Edition 131 - April 2011

Artwork: Nigel Mason

Artwork: Judie Weedon


We have 'sprung forward'! The evenings are now much longer, the daffodils, magnolias and camellias are in full bloom and the hedges greening up by the day. Spring has arrived.

The last couple of months have been busy in the village, and the next two look set to follow suit. Make a note of all the events on your calendar and take part whenever you can.

Hopefully, the lovely sunny and warmer days of late have brightened up those who are not feeling at their best, and have proved a warm welcome to all newcomers to the village. We particularly take this opportunity to welcome our new Rector, Chris Steed, and his wife Clare.

Mary's delightful February cover has received many compliments and I hope we'll be able to enjoy another before too long. Nigel's work on the covers this time, inspired by a poem by Maurice Fleming and sent in by Judith. Thank you both.

Between the covers is another extra bumper and varied edition. Thank you to all contributors. However, what a headache for your poor editor! To keep it at 48 pages [the maximum], some articles have had to appear in a slightly smaller font size. I do hope that this doesn't spoil your enjoyment or make reading too hard and apologies to those contributors whose articles have been 'doctored' in this way.

The next issue will be June, when unbelievably we'll be approaching the longest day! Articles and items for that will be needed by Monday, 16th June, at the latest, but earlier than that would be wonderful!

My best wishes to you all for a Happy Easter.

Judie - Ed




It was with sadness that those in the village who knew Alastair from the many facets of his life - at Ilfracombe College, Ilfracombe Rugby Club, Ilfracombe Golf Club and latterly Ilfracombe Male Voice Choir - learnt that he had died peacefully at home following a short final chapter to a long illness on the 10th February. Our thoughts are with all his family and those who loved and cared for him in the last few years, but particularly his sister Elaine and her family.

Alastair moved to Berrynarbor from the Midlands with his parents, brothers Malcolm and Nick and sister Elaine in 1954. He completed his A Levels at Ilfracombe Grammar School before achieving a Combined BA Honours Degree in English and Physical Education at Birmingham University. He taught at Combe Martin Secondary School, also Salisbury and spent three years in his beloved New Zealand at Wanganui Technical College. He became Head of English and then Head of Sixth Form, Deputy Head and Acting Head of Ilfracombe College. He leaves wife Jill, son Simon, daughter Kate and grandchildren Amy, Louis and Elliot.

Heartfelt thanks to everyone who attended Alastair's wonderful Thanksgiving Service and for the cards, flowers, donations and messages of sympathy. Seeing Ilfracombe Parish Church full of friends and relatives and the extent of the love and respect which surrounded him was both humbling and comforting.

Alan Bacon, former Head of Ilfracombe College, gave an inspired and uplifting eulogy which was a fitting tribute to a gifted and vibrant man, who touched so many lives before his illness, whether through teaching, music or sport. He will be sorely missed by many.

Elaine and Family

It is with sadness we received details of the deaths of Jack Rollings and Margaret Draper and our thoughts are with Phil and both their families.


JACK ROLLINGS [14.4.1929-28.12.2010]

Jack was the youngest of four boys and a girl born to William and Maud Rollings who lived on Bedminster Down in Bristol. Jack was a twin to his sister Jean. During the war, Jean was evacuated to stay with William and Nellie Draper at Number 94 Berrynarbor [Jacobs Well] whilst Jack was evacuated to South Devon. The twins pined for each other, and eventually Nellie wrote to his parents to ask if Jack, too, could come to Berry to stay with them. He settled into the family and thoroughly enjoyed himself, reunited with Jean and becoming part of the Draper family. He went to school at Berrynarbor and later Combe Martin, and when the war ended, returned to Bristol. He completed his National Service in the Royal Navy and went to work at W.D. & H.O. Wills. A keen gardener and an accomplished local footballer, he played for Bath City among others.

Jack enjoyed his time at Berry so much that he spent many holidays and weekend breaks with his wife Margaret in Ilfracombe, visiting members of the Draper family. His visit last year was his final trip. In August he was diagnosed with lung cancer and after a brave struggle he passed away on the 28th December.

His wife Margaret and his sons, John and Andy, will continue their visits to the area Jack enjoyed so much.


MARGARET MARY DRAPER [29.10.1926-24.1.2011]

Margaret was one of five children born to William and Nellie Draper at Number 94 Berrynarbor [Jacobs Well] - Winnie, Phyllis and Sheila being the other girls and the one boy, Denzil. She was the middle child and the last of the family to survive. She went to school at Berrynarbor and later at Combe Martin

The family moved to Ilfracombe in 1946 and resided at 14 Brookfield Place. She worked at the Salad Bowl in the High Street and at The Co-op, Woolworths and finally until her retirement at Coutants. In 1993 Margaret moved into Clarence Cottages in Ilfracombe and stayed there until August last year when she decided to move into the Susan Day Home.

She was a bright and intelligent person with a sense of humour and fun, who would often have a joke to tell. Quizzes, crosswords and puzzles also provided much enjoyment. She was also quite an accomplished poet and had at least two poems published, particularly acrostic poems, and included them in any birthday cards she sent. She was a keen darts and skittles player and for many years was among the organisers of the local leagues, serving on many committees and also winning many trophies, individually and as a team member. Despite never marrying or having children of her own, she adored them. Whether it was her nephews and nieces, great nieces and nephews or the children of friends.

She was diagnosed with cancer three years ago and fought valiantly. However, the struggle became too much and she died peacefully early on the morning of the 24th January. Her funeral was at Emmanuel Church Ilfracombe on the 4th February. She is sadly missed by her nephews and nieces who live in Barnstaple, Bristol, Scotland and Canada. One of her published poems is below.

Phil Rollings


Artwork: Helen Armstead


The service for the Women's World Day of Prayer held in Berrynarbor on Friday, 4th March, went smoothly and according to plan thanks to the Leader, Doreen Prater, and all those who took part from the various churches, not forgetting our Organist, Stuart Neale. There were 36 of us gathered together and our speaker was well received. The collection for WWDP charities amounted to £111.

Mothering Sunday is on the 3rd April at 11.00 a.m. and we are looking forward to a Family Service with children from the school and village. Do come and join us - there will be bouquets for everyone!

Palm Sunday will be celebrated on the 17th April, again at 11.00 a.m. with distribution of Palm Crosses and Easter Services will be as follows:

Good Friday, 2.00 p.m. A quiet hour of prayer and meditation with hymns and readings

Easter Day, 11.00 a.m. Family Communion.

Please look out for posters nearer the time. The church will be decorated on the Friday evening, 22nd April, and on Saturday. Gifts of flowers [which should be white] and donations towards the cost of lilies may be given to Sue Neale, telephone 883893.

As we go to press, we have heard that the Licensing of the new vicar, Yvonne Yates, who has been appointed to live in Lynton and to be part of the North Devon Coast Team, will take place in Berrynarbor Church on Monday, 9th May, at 7.30 p.m. We are honoured and it will be a busy time with arrangements to be made over the next few weeks.

Christian Aid Week begins on the 15th May this year and there will be an envelope collection around the village.

There will be a Friendship Lunch at The Globe on Wednesday, 25th May; the date for April has yet to be discussed - it should be the 27th but this would be immediately before the Royal Wedding and may not suit everyone.

The Annual Meeting of the Church was held on the 14th March. Attendance was low, with only 9 people present, most of whom were PCC members and including Rector Chris Steed, who was welcomed and gave a presentation of his vision for the Team. After some ten years of service, Doreen Prater has decided to stand down as Churchwarden and she was thanked most sincerely for all she has done for St. Peter's. She will remain on the PCC and will continue to take an active part in church life. Sadly, no-one has come forward to take her place - a situation which will be addressed by the PCC over the coming months. Due to other commitments, Jean Pell has resigned from the PCC but will continue to lend her skills when needed. The Curry and Quiz Evening in aid of the tenor bell is still remembered!

The PCC now numbers 7:

Stuart Neale - Churchwarden

Sylvia Berry and David Steed - Deputy Wardens

Marion Carter - PCC Secretary

Mary Tucker - PCC Treasurer

Sue Neale and Doreen Prater

We are all available when needed - please do not hesitate to get in touch. Our new Rector can be contacted on the old number - 883203

Mary Tucker



This was a special day in this year's calendar, to celebrate the licensing of our new Rector Chris Steed, held at Lynton Parish Church on Wednesday, 16th February.

About 300 people attended the evening service presided over by Bishop Michael of Exeter. The North Devon community was represented by members of all Parishes within the diocese, together with civic dignitaries, including the Mayor of Lynton, the Devon Police and Education and Religious leaders from many different churches and denominations.

It was very pleasing to see several school children from the parishes, and we were delighted that Berrynarbor Primary School was represented - in particular, Macy Ivan who spoke beautifully when presenting Chris Steed with a special Bible. The teaching staff was represented by Carol Lucas, and Teresa Crockett, who also sang with the Choir, represented the School Governors.

The service and music were largely the choosing of our new Rector and as Choirmaster it was a privilege to lead singers from Berrynarbor, Combe Martin and Parracombe, together with other friends throughout the service. The Choir, some 22 members strong, led the service and as a special request from Chris, performed Elgar's beautiful anthem 'Ave Verum Corpus'. A special thank you must go to Pat Taylor who played the organ for the rehearsal and the licensing service.

Chris Steed showed all his warmth and jovial personality throughout the proceedings, and the hour long service was followed by a wonderful buffet - and grateful thanks must go to the ladies of all parishes for providing sandwiches, cakes and other refreshments.

We, the parishioners of Berrynarbor, welcomed Christ Steed to his first service at St. Peter's Church on Sunday, 20th February, and together with Berrynarbor Primary School, under the Headship of Su Carey, are delighted to have a Rector once again to serve all within the community.

Stuart Neale - Churchwarden, Organist and Choirmaster




We are sorry to report the sad loss of Ben, the pony, who passed away at Moules Farm on 22nd February. He was a very old boy [38] and much loved friend. We should like to say a big thank you to Norman, Dave and family for their help, support and friendship over the years. Also many thanks to the local children who befriended Ben and helped make his life a happy one.

Janet and Malcolm Knight




About three years ago, we, at St. Peter's Church, were asked to provide somewhere in the churchyard where people who had family grave scattered throughout the country, could have a focal point to remember family and friends and leave flowers and wreaths. At the time, we did not have any money to comply with this request.

With the money from the collection taken at Mum's funeral and from donations, we have been able to purchase this cross and have it erected in our churchyard, thanks to your generosity. A vase has also been placed in front of the cross for those who wish to leave fresh flowers.

I am sure you will be pleased to know that already it is being used and we have had some beautiful flowers left there.

Marion Carter


Artwork: Paul Swailes


The first week of January was wetter than the whole of December, although the total of 156mm [6 1/8"] was fairly average for a month where rainfall varies considerably. With strong, blustery south to south westerly winds, it was reasonably mild until the 17th, then overnight the temperature dropped away as pressure rose. The next few days were calm, still, cold and frosty, then on the 24th the temperature recovered before falling again to -4.2 Deg C at the end of the month, one of the lowest temperatures this winter. The maximum temperature for the month was 12.5 Deg C, about average, as was the wind chill of -11 Deg C. 15.38 hours of sunshine were recorded, exceeding all previous years apart from last year when nearly five hours more were recorded.

February was milder; according to 'Spotlight' the mildest since 2002, and the 9th mildest for 100 years. With a maximum temperature of 13 Deg C and a minimum of 0.1 Deg C, it was the first month since October not to drop below freezing. The wind picked up on the 2nd and blew continually at strong to gale force for nearly a week, with a maximum gust of 34 knots on the 6th. It was a damp month, only the last day not having some precipitation, although the total for the month was only 79mm [3 1/8"]. Sunshine hours of 34.89 were above the norm, but did not reflect the dull month.

March has come in 'like a lamb' - let's hope that the worst of the winter weather is behind us and that there isn't a sting in the tail!

Simon and Sue


Artwork: Paul Swailes


The latest news from the Manor Hall concerns the refurbishment of the kitchen and the opportunity to report that this project is well advanced, but there are still some important finishing touches needed. The wooden panelling to the walls and ceiling have been prepared for final decorating and a certain amount of tiling will be needed. All should be complete by the end of March and we hope you'll be pleased with the result. In stripping out the old kitchen, you'd be amazed how much "clutter" we had to clear out in to the magic wheelie bin, and in going forward, we need your help please to ensure that there is no build up of such stuff in the future! Thank you.

  A new supply of extra blue padded chairs is in the pipeline as part 2 of the plan to phase out the plastic ones. This will take the total of this better variety to over 70. Long may you sit comfortably!

There is a Health & Safety issue which I really must draw to everyone's attention. It concerns the Fire Alarm. It seems that a fault had developed on one piece of the circuitry which probably caused a false alarm, but certainly for a fault light to be activated on the Control Box just inside the front door. To 'kill' the alarm, someone switched off the mains power to the system but did not alert anyone! The result was a period when the Hall was without alarm cover! The back-up batteries [there to keep the system alive should mains power ever be interrupted] became discharged and the batteries had to be replaced, at a cost approaching £45!  I leave you to be judge on this one but we must ask all Hall Users to be alert to any issues arising and report any problems to myself or indeed anyone on the Committee. An important matter like this must never go unreported! 

On a positive note, I'm pleased to advise that Craig Hodgen and Geoff Adam have responded to my earlier requests for help on the Hall Committee and have now joined the group. At the same time, at least one of our long-standing Committee members has signalled intention to step down at the next AGM, so there is still room for an extra volunteer or two to help keep the ship afloat and heading in the right direction. The AGM will be held on Wednesday, 4th May at 7.30 p.m. As usual, this is an open meeting and it would be good to see a representative from the different user groups.

Colin Trinder - Chairman


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


I came across this advert the other day which read: 'Home Cinema System, blog sonic XYZ + Home Theatre System, complete with 6 speakers including subwoofer £100, etc.', and it brought to mind my time when I lived at Tiptree.

It was not long before I met a Mr. Chick Bright who, on coming out of the services after World War II, was determined to have his own cinema.

Although he ran a temporary cinema at a hall in Tiptree, it was not long before he acquired a bungalow with land at the side suitable for a cinema and enough land at the back for a car park.

Once the plans were passed and the villagers heard about the new project, they were interested enough to want to help with things like digging the footings and even trundling loads of bricks from the station on hand pushed trolleys.

Soon the cinema was near completion. Materials were in short supply and a problem arose regarding how to put a ceiling in. Mrs. Bright came up with a great idea! She went to the local butcher and asked for all the carcass muslin covers which were generally disposed of. She then washed them and sewed them all together, making one huge piece which was suspended over the auditorium and it is still there to this day!

The cinema was called 'The Astoria' and was run by Mr. Bright and his family - mother would be on the ticket kiosk, father would do the projection and the daughters would act as usherettes. Mr. Bright had an Adana printing machine and would do his own posters to display around the village. He also produced

a monthly 16mm version of 'Tiptree News'. On one occasion he climbed the jam factory chimney to show views of what Tiptree looked like 'from the air'.


Illustration by: : Paul Swailes

All went well for a while but attendances began to drop due to television becoming available. After a while, Mr. Bright decided that a change had to be made. "I'll turn it into a dance hall", he said. But this was more easily said than done because the floor was raked and would have to be levelled, and the radiators were all at different heights.

However, when this was sorted there were dances on Saturday nights. But sadly, after each dance there was trouble outside, which became a major problem, and so "I'm going to try it as a cinema again," said Mr. Bright.

But of course by now the floor had been levelled and the only thing to do was to raise the screen, at the same time change the format from 4 x 3 to widescreen [cinemascope], achieved by ropes from the projection box. On one occasion a rope dropped down and knocked off a patron's hat!

It was interesting to go into the projection box whilst a show was on. The clatter of the machines was like the noise of a factory, reels were changed every ten minutes and there was a huge, glowing valve kept in a metal box so that if it exploded it would do no harm.

Interval music was provided by a quite ordinary record player and focus was checked by a small pair of binoculars used through one of the projection ports.

Once again attendances dwindled and Mr. Bright had to think again. Fortunately, the cinema had been built with a shop at the front and so Mr. Bright opened it for selling electrical goods. The seats were all cleared from the cinema and it was let for functions and dancing classes.

One day when I was chatting to Mr. Bright, he told me that the BBC were broadcasting 'Workers' Playtime' from there and that he had, for some reason, a direct line to the BBC. He told me when it would be and that I was invited.

Well, I completely forgot all about it until one day when we had the radio on and the announcer said: "This week, Workers' Playtime comes from Tiptree." Without hesitation I rushed around to the cinema where I was welcomed with a "Quick, come in." The stars of the show were the singer Ann Shelton and Cyril Fletcher.

Sadly, Mr. Bright passed on and the cinema sold and the auditorium is now a large white goods and electrical shop. However, if you go in and go to the far end and turn and look back, you can still see the old projection ports.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket.




Spring is here and we've been enjoying the sunshine. What a difference it makes to be outside in the warm sun. Let's hope it continues.

After a quieter term, we are gearing up for the summer.

We took delivery of our Mystery Seeds from the Horticultural Show team on Friday. The children will be working in teams to sow and bring on the seeds and try and identify them. We shall be drawing, measuring and charting the plants' progress and competing against each other to see who can identify the plants first. The teachers were so excited when we were planning the project that they have asked for a set of mystery seeds for the staffroom! I'll let you know how we get on!

We took part in Red Nose Day last Friday - the children dressed in red and some created wonderful outfits. Two weeks ago we took part in Big Yellow Friday to raise money for the Children's Live Disease Foundation - once again the children dressed up, but this time in yellow. A cake sale in the playground ended each day and we raised nearly £200 for these good causes.

Our Britain since 1930 project was a great success. It was fantastic to have so many members of the local community to share their memories with the children. Class 3 blacked out their classroom [there was a good reason for shutting the world out - they weren't just being anti-social!] and Class 1 had an Anderson shelter in the corner of the classroom.

We are planning an Arts Week for the last week of term and hope to include puppet making, music and dance. Class 3 will perform their production 'The Son Flower' - a musical with an Easter theme, on Thursday, 7th April.

Children in Class 4 took part in a competition organised by Rotary Clubs UK. Lots of our children were very successful and certificates will be presented on Friday, 1st April. The theme was Community Spirit. Lots of the children wrote stories or reports. Tulsi chose to write a poem which I have included below.


The Community Spirit Poem

The spirit of the village is alive and well,
From the top of the valley to the sound of the bell.
The old and the young we all help each other,
From the children in school to Father and Mother.
Everyone enjoys the crafts at the show,
It makes us happy when we are feeling low.
Our community shop has all the vegetables and fruits,
We have jumble sales and car boots.
In our carnival we have lots of amazing floats,
And in the raft race lots of sinking boats.
Our village won the Village in Bloom prize,
Because it's so beautiful it was no surprise.
Carnival, Fete, Church and School,
We work together because we love them all.

by Tulsi

Su Carey - Head Teacher



This is a call to everyone to wake up to what we have and what we could so easily lose if we don't act now!

We have a superb Shop and Post Office facility that a lot of villages would die for, yet it is being put at risk as not enough people are giving it sufficient support, or in some cases no support at all!

OK, the Shop is not in imminent danger of closing, but it cannot be expected to depend on the summer visitors for its survival. Unless it gets a higher level of support throughout the year it could fail.

Consider the consequences if this should happen.

Wake up to the fact that many of the regular activities that make our community so vibrant and active, revolve around the Shop.

*         Where do you pick up your Newsletter? The Shop.

*         Where do you learn about events for the School, the Church and the Village? The Shop.

*         Where do you buy your tickets for village activities? The Shop.

*         Where do you advertise your goods and services? The Shop notice board.

*         Where do you find details of goods and services you need? The Shop notice board.

*         Where do you pick up your newspaper or buy your stamps? The Shop

*         Where are you most likely to meet people, have a chat or whatever? The Shop.

Should the Shop go, these facilities will all go with it, including the

Post Office.

Wake up - the supermarkets can survive without us, but the heart of our community - the Shop and Post Office - cannot.


The Shop needs extra purchases from all of us, no matter what else we do for it. Being a shareholder, a volunteer or a Shop Committee member is a superb contribution, but that only got the shop started - it will not keep going without sufficient sales.

Just try to spend say £10 a week in the Shop

and its future will be secure.

Tony Summers

Please note that I am only a volunteer. I have no connection with the Committee nor does the Committee have any connection with this article or even necessarily agree with the views expressed.




The Village

1. School Playground 2. Bessemer Thatch [with thatch!]

3. Mr. and Mrs. Baker - Shop [now Flowerdew] 4. Petrol Pump [1/6d per gallon!]

5. Mr. Camp - Blacksmith 6. Globe Inn - Mr. Cornish

7. No. 45 [Miss Muffets]


Sterridge Valley Sheep being driven up the Valley passing Woodvale on the right, and showing Barn Cottage further on, on the left. The pictures dated about 1920 were sent by Don Thirkell, now of St. Column Major.




The two faces of the clocks on St. Peter's Church Tower. One faces the lych gate and entrance to the church [south], the other faces towards the Manor Hall [west].

The two different faces of the clocks was the subject of an e-mail received recently, enquiring of the reason and asking if the story that one of the faces was damaged by a stone being thrown for a bet was true. Yes, that story is true and took place about 60 years ago when one of the village lads was bet five shillings [quite a lot in those days] that he couldn't hit the clock face. He won the bet! However, it is thought that the clock face was repaired and so does not explain the reason for two different faces. Can anyone help with this?

Following on from this e-mail, two more have been received from Martin Hooper of Australia who has sent the following article:


The next time you are walking down the High Street in Barnstaple, stop outside No. 99 and look up. There is a grand clock which projects out from the building with two dials so that the time might be seen from either direction. Look down also at the stepping stones at the entrance and you will see J. F. Fox and Gaydon [barely discernible] in outline. In 1882, the North Devon Journal reported on the improvements that John Gaydon had done to the shop front at

99 High Street when the clock was added and mention made also of his involvement with the Berrynarbor church clock.

John Gaydon [b. 1821], second son of Alexander and Susannah Gaydon of Swimbridge, was apprenticed during the 1830's to Richard Passmore, a watch and clock maker and jeweller of High Street Barnstaple. Alexander Gaydon was the innkeeper of the New Inn, now the Jack Russell Inn in Swimbridge. In 1846, John Gaydon took over the jewellery and clock making business of the late Richard Passmore. This was the beginning of John's business in High Street which was to flourish for 50 years and has left a lasting legacy, particularly by way of the church clocks which he installed, upgraded, repaired and maintained. In 1897, the executors of John Gaydon's will sold the business to J. F. Fox.

According to an old booklet from Berrynarbor church, the clock was installed in 1852 by Farrington of Bristol and the striking train was added in 1888 by John Gaydon.

We normally only see the dials [or faces] of the clock, but the ticking heart, the clock movement with its gears and levers, is hidden away in the tower. The illustrated image below shows the Berrynarbor clock movement.


From this image, one can clearly see the cast iron posted frame movement with its six [6] round posts, all topped with acorn finials. This frame style for turret clocks was popular from about 1790 to 1850. The original four [4] posts associated with the timekeeping train are on the left and centre while the additional two [2] associated with the striking train are on the right. These two trains of gear wheels are mounted vertically as was the fashion in this frame type. The top end of the pendulum can be seen coming from the top arbor [or axle] of the timekeeping train and disappearing below the bottom of the image.

The bevel gearing and the two leading off rods, which transmit movement to the dials, are visible in the centre forefront of this image. Presumably the rod coming out of the image goes to the west dial and the one leading off to the right goes to the south dial. The internal setting dial would be on the other side of the clock movement opposite to the position of the west leading off rod. The dark black metal framing on top of the movement was added to accommodate the two electrical motors which now wind the timekeeping and striking sides of the clock.

The second image shows in more detail the timekeeping train of 4 gear wheels with the great wheel being counted as No. 1.


The Berrynarbor clock is most unusual as it has two different dials. Two dials are not unusual, but two different styles and sizes are. From the plaque attached to the clock, we know that John Gaydon added a new dial as well as the striking train in 1888. The plaque reads: Striking Part and New Dial added 1888, John Gaydon, Clock Maker, 99 High St. Barnstaple.


What remains unanswered is which dial did John Gaydon install? There are several factors which suggest that the larger one was added in 1888. Firstly, the glazed skeleton dial is very similar to the dials that John installed around that time at Lynton [1887] and Landkey [1887]. Secondly, if the larger dial already existed it seems highly unlikely that John Gaydon, with his extensive experience in installing turret clocks, would have recommended such a small dial [3' dia.] for so high a church tower. Finally, all the other known dials that he installed in North Devon churches across the 1870's-1890's were of the larger size [5' dia.].

The information presented above comes from '19th Century Gaydon Clock & Watch Makers', which is in draft form and nearing completion. I anticipate publishing in three months' time. If anyone has more information on this clock, I should be delighted to hear from them.

Martin Hooper [gaydon.hooper@hotmail.com.]

My sincere thanks to Kevin Brooks for supplying the image of the Gaydon plaque.


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook



Pat and Malcolm Sayer are delighted to announce the engagement of their eldest daughter, Karen, to Nick Hawke from Witney in Oxfordshire. They are to marry here in the village church on Saturday, 17th September. Congratulations!



On the 3rd April, Philton House is celebrating a very special birthday, when Cecil Hodkinson, Pip Summers' father, will reach the grand old age of 100!

Cecil and his wife, Ina, have lived in the annexe alongside Pip and Tony for the last ten years, just a couple of years after finally retiring at the age of 88 from the pottery he started in Braunton in the mid-1950's.

Prior to this he had worked as a senior metallurgist for a company in Coventry, but unfortunately it went into liquidation causing him to look for a new career. He considered what talents he had that he could draw upon, and decided that his self taught Hebrew and Greek had nothing to offer and the career of concert pianist was too precarious. Another interest was photography, and in particular, colour photography, which at that time was in its infancy. It was, therefore, this hobby that he developed into an occupation. With no colour film available to the general public at that time, he found how to produce colour prints from black and white negatives by multiple use of colour filters. He worked free-lance for a couple of large photographic companies for several years until colour negative film came onto the scene and once again he had to search for a new way to provide for his family. With his family, he moved to Barnstaple in 1952 and while continuing with the declining photographic work, studied the principles of ceramic pottery. When satisfied he knew enough about it, he opened Studio Ceramics, East Street, Braunton in 1955.   This he ran with his wife Ina, and later his daughter Pip, designing and making pottery, specialising in gold and platinum lustre designs, until he retired aged 88!

Many people in the village will have met Ina on her visits to the shop for her weekly shopping, or when attending the Friendship Lunch at The Globe or Coffee Mornings, but Cecil is not familiar to many residents as unfortunately he is a bit unsteady on his feet these days so can only get out and about by car, courtesy of Pip or Tony.

While not a true local, he loves the village and is proud to be one of, if not possibly its oldest inhabitant.

Happy Birthday Cecil, and many happy returns!

Pip, Tony and Family.




Our circle was delighted to have a third visit from Jonathan Coulthard this month. March hares weren't there but there were numerous impressed mutterings and smiling faces when they sampled his two whites, one rose and three reds! It is unusual to enjoy all presented wines; some can be too dry, too sweet or a preference for a red wine, for example, means that whites just aren't appreciated. This wasn't apparent on this occasion and we were surrounded by members who agreed with us.

Jonathan had a successful career in civil engineering at Heathrow until the '90's when he felt a strong desire to change direction. Student life beckoned, at Plumpton College in East Sussex, which is the only college in the whole of the UK offering degree-level courses in Viticulture [the science of cultivating grapevines] and Oenology [the study of wine]. A further two-year's practical experience in France followed. He had the opportunity of working in Australia, so, as wine-drinkers, we are fortunate that whilst in France, he heard of an opportunity to buy nine hectares, almost 23 acres, of vineyard near Duras, south-west France that included some semi-derelict buildings. This opportunity was seized as he knew his engineering skills could be used to transform these into a home and premises for wine production and sales. 'Domaine Gourdon' 2003 was his first vintage; awards and international sales have followed. We have invited him to return for our next season and our invitation has been accepted.

Which reminds me . . . unfortunately, our year is coming to an end. April and May's evenings will be our last until we restart in October.

Tony Summers, our enthusiastic Secretary, will enlighten us in April as we tap into South American tipples. Our May meeting includes formality, but there will be brevity too!  Our AGM, will be swiftly followed by Jan Tonkin, who will entertain and treat us to an unexpected Asian selection, from Sri Lanka.

Judith Adam -Promotional Co-ordinator



The Berrynarbor Upholstery Group continues to meet every Monday morning in the Manor Hall. We carry out personal projects to renovate and re-upholster favourite pieces of furniture, from stools to sofas, armchairs to chaise longues. If you have a well loved chair or stool that is no longer looking its best but that you hate to part with, why not bring it along and we'll help you to apply some TLC to breathe new life into it. We are a very friendly group and a very inexpensive morning out. All we pay is £3 each to cover the cost of the Hall and 50p for as many cups of tea or coffee and biscuits as you want! We have trade accounts set up so that the materials needed are available at virtually cost price. Call in at the Hall any Monday morning or ring Tony Summers on [01271] 883600 for more information.




Berrynarbor continues to enjoy minimal crime with only one crime being reported at the February and March Meetings.  Long may it continue.

Reports have been received from the County and District Councillors.  

There are several ongoing items:  repair of the War Memorial, the Play Area where Councillors remain unsatisfied with an Inspection which is the reason why the swings are chained back to prevent use until a quotation has been agreed for the replacement of the top bar, as corrosion has been noticed with the present one.  The Play Area is due to be inspected by a RoSPA Inspector during March, whose Report will follow shortly after.  Many of you will have noticed a new Play Area sign which has been fixed to the gate.

Following a request by Lee Lodge, the leylandi trees at the Playing Field have been either felled or the branches trimmed to let more light into the windows.

The Electricity Supply provider for the public toilets has been changed from EDF Energy to E-On for a more competitive tariff.

County Councillor Mrs Davis is making arrangements for a sign to be fixed at Birdswell Lane to prevent large lorries from accessing this who at present experience difficulty in turning.

As always, Highways feature at Meetings and all potholes and other issues are promptly advised to DCC Highways.
There have been a number of Planning Applications to consider, for which a response has been sent to North Devon Council Planning Department.

The village has once again been entered into the Best Kept Village Competition.  There are also details about the Pam Parker Map Award for individual children aged 5-11 years, the Primary School and Sunday School. Please contact me or a Councillor if you would like more details.

We are in the process of revising our Standing Orders.

Ahead of the Meeting on 8th March, there was a Public Meeting at which Alison Smith of DCC Public Rights of Way gave an illustrated talk regarding the Definitive Map Review.

The April Meeting will be the last in the life of this present Council, with Parish and District Council Elections being held on Thursday 5 May.  There are 9 seats to fill and if you would like a Nomination Pack, please let me know.  Alternatively the forms can be downloaded via the North Devon Council website: www.northdevon.gov.uk/electiontimetable   The deadline date for the return of the forms to the Electoral Services Department is 12 noon on Monday, 4 April.  This is the perfect time to thank Councillor Mark Adams and Councillor Mrs Worth for all their input during the time that they have been Councillors and it is very much hoped that their departure is not permanent

              Sue Squire, Parish Clerk




On the afternoon of Valentine's Day, the Manor Hall was a veritable hive of industry with some 30 ladies clacking their needles - knitting and nattering whilst producing colourful strips for the North Devon Hospice to have made into blankets. These are then given to deserving causes including Age Concern, David Rundle Rwanda Trust, Amigos and even for our four-footed friends at the Dogs' Trust.

Knitters joined other visitors for tea and cakes and all participated in the raffle. £270 was taken to the Hospice, together with 38 yards, 1 foot and 1 inch of strips - no, not all knitted that afternoon! Thank you to everyone who came to support this event. Since the first Knit In, Berrynarbor Knitters have raised more than £3,000 for the Hospice.

Don't forget, the Craft Group meets every Monday afternoon, from 1.30 p.m. Just come along and bring whatever craft you are working on at the moment - knitting, sewing, embroidering, painting, card making, etc.

We enjoy tea on arrival, tea and chocolate biscuits later, and great company - and all for £2.00. Why don't you come and join us?


. . . . and what a 'bumper' one it was! By the time the door opened, a long queue had formed outside the Manor Hall and for the best part of the next hour and a half, the hall was a seething mass of people from far and wide, including a group of Combe Martin Senior Citizens who had hired Mark and his mini-bus to bring them and take them back.

Bargain hunters picked over the large variety of clothes and fabrics, looked through the selection of books, videos and DVD's whilst enjoying a cup of tea, took their chance on the raffle and searched for that elusive ceramic that might be declared a rare antique on the 'Road Show'!

Congratulations to Vi and Ann, and all their helpers, on a well-organised sale.

Many thanks to all the helpers and people who donated to make the event such a success. A total of £484 was raised and has been divided between Macmillan Cancer and Devon Air Ambulance.


The good folks of Berrynarbor, and friends from far and wide, turned up in their masses at the Manor Hall for an evening of quizzing under the direction of expert Quizmaster Phil Bridle and Tracy, his assistant. With many teams taking part, quizzing began in earnest only to be put on hold during a break to enjoy a delicious supper of cottage pie and beans. That set off a good start to the second part of the evening and there was a general sigh of relief when the music section was aborted - often the decider when the younger quizzers and their iPod's know all the answers!

The Hoi Polloi's reigned supreme, team Sterridge Bottom lived up to its name and Better at Darts were seen leaving the hall with an enormous flower pot, their prize for winning the Gardening section. Congratulations to everyone involved in organising a great evening raising over £600 for Berry in Bloom and the Horticultural and Craft Show.




Bank Holiday Monday, 2nd May 2011


Doors open at 2.00 p.m.

[Plant donations welcome from 10.00 a.m.]

Admission Free

Trees and Shrubs, Herbaceous Perennials, Fruit and Vegetables Indoor and Pot Plants, Bedding and Annuals

Teas, Garden related Stalls, Raffle

Proceeds to Berrynarbor Community Shop



SATURDAY, 23RD APRIL, 2.00 to 5.00 p.m.

at Easter Barton,

Castle Hill [01271 882885]


All proceeds to Berrynarbor Toddler Group

[From the free car park, carry on up the hill keeping straight on at the hairpin bend by

Hammonds Farm]






Thursday, 12th May, Manor Hall, Berrynarbor, 7.00 p.m.


The Vanishing Horizon, a sell-out at the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe Festival is about the female pioneers of aviation. Using luggage, maps and paper airplanes, Idle Motion take us back to the roaring twenties when flight was glamorous and exciting. Flitting between modern airport lounges and the wild days of early aviation, this is a story about conquering fears and the life affirming joy of exploration and facing up to challenges.

This young, physical theatre company from Oxford has big ideas and a huge passion for creating exciting, fun and beautiful new work. Its filmic style is highly visual, combining strong narratives and bold theatrical images.

Tickets, including Dinner cost £12.00

must be purchased in advance for catering purposes and are available from the Community Shop or from Beafordarts.

Proceeds from this event will be shared between the

Manor Hall and the Community Shop


Artwork: Harry Weedon


We have got off to a really good start this year, with a very successful fund raising quiz night at the Manor Hall in February, followed by a well attended and helpful meeting in The Globe and at the first litter pick of the year we had so many good folk attend that we almost ran out of roads to send them on! It is great to know that the village is pulling together to try and equal our win in the Best Kept Village competition last year, and help us in our efforts to get Gold in the National R.H.S. Britain in Bloom competition 2011, where we'll be representing the South West. Two Bloomers went all the way to Liverpool for a seminar and two to Weston- Super-Mare for the launch of the South West competition. Our next event, in conjunction with the Horticultural & Craft Show group, will be a Coffee Morning on Saturday, 16th April.

We have decided to use Streamways Nurseries again for the hanging baskets and if you want to join in this scheme we'll be collecting and taking the baskets over to Georgeham in the next week or so. Please ring Wendy on [01271] 882296 if you would like to participate.

We've also set the dates for the two Gardens Open events this year. 12th June for the Village gardens and 3rd July for the Sterridge Valley. Once again Phil and Lyn at the Lodge and Ken and Judie at Chicane have kindly agreed to put on the scrummy cream teas, so please make a note in your diaries of the dates and as we are always looking for fresh 'mud', if you would like to open your garden please let me know.


Artwork: Angela Bartlett

Easter Chocolate Cake

This is a special cake for Easter, perhaps with a little more work and what you may think a strange ingredient - butternut squash. But just think how moist carrots make a carrot cake and give it a try!

3 medium free range eggs
160g caster sugar
200g peeled and grated butternut squash
120g white rice flour
3 tbsp good quality cocoa powder [not drinking chocolate]
80g ground almonds
1tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp salt
125ml buttermilk [sold in Sainsbury's]

For the icing

50g unsalted butter softened
200g icing sugar sieved
50g Mascarpone
4 tsp cocoa powder
Small pinch of salt
Mini Easter eggs, little chicks etc. to decorate


Preheat the oven to180 Deg /350 Deg /gas mark 4. Line 2 sandwich tins measuring18cm x 5cm deep with baking parchment and lightly brush base and sides with vegetable oil.

Whisk the eggs and caster sugar in a large bowl using electric beaters for about 4 minutes or until pale and fluffy. Beat in the butternut squash, ground almonds, flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Add the buttermilk and beat until all the ingredients are well blended.

Pour the mixture in to the tins evenly and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Once cooked, remove from the oven, turn them out of the tins and take off the lining paper. Cool on a wire rack. Make the icing while the cakes are cooking, but do not ice the cake until completely cold. Beat the butter with 100g of the icing sugar in a large bowl using the back of a wooden spoon, this may need some patience but when you reach a lovely rich paste beat for a further 10 seconds to loosen the butter further. Add the Mascarpone cheese, cocoa powder and salt as well as the remaining icing sugar, beat until well combined.

Pop the icing in the fridge for 15 minutes, then just before using beat it again and use to ice the 2 cakes together in the middle and top. Decorate with your

Easter decorations and enjoy a lovely tea.



Artwork: Helen Weedon


I was in the kitchen making the first pot of tea of the day, my thoughts mulling over the subject matter for this article. With the kettle nearing boiling point, I switched on the radio and heard the pips for seven o'clock. I listened to the headline news and immediately felt a shiver run down my spine. Not again, I thought. Surely not.

Before I explain, let me first complete the tale of my hideous journey home, or that's how I saw it at the time after an evening out in South Molton. Earlier on I had taken the dogs for their last walk of the day along the lane and sensed a strange feeling in the air. Low clouds were racing across the sky. Gusts of wind were whistling through the hedgerows. Birds were rarely stationary, flitting from one branch to another. Their hurried, high-pitched trills portrayed an inexplicable sense of anxiety - but what about? Some sort of impending danger, perhaps? The horizon was, after all, eerily red and angry in the west.

Whilst my journey to the South Molton restaurant was uneventful, my return leg was to be full of incident. Opening as I did another bottle of sparkling water at my table, I was completely unaware that the clouds outside were also pouring out their supply of liquid. Their quantity, however, not only surpassed the amount drunk during our meal, it also exceeded the average level of rainfall for the period of time I was dining, by far! Returning to Ilfracombe was to become, as I progressively discovered, almost impossible.

With pelting raindrops lashing my windscreen, I eventually reached Wrafton, only to meet signs reading "ROAD CLOSED". At Muddiford I met a lake of water beneath which the road disappeared. On back roads I met streams of cars, some stationary and others reversing, the latter drivers having accepted that the lane ahead was impassable. With the rain unrelenting I travelled along the A39 - my last chance, it seemed, of getting home. Eventually reaching Churchill Down, I navigated the wooded, zigzagging descent and turned the final hairpin bend in preparation for the ascent up Winsford Hill. As I came around the corner my hope was to cross the tributary which flows into the small lake within Woolley Wood. The lake, however, along with the River Yeo which meanders close to the road before also entering the lake, had completely submerged the road.

I came to a halt. In the distance I was able to make out two white headlights of a large vehicle; lights that vanished momentarily, only to be replaced by two red spots which then faded into the distance. Having obviously turned round to head back up Winsford Hill, I realized that my little vehicle stood no chance of wading through the water. Time to do the same - except my U-turn would be on a descending hairpin bend! No other vehicles, thankfully, came around the corner.

So, once again, my little car and I drove off into the rural darkness. Feelings of fear, anger and frustration began to fill me. A fear of being alone and stranded in the dark. Frustration that I had not read nature's warning signs. Anger that I had moved away from the urban life I had always been used to - a lifestyle with people always around me and a night sky that was permanently lit. Now all I had were the occasional reflections of sheep's eyes and the sound of raindrops stamping upon my car roof to keep me company.


Illustrated by: Peter Rothwell

I was therefore relieved to see once more the lights of Barnstaple. From here I decided to take the A361. Perhaps the road would no longer be closed? Not so. Braunton was flooded. The road, I was told, would not be open until daybreak at the earliest. The Highways man did, however, tell me that colleagues were busy at work clearing the road at Muddiford. It was worth a try, he suggested. Thankfully, the road was just passable; although the amount of silt and sludge cleared to make it so was quite incredible. 'The power of water!', I thought, as I headed home.

A journey that normally takes three-quarters-of-an-hour had taken nearly four. It had been the worst rainfall I had ever had to encounter whilst driving. 'What an ordeal!', I kept saying when I told people about it the following week. But on the seventh day I stopped telling my story; for one week after my ordeal, to the exact hour almost, the true power of water began to show its force. Whilst I slept soundly during the early hours of Boxing Day, a Tsunami struck Indonesia with devastating consequences.

Hence the shiver that ran down my spine. As I was contemplating this article, making that first pot of tea of the day, I listened instead to the shocking news that was breaking of the Tsunami in Japan.

I wish you a peaceful Easter. Let this be a time when we are grateful for all the beauty that is coming to life in our countryside. For that is what spring is all about.

Stephen McCarthy




At 9 Berrynarbor Park, 2.00 - 5.00 p.m.

Please come and help raise funds for the North Devon Hospice, and join us in a celebration of Brian's life.

Enjoy a Cream Tea and lots of chat! We'll hope to get you to buy some raffle tickets, select delicious cakes, see what we have on our home produce stall and guess the name of a lovely toy that has been generously donated.

This is our third such event and we hope to raise as much as we can for this worthy cause. We also hope for a lovely day, but the rain hasn't stopped us having fun before - there will be outside cover and we'll use every inch inside if that is necessary!

Hope to see you there.

Di [Hillier]




Many of you know Inge. She lived at Sherrards in Barton Lane and was a very active member of the Church, Wine Circle and Craft Clubs. Due to ill health, she is now at the Park Care Home, Park Lane, Newport, Barnstaple.

It is proving difficult for her to get back to Berrynarbor as often as she would wish, but she would dearly love visits from her old friends and acquaintances from the village.

If you are in Barnstaple, especially in the St. John's Garden Centre area, please try to pop in and see her at Park Lane. For any further information on directions on how to find the Home, please ring me on [01271] 882822. With thanks. Y.D.



Have you heard of Reverend John Brown of Haddington, East Lothian, and his 'self-interpreting Bible' which was first published in 1778? It was very popular in its day and many editions were sold.

This Bible has explanatory notes to help readers to understand the text, and some Victorian editions had beautiful, coloured illustrations with space to record family details.

John Brown would today be described as a disadvantaged child. Born in 1772 to poor parents, he was orphaned while young, and became a shepherd boy.

A great reader, and with an astonishing talent for languages, he taught himself Greek, Latin and Hebrew, for his dearest wish was to become a clergyman.

To achieve his aim, John Brown earned a living as a pedlar and self-educated school teacher, overcoming many obstacles along the way.

Rev. John Brown, Clergyman, Theologian, Scholar and Linguist, died in 1787 in Haddington, where he had been a much loved clergyman for 36 years.

It was Calvin Coolidge who said of him - 'Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.'



John Calvin Coolidge [1872-1933] - 30th President of the United States



John O'Groats to Land's End June 2011

for CLIC Sargent, Caring for children
and young people with cancer and their families in hospital and the community

Persistence is what Walter's son, Malcolm will need when he begins his cycle journey from John O'Groats to Land's End! Accompanied by Joanne Tucker as a fellow Cyclist and Pat Redwood, their Support Crew they will be riding End to End in June this year, to raise money for Clic Sargent.

Jo was the moving force for this cycle ride, as a colleague's son is suffering with a tumour and she is giving up most of her holidays to achieve this. Pat has recently retired but has offered her vehicle and herself for the trip. Married and with a close family, this is a very generous gesture. She will carry the kit, tents, etc. Malcolm, too, is giving up some of his holidays to do the trip.

Donations for their efforts can be made on-line - where you can also track their progress - at www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/jo_gle or there is a collecting box in our Shop and Post Office for you to make a donation to this very worthwhile cause.

Malcolm is planning to hold a Car Boot Sale to raise money and asks that if you have something, in the attic or shed, that you no longer have use for, you might donate it for this purpose. Items can be taken to the sale or collected. Look out for more details of the sale.

Malcolm thanks you for your kind support and we all wish him the best of luck and good pedalling!




How nice to be able to give a warm welcome to some new babies and our congratulations to all the parents and grandparents . . .

. . . and in this case, great-grandparent ! Ron Toms is very proud and delighted to share the news that he has a new great-grandson. Shaun Tyler Bolt arrived on the 4th February, a second child for Darren and

Jane, a little brother for Sophie and a very welcome second grandchild for Sheila and Tony.

Jenny and Lee Beer are pleased to announce the safe arrival of Ollie Joe Sunny, who was born on the 20th January, weighing 6 lbs 101/2oz, a gorgeous little brother for both Louis and Ben.

Jenny and Lee wish to say a huge thank you to grandparents Anne and Brian for all their help, especially their 'meals on wheels' and we hope you enjoy your 4th grandson.

Michael, Alan and Anne are the very proud grandparents of new arrival Leeana Brooke Bacon. Matthew and Gemma are delighted to announce Leeana's arrival on the 31st January, weighing 9lbs, a little sister for Dylan, Lola and Summer.


Artwork: Paul Swailes


First of all, thanks go to all who have increased their shopping even a little in the last month. It's made a difference. And, as from the 1st April, the Shop will remain open until 5.30 p.m.

We now have a whole new range of goods in the shop. Do look out for the Red Cow range of prepared frozen meals such as Lamb Tagine, Chilli con Carne, Moroccan Meatballs and a selection of vegetarian meals. This is an Exmoor farm, specialising in pedigree Red Devons, and native sheep and pigs. All food is prepared in their own kitchen and is excellent.

Cherry's cup cakes are local and very good; Dunstaple Farm is providing new brands of ice cream; you can buy a pack of frozen pastries to bake at home [delicious!]; a new selection of cakes: chocolate muffins or a slice of lemon cake is on offer; a cheaper range of yoghurt is available as well as Stapleton's; and bird feed is down in price as Anita and Debbie buy it in bulk and pack it themselves.

All these new items - not bad for a two month gap since our last News!

Don't forget Fish Friday. If you order your fish by 10.00 a.m. on Thursday, it will be ready for collection by 12 noon on Friday.

Easter eggs and cards are now on sale.

Berry-Bay is proving quite an attraction, so do have a look when you are next in the Shop. And, of course, if you have anything new or nearly new, particularly a craft, please bring it along, ready priced and we'll see if it will sell - 80% to you and 20% for the Shop.

You may have noticed in the shop a leaflet about reflexology. This is now available at our shop [upstairs] on Thursdays. For information or to book an appointment, please 'phone Liz Lillicrap on [01271] 882179

Don't forget our Great Plant Sale on Monday 2nd May - both to provide plants and to buy them! Enquiries to Kath Thorndycroft Tel: 889019.

There will also be the usual Golf Tournament that same weekend - details later in the shop.

And finally, treat Mum on 3rd April. Recipes [and ingredients] for a chicken dish, a vegetarian one and an easy pudding are all in our shop, plus, of course, a great selection of cards.

Happy Easter from Anita, Deb and the Shop Committee




Wise Words

Wise words about when and when not to speak your thoughts came from Will Rogers, the American political sage and philosopher [cowboy, actor, comic], who died in a plane crash in 1935. Here are two of his maxims:

Never miss a good chance to shut up, and Lettin' the cat out of the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back.


Think About It

If you find yourself troubled by where you live, the people around you, or the environment you work in, hear what the philosopher Eusebius had to say about the matter. He lived in Caesarea in the third century BC, and the simplicity of the thought he gave is as true now as it was when first uttered:

Remember, a sunbeam passes through pollution, unpolluted.


Salt Mines

Because salt mines are clean, and have a constant temperature of 14 degrees, they are useful for storage. During the Second World War, it is believed that the Crown Jewels were kept in Winsford Mine, Cheshire. In 2004, the Government gave permission for the mine to become a dump for toxic waste - a plan fiercely opposed by the local inhabitants.



The bottomless Dozmary Pool, in the middle of bleak and barren Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, is where Arthur's knight, following Arthur's instructions, cast away Excalibur and a woman's arm, clad in white, rose out of the water, clasped the sword and sank back beneath the surface. Excalibur lies there still. The cold, black, lifeless water does not entice anyone to dive in and look for it.



Three Bridges

A walk along the River Taw in late spring, from Seven Brethren Bank to Elmpark Copse opposite Bishops Tawton.

Once the retail park was left behind, there was blossom along the path: elderflowers and the creamy white flower-heads of guilder rose [Viburnum opulus], The outer row of flowers are three times the size of the flowers at the centre, but they are sterile. It is the small florets which secrete nectar. The guilder rose is an attractive shrub with leaves divided into three lobes.


The path passed under the old disused railway bridge; now a footbridge from Rock Park opposite. The bushes were full of the red and yellow flashes of a charm of goldfinches. The air was full of swallows. As the river curved beside Pill House and Rumsam, we passed beneath the second bridge - this time the great concrete structure of the by-pass.


Two shelduck were standing in a damp field next to a patch of yellow flag irises. A female kestrel hovered overhead; swooped; caught a small rodent.

Soon we came to the third bridge - the railway bridge carrying the Tarka Line. A train rumbled over it as we approached. The ground was covered with the mauve flowers of bush vetch. There were also the deeper purple flowers of common vetch. A male stonechat perched on some brambles sounding its eponymous alarm.


Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

We climbed the steep path which led to Elmpark Copse, full of the blue spikes of bugle and brown and cream speckled wood butterflies. But we did not manage to get far because the little wood was overgrown and we had to turn back.

And this turned out to be serendipitous because as we returned along the riverside path, between the copse and the railway bridge, we heard an unfamiliar sound - couldn't recognise it at all - a noisy chattering, a loud rattling coming from some twiggy bushes.

We located the strange noise. It was being produced by what appeared at first glance to be two whitethroats. They certainly had white throats but were slightly smaller and greyer with shorter tails and darker faces.

The tiny birds were actually lesser whitethroats [Sylvia currucua]. They are summer visitors and passage migrants and the south-west of England is on the edge of their range. They are more secretive than the more common whitethroat, seeking mature hedgerows, scrub and dense ground cover.

The unintentionally funny description of a lesser whitethroat, in one of my field guides is: 'a relatively short-tailed warbler with retiring habits'!

Sue H



Illustrated by: Debbie Rigler Cook

When your dog does its 'business' out walking
And you don't want the neighbourhood talking
Just pick up a stick
And with one little flick
It's away from the footpath - how corking!
When in the hedge bottom they're laid
They soon start to biodegrade
But it seems a bit drastic
To wrap them in plastic
And put them on poo-bag parade!
People fling them in hedges and trees
Where they flutter about in the breeze
They just hang where you toss 'em
Among the spring blossom
Shrink-wrapped, and a cause of unease!
So please, simply flick poos aside
Or bag them and BIN them with pride
For we doggies feel harassed
Ashamed and embarrassed
With our 'doings' displayed far and wide!

DC of C Cottage



In a recent Newsletter I introduced the idea of setting up an Emergency List for those needing care of an animal in a short term emergency, for example, a hospital visit, a visit to a relative, a need for a day out, etc.

Many people approached me and said what a good idea they thought it was, but only two signed up to the scheme.

Since Christmas I have been contacted twice for help and someone willing to help has been found. The kind of help has been for dog walking, or just letting the dog out, cat feeding or caring for rabbits.

I have decided that instead of having a list in the Shop, it would be simpler if people 'phoned me on [01271] 882822, and I'll co-ordinate help.

Of course, this will have to be a two-way scheme - we need volunteer helpers as well as requests from those needing help.

Please give me a ring for more information if you would like to help.

Yvonne Davey





We are having a Coffee Morning to raise funds for the Show and Berry in Bloom on Saturday, 16th April, from 10.00 a.m. to 12.00 noon. There will be stalls and a raffle, as well as a chance for you to collect your sunflower seeds and potatoes to grow for the Show.

It's time to get those cameras out and sharpen those pencils ready for the Show, which this year will be held on Saturday, 20th August. We are pleased to announce the art and photography categories as follows:

Photography [maximum size 8" x 5"]

1. Village Life

2. Beachscape

3. Flowers

4. The Colour Red

5. Weather

6. Expressions

Art [any medium, any size, but not TOO large please!]

1. Village Life

2. Flowers

3. Coast

We really look forward to seeing your artwork and photographs in August!

See you all at the Coffee Morning on 16th April.




Social Reformer and Co-founder of National Trust

3rd December 1838 - 13th August 1912


The women Movers and Shakers are taking over . . . here is a Victorian philanthropist who, amongst other works, helped found the National Trust in 1895. The other founders were Sir Robert Hunter and Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley, but this is Octavia Hill's story.

She was born in Wisbech Cambridgeshire, the eighth daughter [hence her name] of James Hill, a corn merchant and banker, and his third wife Caroline. He had been widowed twice and had 5 daughters and a son by these marriages. Impressed by Caroline's writings on education, in 1832 he engaged her as governess to his children [shades of Baron von Trapp!] and married her in 1835. Both were committed to helping people in poverty. Octavia knew about that, as two years after her birth, the family's comfortable life ended with James being made bankrupt and then suffering mental problems.

Octavia had no formal education, her mother teaching her at home, and at the age of 13, a cooperative guild offering employment to 'distressed gentlewomen' accepted her for training as a glass-painter. The guild then expanded to offer toy-making for poor children. Octavia must have been very bright because a year later, at the age of 14, she was invited to take charge of the workroom. Through her work, she discovered the dreadful living standards of her poor students. A year later, in her spare time, she helped John Ruskin in Dulwich Art Gallery and the National Gallery and shortly afterwards, began her charity work.

One of her ideas, backed by John Ruskin, was affordable housing for the working classes. She didn't agree with council housing, feeling that it was too impersonal. Octavia was determined to find better homes for her students and through Ruskin, became the landlord of 3 cottages in Marylebone, each with 6 rooms. These needed a lot of work, but when finished they were rented to poor tenants. Ruskin wanted a fair return for his money, which she successfully achieved. She was put in charge of 5 more. With careful management, by 1874 she and her staff had 15 housing schemes and 3000 tenants to look after. She was a firm believer in self-reliance and she and her staff knew all their tenants, encouraging them to try to improve their lot. As a basis of her successful operation, only women were employed to collect rents weekly, when a detailed check was made of the premises. The collectors acted as early social workers. An American admirer put it that she was 'ruling over a little kingdom of three thousand loving subjects with an iron sceptre twined with roses'.

In appearance she was, as her friend wrote 'small in stature with long body and short legs. She did not dress, she only wore clothes, which were often unnecessarily unbecoming; she had soft and abundant hair and regular features, but the beauty of her face lay in brown and very luminous eyes . . . her mouth was large and mobile but not improved by laughter . . . Miss Octavia was nicest when she was made passionate by her earnestness.'

One thing that Octavia felt very strongly about was that her tenants should have access to open spaces. She believed in 'the life-enhancing virtues of pure earth, clean air and blue sky'. She was instrumental in saving Hampstead Heath and Parliament Hill Fields from being built upon, and the first person to use the words 'Green Belt'. In 1883 she helped fight a campaign to stop the building of railway tracks from quarries overlooking Buttermere in the Lake District [High Speed Train objectors please note!]. The leader of this campaign was Canon Hardwick Rawnsley, an Anglican clergyman in the Lake District, who was not only a conservationist, but also the most prolific writer of sonnets and composer of hymns. He recruited Octavia and Sir Robert Hunter, solicitor to the Commons Preservation Society and Octavia's legal adviser in her work protecting open spaces in London. All were concerned about the lack of control over development and industry around the country and in 1885 they founded the National Trust. This was to ' . . act as a guardian for the nation in acquisition and protection of threatened coastline, countryside and buildings'.

In 1907, Parliament passed its first National Trust act, giving the trust powers to protect properties for the benefit 'for ever, for everyone' - now its motto. Since their first acquisition of Dinas Oleu coastline in Wales in 1895, the Trust to date now cares for approximately 612,000 acres of beautiful countryside in Britain, plus 709 miles of coastline, 215 houses and gardens, 40 castles, 12 lighthouses and 43 pubs and inns! All this is completely independent of the government. Their finances rely solely on the generosity of its over 3.5 million subscribers and other supporters. So when next at Arlington Court, Dunster Castle, Killerton, Knightshayes Court, Castle Drogo or further afield remember that our annual subscription really counts!

Although living through the beginning part of the 20th century, Octavia Hill made it clear that she was against Female Suffrage, saying, 'Men and women help one another because they are different, have different gifts and different spheres'. She never married, although she had a short-lived romance with Sir Edward Bond, a famous English librarian.

She died of cancer at her home in Marylebone on the 13th August 1912 aged 73, and although famous in her day, has been largely forgotten until recently. For the National Trust's centenary celebration, a beautiful pink rose was named after her.

To highlight all her work would need several volumes, but hopefully this has given some idea of a very remarkable lady.

Oh! If you find yourself in Wisbech, it would be worth spending some time at her Birthplace House, a handsome Georgian house overlooking the River Nene. Part of it was bought in 1994 and opened as a museum. In 2007, National Trust bought the rest of the house, expanding the museum, and adding an education centre and tearoom. This opened for the first time on 16th March this year.


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


Opening of New Road, March 1920

In the Newsletter of June 1991, I described the Landslip which occurred on the coast road between Combe Martin and Ilfracombe in January 1919. As an introduction to this issue's article, the postcards from that article and part of the article are reproduced here.

'The landslip occurred about 10.00 p.m. on the 10th January 1919, and these pictures were taken by Phillips & Lees of Ilfracombe the following morning. They show clearly the severed road and gas main just above Golden Cove on the Old Coast Road betweenWatermouth Castle's Sawmills and Sandy Cove.'



William Garratt took these two photographic postcards from the new road in the 1920's. Numbered 97 and 102 they are the only postcards I have from the new road.


The formal opening of the new road, which shortens the distance between Ilfracombe and Combe Martin by about a quarter of a mile, took place on Wednesday of last week, Mrs. Penn-Curzon, wife of Major Penn-Curzon of Watermouth Castle, performing the ceremony. It will be recalled that a serious landslide occurred in the early part of 1918 on the cliff face near Watermouth over which the Ilfracombe - Combe Martin main road ran at a height of about 250 ft above the level of the sea. The portion of the main road affected was at once closed, and traffic diverted through Berrynarbor Village. At first it was thought possible to avoid the landslip by a short deviation out farther into the cliff face, but very quickly the landslip extended in either direction, until about 200 yards of roadway have now either subsided or fallen into the sea. The whole scheme of providing a new road had, therefore, to be considered, and the construction of one on the land side of Napps Hill, some distance from the cliff face, was decided upon. The road which is 1,000 yards in length has been made available for traffic at the earliest possible moment owing to the narrowness of the only alternative route through Berrynarbor Village, and it is expected to be finished by Easter.

It has taken about twelve months to construct, and the work has been admirably carried out under the direction of Mr. R.M.Stone, County Surveyor for the Northern Division, and the personal supervision of Mr. A.J. Meakins, a member of the County Surveyor's Staff. Direct labour has been employed, and the stone used has been obtained from an adjacent quarry. The cost of the work, when completed, will be just over £5,000. The gathering at the opening ceremony included Mr. W.P. Hiern, J.P., C.A., representing the Devon County Council, Mr. R.M. Stone, Messrs. J. Woodward, J. Kelly, F.W. Birmingham, H. Vemall and Miss Hammond [members of the Ilfracombe Urban District Council], with their Surveyor, Mr. O.M. Prouse, Messrs. A.W. Gaydon, C.C., and Yeo [Surveyor], Lynton Urban Council, Mr. H. lsaac, Combe Martin's representative on Bamstaple Rural District Council, Messrs. A.J . Meakins, E.J. Rowe, S. Webber and A. Ford, members of the County Surveyor's Staff, and others.

Mrs. Penn-Curzon gracefully served a beflagged ribbon extending across the Combe Martin end of the road, remarking "I have great pleasure in declaring this road open."

Mr. Hiern said it was generally conceded that the new road was a local improvement. Its construction had been a very considerable expense, which in olden days would have fallen on the Parish of Berrynarbor, but in these more enlightened days the expense was borne by the County - a back more capable of bearing such a burden than any one parish in the locality. Referring to the fact that in these times it was more difficult to get a contract for work to be done, and if such could be obtained, they were subject to all kinds of alterations which might occur. He complimented the Surveyor [Mr. Stone] on the excellent arrangements by which the work had been done. He remarked that they were very much indebted to the owners of the Watermouth Estate for the way in which they had met the Devon County Council in the provision of land for the diversion. He expressed his personal thanks to Mrs. Penn-Curzon for her services in opening the road which he thought would be a permanent local improvement. [Applause]."

How history can repeat itself! Early in 1991, the A399 showed stress marks, due to the weakness of the cliff, to appear on the road just below the entrance to Greenleas, Berrynarbor. For safety reasons, the DCC installed traffic lights and traffic was only allowed to use the landward side of the road. On the 10th April 1991, the Planning and Transportation Committee of Devon County Council reviewed as an emergency item, to divert the road from Windy Ridge via the rear of Little Firs, On a Hill Garage and then behind the succeeding properties before rejoining the main road to Ilfracombe. It was estimated this would cost in the region of £650,000. Assurance was given that the work would be completed in the shortest possible time, although a start could not be made before September with completion hopefully by the end of March 1992.

My grateful thanks to Daphne Challacombe of Combe Martin for her help with this article.

Tom Bartlett, Tower Cottage

e-mail: tombartlett@hotmail.com