Edition 21 - December 1992



The October meeting welcomed three visitors for an afternoon of arranging items of interest for the Festive season - Exeter shopping trip, social afternoon and Christmas lunch at The Globe. Nominations were collected for the 1993 Committee.

October 20th was our turn to host the Chichester Group Meeting and the members, as always, did a fantastic job of catering, etc. Joan Adams, Win Collins and Jean Priest transformed the hall with colourful floral displays and our visitors appreciated the same, plus the laden tables and the chance to chat with members of other Institutes. The speaker was Mr. Jaeschke on Ancient Egypt. We came 5th in the competitions - congratulations to Bratton Fleming, the winners. Thank you, Win, for your efforts on our behalf.

3rd November, our Annual Meeting, and it was with great pleasure that I was able to welcome back Margaret Kemp after her nasty accident in Scarborough, also to read a postcard from Winnie Goldsworthy, recovering from a stroke.

Election results were a carbon copy of 1992, with the addition of one new face, Edna Barnes, who will be taking over as Press Officer. Members were thanked for their unfailing support during the year and a special birthday presentation was made to Joan McCallam, resigning due to her many other commitments. We wish her every success as Chairman of the Third Age group and Shamwick Gardening Club. She will always be welcome when time permits. Joan had made the lovely presentation baskets of dried flowers that were given to the Officers, Joan Adams gave the Vote of Thanks, so to them both, Jean, Rosemary and I echo a grateful 'thank you'.

The next meeting - after our trip to Exeter - will be the Christmas social at which we are hoping to see a selection of head gear depicting a pantomime character and 4 lovely mince plies. TWO competitions and TWO prizes, and we also hope that everyone will bring a small gift for the Lucky Dip. The Committee will provide the refreshments and being the 1st December, what a lovely start to Festive Eating!!

As always, the ladies would like me to thank readers for their support during 1992, and to wish them the Compliments of the Season.

Vi Kingdon - President

Let me wish you all a Merry Christmas,
Let me wish you all you wish yourselves;
Let me say be happy through the season,
But, remember those who are by themselves.
Then I'll wish for each and everybody,
Through the year of nineteen-ninety-three,
Health and happiness, good luck and peace unending,
Here's to all, to you and yours from me.



Artwork: Peter Rothwell


The Management Committee is accepting tenders for the supplying and fitting of 5 small electric water heaters and one additional small wash handbasin. Tender to include electrical and plumbing work. Please contact Roy Perry [883209] for details and inspection of work. Before 31st December, please.

Piano for Sale Offers invited. Contact Roy Perry [883209] or Joy Morrow [883251] .

Request to Users of the Manor Hall Please ensure that all lights and heating are OFF before you leave. Please TURN ON extractor fan when boiling water in the new kitchen. Thank you.




We are all pleased that the building improvements are now complete, giving us new toilet and cloakroom areas, storage space and an enlarged office. The Governors have also financed improved access to the playground. By the time you read this, the new building will have been officially opened by Cllr. Ffoulkes.

School activities so far this term have included a visit by the Junior children to Wembworthy Centre, near Eggesford, for a day of fieldwork and mapwork activities. A group of children from the school are also taking part in football training sessions on Monday evenings at Ilfracombe College. These sessions have been organised along with West Down, Kentisbury and Parracombe schools.

We hope to see many of you at our Christmas activities. We are holding a Coffee Morning on Tuesday, 8th December, at 10.00 a.m. in the school, when we hope to raise some money towards some more musical instruments. Everyone welcome. Everyone will again be welcome to the morning performance of The Nativity, at 10.00 a.m. at the Manor Hall on Thursday, 10th December.

David Chaplin




Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to funds: via the collecting box in the Post Office or as payment for advertising in the Newsletter. The account is currently quite healthy, but towards the summer a strawberry and cream tea or coffee morning might have to be on the cards!

CONGRATULATIONS to Mark Hinchliffe of Castle Hill who will be marrying Fiona Wyatt from Ilfracombe at St. Peter's Church on Saturday, 5th December - his birthday! Many happy returns, Mark, and best wishes to you both for your future happiness together.

DID YOU KNOW that as an experiment, British Telecom are charging ALL calls (except international calls) at local rates each Sunday, from 3.00 p.m. to midnight until Sunday, 27th December? Phone those far-flung members of the family on Sundays!!

BELATED CONGRATULATIONS to Mark Greenslade of Barton Lane who obtained an A grade in Law at 'A' Level and is now studying for a Law Degree at Anglia University.

It was sad to see the demise of the three, large ash trees on the public footpath across the corner from Rectory Hill to the Valley, but it is understood that they were no longer safe. I wonder what tales those trees could have told! However, it is good to see work being carried out on the steps to the Church and to know that the cobbles are being repaired and replaced.

GET WELL WISHES to Ivy Richards and Kathleen Richards who have both recently had brief spells in hospital.

It is algo good to know that Margaret Kemp is back home again after four weeks in four different hospitals. We hope the injury to her back continues to improve. Margaret writes:

"May I say a sincere thank you to all my many friends in Berrynarbor for their great kindness following my unfortunate accident in Scarborough. I received so many cards, letters and gifts, and on my return to Ilfracombe so many enquiries and visits - I was quite overwheImed . You all helped me keep cheerful, especially whilst I was in Scarborough, where the postman's daily visit brought me much delight. I am getting better and hope before long to be as good as new. "



Why not let us cater for your dinner party?

Our "Olde Worlde" Restaurant is the ideal venue for your personal entertaining.

The cosy dining room is just the place for an intimate candle-lit Dinner for two, but large enough to accommodate groups of up to sixteen people.

We offer a five-course Table D'hote menu for £14.50 p.p. There is also an extensive a la Carte menu. Our traditional cuisine is prepared and cooked from fresh local produce whenever possible.

During December we shall be serving Christmas Menus and will be happy to help you organise your group Christmas Party.

There are special overnight rates for party guests.

Please telephone or call, your Hosts

Heather & Les Levey



After the very bright light
And the talking bird,
And the singing,
And the sky filled up wi' wings,
And then the silence,
Our lads sez
We'd better go, then.
Stay, Shep. Good dog, stay.
So I stayed wi't' sheep.
After they cum back,
It sounded grand, what they'd seen:
Camels, and kings, and such,
With presents - human sort,
Not the kind you eat -
And a baby. Presents wes for him.
Our lads took him a lamb.
I had to stay behind wi't' sheep.
Pity they didn't tek me along too.
I 'm, good wi' lambs,
And the baby might have liked a dog
After all that myrrh and such.

U.A. Fanthorpe

Illustrated by: Debbie Cook



A poster in the Poet Office advertising an "Apple Day" at Rosemoor Gardens, Torrington, set me thinking about the old orchards that have all but disappeared from Berry.

Not so very long ago, every farm would have had its orchard and every cottage its apple trees. It would be interesting to discover how many orchards remain and what kind of fruit trees are still growing there.

Everyone who went to Berrynarbor School perhaps 10 or 20 years ago [I'm not sure when the last one was felled], would have played around, up or under three very old apple trees, in the bottom playground [or school garden if you are coming up 60!].

One was a Tom Pots [or Pits in other part of Devon] ; another was a "Norood" or North Wood to those of us without the true dialect. The third was the Devonshire Quarenden, "known before 1650 and possibly French in origin. It has a deep crimson fruit, with a white juicy flesh". These three old trees were part of an old orchard called The Splatchet, which ran down the valley to Peter's Meadow, on the left-hand bank of the stream. Some old trees still grow here, gnarled and propped up but still bearing fruit.

If they could talk, perhaps they would tell us of the ancient ceremony of Wassailing, which took place on Old or New Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve. It was the custom to appease the Spirit of the tree by anointing the roots with cider and placing toast and wheat cakes or roast apples in the branches. This would encourage the tree to produce a bumper crop the next year. To ensure this, people would chase away evil spirits by shouting, banging on pots and pans and shooting guns into the branches.

In spite of their efforts, they knew the trees might still be in danger on Franklin's Night or Francimass, the 17th, 18th and 19th of May [in some places the 19th, 20th and 21st], which are always cold and frosty - the Devil's attempt to destroy the blossom.

Another old orchard was located in the area of Helen Armstead's garden. It was around here that the Rev. Churchill's brother died suddenly whilst they were out rabbiting. A stone memorial was placed where he died. I wonder if it's still there?

My favourite old orchard has disappeared. As children, North Lee was our adventure playground. The overgrown orchard, the old track round the "bridge", the old leat, the moostidge [I don't know how it's spelt] , the cartlinhay and stables with their pallets and the shippens provided a wealth of hiding places for games like Pip, Squeak or 'olly - a local version of hide and seek. Bessie Huxtable, bless her heart, less than five feet tall and having to run the farm herself because of her husband's long, serious illness, never once grumbled at us or sent us away. Sadly, all that's left of this little piece of history is half of one wall of the old cartlinhay.

Lorna Bowden - with a lot of help
from my friend Lorna Price.



KINGFISHER SIGHTINGS [Newsletter No. 16, February 1992] - kingfishers have been seen by the lake at the bottom of Pitt Hill. Sadly, sightings are rare, possibly due to the fish being killed by grass cuttings being put in the river further up-stream.

THE UNITED REFORM CHURCH are holding a CHRISTMAS BAZAAR on Saturday, 5th December, 2.30 p.m. at the Manor Hall. Stalls, Raffles, Refreshments. Everyone welcome.

BRITAIN IN BLOOM Following the request for help with this scheme for 1993, and the approval of a grant of over £400 towards the plants, VOLUNTEERS ARE URGENTLY NEEDED!! If you would be willing to be a member of small committee, without necessarily taking full responsibility yourself, or if you would like more information, please ring John Vince, Clerk of the Parish council, on 862362.

DON'T FORGET our CHRISTMAS CHARITY POST. The cost is 10p per card and the collecting box will be in the Post Office from Monday, 14th December. Sorting and distribution will take place on Sunday morning, 20th December. Thank you, Alan Richardson and helpers for this very worthwhile service.

ON FRIDAY, 11TH DECEMBER the BERRYNARBOR PLAY/TODDLER PLAYGROUP are holding a Coffee Morning and Christmas Play at the Manor Hall 10.00 a.m. Cake and Handicraft stalls, Draw Prizes - everyone very welcome.

A fantastic number of CONTRIBUTIONS for this issue a real bumper Christmas edition. Thank you all, please keep them coming! Items for the February issue should be ready by mid-January please.

A suggestion has been made that we might add two new regular features:

  • that readers recommend a novel, biography or travel book which they have so enjoyed that they would like to pass on their enthusiasm to others by writing a brief synopsis [get reading and writing!] and
  • an invitation to contribute YOUR favourite and most useful HANDY TIP - diy, gardening, culinary or household. Have YOU one that saves time, money or effort?

Please put pen to paper and lets have lots of articles, features, etc. for February.

A sincere thank you to all contributors and everyone involved in producing and distributing the Newsletter [it would not be possible without you] - to you all and all readers, my very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.

Judie Weedon


A visit from St. Nicholas

"'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hope that St. Nicholas soon would be there."

Prof. C.C. Moore


Artwork: Angela Bartlett

Sterrage Valley, Berrynarbor - 61


This view, yet another by the accomplished Bristol photographer John William Garratt, is postmarked Berrynarbor S.O. September 9th 1904 - the S.0 stands for Berrynarbor Sub. Office of the Main Post Office at Ilfracombe.

The children are all probably from the Street family, living at 71 Higher Sterrage Valley, which is, of course, where Vi Kingdon lives. The two girls are Dorcas and Tilley and both are wearing the same clothes as in Garratt's photograph No. 57, shown in our Newsletter No. 5 way back in April 1990. The young boy could be any one of the four Street boys - John, Edward, William or Richard.

The photograph was probably taken in late September, or very early October, from the way the smoke from the household fire is lying. The bridge opposite Riversdale Cottage [65-66 Lower Sterridge] can just be seen behind the girls and beyond are the cottages Brookvale [67 Lower Sterridge] and Woodvale [68 Lower Sterridge].

It is interesting to note that from the sale of the first part of the Watermouth Estate - held on 17th August, 1920, at the Bridge Hall, Barnstaple, with completion set for "Lady Day", 25th March, 1921 - Riversdale and Brookvale were sold as a single lot No. 76: Two Good Tiled Cottages, Large Gardens and Premises, Nos. 65, 66 and 67 Lower Sterridge Valley in the occupation of Messrs. P. Jones as Quarterly Tenants. They sold for £265, whilst Woodvale [68 Lower Sterridge Valley], in the occupation of Mr. B. Toms as a Quarterly Tenant and billed as Lot No. 77, fetched £210.

In 1923 Dan Jones lived in the first cottage and Mr. and Mrs. Loveday-Jones lived next door.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, November 1992



A new BBC transmitting station called Combe Martin now brings good FM stereo reception of Radios 2 and 3 to around 2200 people in the Combe Martin area. Located west of Combe Martin, it entered service on 14th September The transmission frequencies are:

  • Radio 2 89.1 MHz & Radio 3 91.3 MHz - [on some radios the FM band may be marked as VHF)
  • Radio 1 [98.7 MHz] and Radio 4 [93.5 MHz] will become available in early 1993, when engineering work has been completed.

N.B. The rods on external and loft-mounted aerials should be vertical, not horizontal as would be the case with most other stations.

Further information on FM reception in the Combe Martin area - including advice on fitting an external FM aerial - is available from:

Engineering Information BBC South West
Seymour Road
[0752] 229201 (local rate)
BBC Engineering Information
White City
201 Wood Lane
03455 010313 (local rate)


BBC Engineering Press Statement 2632, 23rd September 1992


Earlier this year Michael Checkland, the Director General of the BBC, announced the intention to stop broadcasting Radio 4 on long wave, in order to transmit a continuous news service on this frequency instead.

Consequently, Radio 4 programmes will eventually only be available on FM [VHF]. The problem is that large sections of the population cannot receive FM or can only obtain a weak or intermittent signal.

FM reception tends to be especially poor or inaccessible near the coast or in hilly districts. So you can see that a lot of Berrynarbor residents will be affected by this change.

Many car radio users will also be deprived of Radio 4's plays and documentaries while travelling; already having lost Radio 3 and 2 which are now both on FM only.

The resultant decrease in the number of listeners to these radio stations could jeopardise the future funding and provision of public service radio, when the BBC's charter comes up for review.

In early 1990 when there were rumours that Radio 4 was to lose long wave, the BBC's Assistant Head of Engineering admitted to the residents of Combe Martin that they were not getting "the service they deserve". However, he went on to assure them that Radio 4 was unlikely to be taken off Combe Martin's best wavelength - longwave , "Fears that this would happen", he explained, "were caused by a typographical error in a letter sent to a resident." This time, however, the threat is real. If you are someone who will miss being kept informed and entertained by Radio 4's varied schedule, or if you simply care about the continuation of good quality broadcasting, please write in its defence to any of the following:

  • Michael Checkland - Director General, BBC [until March]
  • Marmaduke Hussey - Director General Designate
  • David Hatch - Managing Director, Network Radio
  • Peter Brooke MP - Heritage Minister
  • Nick Harvey, M.P.

Or write to Nick MacKinnon, who has launched a campaign to SAVE RADIO 4 ON LONG WAVE. His address is: 52 Kingsgate Street, WINCHESTER, S023 9NA.



There is no time of the year when we honour old customs as much as at Christmas. The whole season is full of them, and their beginnings go back through the centuries to the mists of time.

We keep many of these old customs without knowing their meaning - it adds much more to our interest if we know how they began, where and why. Why is plum pudding called 'plum pudding' since there are no plums? Why do we give presents and have a Christmas tree? Why do we hang up holly and mistletoe? I should like to answer some of these questions, beginning with the holly.

At this time of year a long time ago, the Romans used to hold a feast to their god, Saturn. They would deck his temples with holly, as well as other evergreens. These people had a strange belief. They thought there were many gods and goddesses in the woods and hills, and when the winter came, they would all get cold. So they brought evergreen boughs into their temples and homes thinking that the forest gods would be able to come with the boughs and so escape the bitter frosts outside. This is only a story, but it is nice to think of it as the reason why we decorate our houses with holly and evergreens.

Christmas trees came originally from Germany, How the Germans came by this custom is not known. The first tree was brought to England by Prince Albert and Queen Victoria and set up at Windsor in 1841. After that, its use became widespread in England. The traditional Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square is given to the country by the people of Norway.

The yule log was first used in Mediaeval times, when it was a big ceremony and the log was quite big tool Sometimes it would take about 9 men to haul it in. These days very few people have a yule log - there are few open fires large enough to take one. A small piece of the last log was saved to light the new one by.

As well as these traditional decorations, we have foods associated particularly with the Christmas season. In the old days the people had a dish called Frumentary at Christmas-time. This was really stewed wheat grains, later being called plum porridge and then plum pudding. At that time it was made of beef or mutton suet thickened by brown bread, raisins, sultanas, prunes, spices and ginger bread. As prunes are really plums, this is why we call it Plum Pudding.

Although turkey is now the traditional Christmas meat, it has not always been so. In Mediaeval castles at Christmas, the servants would carry in a great silver dish, wreathed with bay leaves. In the centre of the dish stood a roasted boar's head, in its mouth was placed an apple or a lemon and its ears were decorated with rosemary. Carols were sung as it was brought in - it was a fabulous sight.

In fact, eating turkey itself is quite a new custom, which came from America. The goose was often eaten at Christmas, but the meat the British liked the most was beef . Charles II liked beef so much, he even knighted it, touching it with his sword and saying, "Arise, Sir Loin!" This is the reason we say a sirloin of beef rather than a leg or shoulder, like lamb or pork.

Perhaps the most important tradition of Christmas is that of giving. As we prepare to decorate our homes and eat far more than we need, maybe we should consider how we can give our time and money to make life a little brighter for people who have less than we do. This Christmas tradition must survive.

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

Anon [Aged 12 years]




Family Butcher

Lynton - [0598] 52208 Berrynarbor - 882361

Orders are now being taken for Christmas


Please ring your order through. Delivery will be made to your door on the day you require it.




I hope you like these cuttings from the Ilfracombe Gazette, 12th November, 1892.

[The Primrose League were members of the Conservative Party]

From the Ilfracombe Chronicle, November 1892.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, November 1992


Artwork: Peter Rothwell





11.30 A.M. TO 2.30 P.M.
7.30 P.M. FOR 8.00 P.M.





This year the Society is presenting a Concert Version of The Gipsy Baron by Johann Strauss. It should be an entertaining evening - the music, like the story, is light and lively.

Performances will be at The Pavilion Theatre, Ilfracombe, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 3rd, 4th and 5th December, at 7.30 p.m. Tickets, £3.00 and £2.00 [concessions] available from the College, the Chocolate Box, Ilfracombe, and availability of seats permitting' on the Door.



Planning permission has been granted for the siting of a Recycling Pavilion in the Car Park at Castle Hill and by the time you read this, it should be in place!

The official Opening of the Pavilion by the Chairman of the Parish Council, Cllr. Len Coleman, will be at 10.15 a.m. on Wednesday, 2nd December, 1992. Mr. Steve Portsmouth, from South Molton Recycle, will outline the operation of the scheme and children from the Primary School will make the first deposits. Everyone is welcome and asked to bring any of the following items:

  • Bottles - green, brown or clear
  • Food tins [washed]
  • Drink cans
  • Newspapers/Magazines Plastic bottles
  • Aluminium foil
  • Textiles [old clothes, etc.]

The recycling pavilion will be open daily, from 9.00 a.m. until dusk or 6.30 p.m. [whichever is the earlier].

Please see the enclosed leaflet from South Molton Recycle giving details of the scheme.




A third each contribution from NDDC, DCC and the Countryside Commission has been put to establishing a Heritage Coast running from the Exmoor Heritage Coast at Combe Martin to Barnstaple. Three staff will try to enhance the paths, create informal recreation and conservation areas, plant trees and liaise with parish councils. Berrynarbor has a sizeable length of coast which could benefit.

South West Water are to have a 2-day exhibition in the Town Hall of their proposals for a new sewage works for Combe Martin. Berrynarbor Parish Council took part in the early consultations and welcomed the proposals subject to a high standard of design. They are right to do so - the works will be just inside the Berrynarbor Parish!

The clay pigeon shooting planning application at Ettiford Farm was deferred pending a report from environmental health officers regarding noise levels. [We should be pleased to hear from anyone who wishes to say something about this application.]

The replacement of Poll Tax - the Council Tax - under way. This will be the third change to local government taxation in 1100 days. Based partly on property valuations with a personal element, we hope that there will now be some period of stability. The District Council have set up a 'help line' - Barnstaple 326134 - but calls are already running high, so please be patient! If we can help, we shall.

The bus shelter on the new road provided by the DCC may have to be turned around to seek more shelter from the prevailing winds, but the PCC are to study this. Soon the site of the workmen's compound on the new road, next to Little Firs, will be planted with native broadleafed trees to replace those lost during the roadworks. We hope that Southwest Water will live up to its promise to flush out the mains to the properties on the Old Coast Road, which have suffered discoloration of water supplies. We, and MP Nick Harvey, wrote to SWW after residents were told the water was alright. After Camelford, who would drink discoloured water?!

We wish all Berry-ites a Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Mike Knight - 882692
Peter Spencer - 882634


Artwork: David Duncan


Sunday Services

The Eucharist, 10.30 a.m. Evensong, Combe Martin, 6 p.m.

Once a month the Christians Together go from Church to Church and there is no Evensong.


Holy Communion, 10.00 a.m.

Prebendary Eppingstone will discuss Baptisms, Confirmations, Marriages, Bereavements and SHOULD be invited to come and pray with the sick.

It was sad saying ' farewell' to John Williams and the possibility of a long inter-regnum before we have a new Rector a depressing prospect.

The selection procedure can be long. The Bishop of Exeter is the patron and supported by the Bishop of Crediton and the Archdeacon of Barnstaple, they look through a list of candidates who want to come to Devon and those due for a change within the Diocese. One by one they are given the opportunity to consider, in our case, the two parishes. If they wish to be invited, they are introduced to two representatives of each Parish, who then advise the Bishop[s] whether they will support the nomination. If the candidate, Bishop or representatives say 'no' , the next priest is approached.

So, it can be a long process!

But it will not be so for us for we have been extremely fortunate in 'finding' the Revd. Keith Wyer. The Revd. Keith Wyer is joining us from his last position as Chaplain at Kelly College, Tavistock. He is a B. Divinity, London University, having trained at Kings College, London. We extend a VERY WARM WECLOME to him, his wife Sheila, their daughter, Rachel, and sons Andrew and Michael.

The Induction Service for Father Wyer will be held at St. Peter Ad Vincula, Combe Martin, on Saturday, 19th December, at 4.00 p.m. - all members of the Church and friends are invited. Keith will be taking our Sunday Service, at 10.30 a.m., the following day.

On a PERSONAL NOTE, on Monday, 21st December, at the Service at 7.00 p.m., I shall thank God this day for forty years of Priesthood. Please pray for me. If I have served you in any way, please come to this service and to the Manor Hall for refreshments afterwards. This will also be another opportunity for parishioners and friends of the Church to be introduced to our new Rector and his family. To cater for the right number, RSVP to the Churchwardens, C/o Mrs. Betty Davis, Chatsworth, Barton Lane [883541] . This is an occasion for Christians Together.


R.O.H. Eppingstone.

AND NOW FOR CHRISTMAS - God Bless You and Yours at Christmas Time. May it be a time of joy, family love, and merriment: A Happy New Year to you all.

Rudolph and Peggy Eppingstone



1stW.I. Christmas Social Afternoon.
2ndOpening of Recycling Pavilion, 10.15 a.m. Car Park
Mobile Library in Village from 11.55 a.m.
3rd - 5th December I.C.M.S. 'The Gipsy Baron', Pavilion Theatre, Ilfracombe, 7.30 p.m.
4thJoint PCC Meeting, Combe Martin Church Hall, 7.30 pm
5thUR Church Christmas Bazaar, Manor Hall, 2.30 p.m.
6thBible Sunday: Annual Christingle Service, 3.00 p.m. Combe Martin - all children, every single one, and parents warmly invited.
7thBadminton Club
8thCoffee Morning at Primary School, 10.00 a.m.
Parish Council Meeting, 7.30 p.m.
10thPrimary School, The Nativity, Manor Hall, 10.00 a.m.
U3A Luncheon - Woolacombe Bay Hotel: Christmas Party
11thBerrynarbor Play/ Toddler Group, Coffee Morning, Manor Hall, 10.00 a.m.
14thChristmas Card Box in Post Office [10p per card) Badminton Club
15thW.I. Christmas Lunch, The Globe
College Annual Carol Service, 7.30 p.m. Ilfracombe Parish Church
16thMobile Library in Village from 11.55 a.m.
Wine Appreciation Group - Australia's Finest Wines for Christmas. Contribution £3.00.
18thPrimary School and College Break Up
19thInduction of New Rector, Combe Martin 4.00 p.m.
20thChristmas Card Distribution. Christians Together Carol Service, Combe Martin, 6.00 p.m.
21stSt. Thomas the Apostle: Sung Eucharist, 7.00 p.m. followed by Refreshments in the Manor Hall
24thCHRISTMAS EVE, Holy Communion 10.00 a. m. Christmas Day Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Midnight Mass, 11.30 p.m.
25thCHRISTMAS DAY The Eucharist with carols at 10.30 am
27thSt. John the Evangelist: Eucharist, 10.30 a.m. Carol Service, 6.00 p.m.
3rdPlough Sunday - Prayers for all Farmers
5thCollege: Start of Spring Term
W.I. Alaska and the Yukon - Slides and Talk: Kath Arscott
6thPrimary School: Start of Spring Term
Epiphany [12th Night] Commemoration of the Coming of the Kings to Bethlehem
11th Badminton Club
12thParish Council Meeting, 7.30 p.m.
14thU3A Luncheon: Grosvenor Hotel, Ilfracombe - Sir Michael Knight, KGB, N.D. Health Care Trust
18thto 25th The Octave [8 Days] Prayers for Christian Unity
Badminton Club
20thWine Appreciation Group, 8.00 p.m. Manor Hail Tasting of Members' Own Favourite Wines, £1.00
25thBadminton Club
1stBadminton Club
2ndW. Exmoor Bird Gardens: Mr. Clark



"o'er aery cliffs and glittering sands"

There is now a new attraction at the Valley of the Rocks, to commemorate the popularity of the area with the Romantic poets - Wordsworth, Southey, Coleridge and Shelley. Mosaic plaques designed by local artist, Shannon Ridd, depicting the local landscape and incorporating lines from their poems, are displayed in the shelter opposite the picnic area. The organisers hope it will become a haven for walkers and poetry lovers alike.

A surprising number of people of all ages [including babies strapped to backs] were exploring the Valley and clambering about the rocks on the last Saturday in October. Wordsworth and his friends would probably have found this widespread appeal curious, because they started to walk in the Quantocks and Cumbria and write about what they saw and their reactions to it - the beauty and grandeur of such places had largely gone unrecognised.

Wild, untamed countryside was not appreciated; considered brutal and sinister. These poets were to be instrumental in changing attitudes to mountainous and moorland areas.

The strange dry valley running parallel to the sea, instead of towards it, with its odd rock formations, captured the imagination of Shelley. On this particular morning, several buzzards were circling overhead or perched on high rocks not already occupied by human beings.

"Seated at ease, on some smooth mossy rock" Coleridge

We walked down to Wringcliff Bay, a good area for observing fulmars on the cliffs or rafts of guillemots out at sea. A pair of ravens had landed on a ledge. They look like crows but are much larger with a huge bill and less streamlined appearance. Apart from their size, an effective way to distinguish a raven from a crow is by the end of its tail, which is wedge-shaped.

"... we will climb, Cheering and cheered, this lovely hill sublime" Coleridge

A pheasant croaked from a cliff top field. We made our way up through a little grove of stunted sycamores and emerged near one of the picturesque lodges at the entrance to the Lee Abbey estate. [Note the intricate barge boards.] A flock of Jacob Sheep calmly shared their field with some rabbits. We continued down to Lee Bay.

Here there is further evidence of love of nature - a museum of natural history called 'Ursula's Corner', in memory of Ursula Kay, a member of the Lee Abbey Community who recorded and drew the birds, animals and plants which she observed. Her knowledge of and respect for nature are reflected in this informative exhibition. A little further on beside the sea and set into the old lime kilns, is a simple chapel.

Sue H



"Anyone who has read a book by this author will want to read another" ... wrote the Daily Telegraph critic. The author referred to was Dervla Murphy.

Born in Co. Waterford in 1931, her childhood ambitions to travel and write were thwarted when, at the age of 14, she had to leave school to care for her sick mother. Seventeen years later, after her mother's death, she realised her dream and cycled overland to India. She kept a meticulous diary and on her return wrote her first two books. One of these is "Full Tilt: Ireland to India on a Bicycle". Her experiences and hardships make Michael Palin's 'Pole to Pole' look like Alan Whicker's Ultimate World Tour! Nevertheless, parents worried by their offspring's search for 'Nirvana ' on the Indian continent - take comfort. She survived, lived to tell many a tale, and has made a living out of her adventures!

In 1968 her daughter, Rachel, was born and only five years later taken on her first long trek to the Karakoram with an ex-polo pony. At the grand age of ten, she accompanied her mother on a 1300 mile trek through the Peruvian Andes with a pack mule. 'Eight Feet in the Andes' [2 each for mum and daughter and 4 for the mule] is perhaps the most memorable.

In spite of not having any particular interest in Cameroon, I have just finished 'Cameroon with Egbert' - Dervla and Rachel [now eighteen] bought a placid Cameroonian horse which they renamed Egbert and set off through Western Cameroon. As the Irish Times writes - "The very stuff of travel'.

I was mildly disappointed by 'Muddling through Madagascar', a journey she did alone. Even by Dervla's standards, she seemed foolhardy to the extreme.

But for foolhardiness, her journey from Dublin to the Protestant enclaves of Northern Ireland by bicycle, at the height of 'The Troubles' in the 1970's, takes some beating . The result was 'A Place Apart: Northern Ireland' - an astute political and social comment on the ethnic differences between the two countries.

A final warning though - Dervla Murphy's books are only for the really adventurous ... armchair traveller!

PP of DC



This further photographic postcard by Garratt shows the " Cut Through" leading to Sterrage Valley and is postmarked "Berrynarbor S.O. 5.15 p.m. July 20th 1910".

It was sent by Em Hicks , daughter of the Berrynarbor Postmaster, to her cousin, also Em Hicks, at St. Judes, Plymouth. Judie Weedon wonders if anyone knows when the "cut through" was blasted and whilst I believe it was probably between 1840 and 1890, it would be nice if anyone can help us with further information on this.

Tom Bartlett


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