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 £25 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 11th 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:

For complaints procedure, see “Impress” category.

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Waste & recycling collection dates in Torridge this Christmas.

Torridge residents are being reminded to carry on recycling over Christmas and be reassured that Torridge District Council will be out to collect their festive leftovers. Residents are being reminded that many of their festive items can be recycled, including:

Plastic bottles and containers, glass bottles and jars, and tins (in the green box).

Christmas cards (in the brown bags).

Christmas card envelopes (in the green bags).

Food waste, including turkey bones (to go in the green wheelie bins).

Real Christmas trees – please cut into small pieces (to go in the green wheelie bins).

Cardboard (in the brown bags). Excess cardboard should be placed under the green box.

Residents are reminded to please rinse out and flatten all plastic bottles and food/drink cans as this helps our crews to collect double the amount of recycled materials on each round, which is especially important over this busy period. Please also note that regrettably we cannot collect wrapping paper for recycling.


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British Hen Welfare Trust – rescue a hen this Christmas.

Beaky and Flymo got their happy ending last Christmas (above).

Hundreds of hardworking hens are hoping to enjoy their first Christmas outside a cage if enough people come forward to save them from slaughter.

The British Hen Welfare Trust is appealing to the Devonshire public to come forward and offer up their back gardens to a small flock of ex-bats so that they can enjoy Christmas as part of a loving family, rather than the alternative.

There are 600 hens hoping to avoid the slaughter lorry, and they’ll be re-homed in Okehampton on Saturday, 16 December and in South Molton on Sunday, 17 December.

Though it may be wet and miserable outside, these hens would love nothing more than to experience crisp fresh air and dewy grass under their feet for the first time, so don’t let the weather put you off re-homing. Of course they’d also appreciate a few presents under the tree in the form of some chicken treats, and will undoubtedly return the gift in form of a delicious egg, or two.

These hens are 18 months old and are being sent to slaughter because their egg laying may have slowed down or become somewhat irregular. However these friendly little hens will often carry on popping out eggs for you to enjoy for breakfast, or perhaps for a glass of eggnog on Christmas morning.

Jane Howorth, charity founder and South Molton co-ordinator, said: “Christmas is a feel-good time of year, and nothing is more rewarding than knowing you’ve saved lives by re-homing these hens. They’re the most wonderful pets, and I’d urge anyone considering adopting some ex-bats to simply do it and make more Christmas wishes come true!”

To re-home some hens simply register your details at and then call 01884 860084 to speak to the charity’s friendly re-homing team based at Hen Central who will tell you everything you need to know.


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Exmoor Pony Centre news.


Trekking may have finished for the winter but some of our riding ponies have been showing their versatility by getting involved with things literary and historical.

Pony Tom was guest of honour when, early in November, about forty people gathered in the Green Room at the Pony Centre to celebrate the launch of Dr Sue Baker’s latest book, The Exmoor Pony Chronicles; a collection of stories and reminiscences about Exmoor ponies and the Exmoor families and other people connected with them. Tom played a starring role as a pack pony helping to deliver the books. He also appears on the front cover as a traditional pack pony, with handlers in full period dress, taking part in the 2015 ENPA Mosaic Project Youth Walk across the route of the Exmoor Perambulation, the traditional long-distance walk dating back to the time of Edward 1st.

A different kind of pony transport was commemorated by Dr Helen Blackman, Exmoor Society archivist, who is researching the old postal routes across Exmoor. Helen and Pony Centre volunteer, Lisa Clarke, mounted on the Pony Centre’s Fudge and Abbi, re-rode the 12 mile postal route from Withypool post office via Kiteridge Lane and Landacre, where the ponies enjoyed a short breather while cooling their feet in the Barle. The photo below shows Tony Howard receiving a letter from Helen outside the post office where he has been postmaster for the past 20 years.

Until the 1970s the post was routinely delivered on foot or horseback over distances of up to 15 miles. Using maps and material from the Society’s Dulverton Resource Centre, the Society is piecing together the history of the postal service on Exmoor. Helen said “…. as a horse rider I’m fascinated by the role horses and ponies have played in bringing news and information across the moor. This is also a wonderful opportunity to work with the Exmoor Pony Centre and highlight how hardy and useful the Exmoor ponies are.”

Since its inception in 2000, the Moorland Mousie Trust has helped over 500 ponies. Every year we choose a theme for naming our foal intake and this year’s theme is British birds, inspired by our first arrival who was already named Little Owl. Our ponies feature on our lovely 2018 calendar. At only £6 it is a bargain and also raises funds for our work with the foals. You can order online at or by calling the Centre.

The Centre is now closed for the winter and will re-open on Sunday 11th February 2018. Riding will begin in late March.




Tel: 01398 323093


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£5,000 grant to help ‘Grow’ social enterprise.

Above – Grow volunteers with some of the woodwork they have produced

Westward’s Bideford-based social enterprise Grow@Jigsaw has received a £5,000 boost towards transforming part of its site into workshops for its volunteers.

The horticultural business, based in Victoria Park, provides training, work experience and support to about a dozen clients each day and has been awarded a grant from local charity Bideford Bridge Trust.

By refurbishing the garages Grow hopes to provide space for workshops where volunteers can learn new skills and build and make planters, bug homes and bird boxes.

Team Leader at Grow@Jigsaw, Ann Davies, said they were still seeking more funding to make the plans reality but this would help start the work

We are planning for the three garages to become workshops and for it to be fully sustainable. We already have skilled volunteers and by utilising their skills, new and less confident volunteers can learn additional skills,” she said.

The workshops would be fit for purpose for disabled clients and the area around them has been securely fenced.

Some of the clients from the now-closed Jigsaw Furniture Project in Barnstaple have been using the facilities at Grow and this will allow them to continue with woodwork which was among the skills they learnt.

Grow sells vegetables and plants and also supplies local food businesses and plants for clients, including Northam Town Council and ‘Berrynarbor in Bloom’.

It provides practical gardening in-house courses and volunteers learn skills to help build their self-confidence and enable them to find employment.


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Happy Christmas and New Year to all our readers.

Our front page picture in the paper edition of “Buzz” is a unique Christmas card, designed by well-known local artist and potter Harry Juniper for “Buzz”.

Harry told me about his connection with Bideford Art School. He was taught by James Paterson, who instructed all new students at the beginning of term to design a Christmas card. James Paterson was an engraver, water colourist, graphic designer, and Master Stained Glass artist. His windows can be found in churches in all parts of Devon and beyond.  He taught watercolour painting at Bideford Art School and many North Devon residents commissioned work from him, now among their most treasured possessions.

Harry has given us kind permission to print a limited number (125) of cards and to sell them in aid of “Buzz” printing funds. They will be on sale at Walter Henry’s Bookshop, Garlands, Bideford Library, and Chocolate,  from Thursday 7th December.

R.A. (Ed).


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December’s Youth Page.

When do we know it’s Christmas?

The transition of Autumn into winter is always atmospheric, the smell of leaves in the air and the closing nights. I am one of the few people who seems to prefer this time of year, not only for the atmosphere but for the weather. Whilst summer is enjoyable in its own way (when it stops raining) you cannot deny that the evenings in the warm, drinking hot chocolate under a blanket are not one of the highlights of the year.

Aside from the growing panic of presents, decorations and trying to get the whole family where they are supposed to be at the correct time, an almost impossible task I might add, there is a certain tranquillity that can only be found at this kind of year, the cold mornings that feel almost as if time is standing still, the peace before the birds have woken up and the dew that almost appears suspended on the grass. But despite how busy everyone seems to be, there is always a feeling of camaraderie at this time of year. The shared joy when John Lewis release their Christmas advert, the excitement for the switching on of Bideford’s Christmas lights, on Sunday December 3rd, and late night Christmas shopping at Bideford and Atlantic Village make it hard to dislike this time of year.

But, as always, the question that we ask every year is; when is too early to start being festive?

And so here is a short checklist of ways to know it’s nearly Christmas:

You have played Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas at least 20 times (A much loved and possibly overplayed classic).

The Christmas adverts start (although there are companies for which this means late October so I am unsure).

Brass bands appear everywhere playing Carols (again though, we have been doing this for a while already).

Bideford and Barnstaple turn on their Christmas lights (a much more reliable way of knowing).

You have seen at least 3 people dressed as Father Christmas in the street (sounds odd, I know, but I have seen 2 already with no apparent context for such clothing choices).

People like me write articles about Christmas (it’s inevitable).

Santa hats become an acceptable clothing choice (if I had one I would be wearing it already).

Christmas films (that will undoubtedly clash in timing).

The panic that sets in when you realise you have probably forgotten something (hence the creation of late night shopping).

You stop shaking your head and saying “it’s too early for this” whenever you see Christmas displays in shops (however this is subjective).

So there it is, a definitive list of ways to know it’s Christmas, written by someone who has no idea themselves. This time of year means different things to everyone, some love it and some can’t wait for spring, but whichever one you are have a good month and make some memories.

Lucy Braund.


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In this age of man-made global warming it is unlikely that we will see a repetition of what occurred in Bideford in 1894-5 and 1963. Simply put, this was the freezing over of the River Torridge around the Bridge. Both of these happened during a prolonged period of extremely cold weather, but the impacts were very different.

The first, shown here in two contemporary photographs, saw headlines in the Bideford Gazette which read ‘Distress in Bideford – A relief committee formed.’ Many men worked in outdoor occupations and the long period of frost and snow saw many thrown out of work and in ‘distress’.

In response the Mayor and rector hosted a meeting to seek subscriptions to provide soup to families said to be ‘on the verge of starvation’. The Gazette reports the sums donated by the councillors present, which ranged from 52p to £5. Further money came in over the next few days – enough to open a daily Soup Kitchen at the Music Hall in Bridgeland Street, with a second kitchen opening at East-the-Water every other day and another at Old Town also operating on alternate days. In addition Messrs How & Co. announced the distribution of several tons of coal to the poor.

A week later the Gazette could report ‘From all quarters little children were converging upon the Music Hall; some carried jugs, and others swung empty cans, some were warmly clad, many, alas, were thinly clad, but all looked hungry, and there was an anxiety in the eyes of some of the little mothers as they hurried along Bridgeland Street, lest the soup should hold out until their turn came.’

Eventually some £120 was collected and spent on soup, this being enough to tide the poor over the worst effects of the cold snap.

Compare this to the freezing up of the Torridge in 1963 – shown in the photograph below. No-one was starving and no soup kitchen was required – but the Bridge Trust did employ a large group of unemployed men to break up the larger ice floes piled up against the Bridge piers in order to protect the arches from damage. Unfortunately the damage that was caused was later blamed for the collapse of the two westernmost arches five years later. This could never be proved, of course, but suffice to say it seems unlikely that the Bridge and Bidefordians will experience another cold period so extreme that the river freezes over – but we will see.

Peter Christie.


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One hundred years ago; December 1917/ January 1918.

Christmas is coming and in spite of the War, Bideford plans to celebrate the season. The Christmas Market will take place on Friday 21st December. Coles and Lee, trading from the Gazette Office, suggest that handbags make excellent presents, as do wallets, photo cases and pocket books. Prices range from 1/3d to 38/6d, (which would be about £130 today.) Mrs Karslake of London House offers picture books “for the little ones, who must be remembered” and mufflers for soldiers and sailors.

On the food front, Bideford Guardians will increase out-relief for Christmas week; adults will receive 1/6d instead of 1/- and children 1/- instead of the usual 6d. Extra Christmas fare will be provided for the residents, but due to Food Control regulations they would have to do without the usual puddings.

Farleigh’s Stores have received a “very choice” parcel of Government flour, priced at 1/4d for a 7lb bag. They also advertise tinned salmon, which at 1/2d a tin is equal in nutrition to 2/6d worth of meat. The retail price of butter is fixed at 2/4d (weight not specified) and sugar is still strictly rationed.

At Lavington Chapel’s Sale of Work, War Ration Tea will be served at 6d each. The opening ceremony will be performed by the Mayor, Councillor A R Adams.

In other news, Mr Kelly, headmaster of Langtree School, would like to set up a library and appeals for books suitable for juvenile reading. Gifts to the various local hospitals in December include some unusual items – a football, hot-water bottles, pillows with cases and brawn.

On the farming front, Army horses are now in the district and available for ploughing – the ground is very wet and tractors are struggling.

January begins with a screening of Charlie Chaplin’s new film “The Immigrant” at the Palace Cinema.

Bideford Municipal Science, Art and Technical College offers a wide range of courses for the new term including pottery, chemistry, magnetism and electricity. A class for embroidery will be opened if sufficient numbers join. Bideford Grammar School’s next term will begin on 10th January, with Edgehill following on the 15th. Mrs Frank Braund’s elocution classes recommence on 25th January at Friendship’s Hotel.

Stewart & Co. 52 & 56a Mill Street are holding a remnant sale over two days. Mr J Woolf of Barnstaple Street, who attends the Pannier Market on Tuesdays and Saturdays, advertises for 1,000 rabbits, any number of new laid eggs – and moleskins. We believe the moleskins were used inside shoes to prevent blisters and also by plumbers. (Does anyone know of other uses?)

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings or visit our website

The Archive volunteers wish all Buzz readers a good Christmas and New Year. We look forward to helping you with your research in 2018.


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Buzz Byte – December.

This month I thought we would start with buying a new PC or Laptop – The Do’s & Don’ts.

1. Do have a clear idea of what you want the computer to do! I know this sounds silly but you’d be surprised how many people buying a new PC are still unsure what they are going to do with it! What programmes or software do you need the machine to run? Is it for business or pleasure? Are there other devices that need to be synced with it?

2. Do decide on a budget and try to stick to it.

3. Don’t just buy a computer based on price. The main differences between on-line retailers and local shops are price and service. A computer is a complicated piece of equipment, so be careful to not just buy the cheapest thing you find! Ask the question, is it such a good deal, what are the return/repair costs if it goes wrong and how long will I be without the machine? Does the company have a good track record for customer service? Did you get recommended by a friend or family member? If you have limited knowledge of computing then saving a few pounds buying on-line may come back to haunt you if they have little or no support! As with everything in life, you get what you pay for.

4. Don’t be baffled into buying things you don’t need! Some sales staff work on commission and will try and sell extras you may never use. If you don’t know what it does, just simply ask, and say no if you don’t want it. Don’t be baffled by computer jargon.

5. Don’t get caught out with illegal software. ALL computers bought (new or old) with Windows software require a license by law. This is normally a small rectangular sticker applied to the side of the PC, or on bottom of a laptop.

Happy Christmas Buzz readers.

Nickie Joy.


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Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery – December.

As part of the November Herring Month we have been turning Appledore and Bideford into Kipperland!

Many people who have come to the stall have asked me about the different smoked versions of Clovelly Herring that are so plentiful in December. Traditionally the herring would be smoked to eat through the winter months, so I have added a very simple recipe for ‘Kippercakes’ that can be made in a batch and use for quick delicious breakfast or supper.

Here are all the types of smoked herring we sell on our stall; more info on Appledore Sustainable Fish facebook.

Kippers – Split and cold smoked Clovelly herrings, either whole on the bone or boned.

Bloaters – Cold smoked whole fish: requires short cooking time.

Bucklings – Hot smoked Clovelly herring: whole fish smoked, ready to eat.

Cold smoked cured kipper fillets; Ready to slice thinly and ready to eat.

Red Herrings: smoked whole, and in the kiln for at least a week!  Combine into a fish dish.

The simplest way to cook our Clovelly kippers is to jug them in a modern way-

Remove the kippers from the packaging and place the kippers – boned or whole in the bottom of cooking pot with a close-fitting lid.

Pour boiling water over the fish until they are totally submerged and replace the lid, thus trapping the steam.

Leave to steep for 5-15 mins, depending on size, turning over if the kippers are large – most Clovelly kippers will only require 10 mins.

Remove from hot water and pour away this water in the drain outside – to stop the fish smell in the kitchen/house.

Dress the kippers with a knob of butter, a squeeze of lemon and freshly ground pepper.

Eat with brown bread-fresh or toasted and a squeeze of more lemon – Delicious!

Mackerel or Kipper Cakes.

Serves 4


455g kipper or smoked mackerel fillets, fresh or defrosted, skinned

Beaten egg. Worcestershire sauce. 170g fresh breadcrumbs, lemon.


Preheat grill.

Place fillets into a food processor or blender. Process or blend until finely flaked.

Stir in egg, dash Worcestershire sauce and breadcrumbs.

Divide mixture into 8 pieces and shaped into 5cm rounds. Chill for 10-15 minutes.

Cook under low grill for 8-10 minutes, turning once.

Garnish with lemon and serve with salad and tomato and onion relish.

Excellent breakfast dish ; recipe from ‘Seafood Kitchen’.


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North Devon Ramblers – Festival of Winter Walks.


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‘intaGR8’ – free Festive Lunch, 25th December.


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‘The Craft Market’, Westward Ho!

This has been running since May in Westward Ho! We would like to share our success with your readers and thank all our visitors.

We are a group of crafters who got together to start a craft market in Westward Ho!’s Baptist Church Hall. It ran through the summer on the first and third Wednesdays every month. Our initial group of twelve quickly expanded to over 20 regular and semi-regular crafters and artisans, plus another 10 casuals. Our pop-up café became very popular too! We ran a tombola each week with gifts and prizes donated by stall holders in aid of RNLI. We raised £209 with a fantastic turn out of locals, regulars and holiday makers. A big thank you to all of them!

Although the market has finished for this year, all our crafters and artisans will still be busy at other local fairs over the next weeks. We will be returning for the Westward Ho! Ho! Ho! Christmas Festival on 22 December, starting at 3.00.

The craft market will be back again in May 2018.

Margaret Smith (aka MagsBags).


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Burton Art Gallery; December.

There’s a lot going on at the Gallery in December and January. The Open Annual Christmas Exhibition continues every day until the 23rd December. The variety of work submitted and selected for this exhibition never ceases to amaze and delight. Artists come from all over our region, keen to exhibit their work in our gem of a Gallery. The high standard of artwork is always appreciated, and all media are in use, from ceramics to textiles, sculpture, wood and metal craft, oils, watercolours and acrylics, and often something quite unusual has been chosen to get us talking. Stewards are there to help if you wish to purchase a piece of work, and there is a very special raffle prize, a beautiful Juniper lidded pot (see below), truly an antique of the future, for some lucky patron to win! We thank Sue, Harry and Nick Juniper for their generosity.

From 9th December, a selection from the Burton’s Permanent Collection will be on display. These paintings by many famous artists, such as Clausen, E. Aubrey Hunt and Hubert Coop, were donated when the Gallery was opened in 1951. Works by contemporary artists have been added over the years, either purchased by the Friends, or donated from private collections, so much so that storage is becoming a problem. No doubt there will always be more works of art donated in the future so an extension to the Gallery is much needed. If you would like to know more about the works on show, Warren Collum, Collections Manager, will be ready to tell you their story at 2pm on December 9th.

Cary Akroyd is a renowned painter printmaker, and her work is bright, colourful, intriguing, fascinating – but all those adjectives hardly do justice to her exciting prints. You will find a lot of books and cards by Cary in the Gallery Shop, and soon get to recognise her style. We are fortunate that she is bringing an exhibition of her work to the Burton in January, and on the 13th she will be there to take you through all the processes that go to make a print. You will be surprised when you see just how many there are, and Cary’s enthusiasm shows in all her works.

In the Shop throughout December you will find that special gift for a friend, or family member, or child. There is so much to choose from: calendars, books for all ages, art books, Christmas trivia, cards, toys to make up on Christmas Day, stocking-fillers, aprons, tea-towels, board games, jewellery, and much more. Have a happy time choosing!

The Cafe du Parc is popular and that’s because they serve such delicious food. The Museum and Ceramic Collection on the first floor provide a quiet place to wander and learn something about Bideford’s past. The Craft Gallery is packed with unique artwork of all kinds, if you need something special for that special someone.

Admission is free. Opening hours: Mon-Sat: 10-4, Sunday: 11-4. Happy Christmas and New Year!

Diana Warmington,

Friends of the Burton.


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Christmas Concerts.

The Appledore Singers.

Christmas Concert in aid of Devon Air Ambulance.

The Appledore Singers’ Christmas Concert will take place on Sunday 17th December, 2.30pm at Northam Hall (top of Fore Street).

The Choir will delight the audience with arrangements of festive music – both traditional and modern – and, as always, there will be the opportunity for audience participation!

This year’s concert will be in aid of Devon Air Ambulance – a very worthy cause – and all profits will go to the charity.

The afternoon’s entertainment will also include our popular ‘grand raffle’.All proceedings will be ably and wittily coordinated by Anthony Chambers, our compere, and the choir, accompanied by Chris Beechey, will be conducted by our Musical Director, Pam Beechey.

Admission is £6 at the door (under 16s free), to include light refreshments.

For further information contact Pam Beechey 01237 420652.




Appledore Band.

We have started the busy Christmas period, playing for the  Northam Schools Carol concert on 16th December at St Margaret’s Church, and at Holy Trinity Church Westward Ho! for their Carol Concert on the 17th December. We are playing at the Durrant Hotel for their Turkey and Tinsel events, and on numerous dates during the month playing Carols outside Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Morrison’s Supermarkets.

See you there!


Northam Choral Society.

A wonderful opportunity to hear all six parts of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.

This glorious music will be conducted by John Hobbs, with Andrew Millington playing the organ, soloists Heloise West, Rebecca Smith, Paul Marty-West and Julian Rippon.

Saturday 16th December, 7pm, at Church of St Michael & All Angels, Torrington.

Tickets and information from Janet Sharp 01805 628262, or


Torridge Male Voice Choir Christmas Concerts.

Thursday 21st December: ASDA, Atlantic Village, 2-3pm: New Inn, Kilkhampton, 9-10.30pm.

The Choir rehearses at Woolsery Community Hall on Wednesday evenings from 7.45-9.30pm. We would particularly welcome any prospective new members. There is no voice trial and an ability to read music is not necessary. website


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