Edition 42 - June 1996

Artwork by: Debbie Cook


Another beautiful cover by Debbie depicts a family of Mallards, probably the best known of our ducks. There have always been mallards resident in Berrynarbor, although latterly their numbers seem to be on the decline. In eclipse plumage [July to September] the dark green head, white collar and breast of the drake becomes almost identical to the mottled brown duck. Both have a purple wing patch.

Mallards usually nest close to the ground but sometimes use a hollow tree or the abandoned nest of another bird. Following a 'proper' courtship routine, the duck lays, between March and May, some seven to fourteen eggs, pale grey-green or olive-buff in colour, in the nest made from leaves and grass and lined with down. The eggs take about 28 days to hatch and only the duck does the 'sitting'. Ducklings, usually looked after by only the duck, leave soon after hatching and can fly by the time they are seven weeks' old.


Artwork: Judie Weedon


Thank you, Debbie, and thank you to everyone who has already ordered prints of Debbie's cover illustrations. The last date for orders to be received will be the 15th June, after which the orders will be processed. [My apologies for the delay for the early orders.] So please put in your order NOW. Additional order forms may be obtained from and returned to the Post Office and cheques should be made payable to the Berrynarbor Newsletter.

My appreciation to all contributors and illustrators for this issue, without you there wouldn't be a Newsletter! Our next issue will be the August one, and items should again be handed in early, before the College breaks up for the summer holiday, and by MONDAY, 8TH JULY, at the latest. Thank YOU.




How to grow Fuchsias successfully was the subject of our speaker on the 2nd April, and what an excellent teacher we had in Mr. Robert Gilbert from Silverdale Nursery. He kept members and visitors so interested that they nearly missed a 'cuppa' and the questions and answers carried on whilst our tea was drunk. Before the meeting closed, there was a sale of young fuchsias, so we look forward to seeing some lovely blooms.

On the 25th April, several members enjoyed a Group Meeting at Shirwell. The refurbished hall was bright and cosy, and as always, the company and 'eats' were excellent. Mr. Pipe - the speaker - was both interesting and amusing with his anecdotes on when he was a coach driver. He illustrated the talk with three poems he had composed. Grateful thanks to Win Collins and Edna Barnes for helping me to make the grand total of 261 points for us to come third in the Competitions, and congratulations to Bratton Fleming who were the winners.

With no speaker on the 7th May, we had time to catch up on forthcoming events and to discuss the Resolutions to be voted on at the A.G.M. at Cardiff on the 5th June, when Ann Hinchliffe will be not only our delegate, but will represent three other Institutes ... a busy day for our Ann! Win Collins gave a most interesting opening to Resolution No. l, 'Skills for Living', followed by Rosemary Gaydon who spoke on N.H.S. Dentistry. Yours truly started on student grants and this was the only Resolution that the meeting felt that the voting should be left until Ann had heard a few more facts and comments at the meeting. After the usual welcome 'cuppa' members were reminded that for the June meeting, a West Country Television Presenter was hoping to come as our Guest Speaker. Visitors will be welcome.

On the 6th July there will be a fund raising event for the Devon Air Ambulance Service, and bottles will be needed for the stall at the Berry Revels, so it looks as if the summer will be a busy one, beginning to wonder where the time goes, or as someone said to me, "It could be you getting slower!" It makes you think!

Vi Kingdon - President

To me life is just a skein of wool,
Some can a garment knit,
While others merely roll it in a ball,
And never quite unravel it.





Villagers were saddened by the sudden death of Aggie Huxtable, twin brother of Bill, on the 9th March. Although not a fit man, he and Bill had hoped for a long and happy retirement in the village, following the sale of Woolscott Barton. Sadly that is not to be, and our thoughts are with Bill and the family.

I should like to thank all my family and many friends in Berrynarbor for the many offers of help and messages of condolence when I lost my brother, Ivan, so suddenly. My very grateful thanks to so many people, farming friends from far and near, for attending the funeral and my appreciation to Rev. Wyer and Preb. Eppingstone for officiating at the service and for their comforting words.

My sincere thanks to Herbert, Bill, Norman and Mickey, chosen bearers, all great friends to Ivan and myself, and for the muffled peal of Bells by our many ringing friends in Berrynarbor.

Donations, so kindly given, have totalled £565, to be shared between the British Heart Foundation and the Combe Martin Bell Ringers' Restoration Fund.

A very big thank you to you all.



It is with much sadness we report the sudden and untimely death of Steve on the 27th April. To Anna, David, Peter and Sue and extended family, we give our heartfelt sympathy - our thoughts are with you all.

Anna would like to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and messages, which have been much appreciated.




Thank you to all those who helped to make the morning of Sunday, 28th April, go so smoothly. A magnificent effort all round made for a successful visit by the Bishop of Exeter and the special occasion was enjoyed by everyone.

The 8.00 a.m. Holy Communion Service on the second Sunday in the month will recommence for the summer in June.

The P.C.C. are to discuss the pattern of services at their next meeting in July. Ideas are being considered for the introduction of a regular Family Communion Service, maybe once a month, and for the re-introduction of Matins.

The Church will continue to be floodlit during the spring and summer in the evening. Donations towards the cost will be welcome and your special dates will be recorded in the Church porch.

The P.C.C. are pleased to note that the shelf in the comer by the font is being used by those wishing to place flowers in the Church in memory of loved ones. Preb. Eppingstone has kindly fixed a brass plaque to the shelf simply inscribed 'In Loving Memory'.

The Sunday School have adopted the corner just inside the main door and will be putting out regular displays of their work and activities. Do stop for a moment on your way in or out and take a look!

£89.51 was raised at the Coffee Morning on 2nd May, and a subsequent kind donation has brought the total up to £94.51. This sum will go towards the expenses of the Summer Fayre, which will be held on Tuesday, 6th August. There will be a meeting for all those interested in helping in any way on Monday, 3rd June, at 2.30 p.m. in the Church. Please come if you can - new ideas are always welcome.

Our Gift Day will be on Wednesday, 26th June, this year and letters and envelopes will be distributed round the village the week before. Why do we need this extra financial help? At the moment repairs are being carried out to the churchyard wall at the front, and the P.C.C. is planning to continue with the programme of repointing the exterior of the Church. Some of the altar frontals and falls to the pulpit and lectern have become very worn and new ones must be purchased.

Both churchyards are to be cut regularly this year. Mr. Reg Davies will continue to look after the new churchyard and Mr. Brian Holden has been appointed to take care of the old churchyard.




The stork has been busy with three new arrivals and reports that mothers and babies are all doing well.

After some twenty years of male heirs, the Bowden family were delighted to welcome Anna Jane on the 17th March [Mother's Day], weighing in at 7 lbs 9 oz, a daughter for Bobby and Jane, sister for Samuel and second grandchild for Michael and Lorna and Barbara and Dennis.

Korim Thomas, a second son for Helen and Kamal and brother for Joshim, tipped the scales at 7 lbs 14 oz on the 20th March. He is the third great grandson for Barbara, and second grandson for Ken and Judie.

Outstripping the other two babies at 9 lbs 9 oz, Alex, a brother for Becky and a son for Karen and Matthew Walls, was born on the 2nd May, a second grandchild for Margaret and Keith.

Congratulations and very best wishes to all the proud parents and their offspring!



Best wishes to students from the Village who are now entering the dreaded exam period: to those taking G.C.S.E. and G.N.V.Q., 'A' Levels, or end of year exams or Finals at University. Good Luck to you All!




Ephraim and Susan Street
on their Wedding Day in 1871

The cottage, which is now my home, was very much a part of my late mother-in-law's family, she [Dorcas Street who married William Kingdon] being the youngest of ten children born under its roof. Descended from the Ridds of Lorna Doone fame, the Streets were very proud of their Devon heritage.

Grandfer [Ephraim] Street tilled the two acres - if you could not eat it, you did not grow it' - hence the flower-filled hedgerows with which the Sterridge Valley is blessed, for when the girls found or were given plants or cuttings, that is where they found a home!

Water was pumped, later tapped, from the small house across the lane, still in existence today but now dry. There being no flush toilets, it was chamber pots and slop pails in the cottage, and an earth closet way up the garden, regularly checked by Grandfer.

The bread oven can still be seen in the outside shed, and at one time there were hooks inside a bedroom cupboard where bacon was hung to cure. Keeping their own pigs, salted down pork was the meat of the year. There were always chickens and ducks wandering around, and the boys were responsible for regular checks on traps for rabbits.

The fruit and vegetable house - also still in existence - housed the produce, which was taken to market in Ilfracombe by the girls in covered baskets, walking across the fields. A lighter journey home no doubt!

Grandmother [Susan] Street would have had a wood and coal range to cook by, and washing day would have meant lighting the fire under a stone copper, a scrubbing board in a huge tin bath and, of course, the blue bag. The bath also came into its own on 'bath night'. There were no idle hands! Darning and re-footing socks and stockings was a regular task.

Although most of the family walked everywhere, Grandfer, who was quite a character and loved a drop of beer, had his own pony. To bring in a little extra money, he helped to quarry the stone that formed part of the original road through the Valley.

The children attended school in the village and looked forward to the Annual Revel Day first Sunday in July, when after the church service, many skills and games took place. Food was provided by the ladies of the Parish.

Vi Kingdon



An Open Day with Exhibition will be held by the North Devon Spinners at the Manor Hall on Tuesday, 23rd July, from 10.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.



Mrs. Bond of Ludleigh House will be holding a Sale on Saturday, 22nd June, at the Manor Hall at 2.30 p.m. Good Clothes - Various Stalls. All proceeds to Animal Welfare.


Artwork: Paul Swailes


The 18th April was moving day for Anne and Dave Beagley, who have had to leave Brookside Cottage, now on the market, and return in the Ilfracombe direction as no other suitable accommodation was available in the Village. However, they will not be far away and will continue to use our Post Offce, so if anyone wishes to contact them, messages left at the Post Office will be collected on Tuesdays. Their new phone number is 866647.

We thank Anne and Dave for their support and Dave for his Crosswords, and wish them both well.



[See 'What the Papers Said' - April Newsletter]

I thought I should like to let you know the true story leading to Edwin Coaker being summoned and pleading guilty for his daughter, Annie, not attending school.

Edwin Coaker was employed by Squire Bassett of Watermouth as Gamekeeper and the Watermouth Castle Woods adjoined the orchard of Hole Farm, the home of the Ley family. My father's sister, Sarah Ley, and Edwin used to meet secretly at the bottom of the orchard - Sarah's family did not trust strangers.

Romance blossomed and they married in 1892 and had five children - Annie was the eldest. Sarah contracted tuberculosis and Annie had to help care for her sick mother and the young family [hence her not attending school], but in September 1906, Sarah died leaving Annie to care for the one-year old Leah May. Sadly, Leah May also died of the same disease in 1932 at the age of 27 years. The other children all made their way in the world. Annie married a sailor, George Baker, and the photograph shows her and George with their eldest child, Marie, who is still interested to read the 'tit bits' in the Newsletter, which she receives through me.

Vera Lewis [Ley]



Sunday Services have now gone on to the summer time and begin at six o'clock.

There will be a Garden Coffee Morning at Fuchsia Cottage on Thursday, 27th June, from 10.30 a.m. to noon. Stalls will include Bring and Buy, Bric-a-Brac and Cakes and there will be a Raffle. Proceeds in aid of Chapel Funds. If the weather is not suitable for being in the garden, the morning will take place in the Manor Hall.

Warning! Ron Toms is on the move again! He will be repeating his sponsored Walk in aid of Church Funds and plans to come round to collect sponsors in the very near future. Can he really surpass last year's magnificent total of £700. With your help he could - so please give generously. Ron travels almost as far collecting sponsorship as he does on the walk itself!



[a voluntary project for young people]

Are you aged 16 to 24 years?
Would you like the opportunity to get involved in your community? Would you like to make a difference for yourself and others?


Then drop-in at the Genie Cafe
[at The Lantern]
Monday Evenings - 7.00 to 9.00 p.m.

For more information telephone Pauline on 867797



For its 75th Production, Ilfracombe Studio Theatre is presenting "A MURDER HAS BEEN ARRANGED" by Emlyn Williams, at the Pavilion Theatre on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 25th, 26th and 27th June, at 8.15 p.m.

Tickets, £5.00 and Concessions £4.50, may be obtained from The Pavilion Theatre Box Office [10.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.], Tel: 862228

Book your tickets now for this suspenseful play set in the reputedly haunted St. James's Theatre, and discover for yourself if the legend is true.



1996 has started off as a very successful year for our three wonderful Gordon Setters. It was a real thrill to watch Bill pilot Bracken "Lourdace Burberry at Sterridge" to 4th place in a 23-strong class at Crufts in March. Next, in April, I was awarded the British Gordon Setter Club President's Cup for Outstanding Sportsmanship in and out of the show ring. Our youngest girl, Damsel, after a rest from showing [which she does not really enjoy] delighted us by winning Best of Breed and a cup at Bridgwater Open Show. Gypsy, now over 8 years old, who has taught us so much, being our very first show dog, is now semi retired and living happily at home.

These three girls are owned with pride and love by myself and Bill.

Jan Gammon

Congratulations to you all - keep up the good work!



The 'phone rings in the spring of 1995 - my friend from Guernsey is on the line.

"Will you share a cabin with me on a trip to Antarctica?"

"We did a short voyage in that area in 1993."

"Ah, this is different, we shall be on an ice-breaker and we journey through to the Sub-Antarctic Islands. You will see Emperor and King penguins.

"I'll think about it." I answer.

"Go for it Gran!" the grandchildren encourage me. So I hardly have time to recover from Christmas before the flight from Heathrow to Buenos Aires on New Year's Day, 1996. One night here and the next afternoon we take a small plane for Ushaia, where we board the Kapitan Khlebnikov.

I wait in the very small shed-like building to make my baggage claim. I'm beginning to have a nasty feeling that one of my suitcases has not arrived - my fears are justified. After some conversation and much waiting, the man-in charge fills out a form and gives me a copy. My 'Wellies - a must - are in the missing case, and so are my waterproof over-trousers and corduroys.

We travel by bus to the Russian ship which will be our home during January. We find Cabin 617, do some unpacking and soon it's time for dinner. We are nearly at the end of our meal when the lights are dimmed and in come the Russian waitresses with a birthday cake ablaze with sparklers and place it on my table. Yes, it's my birthday. This helps me to forget the suitcase episode.


Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

Tony Soper is our Expedition Leader, helped by a very efficient Swedish girl. We soon meet our shipmates: 75% Australians [very convenient for them, as the voyage ends at Melbourne], 20 English and a few Germans.

Drake's Passage is notorious for violent storms and mountainous waves, but our journey through it on 3rd January is calm. It is interesting for me to revisit the South Shetland Islands, Paulet Island in the Weddel Sea and Deception Island at Hannah Point.

Adele, Gentoo and Rockhopper penguins are just as exciting to see once again. The time goes forward an hour each day for the next six days and we lose 15th January completely! I find it difficult to sleep with brilliant sunshine at 3.00 a.m., but hot water is always available in the lounge for tea or coffee making. I really enjoy the flights in the 'oldish' Russian helicopters, carried on deck. We use these when it is impossible to make a landing with the inflatable dinghies. The most scary thing for us is using the portable gangplank in rough seas, and jumping across to the swaying dinghy, but the Russian sailors are super and always use the elbow grip to haul us on or off.

This is an ice-breaker, so when are we going to see her in proper use? It's early morning and I visit the bridge to study the chart only to find that we have spent all night going round in circles trying to break through the ice, which is 2 metres thick and there's a 'whiteout' as well. The Captain and his mates are quiet and intense. We keep crunching the wall of ice, then reverse and have another try, but in the end have to admit defeat and motor out into the open sea, which takes many hours. Later, we are in thick ice again but Kapitan Khlebnikov shows her merits and cracks her way through this time.

My friend was right, the Emperor and King penguins are fantastic to watch. It was also a great experience to be able to visit Scott's hut preserved exactly as he left it, complete with contents. We also visited McMurdo Research Station, which is run by New Zealanders.

The last six days were spent visiting the Sub-Antarctic Islands - a big contrast, especially to Campbell Island, where a colony of Royal Albatross live. The ground was covered with herbs and wild flowers.

Finally, we reach Melbourne and the end of our adventure. During the voyage we were asked if we should like to write a poem - not one Australian entered, but here is my effort:

Kath Arscott


Antarctica Revisited

"Why do you go back?" my friends enquire.
"Is it the penguins, seals or whales?"
It's all these and much more.
"Why do you revisit?" ask my next of kin,
"Because it's the nearest thing to heaven
that I can imagine."
So white - whiter than white.
Ice layer upon layer - forming cities and towers.
Silent - silence - then a tremendous roar
and a cathedral comes crashing and is no more.
So white - whiter than white
With crystal clear colours of blue and green
More precious than any gems I have seen.
Her pristine beauty is all around
From this the birds and animals abound.
To find words to describe my journey to Antarctica
Till now I have not read
And until I do
I shall keep it safely in my head.
For once a thing is known: It can never be unknown
It can only be forgotten.

Kath Arscott



The annual village Show once again proved a great success. Sadly, because of a clash of dates, a lot of people were disappointed as it was a one night only. All 178 tickets were sold weeks before the event up at 8.00 p.m., the first theatre-goers had started to arrive by 6.30. Preparations, had been hectic as everything needed to be set set up that day. Nigel Mason and Peter Rothwell finished painting the scenery at 3.30 that morning!!

The Stars arrived! From Elvis, Eartha Kitt, Patsy Cline and Max Bygraves, to the Jimmy Shand Band. All acts were great, but the show stopper had to be Mrs. Smith's Four Little Boys, Danny Lloyd, John Clarke, Derek Phillips and Mitch Bowden in a kilt!! BONG fellers you were great!

Special thanks to Barry Filer who stepped in at the last moment to be stage hand and a great calming effect he had.

After expenses, £730 was raised. Thank you Berry people for your support. Next year we shall be back to two nights. See you there.

Neil Morris



It is good to see Laurel Draper out and about taking his daily constitutional and apologies for selling his op. short - it was a quadruple by-pass!!

Villagers have suffered their fair share of accidents just recently and well wishes go to Pat and John Gale, Jackie Bayes and Dick Barten.

To Lilian Knowles, Ray Ludlow and Walter White, who have not been too well lately, take things easy and look after yourselves.

Our very best wishes to Eden and his family. Keep smiling, we are all rooting for you.



Village Cream Tea Update: Sincere 'thank you's' to one and all in Berrynarbor who helped in any way towards our special SURPRISE village project. Words are just NOT ENOUGH!! A total of £800 was raised and the gift has been posted with Berrynarbor's love and best wishes.

Ilfracombe College P.T.A. would like to thank everyone who contributed to and supported the recent very successful "Promises Evening" when £1,000 was raised.

The Barten Family would like to thank all the very kind people who visited, sent cards, fruit and chocs. during Dick's stay in hospital, following a nasty fall. He is back home, not quite firing on all cylinders yet, but getting there!



A very enjoyable evening was had by everyone present in the Men's Institute way back on the 24th February, for the annual Trophies Presentation.

Mr. Gordon Hughes, Chairman, presented prizes to:

WinnerRunner Up
LeagueRay TomsGerry Marangone
Handicap Singles
[Leonard Bowden Shield]
Phil BridleMatthew Walls
Scratch SinglesMaurice Draper Phil Bridle
DoublesIvan Clarke and Kevin BrooksMatthew Walls & Gary Branch
Highest BreakRay Toms

John Huxtable


"Egrets there are a few"

Adjacent to the site of the former power station at Yelland is the Isley Marsh R.S.P.B. Reserve. This good bird-watching area may be reached via the cycle track which follows the course of the old Barnstaple to Bideford railway.

Brimstone butterflies, looking like airborne primroses, moved about the bushes. When at rest, this butterfly's clever camouflage can be fully appreciated. Perched with wings closed, it resembles a leaf. The undersides of the wings are pale greenish yellow with prominent veins; the wing tips are sharply pointed and the leaf illusion is completed by what appears to be a spot of brown mould in the centre of the wing. Brimstones hibernate in woods among evergreens such as holly and ivy. In May or June they lay their eggs in Buckthorn bushes.

Sand martins were in rapid and constant movement over a shallow pond. Shelducks had congregated along a weir. These handsome ducks are goose-like in shape and in flight. They have greenish black heads and necks, bright red beaks and pink legs. Their wings are black, green and white and their most distinctive feature is a broad chestnut brown 'belt' encircling the white body. Shelduck nests in burrows; sometimes excavating them itself but often taking over abandoned rabbit burrows and even foxes' dens. Braunton Burrows is an important breeding site for the birds, which usually arrive in March.

Near a jetty, reaching out to the estuary, stood an elegant snowy white bird on long delicate black legs. It had a long, slender black bill and yellow feet. This was a little egret. It looks like a small stork but it is related to the herons. In flight, it holds its legs out horizontally behind it and it is then that the contrasting black legs and yellow feet are most conspicuous. When in the vicinity of other white birds, such as gulls, the little egret's plumage is noticeably brighter.

Normally a bird of warm climates, inhabiting the marshy regions of Southern Europe, South East Asia, Australia and Africa, it has been changing its 'status' in this country in recent years. In 1951 the naturalist, James Fisher, called it 'an extreme rarity'. Until that time it had only been seen in Britain about 12 times. Since then it has been termed a 'vagrant' to the British Isles and later, 'a scarce visitor - increasing', but over the last five years the situation has changed.

Last year the R.S.P.B. announced that more than a hundred little egrets visit England each year and that 'it can only be a matter of time before they breed here'.

Certainly they have become a not uncommon sight on Horsey Island, Braunton Marsh, at Fremington and East Yelland Marsh where they appear quite at home!

Sue H


Photographic Competition

The Competition is open to all residents and visitors, regardless of age, and entries may be prints or transparencies. They must be 'living' scenes or events within the parishes of Combe Martin or Berrynarbor and suitable for use in our publications. There are no classifications of subject or age of the photographer, and no restriction on the number of entries submitted. A prize of £50 be awarded to the winner and there will be 5 consolation prizes of £10 each.

Please submit entries to the Combe Martin Tourism Association at the Tourist Information centre, not later than 1st SEPTEMBER, 1996. Envelopes should be marked "Photo Comp" and entries marked with your name and address. Enclose a stamped and addressed envelope if you want your photographs returned. Entries will be judged by the Association's Committee, whose decision is final.

Get out those cameras and get cracking!

Don Taylor, Secretary




The Summer Term in any school is a busy time. Our school is no exception! As some of you may have seen in the paper, we took in National Schools Ground Day on the 3rd May. This was a day set aside for schools all over the country to make every effort to use their grounds for curriculum activities. We made the most of ours and a had a picture in the paper to prove it!

9th May saw some children visiting Rosemoor Gardens, Great Torrington. They worked with the Education Officer looking at the special needs of plants and why they are suited to their environment.

On 15th and 16th May, some children from Class 3 took part in two performances of dance with students from the North Devon College. A great experience for those chosen as we were the only primary school whose pupils were given this honour!

Mr. Constants' choir group will be singing again for the residents of the Susan Day Home. Last year this was so successful they have been asked back again.

On top of all these and other events, our children will be enjoying their sports competitions. Let us all hope the weather is kind for them and, of course, for the school fete.


are holding their

There will be a Hog Roast, Cider Stall, Bouncy Castle, Side Stalls. Plant Stalls,
Coconut Shy, Prize Raffle, Face Painting, Jugglers and Country Dancing by the Children

Lots of Fun for All the Family
Some of the money raised will be used to develop the Information Technology within the School Curriculum





It was a very proud day for the Sunday School on 28th April, 1996, when Pat Robinson, Katie Gubb and Peter Hiscox were Confirmed at St. Peter's, together with other children and adults from nearby parishes. The Bishop of Exeter led the Confirmation Service and afterwards tea and biscuits were served in the Manor Hall, when the Communicants could personally speak to the Bishop, receive a Prayer Book and have their photograph taken.

Preb. and Peggy Eppingstone were presented with a rose bush and card from Berrynarbor Sunday School to congratulate and thank them for their love and care to us all over the last 10 years.

"When the children were asked: 'What does a Bishop do?' one child answered, 'Moves diagonally across the board'!"

Sally Barten



The Wedding of Janet and R.J. was blessed at St. Peter's on 12th April by Preb. Eppingstone. Thank you to all who made it such a wonderful day. A special mention to Ann Gosling who decorated the church so beautifully. Although the day was dark, wet and cold outside, on entering the church it was as if the sun was shining brightly.

Thanks to the Band of Rogues and R.J's family, we were soon into Irish Dancing - 'River Dance' eat your heart out! A happy, marvellous day.

Sally Barten



A Night in June

The sun has long been set,
The stars are out by twos and threes,
The little birds are piping yet
Among the bushes and the trees;
There's a cuckoo, and one or two thrushes,
And a far-off wind that rushes,
And a sound of water that gushes,
And the cuckoo's sovereign cry
Fills all the hollow of the sky.
William Wordsworth
The greenest of grass in the long meadow grows;
And the stream, how the stream is dancing!
How cool is its kiss on the little brown toes
That find it a playmate entrancing!
Forgotten the bad days
The weary and sad days,
Or time all unheeding
That bright hours are speeding,
Forgotten is 'bed' by the children in June
Jane G. Stewart


Illustration by: Paul Swailes



There are two sets of questions I'm always being asked about windsurfing - an activity which I took up some 12 years ago and in which I progressed to become an advanced instructor and enthusiastic racing competitor. The first set is along the lines of "Why do you do it?" ''What's the excitement?" "How much does it cost?" , and others which reflect the obvious envy of anyone remotely active, on seeing young bloods, driven by the wind, skimming across the water at incredible speeds, leaving a tail of white spray behind and perhaps jumping up and over waves, only to crash down, apparently effortlessly water start, speed off again and then, just before beaching, scream round by reversing the sale and speeding off again on the return journey. My answers confirm the questioner's impressions - yet, it is exciting!!

Illustration by: Paul Swailes

With the wind in your face, lumpy water under the board, often on the edge of catastrophe - it's fun, fun, fun all the way, and it does take a while to become good.

Even so, I didn't start until I was forty plus and have friends who are still active in their late 60's. A 3 day course will get you able to sail safely out onto flat water and back to shore again; one year's regular outings will bring you up to leaning back hard against the pull of the sail and putting your feet into the footstraps; while two years should see you jumping off your first wave in a rough sea. Youth, athleticism, guts and a willingness to get wet will speed your progress, but you can stick at cruising around on sunny days and still find windsurfing to be the next best thing after sex!

The next set of questions reflect the difficulties which seemingly abound and which the media delight in showing: falling off, exhaustion, cold, crashes and total inability to cope due to weakness, waves, lack of etc., etc. There is some truth in all of this, but often the problem is exaggerated by incorrect training equipment and trying "to run before learning to walk". Small sails on large stable boards, flat and shallow water, and a knowledgeable instructor will ease all the difficulties. Do you remember learning to ride a bicycle? Well, it's just the same except falling off is wet and soft, not dry and hard. Similarly, you wouldn't start to learn on a 21" frame racing bike, or 20-speed mountain bike! Learning on a windsurfing holiday in Greece is wonderful, but there are good places in the U.K. too. Regrettably, there aren't too many in North Devon, though Wistlandpound Reservoir is a possibility.

I usually sail at Crow Point, off the Burrows downstream of Braunton. On a high tide, the conditions there are excellent, with a good expanse of blue water, clean wind and a sandy shore. Sailors there use all manner of craft, ranging from a 370 cm race board and a 7.5 sq.metre sail, down to 265 cm wave boards and 3.5 sq.metre sails. On summer week-ends, the girls often outnumber the boys and sailing across to Instow or Appledore is a variation, or just blasting to and fro for the hell of it!

If my little expose has been of interest, then find a quiet time in the shop and I should be happy to brief you further. If you would like holiday advice, then this, too, I should happily provide.

Alan Rowlands

Congratulations to Alan on his recent sponsored surf when he raised £216 for the McMillan Appeal, sailing from Crow Point to Instow - where he picked up a cream tea from the Commodore! - and then back to Crow Point for another cream tea on the beach! All that cream - it's naughty but its nice!


Artwork: Angela Bartlett

Berrynarbor Post Office

The first entry relating to post in any directory for Berrynarbor is that in White's 1850 Directory for Devon, where the following information is given: FOOT POST: Geo. Burgess, to Ilfracombe. Foot post indicated that the named person would accept and deliver letters/post received from the named Postal Office, in this case Ilfracombe. George Burgess, a resident of Berrynarbor, would walk to Ilfracombe first thing in the morning and then walk back to Berrynarbor to deliver any post/letters he had picked up. He would walk in again in the afternoon, taking the post/letters from Berrynarbor for onward consignment.


Roger Morgan in his book on Devon Post Offices stated that the Berrynarbor Village Post Office commenced in 1855 and remains to the present time. This is reinforced by Kelly's 1856 Directory, Billing's Directory, the Post Office Directory of 1866, Morris's Directory of 1870 and Harrod's 1878 Directory. Each gives William Hicks as either 'the receiver', the 'Sub-Master' or the 'Post Master'. William Hicks continues to be mentioned as Sub-Postmaster in all directories up to Kelly's 1902, when the following entry is given: "Post: M.O. 7 T.O., T.M.O., S.B. Express and Parcel Delivery & Annuity & Insurance Office - William Hicks, sub-postmaster. Letters through Ilfracombe, received at 8.45 a.m., despatched at 5.00 p.m. He is also listed as Parish Clerk and tailor.

William Hicks was born in 1825 and died at the age of 80 in February 1905, having served as sub-postmaster for over half a century, and Church/Parish Clerk for 54 years! His wife, Jane, died a year earlier in 1904 at the age of 85, and their son, Thomas born in 1861, took over as sub-postmaster, a position he held until his death in August 1922. 

The picture, again taken by Garratt, shows the original Berrynarbor post Office which was at the top of Pitt Hill as you enter the village from the west. Sadly, it was included in the first Watermouth Estate Sale on 17th August, 1920, and under Lot 48 sold for 350 guineas, a figure that the then tenant and postmaster, Tom Hicks and his wife Sarah, could not afford. "All that Dwelling House, Post Office, Shop, Outbuildings and Large Garden, situate in the Village and No. 36, in the occupation of Mr. T. Hicks as a Quarterly Tenant. The Apportioned Tithe on this Lot is Is.6d. There is a Water-tap on this Lot." Tom and his wife were, however, able to afford the 155 guineas for Lot 57, "A Slated Cottage, Piggery, Yard and Garden Situate in the Village and being No. 62, in the occupation of Mr. C. Huxtable as a Quarterly Tenant, Lots 52 to 57 inclusive all get their Water from Taps in the public road."

This then was the start of our present Post Office, which will be my subject for the next edition of our Newsletter. In this connection I should be pleased to receive any information from our present and any of the past postmasters. I should particularly welcome the opportunity to be able to list, with dates, all postmasters/mistresses since Tom Hicks.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, May 1996



2ndTrinity Sunday
3rdSt. Peter's: Meeting for helpers for Summer Fayre, 2.30 p.m.
Badminton Club, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
4thW.I. Meeting: News and Views West Country TV Presenter
6thSt. Peter's: Holy Communion, 10.00 a.m. [Corpus Christi]
Whist Drive, 7.30 p.m., Manor Hall
8thto 19th June, Victorian Week, Ilfracombe
10thBadminton Club, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
11thParish Council Meeting, 7.30 p.m., Manor Hall
12thMobile Library in Village from 11.55 a.m.
13thSt. Peter's: Ringers from Sussex
U3A. Luncheon.
Whist Drive, 7.30 p.m., Manor Hall
17thBadminton Club, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
20thWhist Drive, 7.30 p.m. Manor Hal
22ndCharity Sale, Manor Hall, 2.30 p.m.
23rdChristians Together: Methodist Church
24thBadminton Club, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
25thto Thursday, 27th: Studio Theatre, Pavilion Theatre, Ilfracombe 8.15 p.m. "A Murder has been Arranged"
26thMobile Library in Village from 11.55 a.m.
St. Peter's Gift Day
27thU.R.C. Fuchsia Cottage Garden Coffee Morning, 10.30 a.m. to 12.00 noon
Whist Drive, 7.30 p.m., Manor Hall
29thBRITAIN IN BLOOM - Jumble sale, Manor Hall, 2.30 p.m.
1stBadminton Club, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
2ndW.I. Meeting: Guide to Pain Relief, Therapycare South West
4thWhist Drive, 7.30 p.m., Manor Hall
6thW.I. Fund raising event for Devon Air Ambulance, Manor Hall, time to be arranged
8thBadminton Club, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
9thParish Council Meeting, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
10thMobile Library in Village from 11.55 a.m.
11thU3A Luncheon.
Whist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
15thSt. Swithun's Day - watch the weather!
Badminton Club, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
16thBerrynarbor P.T.A. Bumper Fete, 6.30 p.m. Manor Hall
18thWhist Drive, 7.30 p.m., Manor Hall
19thPrimary School & College: Break Up for Summer Holidays
23rdNorth Devon Spinners: Open Day & Exhibition, 10.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m., Manor Hall
24thMobile Library in Village from 11.55 a.m.
25thWhist Drive, 7.30 p.m. Manor Hall
26thW.I. Educational Trip - Coach 1.00 p.m. Church Steps
1stWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
6thSt. Peter's Summer Fayre
NO W.l. Meeting!
7thMobile Library in Village from 11.55 a.m.