Edition 60 - June 1999

Artwork by: Peter Rothwell - East Hagginton Farm

Artwork: Judie Weedon


Here we are at the big 60 - this issue completes ten years of the Newsletter and thanks are due to everyone who has contributed to or supported the Newsletter in any way - without you it could not happen.

In the first issue, Jenny Taylor [Chairman of the Parish Council] wrote: "The aim is to make this an interesting and informative newsletter. Everyone is invited to contribute any item of interest . . . The success of this newsletter depends on YOU, the reader, and the input received." Thanks to YOU, I think we have fulfilled that aim.

Some new contributors have joined the band of 'regulars' this month and the wrap-round cover, East Hagginton Farm, is another of Peter Rothwell's charming pictures of the village. Thanks to you all.

Items for the August issue will be needed by mid-July - as early as possible please and by Wednesday, 14th July, at the latest.

Judie - Ed



When preparing the April issue, we were basking in a spell of warm, sunny weather, but since then we have experienced complete climate changes, including snow! This cold spell, which frequently occurs when the blackthorn is in blossom, is often referred to as a Blackthorn Winter.

Although the time of the cold spell seems to vary, it is also known as Ice Saints or Frost Saints and Peewit's Pinch.

Ice or Frost Saints refers to those saints whose days fall in what is called the blackthorn winter. Here the time is given as the second week in May, between the 11th and 14th. Some give the period as only 3 days, but whether the days are the 11th, 12th and 13th or the 12th, 13th and 14th is not agreed!

St. Pancras [12th May], one of the patron saints of children, was martyred in the Diocletian persecution of 304 AD at Rome, when he was 14. He is usually represented as a boy with a sword in one hand and a palm-branch in the other. The first church to be consecrated in England by St. Augustine, at Canterbury, was dedicated to St. Pancras. St. Boniface [14th May], born at Crediton [680-754 AD], was the Apostle of Germany, a West Saxon whose English name was Wynfrith. St. Mamertus [11th May] introduced in the 5th Century AD, a series of Prayers and Litanies for Rogation, the 4 days leading up to Ascension, which is the 40th day after Easter. These particularly referred to earthquakes, rains and other weather perils. Unfortunately, no information has been found about St. Servatius, whose day is the 13th May.

Peewit's Pinch is the short, cold spell that usually occurs in March, when peewits are about to start nesting - they nest on the ground - and feel their 'pinch' when frost and cold winds come at this time.

According to legend, it was the branches and sharp barbs of the blackthorn that were used to make Christ's crown of thorns.

Certainly we had a very cold spell when this delicately flowered tree was in blossom. However, perhaps due to global warming, its timing was neither Peewit's Pinch nor Frost Saints - just a Blackthorn Winter!




Members arriving on the 6th April were sorry to learn that their expected speaker had had to postpone owing to ill health, but were pleased to welcome Claire Masterson, Field Marketing Officer of The Landmark, who gave a lively and entertaining talk on the first year of the Theatre ... she had some excellent photographs, both inside and outside the theatre, and of course there were the usual comments about its futuristic design ... 'will withstand all rough weather', we were told. The Summer Programme is out and we wish them every success.

A collection for the League of Friends of the Tyrrell Hospital raised £25 for their Summer Fayre, which had been gratefully received. Nine members attended the Chichester Group Meeting held at Kentisbury on the 26th April. As always at WI get-togethers, there was a wonderful atmosphere and excellent refreshments! Congratulations to Kentisbury for gaining the most marks in the Competitions - we came 4th, but all credit to everyone that took part, especially our very own Win Collins and Joan Wood.

My, how the year is flying by, for here we were on the 4th May once again discussing Resolutions for the forthcoming General Meeting to be held in the Royal Albert Hall, when Doreen Prater will be a Delegate. Kath Arscott opened the discussions on the subject of Farming, followed by Rosemary Gaydon on G.M. Foods, Doreen Prater on Women's Human Rights and yours truly on Ovarian Cancer. All subjects were fully discussed and voted on. Win Collins gave a short address on the work that her small committee had compiled on Agenda 21 - looking after the environment, etc. The books when completed will be something for the Millennium and will be read by many, we hope, in the future.

Our next meeting will be on the 1st June when we hope to welcome Diane Lewis of the RSPCA and on 6th July we shall be giving our Annual Tea for members of the Ilfracombe Disabled Association, and then a busy time ahead with villages fetes, etc.

Wishing all readers a happy and fruitful summer.

Vi Kingdon - President

Summer Growth
Dawn brings another day to birth,
The moments bloom again.
The past is like the good brown earth,
And the future like the sun and rain.

Congratulations to Vi and Mattie, the Pomeranian 'bundle of fur with a heart', who recently appeared in the Western Morning News feature, 'Man's Best Friend'.





It is with much sadness that we report the sudden death of Lew Simmons on the 20th March, although he had been unwell for some time. Lew and Barbara, once residents of Berrynarbor, moved to Combe Martin a few years ago.

Father and grandfather, Lew will be sadly missed by his family and friends and our thoughts are with Barbara, her son and daughter and the grandchildren. Barbara and family would like to thank everyone for their kind messages of sympathy, cards and donations to Cancer Research.


Bobby with Mary and Bill in 1989

I was saddened to hear of the death of Mary Lewis at her home in Par on the 5th April, four years after her husband, Bill, who was rector of Berrynarbor during my childhood.

Many of my generation will remember her with fondness. She had many musical attributes and a lovely way with children. She not only gathered us together into a lively church choir, but also organised an annual musical show which was great fun, the hall always packed to capacity.

Mary has two daughters, Wendy and Ann and two grandchildren. Wendy was married in the village church and she and her family are regular visitors to the area. Ann is a retired school teacher.

Bobby Bowden


6 Church Street, Ilfracombe, EX34 8HA TeI: [01271] 862131

Our Office is open Monday to Friday, 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 noon and 1.30 p.m. - 3.30 p.m.

We offer advice and information to all Senior Citizens in your area. If we don't know the answer to your problem, we usually know someone who does.

Why not join our registered membership and receive regular newsletters giving details of changes in benefits, etc., together with information about our social activities? Telephone or call in at the office.



Maintenance and Clearance
Competitive Rates
Fully Qualified and Insured

Phone ROBIN on [01271] 883708




Are you interested in: Cutting your energy bill? Conserving water? Using alternative modes of transport? Recycling, re-using and reducing? Living sustainably and saving money?

Action at Home provides simple, no-nonsense advice telling you what you can do to really make a difference. Every month, for six months, you will receive a colourful, easy to follow Action Pack.

The Action Pack contains simple do-it-yourself ideas for ways to cut energy bills, save petrol and reduce waste. Helping you to take action are simple charts, posters and creative games for children. Helping you to save money are over £50 worth of special offers on low energy light bulbs, water butts and composters.

As a special promotion, Action at Home is offering a limited number of FREE start-up packs. The normal price for such a pack is £5.00. If you would like to obtain your pack, please contact Dominie Dunbrook on [01271] 388426. Hurry, so that you can make extra savings by getting one of the free packs!


Artwork: Paul Swailes


Jackie and John Weaver are home again after their extended stay in Australia and Bob and Judy, our temporary residents, have returned 'down under', but before going they left this message:

We exchanged our surf, sun and sand
To come to explore this far-off land.
All our friends thought us insane
To leave the sun to come to rain.
As luck would have it, the weather's been great,
Staying light till half-past eight.
We had cold days as well, you know,
But what a thrill to see the snow!
We loved your village, pub and steeple,
Most of all we loved the people.
All so friendly and quick with a smile,
Always happy to talk for a while.

The scenery here is second to none,
Which makes your village Number One!
The sea is close and hills abound,
Fields of green are all around.
But, alas, our time has come
And although we're rather glum,
We'll wear a smile, not a frown
When we leave your lovely town.
As they say, for where you roam
There is no place like sunny home.
Goodbye to you all, our new-found friends,
We'll think of you at our journey's end.

Thank you for your hospitality.

Bob and Judy [Aussies]

Illustrations by: Debbie Cook

Sadly, we also say goodbye to Arline and Bernard Lewis who are moving to Martock in Somerset, and Art and Dawn Jameson, now living in Wiltshire. We hope you will be happy in your new homes.

We extend a warm welcome to Ian and Christine Smith, who have come westwards from High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, where Christine ran a coffee shop and Ian was an accountant. With a change of life style in mind, they have moved in to Mill Park House and the 'B and B' business. We wish you both happiness and success in your new venture.

Apologies for not welcoming Simon Bell, the new Headmaster of our Primary School, in the last issue. Congratulations, Simon, on your appointment and very best wishes for the future.




Hello! My name is Simon Bell and I am the new Headteacher at Berrynarbor VC Primary School. Although I am new to the village, I have lived in Devon since 1985 and presently live in Barnstaple with my wife, Frances - herself a full-time teacher - and my son, Sebastian, who is 6. I started my teaching career at Woolacombe Primary School before promotion to Deputy Head at St. Helen's, Abbotsham, and then on to be Deputy at Southmead County Primary School in Braunton. And so on to Berrynarbor, where I am looking forward to an exciting and challenging future with the school.

The Summer Term has been most enjoyable so far, and with the other staff I am looking forward to all those events, new and traditional, that make this time of year such a special one in the life of a village primary school.

Some of those things to look forward to include ... after-school clubs - athletics and tag rugby, cricket and rounders - Sports Day, a Residential Visit to Bristol for the Juniors, visiting artists and Millennium projects and taking part in the PTA's annual fund-raising Fete in July. Quite a busy few months as I am sure you'll agree.

On behalf of the school, I should like to say how much we value being part of such an active community and that we want to play our part in supporting the village. We welcome your contributions to the life of the school as visitors and friends and hope to see you at some of our events. Best wishes for the summer.

Simon Bell




Once again we had a very good congregation for the service on Easter Day and the church was beautifully decorated. Thank you to everyone who helped and to those who contributed towards the lilies. The Sunday School made up an Easter garden and at the end of the service all the children present received Easter eggs.

A successful Coffee Morning was held on Thursday, 6th May. Thank you all for your support. It was the first get-together we have had for a while and as usual there was such a friendly atmosphere. £146 was raised and this will go to help fund the Flower Festival to be held in the church from 23rd to 26th July. The title will be 'Events of the 20th Century' and there will be a display for each decade of the past 100 years. A Preview, with Cheese and Wine, will be held on Thursday, 22nd July, and a Songs of Praise with Christians Together on Sunday, 25th [late in the evening]. Please let Betty Davis know as soon as possible if you would like to assist in any way [Tel: 883541]. We shall be holding another Coffee Morning - to help pay for the flowers - in the Manor Hall on Thursday, 10th June.

Our other main fund-raising events this summer will be Gift Day on Wednesday, 30th June, when we shall be at the lychgate all day, and our Summer Fayre on Tuesday, 17th August. All our efforts this year will be for the Tower Appeal.

At long last a new altar frontal and matching falls to the lectern and pulpit have been bought for the church. After long deliberation, the PCC chose a rich material with all the liturgical colours woven into the cloth. This means the frontal will stay on the altar throughout the year [in the past we had four sets] and, apart from saving on cost and labour, we shall no longer have the problems of storage.

The total cost was around £1,500 and this was met from donations. The altar frontal itself has been given in memory of Mrs. Win White, with a legacy she left to the church and a generous donation from her daughter, Betty Davis. The new frontal and falls were dedicated by the Rector at the Family Service on the 18th April. They make a fine addition to the church and will be greatly treasured.

Mary Tucker


Artwork: Peter Rothwell

The Rectory
Combe Martin

Dear Friends,

St. Peter, Berrynarbor

The Churchwardens of the Parish Church have asked me to write to you to prepare you for Gift Day on Wednesday, 30th June 1999 [near St. Peter's Day] because we have a major problem.

There is a poem about the towers of Combe Martin, Berrynarbor and Hartland. In the version I was told, Berrynarbor stood for strength. The tower might be quite strong, but the battlements on the top of the tower are in a very serious condition of collapse and need rebuilding completely. The tower itself also needs repointing and some big holes filled in. In bad weather [which we have sometimes in North Devon!] we have water running down the inside of the tower. You can imagine the damage that does to the wooden floors in the chambers. We need to do something about it.

The tower looks fine from the outside, especially when lit up at night, but unless we do something about it now, it will eventually collapse.

The PCC have had architects and builders look at the problems and it would appear that we have to try to raise over £50,000 for the repairs. We have already sent away for grant forms from English Heritage, but they will pay only a percentage of the cost - if they decide to help us! It will have to be a major fund-raising effort to save a beautiful feature of the village. We need your ideas and help.

With all good wishes,
your Friend and Rector,

Keith Wyer



"Traditional" Devon Butcher Licensed Game Dealers
Corn Fed Free Range Chickens
Home Made Pies Cooked Meats and Sausages
Locally farmed and slaughtered Meat
Meat sent by post
Regular Deliveries to Berrynarbor and Combe Martin
146 High Street, Tel: [01271] 863643



What makes a perfect summer's day?
What makes the day sublime?
From dawn to dusk, the magic's there,
There is no special time.
A hazy sunshine greets the day
With bird song clear and true;
Then slowly lifts the morning mist
And shows a sky so blue.
The sun beats down at noon of day,
Reflecting everywhere;
Encompassing the atmosphere
With light beyond compare.
Flowers lift their eager heads
To capture warmth and light;
Children frolic at their play
With laughter sweet and bright.
Now a breeze disturbs the trees
Her sweet breath gentle now,
Tempering the heat of day
And cooling fevered brow.
The summer evening lingers on,
Reluctantly it fades;
The sky is tinted brightly now
With a galaxy of shades.
From apricot to amber,
From bronze to fiery red,
They streak the far horizon
As the sun goes to her bed.
What makes a perfect summer's day?
What makes the day sublime?
The process is in God's good hands,
From start to end of time.

Bettina Brown - Combe Martin

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes



Alberta - Barton Lane

Having spent 27 happy years in beautiful Berrynarbor, we have reluctantly decided that as the years are beginning to take their toll, we are moving to a more manageable place with a 'pocket handkerchief' garden and five minutes level walk to the local shops. Also, we shall be a bit nearer our family which will be more convenient for them and us.

So, we say farewell to all friends and acquaintances and would like to thank everyone for their good wishes and lovely cards. We won't be forsaking Berrynarbor altogether, as we shall be making visits from time to time and hope to keep abreast of all events, etc., via the newsletter.

Arline and Bernard Lewis

Doone Way - Ilfracombe

I'm writing to say thanks for the latest Berry magazine. I find it really interesting and thought you'd be surprised to hear it is also widely travelled. I send it on to my second son, Dennis, who lives near Spalding in Lincolnshire, working for a garden centre making plant containers of various kinds.

We have lived here since 1983 and enjoy our wee bungalow. Don now has 7 grandchildren and I have 6, as well as 3 great-grandchildren.

Don has had two new hips of late and I had one eight years ago, but recently had a new left knee. So we are both bionic!

Rowena Mason

Good to hear from you, Rowena [or 'Mitch' to many of us here], and best wishes to you and Don.


Carpenter - Joiner - Builder
Roofing, Interior & Exterior Painting
Pressure Washing [paths, patios, etc.]


Primrose Cottage, Victoria Street, Combe Martin, EX34 OJT
Tel: [01271] 883639 Mobile: 07971 282052


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


Following Graham Andrews' decision to retire from the Committee, our thanks were expressed to him at the AGM in April for the efficient and professional manner in which he has guided the Committee, as Chairman, for the past year.

Our much depleted Committee now consists of Alf Gilbertson, Anne Hinchliffe, Denise Lane, Mike Lane, Debbie Luckham, Stuart Neale and myself.

We should be very happy to welcome ideas and help from anyone who would like to join us. Meetings are usually held on the first Wednesday of each month at 7.15 p.m.

Because of the 'newness' of the Committee, we should be grateful to hear from anyone from the village interested in any contracts for work at the Hall. Please let one of us know what your speciality is.

It is intended that the Berry Revels will be held on Tuesday, 3rd August and the Horticultural and Craft Show on Saturday, 4th September.

On Saturday, 17th July, the Studio Music Singers will present 'Our Town' - a sing-along review - at the Manor Hall at 7.00 p.m. Tickets £3.00 to include a buffet supper afterwards.

John Hood - Chairman [883105]


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


  • 4 Lemons
  • 25g [1oz] Tartaric Acid
  • 1kg [2lbs] Sugar
  • 1 pint Water

Put the zest and juice of the lemons, sugar and tartaric acid in a large bowl. Add 1 pint of boiling water. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Cover and leave for 2 days. Sieve and bottle.

May be used immediately. Dilute at least 7:1 with water to drink - it is much stronger than commercial cordials. Will keep for many months, even after the bottle has been opened.



Artwork: Angela Bartlett

The Home Guard

The Local Defence Volunteers [LDV] formed in 1940 was soon renamed the Home Guard. Combe Martin and Berrynarbor Home Guard was formed at about this time and each one was called a Platoon. There was an age limit of 65, but this was not strictly observed and no medical was required. Men above army age [40] and those in reserved occupations, such as agricultural workers, joined. I remember a bank official, a former headmaster and former service men. At the initial meeting held at the Manor Hall, it was decided who would be in charge, who would be given rank, and so on. Promotions were later given to others if they passed their proficiency tests, such as map reading, shooting, field craft, camouflage, hand signals [instead of talking], ways to crawl and dismantling and reassembling a machine gun in total darkness. The very heavy Lee Enfield rifles were kept at home with the ammunition, but machine guns, grenades and sten guns were kept elsewhere. To help you use the Lee Enfield, a special drill was given called 'pokey' drill, devised to strengthen the wrist. Initially, however, the platoon had to make do with pikes, shot guns, air guns or anything else to hand.

The use of a bungalow at Berry Down was negotiated and this was to form the base for patrol every two hours at night down to Lynton Cross, looking for parachutists or anything else suspicious to report. In the early days, about eight men were taken by van to the bungalow where, if they were not on patrol, they might get a bit of sleep on the palliasses [straw mattresses] provided . At first, men had to make their own way back which they tried to do more or less in a straight line - crossing fields of cattle and sheep, ditches, hedges and streams. There were no lights, just moonlight if you were lucky. In due course, transport was provided both ways.

Accidents happen and the Home Guard was no exception. At Combe Martin, a Blacker Bombard went off unexpectedly and blew Sid Blackmore's hand off. At Berrynarbor, Jim Floyd dropped a hand grenade after pulling out the pin. Fortunately, Sergeant Long Jack Draper quickly picked it up and threw it before it went off. Some got minor scratches from the shrapnel. I understand there was a 4-7 second delay between pulling out the pin and the actual explosion, depending on the type. Hand grenades were also fired by cup dischargers using a special ballistic cartridge. The rifle could project the grenade 40-50 yards. There were some amusing happenings too. My half-brother, Gerald, and Jack Foster reported back to Berry Down that there was a huge glow in the sky, probably something set alight by incendiaries but something to be urgently looked at. It turned out to be the sunrise! Gerald and Jack used to 'ping' the bell on the school in the early days with an air gun. It was said in shooting practice at the Manor Hall, that the piano was shot and the woodworm cleared off to The Globe to ask, "Is the bar tender here?" I don't think that was true!

One night, on manoeuvres, Berrynarbor Platoon thought a different approach to surprise the Combe Martin Platoon would be to go there by boat. Oars had to be home made [proper ones were locked away] and they tried to embark at Watermouth. Although the boat did not actually capsize, they got a bit of a wetting and had to abandon the idea. An unusual sight would be a farmer, straight off duty, wearing his uniform but for a bowler hat.

One night, someone called to say an invasion was imminent. My mother was ill at the time, so I prepared sandwiches for Gerald while he got on his uniform, pack, gas mask, rifle and the rest of the paraphernalia. Fortunately, nothing happened, but I know my mind was racing with 'what if'. When the Hangman hills were set alight by incendiaries, the Home Guard were given beaters to put out the flames.

After a while, the Home Guard became an extension of the Army and a small attendance allowance was made.

I was not in the Home Guard myself as I was too young, but I do remember them. I can recall Messrs. Peachey, Newman, Draper, Richards, Delboss and many others, though I am unsure of their ranks. I am sure all the men got on well together and when the Home Guard was disbanded in November 1944, they could all feel proud that they had done their best. Each was awarded a medal and a citation for their service and being prepared to give their lives for their country.

My thanks to Bob Richards and Ron Toms for their help with this article.

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

If you keep back issues of the Newsletter, and I know some of you do, in his article Old Berrynarbor No. 43 [October 1996], Tom Bartlett provided a photograph of the Home Guard outside the Manor Hall around 1940. Amongst those 'present and correct' were Commander Peachey, Sergeant Newman and Messrs. Floyde [Dick and Jim], Dummett [Syd and Lionel], Challacombe, Brookman, Toms, Draper [Denzil and Jack], Brooks, Boyen, Snell, Beauclerk, Huxtable [Reg and Fred], Nicholls, Jones, Leaworthy, Penhale, Vallance, Thorne, Osborne, Hacker, Perrin and Snell.



Do you know of any evacuees during the Second World War? Were you an evacuee? Were you a foster parent, teacher, billeting officer or helper involved in the evacuation of children? If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, then you should know about the Evacuees Reunion Association.

The ERA aims to provide links and support for former evacuees and to educate the public about the evacuation of 3.5 million children from areas of risk during the Second World War.

ERA is always looking for new members and any support in spreading the awareness of its existence is appreciated. It's patrons include Michael Aspel, Robert Crawford [Imperial War Museum], the playwright Jack Rosenthal, Henry Sandon of The Antiques Road Show and the author, Ben Wicks.

The Association has its roots in the 50th Anniversary of the War in 1955, when a few evacuees, wearing what has become their distinctive emblem - a tied-on luggage label - took part in the great parade in London. It was launched in 1996.

On Friday, 3rd September 1999, a special service will be held in Westminster Abbey to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of 'Operation Pied Piper' which will be preceded by a procession of ex-evacuees from the UK as well as Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The procession will start in Horse Guards Road and after the service there will be entertainment at Westminster Central Hall.

Membership details are available from:

    The General Secretary and Founder, Mr. James Roffey,
    Beck Cottage, Clayworth, Notts, DN22 9AD Tel: [01777] 817294.



The Winslade Wildlife Sanctuary is unique in North Devon. It was established in 1987 with the aim of treating injured, shocked, cruelly treated, orphaned and otherwise distressed wild birds and animals native to this country. We prioritise in returning these creatures to their natural environment with a preference to the particular area in which they were found.

At present, one of the casualties we are caring for is a dormouse which was inadvertently disturbed during her winter hibernation, when the stable she was in was demolished. After initial checks that she had suffered no injuries she was brought to the sanctuary. This adorable creature instantly found a place in all our hearts. She was placed in an incubator, inside a woolly hat - to replace her nest - where she promptly fell asleep. Dormice hibernate for long periods over the winter months but awaken in late March early April. Soon our little dormouse will be released to a monitored site in a specially made dormouse house and we wish her well after her traumatic experience.

At the Sanctuary we are now preparing ourselves for our busiest period, when many young creatures are brought in - fledglings separated from their parents and young deer. Many people ask 'what do I do if I find a baby bird or mammal?' Well, all wildlife casualties, whether injured or not, are suffering from shock and more die as a result of shock than for any other reason. With this in mind, keep the casualty warm, quiet and in the dark - do not be tempted to keep them warm by cuddling them. The best care is to put them in a box, place a hot water bottle under a jumper or small blanket and gently place them on top, closing the box but making sure that the creature can breathe. The box should then be left in a quiet place, an airing cupboard or unused room is ideal. Do not attempt to feed the casualty. Telephone the Sanctuary for advice. If you find a baby bird and think it is lost, always stop, look and listen from a concealed position before taking action. Many fledglings arrive at the sanctuary that should have been left alone - more often than not the mother is watching and waiting for you to leave.

We regret that the Sanctuary is not able to receive visitors as disturbance to the creatures cared for must always be kept to a minimum. As a charity we rely entirely on donations and membership subscriptions. If you would like to know about your local wildlife sanctuary and how to become a member, please feel free to contact us and we will send you a leaflet. Tel: [01237 451550].

Illustration by: Debbie Cook

Kelvin Irwin [Trainee Deputy Manager]
Winslade Wildlife Sanctuary

1 Little Hill Cottages, Winslade, Nr. Buckland Brewer, Bideford. 8/4/99



Thank you Judie for the write-up in the February issue on our flax fields at Smythen Farm. It was nice to see that locals take an interest in the parish of Berrynarbor outside the village itself.

Further outside the village is the Hamlet of Berry Down. Perhaps folk who have moved into the area within the last forty years would just think of Berry Doon as a few houses spread along a busy roadway. Going back fifty years or so, it was much more - quite a community with its blacksmith and carpenter's shop and Berry Down Church.

The photograph, although not dated, was taken in the late 1940's or early 1950's. How beautifully the church was decorated for the Harvest Festival. Sad, that like so many churches it has disappeared and all that now remains is a small stone wall at the crossroads.

We should be pleased to hear of any earlier or other memories of Berry Down.


Photogaph: Every Good and Perfect Gift is from Above


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


The Rectory
Combe Martin

Dear Friends,

I love the story about Brother John who worked in the monastery kitchen and was so bad at preaching that he was excused all preaching assignments, until one day, when a new abbot was appointed. He insisted on everyone taking a turn at preaching. Brother John worried all week about preaching to the other monks. His mind was a blank. It remained so as he walked up the steps to the pulpit. He looked at the monks. "Do you know what I'm going to say?" "No!" they replied. "Neither do I!" said Brother John and he left the Chapel.

The Abbot was not amused and insisted that he preach next week. Again Brother John's mind went blank when it came to preach, and his fellow monks could see that he had nothing prepared; so when Brother

John asked if they knew what he was going to say, they all replied "Yes!" "Well then, there is no need to tell you." So he left the Chapel.

Again the Abbot was not amused and insisted that Brother John deliver a sermon. The following week the monks could hardly contain their amusement as he mounted the pulpit steps.

"Do you know what I am going to say?" Half the monks said "Yes!" the other half said "No!" Suddenly a smile spread over Brother John's face. "Well then. Let those of you who know tell those of you who do not know!" He left the Chapel and waited for the Abbot, who came in and said, "Brother John, that is the best sermon I have heard: let those of you who know tell those of you who don't. That is what teaching the Gospel is all about." And we all know that "actions speak louder than words".

With all good wishes,
Your Friend and Rector,

Keith Wyer
[On behalf of Christians Together]


Artwork: Paul Swailes


March came in like a lion with wind speeds up to 44 mph and plenty of rain in the first few days, but it improved for the rest of the month, finishing with only 75mm [3 inches] compared with 185mm [7 3/8 inches] last year. The temperatures were much the same in both years - slightly above average.

Easter turned out pretty mixed, fairly warm and the suntan lotion was not really needed, although the sledge could have been dusted off for the high ground a week later!

Rainfall for April was similar to last year - 137mm [5 1/2 inches], which brings the total for 1999 to 539mm [21 1/2 inches].

May has started with more promise - dare we risk fetching the barbeque from the attic or will we be too busy battling with the grass?

Sue and Simon



During the autumn of '98 we had a visitor to the village, one David Austin. Now Nora buys her roses from David Austin Roses and she put two and two together and made five, and took the gentleman to be the very same. However, he denied being famous and claimed only to be a poor artist. Over Christmas we saw 'The Year in Cartoons' on TV and jumped at the name of the Guardian Cartoonist - David Austin! We wrote and challenged him to deny his fame once more. Here is his reply:

Alan and Nora


'A Watery Folly'

Mystery surrounds Pinkworthy Pond. Who created it and how it was constructed - these facts are known - but why? What was its purpose? There are at least four different answers to that question and no one is absolutely sure which is correct.

In books about Pinkworthy and its surrounding moorland, the same two words crop up frequently -- eerie and bleak. When there is a likelihood of mist or severe weather conditions, the area is best avoided, but when the weather is good it makes a pleasant walk, starting from Goat Hill Bridge near Challacombe.

As we approached Short Combe Rocks we heard a sound which caused us to expect to see a stonechat, but perched on a massive pyramidal outcrop of stone was one of its summer visiting cousins, a wheatear. One of the earliest migrants to arrive in the spring, its plumage is greyer and pinker than in the autumn, when buff and fawn tints predominate. As we went further along the track we saw more wheatears than we have ever seen in one place before. However, they are not as numerous as they used to be. In 1989, a survey discovered sixty-six pairs on Exmoor. The Barle Valley, the ancient Forest and the coastal area were found to have most nests. Previous breeding areas - Badgworthy Water, Dunkery and Wimbleball - had been deserted since 1978. Wheatears nest in stone walls, ruined buildings and cavities among rocks, so this was certainly suitable territory.

The path follows the course of the 'infant' River Barle. Thomas Westcote in "A View of Devonshire" in 1630 called it the River Exe's 'fair sister'. He wrote, "the Barle yields nothing to the Exe in quantity and seems as if she would strive for superiority, as having the first bridge of stone."

As one climbs up towards The Chains, the ground is saturated. There are little pools of water, where water crowfoot grows, with tadpoles swimming among its stems. This white flowered plant, common in still waters and slow running streams, has two sorts of leaves. The floating leaves are lobed and flat, shaped rather like ivy. The submerged leaves are fine and hair-like. Narrow leaves offer less resistance to the current, so there is no danger that when the water flows more quickly, the plant will be torn up by the roots. We watched delicate insects, called pond skaters and water measurers, walk and slide over the surface of the water, with the occasional long jump.

Soon we reached Pinkworthy - pronounced Pinkery - Pond, really a manmade lake or reservoir, formed by damming the headwaters of the River Barle. The waters which form the source of the river, seep from the slopes of The Chains and Wood Barrow into Pinkworthy Pond. The river then issues from the pond, flowing through a tunnel cut by miners. On emerging, it tumbles down a long cascade to the true valley floor. This waterfall is one of the highlights of the walk.

Pinkworthy was one of the projects of John Knight, the prosperous Worcester iron-master who bought much of the Royal Forest of Exmoor and who was intent on 'taming' the moor. It is possible that there was already a natural tarn at the site and the lake was an enlargement of this. The earthen dam was constructed by two hundred Irish labourers in the 1820's. Perhaps it was created to provide water for irrigation. Some say it was made in connection with mining operations in the area; that it was built to feed a canal which was to have run to a point above Simonsbath. One theory is that John Knight intended to build a railway from Porlock to Simonsbath to transport lime to improve the acid soil of the peat moors. Water would have been needed to power an incline railway to raise trucks up the steep slope out of Simonsbath. The pond would have provided the water for the canal, which in turn would have fed the mechanism for the railway.

The pond is believed to be haunted by the ghost of a young farmer who drowned there in 1880. An old custom was to float a candle on a loaf of bread which would, it was thought, come to rest over the dead body. This was tried but failed, so divers arrived from Wales but they, too, could not find the young farmer. Eventually the pond was drained and the body discovered.

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

Sue H

As an alternative to Pinkworthy's projected use in agricultural, transport or industrial schemes, it has been suggested that it was put there to be enjoyed. Certainly that has become its role today, although the Laurence Meynell commented that Pinkery now stands 'desolate, forbidding and useless, an odd monument to the man who devised it and to the work of the two hundred Irish labourers who were especially brought over to build it. '


Heddon's Mouth

Happy all, who timely know
The bright gorge, that lies below
Trentishoe and Martinhoe.
Down the vale swift Parracombe
Brawls beneath soft alder gloom,
Toward a sea of sunlit sails,
Flashing far away to Wales.

Lionel Johnson


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


Congratulations and best wishes to Louise Webber and Peter Howard who were married at St. Peter's Church on 15th May. Peter, who is with British Telecom, and Louise, a secretary with a local firm, live at Wood Park and are spending their honeymoon in the Canary Islands.

Our very best wishes to Saffron Alcock and Keith Green who will be celebrating their marriage at St. Peter's at 12.00 noon on Saturday, 19th June. Watch out for Saffron, who, in true romantic fashion, will be making the journey from Woodlands House in the Valley to the church by horse and carriage.



You'll be aware that it's government policy to provide competition to the big monopolies to drive down prices and increase customer choice. Well, your Post Office is taking on the might of British Telecom with a Telephone Cost Savings Club! Estimated at 27% for most users, actual savings depend upon the use you make of your 'phone, but for an outlay of £23.50 plus £l .76 per month service charge and an agreement to pay for your calls monthly, we can save you up to 70% on some calls, 41% on daytime national calls, 24% on peak local calls, 28%/ 12% in the evenings, etc. Charging is by the second.

There's no need to change your existing 'phone line or number, and there is no fitment charge. The system is simple, reliable and automatic and has a 'no quibble 90 day money back' guarantee.

The Club also guarantees to save you money compared with BT's best prices or it will refund you DOUBLE THE DIFFERENCE.

Have a chat with Alan at the Post Office for more information.




By the time this newsletter reaches you, two of our BERRYNARBOR three fund-raising events will have taken place. First, the Great Sponsored Walk on 22nd May when Mitch Bowden and Danny Lloyd are walking from Berry to Simonsbath. Having great faith I know they will make it -- hills all the way, but fine young men you are! I thank them so much for their community spirit and you, the people of Berry, for your generosity.

Secondly, on the 30th May, the Great Duck Race organised by Mary, Brian and the Malin family. What a great idea! Again, to them, many thanks. I suspect plastic yellow ducks will be found floating in the Bristol Channel for quite a few months!

Now we are leading up to our major event, the Picnic in the Park at Watermouth Castle on Sunday, 20th June. There has been a lot of organisation and effort put in to making this a super day. Posters have been displayed in Torrington, Bideford, Ilfracombe, Exeter and Barnstaple, so it's fingers crossed for fine weather and a good crowd and again we shall be counting on you, good people of Berrynarbor!

Talking about fund-raising, the Berry Broadcast Committee has generously donated £1,000 from the proceeds of their last Show and the NDDC have awarded us £1,250 towards the Millennium fountain.

Please note that Millennium mugs will be presented to every child under 16 years of age, not 18 as published in the last newsletter. Apologies for any disappointment.

That's the news this month - see you all at the Picnic in the Park.

Neil Morris - Chairman


Michael Rosen and Susanna Steele
[written using only names from the telephone directory]

Humm Tee Dim Tay
Sato Nawol
Huntly Dumke
Hudd Agate Fall
Alder King soss
Isan Dorley Kinsman
Coode Dant Pot
Humphrey Duhig Adda Arr Gaine

Illustration by: Paul Swailes



Thank you to everyone who supported our trip to the Lost Gardens of Heligan. 49 members and friends enjoyed a very pleasant day out on the 9th May. We stopped at Homeleigh Garden Centre near Launceston for a coffee break -- recommended by our driver, Tom. This proved to be an excellent choice and well worth a longer visit on another occasion. We arrived at Heligan ['the willows' in Cornish], situated at the head of the valley overlooking the picturesque harbour of Mevagissey at noon.

The Manor House, built in 1603, was sold by the Tremayne family in 1970 and subsequently turned into flats - John Willis, of the Tremayne family, inherited the gardens.

During the 1914-18 War, more than half the staff perished and only basic maintenance of the grounds around the house was carried out. In 1916 the house was taken over by the War Department as a convalescent home for officers. So the gardens gradually went to sleep for 70 years.

1990 saw the first inspection of the gardens - the task looked hopeless. The whole site was covered in brambles up to 10 ft high and hundreds of fallen trees [739 fell in the hurricane of January 1990]. During the first year, 1500 tons of timber and brambles were removed and in 1991 the restoration of the garden began with the help of a group from the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.

The gardens are set in 80 acres. The Northern Garden comprises of several sections including The Ride, The Ravine, Flora's Green, The Vegetable Garden, The Italian Garden, The Melon House, Pineapple Pit and many other interesting buildings - the Potting Shed, with clay flower pots neatly stacked, tools cleaned and hanging in immaculate order - the complete opposite of our garden shed!

The jungle, lost garden and woodland walks were ablaze with colour. Rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolias were at their best. The architectural plants, tree ferns, bamboo and gunnera [giant rhubarb] were magnificent, but the bluebells which carpeted the woodland walk made a very peaceful setting to the end of our walk. Everyone was very quiet on the journey home - exhausted after all the walking and fresh air.

I shall be organising another trip on 7th October to Alverton Manor, Truro, for the Devon and Cornwall Area Flower Arranging Show. If anyone is interested in this trip, please let me know.

Sue Wright [883893]

Keeping the floral [as well as family] theme, can you find the flowers in Brian's Quiz?

1. Part of the eye
2. Master drops a thousand
3. Essential in music
4. Household implement
5. A well-dressed beast
6. Worn in winter
7. Frugality
8. A cold descent

9. A good race
10. A very proper flower
11. Always remembered
12. A gilded pole
13. A game and a fabulous animal
14. An animal and an undergarment
15. A bird and a bad word

Answers in article 33.



The National Kidney Research Fund - "Thank you for carrying out a House to House collection on our behalf which raised the splendid sum of £60.00. This is a marvellous amount to have collected and we are most grateful. " Thank you to everyone in the Valley who contributed to this worthwhile cause.

Get Well- Best wishes to all our 'poorlies' we hope you will be feeling better soon. It is good to know that Mr. Homer of Little Sanctuary is now home again, recovering from his operation, and Val Hann from Crofts Lea is around and about again following an operation on her leg. We hope that Kathleen and Tom Tucker are on the mend and look forward to seeing you in the village soon. Pride comes before a fall, they say, but we were so sorry to hear that Phil [our hole-in-one golfer] had had a nasty fall in Ilfracombe and hope she is feeling less bruised now!

Happy Birthday - Congratulations to Robbie who celebrated her 91st birthday at the end of April and Una who will be 96 on the 31st May. Vi Goodman was 80 years young on the 16th May and we wish her many happy returns. Vi would like to thank everyone for the very many cards and messages she received to celebrate her special day.

Fish and Chips- Looking for a quick meal on a Wednesday? Don't forget Fred and his Fish and Chips are in the village each Wednesday:

  • 6.15 - 6.45 p.m. Car Park by the Old Chapel
  • 7.00 p.m. Berrynarbor Park, Sterridge Valley

Studio Theatre, Ilfracombe College - presents 'Haywire' by Eric Chappell 7.45 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday, 23rd to 26th June. Tickets £4.00 [£3.50 concessions] from the Chocolate Box, Ilfracombe, or the College on 864171.

A frantic and frusfrating medley of domestic crises! Haywire freewheels with wit and activity - it's hilarious!

Congratulations! - Rolls Royce Award for Innovation & Technology: Tony Rowlands, eldest son of Alan and Nora, has received a major award in recognition of his design innovation: to sweep back the paddle-like blades of aero-engines and thus increase efficiency and thrust. Now fully developed, the blades are a major factor in making the RR Trent the world's most powerful aero-engine.

Problems with Quality of TV Reception - Welsh TV transmitters have recently changed transmissions to digital and the new frequency is very close to the frequency currently used for TV reception in Berrynarbor. This has resulted in interference. If anyone is currently experiencing problems, please ring the TV Transmitter Adjustment Programme' s Customer Services on Freephone 0800 092 1044. The TV TAP needs to hear from everyone who is experiencing the problem so that they can establish its extent.

Parish and District Council Elections - As the required nominations for the Parish Council had been received, no election was necessary. Our Parish Councillors, under the Chairmanship of Len Coleman, are Ray Ludlow [Vice-Chairman], Bobby Bowden, Paul Crockett, Richard Gingell, Anne Hinchliffe, Mary Malin, Bud Rice and Matthew Walls. As reported in the last issue, Graham Andrews has resigned and it was with much sadness that we learned that Lorna Bowden, after many years on the Council looking after our interests, has also stood down. We thank them both for their support of and commitment to the village.

Representing us for a further term of office on the North Devon District Council are Yvette Gubb and Peter Spencer.

Election Thanks - I should like to thank everyone in Berrynarbor who supported me in the recent District Council election. Although not successful, this time, it was a close run result which promises well for the future! I should also like to thank all Committee members, family and friends who worked so hard on my behalf.

Graeme Coombs

Berrynarbor Strawberries - available July/August. Please ring 882696 with your order.

Berrynarbor [Britain] In Bloom - Volunteers required to help plant up baskets and tubs for the village. Please come and help!! Sunday, 13th June, 2.30 p.m. at the Manor Hall.

Can Anyone Help? Hands Across the Sea - Our village chapel in Pharr, Texas, sponsors a children's home in Matamoras, Mexico. The home is in need of craft items which the children use to make wonderful things to sell to raise money for the home and the medical clinic. Items needed: fabric of all kinds, especially cotton [red, white and black], buttons [all kinds], thread and scissors, lace [any size piece], ribbon, beads and small, round bells [as on jester hats]. Please leave donations at the Post Office or at Fuchsia Cottage. Thank you so much.

Joy Morrow


Flower Quiz Answers

1. Iris
2. Aster
3. Thyme
4. Broom

5. Dandelion
6. Furze
8. Snowdrop

9. Speedwell
10. Primrose
11. Forget-me-not
12. Golden Rod

13. Snapdragon
14. Cowslip
15. Crocus



10th to 17th June is going to be a busy week for Coffee Mornings!

They start on the 10th with St.Peter's Coffee Morning, followed by:


International Quiet Garden Trust

Funds are required for a weatherproof box on the fence designed to keep prayer leaflets [which will require laminating] and other information.

On Saturday, 12th June, 10.30 - 12.30

Treetops, Old Coast Road,
By kind permission of Graham and Margaret Andrews

Raffle Bring and Buy

If you are unable to attend but would like to make a donation, please put
it in an envelope marked 'Claude's Garden' and leave it with Alan at the

Post Office. Thank you.

Jill, Margaret and Graham


and then please support the


Thursday, 17th June
Manor Hall, 10.30 a.m. onwards
Bring and Buy Stall * Bake and Buy Cake Stall * Raffle

The new 'Views of the Village' Notelets [12 Notelets and Envelopes] will be on sale at £2.50 per pack
All proceeds to Newsletter Funds


Part 1

Berrynarbor is a remarkable village! With our sheltered microclimate [try explaining that to the folks in Barton Lane], some would say we have everything; but do you know the depth of it? For example, as the first part of mini series, do you know any other village of less than 800 people that has:

1 Customs Officer
1 Pharmacist
1 Optician
1 Tarantula Spider Breeder
1 Court Usher
1 Graphic Designer
1 Go-Cart Driver
1 Retired Army Major [who oversaw a Japanese surrender]
3 Policemen
1 Professional Goalkeeper
2+ Artists
1 Round England Yachtsman
6 Skilled Musicians
1 Windsurfing Instructor
1 Wool Spinner
1 Cine Film Maker
1 Writer & Publisher
1 Clinker Boat Builder
1 Nosey Parker!
1 Midwife
1 Chiropodist
1 Dentist
1 Ph.D. Chemist
1 Car Racing Driver
1 BBC Producer
1 Land Army Girl
1 Railway Modeller
1 Piano Teacher
1 Jewellery Maker
1 Reflexologist
6 Linguists
1 Mobile Castle Owner
1 Yoga Teacher
1 Woodturner
1 Stocktaker
1 Goosebreeder
Multiple Campanologists
2 Nurses
2 Vets
2 Piscators
1 Lady Helicopter Pilot Instructor
1 Paramedic
1 Semi-professional Italian Tenor
2 Detectives
1 Battle of Britain Pilot
1 Butcher
2+ Sculptors/Potters
1 Prof. Brass Rubber
1 Baker
1 Qualified Aircraft Designer
1 Vehicle Refurbishing Expert
1 Tax Inspector
1 Harley Motorcyclist
2 Solicitors
Multiple Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines

Alan Rowlands

P.S. Many apologies if YOU have been left off this impressive list. Please let us know your claim to fame.


Edward Thomas [1878-1917]

Yes, I remember Adlestrop -
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.
The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop - only the name
And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.
And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloustershire.

Illustrated by: Nigel Mason



1stCollege & Primary School: Half Term to Friday, 4th June, inc.
WI Meeting , 2.30 p.m. Manor Hall: Diane Lewis, RSPCA
8thParish Council Meeting , Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
10thSt. Peter's Church: Coffee Morning , Manor Hall
12thClaude's Garden: Coffee Morning , Tree Tops, 10.30 a.m.
13thBerrynarbor in Bloom: Basket Planting, Manor Hall, 2.30 p.m.
17thNewsletter: Coffee Morning, Manor Hall, 10.30 a.m.
20thA PICNIC IN THE PARK, Waternouth Castle, Gates 10.00 a.m.
23rdTo 26th: Studio Theatre, 'Haywire', 7.45 p.m. llfracombe College
30thSt. Peter's Church: Gift Day
6thWI: Annual Tea for Ilfracombe Disabled Association
13htParish Council Meeting, 7.30 p.m., Manor Hall
14thWI Outing: to be announced
17thStudio Music Singers present 'Our Town'
20thCollege & Primary School: End of Summer Term
22ndSt. Peter's Church: Flower Festival Preview with Cheese & Wine
23rdTo 26th - St. Peter's Church: Flower Festival
25thSt. Peter's Church: Songs of Praise and Christians Together [pm]
3rdManor Hall Management Committee: Berry Revels

Mobile Library:Wednesdays 9th, 23rd June, 7th, 21st July, 4th August
Yoga:Tuesdays, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
Whist Drive:Thursdays, 7.30 p.m. Manor Hall




The April meeting was again extremely well attended with several new members welcomed to a Wine Presentation given very professionally by Catherine Lightfoot of St. Austell Brewery. We shall be holding our AGM on the 19th May -- our last get-together for the 98/99 session - and a report of this will appear in the August issue.

Tom Bartlett - Publicity Officer


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


Caving in Berrynarbor

Many people reading this article may not realise that here, in Berrynarbor, we have an extensive cave system known as Napps Quarry Cave. An iron gate was placed over the entrance in 1973 by Bideford College Caving Group with materials supplied by Bob Richards. John Bowers and members of the Westland Caving Club had previously carried out a full survey and their report appeared in 'The British Caver', extractions from which I give below and I am most grateful to Bob Richards, and John Bowers, for their help with this article.

"The entrance passage is about 3' high x 1 ' wide, after a few feet a gated side passage on the right leads one to the rest of the cave. After a few feet the way on is down a short slide the bottom of which forms a junction with a rift passage. A tiny stream flows in this passage, after rain its flow is equivalent to a domestic tap. Turning into the left-hand series the way on is through an angled rift and some low smooth muddied crawls. After 40' the passage heightens and enters the 'Upper Chamber' which is 40' long, 4' wide and 6.5' high for most of its length. Mud floor and evidence of bat habitation, so careful if you sit!

"Returning to the junction and entering the right hand series, the rift section alters to the 'Squeeze' at which point you may well think you have reached the end of the cave and in the next few moments you will probably wish you had! This 10' length of passage is passable only via its vertical upper section, which is slightly wedge-shaped, being no more than a foot wide, at the top it narrows to less than chest size beneath. Your perseverance here will be rewarded by the formations beyond and the thought that you have to do the damn thing again to get out! From here one moves to the luxury of an 8' by 3' stal coated passage. The tiny stream runs into a pool and then disappears under a false floor of stal, at which point we enter the 'Hall' or 'Crystal Hall'. This extends 40' over a large expanse of stal flow and several bosses which have inevitably become rather muddied, some of the stalactite formations show signs of vandalism. The end of the Hall lowers to a height of 3 or 4'. On the right is a low alcove containing small formations and some aragonite crystal growths. From this point one can see the 'Canal', a miniature passage with many helectites growing from the roof all mirrored perfectly bur the surface of the dead still water. Bending under the left wall of the Hall, one enters a low wide passage with silt floor extending for some 65' before reducing in cross section. This part of the cave is very highly decorated with numerous pure white aragonite crystals in the form of clumps of long slender fingers." John Bowers concludes: "Napps is a cave which can be attempted by cavers of any experience and makes a very rewarding photographic trip. Anyone becoming stuck in the Squeeze can be supported from beneath and lifted free of the narrowest section." Tony Oldham of The British Caver states that 'the formations are unique in this country and well worth protecting."

Tom Bartlett,
Tower Cottage, April 1999