalf of the residents of Berrynarbor to complain about very inferior television reception since our signal changed from analogue to digital in 2009. The symptoms are:

Loss of signal on one or more channels [BBC 1, BBC 2, ITV & Channel 4] at any one time. This may last seconds, minutes, even 15 minutes or longer. Disintegration of picture, which I believe is described as breaking up into pixels. Inability to achieve the Freeview channels, usually all are unobtainable, sometimes we can receive one or two of them but it varies and is unreliable.

The problems commenced immediately we went digital, but knowing there would be teething problems we kept quiet until after we were told to retune in Sept 2009, as announced and instructed on the regional TV news programmes. Thereafter the symptoms were worse, particularly galling over Christmas and New Year. The problems continue now to varying degrees of severity, reception is very unpredictable.

A year later we have an appalling service and you have a lot of very angry, frustrated, irritated and disappointed customers in this area. I have conducted a sample survey of 35 households in this village. Of these, 29 have problems with TV reception. The other 6 use satellite TV only and don't have a problem. The households are in geographically different parts of the village thus proving it is a village wide problem and not the location of the house.

The anger is because: The population did not have a choice of whether to go digital or not, it was imposed on us. We were told that we would have much improved TV reception post digital switchover, in fact it is far inferior to the anologue system. Most people have had to pay for set top boxes, new televisions and/or aerials, not of their choosing. Some people have got so fed up with the bad reception that they have bought satellite incurring more expense.

 Business in the village has been affected. Hotel and B&B guest rooms have the problem leading to customer complaints. One proprietor was advised through Digital UK to fix equipment, costing money and of course to no avail, all completely unwarranted as it is a village not a household problem.

As a further example, during the first England game during the Football World Cup the signal went on the pub TV screen and you can imagine how well that went down. Pub customers went to the guest house next door where there is satellite TV downstairs [but problem digital TV in guest bedrooms].

Obviously the pleasure of watching a favourite TV programme is spoilt but there are much more serious implications if essential news and information is required in the event of a national emergency.

We know this is not a new problem and that other villages in this area have also complained and have got nowhere. We know this is a North Devon regional problem too, see the North Devon Journal 10/6/10 page 16. This service is not good enough. You can see where this is going. People will only put up with being  "taken for a ride" for a limited time. This will become a wider public issue if not rectified soon. Your prompt, constructive attention and response is needed now. 

I got a very prompt response to this letter and Digital UK have referred the complaint to OFCOM as my enquiries had already ruled out the most common reasons for TV interference. Digital UK will continue to assist with enquiries. At the time of writing this article [26/8/10] I am waiting to hear from OFCOM. I was hoping to give you news of their response but the newsletter deadline clashes with my holiday dates so you will have to be patient and hopefully hear of the response when I return. Meanwhile, those of you who are suffering the TV reception problem could help us all by keeping a record of incidences of bad reception. If you can help it will strengthen our case if along the line we meet opposition to our fight for better service. Ironically, the incidences of poor reception are fewer and farther between at the moment though the number of Freeview channels is still limited. Anyway, I don't trust that this improvement will continue!

Regarding the recording of incidences, I suggest noting date, time, length of time of interruption and which channel and programme was affected. This may be either/or lack of signal, break up of picture or lack of Freeview channels. The easiest way to display this information, for me to analyse at a later date, is in the form of a simple chart or page divided into columns. Please keep records from now until the end of January so that we have some good evidence should we need to produce it. If we haven't had a positive response from OFCOM and a resolution of the problem by then, you can pass on your records for me to use. Don't forget to put your name address and telephone number on your record so that I can continue monitoring where the problems are in the village.

I was told by Richards TV in Combe Martin that the residents there had also complained and Digital TV informed me that Ilfracombe also had a problem. If necessary I will investigate these reports to strengthen our case. Let's hope that we solve the problem sooner rather than later but meanwhile watch this space!

 Jill Massey


William Shakespeare

Where the Bee Sucks

Where the bee sucks, there suck I,
In a cowslip's bell I lie,
There I couch when owls do cry,
On the bat's back I do fly
After summer merrily.
Merrily, merrily, shall I live now
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.


Come Unto these Yellow Sands

Come unto these yellow sands,
And then take hands:
Curtsied when you have, and kissed
The wild waves whist,
Foot it featly here and there;
And sweet sprites, the burden bear.
Hark, hark!
Bow, wow
The watch-dogs bark,
Bow, wow,
Hark, hark! I hear
The strain of strutting Chanticleer
Cry, Cock-a-diddle-dow.

The original 'Dancing the Night Away'!

Contributed by Trev


Stanley Barnes

Solution in Article 30.




I am pleased to report that the Council is now up to full strength following the co-option of Councillor Mrs Lorna Bowden.  Many of you will know that Lorna already has an enormous amount of experience as a Parish Councillor, having held this post in the past, together with invaluable knowledge of the area, being a resident in the village for many years, and without doubt, she will be an excellent member of the team.
Councillors were extremely pleased to hear that Berrynarbor has won the Past Winners Category of the Campaign for Rural England and Mole Valley Farmers Best Kept Village in Devon Competition.  Congratulations to everyone who works so hard to ensure the village looks perfect, not only for when the Judges come, but for holidaymakers and residents as well.
  There has been a lot of discussion regarding the War Memorial recently and the expectation is that it will be cleaned and refurbished in time for the Remembrance Sunday Service on 14th November.  The shrubs which are growing around the memorial have grown to the extent that they are causing a damage to the area around it and I have been asked to advise those who planted them that it is necessary for them to be removed.   Please let me know if you would be willing to move them if you planted them, or have any objection to their removal.
Councillors received a report from the Police that there had been 4 crimes in total since the last Meeting, up from this time last year, involving a burglary to holiday chalets and domestic related incidents involving tourists from out of the area.   Parishioners were asked to be especially vigilant as rural communities appear to be targets, particularly farms from where quad bikes and farm machinery are being stolen.
  Tenders for the upkeep of Parish Council assets were discussed and. If contractors would like to submit a quotation, please contact me for tender documents to be sent to you.
  I am booked on to the Extreme Events Conference at the Met. Office in Exeter to hear about Devon County Council's plans for dealing with emergencies in the future.   No doubt there will be a lot of talk about lessons learned from the snow and ice last winter.

  Sue Squire - Parish Clerk

Councillors may be contacted on the following numbers:

  • Mark Adams - 882191
  • Angela Boyd - 882619
  • Richard Gingell - 882885
  • David Richards - 882707
  • Madeleine Worth - 883485
  • Clerk: Sue Squire [01598] 710526
    Email: susan.squire@virgin.net
  • Lorna Bowden - 883559
  • Paul Crockett - 882631
  • Clive Richards - 883406
  • Sue Sussex - 882214

The Parish Council normally meets on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 7.00 p.m. in the Penn Curzon Room of the Manor Hall.


Artwork: Helen Weedon


Records reveal that the oak tree now buds at least twenty days earlier than it did in the 18th century. The same cannot be said for the ash, and with experts predicting that climate change will encourage the oak to bud even earlier, we are unlikely to see the days when the ash competed to be first out of the two in leaf. So what of the proverb? Will it always be a case of 'oak before ash, there will be a small splash' rather than 'ash before oak, there will be a big soak'?

This summer has seen a bit of both. Early on there were days with the occasional splash of rain - by August the holidaymakers were regularly getting soaked through! Maybe the summer months couldn't decide which proverb to stick with. For another saying goes, 'Oak before ash, will be wet and splash, Ash before oak, will be fire and smoke'.

As summer gives way to autumn, forcing daytime temperatures and light levels to decrease, so the leaves of the oak and ash, along with all other deciduous trees, will no longer receive the required sunlight to produce the pigments chlorophyll and carotene. Gradually the green chlorophyll will decay to reveal the orange carotene beneath. But where in spring it was oak before ash, in autumn it will be ash before oak. For the ash tree's carotene decays at such a rate that its leaves are dropping well before they have had a chance to provide an autumnal display.

The oak meanwhile is a complete contrast. Like the beech, it will hold on to its leaves throughout autumn. So now is the time to seek out your nearest oak or beech wood and enjoy the dazzling display of yellows, oranges and shades of gold on offer.

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

Whilst enjoying this autumnal splendour, spare a thought for the old oak tree which is being allowed a respectable death in the nearby field. If the saying is to be believed, it will have lived at least two thirds of its allotted life - an oak tree allegedly spends three hundred years growing, three hundred years resting and three hundred years declining. If allowed to complete this last stage, the tree's trunk will be hollowed out by the fungi already inside it. This in turn causes the upper branches to die and snap off, in effect, shrink like humans do. The oak, however, takes much longer to degenerate than a human body. Eaten from the inside out, it will spend many years tilting near collapse whilst its 'outer wall' protects it from falling. It is only once this wall becomes too narrow to support its hollow, cylindrical trunk, that the tree collapses, and with no innards to protect it, shatters into a thousand pieces as it hits the surface.

During their declining years, trees will provide the ideal home for birds such as owls, woodpeckers, nuthatches and tree creepers. Bats also roost inside them and invertebrates will take up home within, many of which are dependent on decaying trees. Fungi begin to thrive, eating the outside as well as the inside, whilst lichens begin to grow. Even once the old oak collapses, its decaying process continues. Fungi carry on breaking down the nutrients until the wood is completely rotted. This in effect provides space for new trees and prevents soil erosion. Invertebrates also move in, helping to break the wood down as they feed upon it. Others choose to make it their permanent residence with some, such as the stage beetle, spending its whole existence living in and feeding on the decaying wood. Yet it is not just the wood that offers excellent nutrition. The insects themselves provide good sustenance, both for each other [many insects will eat others] and for birds, with the great spotted woodpecker a particular connoisseur of the oak bark beetle.

Maybe this will be the autumn that provides winds strong enough to level the old oak, or perhaps its trunk is now so hollow it will collapse naturally. Who knows? One thing is certain. This grand ancient tree would not have been able to provide in its prime a splash of gold to match the golden soaking of the nearby oak wood if it wasn't for the cooling temperatures and shortening daylight hours of autumn.

Stephen McCarthy


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


It was a Saturday morning and our evacuees, Dave Brook and Tom Clark were at Dave's cottage up Hagginton Hill, meeting as usual to decide what to do over the week-end. "Have you heard about the silver mine at Combe Martin? Dave suggested. "No, what about it? Where is it then?"

Dave appeared to have done a little homework on the silver mine which he had gained from the school library. "We could go there tomorrow" the boys chirped in unison. So that was decided upon.

Next morning, as arranged, they met up with their bikes at Berrynarbor Corner. "Right," said Dave, "It's off to Combe Martin!" "Well, that's OK because it's down hill all the way," Tom replied. "You may think so, but you might be in for a surprise!" Dave smiled.

Once down in Combe Martin, they pedalled half way up the main street and came to Shute Lane. "This is where we turn off," Dave said, and they both dismounted and began the long push. Tom shook his head and remarked, "Do you remember at school during Assembly the headmaster - possibly due to a near mishap - warned pupils not to cycle down Oxford Grove? Whereupon some wag at the back of the hall quipped 'They ought not to cycle up it either.' Well, this hill reminds me of Oxford Grove."

At last the lane levelled off and they turned right towards the site of the silver mine. "Look!" said Dave, "That's the old smelting works, or what's left of it." Coming closer to the building they spotted a large heap of spoil. Tom was very impressed and looking to see if anyone was about, they started sorting through the ore. "I've found a bit with silver in it!" Dave shouted. "So have I!" Tom replied.

The lads found several bits with what appeared to be silver and then remounted their bikes for the long journey home. That evening both told their surprised mothers of their treasured finds found at the old silver mine.

Perhaps some day an entrepreneur will explore the possibility of opening a part of the mine for people to see. However, it is said that the tunnels which run under Combe Martin are flooded, so maybe that will not happen.

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes


Answer in Article 29.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

Tony is obviously unaware of the Combe Martin Silver Mines Research and Preservation group, and I hope that one of the group will submit a short article about their work for the December issue of the Newsletter.




Returning from Ilfracombe one afternoon [Tuesday 7th September], you can, I'm sure, imagine my surprise and delight when I saw a heron standing at Pitt Hill bus stop. Whenever I have seen one of these, they have always been a distant view: on trees, at river banks or flying even further away.

It looked interested in the waste bin contents and to my amazement it stayed put, almost motionless, as I stopped, admired and thought how fortunate I had been to see such a beautiful, normally shy bird in close proximity. No camera at the ready, I drove home.

Some minutes later, having collected it, just in case, I walked down the hill, approaching quietly, hoping, but not expecting. It wasn't there, but I did a double-take, when I happened to glance over the gate at Rose Cottage. Standing at the open front door, was the back of a grey bird!

I didn't want to frighten it, so I started to walk towards the driveway, but I was keen to grab this moment photographically. I returned to the gateway, opened it carefully, hoping it wouldn't squeak and ventured down the path.

Jane saw me from a front window, "Is it the heron? It probably wants some fish." She came to the door with what was to be their evening meal! The baby bird moved towards her, away from the stream wall to take, eagerly, the fishy gift!

It had been seen on Ducky Pool's roof, so it could fly and was 'interested in the stream'. Let's hope 'life' allows this Grey Heron to participate in distant views too . . .

Judith Adam - Flowerdew






Blessed with another dry and sunny day, following a week of torrential rain, the 31st annual Horticultural and Craft Show took place at the Manor Hall on Saturday, 28th August.

Despite the good weather early in the year, followed by heavy rain latterly, there was an excellent display of flowers, fruit and vegetables. The judges took their time deliberating over the hard task of judging more than 500 entries from some eighty entrants - not only the many horticultural items but floral art, home cooking, handicrafts, art and photography too.

Around 200 people visited the Show in the afternoon, appreciating the many and varied skills and efforts of the exhibitors, partaking of light refreshments, supporting the raffle and applauding the award winners, making the Show another enjoyable and successful occasion and raising £430 as well!

Cups and trophies were presented to:

  • Sue Neale [Floral Art]
  • Pip Summers [Home Cooking]
  • Eileen Hobson and Judie Weedon [Handicrafts]
  • Jill Reynolds [Art], Colin Harding [Photography]
  • Caitlin Burgess [Fruit and Vegetables]
  • Stan Dart [Potted Plants]
  • Tom Bartlett [Cut Flowers]

The award for the Best Horticultural Exhibit was won by Sue Neale for 3 perfect potatoes; the best Non-Horticultural Exhibit by Jill Reynolds for her outstanding textile art work, and the award on the theme of the Show, 'This Changing World', was won by Tim Massey with a fascinating photograph of the Millau Viaduct in France, the longest and highest in the world. With an incredible 40 entries, nine year old Caitlin was a very deserving winner of the Junior Rose Bowl. Other Junior prizes were won by Miles and Ellis Rees, Millie Gray, Isabel Astill-Chandler and Oliver Ivan.

Another great day, another great Show thanks to everyone who supported it in any way.

As you know, this was the last Show to be organised by the current group and we should like to thank everyone who has supported us in any way over the last seven years, far too many to mention you all by name. We are delighted that the Show will continue in the capable hands of Linda and her new group - if you would like to be part of that group, please give her a ring on 883322 - and we wish them every success.

Yvonne, Vi, Jack, Pip, Tony, Janet and Judie





The Berrynarbor Wine Circle will be starting its 23rd year in October and we have another enjoyable programme lined up.

We start on 20th October with what should be a most interesting and enjoyable evening presented by Brett Stevens of the Fabulous Wine Company. He will again be providing both wine and food, demonstrating the way in which they can complement each other.  He will be accompanied by his wife Jane who will provide all the 'tapas'. They did a similar presentation last year for us and it was superb, one of the best ever, so don't miss this one.

In November, on the 17th, John Hood will be reviewing the 'Last Decade' for us. He always finds new ways of entertaining us so another good evening is no doubt in store.

The Christmas Food and Drink evening is on 8th December, and this will once again be effectively a three course meal provided by the members between them and with wines presented by the committee. Each committee member will introduce a wine of their choice.

January will see the return of our extremely popular Quiz Night - Call My Wine Bluff - always lots of fun!

New members are always welcome, or if you can only attend one meeting, just contact me beforehand on 883600 or email tony.veranos@gmail.com . You will find it an enjoyable and affordable evening out as membership fees are once again held at £3.00 for the year and the monthly entrance charge has only to cover the cost of the wine and hire of the hall each month.

Tony Summers


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


Jane and Keith Jones are happy to announce the safe arrival of their 9th grandchild. Elliott David Trahar was born in Taunton on the 21st July weighing 7lbs 5oz., a son for Kim and Lewis. All are doing well.

Congratulations to all - grandparents and parents, and welcome to the little one.










We welcome Mr. Trefor Jones, Teacher for Years 3 and 4. We are pleased to welcome new pupils in Reception Class and Years 1, 2, 3 and 4, and hope they will enjoy their education at our school:

It's been a pretty 'full-on' start to the Autumn Term and all the children and staff returned to school full of energy and anticipation! We have lots of things planned for the months ahead.

  • The Wild Nights Out on 6th/7th September were unfortunately very wet but the children enjoyed the experience. However, Classes 1 and 2 had a wonderful sunny day for their outing on the Wednesday.

  • Music: We are thrilled that so many of our children are learning to play an instrument. We now have three teachers [Mrs. Barrow, Miss Collingham and Mrs. Jones] offering music lessons which can take place in school, either during or after the school day. Lessons cost £12 for 30 minutes or £8 for 20 minutes [small group lessons may also be available]. So far, the teachers are able to provide lessons for piano, keyboard, oboe, saxophone, singing, music theory, recorder, clarinet, violin, 'cello, viola and flute. Tuition for other instruments may be available - please ask.

  • Christmas Cards: The children will shortly be creating their very own Christmas Card drawings for their parents.

  • Junior Great North Run: Congratulations to Caitlin Burgess in Class 4 who completed the Run on 18th September in Newcastle. Caitlin ran in aid of ShelterBox.

  • Swimming: The whole school is attending Ilfracombe Swimming Pool over the next 10 weeks.

  • Pantomime - Aladdin: The whole school, along with the Pre-School, will be going to see Aladdin at the Queen's Theatre this year.

  • Samaritan's Purse - Shoe Box Appeal 2010: This is our 7th year of participating in the Shoe Box event and each year the children prepare more and more beautiful boxes. A leaflet is available from the School Office if you would like to take part in this scheme. If you would like to prepare a box at home, please bring it in to Mrs. Jordan after the half-term break, but not later than Friday, 5th November. Please remember not to seal the boxes, but use a rubber band or string. If you would like to donate some items which we could use to make up a box from the school, please send them in to Mrs. Jordan.

  • Senior Dudes' Christmas Meal: Class 4 will prepare this memorable meal which will take place on Monday, 13th December. Watch out for details in the Community Shop nearer the time.

Sue Carey- Headteacher



Sweet Lass of Richmond Hill

On Richmond Hill there lives a lass
More bright than May-day morn,
Whose charms all other maids' surpass,
A rose without a thorn.
This lass so neat, with smiles so sweet,
Has won my right good will:
I'd crowns resign, to call her mine,
Sweet lass of Richmond Hill!
Ye zephyrs gay, that fan the air,
And wanton through the grove,
Oh whisper to my charming fair
I die for her I love.
This lass so neat, etc.
How happy will the shepherd be
Who calls this nymph his own!
Oh may her choice be fix'd on me!
Mine's fix'd on her alone.
This lass so neat, etc.

I enjoyed singing this at school many years ago, so I was delighted to come across it in a very old song book inherited through my father. Unfortunately, it omits the names of lyricists and composers. It must be well over 200 years old, as the book is in its second edition dated 1808!


Looking this up on the internet I was interested to learn from one source that the song has been the official song of the Green Howards Regiment of Yorkshire since 1789, and celebrates a young lady who lived in Richmond, Yorkshire. However, speaking with someone from the Green Howards, he was completely unaware of this fact!

According to Wikipedia the tune was written by James Hook [1746-1827], an English composer, and was published about 1790. Words are by Leonard McNally [1752-1820] and were written in honour of Miss Janson of Richmond Hill, Leybourne, Yorkshire, who was engaged to McNally. They married in January 1787. McNally was an Irish political informer who joined the United Irishmen and unsuccessfully defended several of them in court. After his death, it was discovered that McNally had been in the pay of the British Government.

The music was once attributed to the Prince of Wales, later George IV. The subject was said to be Mrs. Fitzherbert, wife to George IV, who was set aside when he married Caroline of Brunswick.




Although I have lived in Devon for nearly ten years, my county of residence was Sussex since 1945, when I bought a house in Lancing, a coastal town between Shoreham and Worthing. My daughter still lives in that house. So, for this issue of the Newsletter, may I be permitted to share with you a few of the historical features of my former home county.

At Worthing, a plaque on the esplanade marks the site of the house where Oscar Wilde wrote 'The Importance of Being Earnest'. He was staying there in the summer of 1894 to escape from his creditors in London, and was inspired to write a play by an article in the Worthing Gazette about a baby in a hamper that had been found at Kings Cross station. It took him just 21 days to write the play which he described as "the best play I have ever written". He named his hero Jack Worthing in honour of the town.

The Saxon church at Sompting, half a mile from Lancing, has a four-gabled Rhenish helm style spire, unique in England. In the early days I passed that church daily on my way to work.

William Blake [1757-1827] lived in a cottage in the village of Felpham, where he wrote 'Jerusalem', later set to music by Hubert Parry [1848-1918], who lived along the coast at Rustington.

In 1906, the writer Hillaire Belloc [1870-1953] bought the white smock windmill near his home at Shipley, close to Horsham. He would doff his cap to his 'beautiful Mrs. Shipley' whenever he passed by and there is now a plaque to his memory above the windmill door.

The church at Steyning, not far from Lancing, possesses what is often described as the most magnificent Norman arch in England, dating from around 1100. A notable student at the Grammar School was John Pell [1611-1685], who became a mathematician and gave his name to Pell's Equation which was first studied 1000 years previously by Brahmaguptra. Of wider interest, perhaps, is the fact that Pell invented the division sign.

John Pellwas born in Southwick, near Brighton.

Well-known resorts in Sussex are, of course, Brighton, Hove, Eastbourne and Hastings. For a time I lived in Hove, then moved to Eastbourne with the beginning of 2000, when my son persuaded me to come to Devon, where he has lived for some time. So it was that I took up residence at Goosewell, Berrynarbor. The rest is history!




[13th March 1851- 9th June 1910]

Publisher and Philanthropist

As I approached the Town Hall in Lynton on my way to Hollerday Hill, George Newnes was not on my mind - until I saw the previously unnoticed bust of him in an arch to the left. Looking closer I saw that it has been there since 2000.

Intrigued, I popped in to the Tourist Information Centre to see if there were any leaflets. There I met a very pleasant man, Colin Croxford who has published 'A Shortish Guide' for Lynton and Lynmouth that is on sale there.

"What do you want to know about him?", he asked. With no notepaper, but an attentive husband, I listened intently for at least 15 minutes whilst he talked about the life of this great man, who gave to Lynton its magnificent Town Hall, the nearby Congregational Church, the cricket pavilion and much more. The gradient between Lynton and Lynmouth had always been a 'put-off' for visitors and difficult for locals, so he used the recently patented invention by a local engineer to build the water powered cliff railway, which cost £8,000 and was opened in 1890. Largely due to his efforts, the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway was opened in 1898, but if you've read the delightful 'Lynton and Barnstaple Railway - an Anthology' by David Hudson, you will find that the 19 mile journey took '1hour 32 minutes' and went so slowly that up hills, some passengers alighted, picked flowers and re-boarded at the hilltop! It had a narrow 1' 11 1/2" gauge [the same as the Ffestiniog line] as against the standard 4' 8 1/2" of standard rails. George Newnes was thought to be very altruistic with this railway, but when he linked it not to Minehead but to Barnstaple and cut it short 700 feet above sea level, it avoided a viaduct across the valley that would have spoilt the views. Perhaps he wanted to keep 'Little Switzerland' for the wealthier visitors!

But his philanthropy also gave his hometown an electric tramway, finance for an Antarctic expedition and generous donations to the Salvation Army.

George Newnes was born in Matlock Bath, Derbyshire in 1851, the son of a Congregational Minister, who hoped that George would follow him into his profession. Not so! After a good education, in 1867 he worked as a Manchester haberdasher, selling 'fancie goods'. Always a man with ideas, he launched Tit-Bits, a weekly penny magazine that contained snippets of information and advice, and short stories. This was a success because general education was improving and more people had leisure for reading and entertainment. Later he added competitions, which was a publishing novelty. To get the money for Tit-Bits, he opened up a cellar vegetarian restaurant [a bit before his time, and even more surprising in that he was not vegetarian!] and it was such a success that he had enough money after just six weeks of trading to start publishing.

Eight years later, he met and married Priscilla Hillyard and together they produced two sons, Frank and Arthur.

They moved to London, where he started The Strand Magazine, and gave Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a close friend, the chance to launch his Sherlock Holmes series. There followed Country Life and many other titles, each one adding to his success. By 1891, his business became a company, George Newnes Ltd. and by 1897 it had expanded with capital of a million pounds and had begun publishing books.

In 1885 Newnes became MP for Newmarket, and ten years later was awarded a baronetcy.

Over the years, he brought his family to North Devon for holidays, and fell in love with Lynton and Lynmouth. He bought Hollerday Hill and built a magnificent Manor House overlooking the sea. He landscaped the surrounds with many shrubs and trees, and created a tennis court behind the house. For his older son Frank's 21st birthday, the house was garlanded with 2,000 fairy lights.

Hollerday House c1907 - from the Tom Bartlett Postcard Collection

Sadly, his younger son, Arthur, died suddenly of a brain fever aged 6. The shock to George was so great that his fair hair went white - he was 40. The only way he survived was by working with even greater determination. However, by1908, his business was failing. He had fought diabetes for some years, and had taken to drink. He died two years later at Hollerday House, a broken man with heavy debts, aged 59.

After his death, the family were aghast at these debts and put Hollerday House on the market. It lay empty for 3 years and was then deliberately set on fire. Originally this was blamed on Suffragettes, but some locals believed that local folk did it in the hope that insurance money would pay off local debts. If so, they were wrong!

The ruins became a play area for local children but then during World War II, marines from Chivenor were allowed to use it for battle practice. No wonder that only a few foundation stones are left!

If you've not been, it's well worth the climb to see the site and views. To get there, from the front of the Town Hall, take the hill to the right and just before The Honey Pot, a narrow steep track on the right leads to it. The official, gentler approach [originally the main drive] is 200 yards further on to the right. On the site, you can read on information boards all about the house and the Daily Mirror report of the fire. It's also worth diverting to the tennis court - still grassed with not even a sapling to spoil it. One can almost hear the racquet thwacking the tennis ball.

So there is the story of a great man who died one hundred years ago, but whose memory lingers in these twin towns. With his philanthropic ideas, he helped Lynton and Lynmouth develop into one of the most popular and elegant resorts on the North Devon coast.

PP of DC

Grateful thanks to Colin Croxford and Lynton Tourist information Centre for their help, and Alex for remembering the bits I didn't! A useful book [see www.archive.org] was The Life of Sir George Newnes Bart, by Hulda Friederichs, published in 1911



On a lovely August day, the Newsletter celebrated its 21st Birthday in style at the Manor Hall. Beautifully decorated by Sheila and Gary with gold and maroon balloons and streamers [and incredibly, at the time of writing they are still going strong and have enhanced the Berry Revels and the Horticultural and Craft Show!], the Hall looked very festive. Not knowing how many people would turn up for the afternoon cream tea and birthday cake, it was lovely to see so many, and the scones, jam and cream, and the cake, donated by the Parish Council, soon disappeared, only leaving a few crumbs on the many plates. Fortunately there were willing [?] hands ready to clear away, wash up and prepare for the evening event.

That went off with a real bang! Revellers were enjoying their glass of bubbly and nibbles as the editor of the Cherry Harbour Newsletter, busy working on the next issue, was blown to smithereens when her mouse and computer emitted smoke and exploded! Who could possibly have done this dastardly deed?

Was it Okra Peeking [Fenella Boxall], the gossip columnist on temporary assignment from the glossy magazine 'HELLO North Devon, are you OK?'? Surely not! Some of the 'affairs' she was about to reveal in the Newsletter made her more the target than the perpetrator.

Fortunately for the village, Inspector Clouseau [Pete Newell], with his defective accent and oriental sidekick, the karate expert Kato [Pip Summers], on holiday in Devon, were called in to help with the investigations of the extraordinary mystery of the exploding mouse.

Could it be Anthony de Winter [Tony Summers], Chairman of the Cherry Harbour Wine Circle? The village was soon to learn that his wife Rebecca [Jane Vanstone] is a dipsomaniac and continually drunk, and that he thinks the members don't appreciate his best claret and for years has been siphoning off the wine for the meetings and substituting his own home-made beetroot and dandelion wine.

Then there is Wanda Ampleforth [Tony Kitchin], the twice as large as life and very sexy Chairlady of the 'Let's Put the Bloom Back in my Cherry', whose message on her answer 'phone is incriminating evidence enough: "I am sorry I cannot answer the phone right now, but please press 1 if you want your clematis trimmed, press 2 if you want me to come . . . slight pause . . . and sort out your shrubs and if you want to buy marijuana, simply press the hash key."

In addition, her affair with her solicitor, Tim Tartlett [Tim Jones], mad village historian, secretary of the Men's Institute and avid collector of Victorian pornography is about to become known. When Clouseau arrests her for lewd behaviour, she points the finger at Debs Marley.

Debs Marley [Alison Charalambous], Queen of Shops, an old hippy heavily into plants has been forcing Wanda into dodgy horticultural dealings and admits that she has sold their story to Okra for money to enable her to make her shop the best, not only in the west, but all over the UK, the new Harrods! By getting Wanda to grow a few recreational drugs, her sidelines - hash-laced chocolate brownies - have been extremely lucrative and great favourites of the children. But her biggest customer is Angelina Madonna Doorpost [Debs Luckham].

Deputy Head of the village school, Angelina , who enjoys taking her pupils on field trips to Hollywood, where the stars scoop them up for mega bucks and add them to their ever-increasing families, is in cahoots with the landlady of the village local, Ye Olde Probe, Izzie Tweedleton.

At Clouseau's request, Kato, by standing on a box, puts Izzie [Colin Applegate] in a double headlock arm twist and she confesses that having become bored pulling pints for a bunch of no-hopers and by controlling them instead, is running a very nice little business. At this, Clouseau declares that she is the Godmother of Cherry Harbour!

Taking a break, the assembled company indulged in the lasagne supper and delicious sweets whilst deliberating on who dunnit, after which Clouseau asked Izzie to explain her dirty business.

"Well, they are such a bunch of country bumpkins, it's been like taking candy from a baby. First of all, Anthony - he needs wine for his wine circle. I just add a few bob to the price of a case of wine. His wife, Rebecca, is always in the pub, so sozzled she thinks tap water is neat gin - money for old rope.

"As for Timmy, I knew he dabbled in "fine arts", as he likes to call them, so I could sting him and that half-stoned hippie Debs Marley for a percentage of their smutty photos. As for Wanda, well she was growing the weed and all I had to do was to provide the customers - easy.

" When Angelina Madonna began running out of children, I was able to ship in a few more from the surrounding villages. They never miss them in Ilfracombe.

"It all adds up you know. Mind you, I've been getting a bit bored lately and was thinking of expanding my market, maybe moving into Europe and the Far East. How about it Inspector? I could cut you a deal if you were just conveniently able to forget about the little matter of the death of our editor. All the fingers point at Okra Peeking. We could have a nice little menage-a-trois on the continent and a cool million apiece for you and your sidekick."

"Well I am really on my vacances and Kato is feeling homesick, so Madame, I sink you 'ave a deal. Allons-y."

And the three of them did, leaving the suspects stunned and amazed - rather like everyone else in the Manor Hall!

But who did do it? Was it Okra? No, the culprit was . . . ?

The evening was very much enjoyed by everyone and the cast of this 'extravaganza', aided and abetted by Tim Davis, Will Luckham, Chris Townsend and Paul Crockett, must be thanked and congratulated. All that was left to do now was the clearing up, and those willing hands were there again!

Who did it? - Debs Marley . . . Keep an eye open for her behind the Shop counter!




In Living Memory Talks, Sail Loft, Wednesdays 2.30-3.30 p.m. £1.00

  • 13th October: Wartime Memories - Ruth Gilbert
  • 17th November: The Fisherfolk - Trevor Rumson-Waltho
  • 15th December: Growing Up in Combe Martin - Phyllis Ackland
For more information on Museum Happenings, please ring [01271] 889031



When completing a repair job, the garage actually fitted the wrong wing!




Most Berrynarbor residents will be familiar with Swifts, which arrive in the UK from African wintering quarters each spring, usually towards the end of April or early May. The combination of long, scythe-like wings and short, forked tail make them fairly easy to distinguish from Swallows and House Martins.

In addition, their habit of [literally] screaming at high speed low over rooftops, often in small parties, especially towards dusk, makes them unmissable to anyone out and about the village.

Swifts are the most aerial of birds. They feed on flying insects and never perch on wires like Swallows. In fact, once a young Swift has fledged, it is unlikely to land anywhere until it reaches maturity and looks for a nest site of its own three or four years later. But finding that desirable location in which to nest is becoming increasingly hard for Swifts. Their nesting places, in the eaves of rooftops and older buildings with cavities, such as the Manor Hall, are disappearing as buildings are modernised and access to roof spaces blocked up.

Ten years ago, when Tim Jones and I came to live in the Sterridge Valley, Berrynarbor played host to about ten pairs of Swifts. This year, during May and June, we saw no more than six Swifts over the village - with luck, three breeding pairs. In late July we counted 14 birds, including newly fledged juveniles - hopefully, the progeny of these pairs. For us to see the same birds over Berrynarbor next year, they must now survive a long flight to winter in African skies south of the Sahara Desert, and then the return journey next spring. Their mastery of the air and their ability to fly at great height means that they have few predators. The most serious threats to the species' survival are fewer breeding sites and declining populations of aerial insects, their sole food source.

Now, we have a chance to help them. As some of you may have seen in a recent issue of the North Devon Journal, a conservation project has been launched within the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty [AONB] to help Swifts. With funding from the North Devon AONB, researcher Greg Ebdon has been visiting villages within the AONB to record the numbers of Swifts and the location of nest sites, as well as looking for appropriate sites where specially constructed Swift nestboxes can be put up. Four nestboxes have already been installed at St Helen's Church in Abbotsham, for example.

If you would like to encourage Swifts to nest within the eaves of your house or on the wall under the eaves, you can obtain a nestbox from Greg by contacting him on greg_ebdon@hotmail.com. Note that because Swifts need height to take off, single-storey buildings are not suitable; nest sites are usually located at least six metres from the ground. Once a nestbox has been installed, to stop other birds using it, the opening can be blocked until the Swifts return. If you are unsure whether your house is suitable, I should be happy to give advice. You can contact me on 882965 [daytime] or 883807 [evenings/weekends] or at tim.davis@djenvironmental.com.

Tim Davis

For more information on Swifts, including a short video and a sound recording of their calls, visit www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/s/swift.

Artwork by Mike Langman [www.mikelangman.co.uk]


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


Imagine getting the following letter - could you read it?

Daer Gadrnad,

I thguoht taht as you hvae snet me smoe mneoy to aissst in my utirsveiny sieduts, you wluod ataicppere a lteetr of tnakhs.

As you konw, teshe psat trhee yares I hvae been syinudtg Elsingh Lauggnae and Egnsilh Ltrtieaue as I hpoe to be a liarriabn or Egisnlh Lgaugnae thceear.

Of csuore I konw taht you are a sekclitr for tmie kpeenig aslo creroctonis to gamramr and sllpnieg. As I wotre tihs by hnad and not on my 'petur soluhd terhe be any matkeiss it is buaecse I am uinsg a nelwy pcharused pecie of wintirg eupqiemnt and I'm not too srue of its sellipng qialtieus.

Bset wshies,


Aoccdrnig to rsceearh, it deseno't mtaetr in what oerdr the ltteres in a word are, the only iproamtnt thing is that the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. Azanmig huh? Yaeh and you awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

Tony B


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


Quiz Nights: everyone welcome, teams of any size [usually 4-6 is good]. Next one Sunday, 10th October, then fortnightly.

Saturday, 9th October: Comedienne and Vocalist, Jennie Robin, will be performing in the Backroom, 8.00 p.m. Tickets are available now at £5.00 per person [Adults ONLY]. Buy 4 tickets together and get a complimentary jug of punch.

Saturday, 16th October: 'Deja Blue@ Jazz Duo in the bar, 9.00 p.m.

Friday, 26th October [as part of National Curry Week], we'll be having a Curry Night. Booking IS advised. Poppadoms and dips to start, then your choice of curry from the board [6 to choose from], served with rice and naan, and to finish spiced banana with mango coulis or a cool dish of ice-cream, plus a pint of lager/ale or a soft drink to wash it down ... all for just £10.00 per person.

Please keep an eye open for posters and boards with information about more entertainment nights.

Join our e-mail database to receive up to date information about coming events and to receive discounts and promotions. E-mail us at: thesawmillinn@googlemail.com, with your name and address.




  • Fridays to 10th December: North Devon X-Factor, 'Search for a Star'. The Swan Inn, Bideford. £1.00 to sing. For further details contact Paul on [01237] 474370
  • Friday 8th October: Ashreigney Country Fundraisers Concert, Burrington Village Hall, 7.00 p.m. Contact Marion Jewell on [01769] 520499
  • Friday, 15th October: Christmas Shopping Evening, St. Peter's Church Hall, Fremington, 7.00 - 9.00 p.m. Cards, Jewellery, Crafts and more, 50p entry.
  • Saturday, 30th October: Murder Mystery Evening, Cedars Lodge, Barnstaple, 7.00 p.m. including 3 course dinner. Bookings [01271] 371784





To a man with a big hammer every problem looks like a nail.

Amos Oz


Artwork: Harry Weedon


Winners of the Best Kept Village in Devon 2010
[Past Winners' Group]
Britain in Bloom Gold Medallists and Winners of the Mary Mortimer Cup 2010
[Best in the South West]

We were thrilled to hear that the village had won the Best Kept Village this year. The score was 99 out of 100 and the report was glowing. It appears that the judges came twice, once in May and again in July when the village was looking its best, and we were lucky that the weather was good at that time of the year. So well done to the whole village! This competition is run by the Campaign to Protect Rural England and Mole Valley Farmers and a Presentation and Tea, to which the whole village is invited, will be held on Saturday, 9th October at the Manor Hall, 2.30 p.m.

We were also thrilled to win two gold medals and the Mary Mortimer Cup [Best in the South West for our category - large village] for Britain in Bloom. This competition is organised by the Royal Horticultural Society, and as with the Chelsea Flower Show, a gold is as good as it gets! Our cup [or hanging basket] overflows!

Meanwhile, and back to earth, we'll be commencing the autumn jobs of clearing the summer bedding, putting away the hanging baskets and planting up the bulbs for spring. We'll also be having a litter pick before the Presentation [must keep our efforts up!] so look out for the blooming posters for more information.

Congratulations Berrynarbor!

Copies of the two 'glowing' Reports will be available for reading at the Presentation Afternoon, but are also on display at the Shop.



Artwork: Angela Bartlett
White Chocolate Gateau

  • Butter to grease the tins
  • 4 free range eggs
  • 125g/4 1/2oz caster sugar
  • 125g/4 1/2oz plain flour
  • 50g/2oz white chocolate finely grated

Heat the oven to 180 Deg C/fan 160 Deg C/gas 4. Butter and line the bases of two 20cm round sandwich tins.

Whisk the eggs and caster sugar together in a large bowl, using a hand held electric whisk, until pale and thick enough to leave a trail when the whisk is lifted.

Sift the flour into the bowl. Add the grated chocolate and fold everything together with a large metal spoon.

Divide the mixture between the prepared tins and bake for 20-25 minutes until just firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


  • 3tblsps rosewater or 2-3 drops rose essence
  • 150ml/3/4 pint creme fraiche
  • 200g/7oz white chocolate broken in to pieces
  • 75g/3oz unsalted butter
  • 3tbs single cream at room temperature
  • 125g/4oz icing sugar
  • white chocolate curls to decorate
  • sugared rose petals to decorate [optional] sifted icing sugar to decorate

To make the icing, stir the rosewater/rose essence in to the creme fraiche and use to sandwich the 2 cakes together on a serving plate.

Put the white chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water so that the base of the bowl does not touch the water and leave until melted. Allow to cool a little and then stir in the cream and icing sugar and beat until smooth.

Leave the mixture to cool and thicken a little and then spread over the top and sides of the cake using a palette knife.

Decorate the top of the cake with chocolate curls, rose petals and a dusting of icing sugar. Scrumptious!

Wendy Applegate




Visiting Atherington Church a few weeks ago, I was surprised to find out that in 1833 the church was restored. The work was estimated at £3,000 and was met by Mrs. Bassett of Watermouth Castle.

In 1897, the organ was presented and installed, again by the Bassett family. It was originally at Watermouth Castle, then in the Albert Hall in Barnstaple [1872-1897] before being taken to Atherington.



Wild West Murder Mystery coming to the Manor Hall

If you feel like dressing up Wild West style and dropping in to the Berrynarbor Saloon on Saturday, 27th November, you could win a prize for solving a murder mystery! The fun filled evening includes a buffet supper, raffle, and you could also win a prize for best dressed member of the audience! The evening starts at 7.30 p.m., tickets available from the village shop and cost £8 each, including supper. Bring your own drink and glasses [plastic cups provided].

Proceeds to Children in Need and the Manor Hall.


Artwork: Paul Swailes


The summer is over and shops are already gearing up for Christmas [some have been doing it for some time!]. By the time you read this, our shop will have its extensive range of Christmas cards for sale and over the next two months, seasonal presents will arrive. Do come and see . . .

. . . which brings me to another Bonus Scheme. If you remember, the last one was in April this year. The idea is the same. If you spend more than £10 in the shop in one go [excluding tobacco goods] 5 times during the month of November, you will get a £5 voucher. The offer applies to all family members living at the same address. Forms will be available at the shop. Simple isn't it? And useful just before Christmas. Anita and Debbie look forward to seeing you

Last but not least, nominations are due for the Countryside Alliance Awards for the best village shop. For the last two years we have been voted the best shop in the South West. Let's make it a third time lucky and perhaps we'll be a national winner! It would be great to get your support and if anyone has ideas to put forward as to why it's the best, Deb and Anita would love to hear from you.

PP of DC



With Pam's talk of Christmas [and today mince pies were seen on sale!] it might be pertinent to let readers know that Christmas Greetings for friends and neighbours will again be able to be sent via the Newsletter. This has proved very popular in the past and has raised substantial funds shared by the Manor Hall and the Newsletter. If you would like to take part, please let me have your message, together with a donation AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, but by Monday 15th November at the latest. Messages may be left at the Shop or Chicane. Thank you.




Sanderlings and Sandwich Terns on Saunton Sands

It was a glorious day in late August but as we crossed the Burrows we'd only encountered a small party of cyclists.

On reaching the beach we found a sparse scattering of sunbathers along the edge of the dunes. However, about a mile away, at the popular end of the beach, through the heat haze, the crowds of holiday makers appeared like an abstract pattern of flickering colours, more shimmering mosaic than human.

A dog bounding along the water's edge disturbed a group of small pale waders. They landed again a short distance away and ran about the shoreline. They were Sanderlings, a scarce winter visitor and passage migrant.

However, they occur on the Exe Estuary and the Taw/Torridge Estuary, together with Saunton Sands more than at any other sites in Devon. Here they may be seen throughout the year, whereas at other Devon sites they are present for only a limited number of months.

Some way off we noticed a few Common Gulls resting on the beach looking very docile. They, too, are classed as winter visitors or passage migrants but in the last Devon Bird Report, twenty-one were recorded in the area of the Taw/Torridge Estuary in August, whilst there were few August records elsewhere in the country and in single figures only.

The damp sand was firm underfoot which made the walk along the beach a pleasure - none of that sinking feeling that can slow up a walk on sand. As we came closer to the gulls we found that the two birds at the edge of the group and facing the sea were Sandwich Terns [a similar size]. They were already in autumn plumage with a white patch of forehead showing between the black cap and the long black bill with its yellow tip. The wispy crest at the back of the crown was clearly visible. We heard their rasping 'kirrik' call as they flew out to sea to join another half dozen Sandwich Terns which were diving frequently.

It is fascinating to watch these graceful, agile birds. When they have completed the dive they come up again quickly without the need to rest briefly before taking to the sky, as the considerably larger gannet does. It is the commonest tern in Devon where it is most likely to be seen off the south coast and in much larger numbers. April, August and September are the months to look out for Sandwich Terns on the coast of North Devon.

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

Sue H


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


Berrynarbor School 1955-6

This picture of Berrynarbor School in 1955-6 shows Head Mistress, Mrs. Vera Cowperthwaite, together with her class. I am again indebted to Sonia Duckett for the picture and her and Elaine Fanner [nee Crighton] for giving me the names of the 30 children shown.

  • Back Row: Mrs. Cowperthwaite, Sidney Dennis, Raymond Thorne, Neil Dalgren, Ray Toms, Paul Smith, Colin Weeks, Brian Dennis
  • Middle Row: Colin Bryson, John Sledmar, Andrew Cruickshank, Adrian Jelfs, Larry White, Roger Blackwell, Michael Warburton, John Sidebottom, Michael Mitcham, John Harris, Stuart Thomas
  • Front Row: Hilary Smythe, Elaine Crighton, Vera Coates, Sonia Stoddart [Duckett], Edna Coates, Bridget Emmerson, Janet Lomer, Rosemary Huxtable, Eileen Stanbury, Cheryl Layton, Diana Crick, Linda Thorne

At this time there were only two classes at the school. Miss Muriel Richards taught the Infants Class [5-7 year olds] with around 15 pupils and Mrs. Cowperthwaite the older Class 2 [7-11 year olds].

The Infants' classroom had an old-type coke heater with high metal surround and wet clothing was put on railings to dry beside it. School dinners were cooked in the school by Miss Brooks, who lived in Ilfracombe. Elaine and Sonia both remember these dinners as being hot, good, wholesome food - roast dinners, stews - with good fresh vegetables and, of course, puddings of the steamed variety, and if you were lucky, an extra spoonful of mock cream! Dinners, enjoyed by all the pupils, cost 1 shilling a day, 5 new pence. Sports were held in a field owned by Bob Richards, Cheryl Layton's uncle. Sonia and Elaine also remember one exciting outing to Cheddar Gorge and Bristol Zoo where they were delighted to see Rosie, the famous elephant who gave thousands of rides to children during the 1950's.

When the Queen was crowned on 2nd June 1952, the children were given the day off school. At that time not many villagers had television, so the Manor Hall was filled with chairs for anyone to watch on a television screen. Despite grim weather, the hall was packed and games for the children were played in the field at Moules Farm.

The school had five outside toilets - three for the girls and two for the boys - and in winter the children dashed in and out! Fresh milk was provided daily for all pupils in 1/3rd pint bottles, delivered in crates from a local farm. Elaine remembers that every Friday was spelling tests and occasionally they would go to Brimlands in Ilfracombe for sports. Country dancing took place in the playground - weather permitting - with a wind-up portable gramophone and needles that needed changing frequently. Always on Ash Wednesday the children carried a twig of ash to school and nature walks, often going down the Sterridge Valley, were one of the favourite activities. In the autumn hips and haws were collected and put in old jam jars. Everyone looked forward to the conker season, with some children being known to soak their conkers in vinegar to produce a winner!

The second picture shows the Infants Class back around 1920 with their teacher Miss Lily Richards, who later married Fred Huxtable. Previously shown in View No. 69, the pupils are:

  • Back Row: Verna Richards, Reg Leigh, Rachel Irwin, Vera Richards , Phyllis Watkins, Mary Lavinia Pinching
  • Middle Row: Frances Huxtable, George Gear, Leslie Sydnam, Ron Toms, Brenda Richards, George Irwin
  • Front Row: Frederick Draper, Albert Adams, Eddie Courtney, Doris Cornish, Honour Irwin

Further to my article in the August issue (see here), Ron and Gladys Dyer have kindly given me the name of their Best Man, Desmond Lee, and Bridesmaid, Valerie Williams. Valerie later married Gladys' brother Wilfred.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, September 2010
e-mail: tomandinge40@gmail.com



Hello, I'm Ruby, and I thought I would write and let you know how I am getting on learning to be a Canine Partner.

My puppy parents have been working hard with me and they keep telling everyone that I am a loveable and loving dog. I like my new experience including going on the bus for the first time, visiting the supermarket and even going for a ride in a lift!

I love food, walks and training, but my favourite is food. I am not overly keen on standing still and not doing anything, I much prefer to be busy. I have to learn to settle down though, because when I am partnered with a person with disabilities I will need to lie down quietly in shops and other places. I have learned, when I think it is time for playtime or a walk, to nudge my puppy parent gently just to remind them in case they've forgotten.

The most exciting task I have been taught recently is to remove gloves and socks. Everyone is very pleased with me as that is quite a difficult task and one that will be very helpful to my future partner.

I am absolutely loving life and am as keen to work and train as I am to play or enjoy a walk in the countryside. This makes me a very easy puppy and everyone is convinced that I'll be a wonderful assistance dog.

Thank you so much for supporting me and I hope you enjoy reading about my progress.




3rd St. Peter's Church: Harvest Festival, Family Service, 11.00 a.m.
5th Ladies' Group, 2 p.m., Manor Hall: Deri Rundle, Water Aid in Rwanda
6th St. Peter's Church: Harvest Service, 6.30 p.m. Supper in Manor Hall
8th Silent Film Play-Along, Manor Hall, 6.30 p.m.
9th Best Kept Village Presentation, 2.30 p.m., Manor Hall - everyone invited!
Comedy Night [adults] with Jennie Robin at The Globe, 8 pm
10th Quiz Night at The Globe, 8.30 p.m. [then fortnightly]
12th Parish Council Meeting, Penn Curzon Room, 7.00 p.m.
13th Mobile Library in Village from 11.20 a.m.
20th Wine Circle, 8 p.m., Manor Hall: Brett Stevens, Fabulous Wine Co.
22nd Ilfracombe College: Non-Pupil Day
25th College and Primary School: Half Term to Friday, 29th October, inc.
27th Mobile Library in Village from 11.20 a.m.
Friendship Lunch, The Globe, 12.00 noon onwards
31st St. Peter's Church: All Saints Day, Service 11.00 a.m. Candles lit in Memory of Loved Ones
2nd Ladies' Group, 2.00 p.m. Manor Hall: Michael Mant - ShelterBox
6th Beading Workshop, Marwood Hill Gardens, 10.00 a.m.
9th Parish Council Meeting, 7.00 p.m., Penn Curzon Room
10th Mobile Library in Village from 11.20 a.m.
14th St. Peter's Church: Remembrance Sunday, Service at 10.45 a.m.
17th Wine Circle, 8.00 p.m., Manor Hall: John Hood - Last Decade
24th Mobile Library in Village from 11.20 a.m.
Friendship Lunch, The Globe, 12.00 noon onwards
27th Who Killed Dead-Eye Dick? Murder Mystery, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
28th St. Peter's Church: Lighting of the First Advent Candle on Wreath
7th Ladies' Group, 2.00 p.m., Manor Hall - Christmas Party

Manor Hall Diary:

MondaysUpholstery, 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.
Craft Group, 1.30 p.m. onwards
Badminton, 7.30 p.m.
Tuesdays2nd & 4th in month: N.D.Spinners
Yoga, 7.00 p.m.
WednesdaysPilates Body Workout, 9.00 a.m.
FridaysTerm time only: Toddlers Soft Play and Activity
Penn Curzon RoomTerm time only: Monday - Friday Mornings: Berrynarbor Pre-School

Mobile Library:
(Assistant - Jacqui Mackenzie)

11.20 - 12.30 p.m.Car Park
1.40 - 2.05 p.m.Sterridge Valley