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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Hartland Arts & Crafts Society, 13th – 17th August.


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Tourism and relationships.

Millions of people visit Devon each year and in 2013 research showed that 24% of all employment in North Devon was due to tourism.

The majority of tourists visit us in the Summer months, which means that people can be extremely busy for several months of the year and then often looking for work during the down periods.

As the season is now in full swing, the pressures on couples and families become increasingly difficult to manage. At Relate North Devon we see couples struggling to find time to spend together during these busy periods.

During the school holidays, there is the added issue of child care, when both parents are working. It is important for partners to realise that the months ahead will be difficult and to make some allowances for one another.

Veronica Beckett a counsellor with Relate says, “Sit down and talk together as a family. Give everyone a chance to think about what they’d like to do and negociate about the reality.  It is essential that all are aware of the difficulties that long working hours will bring, but also the benefits.”

Try and snatch time when you can. Veronica adds “ Use texts to keep in touch -ask how the day’s going/ how are the kids/ say when you hope to be home”.   It shows you’re being thoughtful towards one another.

Lots of people feel it’s far too formal to schedule time together as a couple or as a family. But sometimes setting aside regular time to see each other is the only way to make it happen. Agree a regular day when you have a meal together or go to the cinema, knowing that you have to be somewhere by a certain time also helps you leave work on time. Similarly, planning to meet friends after work helps you stay in touch and a good chat can help you de-stress if you’ve had a tough day.

Think quality, not quantity.

To see a RELATE counsellor in North Devon phone: 0300 7729681 or e-mail:


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Bideford Gardeners’ Club – 23rd August.

Annual Open Show at the Pannier Market, Bideford, 2-5pm on 23rd August.

This is a general flower show with classes for Cacti, Begonias, Pot Plants, Cut Flowers, Vegetables, Fruit, Cookery, Handicrafts, Needlework plus special sections for Playgroups, Children and Disabled or Special Needs people. Indeed something for all the family to enter into.

Entries close 19th August.

Further to this, the National Begonia Society holds its South West Regional Show within our show, making a truly wonderful spectacle.

Schedules for the show are available by contacting me by email or at the Moreton Nurseries stall at the Farmers Markets, Bideford Quay, or Barnstaple market.

Mike Avis.


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‘Flying Fish Artists’ – 13th August.

Flying Fish Artists is a small local charity (Reg No 1157556).

Through the use of art as therapy our aim is to enhance and promote the mental health of people in the wider Devon area, and particularly support the resilience and recovery of those experiencing mental ill health. We are based in Barnstaple but support people in Bideford and other areas within North Devon. We support and inspire our members to produce artwork which integrates the members with the local community through exhibitions, open days, participation in festivals and accepting commissions.

We welcome new members and supporters. We are holding a Coffee morning at our studio on Thursday 13 August from 10.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bideford residents are warmly invited to come along and find out more about us, and have a look at the outstanding artwork that our members have created. Their art is for sale, and we will also have a bric-a-brac table that day – so come along and browse.

Please just turn up on the day at Rock Park Lodge, New Road, Barnstaple, EX32 9AE (opposite the Park Hotel) or alternatively contact Toni Hasler at (or phone her at 078 17431067) for further information.


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Exmoor Pony Centre – August.

News from the Exmoor Pony Centre, Ashwick, Dulverton TA22 9QE

The Moorland Mousie Trust (Registered Charity No 1116710) has been running the Centre for nine years now and every year faces the same challenge to raise sufficient funds to keep and care for the ponies that it looks after. There will be a Grand Draw this year with great prizes to win so please contact us to get your tickets in good time. If you can offer any additional support or hold a fund-raising event on our behalf, please contact us on 01398 323093 or by email to

During August we will be holding our usual Cream Tea afternoons every Thursday as detailed below. At each event there will be activities for children as well as refreshments for all and Pony Rides for those aged 4 or over and of course a chance for everyone to meet Exmoor ponies up close.

Please remember to book well in advance for any rides or Taster sessions over the summer to avoid disappointment; our number is 01398 3230903 and the Centre is open to visitors from 10:00 ’til 4:00 Sunday to Friday. Come and see the Exmoor Horsebeast Heritage Exhibition by Dr Sue Baker, meet our ponies and visit our shop.


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The Appledore Singers.


It’s approaching autumn and the Appledore Singers are starting their new season, so here’s an invitation to all ladies who enjoy singing: why not come along to one of our Monday night rehearsals (7.15 – 9pm at Appledore Baptist Church) and experience singing with us? We always welcome new members and have a variety of musical arrangements on offer, from gospel and show-stoppers to Top Ten hits. You’re sure to enjoy yourself!

For more information contact our Musical Director, Pam Beechey on 01237 420652 or see our website:

Seek a Smile thro’ Song’


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Assistant Accompanist sought.

The Barnstaple Ladies Choir

are looking for an Assistant Accompanist who would be happy to share the load of attending practices [which are on Tuesday nights in Fremington] and accompany the Choir at their concerts.

Our programmes consist of a varied repertoire, including songs from the shows, sacred and popular music. We help raise money for local charities & churches.

If you can help, please phone our Musical Director Mary Chant on 01271 860500.


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Whose park? – it’s Westward Ho’s.

Save our Park in Westward Ho!

We are campaigning to save our last green open space with its free tennis courts, children’s play area, community gardens, and the lovely ‘Happy Cafe’.

We are distributing questionnaires for people of all ages to tell us how they would like our park to look in the future and how they can contribute to help improve it and save it from destruction!

We desperately need our green spaces for both the present and future health of our community.

  • On behalf of the working party and community of Westward Ho!


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Em’s Fundraising Cabaret – 7th August.

An evening of circus, dance, and music, from 6.30 to 10.30pm on Friday 7th of August. Em Puddy is a circus performer who grew up in North Devon and will be hosting the night, joined by other performers providing entertaining acts for all the family at The Cricket Club, Sea Front, Westward Ho!

It will be an event not to be missed. Food and drink will be on sale all evening and a free hula hoop workshop will also be on offer.

Tickets are £5 each for over 12’s, children under 12 by donation when with an adult.

All Funds will be split between Water Aid – an international charity that transforms lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation – and the Rwandan Cricket Stadium Foundation, which helps to develop sport amongst young people affected by genocide and will provide employment during the construction of a sports stadium.

Tickets are limited and available from: TTVS, 14, Bridgland Street, Bideford and The Cricket Club, Westward Ho!, by telephoning 01237479730, or on the night at the gate.

We are grateful for the support given by UK Heavy Haulage and The Bideford, Littleham and Westward Ho! Cricket Club for the provision of the crane and the venue respectively.


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Welcombe Arts Summer studios: 7th, 8th, 9th August.

Work by a fantastic array of ten local artists, set in the beautiful village of Welcombe on Friday 7th, Sat 8th and Sun 9th August. 10.30am-5pm.   (This year held in memory of John Moat).

Come and meet the makers and artists and buy directly from them.

Photography, Ceramics and Glass, Textiles, Furniture Design, Painters and Printmakers.

Children’s Print Workshops by Nic Waltho.

Sculpture on the beach, hosted by The National Trust (Friday only).

Delicious homemade cakes from Welcombe’s Famous Pop-up Tea Room or enjoy lunch at our local pub, The Old Smithy.

For more info go to , follow us on facebook, or call 01288331506


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Littleham Arts & Music Festival.


You can find out more and order tickets online now for the Festival by going to You can also book by phone through Vicki Scott 01237 473707 or email TICKETS ARE LIMITED IN NUMBER SO BOOK EARLY TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT.

Scarecrow Competition.

Display from 9th August, Scarecrow Trail from 16th August and judging on 27th August. £3 entry charge per scarecrow. Download Application Form online, or collect one from Tricia Footman (01237 420419), ‘Autumn Haze’, Littleham (near the phone box), who will also collect the completed forms and the £3 entry. No categories.

Festival Film.

Sunday 16th August, 6.00pm Littleham Village Hall.  A family film – “Paddington”. £4 adults and £2 children (sorry – this is a Festival Film and not part of the new Littleham Film and Social Club Scheme). Refreshments, Raffle and Bar available.

Children’s Activities (FREE).

Super Bug Hunt – starting Sunday 2nd August – Butterfly Trail with map to download

Get Creative – 2 Wednesday sessions 10am – 12noon in Littleham Methodist Church on 19th and 26th August.

Help to Make a 3D Bug Collage to be exhibited at the Littleham Art Exhibition (and something to take home too!)

To book a free place please contact Janet on 01237 424102

Musical Story Time for younger children – Saturday 29th August 2.00pm – 3.00pm in the Village Hall Bar – just come along.

Light Festival Concert.

Thursday 20th August 7.00pm – St Swithun’s Church £5 per ticket

Folk Band “Big Al and the Bandits”, “Bell and the Boys”, “The Littleham Howlers” – Pimm’s , Savouries and raffle.

Festival Picnic and Dance with BASIL’S BLUES BAND.

Saturday 22nd August 7.00–11.30pm £5 per ticket. Bring your own picnic, drinks, plates, candelabra etc. (prizes for best dressed table). Basil’s Blues Band starts at 9.00pm after the picnic so bring your dancing shoes!

Festival Quiz.

Sunday 23rd August 7.00pm at Littleham Village Hall £5 per ticket

A Morris Poole “Special” so guaranteed to be a great night. Teams of 6 please. Ploughman’s supper included – bring your own drinks.

Art Exhibition.

Saturday 29th August (10am – 5pm), Sunday 30th August (10am – 5pm) and Monday 31st August (10am – 4pm)

Littleham Village Hall. Come and admire local artists’ paintings and drawings, many of which are for sale. Guest Exhibitor Rob Walker exhibits his watercolour paintings of the farming community.

Festival Concert of Light Classical Music.

Saturday 29th August 7.00pm St Swithun’s Church £5 per ticket. A Candlelit Concert featuring among others – John Hobbs (baritone) David Read (organ) Emily Brooks (soprano), Charles Hellier (piano)

Cava, Strawberries and Raffle.

Church Service of Thanksgiving.

Sunday 30th August 6pm St Swithun’s Church – to give thanks for the talents and generosity of local people. All welcome.

Festival Charities: The Multiple Sclerosis Society, Local Memory Cafes (Reminiscence Clubs for people with Alzheimer’s), Devon Air Ambulance, North Devon Stroke Unit and the local branch of the Neuroblastoma Society (babies with cancer). Sue Tait 01237 471928.


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Rolle Canal walk – 16th August.

Rolle Canal walk at Rosemoor.

Once again The Royal Horticultural Society have opened up their riverside woodlands as a special favour to allow the Rolle Canal Society to lead a walk down to the weir at the head of the Rolle Canal upstream of Rosemoor Gardens, Torrington.

In the 18th century this weir supplied water via a leat to a tucking mill nearly a mile downstream, then later the leat was enlarged to become part of the Rolle Canal which linked the lime kilns at Rowe’s Moor to the Torridge Estuary. The weir itself becomes the “Dark Weir” in Henry Williamson’s tales of ‘Tarka the Otter’ where the leat and the 19th century New Town Mills also feature.In a walk of about two miles there is the opportunity to see the weir and mill leat as well as the Darkham Woods, riverside wildlife habitat and the ruins of the great lime kilns for which the Rolle Canal supplied coal and limestone shipped in via Bideford from Wales.

The walk starts at 2:30pm on Sunday 16th August, meeting at the far side of Rosemoor’s woodland car park which is on the left as you go in. All are welcome, but sorry, no dogs on Rosemoor property. The paths are rough in places and there may be some muddy areas if wet, but good walking boots should be adequate.

There’s no need to book, but for more information 01237 425357, or preferably e-mail Why not make a day of it ? – - – spend the morning in the Gardens, lunch in the restaurant, walk in the afternoon, tea afterwards. (RHS standard charges apply except for the walk, which is just £2 towards the Rolle Canal Society’s restoration work)?.

Chris Hassall.


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Hungarians, not Bidefordians.

I was rather surprised to see the photograph (see above) on the first page of the July ‘Buzz’ labelled ‘An early Bideford Town Band’. The gentlemen shown went by the name of the ‘Hungarian Band’. They were a group of itinerant musicians who regularly turned up in Bideford during the Summer tourist season and played for anyone who would pay for them. The earliest reference I have is from May 1892 when the North Devon Journal carried a small mention –

Two months later they were playing at a fete held by St.Peter’s church at Chudleigh Fort and a month after this they provided the music at an outing to Westward Ho! for 70 inmates of the Bideford Workhouse. In September members of the Westleigh Sunday Schools marched through the village headed by the Band.

The next year they played for the Bideford Foresters’ and Oddfellows’ Friendly Societies at their fete held in the grounds of Porthill. Also in 1893 they appeared at the Regatta and also at the Bideford Horse Show though here they ‘augmented’ the Town Band –

This wasn’t one of their happiest events as during their return the carriage they were riding in crashed and both they and the Town Band members were thrown out, though luckily no-one was badly injured.

One notable occasion was when they appear to have been hired to play at the opening of the Bideford-Westward Ho! railway in May 1901 with at least three of their members, attired in military style uniforms being pictured in a photograph of the event –

The band re-appear year after year in the local newspapers though I haven’t seen any mention of them after 1910, which would seem to have been the date at which they either disbanded or removed to a new site.

Peter Christie.


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Tanya Landman, 2015 Carnegie Medal winner.

Tanya Landman - 2015 Carnegie medal winner for her book ‘Buffalo Soldier.’

Tanya Landman, the award winning author of more than thirty books for children and young adults, had no intention of becoming a writer until the idea for ‘Waking Merlin’ popped into her head. “It came from nowhere. It was completely out of the blue.”

Born and brought up in Kent, Tanya now lives and works in Bideford and the nearby coastline was the inspiration for her ‘Flotsam & Jetsam’ series. Tanya’s first books were “adventure stories with a sprinkling of magic and a dollop of humour.” But then Tanya turned to crime, writing ‘Mondays are Murder ‘(winner of a Red House Book Award) – the first in a series of ten “Agatha-Christie-for-kids” featuring child sleuth Poppy Fields and her friend Graham. Her new highly illustrated series for younger children – ‘Sam Swann’s Movie Mysteries’ – feature an accident prone boy sleuth and his faithful labrador sidekick Watson. Tanya also writes historical novels for young adults. ‘Apache’ - set in 19th century America – was shortlisted for several UK awards, including the Teenage Book Trust and the Carnegie (where it was voted the Shadowing Groups favourite). The US edition won a Borders Original Voices prize and a Spur award from the Western Writers of America. ‘The Goldsmith’s Daughter’ – set in the Aztec empire during the Spanish invasion – was nominated for the Carnegie and the Guardian Children’s Fiction prize. ‘Buffalo Soldier ‘won the 2015 Carnegie Medal.

This is the equivalent to the adult Booker prize and is a hugely prestigious award. Tanya has given the £500 prize money to Bideford library to spend on children’s books and activities.

Pictured here with Bideford Library staff, Louise Grainger and Sarah Powell.


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Review of “Secret Bideford”.

‘Secret Bideford’ by Peter Christie.

I have often wondered, a) does Peter Christie know everything? and b) is there anything new left to say about the history of Bideford? Having just read his new book Secret Bideford (Amberley Publishing £14.99) I can now say the answer to these questions are ‘probably’ and ‘surprisingly yes’. Peter tells us in his introduction that he has already written twelve books about our favourite town and this one is a very worthwhile addition to the series. It re-treads some old ground for those completely new to the town but brings to light some quirkier details that even Bideford old-timers probably didn’t know. Random facts I learned on reading include that the bridge used to be protected from erosion by mussels and that the library on first opening had separate rooms for rich and poor!

The book divides equally between text and illustrations, so it’s neither a detailed history or a straight ‘picture book’. The writing draws not only on a wealth of documentary evidence but also directs the reader to architectural details. The buildings themselves tell us stories and having read this book you will be far more aware of Bideford’s rich past recorded in the bricks and mortar you probably walk past every day. Likewise the pictures are not the sepia-toned standards reproduced in most books on the town but are a mixture of old and modern photos plus architectural drawings, plans and the occasional painting. I loved the artist’s impression of the new Strand Cinema from 1937. This beautiful building is now sadly destroyed, but I enjoyed a few Saturday Morning Pictures there as a boy.

My favourite story in the book comes at the very end and concerns eighty-nine year old George Slewman who in 1857 woke one morning to find one of his legs had fallen off. Far from disturbing the bedridden gentleman, he proudly kept the detached limb to show to visitors. It’s a bizarre tale but apparently true. There’s lots more to be found here so I can recommend you buy a copy from your local independent bookstore or borrow it from the library. (There is also a companion volume Secret Barnstaple by Denise Holton and Elizabeth Hammet about ‘that other place’).

Matt Chamings, Bideford Library.


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