Edition 84 - June 2003

Artwork by: H. Hughes Richardson

Artwork: Judie Weedon


The April issue was a bit of a fiasco - articles appearing twice, articles not appearing at all, strange dates and incorrect telephone numbers! My apologies to all concerned, particularly the poor gentleman who found himself taking bookings for evening meals and 'Weather or Not' these lapses can be put down to a slight 'senior moment' remains to be seen!

Three reminders:

  • Firstly, that the Newsletter has a website, www.berrynarbor-news.co.uk. If you have internet facilities, photographs, particularly Tom's postcards, are a little clearer on the website.
  • Secondly, the Newsletter has its own account at Nationwide, and cheques should be made payable, please, to 'Berrynarbor Newsletter'. Thank you to everyone who has very generously sent donations or put contributions in the collecting boxes at the Post Office, Globe, Sawmills and Sue's of Combe Martin.
  • Thirdly, don't forget that a varied selection of jigsaws are available for loan - either ring me on 883544 or call at Chicane to choose one.

Thank you, Tom, for sharing two of your postcards of cottages in the village, giving us the delightful coloured covers for this issue. Details of the pictures are given later in Tom's article. A big thank you, too, to everyone else who has contributed to another full Newsletter.

Finally, please hand in items for the August issue - this issue has completed our fourteenth year - to the Post Office or Chicane as soon as possible and by Tuesday, 15th July at the latest. Thank you.





We were very pleased to welcome about fifty members from the Chichester Group to the Group Meeting on 1st April and we were well entertained by Jenny Goldsmith talking about her 'Life on the Wicked Stage'. We also felt that we had done very well by coming joint second in the competition.

On the 6th May, nineteen members met at the Manor Hall to discuss the Resolutions which prompted some lively discussion, and our decisions will now go forward to the Annual General Meeting in June. Birthday gifts were given to Eunice Allen, Rosemary Gaydon and Marion Carter, who also won the raffle, and the competition for a spring flower was won by Doreen Prater.

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday, 3rd June, at 2.30 p.m. when Graham Andrews will be telling us all about Local Government, and on the 1st July we shall be having a social afternoon. So ladies, please come and join us.

Marion Carter




There is no timetable for grief. Grief's time is beyond Time, and Time is not important. Time is a Circle, time goes round and round like a wheel, and that is why one hears echoes of the past continuously - it's because the past is present.

You just look across the circle and there are echoes of the past, and the vision of the Future, and they are all present, all now, all forever.

When the music plays you'll see him there, and you'll think 'yes, it's sad I shall never hear him sing again', and you'll grieve. And you'll think 'it's sad, but there was happiness before the sadness', and you'Il be grateful for the memory, and the memory will echo on in Time.

We will talk of him, so that will be part of the memory too, and so it will go on echoing again and again in the Circle of Time, and that Time is beyond Time, Time out of mind.

From 'A Wheel of Fortune'


It was with sadness we learnt that Frank has passed away suddenly but peacefully on the 18th March, at his home - Dormer Cottage.

Before coming to Berrynarbor, Frank had been a policeman in London, serving through the Blitz. Our oldest, and immaculately dressed villager, he was always thoughtful but with a sense of fun. His presence in the village will be missed and we share with Linda and his family their sadness at this time.

Goodbye to My Dad

It hardly seems any time since I wrote about Vi and now I have to say goodbye to my dad, Frank, as well. It seemed very final when I saw the 'Sale Agreed' sign on Dormer Cottage, another chapter in village history was closed.

I don't think I need to say that Frank loved the village. My sister suggested that maybe his ashes should be taken to Middlesex where my mum died, but it was agreed that his heart was in Berrynarbor. It's where we shall remember him, sitting in the sun with Vi or more recently hand in hand with great grandson Jack, making their way down to The Globe.

I should like to say thank you, again, for the support he received from Bob and Jeane, Peter West, Hedi, Bet and Jim, Mary and lots of others, who looked in on him. A thank you, too, to the Primary School for the flowers sent to his funeral - a reminder to me of the many years he was the school's Father Christmas. Also thank you to Keith, our Rector, for making the funeral service so personal and to Edith and Mark at The Globe for making the gathering afterwards a lovely final tribute.

Also, thank you Judie for reminding me that a few words in the Berrynarbor Newsletter is a good way to finish!

Linda Denzey


It is with sadness we report that after spending the last four years being cared for at the Susan Day Home in llfracombe, Iris passed away peacefully on the 23rd March, just weeks short of her 92nd birthday. Our thoughts are with her family.

Iris was born and educated in London. After leaving school, she was employed in a pharmaceutical laboratory, but before her marriage, she spent holidays in Ilfracombe with her grandparents, and main activities were swimming and tennis.

Geoff was born in Birmingham but the family moved to Australia where he was educated. He returned to London to take up a post as a pharmaceutical chemist and this was where he met Iris.

After their marriage, Iris and Geoff took up ballroom dancing, under instructions from Victor Sylvester, a pastime at which they both excelled. Following the War, they spent a number of years in New Zealand but returned to England when Geoff was employed by Max Factor.

Several moves later, they retired to Berrynarbor - two very private people who enjoyed walking, cycling and their garden at Dene Cottage.


They say you can take a Cornishman out of Cornwall, but you can never take Cornwall out of a Cornishman.

George was born in Cornwall in 1922, the youngest of the family, having two elder sisters. His father died when he was sixteen and the family went to live in Hertford.

The Second World War found him trained as a Bomb Disposal Officer in London during the Blitz, a task that required nerve, skill and a large degree of luck. George took part in the liberation of the Channel Islands and this found him, at the grand age of twenty-three, in charge of 200 German prisoners, disarming the mines they themselves had laid. These early experiences marked and defined George's character - a man of great integrity, sense of responsibility and moral fortitude.

After a period as a civilian, and unable to settle, he joined the Royal Air Force - as much to follow his great love of amateur radio and electronics. It was when he was stationed at the Radar base at Sandwich that he met Yvonne, who was also stationed there.

They married in 1957 and within seven years, two sons and two daughters completed their family. There were postings to Germany, Cyprus and Bahrain and George's leadership qualities were recognised as he rose to be a Squadron Leader.

On leaving the RAF, the family moved to llfracombe where George was able to show his love of animals something not able to be indulged in the armed forces. A Labrador puppy was quickly followed by a kitten, geese, ducks, chickens and goats. Bees were also studied and kept and the family were self-sufficient for nine years with milk, eggs and honey. Great fun but hard work!

Work in the printing department at Ilfracombe College kept him busy and he enjoyed his eight years there. His love of singing in the musical society and many school skiing trips were other joys. Retirement to Berrynarbor, walking with friends, his amateur radio and computer, travelling and the grandchildren all gave him great pleasure.

With the new Millennium, his family and friends watched with dismay this highly intelligent man slip into the shadows of Alzheimer's. It is, therefore, important to remember a Cornishman who did so much in a long life, and always retained the dignity of all his numerous experiences.

George passed away peacefully on the 30th March and a very special Service of Celebration was held at St. Peter's on the 7th April.

Yvonne, Steve, Sue, Peter and Ali, our thoughts are with you and the grandchildren at this time of loss.


It was with deep sorrow we learnt that Angela, who had not been well for some time, had died peacefully at home at Moules Farm, with her family, in the afternoon of the 17th May.

Our thoughts are with Norman, Sally and David and the family, and we share with them in their grief.

A loving and loved wife, mother, grandmother and daughter-in-law, and a true friend to many, Angela's death will leave an empty place in many lives.


With so much recent sadness in the village, it was hard to believe that there had been two deaths in one day.

After some ten weeks in the Tyrrell Hospital, Lucy passed away during the evening of the 17th May. She was 92 and had, before her stay at the Tyrrell, been looked after with care and kindness by the staff at the Susan Day Home.

Lucy, a loved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother will be sadly missed by John, David, Sally and their families, and our thoughts and sympathy go out to them all in their sorrow.


Thank you one and all for sharing in the Celebration of Michael's Life. We hope it was a happy event. Special thanks to Stuart Neale for arranging such a memorable occasion and the choir was super. Thanks for all the kind donations - I was able to send a cheque for £200 to Cancer Research UK.

We must all work to find a cure for this dreaded disease.

With love,

Joy, Kristian and Benedicta


Artwork: Paul Swailes


"He is not here, He is risen". Over 100 of us, adults and children, gathered in church to hear the glad Easter message and we were pleased to welcome so many visitors. An Easter Garden had been lovingly constructed by Sally and the Sunday School, who also performed a short play. Beautiful flower displays brightened the church. Our thanks to everyone who gave so generously: flowers, money, time and talent.

The Coffee Morning held on Election Day was a great success and raised £117 towards much-needed church funds.

Whitsunday falls on 8th June this year and will be celebrated with Sung Eucharist at 11.00 a.m. as usual. Another special occasion takes place in June. On the 22nd at 6.30 p.m., Christians Together will be holding an evening service in Berrynarbor to celebrate the tercentenary of the birth of John Wesley. Do come and join us and there will be refreshments afterwards in the Manor Hall.

On Wednesday, 25th June, the Rector and members of the PCC will be at the lych gate for the Annual Gift Day. Letters and envelopes for donations will be distributed round the village the week before. A mammoth effort is needed this year as ever-increasing demands are made on our pockets to maintain the ministry.

St. Peter's Summer Fayre will be held on Tuesday, 12th August. Items will be most welcome for the various stalls and prizes.

Friendship Lunches at The Globe will be on Wednesdays 25th June and 23rd July.

Mary Tucker


Artwork: Paul Swailes


Spring started well with some glorious dry weather and on occasions it was very warm. The barometer never fell below 1008mb during March, with a maximum of 1037mb. In the first ten days we recorded 58mm [2 1/4"] of rain and only 3mm [1/8"] for the rest of the month. Winds tended to be from the easterly quarter for a lot of the month, hence the dryer weather. The maximum speed was 36K on the 7th, here in the Valley. The temperatures ranged from a maximum of 19.7 Deg C on the 27th to -.6 0 Deg C on the 19th, with a wind chill of -6 Deg C on the 7th.

The fine weather continued into April with just a blip on the 1st when 9mm [3/8"] of rain fell and a further 1mm on the 14th. There were five more dry days before the rain moved in resulting in a total of 51 mm for the month and 310 mm [12 1/4"] for the year so far. We would normally expect over 500mm [20"] by now.

The temperature shot up on the 16th when we recorded a high of 27.9 Deg C at 1546 hours. This was higher than the maximum temperature of the entire year in 2002! The lowest temperature was -.7 Deg C on the 10th.

Winds were quite strong and again generally east. The wind chill minimum was -4 Deg C on the 19th; in April 2000 it was -13 Deg C on the 3rd. The total sunshine hours for March and April at Chicane was 216.34.

That's all for now - must go and put the bean sticks up. Enjoy the summer which is not far away.

Sue and Simon


Artwork: Paul Swailes


Our AGM was held on 2nd April. The present Committee agreed to continue and we also welcomed aboard Jane Vanstone and Colin Trinder as Book Keeper.

Plans are now in hand to upgrade the kitchen area and decorate the inside of the main hall. Cash from Sure Start and a generous contribution from the BBC are making these improvements possible.

We are also making arrangements to have the painting of Watermouth Castle restored and re-framed, and the painting of Mrs. Edith Penn Curzon cleaned. Both should look good.

If anyone has taken tea towels or table cloths from the Manor Hall home for laundering, please can you return them as we are getting very short in that department!

Summer is upon us and this will be the last Newsletter before the Berry Revels - Tuesday, 29th July. Please publicise the event and come along to enjoy the fun and games provided. And, when it gets dark, there will be dancing to music by the Parcel of Rogues.

For the information of photographers, subjects for this year's Horticultural and Craft Show, on 6th September, are: A Local View, Cottages and Castles, Animal Magic and Sport for All.

Plenty of time! Oh no, there isn't, and gardeners should have sown their seeds by now.

John Hood - Chairman



Sue Sussex and Arthur Yelton would like to thank everyone who voted for them at the recent elections.

Neither was successful, but Sue came very close and lost by only 29 votes to Julia Clark. Sue would like to thank you all for the wonderful reception given to her in your area when she called, and can assure you 'She will be back'!

Again thank you for your vote and confidence in us both. The Conservative Party Candidates

Thank you to all those people in Berrynarbor who voted for us in the recent elections and to the good friends who supported us throughout the campaign, we are very grateful.

Don't forget, that whether you voted for us or not, our job now is to represent each one of you on the District Council. If you wish to get in touch with us for any reason, our 'phone numbers are: Julia [883611] and Yvette [882364]. We shall do the best we can for you over the next four years.

Julia and Yvette


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


A belated warm welcome to David and Carol Bowes, who took over one of the new lodges, No. 48, at Berrynarbor Park last autumn. David and Carol have moved, together with their toy poodle, Ollie, from Weymouth in Dorset. David is a semi-retired computer consultant and Carol no longer works as a professional hairdresser.

Gardening, David says, and he do not agree, so he is delighted that they do not have a garden to tend!

Photography is a hobby they share and David is into video production. He recently made a video of the Berry Broadcasting Company's highly successful "'Allo, 'allo, tiz the Sound of Music" and is currently working on one of the North Devon Coast and its attractions for Keith Wyer. One of 'Berry in Bloom' is to start shortly.

We wish them both well and hope they will continue to enjoy living here and joining in village life.

If anyone is interested in obtaining a copy of the BBC video, please contact the Editor on 883544.

There are more newcomers at The Park and arrivals expected in the next few weeks.

Rob and Jenny Cookson, together with Bonnie their rough collie, have moved from Redditch in Worcestershire into No. 35. Not really newcomers, as they have owned a caravan at the Park for the last five years, Jenny and Rob are well 'in' with the village and its activities. Rob has now retired as a self-employed landscape gardener and Jenny was lucky to be able to transfer her job with British Telecom to work in Barnstaple.

Hill walking was a popular pastime, but now they enjoy relaxing and less strenuous coastal walks. Rob is a self-confessed football fanatic and enjoys watching all sports - except motor racing!

Good luck and happiness to you both now this is home, not a holiday retreat and we hope that Rob's back which has been giving him problems since they arrived - will soon be more comfortable.



It is good to know that both Jill and Maureen - after stays in hospital are both home and out and about again; as is our 'some time artist', Dave Walden.

There are three patients receiving TLC at the Tyrrell Hospital - Vi, Ivy and Bobbie - and we send them our love and very best wishes, as we do to anyone not feeling at their best just now.



Do call at Higher Rows, up the Valley, and look at the plants that Margaret has for sale - all proceeds in aid of the Children's Hospice South West. Last year Margaret sent over £400 to them and hopes to do even better this year!


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


St. Peter's Church on Saturday, 10th May, was the setting for the marriage of Angela Peddle and Ian Cunningham.

Ian comes from Barnstaple, but originally Scotland, and Angela from Berrydown Cross, where they now live. Blackpool was the honeymoon destination.

Congratulations and very best wishes to you both.

A nine-week business trip to St. Lucia in the Windward Islands of the West Indies for Chris Townsend, accompanied by Sarah, seemed an ideal time and place to tie the knot. And where do you think they spent their honeymoon ...

Now home again, they are slowly but surely making Woodland Cottage more comfortable.

And what of Mushroom and her passport?

Sarah is hoping to visit Amsterdam shortly to see how things are progressing.

We wish you both health and happiness and success with the DIY.




Our April evening ride was thoroughly enjoyable and the weather was very kind to us. It became noticeably cooler as the sun went down, but a cup of tea in the Little Chef soon cheered us up for the run home. On 14th May, the sun shone on us again and although the turnout was poor, those who went had a great ride over Exmoor to Dulverton, then Tiverton and back home via the 'back roads'. Thanks to Darren for organising it. We are planning a breakfast run on the longest day, 21st June, starting at 7 o'clock and stopping for a proper breakfast somewhere on our 100 mile route. Any riders on holiday at that time will be more than welcome to join us - the countryside looks best in the early morning! Next normal evening ride will be on 11th June, followed by another on 9th July. Another date 20th July, Hill Climb at Gurston Down, time TBA.



Brian Wright

Solution in Article 29.




Jubilee Fountain, Mill Lane

The Fountain in Mill Lane, near its junction with the A 399, was erected to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. It is now a listed building and has been in need of repair and renovation.

The inscription was so weathered and worn as to be nearly unreadable. After receiving comment, the Parish Council has placed a new tablet over the old and made the restoration their project to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll.

On the mown bank behind the memorial, a new tree will be planted by Berrynarbor in Bloom.

A ceremony will be held on the site at 8.00 p.m. on Wednesday, 25th June. The Rector, Keith Wyer, will bless the newly restored fountain which will remind us all of our ongoing heritage.

Fouling of our Streets by Dogs

A couple of years ago the Parish Council placed a notice in the Newsletter requesting dog walkers to take a more responsible attitude to dog fouling and to remove their animals' excreta in a plastic bag carried for the purpose.

The Council was delighted at the positive response to their request and the consequent improvement in our streets and lanes. It was the more sad, therefore, to receive complaints of a recent increase in the incidence of dog fouling. Surprising, too, because one North Devon dog owner was fined £100 by the magistrate not very long ago.

We usually love to see our dogs enjoying the same lanes and streets that we do. Thinking, responsible and caring owners will help that pleasure to continue for all of us.

No Election Again!

Very sadly indeed, there were insufficient nominations to enable an election to take place on 1st May. We had nine nominations for nine seats and there is always for all of us the nagging doubt - do we have the support of the electorate, the people of the village?

At the next scheduled re-election in 2007, Berrynarbor will have completed sixteen years without a vote.

Recently, the government has created a new opportunity for Parish Councils. We qualify on every front bar one. We cannot apply to be officially recognised as a Quality Parish Council because that status demands contested elections. Perhaps next time.


The nine Councillors are: Graham Andrews, Len Coleman, Jim Constantine, Paul Crockett, Richard Gingell, Ann Hinchliffe, Mary Malin, Sue Sussex and Keith Walls.

The first duty of the Council at its Annual Meeting each year is to make the appointment of its own officers and those representatives to serve on outside bodies. The full list is as follows:

Graham AndrewsChairman
Combe Martin Tourism Association
N.D.D.C. Standards Committee
Paul CrockettVice Chairman
Len ColemanDeputy Footpath Officer
Home Defence Adviser and Emergency Officer
Richard GingellHighways Liaison Officer and Tree Warden
Ann HinchliffePolice Liaison Group
llfracombe &District Crime Prevention Group
Neighbourhood Watch
Northern Devon Rural Transport Forum
Sue SussexPrimary School Governor and Berrynarbor Community
Sure Start
Keith WallsFootpath Warden
Member of llfracombe Community Alliance




The Restaurant at The Lodge is now open and diners may choose from the varied a la carte menu to suit all tastes.

A range of starters all cost £3.00 and main courses start from a vegetarian Mushroom Stroganoff at £5.95 through to Beef Wellington or Duck Breast in Raspberry Sauce at £9.75. Freshly home-made desserts from £2.95, and to complete the meal, coffee or choice of teas served with rum truffles at £1.20. Special diets are also catered for.

The Restaurant is open from Wednesday to Saturday night and food orders should be made the morning before your reservation. Please ring or call at the Lodge for a menu.

A 2-course lunch at £6.95 is available on Sundays.

Enquiries to Phil and Lynne on 883246 or visit their website: www.lodge-country-house-hotel.co.uk.



Tom's postcard view of Bowden's, South Lee Farm set us reminiscing about Uncle Will Bowden. He was a tall, kindly gentleman with smiling, brilliant blue eyes. He farmed the Glebe and South Lee from 1899 to 1965, when he died aged 86 years.

Born at Rows Farm in 1878, he moved to South Lee with his new wife Blanche Brooks in 1889. Tragically she died the following year, aged 19 years and twelve days after giving birth to his only child, Blanche. His second wife, Florence Watts, would have been the lady who plied visitors with her cream teas. She also died at an early age. Will was in his seventies when he married his third wife, Evelyn.

What I find fascinating is that he was related to every Bowden and Richards [through mother Mary Richards] in the parish.

  • His father Joseph farmed Sloley.
  • At Hammonds was cousin Ben Richards [jun.]
  • At Moules was cousin Jack Richards and sons Ronald and Ivor.
  • At East Hagginton [Henton] was uncle Tom Richards and his son Bert.
  • At Cockhill was sister Alma and husband John Huxtable.
  • At Lydford was niece Ettie Bowden and husband Bert Watts.
  • At Higher Rows his brother James [Jimmy].
  • At Lower Rows, and later Ruggaton, his brother Samuel.
  • At Newberry his uncle William Richards.

The Blacksmith, Sam Harding, was married to his cousin Ellen Richards. All the Draper family were also related through his grandmother Mary Richards [nee Draper].

I think a D and A test of all the indigenous stock of Berrynarbor would come up with some very interesting results!!

A house with trees around it

Description automatically generated with low confidence

Bowden's South Lea Farm, Berrynarbor

Edward Bowden [1680] m. Thomasin Dennis, February 1703
John Bowden [1717] m Mary Norman, May 28th 1744
John Bowden [1745] m Elizabeth Hartnoll, October 10th 1779
John Bowden m Sarah Grimshare, March 28th 1812
Joseph Bowden [1836] m Mary Richards, April 2nd 1859
William Henry Bowden [1778] & William's Brother Samuel Bowden
Leonard Bowden
Michael Bowden
Bobby, Christopher, Richard
| | |
Samuel & Anna, Christopher & Jonathan, Thomas & Tyler

James Bowden and his wife Mary [nee Tucker] at Higher Rows


James Bowden with his son Lyster delivering milk and sweeping hay

William and his third wife, Evelyn, on their wedding day. Blanche and her husband, Sidney Dummett, are on the right.

Lorna B.


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


The Rectory,
Combe Martin

Dear Friends,

The other week I came across an account of Shakleton's Antarctic Expedition. It was very similar to the account on TV but for one very important detail. Having survived appalling conditions for two weeks in an open boat in an attempt to get help for the stranded expedition, Shakleton and two of his companions, Worsley and Crean, struck out across glaciers and ice-covered mountains of South Georgia in an attempt to reach the whaling station on the other side of the unmapped island. They roped themselves together and steered by compass. They found themselves in blind passes; and almost fell into a gigantic chasm, 200 feet deep and 200 feet broad. Finally they reached a ridge so steep they could sit on it and dangle their feet on either side of it.

Fog and darkness meant that they could not go back, and if they did not move they would freeze to death. Shakleton said, "It's a devil of a risk, but we've got to take it. We'll slide." Each grabbed the one in front and with Shakleton in the lead they set off. They shot down the slope at a mile a minute, until eventually they ended up in a snowdrift at the bottom.

The trio eventually reached the station and their companions on the other side of the island were rescued and so were the rest of the expedition. This is the detail omitted by the television programme. Shakleton wrote: "When I look back on those days, I have no doubt that Providence guided us ... I know that, during that long and racking march of thirty-six hours over the unnamed mountains and glaciers of South Georgia, it seemed to me often that we were four, and not three. I said nothing to my companions on the point; but afterwards, Worsley said to me, "Boss, I had a curious feeling on the march that there was another person with us." Crean confessed the same idea."

Pentecost celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit, which St. John describes as the Paraclete, the one alongside you, to be with you always. This is a real cause for celebration in our hearts and in our Church.

With all Good wishes,

Your Friend and Rector,

Keith Wyer



North Devon Classic Motorcycle Club

Please note that the date of the August International Meeting and European Championship is Saturday and Sunday, 16th and 17th August [not the 19th and 20th]. Further details in the August Newsletter.

North Devon Voluntary Action Forum Starts Work!

The Forum, which was set up by community and voluntary sector groups at The Conference at The Landmark in October 2001 is starting its work with the appointment of Penny Jackson as Development Co-ordinator. The Forum will be working to support voluntary and community groups by providing training in North Devon, and by offering advice and support for groups to develop their capacity. It will assist groups to become organised in order to strengthen the sector as a whole in North Devon. This will enable participation by voluntary groups in the work of the community alliances. Voluntary groups who want to find out how they can be involved in their local alliance can contact the Forum for information [01271] 321413.


Pensioners have saved thousands of pounds as a result of a free telephone call to a pioneering helpline for older people hosted by DCC. CAREdirect is a partnership that provides information and help to older people about a broad range of matters - financial benefits advice, home safety, health, care and support at home, and more.

CAREdirect's freephone telephone number is 0800 444 000. The service can be contacted between 8.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. on weekdays.




Sunday, 6th July at RMB Chivenor

The day revolves around a wide variety of exciting transport including lorries, a fire engine, buses, a tank and many more. Ladies get sponsored to drive these challenging vehicles and have a wonderful day out. Can you see yourselves behind the wheel of a double decker bus thundering down the runway at RMB Chivenor? If that's an image you enjoy, then why not get a few friends together and enter a team of 4 now. Places are limited so book your team early. Call the Hospice on [01271] 344248 for your registration form and more details.



Kenneth Graham 1858-1932 

From The Wind in the Willows

All along the backwater,
Through the rushes tall,
Ducks are a-dabbling,
Up tails all!

Ducks' tails, drakes' tails,
Yellow feet a-quiver,
Yellow bills all out of sight
Busy in the river!

Slushy green undergrowth
Where the roach swim -
Here we keep our larder,
Cool and full and dim.

Every one for what he likes!
We like to be
Heads down, tails up,
Dabbling free!

High in the blue above
Swifts whirl and call -
We are down a-dabbling
Up tails all!

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes



If a tender faithful friend,
Should with love approach this spot,
And o'er these flowers admiring bend,
Then say for me, forget me not.
All the joy you gave to me,
Give back to nature.

Always remembered - Paul




At the public meeting last August and in the face of possible closure, residents indicated their anxiety and desire to retain a post office/store within the village.

Sadly, the figures for business at the Post Office have shown a marked decline in the months October to December 2002, the effect of which has also reduced sales in the shop.

It is important, therefore, that if this service is to remain more use needs to be made of the facilities available, including the opening of compatible bank accounts, into which pensions may be paid. Details on how to achieve this may be obtained from Alan Rowlands.

The 'Group of Four' who offered their services to the village, continue working to retain a service [post office/shop] in the village.




I should firstly like to thank everyone I have met in the school, village and local area for the warm welcome I have received. I feel very privileged to be your new Headteacher.

Well ... the children, staff and parents at Berrynarbor are an impressive team! There is a wonderful atmosphere at the school created by children working hard, playing co-operatively and caring for one another. The staff are extremely committed to their work and provide excellent opportunities for all.

This term we have a host of educational, sporting and fundraising events to enjoy. We have already taken part in a Swimming Gala in the llfracombe pool. The Berrynarbor representatives were excellent ambassadors for us, encouraging each other and behaving beautifully.

We look forward to our Summer Fete on Tuesday, 15th July. This year it has an 'outdoor' theme. We shall be dressing up our wheelbarrows and designing gardens on a plate, all in aid of much needed playground developments. The PTA is also an impressive group, raising incredible sums for us each year. We hope you can join us for the fete - don't forget your wheelbarrow!

We have some very talented artists in Years 5 and 6. Here are a few still-life compositions.

Mrs. Karen Crutchfield - Headteacher

Harvey - Year 5

Letty - Year 6

Reve - Year 6

Daniel - Year 6


Artwork: Helen Weedon


In recent issues I have imagined being a bird looking for a tree in which to nest. In carrying out my search, I tried to keep it similar to the one we ourselves do when seeking a new home. Subsequently factors such as the location of my tree, its appearance and size, plus that all important initial "wow" factor, all had to be considered. Soon enough the right tree was found but like any house move, it was not to be without complication.

When considering my tree's location, I had decided it did not matter if the tree was off the beaten track. After all, having found it, I assumed I should not be bothered about going up close to the tree. Curiosity, however, got the better of me.

The trouble was, it was not just the once that I went to look at it. Not even twice, or just three times. Far from it. I began "visiting" my tree quite often. And I still do. In fact, I have got rather attached to it! Oh don't worry, I've tried not going but it's no good; whilst being away recently I even found myself regularly checking teletext to make sure it wasn't too windy down here! So I suppose I am stuck with her now - it, I mean.

The thing is, I have started to wonder if it is the tree I am actually attached to or that other already mentioned factor... it's location. For me, the tree is situated in a lovely spot. And when I saw it back in the winter for the first time I had no idea what beauty its location had to boast come the spring.

Currently, my tree stands amongst a sea of dazzling bluebells, all rippling within the hillside's wood, as far as the eye can see. Here and there, individual campion provide spots of red whilst clumps of white stitchwort complete the grounds patriotic display. Where wild flowers have chosen not to grow, occasional ferns, holly branches and other saplings offer greenery to the carpet bed. Finally, shades of brown cover the remaining earth, provided by the previous autumnal fall of leaves.

Evidence of recent storms can be seen where fresh branches lie, whilst lower down their decaying counterparts, who fell many seasons before, can still be made out. Close at hand proof of a more violent storm is revealed in a defeated old ash tree, evidently unable to win its battle against the storm's force and now lying at rest upon the woodland ground.

But life in the wood goes on. It's early May and few of the trees are still naked. Far from it, most are now wearing their spring wardrobe and boasting bright green leaves that have once again resurrected their trees from the cold dark days of winter. Even the fallen ash lives on, its horizontal trunk ensuring that some of its roots do a 90-degree turn into the ground.

Desperately they suck out some moisture from the soil, allowing the ash to tender its own small but invaluable offering of greenery in the wood. Late April showers stimulate the bluebells to shoot their perfumed aroma into the mid morning air. The stream nearby, softly cascading down rocks and slate, has been renewed too, the sound of its trickling water the perfect accompaniment to the "rusty saw" song of the great tit that perches on an overhanging branch.

The whole scene is completed with the appearance of the sun rising over the summit, dramatically shining beams of light through the wood and making each tree's infant leaves seem transparent.

My tree and the setting it is in seems, therefore, to have met all the criteria I laid down when I first set out to look for a tree for my imaginary bird -- with one vital exception I had crucially specified "in peaceful surroundings". Yet on the other side of the valley is a busy main road. So why was I prepared to compromise this? After all, the whole venture had started through me watching a property programme called "Location Location Location", these being the "three" factors that apparently sell a property.

I suppose this is true to some degree; but when surveying the wood in which my tree stands, I can easily disregard the noise of nearby traffic. As far as I am concerned, the wood could be next to the M25.

So whilst for my imaginary bird my tree was its home, perhaps for me it has become a room alongside many others, in a wood that acts as the house. Indeed, it was my dear father who once said, "location isn't everything, for once you have closed your curtains at night you could be anywhere. The building in which you live is just as important."

So whether it is a room in your house, an area in your garden or a spot close to where you live, perhaps the important thing is to have a special place to call your own. A place where, whether literally or in your mind, you can close your curtains to the outside world and be lost with your thoughts.

Illustrated by: Peter Rothwell

Steve McCarthy


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


People and their Pets

I'm sure most people have found much amusement from looking at the way we behave towards our pets and, of course, the way our pets behave towards us!

At the back of a house where I lived there was a yard. At that time your groceries were delivered in a wooden box. Now one of the boxes was standing on end in the yard and our cat, Tiddy Wee, was sitting in it. Jumbo, our old Devon sheepdog sauntered past, not even noticing the cat sitting there. Quick as a flash, Tiddy Wee popped out, clawed Jumbo in the bottom and nipped back in. Jumbo turned around but, of course, could see nothing to have caused the attack. Tiddy Wee's revenge for having been chased up the trees so many times.

Then there was the Labrador we called Puzzle - this name was given because it was a puzzle to know what to call her. She went everywhere with us and we always took her on holiday in the caravan. When staying at Cromer, we were down on the pier talking to the local show box office manager and told him we should like to see the show, but as we had a dog, this would not be possible. "Well, you can bring her if she behaves, but if she doesn't, you'll have to take her out." "Right," we told him, "We'll be along tonight. "

During the show there was 'A-hunting we will go' song and when they reached the 'Tan tivvy' bit, old Puzzle joined in, much to the amusement of the audience. Rather than being thrown out, she was applauded.

My mother, who would not be separated from her pomeranian, would even smuggle her, in a carrier bag, into the cinema. Whether the dog enjoyed the films, I don't know!

One day at a car park we met a man whose Labrador was in a cage in his car. On asking him why, he replied that it had eaten most of the interior of his previous car and he didn't want it to happen again!

How do animals get names? Well, when we lived in Berrynarbor we knew the Peacheys who lived at 'Prospect' in Birdswell Lane. Now they had a cat which decided to have its litter on a pair of plus fours laying in a cupboard and belonging to Bill Peachey. Answer? Call the kitten they gave us 'Plus'.

Then there was Ziggy, so named because my son Ray went into a pub to buy some cigarettes, saw a litter of springer spaniels, bought one and called it Ziggy after the Zigarettes.

By the way, our present dog Bessie was a naughty puppy, chewing most things including the paint off the radiator, skirting board, architrave; ripping up the vinyl and eating most of the washing machine control panel. She was an expensive young lady!

When I was in my teens it was customary to invite friends back for a coffee after going to a dance. On one occasion, Rex and I had gone back to our house, had our coffee and then Rex went home. The next day Tiddy Wee was nowhere to be seen. He had hopped through an open window in Rex's car and gone to sleep. The next day when Rex went to get his car out, old Tiddy Wee jumped out and ran into his back garden and then on to some waste land. Now Rex's house was some yards from a then electrified railway line - had Tiddy tried to find his own way home he would probably have met his end. I made a like several saucers of milk and he was enticed back to safety!

Lastly, there's the story of Danny who lived across the road. He had all sorts of animals, including a huge cart horse, a small horse, budgies, chickens, dogs and cats - you name it and he had it. Danny got fed up with his cats going after his pigeons, so he decided to build a loft to beat all others. He managed to get hold of an old telegraph pole, built a lovely loft which he attached to the top, and sank it firmly into the ground. He was very proud of this! So proud that he invited me over to have a look. My eyes slowly followed the pole to the top and you've guessed it. There crouching and proudly looking out was one of his cats!

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester


Saturday, 9th August - Friday, 1 5th August

With only just over two months to go, it's looking like this year's Carnival will be a tremendous success. We now have our contestants for the Carnival Queen, her two Attendants and Flower Girl. A voting form is in the June Shammickite and photos of the contestants are on display in shops throughout Combe Martin. So, please vote for your choice.

The programme of events and activities is now in the final planning stages and will be on sale at the Strawberry Fair on Sunday 15th June, giving the full list of events planned for your enjoyment.

Those wishing to enter a raft in the Raft Race should note the rules: minimum size 6' x 4', no screws, bolts or nails to be used in the construction. All rafts will be inspected and disqualification will occur if these rules have been broken.

If anyone would like to offer help, physical or financial, the Committee would be delighted to hear from you and have you on board.

Anyone either wishing to lend or borrow a trailer for the parade, or for any other enquiries, please contact the Secretary, Keith Burley, on 882029.

Sue Sussex


BBC RADIO DEVON 103.4, 104.3, 94.8, 95.8 and 96.0 fm

In the late spring, BBC Radio Devon will be launching a new project in partnership with DCC to reach the farthest corners of the County, bringing programmes and the Council Services to local communities. How? They will be on the road with a special broadcast and information technology vehicle. It will bring computer access to local communities and the chance to find out more about County Council Services.

Radio Devon will have reporters on board who will broadcast live from a new village or town each day. They will reflect life there and speak to those people who form the heart of the community.

Everyone is invited to pass on details of local events, which they will publicise through "The Guide", broadcast hourly across the day, letting listeners know about events in Devon. Reaching more than a quarter of a million people each week, this is an excellent way of getting good publicity.

This year, their twentieth in broadcasting, BBC Radio Devon has adopted the Chestnut Appeal as part of their birthday celebrations, in an attempt to give something back to listeners across Devon.

The Chestnut Appeal - for prostate cancer - has been set up to build a 'state of the art' unit at Derriford Hospital. Prostate cancer is on the increase in the UK and more frequently younger men are being diagnosed with the condition. It is the top 'male only' cancer and is known as the 'silent killer' as sometimes no symptoms are displayed. The unit will provide a sympathetic environment for diagnosis, education and treatment of men with diseases of the prostate, and will treat people from across Devon and Cornwall.

If you would like to support the Chestnut Appeal, by making a donation or organising an event - coffee morning, lunch, sponsored event - contact: The Chestnut Appeal, Department of Urological Research, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth PL6 8DH. Cheques, made payable to 'The Radio Devon Chestnut Appeal' can be forwarded to Barclays Bank plc, 50 Cornwall Street, Plymouth PL11LU.


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


The Globe:

  • New menu from May Bank Holiday, plus Specials to include home-made meals and desserts, often using local produce.
  • From 1st June, open from 6.00 p.m. daily.
  • From 19th July, Saturday and Sunday open all day, with cream teas served 2.30 to 5.30 p.m. Pub food menu will be served 12-2.30 & 6-9.30 p.m.

Old Sawmill Inn:

  • Carvery every Sunday Lunchtime plus from Wednesday 18th June, we will do a Carvery every Wednesday night.
  • From 19th July, open all day, everyday. Food served 12 noon to 9.30 p.m. From 19th July we will open for Breakfasts [9-10.30 a.m.] every Saturday and Monday morning.
  • Saturday, 21st June Table top Sale and Coffee Morning at the Sawmill. £3.00 per table. 50p entry. Proceeds to Sunday School Christmas Party. Set up 8.00 a.m., Open for buyers 9.00 a.m. To book a table please 'phone 882259.






Charles Causley

I saw a jolly hunter
With a jolly gun
Walking in the country
in the jolly sun.

In the jolly meadow
Sat a jolly hare.
Saw the jolly hunter.
Took jolly care.

Hunter jolly eager-
Sight of jolly prey.
Forgot gun pointing
Wrong jolly way.

Jolly hunter jolly head
Over heels gone.
Jolly old safety catch
Not jolly on.

Bang went the jolly gun.
Hunter jolly dead.
Jolly hare got clean away.
Jolly good, I said.

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes



The chance of a day in Venice during the Carnival Festival was too great an opportunity for Pam, Alex, Judith and me to miss! A 4.30 a.m. start to catch the flight from Exeter was deemed worth it. The flight across the snowcapped Alps to land at Marco Polo Airport on a crisp February morning proved the point.

The forty minute journey by water-bus from the airport to the Grand Canal was very interesting, and certainly different from the ride on the Heathrow express! We passed many of the 18 islands that make up the unique area of Venice, including Murano, famous for Venetian Glass. We could have returned there to see a glass factory as part of the trip, but there is only so much you can do in one day! There is now a bridge linking the mainland to one of the islands to enable the industry to thrive, but thankfully the rest of the area is car free!

As we stepped ashore at the Grand Canal, we were met by a Guide who took us to a quiet area where he explained the origin of the customs of the Carnival we were about to see. Fortunately his English was excellent, and so was his sense of humour, so we could both understand and enjoy his narrative. One of the first things we saw was a shop filled with nothing but carnival masks. They were of papier mache - white, red, silver, gold, male or female but all remarkably expressionless. Designed to be carried like lorgnettes, they completely concealed the face. It would appear that in the close community of Venice of the 16th Century, masked balls allowed clandestine couples to be 'seen' together without fear of recognition. Nowadays this is regarded as a very good tourist attraction - which it is. We saw a beautifully clad scarlet-cloaked lady accosted by a robed gentleman who tried to present her with a long stemmed red rose. She shrugged him off and walked away with her head in the air! To watch this brilliant tableaux of couples superbly dressed, posing or parading in the most outlandish masks and costumes, certainly brightened up February!

Our guide then took us into a 'glass factory'. In fact it was a very elaborate and expensive shop of the most remarkable glass objects, bowls, vases, flowers, animals and set pieces, priced in hundreds of Euros.

However, in one room there were benches and a small furnace. There a man gave an impressive demonstration of glass blowing, making a small jug with a handle in next to no time. [If you are interested, you can see it on a much bigger scale in Torrington!] We were then ushered out through the shop, but kept our credit cards carefully in our pockets.

After a typical Italian lunch in a recommended back street cafe, we spent the rest of the day wandering the streets around the 177 canals that occupy the 13 square miles of Venice - the Rialto Bridge, with it's shops actually on the bridge, a great attraction.

We spent a great deal of time in St. Mark's Square, marvelling at the mosaics and marble that make up that incredible Cathedral. There were also many small pieces of street theatre, including face painting, and at one end was a stage where those who had been parading the streets got together for a final bow. The spectacle was great.

We saw the Doge's palace from where Venice was ruled in the 14th to 16th century and before, although there was not time to visit it. We saw the Bridge of Sighs, where prisoners sentenced, usually for debt, would pass from the Law Courts, over the Canal, to the prison beyond, and sigh at their last sight of freedom. There they would have to stay until, one way or another, the debt was discharged. We watched the gondolas negotiating the narrow canals, with the water lapping the buildings on either side.

Finally, exhausted after a long day, we collapsed onto seats in a waterside cafe to fortify ourselves with cups of thick, dark, hot chocolate, generously laced with brandy!

Full of the memory of these sights and sounds, we returned by water-bus to the airport and the journey home. A day which will remain in our memories for a long time.

Yvonne Davey


Ron Toms

I was born Ronald Francis Toms at Middle Lee Farm on 15th July 1916. Middle Lee was the home or my grandparents Frank and Ellen Toms - which was then a working farm of about 80 acres.

1. Frank and Ellen Toms - my grandparents - at Middle Lee.

At that time, Frank and Ellen [nee Petherick] served proper Devon Cream Teas - when dry on the lawn in front of the farmhouse and when wet in the barn bordering on the road now converted to be part of the farmhouse. Horse drawn coaches with visitors would come over from llfracombe for afternoon teas. They would sometimes come down Smythen Hill and go back over Hagginton Hill; at other times they would reverse the journey. When going downhill, the coaches would be held back with wheel drags. Nervous passengers often opted to walk down the hills. When going back up hill, some passengers asked to walked again, and at times they would all be asked to walk. Mrs. Richards [Lorna Bowden's great-grandmother and Lorna Price's grandmother] would bring lavender to sell to the visitors.

After Frank and Ellen died, Middle Lee was farmed by Dan and Lizzie Toms and I lived with them, my cousins Reg and Vi, and my mother until she married Jack Geen.

I attended Berrynarbor School between the ages of 4 and 14 years, and when I was old enough, delivered milk around the village before starting school. School began at 9 o'clock when the bell in the tower would be rung, often by one of the pupils. [The tower remains, but there is no bell today.] Those pupils delivering milk were allowed an extra half-hour and we were expected to attend by 9.30 a.m. I would have two large cans of milk - 1 skimmed and 1 fresh milk - and would ladle it out with a pint jug into the customers' jugs. At week-ends there would also be Devonshire cream to deliver.

Whilst I was at Middle Lee, PC Abrahams was the village Policeman. He lived at No. 16 Henton Hill and when on duty he could always be found somewhere around the village. I remember that when the other lads and I were up to no good, we always disappeared fast when PC Abrahams appeared!

In those days, if you were ill and needed a doctor, you had to ride to Combe Martin to fetch one, and then together with him ride back to the village to the patient. The doctors Manning - both husband and wife were doctors - lived near Church Corner. He rode a black horse, and she a white [grey] one.

When I was about 10 or 11, I moved with my mother, Hilda Toms, and my step-father Jack Geen to 23 Henton Hill - this is what Haggington Hill was called at that time. Jack Geen's real name was George Henry Geen, but when working for a farmer who was also called George, the farmer changed his name to Jack! But the Revd. Churchill always called him John!

Jack Geen was a hard taskmaster! When I returned from school and in the school holidays and at week-end, I would help him in the garden and also cut logs in the shed in the garden for using in the house. We would also, helped by another man, work on the roads all round the village, clearing the sides and putting the rubbish into piles, which would be collected and taken away, usually in a horsedrawn wooden farm butt, often by Len Dummett who was then working for Claude Richards at Hammonds Farm.

On wet days we would wrap up against the weather and with shovels would clear the drains. We also dug stones at the Sawmills Quarry, which was on the left of the main road, just above the entrance to what is now Napps. The stones were again loaded on a butt and taken to depots around the village. One stone depot was at Mill Park, now used as a passing place on the road [it was not a layby]. There was also a depot up Smythen Hill. Once in the depots, the stones would be cracked smaller into chippings.

2. Scythe cutting the field west of Barton Lane [below Red Tiles and Byways], with Stanley Harding [Horseman],
sheepdog, Ben, and horses Duchess [right] and Tidy [left].
(The little boy is John Willis, Bob Richards' cousin, who came especially to have his photo taken!)

My father and I would also help make up the roads. Water, in a horse drawn water cart, would be mixed with the stones and earth and then rolled with a steam roller.

When I was 16, I went to work for Fred Richards and his wife Emma at Home Barton Farm. New jobs nearly always commenced on Lady Day, 25th March, and on that day I began my duties at the farm, taking with me my tin box of clothes.

I 'lived in' at the Farm, as a member of the family, for some 10 or 11 years, almost until the time I was married. Fred and Emma had 7 children, so with me, 10 of us would sit down to every meal. Every day we had three meals and would all sit down together. There would always be meat, large joints which Fred would carve, and dishes of vegetables to which we helped ourselves. Emma used to bake her own bread and make her own butter. The butter was kept cool just inside the well in the garden, where a cupboard, with a stone slab and a door had been placed on a shelf just below the top of the shaft. The cream was also kept cool here, but due to demand never stayed long! Emma did not sell her butter.

My first job was to hand milk the cows twice a day and then deliver milk around the village and Combe Martin, together with some of Fred's children. Then the yard would need to be cleaned and the cows fed. There was no machinery and the barns were only sheds. There were no tractors and the work was done with forks and spades. There was always hoeing to be done in the fields, often helped by casual labourers and also members of the family. The farm routine had to be done day-in and day-out, year-in and year-out.

The sheep and cattle fodder was grown on the farm, as was the feed for all the animals including pigs and poultry. At special times, like harvest and potato lifting, helpers would come from other farms and in turn those working at Home Barton would go and help out on their farms. When the coal vessel, the Snowflake, came into Combe Martin, we would also go down to help unload the coal and there would be as many as 5 or 6 horses and butts from other farms. The coal would be taken by horse and cart from the boat - the horses did not like working on the beach, and were startled when the first batch was unloaded on to the cart - to the Cross Street yard of Mr. and Mrs. William Laramy, where it would be weighed into hundredweight bags and then delivered by horse and cart to Combe Martin, Berrynarbor, Berry Down, East Down and Arlington.

3. With Michael Richards in the snow.

When I started working and was 'living in', I earned 18 shillings a week. Horseman was a most important position, and this was held by Stanley Harding when I began working, but by the time I finished working at Home Barton, I had risen to the dizzy heights of Horseman myselfl I remember the horses with affection - Tidy, Duchess, Prince and Darling amongst others. Whilst I was at school, Dunchideock House [as it is now] was, before it was Claude Richards' dairy, Samuel Harding's wheelwright premises, and his blacksmith forge was on the opposite corner below Little Gables. Following Samuel Harding was Harry Camp, who moved the smithy down the hill to what is now Forge Cottage. However, by the time I was working at Home Barton, both premises had closed and the horses had to be taken to Combe Martin to be shod.

Whilst 'living in' at the Farm, no work was ever done on Sundays except the milking. Sheep and cattle feed would be put out in adjoining fields on the Saturday and on Sunday the animals would be allowed into the next field! The family, and l, would attend the Combe Martin Methodist Church twice on Sundays, where I still go to this day.

During the wintertime, about 30 young men and lads, including myself, would meet once a week for Bible Study Group with the Revd. Churchill in the Parish Room at Turn Round, opposite the Rectory entrance. [The Parish Room now forms a classroom for the Primary School.] We would meet from about 7 o'clock to 8.30 or 9 o'clock and each of us had our own Bible and in turn would read a verse. The others often made excuses not to read, and so I would read for them. We were all given a church leaflet entitled 'Ashore and Afloat'.

Every year, the Bible Study Group was treated to a Christmas Supper, a good meal with Christmas pudding for afters! This would be brought over to the Parish Room in a wheelbarrow and one or two of the domestics from the Rectory would wait on us.

Before attending the Bible Study Group, I had been a member of the Sunday School and Church Choir. Sunday School in those days was held at the Primary School and in the summer we would be invited to the Rectory for a picnic. Each child would take a mug and sandwiches and cakes would be brought out to us. At that time the Rectory garden was bigger, extending to the curved wall opposite Rock Bottom, and was tended by two gardeners, one of whom was Dick Richards, Lorna Price's father, and the other possibly Charlie Huxtable. Ernest 'Ern' Richards was the coachman, driving the horse carriage and later the motor. He was the grandfather of John Huxtable and Betty Brooks.

If children, especially the boys, misbehaved in school, the Revd. Churchill had to be brought over to rebuke them, but he was not a firm disciplinarian and often just said, 'Boys will be boys'!

Life at that time was not all work and church, there were the dances at the Manor Hall! These would finish about midnight and then often we lads had to walk the young girls back home to Combe Martin. We would often meet up again before returning to Berrynarbor, but we would all be at work early the next morning!

Following my marriage to Gladys, I continued to work on the farm when we were living at 16 Henton Hill before moving to Birdswell Lane. Emma Richards was always extremely generous to us, giving us meat, bacon, cream and other produce to take home at week-ends.

Sadly she died whilst I was working for Fred, which I did for 30 years. Following Fred's retirement when he moved to Sherrards in Barton Lane, Home Barton Farm was worked by his son Bob and his wife Betty. I carried on with the same jobs and worked for Bob for another 23 years. I was always very happy working for both families who were extremely generous to me and my family. I retired when I was 70, in 1986, but continued to help out as and when extra hands were needed. I have always received a Christmas present and continue to do so to this day.

Ron Toms

Ron says that hard work on the farm never did him harm! Certainly, as he approaches 87, he is still fit and active - long may that remain so. His motto: Wear Out, not Rust Out!

Thank you, Ron for sharing your memories with us, for all that you do around our village, but most of all for being you!


Artwork: Harry Weedon



Firstly thanks to everyone who has helped with various projects in the village - too many to mention, we might miss someone! Secondly, we have a number of events planned and would be delighted of any offers of help and support - in particular:

Great Berry Litter Pick-up - 'Take 4'

We have had three successful pick-ups to date. 'Take 4' is arranged for 6th July. Meet at Middle Lee Farm, 3.00 p.m., spend an hour around the village and be rewarded with scrumptious tea and cakes.

Middle Lee Fam BBQ - 3.00 p.m. onwards on 20th July [if very wet it will be held the following Sunday, 27th] Village barbecue open to everyone. Bring food for barbecue and own drinks. Bread and salads are provided free of charge. However, there will be a raffle and bring and buy stall, which we hope you will support to raise funds.

Village Garden Trail

Two days have been arranged:

  • Sunday 13th July - Sterridge Valley Gardens Open. Refreshments at Chicane.
  • Sunday 3rd August - Village Gardens Open. Refreshments at the Manor Hall.

In total 19/20 gardens will be open. Judie has kindly offered to do the refreshments at her home. Programme/Map for both days will be on sale early July from the Post Office and additionally at the Manor Hall on the days the gardens are open. Entry to the gardens is by programme only at a cost of £3.50 which includes refreshments.

Judging for Britain in Bloom has not yet been confirmed but will be in the period: Regional 20th - 31st July, National 4th - 17th August.

At the time of going to press, Best Kept Village will have been preliminarily judged [May]. If we succeed, the final judging takes place in July.

It has been an extremely busy time and the effort of a great many people has resulted in numerous projects being completed. Thanks to all for help and donations.

Ann Davies



Serendipity and Pastures New

Apart from the favourite 'honey pots' of Exmoor and the beauty spots around the coast, North Devon is full of small, less frequented places which have their own distinctive characters and special atmospheres.

They may be open and airy, like Codden Hill with its larks and buntings and spectacular views, or enclosed and hidden away like Chapel Wood with its bluebell slopes and ancient sites.

There will always be new woodlands and stretches of riverbank to discover and explore and the chance of unexpected encounters with birds, animals or insects is ever present. Earlier this year we were returning to Croyde from a walk to Baggy Point when at a road junction we noticed something large and white up in a tree - probably a plastic carrier bag caught up in the branches or some paper fluttering in the breeze. But no, this was flapping its wings and pulling leaves and lichen from the tree with its bulky grey bill. A snowy cockatoo was certainly a surprising sight in such a location, but the handsome antipodean seemed quite relaxed.

Because in Berrynarbor we have a range of different habitats on our doorstep, a serendipity moment is always a possibility. This spring a dipper has frequently been seen in the River Sterridge, bobbing up and down on lumps of stone and tearing off pieces of moss. It is normally a bird of fast flowing, upland waterways.

There is nothing unusual about seeing badgers in Berrynarbor gardens, especially where these are near woods, but several times this month I have found that Brock has not waited for darkness to fall before putting in an appearance. At quarter to eight one evening I was in the garden and heard a rustling in the shrubs behind me. I looked around to see two badgers trotting past, crossing the lawn and disappearing among the raspberry canes. Sometimes a badger is to be seen on his hind legs with his paws resting on the bird table, steadily rotating around the table until everything has been eaten.

I picked up a withered leaf from outside the kitchen window. There was at once a tickling sensation on the palm of my hand. Looking down I found that the 'leaf' was an eyed hawkmoth and as it had been disturbed, the mottled brown wings had opened wide to reveal two beautiful 'eyes' designed to frighten off predators. The shading of light and dark blue was very realistic and to add to the illusion of a hidden face peering up at me, the shading around the eyes was of a delicate flesh pink. Guiltily I returned it to its resting place and there it stayed all day and evening but the deep blue eyes remained hidden.

This week we sampled a new place to walk, strongly recommended to us by some residents of Fremington we had got talking to along the estuary. Grigg's Field is a pleasant Meadow bordered by woodland on two sides. There has recently been a lot of new planting there and the field is treasured by the local people. While visitors storm up and down the Tarka Trail on their bikes, the inhabitants of Fremington retreat to Grigg's Field to stroll or sit in the sun while their children play.

From there we walked through Brake Plantation to Knightacott Cross. A shady stream runs below the broad track through the woods. There was a rich variety of woodland flowers; sanicle, wood avens and bugle with purple columbine and patches of yellow pimpernel. Especially prolific along the track's edge were the graceful pendulous sedge and yellow green wood spurge.

We could hear black caps, wrens and a song thrush but these were mostly unseen in the thickening leaf cover. We returned via a steeper, rougher path where there were colonies of early purple orchids and came across tadpoles swimming in a deep rut which had filled with water.

On reaching Grigg's field we paused to enjoy the view of Ashford and Heanton Punchardon across the Taw. Mingled sounds came wafting - laughter, a dog's bark, distant traffic and then, faint but welcome nevertheless, 'cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo'.

One dictionary says that the Land of Serendip; where happy and unexpected discoveries were made by accident, was in Persia, another dictionary gave Ceylon. But wherever the original Serendip of the folk tale was set, North Devon is still, truly a land of serendipity.

Illustrated by: Peter Rothwell

Sue H



2ndCollege and Primary School: Return after Half Term
3rdW.I. Meeting 2.30 p.m., Manor Hall - Graham Andrews, Local Government
4thMobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
Trans-send, The Lantern, llfracombe 7.15 p.m., "Renewable Energy on Exmoor"
8thWhitsunday St. Peter's Church: Sung Eucharist, 11.00 a.m.
10thParish Council Meeting, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
11thBikers of Berrynarbor Evening Ride, The Globe 6.00 p.m.
18thMobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
21stBikers of Berrynarbor - Longest Day Breakfast Run, Meet 7.00 a.m.
22ndSt. Peter's Church: Christians Together Evening Service, 6.30 p.m.
25thSt. Peter's Church: Gift Day.
Friendship Lunch, Globe, 12.30 p.m.
Blessing of Fountain, 8.00 p.m.
28th & 29th Combe Martin Open Gardens, 2.00 - 6.00 p.m.
1stW.I. Meeting: Social Afternoon
2ndMobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
Trans-send, The Lantern, llfracombe, "Transport Fuels from UK Cereals", 7.15 p.m.
6thGreat Berry Litter Pick-up - Take 4, Middle Lee Farm, 3.00 p.m.
8thParish Council Meeting, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
9thBikers of Berrynarbor, Evening Ride, Globe at 6.00 p.m.
13thVillage Garden Trail - Sterridge Valley Gardens open 2.00 - 5.00 p.m.
15thPrimary School Summer Fete, Manor Hall, 6.30 p.m.
16thMobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
18thCollege and Primary School: End of Summer Term
20thBikers of Berrynarbor - Hill Climb at Gurston Down, time TBA
Middle Lee Farm BBQ, 3.00 p.m. onwards
23rdFriendship Lunch, The Globe, 12.30 p.m.
29thBerry Revels, Manor Hall, 6.30 p.m., dancing to The Parcel of Rogues
30thMobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
3rdVillage Garden Trail - Village Gardens Open, 2.00 - 5.00 p.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




The AGM and Meeting on the 21st May was the last in the 2002-3 season. Following the AGM [a report of which will be in the August Newsletter], several members introduced wines of their choice. Considered the most exceptional for the evening was the McLaren Vale, Kangarilla Road 2001 Zinfandel from Australia.

It was hoped to hold a BBQ at Tower Cottage in late June or early July weather permitting - and Chairman Alex hoped to organise another day visit to Camel Valley Wines in September, and Tony Summers a day trip to France probably in late September.

Tom Bartlett - Publicity.


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


Cottage Roses and Cottage, Henton Hill

The picture on the front cover, painted by the watercolour artist, H. Hughes Richardson in 1922 for the art postcard publishers J. Salmon of Sevenoaks, is entitled 'Cottage, Henton Hill, Berrynarbor, Nr. Ilfracombe.2552'. It shows the house, well up Hagginton Hill, where Elizabeth Richards lived and her white cat is shown on the fourth step up.

The back cover is entitled 'Cottage and Roses, Berrynarbor, Nr. llfracombe.2551 and H. Hughes Richardson has painted this cottage probably making use of Garratts postcard views No. 37 and 38, which I have in my collection. The former shows two girls and the latter an old man with white bushy beard and workman's clothes. The postcard, I believe, depicts another cottage near the bottom of Hagginton Hill with a lean-to at its southern end. At one stage, however, I genuinely thought it was of Whitecote, 33 Pitt Hill!

H. Hughes Richardson produced four watercolour views of Berrynarbor numbered 2551-2554, which were sold in the 1920's in special display packs, costing 6d for the full set. [See Newsletter No. 10, February 1991]. He does not appear to have had any further watercolours published by J. Salmon and I wonder if anyone can give me any information on this artist?

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, May 2003


Artwork by: H. Hughes Richardson