Edition 161 - April 2016

Photos: Judie Weedon

Artwork: Judie Weedon


First, a warm welcome to all newcomers to the village wishing you happiness in your new home. Sadly, we also say some goodbyes and again wish you well in your new homes.

Finance - the response from the mail readers has been fantastic with subscriptions being renewed together with some very generous donations. Thank you all and thank you for your kind words: 'I do enjoy reading it', '

'A most interesting read', 'Always received with great anticipation!' 'Many thanks for your hard work once again for such a good newsletter', 'Enjoying the mag as much as ever!' Such remarks certainly do make the hard work worthwhile.

At last some lovely blue skies and sunny days which hopefully have cheered us all up, but especially everyone who has not been feeling too well lately - get better soon.

By the time you read this Easter will be over, the clocks gone forward and spring will have officially arrived. It has been a long time coming with so many grey, wet and miserable days over the last four months. Now the daffodils and spring flowers are making a lovely splash of colour and the trees and shrubs beginning to bud.

How lucky the Newsletter has so many regular contributors including our artist in residence, Paul. Thank you all - keep the items coming! However, it would also be nice to hear from some new contributors and items for the June issue are welcome any time from now and by Wednesday, 11th May, at the latest please. Thank you.

Judie - Ed


Artwork: Paul Swailes


2016 started much as 2015 ended, still wet, warm and windy. There was an improvement towards the middle of the month when it became dryer and brighter for a couple of days with cooler temperatures. On the 20th the thermometer fell to -2.8 Deg C at 0333, this was the lowest temperature of the month and was also the lowest January temperature since 2011. The better weather didn't last long though, on the 26th Storm Jonas which had deposited such heavy snow to the east of America arrived here bringing gales and heavy rain mainly to the north of the country. This was swiftly followed on the 28th by Storm Gertrude which brought winds over 100 mph to Shetland and 37 mph here in the valley.

The total rain for January was 212mm which was above average but not a record though there were only six days without precipitation in the whole month. The highest temperature we recorded was 14.2 Deg C and 12.93 hours of sunshine were recorded. The maximum wind gust was 42 mph but there were five days at the end of the month with gusts between 34 mph and 41 mph.

The next storm to hit was Henry on the 1st of February but again it was mainly the north that was affected. Saturday the 6th was very windy and wet then on the 8th Imogen arrived. This time it was the South West which bore the brunt. We were sheltered from the worst but recorded gusts of 42 mph on the 8th and 43 mph on the 9th. After that the weather calmed down again and at the end of the month we actually had five completely dry days in a row and a taste of spring, prior to that there had been only two dry days in the month. The total rain was 98mm and the maximum gust of wind was 43 mph. The maximum temperature was 12.9 Deg C with a minimum of -1.8 Deg C, a wind chill of -9 Deg C. The sunshine hours weighed in at 34.28, the highest since October.

The days are drawing out and by the time you read this we shall be into British Summertime and hopefully some nice spring sunshine.

Simon and Sue


Storm Jonas


Storm Gertrude


Artwork: Helen Armstead


As mentioned in the February Newsletter, we are looking forward to welcoming our new Vicar Michael Rogers to serve both Berrynarbor and Combe Martin parishes - hopefully by April this year. Rev. Michael has already taken services at both churches and has made great efforts to get to meet parishioners - and will no doubt be able to make himself known in our village and Primary School in the fullness of time. Advertising is already under way for the House for Duty Priest, a position that will support Michael in the wider community once he has officially taken up the reins here in Berrynarbor.

Our AGM will have taken place by the time this edition of the Newsletter is circulated and we sincerely hope that we are able to attract a new Treasurer to join us on our PCC. It is very important that we attract a new Treasurer to our fold because Malcolm Sayer - our current Treasurer - and his wife Pat will sadly be moving away from Berrynarbor at the end of March to be nearer their family. Malcolm's departure will be a great loss to us all for he has been an absolute rock and helped steer us financially during these difficult times. We wish him and Pat the very best in their new home. NB - If there is anyone in Berrynarbor or nearby who would like to take on the post of Treasurer we should be very pleased to hear from you. It is not a requirement that an applicant attend church services in deciding to take up this post. Please contact me on [01271] 883893 if you would be willing to help.

A Quinquennial Inspection - 5-year inspection by the Diocese of Exeter's architect - was carried out in September last year and we have now received the full report. The Architect acknowledged that the church has been well maintained but there is a serious issue with regard to the lead guttering and associated flashings that needs immediate attention to prevent water from entering the ceiling and adjacent roof beams inside the church. Although there are many grants that are available to us from various sources, the PCC has to contribute £6,000 from our funds to get things underway. This will make a sizeable dent in our funds, but we have to move forward in a positive way to avoid serious damage to the fabric of the church.

On a more uplifting subject, we shall be holding a special Flower Festival entitled 'Anniversaries 2016' commencing on Friday 22nd July to the 25th inclusive. There will be no entrance fee for this event but any donation towards the cost of flowers before the event would be very welcome. There will be a Planning Meeting on Friday, 6th May at 11;00 a.m. in the church and we should welcome all those interested in taking part or offers of help.

For anyone who is interested in joining Berrynarbor Choir to sing a wide range of music, please contact me on [01271] 883893 at any time. We meet on Monday evenings from 7.30 - 8.30 p.m. If there are tenors out there - and there must be - Britain, no Berrynarbor Needs You!

We wish our retired Rector, George Billington, the best of health following his recent illness and Elaine Filer who unfortunately fractured her hip recently and is now convalescing. Her friends from Berrynarbor Choir and the bell ringers wish her a speedy recovery;

Church Services will follow the same format as before and are:

  • 1st Sunday Village Service
  • 2nd Sunday Holy Communion
  • 3rd Sunday Family Service
  • 4th Sunday Holy Communion

All services commence at 11.00 a.m.

Please note there will be a Joint Service with Combe Martin held at St. Peter's Church, Combe Martin on Sunday, 29th May commencing at 9.30 a.m.

The next Friendship Lunches will be held in The Globe from 12.00 noon on Wednesdays 27th April and 25th May.

Stuart Neale



I look forward to the news of the village and the memories that surface from the past as I read familiar surnames of long ago.

The centre pages in February reminded me of a school group taken in 1950/51 when Mrs. Cowperthwaite took over from Miss Veale. The school has taken pupils from East Down and outlying farms and had certainly expanded in the 1970's picture.

So you can imagine what a blessing it is to receive the Newsletter and see that Berry's community spirit is still alive and well. I was pleased you did so well in the Best Kept Village and Britain in Bloom again and that plans are going ahead for the Manor Hall - another place of happy memories - Harvest Festival Suppers, Children's Christmas Parties and Gifts, Socials, etc., and the film shows with the travelling cinema in the late '50's.

Mrs. Toms and her family had a little Tea Shop and the first TV in the village. We watched royal events in their cosy sitting room in what is now Miss Muffets. The Globe had a pretty garden where we had Eldorado ice creams, a special treat . . . ah, the memories.

Sheila Twose - Torquay





Miss Me

When I come to the end of the road and the sun has set for me,
I want no rites in a gloom-filled room, why cry for a soul set free!
Miss me a little, but not too long, and not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that we once shared, miss me but let me go.
For this journey we all must take, and each must go alone.
It's all part of the Master plan, a step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick of heart, go to the friends we know,
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds,
Miss me but let me go.

It was good to see so many from the village at Edna Barber's funeral on a very wet and unpleasant afternoon. A simple and happy service was taken by Mavis and Chris Eastlaugh. Flowers were sent by the Parish Council, Goodenough and Berry in Bloom to which the collection was donated. A big thank you to Wendy who invited everyone back for tea at Bessemer Thatch.

How interesting but sad to receive the following e-mail:

    I have just seen an obituary for my Auntie Edna on the Berrynarbor Newsletter website which made me cry as I know Auntie Edna would have been so proud. I am her next of kin and the last member of my family to have seen her in about 1970. I moved to London from Chelmsford with my husband to run a public house and then Auntie Edna sold the family home and, I thought, moved to Norfolk. In fact, I have been researching and trying to find her since 1993. One of my sisters told me that Fraser and Fraser were trying to find our family and they have put in a claim under my name for her estate. I knew she used to keep in touch with her Uncle Cecil who lived on the border of Norfolk and that he died in the 1960's which is why I thought she moved to Norfolk. My family moved from London to Norfolk in 1976. The Barbers originally came from Norfolk.

    Sandra Barber

28th February 1917 - 7th February 2016

How sad it was to learn that Phyl had passed away peacefully, as she wished, at home at Cherry Tree Cottage on Sunday, 7th February, just three weeks short of her 99th birthday.

A much loved and loving wife of the late Len, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, she will be sorely missed by all her family, relations, friends and neighbours.

The happy and moving celebration of her life conducted by George Billington to a full and colourful [another wish] gathering at the Crematorium was testament to the depth of love, respect and affection in which she was held by so many.

Our thoughts are especially with Chris, David and Ivy, James, Bev, Gracie and Ruby at this time of sadness.

Phyllis Jessica Helmore was born in Forest Gate, London. She grew up with her three older brothers in a happy fun-filled Victorian terraced house. She attended East Ham Grammar School where she amassed a good knowledge including music, composers and poetry. She was also good at sports, excelling at hockey and tennis.

When she was 19 she featured in a series of Esso Motoring advertisements which her cousin, a commercial artist, had been commissioned to produce.



In June 1939 she married Len Walden and the family home was set up in Chigwell, later moving to mid-Essex to a house set in one and a half acres of glorious orchard - it was fantastic!

At 60 and after a successful career, Len retired and in 1971 they moved to Lynton, where they bought The Highway, a delightful house built at the end of the old station platform. The garden included the first mile and a half of railway track and the views were magnificent.

Len had a 17-inch Suffolk Punch motor mower and he would light up a Woodbine to keep the flies at bay, fire up the engine and disappear down the track, a cloud of flies circling at a safe distance waiting to pounce when the first cigarette burned out. Two hours later, he would return having cut a 34-inch strip, turn round and repeat several times over. What dedication!

Len and Phyl took up golf and after 8 years they moved to Ilfracombe to be nearer the course they so loved. Over the years they both represented the Club and played all over Devon, both together and individually. Phyl served as Lady Captain in the late 1970's.

Several years later they moved again, to June Cottage in Berrynarbor.

In 1985 after selling up in Essex, I moved down to Devon and was staying with Phyl and Len while I looked for a house. Sadly, one month after arriving, Len died suddenly. Phyllis didn't want to stay at June Cottage and incredibly, as luck would have it, Cherry Tree Cottage came back on the market. We went to look at it, loved the house, the garden and the setting and bought it between us. That was 30 years ago.

Phyllis gave up playing golf at the age of 81, shortly after scoring that elusive hole-in-one, arguing that she could improve on that feat only with assistance from above.

In all Phyl enjoyed 45 years of wonderful retirement, 25 years of active golf and a garden packed with flowers and wildlife, in particular the huge variety of birds visiting the feeders every day.

The squadron of hen pheasants that flies in several times a day was a constant source of delight. She asked me recently to name 'that' pheasant Phyllis. I asked which one. "That one" was the reply - I couldn't tell the difference! "We'll call all 17 Phyllis as well as the two young cocks - until they gain their spurs!"

I should like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who looked after, visited and sent messages to Phyl in the last few weeks, and to everyone for their kindness, messages of sympathy and for attending the light-hearted, at Phyl's request, service celebrating her life.




O, to be in England
Now that April 's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England-now!
And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossom'd pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops-at the bent spray's edge-
That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children's dower
Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!

Robert Browning


Illustrated by: Paul Swailes




We continued with our Maths theme based around the story of Goldilocks and The Three Bears, focusing on counting, recognising numbers and beginning to categorise objects according to their properties such as shape and size. The children also made comparisons between quantities and used positional language such as behind, next to or on top.

We celebrated World book day (3rd March) with the children wearing dressing gowns and bringing in their favourite story books. We had lots of fun reading new and funny stories.

We visited a local farm and saw many spring lambs and should like to thank the family for their time in allowing us to visit them at one of their busiest times of year.

For Sports Relief the children participated in a sponsored mini obstacle race. All monies raised were divided equally between both Sports Relief and our Pre-school. We also raised money from a clothes recycling scheme collecting old and nearly new clothes through Bags2School. This was a good event and we wish to thank all who took part. We plan to collect again soon. Look out for our posters.

The Pre-school is open during term time and closed during school holidays and bank holidays.

Our Opening times are 8.30am - 4.00pm Monday to Friday.

We are flexible and have a range of session times to meet your needs:

Preschool sessions 8.30am or 9.00am - 12.00 noon (AM)
12.00 noon - 3.00pm or 3.30pm or 4.00pm (PM)
8.30am or 9.00am -3.00pm or 3.30pm or 4.00pm (ALL DAY)

We are Ofsted registered and in receipt of the 2gether scheme and Early Years' Entitlement. We provide care and education for young children between the age of 2 and 5.

Please visit us or call 07807 0903644 or email preschoolberrynarbor@gmail.com for additional information. Thank you again for all your support


For Patients of Warwick & Waterside Practices

We should like to make patients aware that both Dr. Womersley and Dr. Kilner will be retiring from the Warwick Practice on 31st March 2016. From 1st April 2016 patients registered to them will be seen by another GP, this will be advised to patients shortly. The Practice will inform patients of their new registered GP as soon as possible.

Building Update

Building work is now well underway and we have started work on the main entrance and Same Day Service Reception. This has necessitated the need to close the main entrance to the building and Warwick reception and waiting room.

Entrance can be accessed from over the bridge at the front right of the building into the new reception area [previously Waterside reception]. The diversion will take you through the back of the reception area and into the new Combe Coastal reception and is clearly marked.

Please note that the self-check-in screens are temporarily out of use. Some of the blood tests and nurse appointments are now upstairs but you will be informed of this when you check in at Reception. Remember that our reception teams are there to help you and are working hard to keep disruption and change for patients to a minimum.

We now have a bigger nurse clinic room situated in one half of the building which patients using this service will see over the coming weeks.

The Practices still have all the same team members but they are working in different areas of the building this will help give you continuity of service both on the telephone and in reception. We shall give you an update on this work as we get nearer to completion.

We should like to take this opportunity to thank all patients for their co-operation.

Nicky Young



Just to say that there will be no little plant stall outside Higher Rows this year.

I have, however, many plants still for sale in aid of the Children's Hospice and you are so welcome to either come to the house or give me a ring to come and look at what is here. Thank you all for your loyal custom in the past years.

Margaret [Tel: 01271 883762]



Devon County Council has announced a reduction in the present 5-day No. 33 bus service to 2 days a week, Tuesdays and Fridays, and have given the contract to Ilfracombe Community Minibuses to start from Tuesday, 31st May. Times and fares will remain the same and bus passes will continue to be accepted.

We are willing to consider extending the route to include the Sterridge Valley and need to hear as soon as possible from people if they are likely to use the service. We shall be using a minibus with tail-lift for wheel chairs. Please 'phone Shirley Jones on [01271] 863630 to express your interest without delay as we need to register any change to the route by early April.

Shirley - Ilfracombe Community Transport



Over the winter there have been many changes in the Gardens, now open again from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. daily, the Plant Sales and Nursery open from 11.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. The Garden Tea Room which is open from 10.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m., has new menus, more local crafts in the gift shop and more comfortable seating areas inside and out.

Folksy Theatre will be performing twice - As You Like It and The Smartest Giant in Town and tickets will be available from April.

Full details are on the website: www.marwoodhillgarden.co.uk.

On the 8th June, the Head Gardener Joe Reardon-Smith will be taking Season Ticket holders for a walk around the Gardens and the National Garden Scheme day is on Friday 10th June. Not a Season Ticket holder? Why not join NOW. A Single ticket is £25 and for 2 people living at the same address £40


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


New Contact for Booking the Hall

As you may know, Alan Rowlands has stood down as our long-serving Bookings Officer and all enquiries about hall availability and charges should now be addressed to Alison Sharples. We are moving towards using e-mail for most hall contacts, so the best way to contact Alison will be via alison_sharples@btinternet.com, or if necessary telephone [01271] 882782.

Please note that regular users must remember to e-mail Alison if they want to cancel the occasional session, otherwise their invoicing will be incorrect.

Any enquiries about invoicing should still be addressed to Nora Rowlands until mid-May, when we'll give further information.

We thank both Alan and Nora for over 10 years of service to the Hall and this village. If you would like to join in with a send-off and thanks for all the voluntary work they have done, please join us for a drink in The Globe on Wednesday, 13th April at 7.30 p.m.

Heating in the Main Hall

The rewiring to the four electric heaters has been done and should resolve the problems experienced earlier. We hope the two new radiators also help - these are run off the gas boiler in Pre-School, and will come on at the same times set for Pre-School, i.e. most of the day Monday to Friday.

Donations and Funds

We should like to give sincere thanks for recent donations and grants. County Councillor Andrea Davies has given further support to us with an award of £500 from her Locality Budget to help with the costs of our renovation planning. Richard and Be Gingell have also given a very generous £400 from the recent Soup and Pud evening, and John and Fenella Boxall raised £345 from the recent 'Salt in the Sugar Jar' Beaford Arts event at Sloley Farm. Thanks to everyone for all their efforts.

In terms of our reserves, we should say that these have steadily increased over the last few years, in readiness for carrying out major work to the hall. However, this isn't straightforward.

Work to the Hall this summer

As may be well known by now, the planned major renovation of the main hall depends on getting Big Lottery funding. However, 'heritage' work isn't eligible for such funding and because of this and in order to spend the £4,572 awarded to us by North Devon Council [which is time-limited], we plan to carry out work this summer to repair the Medieval manor house roof and the Tudor facade.   When we know the details we will let the Pre-School and Men's Institute know how this might affect them whilst the work is underway. All the planned work will accord with SPAB principles [Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings].

We shall be applying for other grant help for this, but this type of funding isn't easy to get so we may have to fund the balance of the work ourselves at a cost of perhaps some £15,000. This then is a real dilemma - the needs of the main hall are more obvious, but in effect we are a village hall charity with a modest income that also has to maintain a 600-year-old annex, and all the planned work needs to be done. There are some structural issues with the old roof, with one corner in particular being of concern.  

However, there is good news in that we have now obtained listed buildings consent for all the planned works, the only condition being about archaeological recording. This is a big step forward!

The Manor Hall Trust

For day to day purposes it is of little consequence, but the Manor Hall is managed by a charity [the Manor Hall Trust] which is an unincorporated body in law, that is it can't enter into contracts as an organisation. This will become more of an issue when major works need to be undertaken to the hall, so we are exploring the possibility of converting into a new body known as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, or CIO. These are fairly new, having only been introduced via the Charities Act 2011. If this does happen nothing will change on the surface, but it would make managing the Hall's renovation a lot easier.

Manor Hall Management Committee



It's been raining for two months; it's cold, wet, damp, muddy and basically b... miserable. So what do you do? You invite 90 people into your home, cook up a storm and say b.... to the weather.

And so it came to pass that we sat down and broke chapattis, roti and poppadum with friends and acquaintances and complete strangers and listened to a poignant tale of loss and bereavement and motherly love, good home cooking and family tradition handed down from generation to generation.

Beaford Arts latest production in the village was a cracker, sparking a lot of discussion over a post-performance curry and inevitably the odd beer and glass of wine.

Many thanks to Nikesh Shukla for sharing his family recipes, Beaford Arts and of course all of you who came along and supported. We are delighted to advise that £345 has been added to the Manor Hall renovation fund and that we probably won't be eating curry for a few months!




These colourful fungi were spotted and photographed by my daughter Helen whilst out geocaching on the slopes above the Marine Drive at Woolacombe at Christmas.



Never having seen anything quite like them before and fascinated by their colours, we enquired of the Valley Tims if they could make an identification. They in turn enquired of a friend, Alan Rowland from Cornwall. His initial thoughts were that they were waxcaps. He then sent the images on to his mycologist friend,

Professor John Hedger from Scotland, who confirmed that they were waxcaps and were all old fruiting bodies, hence the interesting shapes, and are:

  1. Hygrocybe punicea - crimson waxcap [but older than 3]
  2. Hygrocybe coccinea - scarlet waxcap
  3. Hygrocybe punicea - crimson waxcap

It was also suggested that we send the images and their identity to the Devon Biodiversity Records Centre in Exeter who have advised that they will be entering them on to their database of sightings.

Our thanks to John, Alan and the Tims for all their help.

Helen and Judie Weedon

Mycology is the branch of biology concerned with the study of fungi, including their genetic and biochemical properties, their taxonomy and their use to humans as a source for tinder, medicine, food, and entheogens, as well as their dangers, such as poisoning or infection.



Monday 30th May - Lee Memorial Hall and meadow.   Our theme this year is the Royal Birthday Celebration and the fair opens at 2.00 p.m. with light lunches and refreshments served in the Memorial Hall from 12 noon onwards.  Stalls and games, Ilfracombe Town Crier, guitar and ukulele performances, welly wanging, raffle, tombola and lots more - something for all the family to enjoy.  All weather protection, so come rain or shine it will be great fun.  Parking in the village and at the seafront.  We look forward to seeing you there!



Dean [Hawker] and Steve [McCarthy]

You might like to know that Steve proposed to me at Combe Martin bay where we have both spent many happy hours together, also with parents, friends and family.

As you can see from the photo, it was done in the sand and I had no idea. Of course the answer was 'Yes' - after 26 years together - we won't forget this leap year!


Congratulations and best wishes to you both.




The second half of the Spring Term has been a busy one. There have been a couple of inter-school sports events. Our swimming team did well at the swimming gala with each competitor reaching the finals in their event. They took part enthusiastically and we are very proud of them.

Elderberry class spent an afternoon at Ilfracombe Academy playing Tag Rugby with children from other primary schools in the area.

We are collecting Sainsbury's Active Kids Vouchers again this year. Over the years we have gained some useful sports equipment through this scheme. If you have any vouchers going spare, please either pop them in to us or to the shop. Thank you.

On the 3rd March we celebrated World Book Day. Our theme this year was Space, and the children were encouraged to make a costume to wear for the day. On the previous day we were all enthralled and fascinated by the wonders of space as we spent time in the Space Odyssey Dome that was set up in the Manor Hall. Thank you to the Pilates class for freeing up the hall for us We hope that those of you who experienced it found it amazing, too. This is what the children thought about it:

"I really liked the Space Odyssey. It was awesome! We got to see loads of constellations. They were amazing! We also got to see all the planets and loads of space men and women. I loved it!"

"I liked the Space Dome. It was 3D."

"One day at school we went over to the Manor Hall to an inflated dome where a man explained how the space station moves around the earth. He also told us what people think the stars look like. My favourite star shape was a unicorn. It was so magnificent. On World Book Day we went to do 3 activities based on a book while dressed up as a space themed costume. Most people dressed up as Star Wars characters. It was spectacular."

"I enjoyed the Space Dome because we got to see the International Space Station and inside it. Things kept spinning around."

"On World Book Day the theme was space. I was a galaxy."

"I loved the Space Odyssey. It was incredible. We saw rockets and rockets going into space. We saw Leo, Leo Senior and Orion. When I got home I told mum everything. It was amazing! The next day I enjoyed playing Flanimals and making them out of playdough. It was the best!"

It is great that there is to be a defibrillator in the village.

David Blackmore from St John Ambulance came in to school to demonstrate and explain how it works to Key Stage 1 and 2 children.

The topic for Key Stage 1 this term has been Transport and they spent a great day at Woody Bay and Lynton looking at and travelling on the railways.

The School Council, elected from each class, meet regularly to discuss issues dropped into their suggestions boxes, ranging from school meals to sticking taps.

At the time of writing, plans are under way to raise money for Sport Relief. There will be a sponsored Mile Run and a Bake Off. Years 3 to 6 will be making cakes at home. They will be judged on taste and presentation. We shall have our very own Paul Hollywood and

Mary Berry stand-ins to judge both categories, but children will be able to judge appearance and presentation for a fee of 20p. Results and photos might appear in the next issue of the Newsletter.

There are also other special things happening in the run up to Easter. Blueberry Class will be putting on their Easter play, the whole school will be going to the Landmark Theatre for a performance by Kagemasha Tiako Drums, and KS1 along with Pre-school will be walking to see the lambs at a local farm.

Meanwhile we look forward to our Easter break and the lighter evenings.

Sue Carey - Head Teacher




February and March Meetings

  • Reports were received from the Police, County Councillor, District Councillors, Play Area Inspections and the Manor Hall.
  • A letter of resignation has been received from Mrs Linda Thomas.
  • A number of Planning Applications have been considered.
  • A new shed, seats and football nets are to be provided at the Recreation Field.
  • Emergency items such as sandbags are being stored behind the Community Shop.
  • Arrangements are being made to have a new bus shelter at the top of Barton Lane in a slightly different position from a safety point of view.
  • A defibrillator has been purchased and installed in the decommissioned telephone kiosk in Silver Street which has been purchased from BT.**
  • Quotations are awaited to reposition the Basset Fountain at Sawmills which suffered impact damage.
  • It has not been possible to find a suitable site for the Devon Air Ambulance to land at night.
  • Tenders are being invited for the refurbishment of the public toilets.
  • Various payments have been authorised.
  • The Play Inspection Company will be inspecting the play equipment at the Manor Hall and Recreation Field.
  • Standing Orders are being reviewed with a decision to be made by Councillors at the start of the April Meeting.
  • A response is being made as a result of the North Devon & Torridge Local Plan Consultation.
  • Councillor Stanbury & County Councillor Mrs Davis to have a site meeting at Cross Park regarding the flooding and drainage issues.
  • Representations were received at the February Meeting regarding the Schedule 14 Application and clarification has been obtained from Devon County Council Public Rights of Way Department as follows:

Regarding the application route, I can confirm that as the situation currently stands, it has no recorded public status.

Consequently, the County Council does not have the power to seek the removal of any obstructions. This could only occur if the Order that Devon County Council has been directed to make, is confirmed.

If the Order were to be confirmed, then as a public right of way the surface of the route would be vested in the County Council as the relevant highway authority.

The relevant landowner(s) would retain ownership of the subsoil.

If the Order the County Council has been directed to make is confirmed, it would then become a public right of way, which the Parish Council would have the capacity to maintain under the County Council's P3 Scheme.

The removal of any obstructions would be the responsibility of the County Council.

The deadline date for items to be included on the Agenda and discussed at the next Meeting is Monday 4th April. Late items will be added to the May 2016 Agenda. There are posters in the village informing members of the public of the date.

** There will be a meeting at the Manor Hall on Tuesday, 19th April at

7.00 p.m. for instruction on using the defibrillator. Everyone welcome

Sue Squire - Parish Clerk




Overall Theme:  Capability Brown, Year of the English Garden


To get your juices flowing, Art and Photography details are given below.

Categories for the following groups are as follows:


1.            Year of the English Garden
2.            To be beside the Seaside
3.            A Water Scene
4.            Painted item on any surface other than paper, card or canvas, e.g. glass, pottery, stone, wood, slate etc.  Any subject.

Maximum size for all classes must not exceed A3 (297mm x 420mm)


1.            Year of the English Garden
2.            To be beside the Seaside         
3.            A Water Scene  
4.            Railways & Trains
5.            Your Pet
6.            A Sporting Event
7.            A Sporting Event [Enhanced in any way]                  

Photographs must be maximum 5 x 8 to be affixed to white card or paper size A5 for display purposes.  Entries limited to 2 photographs per class.



Bosom Buddies North Devon is a support group for anyone affected by the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. It's run by women who have been through a similar experience and so understand what it's like to live with breast cancer.

The group was set up in 2008 by a team of ladies who set out to ensure that people with breast cancer in North Devon had access to support in addition to what was available in a hospital or hospice setting.

It can feel very isolating to find you have cancer even when you have lots of family and friends, so a sense of camaraderie is at the heart of Bosom Buddies. Knowing you can talk about anything with someone who will listen and understand, can help you to feel you're not on your own.

We aim to offer a range of support in a friendly, safe environment and inspire and encourage a positive approach. We meet monthly and often invite speakers and arrange activities on things that might help us such as exercise or nutrition, or just something fun. We also organise opportunities to involve family and friends, in recognition that our diagnosis has an impact on all those involved in our lives. We provide information and resources, especially on complementary healthcare.

Our get-togethers are light hearted and generally full of laughter. If you know anyone who might like to come along then please let them know about us. We meet at 7.00 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month (except January) at Barnstaple Rugby Club, Pottington Road, Barnstaple EX31 1JH. Please ring us on 07534 838202 [Lesley] or 01805 623808 [Carole]. If you would like any further information, please e-mail bosombuddiesnorthdevon@gmail.com or look at the website www.bosombuddiesnorthdevon.co.uk..


Artwork: Paul Swailes






A Spoonbill marched with long strides along the water's edge. We had been watching it feed, sweeping its huge black, yellow tipped bill in curving movements through the water. We were close enough to see that its legs had been ringed with yellow, red and green rings. The ringing could have been done in Holland, Spain or Portugal.



On the opposite bank of the river, on the Pottington side, stood another Spoonbill resting alongside Godwits and Lapwings. Once a scarce passage migrant, since the late 1980's Spoonbills have been regular visitors to the Taw between August and April. Although also present on the Exe, a greater number usually appears on North Devon's estuary than elsewhere In the county.

Some of the spoonbills occurring in Devon have been sighted as far afield as Morocco and Mauritius.

The route along the river from Barnstaple via Anchorbank and Penhill Marsh towards Fremington Quay used to provide a quick and easy walk when visiting the town. However, since improvements to the Tarka Trail, following the opening of the new bridge, access to the river has become more arduous and involves a dull stretch of path and rather hostile underpasses, garishly painted, before a view of the river is gained.

Nevertheless, once you reach Penhill Marsh you never know what you might see. In 2002 among Brent Geese and Shelduck, gathered on the saltmarsh we saw a similarly sized goose with a distinctive pattern of bold red-brown and black patches outlined in white.

It was a Red-breasted Goose, a species which breeds in Siberia and winters mainly on the Black Sea coasts of Romania and Bulgaria. Although it would have been nice to think it was a truly wild bird that had travelled far, this gorgeous looking goose on the banks of the Taw was more likely to have been an escapee from a private collection. But it was lovely to encounter it in a natural setting in the company of other wild fowl.



Once we witnessed a memorable and macabre event on Penhill Marsh. It involved a Peregrine Falcon and a Little Egret, neither bird at all unusual there of course, but what happened was unexpected.

There was a very strong wind that day. A Little Egret flew past and fluttered down into a gully. Soon a Peregrine flying low and slow landed in the same gully.



Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

After a few minutes the falcon emerged on the edge of the gully, dragging out the Little Egret. Anchoring the dead body with its Feet, the Peregrine then plucked and at the Egret, looking warily from side to side and finally leaving the feet, wings and head. This happened to coincide with a spring half term so there were families of cyclists on the Tarka Trail who took in the scene.

Ed Drewitt, a west country naturalist and broadcaster, has made a special study of Peregrine Falcons over many years, identifying their prey items. It is a long list but at that date it did not include the Little Egret. It could be that this particular Egret was a weak bird, struggling with the strong wind and therefore more vulnerable.

All this within sight of human habitation and industry.

Sue H



Last Friday my mind was preoccupied with getting to a dental appointment, and I was half way to Barnstaple when I realised that I had forgotten to put out the black bags for collection.

On Monday I decided that I did not want to keep the black bags for another fortnight. Surely there must be somewhere not too far away where I could legally dispose of them? I phoned North Devon Council waste collection to ask.

"We only do collection, not disposal," said the helpful lady; "You might try one of the recycling centres, Killacleave at Ilfracombe, or Severn Brethren at Barnstaple, but you will have to phone Devon County, this is the number -----"

Now I know Killacleave. There are large notices threatening a fine of £100 if you dare to leave a bag that contains any kitchen waste, but let's try Severn Brethren, after all it is only a 20 mile round trip, petrol has come down, and perhaps I can fit in a trip to somewhere useful at the same time.

I phoned the number.

"Yes you can take 2 waste bags, but you must make an appointment; what is your name?" I gave it.

"What is your address?" I gave it.

"What is the number of the vehicle you will be taking?" Surprised, but ever patient, I gave it.

"Right, you can go, but don't get there before about 1 1/2 hours from now, I have got to get the information through to the recycling centre".

I said that I might not go today. "Oh dear" said the lady, "I must put a note on your information that it might be tomorrow!"

At this stage I was thinking it would be easier to leave it in the back of the garage, but I remembered that nice bottle of New Zealand Pinot Grigio that I tasted last week. It would be worth going on to Majestic!

I drove slowly right round the recycling centre until, finally, I found a skip labelled "Non-Recyclable Waste". I got my bags out when I saw a workman in an office/hut.

"Can I put my rubbish in here?" I asked.

"Oh no, not if there is any chance that there might be food waste in it, it would contaminate the whole skip! Did you make an appointment? What is your name and address?" I gave it. He took a look at the car number plate, went into his office and came out with a piece of paper.

"Put the bags down here and I will take them away," he said.

"If I need to," I asked "Can I just come back another time?"

"Oh no," was the reply, "You must phone in and make an appointment. What is more, we cannot take more than eight bags in any one year."

I drove slowly and carefully to Majestic, convinced that if they had that Pinot Grigio, I would have a dozen, not six!

Alex Parke of DC




"Is your Englishman so expert in his drinking? "
William Shakespeare, Othello.

Call My Wine Bluff is a favourite BWC evening based on the popular BBC game programme Call My Bluff, that ran, off and on, between 1965 and 2005.

Bob, Geoff and Tony told us our first was a Chenin Blanc, a Verdejo or a Pinot Grigio.  It was Tony's: a Spanish 100% Verdejo.    It had a pale straw colour . . . greenish tinges. . . citrus, tropical fruits . . . fennel and scrubland herbs.   Amazingly, Tony had bought this for £3.50 from Majestic; we didn't think this price was a UK possibility!

Our second turned out to be the South African Robertsons Sauvignon Blanc.  Our team were expert for this one, as it was a True!   It was full bodied with a lovely balanced acidity.   The third white didn't come from Portugal or Argentina, but did come from Languedoc; it was a Viognier.  I think this can be a little greasy - not a preference of mine.

Old World wines are European or Middle Eastern; they are structure driven and have more terroir: how . . . climate, soils and aspect (terrain) affect the taste of wine . . . or . . . earthy notes.   Was our first red an American Zinfandel, Italian Primitivo or South African Pinotage?  It was a New World: Californian Old Vine Zinfande', grown on 100-year-old vines . . . with . . . softer tannins and a typical peppery finish.   

Wine 5 was our dearest at £19.99, but Majestically reduced to £13.22.   It could have been a Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra, between Adelaide and Melbourne.  It was inky black with deep red hues, but, it could be from Medoc: from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and . . . splash of Petit Verdot.   Apart from Rioja, Spain has another world renowned red-wine-producing area, the Ribero del Duero: the upper reaches of the Duero or Douro River.   Our wine came from Pesquera del Duero with a population of just 469, but its three-generation vineyard is prestigious and regularly receives 90+ points from the Wine Advocate magazine.

Finally, our options were from the Colchagua Valley in Chile, an Argentinian Malbec, or an Italian, Barolo, from the Nebbiolo grape.   The latter is known to be £££: Tony mentioned a Majestic's special offer; it had just crept into our budget.  This was a smoke screen as we sampled a Chilean Gran Reserva, made from the Carmenere grape.   Chilean wines bearing Gran Reserva means that it is their prestige wine, so on that flavoursome note, that's it for another year!

If a life of wine, women and song becomes too much, give up the singing.


Well, wine and women were the order of the day as February's meeting was Ladies' Night and I believe Alex Parke described Pam, Pip and I as the 'Old Brigade'; I think he was referring to our long-standing membership!

Pam started proceedings with a Spanish, 2014, Godello Caixes from Majestic.  The wine was 100% Godello, grown throughout north-west Spain.  This was used as a constituent, but has gained increasing recognition as a quality varietal in its own right.   Jamie Goode of the Sunday Express described this white as having pleasant focus with bright citrus and pear fruitiness, lots of flavour, but not heavy.   Many thought it was delicious.  It's still on offer: £6.99 instead of £7.99.  

Pip and I knew Pam was using Majestic; we used alternative importers, deliberately.   We 'travelled' to the Valle de Elqui in Chile, courtesy of Pip and Marks & Spencer and tasted a clean and fresh, 2014, PX.  The name didn't give much away; however, PX are the initials for the grape: Pedro Ximenez.  This was another 100% grape variety, but more commonly found in southern Spain, known, usually, for dark, sweet sherry or Australian sweet fortified wines.  The Wine Circle has tasted the dark and sweet, but, surprisingly, this was a dry white, similar to Sauvignon Blanc.  I heard 'delicious' and 'amazing', just £7 a bottle.  

Tohora Point, Marlborough and Sainsbury's are the names to conjure with for the last white.  This isn't similar to, it is a Sauvignon Blanc.   It was this grape, this wine that made the world take note of New Zealand. Sainsbury's description is enticing aromas of gooseberries, delicately fruity, stone fruit, pears, leading to a crisp. refreshing finish.  Many thought it was lovely.   Average price is £9.99:  I had paid £6.  

Portuguese wines are often ignored or forgotten; they shouldn't be.  Pam's Porta 6, was an award winner and sold 20,000 bottles one afternoon because TV Chef, James Martin, declared that 'it is one of the nicest reds I've tasted in 10 years on this show.'   Many of us agreed!   It was a grape mix: Tinta Roriz, or Tempranillo, Castelao  and Touriga Nacional and £7.49 instead of £8.99.  

Cotes du Rhone Villages wines are usually, synonymous with quality.  The best of these have their own appellation, including Vacqueyras, which achieved this status in 1990.  Our sample was 2014 and could be kept.  At the time of tasting the deal: £13 down to £10.40.  

In 1999, St Emilion was the first vineyard in the world listed as a world heritage site by UNESC', due to its outstanding example of a historic landscape that has survived intact and in activity to the present day'  Its wine is revered and can be very pricey; my 2013 was a Bronze award winner in 2015; it was agreed, generally, that it would be good with food.  Its £10 price label didn't shriek cheap!

Judith Adam


Artwork: Harry Weedon


Spring is sprung and the tubs and planters around the village have been bright with hyacinths and daffodils with tulips to come. These will be followed by the summer bedding. All of this is quite an expensive job. Last year we spent £537.00 on the summer bedding, £376.50 on the hanging baskets and £195.00 on bulbs and spring flowers. Another £141.50 went on compost and stone chippings, £127.48 replacing broken planters and insurance for the open gardens cost £162.00.


It is vital therefore that we raise money to pay for this and this year already we have had a successful quiz and supper evening and a jumble sale in conjunction with Jigsaw. We shall be running a cake stall on 2nd April at the Horticultural & Craft Show Coffee morning.

Our other two main fund raising events are:

  • The Sterridge Valley Open Gardens on the 26th June
  • The Village Open Gardens on the 14th August

If you are able and willing to open your garden, please contact me. Don't worry that yours may not be up to Chelsea standard, people just love to wander around our pretty village and all the gardens are lovely and interesting in their own way. To keep everything shipshape, our first litter pick of the year has taken place and litter picks will be held regularly - keep an eye on the blackboard in the bus shelter for dates.

Thank you to every one for your support, we shall be going for GOLD again this year.

Wendy Applegate


Artwork: Angela Bartlett

Mocha Cake

This is a lovely rich moist cake and will keep any chocolate lover happy!

  • 200g unsalted butter cut into small pieces
  • 200g good quality dark chocolate broken into small pieces
  • 2tbsp strong filter coffee or 1 tbsp instant coffee powder dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water
  • 50g plain flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 5 free range eggs
  • 75g light soft brown sugar
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder for dusting

Lightly grease a 20cm spring form tin and line with baking parchment. Heat the oven to 180C /gas 4. Put the butter, chocolate and coffee in to a smallish bowl set over barely simmering water in a saucepan. Make sure the bowl does not touch the water. Leave to melt but do not allow to get too hot. When the ingredients are melted remove from the heat and stir until well combined.

Sift the flour into a large bowl and mix in the almonds.

Separate the eggs into 2 large bowls. Add the soft brown sugar to the yolks and using an electric hand whisk beat together until thoroughly combined and creamy. Now carefully fold in the melted chocolate mixture. The chocolate has a tendency to sink to the bottom of the bowl so dig deep.

Now using clean beaters and a clean bowl whisk the egg whites and caster sugar in to soft peaks.

Fold the flour and almonds into the chocolate mix and then the whisked egg whites and sugar.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out slightly sticky. The idea is for the cake to be slightly undercooked so it will be soft and a little sunken in the middle. Cool in the tin then carefully remove and dust with the cocoa powder,

Actually. this is lovely served slightly warm with cream. Mmmmm!



Berrynarbor held its 2nd Soup and Pud Evening [back by popular demand] at the end of January in the Manor Hall. Another great success, the hall packed with soup and pudding lovers - a fantastic community event raising in excess of £900.

Home-made bunting, created by the Primary School, showing pictures of soups and puddings adorned the hall.

A big thank you to all who donated, helped, served, washed up and consumed. Charities supported this year are Devon Air Ambulance, the Manor Hall Trust, Jayne Morrow Stem Cell Fundraiser and Berrynarbor School.

Many thanks to all from the Soup and Pud Team.



Artwork: Helen Weedon


Our washing machine recently became rather poorly. It started to suffer from unpredictable high temperatures and severe bouts of water retention. I telephoned a specialist who agreed to do a home visit and run tests. The results were not favourable. He said the machine could have a programme transplant but at a cost so high it would be kinder to help it on its way to an everlasting heavenly hot wash. Put simply, purchasing a new washing machine would be cheaper. Bless him, he did at least give us comfort - no, not that type - by telling us our machine had lasted longer than its expected life span. I thought it a curious term, especially when one considers that our laundering device was an inanimate object. Not that it was unique, of course; a man-made item will not last forever if it is beyond repair, too expensive to repair, severely neglected or no longer required.

John Clare

This last example was the focus of my last two articles, namely disused tracks and derelict buildings. Viewed objectively neither are alive. Yet both have not only directly terminated their shelf life; they have also indirectly catered for a vast number of living species, present either all year round or at certain seasons. The deterioration of the deserted trackway and the absent abode is subtle and effected by the weather gods imposing their extreme conditions and temperatures. It is a decline too subtle for the naked eye to detect and is therefore unlike the delicate alterations that occur within our rural world during the course of one year. For we need not be intelligent or skilful to notice them. Nor do we need to possess the gift of grammar. All that we require is a keen eye, a notepad and a pen.

Memorial at Helpston, Peterborough

Such scrutiny does not have to be restricted to pastoral transformations. Basic descriptions of any occurrences both close at hand and further afield can be sufficient - and rewarding. One of the best exponents of this was John Clare (1793-1864). The son of a Northamptonshire labourer, he initially worked as a herd boy and then as an under gardener. Both jobs ignited a love for the wild flora and fauna around him. So when the opportunity arose to manage his own farm, Clare viewed it as a logical progression. Unfortunately, his instinct was to be his undoing, failing as a farmer and subsequently living in desperate poverty.

Clare was eventually committed to an asylum, aged 44. Yet seventeen years prior to this he had begun composing poetry about his observations on the surrounding countryside. Spirited by his discovery to possess the gift of narration, he began drafting a number of similar-themed letters and sent them to a publisher. Feedback was positive, fuelling his enthusiasm. The more he witnessed, the more prolific he wrote - this despite never learning to spell or punctuate.

A collection of his works, Natural History Letters was published in 1825, every misspelt word uncorrected and without any necessary punctuation marks added. One of his letters, entitled Spring beautifully reflects his talent for spotting the most delicate facets of our natural environment by relaying his discovery of a snail's resourcefulness. He is amazed by its instinct, observing that despite its slowness a snail only ever goes far enough foraging for food, secure in the knowledge that it can return to the undergrowth and be unharmed by the sun - and only just in time. He also describes the snail's keen perception that, unlike night time, it must only forage close by during daylight hours so it can return to the safety of shade if the sun were to suddenly appear from behind a cloud.

But Clare also makes a more valuable comment on the matter: "the snail's instinct is very remarkable and worth notice tho such things are looked over with a careless eye". Clare and I are clearly soulmates. For like him, the book I wrote was merely an amalgamation of the scribbles I made about what I saw whilst taking walks on the Cairn - all purely based on the activities of its wildlife and the changing colours of its trees and wild flowers. But also like Clare, I did not undertake a degree or attend a course in book publishing to be an author.

So this spring, why not take a pad and a pen with you and either sit in your garden or find a spot in the countryside. You will be pleasantly surprised at the goings on around you; and who knows, like Clare, you might even get your collection of notes published.

Steve McCarthy


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


Readers may recall my Childhood Memories in issue No. 55, August 1998, I wrote:

    "In 1939, in preparation for what seemed likely to be World War II, the Beauclerks bought Meadow Dene for £950. They lightly furnished it to make it liveable and moved in for what they thought would be a temporary stay, thinking they would have holidays there and perhaps let it. "However, not much later they received a Government Notice to say their house in Upminster, Essex was required for military accommodation. This being the case everything in the house had to be got out as soon as possible. Arrangements were made with farmer Jim Chugg of Mill Farm [Mill Park] to rent the mill for the storage of all our possessions. Wardrobes, chests of drawers, bookcases, everything still full was brought from Essex and stored at the mill. "As a boy I would go down to the mill where my toys were and sometimes set up a clockwork train set or fiddle with levers on the mill in the hope of seeing the water wheel turn - it never did because the mill pond had long since gone and the only water flowing was probably draining from the road. "One day I went there with a friend and whilst rummaging around, we found a leather cigar case, and sure enough, there was a cigar in it. Well, what do young boys do when they find a cigar? You've guessed, we smoked it! A number of years later my mother said, "I wonder what happened to the cigar Winston Churchill gave your father?" Whoops!"

Well, my second chance for a Churchill souvenir came when my Auntie Con gave me this letter, which as you can see is hand written.

Although there is no date on it, I should think it was probably written during World War II due to the size of the paper [actual size] - economy called for paper to be used sparingly!

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket



One would have thought that most, if not all, people in this village would fully understand the difference between what rubbish goes into a black wheelie bin and what rubbish foes into a green wheelie bin! NOT SO! "Hello," we hear you say, "What's this about?"

About a year ago arrangements were made with Works and Recycling based in Barnstaple for the supply of two wheelie bins - one black and one green - to be delivered to St. Peter's Church, at a cost to us, and explicitly for the use of residents and the occasional visitor to take advantage of when visiting the churchyard.

A notice was adhered to each bin to identify what items of rubbish should be placed in them. "Why did I bother?" I ask myself. Nearly every week my wife Sue and I have to transfer all the cellophane wrapping, plastic flowers, plastic flower pots, in fact every b . . thing plastic from the GREEN bin - positioned behind the church and near to the water tap - to the BLACK bin - adjacent to the lych gate - for disposal. Sometimes we have to pick up dead flowers in the churchyard which have been randomly strewn about and not placed in the green bin at all! All this is plainly ridiculous and totally unnecessary.

As mentioned above, it may be that we have a phantom plastic visitor who is the culprit all along, and not one of our residents, who clearly cannot read or is just lazy!

WHOEVER it is, please STOP DOING IT! All of us involved in running our church are working hard in an endeavour to keep the churchyard and everything there in tip top condition. A great deal of credit must go to Matthew Walls and family for keeping the grass cut and making the churchyard look clean and tidy for relatives when visiting their loved ones, and also for wedding couples who like to have photographs taken in memory of their special day here in Berrynarbor.

We rest our case! Stuart and Sue



The Valley, especially for dog walkers, makes a very pleasant stroll, but it is most unpleasant when stepping back into the hedgerow to avoid a passing car you step on a pile of dog poo!

Not cleaning up after your dog here, and also in the village itself, shows not only a lack of thought for others but it is an illegal offence in areas of less than 50mph and comes under the anti-social behaviour law attracting fines as well as being unhealthy.

Dog owners, please, please, think of others and if you are unwilling or insist in not bagging the poo and taking it home, at least 'stick it and flick it' out of the way of other walkers. Remember, it is not your dog that can be held responsible! It is YOU.



[1837 - 3rd December 1919]

Lady of the Manor, and restorer of St Peter's Church, Bittadon

"Have you been to Bittadon Church?" asked our friend David. Next day, a visitor from Bideford came into our shop where I was working. "Have you been to Bittadon Church?" she asked. This was such a coincidence that the following day, I did visit the church and understood their enthusiasm.  

'Here we have a little parish of some thousand acres, with a population of little more than fifty persons and a small church nestled among trees that closely embower it that it is possible to pass it by unobserved' says the charming opening on a set of leaflets inside the church.

If you've not been there, take the B3230 road from Ilfracombe towards Muddiford. After passing On-a-Hill [OHG] garage, then Centery Farm take the next sharp left turn. Set between the parishes of West Down and East Down it is thought that it was originally called Petit Down.

Access is a bit tricky - up a roughish cart track, but once there, all is peace and quiet and the church remains open to visitors.

Whilst looking at the information leaflets, I noticed 'Narbor is the nearest money order and telegraph office, 4 miles distant', [well done, Debbie and Karen for keeping it going!] and just below it, a brief description of Bittadon, its 51 inhabitants and ivy-mantled 12th century church, 'perhaps one of the smallest in the county' and its Lady of the Manor, Miss Arundell Yeo, who, it later states, 'thoroughly restored [it] in 1881.' So here, I thought, was a definite Mover and Shaker and what is more, a woman!

Google wasn't much help to start with, although it led me to her parents: William Arundell Yeo and his wife Eliza [nee Fogg Bernard], both from Clifton, Bristol. He had distinguished ancestors, amongst them Lord Clifton of Heanton Satchville near Petrockstowe and Richard Coffin of Portledge. Thanks to Barnstaple Records Office I was able to find that by the 1851 census William had moved his family to Fremington House, Fremington, where he was listed as a 'Landlord Proprietor'. By then, he and his wife had spawned 4 children: Mary Arundell [1831], William Arundell [1836], Eliza Bernard Arundell [1837] and Barbara [1840]. So which was Miss Arundell Yeo? And what had happened to their son and heir, William?

I found no mention of Barbara until searching a gravestones site, where I found she died in 1898. The Records Office said could Miss Yeo have been Mary? They had information about her. She married William Bartlett in 1854. A 'Petition for divorce' [not carried through] was made in 1864; by the 1871 census she was staying with friends in St Minver; 1881 she was a boarder still in St Minver; 1891 with husband at St Minver and in 1911 when she was 80, they were still together, living in Tywardreath, Cornwall. She died in France in 1919. Yet I had followed Miss Arundell Yeo's Fremington household and estate/plantation expenses from 1880 to 1885 with interest, where she had spent large sums on timber from RGB [yes, they were already in production!], quarry stones and so on. It must be her!

Then Google came to the rescue. I hit upon yeosociety.com and was at last rewarded! Here I found that William senior was made High Sherriff of Devon in 1860 [official figures give it as 1850]. He died on 4th April 1862 and is buried in St Peter's Church, Fremington. He inherited Bittadon and other estates in Devon and Cornwall from the Barbor family, who were preceded by a long line of local families: the de Bittadons way back in the 12th century, then the Loverings, Luttrells, and Chichesters. His son William is described as a Barrister-at-Law and inherited Lord of the Manor on the death of his father in 1862. He died unmarried in 1880 in Ostend, Belgium, although for many years had a mistress, Clementine Frantzen with whom he had at least 4 children. His estates then passed to his sister, Miss E B Arundell Yeo.  I'd finally found her: Miss Eliza Bernard Arundell Yeo!

Earlier I had e-mailed the Rector listed in the church. He'd been posted to South Devon but kindly passed on my e-mail to the churchwarden who told me to look at the reredo in the church. So a second visit was made. Here was confirmation. I found in the gathering twilight an inconspicuous carved memorial to Miss Eliza Arundell Yeo from her niece, and the date of her death, 3rd December 1919.

Sadly, W. G. Hoskins in his 1954 book on Devon referring to Bittadon and its church says: '[St Peter's] was hideously rebuilt and ruined in1883-7' with no mention of its benefactor. The refurbishment must have cost a lot of money, and once she was in charge, Eliza sold much of her property to tenants and cottagers.

Incidentally, the Barnstaple Records Office gave me access to the 1910 Domesday Book equivalent - that I didn't know existed - inaugurated by the Liberals which enlarges on the census, giving rateable value of houses as well as of their inhabitants. Cottages in Bittadon were, if I remember rightly, around £2. Bittadon Manor and its 500 acres was listed as £65.

As a postscript on Bittadon Church, a visitor from Worcester in 2014 has written in the visitor's book, 'Our great grandmother played the organ in this church and eloped with the farm hand from the Manor House window...' but that is another story!

PP of DC



Howden Jones, singer songwriters, bring their No Halls Barred - beautiful music in beautiful places tour to Lee Memorial Hall on 16th April.

An excellent family friendly show. Bring your own drinks and food if you wish. Tickets £8.00 each, accompanied children under 16 free. To book please ring Ian and Cynthia on [01271] 863396 or e-mail Ian@leedevon;co.uk. Doors open at 7.00 p.m. for 7.30 p.m. start.



Watching Penelope Keith's recent television programme 'Hidden Villages' featuring Combe Martin, it struck me that if she had ventured just a little further, up Newberry Hill and into Barton Lane, she would have found a 'Hidden Treasure - Berrynarbor.

Any relocation television programme featuring those looking for a lifestyle change in the country reveals their tick boxes are a pub, village shop, village hall and a church, with a local school a priority when children are involved. We are lucky that Berrynarbor has them all, each in their own way keeping the village alive and thriving.

When Judith and I moved here almost nine years ago, we too had the same tick boxes. We found facility-rich Berrynarbor thanks to a long-time school friend, now sadly departed, who lived in this area for more than 30 years; previously we viewed houses in villages devoid of such amenities. While the Church has literally been the cornerstone of the village since the 12th century, two of the main attractions of our village must be the shop and Manor Hall.

The shop is holding its own, bucking the trend of many in other villages around the country. That said, the recent news from the British Retail Consortium that thousands of shops could close over the next decade makes it even more imperative that we all keep using ours. We all know the phrase ''Use it or lose it' but it's sad to know that even some who invested in the shop as shareholders to save it from closure only 10 years ago, don't use it today!

For the management it can't be easy having a Tesco supermarket in Ilfracombe, one in Braunton, let alone the two superstores in Barnstaple and a 'Tesco Local' in the High Street, not to mention Lidl in Barnstaple and Ilfracombe; but our truly 'local' shop competes with and often betters Tesco's prices, which it monitors every week, and, therefore, varies its £1 special offers accordingly. I find it amazing just what is on sale, much from local producers thus supporting the wider community

Apart from attracting potential customers, the convenience of the Post Office is just that; it contributes nothing to the actual running profit of the shop; nor does just buying a daily newspaper or such staples as milk and bread on which there is very little mark-up. So whether it is seen as a 'village', 'community' or even a 'convenience' shop - for those items missing from the cupboard - it plays a pivotal role in the village and can reduce the carbon footprint associated with jumping in the car to head for Tesco. Most of us use the supermarkets for our major shop but apparently, just £5 per week spent by every household in the village will help secure the shop's future for years to come!

One of Berrynarbor's greatest attributes is its community spirit - from the numerous Berry in Bloom 'Best Kept Village' successes over the years, to the way people rally round to support the many fund-raising

events that have preserved the church bells, provided additional facilities for the school and raised essential seed-corn funding to establish the restoration needs of the Manor Hall, to name but a few. The Newsletter itself has been supported for 26 years.

The approval of the plans for the Manor Hall is great news; the committee has worked hard to meet the wishes of the village to give this rare, mediaeval building a new lease of life, enabling expansion of the varied activities beyond the social, sporting and educational activities it currently supports.

As one major hurdle is cleared, another looms later this year - applying for and, more importantly, being awarded substantial monies from the Lottery Fund to enable the work to be undertaken. What would we do and where would we go for the schools' activities and village events, let alone the craft and leisure groups without it?

Finally, with four pubs shutting every day in the UK, the highest rate for more than 100 years, we are fortunate to have two. What changes the new ownership of the Sawmill will bring to both it and Ye Olde Globe will be interesting to see when the former re-opens its doors later this year. The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) encourages local communities to apply to have their pubs listed as an 'Asset of Community Value', thereby increasing their protection, and strengthening the 'community spirit' in all its connotations!

According to three leading local estate agents, it is difficult to quantify how the amenities we enjoy add a premium to house prices; however, they all agree that compared to villages with few or even no such amenities, a thriving village makes the lifestyle more desirable and, therefore, houses more saleable.

One thing is for sure, we should all be a lot worse off - and not just in financial terms - if Berrynarbor was to lose any one of these treasured amenity assets!

Geoff Adam



Natalia Spencer tragically lost her little girl Elizabeth, aged 5, following 18 days in intensive care at Bristol Children's Hospital where doctors and nurses battled to save her life. Elizabeth became suddenly ill with what seemed like flu, and then rapidly deteriorated as her body slowly shut down the blood supply to her organs with devastating results. Elizabeth slipped away on the evening of 10th December 2015 leaving Natalia to face every parent's worst nightmare - losing a child.

Natalia states that the bombings in Paris shortly before Elizabeth's illness showed humanity at its worst, and yet, the dedication and compassion of the medical staff at Bristol Children's Hospital showed humanity at its greatest.

As therapy for her own grief and in order to bring something good out of something so terrible, this remarkable lady is undertaking a year long walk around the whole of the UK coast path to raise 100k for the Wallace and Gromit Grand Appeal which is the Bristol Children's Hospital charity. In doing this Natalia feels that she will give purpose to her own life without Elizabeth and create a lasting memorial to her daughter by helping other children and families.

Natalia began her walk on February 14th from Durdle Door in Dorset. On 27th March she will be walking from Bucks Mills to Appledore and by 30th March she will have reached Combe Martin.

As a family we shall be hosting Natalia here on 30th March when she reaches Combe Martin.

We don't know Natalia yet, having never met her; but we don't have to know her in order to welcome her into our home and look after her whilst she is with us. We're just ordinary people. Parents to a little girl ourselves, our hearts go out to Natalia and we just want to do what we can to help.

We are trying to get Natalia's story and message Out There. As well as donating to the Wallace and Gromit appeal, people can walk with Natalia for company and support [local people know the local routes], turn out to give her a wave or words of encouragement, sign the online visitors book and send The Word on further ahead to anyone else that they know so that ordinary people will come forward and do whatever they can to help Natalia as she passes through.

Please support Natalia and the Wallace and Gromit Appeal - go to Elizabeth's memorial site @elizabethsfootprints.com.

Thank you.

Dan and Denny




Artwork: David Duncan


I'm sure that most of you are aware, but for those who aren't, we have sold the Sawmill.

It was sad to say goodbye to the place as we had been there for almost 28 years, but we are excited for the future now that we just have The Globe to focus on.

The new owners are local business people and I am sure that they will introduce themselves to you through the newsletter. We hope they enjoy the Sawmill as much as we have over the last 27+ years.

We have a great team here to welcome you at The Globe, if you haven't been in for a while, pop in to say hello.

There are some great ideas of things to do coming up; one of which is to have regular Friday BBQ & Garden Parties. These will start on 3rd June, every Friday throughout the summer [weather permitting] we shall have live acoustic music outside with BBQ from 5.00 p.m. Look out for more details.

We shall also be serving food later until 10,00 p.m. and the Carvery will be available longer on a Sunday afternoon.

During the summer we shall also have Children's entertainment and regular Live Music in the bar.

Events for April & May include:

  • Saturday 2nd: Open Mic - in the function room. The last one was a lovely evening with some great musicians. The emphasis is on "No Covers" and rather than being loud/fast music it is a very pleasant evening listening to some lovely music in a quiet, relaxing, candle-lit environment.
  • Saturday, 23rd Our April "All You Can Eat Night" falls on St George's Day, so it was obvious that to celebrate this our theme must be ENGLISH. Booking Advised.
  • Saturday 7th May We have a Jazz Workshop in the function room. More information will be available soon for booking a place.
  • Saturday 21st May All You Can Eat' Night - Menu available by the time this newsletter is circulated.

Look out for information about Live Music on Bank Holiday weekends.

We shall be Open All Afternoon on Saturdays and Sundays from Easter, with longer opening hours to follow in May.

Our new menu will be available soon after Easter, so pop in and check it out. We are also still doing take-aways, so if you don't fancy driving in to town just 'phone us and pop in to collect your take-away. Available 6.00-9.00 p.m. The menu includes Curries, Lasagne, Burgers, Scampi, Pumpkin Tagine and more. We also do take-aways on our Theme Nights AND for Sunday Carvery.

If you would like further details of any of the above, drop me an email: yeoldeglobe@gmail.com

Hope to see you here soon.




2nd Horticultural & Craft Show: Table Top Sale & Coffee Morning, Manor Hall, 10.00 a.m.
11th Academy & Primary School: Start of Summer Term
12th Mobile Library in Village from 11.40 a.m.
Parish Council Meeting, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
16th Howden Jones at Lee Memorial Hall, 7.00 for 7.30 p.m.
20th Wine Circle, 8.00 p.m., Manor Hall: Men's Night
27th Friendship Lunch, The Globe, 12.00 noon onwards
2nd The Car Boot Sale at Blackmore Gate has been CANCELLED.
6th Planning Meeting for Flower Festival, St. Peter's 11.00 a.m.
10th Mobile Library in Village from 11.40 a.m.
Annual Parish Meeting and Annual Parish Council Meeting, 7.00 p.m. Manor Hall.
18th Wine Circle, 8.00 p.m. Manor Hall: AGM, Wines of Portugal - Tony Summers
19th Defibrillator Instruction, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m. All welcome.
23rd To 3rd June: Academy and Primary School - Half term
25th Friendship Lunch, The Globe, 12.00 noon onwards
28th Joint Service at St. Peter's Combe Martin, 9.30 a.m.
30th Great Berrynarbor Plant Sale, Manor Hall, 2.00 p.m.
7th Mobile Library in Village from 11.40 a.m.

Manor Hall Diary
MondaysUpholstery, 9.00 to 1.00 p.m.
Craft Group, 1.45 p.m.
Badminton, 7.30 p.m.
TuesdaysN.D. Spinners [2nd & 4th]
3rd: Craft Art Group, 9.30 a.m.
WednesdaysPilates Body Workout, 9.00 a.m. School p.m.
ThursdaysWatercolour Painting 10.00 a.m. [10 week terms]
FridaysToddlers Soft Play and Activity a.m.
Primary School p.m.
Penn Curzon RoomPre-School: Daily
Morning: 8.00/9.00 a.m. - 12.00 noon
Afternoon: 12.00 noon to 3.00/3.30 or 4.00 p.m.
All Day: 8.30 or 9.00 a.m. to 3.00, 3.30 or 4.00 p.m.
Mobile Library
Village Shop: 11.40-12.10 p.m. Sterridge Valley: 12.25-12.55 p.m.

School, Pre-School and Toddler Group - Term Time only


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


Berrynarbour, Near Combe Martin



This particular view was first published by Lilywhite Limited in 1937, The card has a red one penny [1d] Edward VIII stamp and is postmarked Kentisbury Ford Barnstaple Devon. I have the same view published in sepia by Raphael Tuck & Sons Ltd. around two years later in 1939.

The view shows 62 Silver Street, which had been opened as a Post Office in 1921. In about 1926 Mrs. A.J. Huggins took over as Shopkeeper, Draper and Post-Mistress. She had three daughters who all helped at various times and undertook delivering telegrams around the village.

There is no sign of our public telephone kiosk and I wonder when that was installed? Opposite we see our village school still with no footpath outside. Note the large trees growing either side of the church steps and behind the bus shelter.

In the early 1940's Bertram and Mabel Rudd ran the shop, having moved from running a business in Ilfracombe. Keith Walls has spoken of a Captain Snoddy and then a Mr. Scrivener taking over the Post Office after them.

Following on for around four years were Mr. and Mrs. Roland Squires before handing over to Betty Davis [c1958-1961]. From 1961 until 1977, Keith and Margaret Walls ran the shop and Post Office before handing over the reins to Keith and Maureen Cooper. Maureen was the Post Mistress until 1982 when Dennis and Sylvia Barton took over until moving to Tonbridge in 1986.

Colin and Nicky Purdue then took over for a couple of years before selling to Maureen and Graham Jones in 1988. Six years later Nora and Alan Rowlands took over.

Alan and Nora continued running the Post Office and shop until October 2004 when it was taken over by the village Co-operative, who ran it from the premises in Silver Street until March 2008 when the current Community Shop and Post Office, in the car park, was opened.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, February 2016