Edition 72 - June 2001

Artwork by: Paul Swailes

Artwork: Judie Weedon


The weather, as I prepare this issue, is glorious and we have been enjoying an extended [more than just one day!] spring holiday - so welcome after what seems to have been a long, wet and miserable winter. Certainly the flowers this year have been magnificent - first the wonderful displays of primroses and now the bluebells and wild garlic in abundance in the banks and hedgerows.

This issue's delightful cover by Paul Swailes depicts hedgerow flowers in all their glory - the colour and scent, however, must be left to your imagination!

My thanks go to Paul and everyone else who has contributed to this issue - long may your offerings continue!

In fact those offerings, articles and items, for the August edition will be welcome any time and by THURSDAY, 12TH JULY at the latest - the earlier date than usual is due to the imminent closure of the College, our printing facility, which is most appreciated.

Paul, one of our newsletter 'artists in residence' was educated at Barnstaple Grammar School and after attending the University of Leeds, where he studied Geography and Economic History, and teaching in Leeds, he returned to North Devon in 1986 to take up a post at Ilfracombe College. He and his wife, Lisa, who also teaches at the College, have two sons and live in Ilfracombe.

Although not formally trained in art, it clearly forms a major part of Paul's life and this, together with travel, photography and collecting British Victorian stamps, are his main hobbies.

Paul kindly [or was he foolhardy!] offered his services to our Newsletter for issue No. 7 in August 1990. Although it is some time now since his work appeared on one of our covers, there have been only four issues since then [the last of which was February 1992] in which there has not been at least one of his illustrations!

Not only has Paul illustrated the Newsletter - particularly the poetry and Local Walk - he has enhanced the covers of various village programmes, participated in 'A Country Collection' - our Art Exhibition last May - and his work, selling as Notelets, has put pennies in the coffers!

Always willing to help, and invariably at short notice, Paul's contribution and support of our Newsletter is greatly appreciated by me, as I am sure it is by all the readers. Our wholehearted thanks, Paul.





3rd April saw Louise Round and her doggy friend, Gregory, from the Canine Defence League, giving us a very interesting talk and video about the many ways that the League helps dogs and their owners. Gregory, of course, enjoyed the attention - a really nice Collie who had just recently lost his owner and was looking for a new home. We all hoped that it would not be too long but in the meantime he did have Louise. Louise was justly proud of the alterations that had taken place at the West Down kennels, making for better conditions for the dogs - 70 at the moment. After the question and answer session, it was time for tea and Louise kindly judged the Flower of the Month competition, which was won by Doreen Prater, with the raffle prize going to Josie Bozier.

A well attended meeting on the 1st May, including two visitors, became an afternoon of discussion - two main Subject Resolutions to be put forward at the A.G.M. in Cardiff next month: 1. The training of care workers for older people, and 2. The school nursing service. Several good points were raised and suggestions about the wording of resolutions noted for passing on - Win Collins and Margaret Andrews, both knowledgeable speakers.

Even though she had been ill, Ethel Tidbury remembered to send cards and plants for the four ladies with birthdays. Many thanks, Ethel. We all send our good wishes for a speedy recovery and hope to see you at the June meeting when Michael Bale, our guest speaker, will be talking about Lundy Island.

There will be a Coffee Morning on Thursday, 7th June [Election Day] in the Manor Hall, from 10.30 a.m. onwards. A bring-and-buy stall will cater for all - come early for the cakes!

Our annual Tea for the Members of Ilfracombe Disabled Association will be held on Tuesday, 3rd July - a jolly occasion, which has been taking place for many years. Members, your catering skills will be required!

Until next time, every success with the Fetes and Village events.

Vi Kingdon - President


Ode to a Dandelion

They have locks of gold today
Soon becoming silver grey.
Then when blossoms blown - behold
The time of day is told!

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes


Artwork: Helen Armstead


Family Services at the main Church Festivals have proved very successful, and Easter was no exception. After the quiet and solemnity of Good Friday, the church came alive again and was filled with glorious flowers ready for Easter Day. Our usual congregation was joined by the Sunday School and many visitors. When the Rector gathered the children around the Easter Garden, no fewer than 30 came forward, eager to answer questions and hear his explanations. For the final part of the service, everyone was invited to the altar for communion or a blessing: a truly uplifting occasion.

Re-ordering of Services

At the beginning of May, the order of our services was switched around. The form of worship is the same, but the monthly pattern is as follows:

  • 1st Sunday - Family Service with the Sunday School followed by a short Holy Communion
  • 2nd Sunday - Sung Eucharist
  • 3rd Sunday - Village Service [no Holy Communion]
  • 4th Sunday - Sung Eucharist
  • 5th Sunday - Sung Eucharist

In this way, the communion and non-communion services will alternate. All services will begin at 11.00 a.m. as usual.

Special Dates during June

  • Sunday, 3rd June Celebration of Pentecost This will now be a Family Service
  • Sunday, 24th June 6.30 p.m. There will be a Songs of Praise in Berrynarbor with Christians Together. We shall be welcoming not only all the churches from Combe Martin, but also a visiting group of Handbell Ringers from America. Everyone is cordially invited to come and join us - a date not to be missed, and there will be tea and coffee and biscuits in the Manor Hall afterwards.
  • Wednesday, 27th June will be GIFT DAY. Letters and envelopes will be delivered around the village the week before and the Rector and members of the PCC will be at the lich gate all day to receive your gifts for the Tower Appeal. On the same day, the Friendship Lunch will be held at The Globe.

July Services will follow the new pattern and the Lunch will be on the 25th.

Resignations and Appointments

At the Annual Meeting at the end of March, it was with reluctance that the Rector and PCC accepted the resignation of Betty Davis as Churchwarden. Betty has held this office for ten years, since 1991. In recognition of her many years of service to Berrynarbor Church, Betty has been awarded the honorary title of Churchwarden Emeritus: only the second person to receive this honour in Berrynarbor. Betty will not be retiring completely, but will continue to take as active a part in church life as her health will allow.

Doreen Prater has been elected to fill the vacancy and we all wish her well and assure her of our support.

Details of all Church Officers are to be found on the noticeboard in the church porch but we should also like to extend a special welcome to Marion Carter, who has taken on the task of PCC Secretary.

Thank you all for your support at our Coffee Morning held on 3rd May. After expenses, £100 has been added to the Tower Fund, which now stands at just under £22,500. We are still waiting for all permissions to be granted before work can commence. Our Summer Faye will be held on Tuesday, 14th August - more of that next time.

Mary Tucker




On Good Friday, Val, Sarah, Becky, Jessica, Juliet, Eloise and I launched ourselves into the church to prepare the Easter Garden, and change the Children's Corner into the Easter Story. Their imagination and enthusiasm are a joy to see. Stuart was practising on the organ, so we did a sort of 'sing-along' to our labours. As I was tidying up and sweeping around Stuart, I reminded him about the little boy having been to church earlier in the day; when he returned home his Gran asked him if he had seen God in the church. He replied that he hadn't, but he had seen His Wife scrubbing the floor!

The Easter Day Service was glorious. The children sang 'Were You There?' with great sensitivity - it was very moving. They each received an Easter Egg and at the end of the service, the Rector judged the best-dressed Egg, ones they had made at home. Again, the imagination used was amazing and it was a difficult choice, but the eventual winner was Jessica.

On 16th May, the children came to Berry Home to watch 'The Miracle Maker', a video for young children, followed by a party as a treat for them as a very special 'thank you' for all their hard work and loyalty this year. 14 children and 5 adults watched the first half of the film before we broke off for food and a lot of fun! We shall watch the second half of the video later in the summer. I'm sure all of you who have heard the children sing, read the lessons and seen their paintings, etc., will agree it is well deserved.

From Australia - Dust to Dust

On the way home from church, a little boy asked his mother:

  • "Is it true, mummy, that we are made from dust?"
  • "Yes, darling."
  • "And do you go back to dust again when you die?"
  • "Well, the outside of us does, anyway."
  • "Then, in that case", the little boy said earnestly, "I think there's someone under my bed, but I'm not sure whether they're
  • coming or going."

Sally B, Val, Sarah, Tania and Julia



An important issue that carers need to be aware of over the next couple of months involves the setting up of a Carers' Register in North Devon. This work is being carried out by Denise McDonald at Carers Link on behalf of the North Devon Primary Care Trust. The register will be used to keep family carers informed of services and support in Health, Social Services, and the Voluntary Sector. They will receive a newsletter, information and the opportunity to be consulted on both national and local issues affecting carers. Information that is held will be strictly confidential and cannot be divulged to other organisations.

This year is Census Year, carried out every ten years and used to help plan future services and provide a blueprint for community needs in the years to come. The 2001 Census contained a question never asked before about whether the person looks after or gives support or help to family members, friends, neighbours or others affected by long-term physical or mental health, disability or problems related to age. Responses will provide detailed statistical information on the amount of care being given, to inform on policy initiatives and resource allocation by health and social services. The information on the form has to remain secret for 100 years. For further information, please contact Denise McDonald, Carers Link Project, Castle Centre, 25 Castle Street, Barnstaple EX31 1DR.



The Museum, situated in The Square, Barnstaple, has recently completed a reconstruction of the 15th Century plank and muntin timber screen, removed from Bowden Farm, Sterridge Valley, some years ago.

John Jewel was born at the farm on the 22nd May 1522, becoming Bishop of Salisbury in 1560.

He was a leading figure during the religious turmoil of the Reformation, and Elizabeth I ordered his Apologie pro Ecclesia Anlicana to be placed in every church. An original copy is on display in the Museum, where the screen forms a backdrop to an interesting tableau depicting a home of that period.

Admission to the Museum is free and it is open from Tuesday to Saturday, inclusive, from 10.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.

Sheila Brain


Extracts from NIGHT MAIL

by W.H. Auden, 1907-1973


Illustrated by: Nigel Mason

This is the Night Mail crossing the Border,
Bringing the cheque and the postal order,
Letters for the rich, letters for the poor,
The shop at the corner, the girl next door.
Pulling up Beattock, a steady climb:
The gradient's against her, but she's on time.
Past cotton-grass and moorland boulder,
Shovelling white steam over her shoulder,
Snorting noisily, she passes
Silent miles of wind-bent grasses.
Birds turn their heads as she approaches,
Stare from bushes at her blank-faced coaches.
Sheep-dogs cannot turn her course;
They slumber on with paws across.
In the farm she passes no one wakes,
But a jug in a bedroom gently shakes.
Letters of thanks, letters from banks,
Letters of joy from girl and boy,
Receipted bills and invitations
To inspect new stock or to visit relations,
And applications for situations,
And timid lovers' declarations,
And gossip, gossip from all the nations,
News circumstantial, news financial
Letters with holiday snaps to enlarge in,
Letters with faces scrawled on the margin,
Letters from uncles, cousins and aunts,
Letters to Scotland from the South of France,
Letters of condolence to Highlands and Lowlands,
Written on paper of every hue,
The pink, the violet, the white and the blue,
The chatty, the catty, the boring, the adoring,
The cold and official and the heart's outpouring,
Clever, stupid, short and long,
The typed and the printed and the spelt all wrong.
... And none will hear the postman's knock
Without a quickening of the heart.
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?




At its meeting in May, your Parish Council is required to elect its Officers, and this year the members have asked me to resume the post of Council Chairman, from which I had retired in 1999.

The main task of a Parish Council in a small village such as ours, is to ensure that we take full advantage of the services provided by the two principal Councils, i.e. Devon County Council and the North Devon District Council, and to motivate voluntary groups to use the wide variety of Agencies that are active in the area.

I follow, in this office, Ann Hinchliffe, who has been an enthusiastic office holder, setting a challenge to those who follow her.

My 'phone number is 883385 and there is a separate Fax line on 883375. As ever, I shall be pleased to hear from anyone about the Council's business.

Graham E. Andrews



The current crisis in our countryside has touched and horrified every one of us, most of all the farming community.

The North and East Devon Partnership NHS Trust has set up a confidential counselling service for the whole agricultural community. People may refer themselves or anyone about whom they have real concerns.

The Farmers Advice and Support Team [FAST] may be contacted on 07968 388706. There are no fees for this service, delivered by Mental Health Nurses, with an understanding of and experience in agriculture.


Berrynarbor and Combe Martin Community Car Service

This long established car service exists to take folk to medical appointments at Combe Martin Health Centre, and to the many hospitals that treat patients from the village. Bookings are taken at the Health Centre [882408] and there is a mileage charge. Visitors to patients are also able to use the service.

The volunteer drivers are drawn from the two villages and the organisation secretary, Valerie Howell, would be pleased to hear from any potential new volunteer driver currently resident in Berrynarbor. Valerie, who lives at 9 Belmont Avenue, Combe Martin, EX34 OPR [883817], would be happy to discuss the driver's role.

Graham Andrews - Chairman, Berrynarbor Parish Council


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


The bride drove to her wedding in a breakdown pick-up truck!

Emily Gove, daughter of Penny and Geoff of On-a-Hill Garage, Lynton Cross [formerly of Berrynarbor], having helped in the garage when she was still at school, thought it would be a bit different to arrive at the church for her wedding in a pick-up truck. With no breakdown on the way, Emily and her father arrived at Brookdale Church, Ilfracombe, on time for her marriage to David Thubron.

David, who comes from Newcastle, is in the Royal Marines, stationed at Plymouth, where Emily, a qualified Occupational Therapist works and the couple are living. The wedding, on the 31st March, was followed by a honeymoon in Mombasa.

Rita and David Duncan are very proud and happy to announce the marriage of their youngest daughter, Rebecca Ann, to David James Pike, youngest son of Hazel and Brian Pike of Staines. The wedding took place on the 7th April at Weybridge Registry Office and afterwards at the Warren Lodge Hotel, Shepperton-on-thames. A wonderful day, enjoyed by everyone.

Rebecca and Daniel, who spent a short honeymoon in Dorset, will make their home in Sunbury-on-Thames.

Rita and David send their very best wishes to all friends in Berrynarbor.

Easter Saturday, 14th April, was the wedding day of Kate Neale and Joe Barnes, who were married at St. Peter's Church, followed by a honeymoon in Lanzarote.

Joe, who comes from Ilfracombe, is currently serving with the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, and Kate, daughter of Stuart and Ginny, having graduated from Oxford Brooks University, is teaching at a primary school in Guildford, near where they live at Lightwater.

Stuart and Ginny would like to thank their friends in the village for their kindness and support for Kate and Joe on their wedding day and to thank them for their generosity in giving the couple some wonderful gifts.

Our congratulations to Emily and David, Rebecca and David, and Kate and Joe. Our very best wishes to you all for your future health and happiness.



Hello again!

Well, a lot has happened since our last letter. First of all we have suffered from what seems like continuous rain for the past six months, which made working on the land almost impossible. Now we have been hit by the hideous foot and mouth disease, which has caused heartache for the farmers, the tourist trade and anyone who enjoys the countryside. It all adds up to be one of the worst winters and springs that I can remember. The disease now seems to be abating, despite the government's handling of it, largely due I think to the warmer weather and the bright sunlight. Hopefully, by the time this letter is printed, the dreaded epidemic will be behind us and we can build for the future. I only hope that the people in charge learn from the past few months and that we never have to go through it again.

Talking of the future, as you probably know, our Club was due to run two Classic motorcycle scrambles at Sloley Park this year. We have cancelled the first due to be held in June, but have taken an optimistic view and decided that the meeting due to be run on Sunday, 19th August, will go ahead.

Obviously this is subject to restrictions being lifted, as we should never put farming at risk. We plan to make the meeting a big one, and are trying to attract some riders from overseas. This hopefully will help the tourist trade, if only in a small way, but it will at least let the rest of the country know that we are back in business!

As I mentioned in my last letter, the scramble will be run to aid two local charities - the North Devon Hospice and St. John Ambulance [Ilfracombe].

Well, that's all for now. I hope you all enjoy the summer and I look forward to seeing you at Sloley Park on the 19th August.

Graham Brown - Chairman [Tel: 01237 4702671


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


Keith [Redwood] and Natalie are delighted to announce the safe arrival of their baby daughter, Antonia Katherine, on the 2nd March in Luxembourg, where Keith works as a Computer Programmer. Antonia, who weighed in at 8 lbs 7 oz, is the third grandchild for Carol and third great-grandchild for Kath. Congratulations to you all.

Congratulations and hello to Aaron Lee Packham from his grandparents Jane and Keith of Rose Cottage, another grandson born on the 14th March 2001. Aaron is nephew to Kris and not so little, 9 lbs 2 oz!, brother to twins Kegan and Connor.

We are pleased to announce the safe arrival of a second son for Karen and Wayne Rudd and younger brother for Callum.

Morgan James Luke Rudd, born on 22nd March 2001, weighed in at 8 lbs 8 oz. Granddad Don [Ozelton] was home from China for two weeks over Easter to see his second grandchild, and Grandma Edith is staying on a little longer to help out before returning to China in August. Congratulations and best wishes to you all.

Love and Congratulations to Eleasha on your adoption to Allan and Pat Robinson on the 9th May 2001.



Congratulations and best wishes to Tanya Walls who has gained the Degree of Master of Arts with a commendation in the subject of Archaeology at Bristol University. One of Tanya's pieces of work appeared in Newsletter No. 65 last April - The Castle, Berrynarbor's First Farm. She has since researched and completed an article about the settlement on Hillsborough in Ilfracombe.



Not so good? We hope you'll be feeling better very soon.

Following her stay in hospital, Ivy Richards has been home for some time now, progressing well and becoming a little more mobile by the day. She would like to thank everyone for the many cards and good wishes sent to her.

We were sorry to learn that both Pam Parke and Yvonne Davey had had accidents resulting in broken bones and it is good to know that their 'knitting' is improving daily!

From the 'Plastered' Ladies of Berrynarbor!

May we, Pam - of the broken leg, Ireland, 21st March - and Yvonne - of the broken arm, the beach below Rope's End, 23rd March - thank all the kind people who have given help and support during a very difficult time. We knew we lived in a lovely, close-knit village, but the practical help given has been overwhelming, and we are both most grateful.




Hello from all at the School! We have really been enjoying the summery weather - it makes the term feel much more fun! We are in the middle of the annual round of testing for the children in Years 2 and 6 - all the hard work put in by the children and the staff will be assessed and marked and reflects the efforts of all concerned! We are then looking forward to a term packed with visits and events.

The foot and mouth crisis has put paid to a lot of our planned events, but we still hope to be able to hold our sports day, host the Small Schools Sports Festival, visit the beach as part of our Geography and Science studies, and take part in local arts events and activities. We were delighted to be involved with Berrynarbor-in-Bloom and had great fun creating 'Little Weed' - many thanks to Ms Campbell for her efforts!

Our Year 6 children, a super hardworking bunch, are leaving us in July and will begin their big adventure at Ilfracombe or Braunton in September. We shall miss you!

Our contribution from the children this issue are pupils in Class 1 who have been working with their teddies.

More from us next issue . . . until then, let's hope the sun keeps shining!

Simon Bell - Headteacher

"We have made pictures of the teddies which belong to members of Class 1. We used pastels and watercolour paint and learnt how to mix the right colours and make the teddies look soft and fluffy."



I rushed around from room to room like someone suddenly possessed, searching franticly for my treasured copy of Readers' Digest Guide to the Birds of Britain. A new bird was feasting greedily at the nut holder, just a few feet from the kitchen window. Investigation revealed it to be a Nuthatch, a plump and short-tailed bird with blue-grey upper parts, buff underparts and reddish flanks with a strong, pointed bill and black eye-stripe, an inhabitant of deciduous woodland, provided by North Lee Farm, in which direction it eventually returned.

My excitement was not shared by my teenage daughter who pointed out in no uncertain terms that I was indeed 'sad'! Upon recollection, I can understand that at fourteen years of age, a new bird in the garden gained very low priority to the latest boyfriend or the week's newest record releases.

The extent of my knowledge of birds seen in the garden less than two years ago, before moving to Lynwood in Berrynarbor, was restricted to just a handful of the most common inhabitants. Nothing could have prepared me for the thrill of identifying each new species of bird calling for its share of seed or nuts from the garden.

Daily visitors include up to five brightly coloured Goldfinches with their red faces, black and white heads and broad yellow wing-bar, and a pair of Bullfinches, the male with its unmistakable red underparts, black cap, grey upper parts and striking white rump; and the female with the same basic plumage but underparts of a dull salmon-pink. Other small birds of particular interest are the delightful little Long Tailed Tits with their black and white plumage and long tail, which is mainly black edged with white.

Perhaps one of the most memorable occasions was the day a family of four Jays with white rump, distinctive blue wing-patch, blue eyes and streaked crest appeared picking up seeds and nuts from the ground.

Rarer birds have included a Treecreeper, with its long, down-curved bill, mottled brown above with a buff wing-bar, silky white underparts and a white eye-stripe. Similar to the Nutchatch, it hops up a tree trunk, but unlike the Nuthatch cannot descend in the same way and flies from the upper trunk down to the base of the next tree. Other surprise visitors to the garden one Sunday morning about a month ago were a pair of Siskins. Similar to the Greenfinch at first glance, the bird is easily distinguished due to the black crown and chin of the male. The 20th Century practice of pine-planting in Britain has greatly benefited the Siskin, which depends heavily upon the seeds of pine and spruce for food in spring and early summer.

Has anyone else seen any rare birds to look out for?

Linsay Clayton


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


The Rectory
Combe Martin

Dear Friends,

When it was decided to build a bridge across the Hudson River at New York, divers were sent down to explore the bed of the river. Apparently, they discovered a wreck of a great sailing ship, half buried in the mud at a point where the engineers intended to sink one of the main piers. The wreck had to be moved. Tugs arrived on the scene and attached ropes securely to the wreck.

But to no avail, the wreck just would not move!

Eventually, someone had an idea. At this point the River Hudson is tidal, that is the sea level rises and falls roughly twice every twenty-four hours. At low tide, a number of large barges were towed out until they were floating above the wreck and secured to it with strong ropes. Everyone waited.

Gradually the barges began to rise on the incoming tide. Slowly and surely the Old wreck was dragged up out of its muddy grave and eventually taken away. Nothing could resist the power of the rising tide which had the whole might of the Atlantic Ocean behind it.

So it is with the love of God. Nothing can resist its power or conquer it. [If you get the chance, read 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13.]

With all good wishes,

Your Friend and Rector,

Keith Wyer


9th - 17th June 2001

Ilfracombe would like to invite you to their annual Victorian Celebration, which will take place at venues in and around the Town for nine glorious days, from 9th to 17th June.

There will be something for all the family to see and enjoy; from Costumed Processions, Marching Bands, Music Hall, Coastal Cruises, Teddy Bears' Picnic, Street Entertainers, Carousel Rides to Empire Day in the High Street.

Queen Victoria graciously extends an invitation to take tea at her annual Garden Party and the Suffragettes will be on the march. Events also include a Town Criers' Competition, Paupers Barn Dance, a Grand Costumed Ball and the Last Night of the Ilfracombe Victorian Proms . . . and there will be much, much more to delight you!

Everyone is welcome to dress up in Victorian style and join in all the parades, fun and frolics, or just relax and watch events unfold during the week. Leave behind the frantic modern world and come to Ilfracombe where a whole town is putting the clock back and waiting to make you welcome.

Programmes are available from Ilfracombe Tourist Information Centre and other locations in and around Ilfracombe and details can be obtained from the Tourist Centre, 0845 458 3630.


Artwork: Paul Swailes


There was a good attendance at the Annual General Meeting held on Wednesday, 2nd May. The Committee is enlarged and includes representatives from each of the main users of the Hall. In particular, we welcome Alice Wilson and Julia Fairchild, who will be the main contacts for the Sure Start scheme, which it is hoped will bring improvements to the hall for the benefit of the under 4's.

Our attentions are now turning to preparations for the Berry Revels on TUESDAY, 31ST JULY, when we are hoping for better weather than last year!

Items for inclusion in the schedule for the Horticultural and Craft Show, on SATURDAY, 1ST SEPTEMBER, have now been selected, with some changes from previous years. Wine has again been included, but unless the number of entries increases, it could well be for the last time! Schedules will be available late July. This year there will be two separate awards for 'Best in Show' - one for a horticultural exhibit, and the other for a craft exhibit. Hopefully, this should make it easier for the judges and may encourage more entries on the fruit and vegetable tables.

John Hood - Chairman


Artwork: Paul Swailes


We are late writing this report [sorry Judie - blame the weather!], but one thing we can mention before we look back at March and April, is that today, 11th May, has been the warmest day this year with a maximum temperature of 23.7 Deg C.

The month of March started cold, with a low of - 4.7 Deg C at 0407 on the 2nd, which caught us out with a few of our early plants. It continued generally chilly with a few snowflakes in the air on the 20th and 21st, and a wind chill of - 11 Deg C on the 20th. The total rain for the month was 135mm [5 3/8"] compared with 69mm [2 3/4 "] last year and wind speeds were about average.

April made us hopeful that spring was on the way, with one of the best displays of primroses and daffodils we have seen for a long time.

Looking back over the records for the last three years, in the middle of April we have had a cold spell with snow. This year we had the cold spell from 16th to 23rd, with a wind chill on the 18th of -5 Deg C but we had no snow. The total rain for the month was 148mm [6"] compared with 171 [6 3/4"] in 2000. The total rain so far this year, to the end of April, is 533mm [21"], last year for the same period we had 547mm [21 1/2"].

With the sun shining brightly outside, we are going to enjoy it while it lasts. We all deserve some decent weather to cheer us up after the long winter we have been through.

Sue and Simon



Ilfracombe and District, 6 Church Street, Ilfracombe Tel: 862131


Our office is open Monday to Friday 10.00 a.m. to 12.00 noon and 1.30 p.m. to 3.30 p.m.
We offer advice and information to all senior citizens



Scenario is Berrynarbor Park -
What can spring up after dark?
They're used to mobile homes and tractor,
But this one is a puzzling factor.
A small wooden hut or is it a shed?
It looks quite cute, let it be said!
But it has no windows, only a door,
So now the question - what's it for?
The residents find out at last,
'Recycling' - dreams come thick and fast.
Imagine walking through the door,
Recycled and out at twenty-four!
They all then hope and join the queue,
But such dreams seldom do come true.
To emerge so young - not old and feeble,
But all have changed to flower pot people!
Now the village is overrun
With potty people having fun,
They have not left their childhood yet
So treat them all, please, with respect.
Joiner, chimney sweep, gardener, potter,
Their talents shine in terracotta,
With suitcase from the window climbing ...
Well this is someone with good timing!
And with this last line in my brain,
No one will speak to me again!

Artwork by: Lisa Shelley

Lisa Shelley



The recycling shed referred to in Lisa's ditty is a smaller version of the village model [takes all the same items], sited at the top of the hill to Berrynarbor Park, beside the telephone kiosk. It is not only available for the use of the Park residents, but also anyone living nearby who finds it easier to take it there than up to the village. Many thanks, Paul and Theresa.



I wonder if you could put this 'Coming Event' advert in your next issue?


32nd May

[before they start to breed!]

A. Resident

Would you kindly find space in your next issue for the following event please. We are repeating what resulted in a very successful week-end last year and are anxious to let it be known, far and wide!

23rd and 24th June, 2.00 - 5.00 p.m.

Refreshments and Plants available at Several Venues
Programmes available in early June

Admission: £2.50

Proceeds to Parish Church Funds

Pamela Irwin

Friday, 15th June 2001, 7.30 p.m.

All Welcome. £2.00

For further details telephone Ann Norton, 850425


Artwork: Helen Weedon


"Absence makes the heart grow fonder", so it is said. Well let's imagine for a moment you have a friend, one who you have known for a very long time; so long in fact, you're able to remember them as far back as even your earliest childhood memories. We'll say that over the years there have been times when contact with them wasn't always regular, yet they were always there when you needed them to talk and think things through.

Now imagine waking up one morning to the news that they have suddenly decided to become a recluse; only for a while, though they haven't said when they will want contact with people again. They don't mind being seen out and about or in their front garden, but that's all: talking to them is out of the question.

No doubt you would be so shocked at hearing the news, you'd probably rush round to where they live to make sure it wasn't true; but imagine when you got there, you saw a notice on their gate, reading:


Just think how frustrated you would feel, especially if your friend was standing the other side of the gate looking at you.

Naturally, as time went by you would begin to miss terribly being able to meet up and have a chat, yet at the same time you might also start to realise how much you took your friend for granted. Maybe you'd never stopped and thought about how much you needed them or how little you appreciated them.

In the same way, I am experiencing the temporary loss of one of my best friends: the countryside.

Of course, when I heard the news about all the public rights of way being closed, I fully appreciated the reasons why.

Yet the morning I heard this news, I still had to see it for myself; and, oh boy, what a sinking feeling I had when I walked to the entrance of my local nature reserve. There, pinned on the kissing gate was the notice, with bright orange meshing strung across it. Of course, I could look at the path the other side of it, winding its way up and in to the dense wood beyond, but that was all; and I didn't know at the time when I should be able to walk it again.

Part of the nature reserve was re-opened about six weeks later. Walking it for the first time again, I became acutely aware of how I had taken for granted the fact that it was always there. Its trees, its gorse, its great variety of bird song and even the single wild orchid I noticed, standing proud amongst the leaves of forthcoming bluebells.

On reaching the summit, I breathed in the air of a fresh April wind whistling through the valley below. It brought with it the echoing sound of falling water, gushing from reservoirs in the distance. I looked around and thought, "It's great to be back!" Since that walk I now find myself appreciating more, much more, my local nature reserve; and not just for the dense variety of woodland life within it. I now appreciate the simple fact that it is there. Free, for me to enjoy, whenever I want to.

From now on, I certainly won't be taking the countryside for granted.

Oh, and one last thought . . . your imaginary friend. Let's say, shall we, that when you met up with them again, you noticed how fresh and re-vitalised they looked. When you tell them this, they say it's because they've had a break from everybody continually leaning on them for support.

Well, who knows, in the Great Plan of everything, one of the side shoots to bear fruit from the foot and mouth crisis might be that our beloved countryside has had a respite from the trampling heels of the human race. Walking the nature reserve this morning, I noticed bluebells flowering very close along the paths I was walking - I'm sure they weren't there last year.

Stephen McCarthy

Illustrations by: Peter Rothwell


Artwork: Paul Swailes


A very warm welcome to Mick and Sandy Gadd who moved into Atalanta, Barton Lane, on the 1st May. They have moved from Hagley in the West Midlands where they have lived the past 16 years. Both have now retired from the Fire Service and are looking forward to spending many happy years in Berrynarbor, an area of North Devon that they have visited and enjoyed many times. Although they have many jobs to do in their new home, they still hope to find time to enjoy their hobbies. [Mick is especially keen on golf and hopes to encourage Sandy to join him!]. They both look forward to walking this lovely area with their dog, Bonnie.

    We should both like to take this opportunity to thank all our immediate neighbours for the warm welcome we were shown, in particular Rob and Barbara next door for the help they gave us.

    Mick and Sandy

John and Jackie Weaver have left Ragstone Cottage and are in temporary residence at Corfe Cottage - once home to Jackie's mother - whilst applying for a visa for transportation to Australia! We wish them, whenever that is, health and happiness down under.

Ragstone Cottage is now home to Judy and Nigel and their three dogs and we look forward to welcoming them more fully in the August issue.

After just three years, Vincent and Pat Hitchman are on the move again and High Bank [formerly Laurel Dene] has become home to Jane Vanstone and Brandon Turk, the children Simon and Emma and fierce [!] hound, Arnie.

Simon and Emma attend the Primary School where, when she is not busy decorating, Jane gives a hand a couple of days a week; and Brandon is a Logistics Manager at Pall Ilfracombe. Before settling at High Bank, Jane and Brandon have spent time at Middle Lee and Combe Martin following their move from Burton-on-Trent in the Midlands. We wish you both and the family good luck and happiness in your new home.


Artwork: Harry Weedon


Vi Davies would like to thank everyone who supported the recent Jumble Sale. Takings amounted to £150.00 which has been divided between Berry in Bloom, the Carnival Float and the Newsletter. [In turn, may I thank Vi for the Newsletter's share produced by her and her hardworking helpers. Vi's continued support of the Newsletter is much appreciated. Ed.]



For many years now, St. Peter's Church has been without a church choir! Hopefully, this is about to change and I am gathering a group of villagers who are willing to form a choir to enjoy singing once a month - not just hymns, but light and popular music.

I have the full backing of our Rector, Keith Wyer, and all in our congregation. If you haven't been approached and would like to come and join the group, please telephone me any evening on 882447.

Looking forward to hearing from you - and the chance to make music!

Stuart Neale - Organist



The Ilfracombe & District Volunteer Bureau exists to promote, support and develop volunteering for the benefit of those in need within the local communities of Ilfracombe and the surrounding coastal and rural areas of North Devon. It supports other voluntary organisations and community projects and is an open service available to everyone.

The Bureau provides volunteering opportunities and advice on using your free time to make new friends and meet people, share your skills and learn new ones for the benefit of others by: driving, befriending, shopping, gardening, dog walking, painting and decorating, wheelchair escort or helping in the Bureau office.

However, you may be one of those who need our service. Can our volunteers help YOU? Do you need: Transport for an appointment? Someone to call in for a chat? Shopping collected or help with the shopping? Work done in your garden or the dog walked? There are no charges for these services, but donations are always welcome.

The AGM of the Bureau, with reports on all last year's activities, will be held at The Lantern, High Street, Ilfracombe, on Wednesday, 13th June, at 8:00 p.m. Coffee and Tea will be available and EVERYONE is welcome.


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


Hurrah! Summer's here - opening all day, everyday; serving breakfast from 8.00 a.m. until 5.00 p.m. and pub food from 11.00 a.m. until 10.00 p.m; and Sunday roasts on, er, Sunday! Bookings taken between 12.00 noon and 1.30 p.m.

Building work is coming on and will hopefully be finished sooner, rather than later. We are having a patio area built on the front of the pub, so outside seating will still be available, and Karl has been busy in the garden - watching Ground Force for inspiration, no doubt! Wayne has been busy painting and maintaining all things inside and out, and Karen, well she's ensured the smooth running of the whole place whilst looking after her growing family, with help from Grandma Edith.

From mid-July we have entertainment most nights, including Balloon Magic, Jack Daniels and the Famous Drunks, Ain't Misbehaving and Karaoke when its your turn to entertain us! There will be a Quiz once a week and the winning team/person wins a £10.00 food and drink voucher to be redeemed at any time.

Hopefully, we shall have some good weather this summer, bringing much needed visitors to our beautiful part of the countryside/seaside - oh, we are so lucky to live in such fantastic surroundings!

We hope you are all fit and set for a splendid summer and hope to see you over the coming months.

With very best wishes from all at The Old Sawmill Inn.




First performed in November 1986, 'A Nice Class of Person' will be presented, once again by Studio Theatre, in The Landmark on the evenings of 22nd and 23rd June, with a matinee performance on the 24th, as part of The North Devon Festival.

The play was devised by Edwina Cooper and myself from documentary evidence and the memories of older residents of llfracombe. In essence it is an entertainment based on the activities taking place during a summer's day in Ilfracombe in 1926. It is not fiction, but neither is it absolutely factual. We have invented a few people to carry on the action and have squeezed time a little; though everything we portray did happen during the 1920's, most of it in the July of 1926.

'A Nice Class of Person' is a community play, written from information given by older residents and performed for local people by local people. It is a mixture of fun, music, action and a little sadness. Above all, it is a warm and nostalgic glance, over the shoulder, of a community, at a past that will soon be beyond our reach. I am looking forward enormously to the production, however, I am conscious that almost all the principal contributors who helped us via their memories in 1986, are now no longer with us. For me, therefore, there is an extra determination to keep faith with the story they told us and pass it on to new generations.

Jon Bell



Brian Wright

Solution in Article 41.


Artwork: Angela Bartlett



It must have been about 1938 - some time after my father died - when my half-brother, Gerald, was talking to me about worldly things and related the workings of the incubator and how he had become fascinated with the hatching of chicks. So much so, that he built a lot of chicken houses at the bottom of the garden to house the birds, and equipped them with Leclanche batteries to light them at night for the collection of eggs, cleaning, etc. Eventually, his 'stock' amounted to about 300 birds and he had difficulty in getting rid of the eggs - to any local shop that would have them!

Father, no doubt getting tired of the whole business, laid down the law and told him that they would have to go, and they did! However, we kept a reasonable number for our needs and perhaps a few eggs were put under a broody hen when required.

The incubator was left in the potting shed and remained unused until 1939, when we moved to Berrynarbor for the duration of the War. Gerald, who was then working for Stan Huxtable at North Lee, told him about how he used to hatch from the incubator rather than under a hen. Stan, who was very interested, said, "Well, you'd better fetch it out and set it up in a shed at the back of the farm." And this was duly done.

The incubator was like a plywood box on legs and was set up level, in a darkened place, where it could not be interfered with. It ran on paraffin with the temperature being controlled by a disc on a rod, lightly balanced, which could be adjusted as required. The disc was over a hole in the top and would rise or drop keeping the temperature reasonably constant - a kind of thermostat. At the front was a let-down glass panelled door and inside were two trays, one above the other with the top one falling short of the front by about 2" or 3". There were also water troughs which had to be filled to provide humidity.

The eggs had to be fertile. That is to say there had to be a cockerel in the farmyard! Before loading the 60 eggs into the incubator, they had to be marked - a 'O' on one side and a 'X' on the other. This assisted with the 'turning' of the eggs, which had to be done three times a day. How a chicken knows one side from the other, I don't know! After about 8 days, you could pick up an egg and hold it up to a candle. If it was clear, then it was not fertile. If you could see red blood vessels, then it was. One problem, if you had a lapse of concentration halfway through turning the eggs, you'd scratch your head and think, 'was I on noughts or crosses?'! The odd mistake didn't seem to matter. After the appropriate incubation period of 21 days - having tended to turning the eggs, checking the temperature and keeping the paraffin reservoir topped up, things began to happen!


Illustrated by: Debbie Rigler Cook

It was one of the most fascinating things I have ever seen. Holding a candle by the glass front, you could just see a little beak tap its way through the shell. Gradually, this little beak would peck its way around most of the shell, making it look like a cradle with the chick laying in it. Other chicks would soon follow and at first they were bedraggled until they dried into pretty, little, fluffy creatures. Then they would come forward towards the candlelight and drop into the tray below.

Once they were all safely in the lower tray, they were taken indoors and put into a circular, galvanised feeder and drinker, with a protected oil lamp in the middle to keep them warm and peat was put in the run.

After a while, as the chicks grew and became a bit smelly [!], they were put out for a few hours at a time and once they were acclimatised, they went out with the other hens.

Stan was delighted, as was his wife Bessie, and there you are - that's life!

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester




At the well-attended AGM on 16th May, the retiring Chairman, Officers and Committee were again re-elected 'en bloc'. Chairman: Alex Parke, Secretary: Tony Summers, Treasurer: Jill McCrae and Committee: Tom Bartlett, John Hood, Inge Richardson and Jan Tonkin.

Tony Summers then introduced the speaker from Christopher Piper Wines Of Ottery St. Mary, who have twice been the winners of the South West Regional Award by the 'Which Wine Guide'. A really enjoyable evening and after thanks to the speaker, a vote of thanks was recorded to our Chairman, Alex Parke. The programme for 2001-2002 will be published in the August or October Newsletter.

Tom Bartlett, Publicity Officer



"Been skiing have you?" asked Liam the pilot laconically. I glanced sideways from my stretcher through the tiny rain-streaked window of the minute Piper Seneca onto the sodden Cork runway and laughed. "Nothing so dramatic," I replied, "I slipped on a grassy slope and fell awkwardly!" Now I was Exeter-bound in an air ambulance with a delightful nurse/companion, a tasty picnic, Sunday newspaper - and right leg in plaster from foot to bum!

"Have you gone through the emergency drill with Pam?" said Liam over his shoulder as we taxied down the runway. "Oh no," said Helen, "Pam, if we have a problem, I flick this switch at the top and the one at the bottom, and the door drops out. Then we grab a lifejacket and get out. And don't worry", here she gave me a reassuring grin, "when we hit the water your plaster will dissolve and we shall all be in the same boat!" "Liam", I pleaded, being immobile and strapped to the stretcher, "please get us there safely!" It was much later that I remembered that my cast was fibreglass not plaster of Paris. I should have had a long wait on the seabed waiting for that to dissolve!

But let's go back to the beginning.

"Let's take a break in Ireland in the spring" said the four of us [all female] just before Christmas. The only suitable date was March 17th St Patrick's Day. I 'phoned my friend in Dun Laoghaire to tell her we'd be calling for coffee and she threw up her hands in horror. "Dublin will be hell, the villages en route will be heaving with revellers, and if you can change the date, you should!" Too late...we had already booked our cottage near Kenmare in South West Ireland.

That was before the foot and mouth problem, because of which, the go ahead wasn't finally given until the 14th March, by which time we had organised an alternative holiday in the Isles of Scilly. Had we taken the latter holiday, I guess that would have been the end of the story!

Our holiday cottage was spacious and very comfortable, our hostess welcoming and generous. We had, of course, been disinfected at Dun Laoghaire - selves, car, dog and boots. I seethed when the canned dog food was confiscated by officious guards at the port, in direct contradiction to MAFF'S advice - I strongly suspect that no guard will have to buy dog food for years hence! But now our longed for holiday had really begun.

First thing next morning, when I called to the dog, I'd lost my voice! I was still croaking 3 days later when I broke my leg! The next day, Judith fell foul of "Kerry-belly", and she was off her food until after leg-break day!

On Wednesday, we decided to explore the Beara peninsula - a delightfully remote and less touristy area south of the Ring of Kerry. In the pretty village of Castletown Bere we bought huge prawns to be cooked in garlic butter [for those of us who were eating] and half an hour later stopped the car to admire the sunset from a roadside track.

As I fell forwards and slipped sideways on the wet grass we all heard the 'ping' of snapping bones. I shifted my wet bum out of the stream onto dry heather and my friends made me as comfortable and warm as possible. There was no mobile 'phone signal, and we hadn't seen a soul since leaving the 'prawn' shop. Suddenly in the distance appeared a battered car driven by an equally battered old man. "Well, I don't rightly know", was his answer to Judith's request for help. "Ah, wait a moment. Theresa lives over the brow of the hill. She's just been made redundant as nurse on the ambulance. I'll go and get her." And in less than no time, Theresa arrived, followed shortly by Sean and Frank and their welcome ambulance with gas and splint.

"Follow me," said Frank to Rosie. Poor Rosie had driven my car only briefly on the journey to Ireland, and now in the gathering gloom she had to take control of car, passenger and dog.

The doctor at Castletown Bere hospital came out to the ambulance, took one look at the leg and declared: "Well, you and I both know it's broken, so Cork is the only place for you. The problem is that we only have the one ambulance and I can't risk being without it. As you have a car and driver, she'll have to drive you." "How far is it?" I asked. "Oh, only about 2 hours. I'll give you a shot of morphine to see you through." Waiting only to hand over the prawns to the ambulance men, I was settled widthways on the back seat, propped up with pillows. By now it was pitch dark - and raining of course. Not surprisingly, we lost the road several times, and for the second time that night heard "Follow me", as a kindly Irishman hurtled us through the streets of a nameless town at 50 mph until he guided us back to the right road. Incidentally, we rarely knew how much farther the journey was as Irish major roads are now measured in kilometres, whilst side roads still indicate miles! In the end the journey took us 3 hours.

Cork University hospital accident and emergency on a Wednesday night [and, no doubt, every night] looked like a scene from the Crimean War.

Damaged bodies were everywhere and the air was filled with groans. Almost as soon as I entered on a stretcher, I groped for pen and notepad. A nurse had taken one look at me and declared "My God! You'd best move up the stretcher, you must be 7' long!" I knew I was in for a fund of stories, and I wasn't disappointed.

My two poor friends finally left the hospital at 2.30 a.m. to drive back to Kenmare - 1.5 hour's drive away. Incidentally, you may have noticed that there were four of us in the beginning and now only three. Yvonne was unable to come in the end -- and fell two days after me on the beach at Combe Martin and broke her wrist but that's another saga!

I was wheeled to a ward bay for 6, as a 7th patient. At right angles to the other beds, I should have had a good view of my fellow patients had I not been drowsy from the sedative already given. At 4.00 a.m. I was wakened [together with the rest of the ward] by a nurse asking my name, address, age, religion, etc. What had happened to the details I'd already given twice? Next morning I was wheeled down to the operating theatre, accompanied by Mark, my anaesthetist - a lovely young man. A harridan confronted us who demanded my yellow card. I was tempted to say that I wasn't here to play football, but I don't think she would have been amused. Perhaps the card of my night-time interrogator was yellow but I hadn't noticed!

Eventually I woke from the anaesthetic, to find a party going on at the bed to my right. Four or five visitors were gathered around Mary's bed and as there wasn't room for more chairs, I invited two to sit on my bed! I was rewarded when Mary said to one of them, "Are you to go into your man with your ears tomorrow?" "Fat chance he'd have of going in without 'em", I thought!

Later that day I was slotted into my own bed space, between Philomena, a dear soul suffering from verbal diarrhoea [and a broken hip!] and Jennie, a lovely young 23-year old who had accidentally fallen off a fire escape and compacted her spine, and opposite 80-year old Annie, suffering from chest problems, who asked of Philomena, "And what's wrong wid you?" "Aah!

My story is a long one," she replied with all the feeling of the 'Sisters of Sorrow'. "Oh no!" exclaimed my young friend, " I've heard the same thing everyday this week and it goes on and on..." And it did! 18 minutes without a pause, apart from the occasional "Aah", or "I know, ya", from her questioner. Finally the saga came to an end. The ward fell silent. Philomena settled herself back on her pillows and declared, "Sure 'tis nice to be in a quiet ward again! "

Next morning at 8.00 a.m. the drug trolley did its first round. "Pam, you'd best have some painkillers. You need to take 'em half an hour before the pain starts", declared the nurse. "Thank you", I said meekly. Well, it's very logical in an Irish sort of way!

By evening, lifting the lid from my supper plate, I gazed unenthusiastically at the chicken supreme, but realising that I hadn't eaten anything but toast for over 48 hours, I reluctantly dipped a fork into the white meat. Just then I heard a noise and glancing across the ward was in time to see the Annie bringing up something very similar in appearance. My appetite disappeared!

Monica, directly opposite me, even at 95 had lovely facial bone structure. She also had a chest infection. Round her neck hung day and night, bed or bathroom - her handbag! She didn't believe in banks and so all her life savings were in the bag - except of course that on her arrival they had been placed in the hospital safe. One day she realised the bag was empty, and accused her visiting niece of pinching the money. "Oh no, Aunty", explained the niece, "they put it in the safe. I'll go and get it to show you." The only problem was the hospital couldn't release it to anyone other than the owner, unless with a letter of agreement from the owner's solicitor - and Monica couldn't grasp what a solicitor was, let alone his name!

The niece, however, kept me amused for 10 minutes. She was a Dubliner, and having had a one-sided conversation with her Aunt, came across to me and said, "My God you look much too healthy to be in here -- what's the matter wid yus?" I threw back the bedclothes to reveal the plaster. "Jaysus, that's bad! I'm reminded of the time I broke me arm. 'Twas terrible 'cos I'm a pianist. Anyway, I've three great sons at home, and I ordered them not to screw any lids on jars tightly 'cos I wouldn't be able to undo them. And what did I do? Decided to do the washing. Gathered it up and put the liquid Daz under me arm. The lid popped off and the Daz trickled down me arm and under me plaster."

So what did she do? "I poured a jug of water down inside to rinse it out - but it just came out in me palm as froth! Then I decided I'd better dry it with me hairdryer but that didn't work. Finally I reckoned the best thing was to 'phone the hospital. They said I'd best come in immediately or I might get the 'dermytitis'." Unfortunately, by now the plaster was so soggy that it clogged up the 'rotary saw' they use to cut off plasters, and they had to resort to scissors. But it was the way she told it!

On my last night, I was so excited at the thought of getting back home next day that sleep evaded me. Or it could have been Monica's snores with every breath. Or the four times I had to call the nurse because she was trying to get out of her cot. Near dawn, she suddenly sat bolt upright in bed, checked that her bag was still around her neck, groped for her slippers [I suspect she had something hidden in the soles] and then started feeling around the bed again. Relief! She had found it - her massive rosary. With a great effort she got it over her head, looked across at me with unseeing eyes, shouted, "Am I dead Yet? NO! I don't think so." Flopped back on her pillows, and within two seconds was snoring rhythmically again. And I was supposed to get some sleep?

After all this excitement, the journey home was deliciously uneventful, and life is gradually becoming more normal. I've decided I'm 'legicapped' - there's nothing wrong with my hand.

And one benefit is that I'm gradually using up all those odd pop socks. Not so good, though, is that the left sandal of a new pair is getting decidedly more wear.

My next 'break' is already in the pipeline but it won't be in Ireland!

Footnote: Through the newsletter, I'd like to add a few heartfelt 'thank you's': Firstly, I couldn't have coped without the ministrations of Alex's care, cooking, car driving and 'couragement! Then there is Daniel. He kindly offered to walk Jet [my black Labrador] and over the weeks they've become great pals. Ironically, after about 2 weeks Dan turned up with his arm in plaster! He'd fallen and broken a bone in his hand. [It's obviously catching.] Nevertheless, he still insisted on his daily visit - helped occasionally by Bethany and Luke and is still helping out [mid May]. Yvonne's arm is now out of plaster and thankfully on the mend. She, too, has been of great help and support. We made a great entrance at the Ilfracombe Walkers dinner. Paul Lethaby took one look at us and decided there and then not to join! Still, as Judy remarked, "Never mind Yvonne, you can kick 'em and Pam can bash 'em".

Finally, thanks to my friends [especially our own dear ED, Anna and Judith] for emergency help, visits, lovely cards, flowers and good wishes. They've all been much appreciated.

PP of DC



John Cunliffe
















Illustrations by: Debbie Rigler Cook



"The sheets of bluebells were still in all their splendour and the pink rhododendrons were just beginning to show their blossoms,"

Rev. Francis Kilvert's Diary, May 1874

A 1930's edition of the Ward Lock guide book called it 'a popular resort' ... much of the ground covered with Austrian pines and Scottish firs;" walks bordered with rhododendrons and laurels giving 'access to the summit and to secluded nooks. The climb to the top is stiff, but rewards the energetic with splendid views in all directions.'

Earlier in the century, the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould in his Little Guide to Devon, called it 'a public pleasure ground, consisting mainly of rough hilly land, covered with furze, the highest point being . . . three times as high as the Capstone.'

Nowadays, The Cairn at Ilfracombe is a woodland nature reserve, leased from the District Council and managed by Devon Wildlife Trust, consisting of 19 acres of mixed coniferous and deciduous trees.

We took the winding paths up to the grassy summit, 480 feet above sea level, past rocky outcrops, spread with wall pennywort and butterflies basking on the warm stones.

There is a network of paths and flights of steps cut into the slate with such names as Hartstongue Path, Pedlar's Rise, West Zigzag and the Heide [Old English for a slope].

Tangled clumps of bramble are left to provide a refuge for wrens, tits and warblers. The main tree species growing there are oak, ash, beech, hazel, sycamore, sweet and horse chestnut, Scots and Austrian pine with Norway maple on the eastern side and an old lime tree in a quarry.

Cairn Top is maintained as open grassland bordered by gorse and blackthorn and screened by trees on the seaward side. We stood to survey the view - of the Slade Valley below and the surrounding hills. A corner of one of the Slade reservoirs was visible, glinting in the sun. A fox crossed a field high above the valley and swifts flew overhead.

Swifts are among the later migrants, arriving at the end of April. The height at which they fly depends on the level of insect flight and this is partly determined by the weather; thundery conditions often causing higher flying.

It was warbler heaven. We watched a pair of blackcaps in a sycamore and willow warblers were constantly on the move. In 'A Charm of Small Birds', J. Wentworth Day described the willow warbler's song: 'It begins round and full. Then it runs down the scale and dies on the air in a gentle murmur. In between snatches of song, the bird flits about catching insects.' He commented, 'The gardener can bless it for it eats an astonishing number of insects.'

We took a gentler descent via Bluebell Rise [suitably named] and then along Orchid Path where, indeed, there were deep magenta, early purple orchids, standing like sentinels along the path.

Over two hundred different flowering plants have been recorded at the reserve and beside Orchid Path we found the white bell flowers of three cornered leek, yellow Welsh poppies and low clusters of wood sorrel; its lime green leaves folded at first, then opening flat - the heart-shaped leaves joined in groups of three to form 'shamrocks'.

Country names for wood sorrel included, God Almighty's bread and cheese, cuckoo's meat, hallelujah, good luck, green sauce, wild shamrock and Whitsun flower. It was cultivated as a salad vegetable in fifteenth century gardens and pulped as a sharpening ingredient for sauces. The leaves contain citric acid. We tried one and it tasted very tangy and lemony.

The Cairn is currently open to the public although most of the adjacent Old Railway cycle track and footpath is closed due to foot and mouth restrictions. For those who like walking and wild flowers, one of the high points of the natural history calendar to look forward to each year, is entering a bluebell wood and seeing the colour which mimics the sky and the sea spreading in all directions, the hyacinth scent being picked up on the breeze.

So, in the present unhappy circumstances, we are fortunate that at The Cairn reserve there is a bluebell walk to lift our spirits.

Sue H

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes


Crossword Solution


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


Berry Narbor From the Air


This aerial photographic postcard of our Village was taken around 1932 by Aerofilms Limited of Hendon, London NW9, and is one of three such aerial views taken by them at that time. This view is numbered 33059; I also have view No. 33061, which shows a more close up view of Berrynarbor. So far I have been unable to locate a copy of No. 33060, so if there is anyone who has such a postcard view, I should be very pleased to know what it shows and if possible obtain a copy!!

The photographer has taken the picture on an approach to the village from the east, as we see Hammonds Farm in the foreground, followed by Moules Farm. Note the footpath across the fields linking up with the other lane which passes by the then Rectory, hidden by trees. At the bottom of the lane, Turn-a-Round, Beech Leigh can be seen between the trees.

Continuing past Moules Farm, we can see Capel Cottage before entering the centre of the village with St. Peter's Church, Congregational Chapel, Manor Hall, Primary School, a thatched Bessemer Thatch, The Globe and the School Room. This photograph was taken prior to any houses being built on the village end of Barton Lane, apart from Berrivale. However, just opposite Berrivale, and in the corner of the field north east of the Church, some earthworks can be seen, and these could be the commencement of footings for Chatsworth and Berry View, which were built for Mr. John Richards of Moules Farm and were completed in 1933. North Lee Farm House can be seen at the foot of Hagginton Hill, and note how the field in front of the hill is planted with vegetables, etc. A couple of bell tents can be seen in the field opposite Middle Lee Farm and most of the fields bordering it, and Glen Lee, appear to be cultivated. If anyone can give further information about this photographic postcard, do please contact me. Thank you.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, May 2001
e-mail: tomandinge40@gmail.com



32ndBerrynarbor Flowerpot Men Shoot!
3rdSt. Peter's Church: Celebration of Pentecost - Family Service, 11 a.m.
4thPrimary School & College: Return from Half Term
5thW.I. Meeting, 2.30 p.m., Manor Hall: Michael Bale - Lundy Island
6thMobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
7thElection Day. W.I. Coffee Morning, Manor Hall, 10.30 a.m.
9th - 17thIlfracombe 'Victorian Celebration'
12thParish Council Meeting, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
13thIlfracombe & District Volunteer Bureau: AGM, The Lantern, 8.00 p.m.
15thIlfracombe Golf Club Whist Drive, 7.30 p.m.
20thMobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
23rd & 24thCombe Martin Open Gardens Week-end
24thSt. Peter's Church: Christians Together, Songs of Praise, 6.30 p.m.
27thSt. Peter's Church: Gift Day. Friendship Lunch, Globe, 1.00 p.m.
3rdW.I. Annual Tea Party for Ilfracombe Disabled Association
4thMobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
10thParish Council Meeting Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
17thW.I. Afternoon Outing to Hunters Inn
18thMobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
20thPrimary School and College: End of Summer Term
25thFriendship Lunch at The Globe 1.00 p.m.
31stBerry Revels Manor Hall 6.30 p.m.
1stMobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.

Manor Hall Diary:

MondaysBadminton, 7.30 p.m.
Tuesdays2nd & 4th in month: N.D.Spinners
Yoga, 7.00 p.m.
ThursdaysWhist Drive, 7.30 p.m.
FridaysShort Mat Bowls, 7.00 p.m.
SundaysShort Mat Bowls, 2.00 p.m.

Mobile Library:
(Assistant - Jacqui Mackenzie)

11.30 - 11.45 a.m.Sandy Cove
11.50 - 12.05 p.m.Barton Lane
1.15 - 1.40 p.m.The Square
1.45 - 2.05 p.m.Sterridge Valley