Bideford Buzz

Welcome to the  on-line edition of the Community Newsletter for Bideford   and adjoining towns, villages, and rural area.

‘Bideford Buzz’ is produced and distributed by a team of volunteers, with financial and practical assistance from  Bideford Bridge Trust, Devon Community Foundation, Bideford Town Council, Torridge Volunteer Resource Centre, Devon Library Services, and many others.   If you are interested in helping produce, develop, or distribute this newsletter we’ll be glad to hear from you.

Please note that for commercial notices there is a charge from £15 per month – cheques payable to ‘Bideford Buzz’.

You can submit your article on disc or by e-mail.    However, ‘snail mail’ is equally acceptable. Material for publication should reach us by the 15th of the month preceding the month of publication.

Editor – Rose Arno (Bideford Buzz),    c/o Torridge Volunteer Resource Centre (‘TVS’),  14, Bridgeland Street, Bideford, EX39 2QE.  (TVS opening hours Mon.-Thurs. 9.30am to 3.oopm [12.30pm on Thurs.]).      Telephone 07929-976120, or E-mail:

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Holsworthy livestock market official opening, 19th October.

HRH Princess Anne will officially open the Holsworthy Livestock Market at a special ceremony on the market site, scheduled for the 19th October. From its inception in 2012 and at a cost of £6 million the market is one of the largest projects ever undertaken by Torridge District Council. The huge project was delivered on-time and within budget in collaboration with many partner organisations and was built by local contractors Morgan Sindall.

Thousands of animals and livestock have already passed through the market since the first auctions in 2014 and is now operated and managed by local auctioneers and Kivells. This is a testament to its popularity amongst farmers and traders, not only across the immediate district, but from further afield as well. The event  will mark a formal recognition of its completion and inauguration. Her Royal Highness will be escorted on a tour of the market and will be introduced to many of the local people and dignitaries who have been involved in making the facility such a success.


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Woolsery School Christmas Fair ; 29th November.


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Community Interest Company meeting, 12th October.


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National Adoption Week.

Too Old to Adopt at 4?

As National Adoption Week kicks off this month (19th -25th October), ‘Families for Children’ are appealing to those who have ever thought about adoption in North Devon not to hold back, and possibly consider opening their hearts to an older child, sibling group or those with extra needs, who are waiting and will wait the longest.

They have spent a lot of time dispelling the usual myths that surround adoption. However they are facing a new challenge, as potential adopters are failing to come forward because it has been widely reported that there are fewer young children and babies available to adopt.

Who are these Children?

Sibling groups that need to stay together, and older children who are on their “last chance” to have a new permanent family…alongside children who have a label of special needs with sometimes a very high level of medical needs feature as ‘hard to place’.

That doesn’t mean that there are not people out there who would have the skills or the will to take them home, claim them as their own and give them a family they deserve.

It is these children that we search long and hard to find new parents for. The best parents are those that are able to accept everything the children bring and love them anyway, take advice on parenting them differently and therapeutically, and be flexible about the change that inevitably occurs!

They are particularly keen to hear from people who live in and around North Devon and would consider adopting the children who wait the longest. They are urging people to take a look at how they can prepare and support you for life if you choose to adopt.

They are holding an open information day on Tuesday 20th October from 10am to 4pm, at their offices in Filleigh. (See website for more details).

Please call today on 01271 612004.


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Short film – diving off North Devon.

If you ever thought that scuba diving in North Devon would be dull then think again. The waters off the coast of Ilfracombe are littered with wrecks and populated by fascinating underwater life. A new short film – Every Dive is an Adventure – introduces members of Ilfracombe and North Devon Sub Aqua Club (ILFSAC) who dive alongside volunteers from Seasearch, surveying marine life as they explore this fascinating underwater landscape.

Film producer Jo Stewart-Smith talks about the inspiration behind this latest addition to the Boat Stories series “I had two people equally passionate about their favourite subject and was torn between whether to focus on exploring undiscovered wrecks or recording marine life in our short film. Luckily, because wrecks which lie on the sea floor act like rocky reefs and become magnets for marine life we are able to reveal a little bit of the excitement of both.”

Jo says that the title for this film is a direct quote from ILFSAC Chairman Shaun Galliver who says in the film “Diving off the coast of North Devon is a challenge and we never know what we are going to find – whether we’re looking for a new wreck or new marine life – every dive is an adventure.”

Galliver, a self-confessed ‘wreck head’ told Jo about the many wrecks off the North Devon Coast “Around 1910 Cardiff was one of the world’s busiest ports and in one year 13 million tonnes of coal or 300 ships a day travelled past Ilfracombe. Many of those either hit rocks or hit each other so we still have a lot of undiscovered wrecks here, we found four last year and even last week we dived two new ones.”

He commented that to dive a new wreck, one that no one has touched or seen for 150 years, is amazing and the club can offer that opportunity to its members. ILFSAC has been exploring new wrecks since it was founded in 1960 so its club house is a bit like an Aladdin’s cave of treasures from the deep. One of these holds pride of place at the bar; a ship’s bell which came from the steamship The George Lamb which came a cropper on the rocks in the late 1800s.

Jo was entranced by the brilliant colours in ILFSAC diver, Maggs Ashton’s photographs. Maggs is passionate about photographing this colourful underwater world ‘people always say you must have photographed that in the Red Sea, I have trouble convincing people that they are found here in North Devon.”

In the film Sally Sharrock tells us about Seasearch, a project which encourages divers to map out the sea bed and survey marine life “We work on the assumption that if we don’t know what’s there we can’t protect it and the only people who see what is down under water are the divers. We train them in basic marine biology so that they know what they are looking for.”

Talking about the variety and colourful nature of the marine life Sally says “It’s like an old fashioned sweet shop where you have all the jars of different colours on the walls.” On this dive she discovers a curious looking Tompot blenny and exclaims “they’re always good fun, ’cause they’ve got a big smiley face!”

Every Dive is an Adventure’ will be shown on the big screen along with the 9 other Boat Stories Films at a free event on Friday 16 October 2015 at Bideford Cinema, Kingsley School, Bideford – details at

Unsurprisingly, seats are selling fast so if you can’t get to the screening you can watch the films online at or look out for the DVDs which will be on sale in selected museums and information centres soon.

You are welcome to share this film via our Youtube Channel

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Showtime for Carol – 10th October.

On Saturday 10th October at 2pm some of Westward Ho! Youth Theatre’s (WHYT) cast are teaming up with the some members of The Follies to put on a one off fun-filled family show. It’s to raise money for much needed lighting and sound equipment at Kingsley Hall, Westward Ho!, where the performance will be held and where both groups rehearse. The show is in memoriam for one of the volunteers, Carol Gould, who sadly passed away in May. Tickets are priced at £4.00 each.

Carol’s history with the Follies began in the 1980s with helping out with the lighting and on occasions the sound effects. This extended into helping out with the costumes.

Our children decided that they wanted to be members of Westward Ho! Youth Theatre so we thought we’d help out a bit – that ‘bit’ turned into quite a lot!” explained Sonia Carol’s wife. “WHYT were in need of a wardrobe mistress. As Caz was a dab hand with a sewing machine and I was ok at cutting, pinning and making patterns we became “the wardrobe” team.”

Once Carol’s costumes were made she still didn’t take a back seat. She would be found at the back of the hall, operating the lighting system and videoing the performances. Ever the multi-tasker! Carol was immensely proud and thrilled to be part of both groups and looked forward to the rehearsals and shows. She has been an integral part of the Kingsley Hall and has been involved with fund raising for the hall over the years. Before she passed away, both groups were planning to raise funds to update the lighting system that Carol was so desperate for, so it made sense to have a show in her memory to raise the funds so desperately needed.

WHYT is a youth theatre group based in Westward Ho!, Devon, that introduces children between the ages of eight and 18 to the wonderful world of theatre. Its aim is to give youngsters from all backgrounds, and of all abilities, the opportunity to develop their skills in the many aspects of musical theatre.


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Bideford Film Society – October.

Saturday 10 October at 7.30pm at Kingsley School: Dartmoor Killing (15), 94 mins. (NB The Friday evening performance will be followed by a Question & Answer session with the film’s producer Peter Nicholson).

Friday 16 October at 7.30pm at Kingsley School: Boat Stories Premiere. A free evening’s entertainment with guest speakers and bar.

Saturday 17 at 7.30pm and Sunday 18 October at 6.00pm at Kingsley School: The Who: In Concert Live from Hyde Park (15), 119 mins.

Friday 23 at 7.30pm and Saturday 24 October at 4.45pm at Kingsley School: Maze Runner (12A), 132 mins.

Saturday 24 at 7.30pm and Sunday 25 October at 6.00pm at Kinsgley School: Everest (12A), 121 mins.

Friday 30 and Saturday 31 October at 7.30pm at Bideford College: A Walk in the Woods (15), 104 mins.


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October’s youth page.

Fresh Prints of Bideford.

Last month the Burton Art Gallery had its display of prints from the Royal Society of Print Makers. These ranged from traditional lino prints and etchings to more convoluted methods of picture creation – such as dunking it in acid and letting your carefully placed metal baubles be corroded away into the copper plate. A far cry from the comfortable landscape of potato prints. How do we even know this method exists? It wasn’t a hurried flick through the encyclopaedia to obtain the most daring example of arts and crafts, but through a chat with exhibited artist Ruth Uglow. Arriving on the 22nd of August to meet any visitors and answer any questions on the subject, she gave guided tours to a steady stream of people and was kind enough to answer a few of our questions in between.

The above method is called Intaglio and understandably it’s rather specialised- Ruth said the ferric chloride was a lot better than its equivalents, as it doesn’t have their noxious fumes or skin permeating abilities, though it is still highly corrosive. Here at Buzz, we feel anxious about breathing in Tippex, so anyone willing to brave dangerous chemicals of any sort for such breathtaking art work is highly respected. And it is amazing. That such minute levels of shading and soft lines can be achieved this way is one thing, but when you think that the first image itself is just one step in a rather intense Riverdance, the fact these pictures exist at all is a miracle. Unlike most other versions, the grooves you cut are where the ink sits and these lines are, in turn, what’s transferred to the damp paper in the press. In other forms like wood block printing, what’s left raised is introduced to the final picture and the artist is constantly working in negative, chiselling out the areas which are to be blank. This image has to be built up and up with different hues, often from light to dark, with the first cuts preserving the primed colour of the paper, and as the block has to be placed on the paper at precisely the same angle each time to achieve this layered result, it is exacting, fiddly work. Say Riverdance with the chilling notion that Michael Flatly is waiting in the wings with a Taser if your footwork slips. Each artist in the exhibition does this for weeks on end to create their visions- and even sets 100 or so strong have to be created in this painstaking fashion, meaning those belonging to a larger family are just as special as those from tiny little broods. ( Because of human error, no two prints can be identical either- so they’re each originals in their own way!)

As well as imparting some of her vast know how, Ruth gave us some insight into how her own inking journey began. “After finishing my A-Levels the natural progression was to go to my local art college to do a one year Art Foundation.” She explained.” Growing up in Cornwall I was fortunate to go to Falmouth School of Art. It gave me a wonderful introduction to many areas of art, from painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, digital art, textiles, etc. During this time I discovered I really enjoyed printmaking.  I then applied to go to Winchester School of Art to study BA(Hons) Fine Art Printmaking, as it had such a good reputation. The course gave me three years to learn about all aspects of printmaking and explore my own subject matter, as well as art history and professional development. My tutors encouraged me to apply to the Royal College of Art to study MA Fine Art Printmaking. I was fortunate to be offered a place and it was the most fantastic experience”. Since leaving college she has done several art residencies, now makes her living from prints and drawings, and, along with the rest of the Royal Print Making Society, is a strong advocate that other students can follow their dreams and make art their career too. If we have learnt anything from this meeting, aside from just what wonders you can work with some chisels and a lump of wood, it’s that a life in art is open to anyone with a love and a talent for it. There may be hundreds of paths to success, but there are still people willing to help read you the signposts.

Millie Sutherland O’Gara.


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One hundred years ago: October 1915.

The Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore Railway Co. advised that the Sunday train service would be discontinued from October 10th 1915 until May 7th 1916. It was also announced that from November 1915 the down night mail train would not arrive in Bideford until 8:09am and deliveries would not commence until 9:30am. This was due to the release of men for enlistment and to provide for better disposal of military traffic. The up night mail train would also be affected. The Southern Railway thought it could safely promise the arrival of a new train called the ‘Devon Belle’ to the West for summer 1916.

A very interesting service was held in the Primary department of the Bideford Wesleyan Sunday School on October 10th. Tokens of remembrance were sent to the lads and fathers who had gone from the school to the scene of battle. The little folks were able to purchase a folding pocket book for every one of the men from the School and included in it a prayer for the lad’s protection and safe return, a hymn, a letter from a little one and a beautiful view of dear old Bideford.

Reported in a Council Sub-Committee Report in October 1915 was the fact that there were 113 Belgian refugees billeted in 38 Bideford homes costing £50 – on average 3s 9d per week. The billeting householders were being paid by the Refugee Committee in London*.

The Bideford ketch, Trio, with the Captain’s wife on board and laden with scrap iron sprang a leak off Trevose Head and was in a perilous condition. Crew from the steam lifeboat, Helen Peele, which also towed the lifeboat Edmund Harvey, assisted with manning the Trio’s pumps. Helen Peele towed the ketch into Padstow.

A very pretty wedding took place at St Mary’s Church, Bideford, between Emma Sluman of 64 Honestreet, Bideford and John Bryant of Twinington. The bride was attended by Maude, Gertrude, May, Florrie, and Gwennie Sluman. After a reception at the home of the bride’s mother, the happy couple left by motor, amid showers of confetti, for Alcombe, Taunton, their future home.

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford CommunityArchive at the Council offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714

Need to buy a Christmas present and don’t want to spend too much? To celebrate its 30th

anniversary, the Bideford & District Community Archive has produced a 2016 calendar priced at £5. Pick one up by popping into the Archive or register your interest by ringing 01237 471714. It’s also on sale in all good outlets in Bideford, Appledore, Northam and W Ho!


* Historical Note.

Like the fictional Poirot, roughly a quarter of a million Belgians found refuge in Britain during the First World War. It is an episode that we can be proud of. ‘Prodigious efforts were made on behalf of those refugees’, writes Terry Charman in his book ‘The First World War on the Home Front.’ They were sheltered throughout this island, from Kent to Strathaven, in villages, seaside resorts and mining towns”. (Michael Walker, ‘Open Democracy).


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Devon Family History Society.

Have you watched the celebrities on ‘Who do you think you are?’ Would you like to follow them and find out what your great Granddad did and what he was like? Now you can, and it is easier and cheaper than ever before.

It is over 20 years since Granddad’s WW1 medals were passed to me. He died when I was small. Grandma had told me some stories involving him, but she had gone too by then. I sent off for marriage certificates and birth certificates and found details of their jobs or parents’ names and where they married and were born. Computers and then the internet made life a lot easier. No more going round record offices with a pencil and a magnifying glass squinting at microfilm. Now in 2015 there are lots of websites offering family history data, many of them free to use. Try, where you will find instructions on how to search for births, marriages and deaths of your ancestors. Like many sites, the records here are updated by volunteers, so the records are nowhere near complete for recent years events. You will find though, details of which areas’ records are completed and for what periods of time. Ordering and paying for a certificate will, a few days later, give you the same feelings as those celebrities when they open those envelopes.

” Wow, Granddad’s Mum was called …, his Dad worked as a…., and look where they lived then!”.

Armed with this information you can now look for these new names as marriages and births right back to 1837, when registration officially began.

Devon libraries are very useful here as they have computers the public can use. (Help for computer starters is available too). With just a few computer skills you can freely access the Ancestry site at the library, search the census records or the military records to fill in more gaps about Granddad and beyond.

Every third Saturday afternoon, a group with an interest in their family histories meet at the Pollyfield Centre, East the Water at 2pm. There are usually excellent speakers who give talks on aspects of FH or research advice, followed by a chance to discuss your successes and what to do next over tea and biscuit.

The November meeting of the Devon Family History Society promises to be quite an eventful day, starting from 11 in the morning until about 4 in the afternoon.

The FindMyPast website has been putting some new records online. Records are normally only released after 100 years in the interests of privacy. So the last census available online is 1911′s : 1921 will be released around 2021.

The 1939 register recorded all the family members in all the England and Wales households on one night in September 1939. This will be available soon on the FMP website. The records were used in WW2 to recruit all the military, provide Identity cards and ration cards, and perhaps formed the basis of the NHS some years later too.

FindMyPast has chosen Bideford for the Devon introduction to these records. Family historians from all over Devon will be coming to hear FMP staff explain what will be available and when. There will be plenty of opportunity for Q & As about the 1939 Register and for help with your FH research too. A major boost to your research and a chance to be really up-to-date, too. Older parents and grandparents will have a major opportunity, when this is released, to find more about folks that they perhaps knew or knew of, when they were children.

In the afternoon there will be a presentation entitled “Oakum and stones”. A fascinating insight into the help available for the less well off or infirm members of the Victorian community. Most families seem to have ancestors who struggled in the mid 1800s. If you watched Time Crashers or One foot in the past, then this is the opportunity to explore those times and relate them to your ancestors, rather than celebrities.

Follow these suggestions and when your family all meet up for Christmas, you will be able to tell them that “You know who you are!”.

If you get stuck come to Pollyfield, 2pm, third Saturday of the month, with a note of the problem. You will get a warm welcome.

Peter Blackaby.


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Befriending, because we care….

The Ageing Well Project (sponsored by the Big Lottery) has been established in the Bideford area for about six months now and we are pleased to say that it is going from strength to strength. We have successfully matched nearly thirty befrienders to elderly people who were feeling lonely or isolated. In order to help others in our community we’d really like to recruit some more volunteers. Could you be one of them? Offering just an hour a week to chat and provide company for someone is what we’re looking for. We keep our recruitment process simple and are happy to welcome volunteers of all ages and from all walks of life.

Please call us on 01805 622666 or e-mail if you would like to know more, we very much look forward to hearing from you!

P.S. We are also running gentle exercise and group social activities in the local area, with all over 60s welcome to attend. Please visit our website or call the phone number above for further details.


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Well met, on a bridge to the other side.

A clumsily dressed, thin young man in his early thirties stood motionless on the old bridge, like a young rabbit caught in speeding headlights, mesmerised by the swirling torrent far below as it rushed headlong in search of the dark and all embracing mother ocean.

By two in the morning all was graveyard silent; he was still there lost in thought, the air was warm and his frayed T shirt and old trousers were all he needed that night, or any night . . . his body and soul braced forlorn on the wrong side of the railings.

Suddenly a voice shattered the silence and with it went any semblance of peace he might have had. The young man nearly jumped out of his skin, for he’d not seen or heard a soul for three hours or more. ‘Steady on mate,’ said the voice, ‘didn’t mean to make you jump.’ The young man gripped the railings even more tightly with both hands, pulling his back firm against the bars, his mind now in turmoil, for he’d hoped to end it all alone.

There was something of an Aussie twang to the voice from the dark; its owner came closer, stopped a few feet away, rested his folded arms on the parapet and continued talking as though finding a walker, never mind an erstwhile jumper, on the bridge at this god forsaken hour was quite a normal occurrence.

‘So, what you doing here then, young fellah? Sure is a lovely night and what a beautiful view you’ve got yourself here. . . betcha that river’s full of life down there, them crabs and fishes don’t sleep at night yer know.’

The young man didn’t know what to say, in fact he didn’t want to say anything, he just wanted this bloke to clear off to whence he came. He’d been content with his prior misery. However, curiosity had the better of him and he sensed a non judgemental calm from his surprise visitor, ‘Crumbs, you made me jump, no pun intended, what on earth are you doing here at this hour?’

‘Well young fellah, I could ask you the same, but me, I’m what you might call of no fixed abode, a gentleman of the road, homeless if you like. It’s not so bad you understand, though it was before, loads of things went wrong before, lost the missus and kids, parents died, injured at work … in the army I was you know. Oh they paid me off all right but pound notes were no compensation nor cure for my ills back then.’

‘So what brings you to this road, this bridge, tonight then?’ the apprentice jumper asked again.

‘Oh, dunno really, just going with feelings, always follow the good feelings I say. It just felt right to go further south, more rural, nicer people; chance of a few jobs on a farm or something. Food in the hedgerows, berries and the like – yeah, that’s about it really – just feelings and as it was a warm night I thought I’d take advantage of the cooler air and quiet road. Then I met you, nature watching from your fine perch on my bridge.’

‘Sorry about that,’ said the reticent jumper, who somehow felt empathy for the ex-soldier and his losses in life. In fact, this happy tramp had suffered far more than he ever had himself, ‘You never thought of ending it all then?’ he enquired. ‘Yeah mate, I thought about it but when I got there some young fellah had nicked my spot – you gonna be long?’ the jovial tramp’s smile could just be made out in the moonlight.

For some peculiar reason, perhaps contagion, it appeared funny to the would-be jumper and he smiled back, ‘Oh yeah, good one, very droll,’ he said. The strange thing was, the thoughts that drove his racked body to the bridge were changing and as the thoughts changed so did his feelings. In fact, the tramp was right, it was a beautiful view, it was a great night, the moon smiled down on a land at peace with itself and he, for that moment felt part of that. What had possessed him to ever want to throw such beauty away? ‘I’m coming back over,’ said the reformed jumper.

‘No mate, stay there, you’ll be fine, in fact, I’ll join you over there – that little bit of fear, the adrenalin rush just spices life up a bit at times, makes you feel more alive than ever – come on, shift over a bit, give us a hand.’

The pair of them nattered away for ages, like two reunited long lost pals.

Interspersed with tales from down under, of joys and woes, the gentleman of the road implanted his wisdom and set the seeds of hope and resolution in his young friend’s mind. Good thoughts began to bring the young man good feelings and they filled his very soul and body.

‘Well, I reckon I’ll thank you kindly for all your help and wisdom and be on my way home now, for tomorrow I have much to begin.’ So saying, the young man clambered roadside of the railings, his body and spirit lightened from the burdens he’d earlier carried to the bridge. Now it was as though he’d dropped them into the swirling depths below to be lost forever. He was now free and felt it, like somehow he’d paid off some long outstanding debt at last.

‘So long mate, I’m gonna stay a while longer, then I’ll make my way to the other side. You be good, you think happy, feel happy, don’t waste yer life …live it well.’

As the young, now rehabilitated, jumper reached the end of the bridge he suddenly realised he didn’t even know this saviour stranger’s name, he turned and started to shout his question but there was no point in finishing it, the kindly stranger had already gone. ‘Oh well,’ he thought, ‘After his good deed tonight I hope at last he finds somewhere to rest in peace, he’s obviously decided not to wait any longer on the bridge after all.’

That young man went home, made a better life, repaid that good deed a thousand times over and never forgot his friend the tramp, well met on the bridge to the other side. He resolved to share his story with anyone who would listen, just like he had listened that fateful night so many years ago.

. . . . And now you have heard it.

I must leave you now, for there are others waiting in darkness, on bridges they built for themselves.

Richard Small


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Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery – October.

We have had a very busy summer running all the various events and sessions for the Appledore Fish Summer School. We have shown preparation and enabled tasting of a wide range of local summer fish and shellfish. We have some unique recipes and lots of popular simple recipes for unusual fish such a cuttlefish, squid, megrim, hake and pollack (see the recipe below).

Drunken Pollack with mayonnaise and yoghurt.

Pollack is best from August to March. The fillets are a good size and can be cut into portions. This is a simple dish that is very popular once tasted!

Ingredients for 4

4 portions/fillets of pollack fillets ; these can be cut in large pieces.

1 glass of wine for marinade.

4 spring onions, chopped.

4 tablespoon plain yoghurt.

4 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs.


1 teaspoon paprika, for decoration.


Marinade the pollack pieces in the wine for 3/4 hours.

Place the fish in a buttered ovenproof dish .

Mix well the mayonnaise and the yoghurt with the marinade and cover the fish.

Mix chopped spring onion with the breadcrumbs and spread on top of the dish.

Place in a hot oven 220C/ gas mark 7 for 15/20 minutes and serve, decorated with a sprinkling of paprika.

I plan to write an Appledore Fish Summer School Recipe Book to help promote the Summer School in 2016 and to encourage more people to take advantage of the fantastic range of local fish and shellfish available in North Devon.

If you have a favourite fish or shellfish recipe and would like it included in the cookery book please contact me on /call 07918 779 060


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Rare plant rediscovered on Northam Burrows.

Water germander has been found on Northam Burrows for the first time since 2011. This species is extremely rare and is restricted to just 3 sites across England : it is one of the reasons Northam Burrows has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Its disappearance caused great concern and was believed to have occurred due to the lack of open conditions and the spread of denser vegetation across the park in recent years. To tackle this Torridge District Council received funding from Natural England through the Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) Scheme to carry out extensive scrub clearance and scrape work. The return of Water Germander is an early indication that this work is having the desired effect. It is hoped the other rare plants, that make Northam Burrows a unique environment, will also flourish in the conditions created.

Lead Member for the Economy, Councillor John Himan said: “Northam Burrows is already noted for the great diversity of the plants and wildlife that inhabit it. Finding Water Germander in the park for the first time in 4 years is good news, and a testament to the hard work of everyone involved in the scrape and scrub project. These on-going works will help other rare plants and wildlife flourish in the park.”

Justin Gillett, Natural England’s Conservation Adviser, said: “Northam Burrows is a superb coastal site and home to some of the rarest plants in the country. We are delighted that the conservation work appears to have helped create conditions that are once again suitable for Water Germander.”

Burrows Ranger, Mike Day added: “There is more scrub clearance planned for this winter. This will extend the area available for grazing, improve recreational opportunities and help protect the plants and wildlife found on Northam Burrows.”

There will also be a chance for the community to get involved in the project. Volunteer events will take place this winter once the major works have been completed. For further information please contact the Burrows Centre on 01237 479708 or visit .


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‘Connections’ – Lady Anne Berry (1919- ).

A local horticulturalist who founded Rosemoor.

Lady Anne Berry came from an aristocratic family, which included Britain’s first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, the first Earl of Orford. Her father was the fifth Earl. He was already 67 when Anne was born, and had no male heir, so before he died, he made over his family estate in Norfolk to a distant male cousin, then emigrated to Australia, where he died in 1931. In 1923, he had bought a smaller property at Rosemoor, near Torrington, which he used as a fishing lodge, and where Anne and her mother lived when not in New Zealand.

She liked the carefree New Zealand life and found being a debutante and courtier in London somewhat stifling. In 1939, she married Colonel Eric Palmer, and as a young military wife followed her husband from post to post, including a two-and-a-half year stay in Northern Ireland. Anne had two children, John and Eric.

During the War, Rosemoor was lent to the Red Cross.. After the War, her husband bought more land at Rosemoor, where she established a dairy farm, and rode horses.

In 1959, she went to southern Spain to recuperate from a bout of measles, and met Collingwood ‘Cherry’ Ingram, a well-known plantsman, who introduced her to the world of horticulture, and gave her some specimens from his own garden in Kent. With the help of other gardeners, and together with her own collection of plants from her extensive travels abroad, she began to develop her garden at Rosemoor.

In the late sixties, she joined the RHS, and then the International Dendrology Society, of which she was chair for five years from 1983 onwards.

This job took her all over the world, including a trip to New Zealand, and to Hackfalls Arboretum, created by Bob Berry.

In 1979, she started a small nursery at Rosemoor, containing over a thousand items. Then in 1980 her husband Eric died, she found it increasingly difficult to manage the estate, so she offered the garden, the house and the remaining farmland to the RHS. In 1990 Rosemoor was opened to the general public.

In the same year, she made another visit to New Zealand and Hackenfalls Arboretum, where she married Bob Berry. You could say the marriage was rooted in a love of trees. The wedding took place in England, but she then went to live in New Zealand,in Gisbourne.

RHS Garden Rosemoor is now a major attraction in North Devon, with more than 100,000 visitors a year.

Chris Trigger.


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