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  by a team of volunteers and relies on our local community for articles.   If you are interested in supporting this newsletter we’ll be glad to hear from you.

You can submit your article on disc or by e-mail.    However, ‘snail mail’ is equally acceptable. Material for publication should reach us during 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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‘Pledge for Nature’.

Communities help nature across north Devon.

Some positive news in these challenging days, as the Pledge for Nature project gets off to a flying start! Since launching in January, communities across the North Devon Biosphere have pledged to plant over 2,500 trees, install over 40 bird boxes, 30 bug havens and make space for nature in more than 30 gardens!

Some examples of the brilliant pledges include: The Taw Fishing Club has put up six nest boxes for dippers and grey wagtails on the upper Taw near Coldridge, Nymet Rowland and Wembworthy. “Tom” from Dolton has pledged to plant apple, walnut, field maple and alder buckthorn trees to diversify his hedges. “Michelle” from Barnstaple pledged to plant bee-friendly shrubs in her garden.Kitty” from Northlew pledged to plant 6 – 8 trees of local fruit varieties and sourced locally to make an orchard. And the Environment Agency will be creating two wildflower areas at their Alverdiscott depot.

Mike Moser, Chair of the North Devon Biosphere Nature Improvement Group said “This is great news for north Devon’s nature – please encourage your friends, family and colleagues to get involved. Thank you to everyone who has made a pledge so far – from individuals to community groups, and schools to businesses. Let’s make something positive from these difficult times.”

We are now excited to announce the next round of seasonal activities (April to June) for you to get involved in:

Garden for Insects.

Pledge to join the Devon Wildlife Trust’s Action for Insect campaign. Can you reduce pesticide use and make your garden more wildlife friendly? Devon Wildlife Trust will be providing useful tool kits for individuals, communities and primary schools to find out what you can do to help insects.

Create a Wildflower Patch.

Use advice from the Butterfly Conservation Trust and Bumblebee Conservation Trust on how to create a wildflower patch (a seed tray on your window, a patch on your lawn or a meadow on your lane verge or farm).

Care for nature in a space near you.

Choose a lane, layby, local park, beach spot or river section and keep it free of litter. You can also help by keeping an eye out for invasive species.

Family Activity – Learn to identify wildflowers together.

Help start an early appreciation for nature- use our resources to help learn about nature with your children and let us know what you find.

Become a Citizen Scientist – see the list of projects on our website.

Make your pledges on the Pledge for Nature web site. You can still make a pledge even if it’s not an activity on this list by choosing ‘Other’ on the pledge form and tell us what action you have taken for nature.

Please spread the word by sharing pictures of completed pledges using the hashtag #PledgeforNature via:

Twitter: @PledgeforNature

Facebook: Pledge for Nature

Instagram: NorthDevonBiosphere


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Exmoor Pony Centre.

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

Update Covid-19 – Information for Visitors and Supporters.


We would like to send all our supporters our very best wishes at this difficult time and assure everyone that our ponies are receiving the best of care.

We are operating with just one member of staff plus our manager on site at any one time to ensure social distancing and staff safety, and our volunteers have been told to remain at home.

We will be using enhanced social media and fundraising notifications to try and maintain contact and enable people to keep in touch with us and our work. We hope to continue bringing you news and some ‘light hearted’ relief from the current situation with updates and stories of our ponies.

We hope the charity will come out of this situation with the funds to continue and that we will be able to welcome visitors to the Exmoor Pony Centre again in the future.

?Thank you for your understanding. Please take care and stay safe.




Tel: 01398 323093.


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Torridge Business Rates Support grants.

In order to support businesses through the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak the Government has announced various measures to support businesses which Torridge Council will be administering.

Grant – £10k – Businesses in receipt of Small Business Relief (rateable value less than £15,000).

The Council is intending to write to all businesses this week requesting they complete an online form so that the Council can obtain the necessary details to allow it to make payment of the £10k grant.

The grant is being funded by Central Government, and it is anticipated that Torridge will receive the funding in early April, at which point the grants payments can be processed.

It is very important that businesses are aware that scammers are operating and using the Covid-19 crisis to trick people into divulging such things as bank details. As a result businesses should only upload bank details on the link detailed within the letter and refuse any other requests by telephone, email or other means.

Please note that the letter requesting the provision of your details will go to the address held on record by the Council, this could be your personal OR business address.

Grant – £25kBusinesses within the Hospitality, Retail & Leisure sector with ratable value greater than £15,000 and less than £51,000.

The Council will also be writing to businesses that meet these criteria under the scheme. As above the submission of the required information will be via an on-line form detailed within the letter sent to your business.

Funding for these businesses is also anticipated in early April, and letters requesting the provision of your details will likewise go to the address held on record by the Council, which could be your business OR personal address.

Lead Member for the Economy Councillor Bob Hicks said: “While the money for these support packages is coming from central government, we will make sure as a Council that they are distributed to businesses as smoothly and efficiently as possible. It’s also an opportunity for us to publicly express our thanks and appreciation for the sacrifices businesses across Torridge have made in adhering to government advice, and temporarily closing or restricting their activities. This will hopefully make a significant contribution to stemming the spread of Covid-19 but we also acknowledge that this has been a difficult and worrying time for business owners that none of us are taking for granted.”

Any business who doesn’t receive a letter by the end of next week but who identify themselves as meeting the criteria should contact the Council’s business rates section for guidance. However we would ask that businesses leave sufficient time for a letter to arrive before choosing this option.

The accompanying flow chart (below) illustrates the support process available to businesses.


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Torridge District Council response to CoVid-19.

Following recent government and NHS announcements concerning the spread of Coronavirus, the government has asked everybody in the UK to stop non-essential contact with other people and avoid all unnecessary travel. This has been referred to as “social distancing”.

As a result of this advice the Council have taken the decision to cancel all public committee and other meetings until at least the end of March. They will continue to review government advice on a weekly basis and update its approach as appropriate. Where possible, alternative methods of exchanging information such as video conferencing will be put in place.

The Council are also asking members of the public to think about how they interact with them in the short term – many services can be accessed online or requests made by telephone. They are advising people that its customer reception points will be closed for all but emergency or essential contact. We are therefore asking people not to visit Council Offices unless it is absolutely necessary, and would urge people to speak to officers first before any projected visit.

Officers and Members have also held meetings to discuss service provision during the likely ongoing escalation of the crisis. The emphasis has been on provision of the most important front line services to the many vulnerable people across the district as well as other important services such as refuse collection.. Human resource teams have also been trying to foresee the impact that potential school closures might have on staff that have parenting duties, or other staff who might be more vulnerable due to their own health or the health of relatives or dependant partners.

While services are currently operating at near normal capacity, as more staff may themselves succumb to the virus, or be responsible for looking after others at home, some Council response times may be extended. The Council will do its best to manage resources in key services by redeploying staff or assessing temporary workforce arrangements, but would ask the public for their understanding in what continues to be a fast evolving situation. There may also be a need to prioritise some services over others but we will endeavour to keep all services running as smoothly as possible.

The Council will continue to post updates and important messages on its website, Facebook, Twitter @torridgedc and other social media channels. Torridge will also start posting general and service updates on a dedicated “Corona virus (COVID-19) advice in Torridge” webpage accessible from the landing page on the Councils website. The page will also host links to other main sources of information such as the NHS and Central Government.


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Council seeks partnership with private landlords in Bideford.

Torridge District Council is calling on private landlords with properties for rent in the Bideford area to come forward to discuss long term leases for their properties. The request is part of the Council’s push to find a more ready supply of accommodation for when people find themselves temporarily homeless or in need of housing assistance.

Homelessness can occur for numerous reasons – family breakdown, sudden change in financial circumstance – and people often turn to the Council for short-term help in such circumstances. The shortage of readily available affordable accommodation across the district means that some people have to be placed into bed and breakfast or hotel accommodation for short periods, where they may lack cooking and laundry facilities.

Torridge Council is proactively seeking landlords with available properties that it can lease on a 2-4 year basis to temporarily house people. Properties must be of a good standard and low maintenance and the Council are particularly interested in larger 4-5-bedroom homes for families and 2-bedroom level access properties for people with mobility issues. In return the Council will manage the property, ensure that it is returned in the condition that it was leased and provide the landlord with a guaranteed income for the duration of the lease.

Councillor Michael Clarke, Lead Member for Homelessness and Housing Need in Torridge, said: “Anyone might find themselves in a sudden homeless situation during their lives and, while not always the case, may be in need of the Council’s help to get them back on their feet in the short-term. Having a list of readily available and suitable properties we can utilise to assist people will be of huge benefit to everyone involved. We hope landlords will rally to this call for available properties and get in touch with our officers to discuss becoming involved in this project. The upside to all of this will hopefully be to everybody’s advantage.”

Any property owners who would like to explore these proposals further are asked to contact Helen Page on 01237 428843 or email


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Shipping notes No. 179 (February).

Bideford Quay.

No commercial shipping since last issue. Oldenburg returned from her annual drydocking at Sharpness on the 27th Feb .


There has been no news, despite all the promises from Mr Cox, MP, that the yard would be reopened by December 2019. However there have been articles in the Journal and the Gazette reporting that the unions believe ‘no news’ was disturbing, and blaming the government for the lack of progress due to lack of financial guarantees. Let’s hope there is some good news soon.

Yelland Quay.

No commercial shipping since last issue.

Bristol Channel Observations.

1/2 at 10.43 vehicle carrier Altair Leader, 18,688 tons d.w., owners TLC Hope/FK Baron Japan, inward bound for Portbury.

4/2 at 06.30 vehicle carrier Grande Colonia, 12,292 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of |taly, inward bound for Portbury. (Seen again at 10.02 5th having sailed from Portbury at 05.30). At 10.25 cargo vessel Yvonne F, 3,783 tons d.w., owners Rufina Beheer B.V. Netherlands, inward bound for Portbury. At 16.00 vehicle carrier Neptune Aegli, 6,580 tons d.w., owners Aegli Shipping Ltd Greece, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 11.33. At 1700 cargo vessel Ashley, 2,953 tons d.w., owners Kirk Scheepvaartonderneming CV Netherlands, outward bound from Cardiff having sailed at 22.35 3rd.

5/2 at 14.57 cargo vessel Victoriaborg, 9,850 tons d.w., owners Wagenborg Rederij BV Netherlands, inward bound for Avonmouth.

8/2 at 12.24 vehicle carrier Tugela, 28,837 tons d.w., Wallenius Wilhelmsen Norway and Sweden, inward bound for Portbury.

12/2 at 08.30 bitumen taker Bitfjord, 4,993 tons d.w., owners Bulolasteyn BV Netherlands, inward bound for Newport.

20/2 at 07.24 vehicle carrier Monza, 12,304 tons d.w., owners Monza GMBH & Co Germany, inward bound for Portbury. At 07.24 vehicle carrier Opal Leader, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 01.40.

25/2 at 15.58 vehicle carrier Victory Leader, 13,363 tons d.w., owners Victory Ray Ltd Isle of Man, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 10.45.

26/2 at 07.25 ro-ro vessel World Carrier, 7,100 tons d.w., owners New Horizon Ltd Bulgaria, outward bound from Cardiff having sailed at 21.58 25th At 09.38 tanker Ramanda, 17,999 tons d.w., owners Alvatank Rederi AB Sweden, inward bound for Avonmouth. At 10.06 tanker Ramelia, 17,994 tons d.w., owners Alvatank Rederi AB Sweden, inward bound for Cardiff . At 15.58 cargo vessel Penhar, 6,500 tons d.w., owners Vertom Les mv Pen Har Netherlands, inward bound for Newport.

29/6 at 13.00 cargo vessel Prudence, 6,500 tons d.w., owners Vertoom Prudence B.v. Netherlands, inward bound for Newport.

I apologise for the lack of sightings, but the weather conditions have not been favourable for ship spotting due to the named storms that have been in the area for the last three weeks.



Below – photograph of the ‘Kathleen and May’ at Canning Dock, Liverpool taken by Martin Humphreys on a recent visit to Liverpool.


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Shipping notes No. 178 (January).

Yelland Quay.

No shipping since last issue.

Bideford Quay.

No shipping since last issue.

Bristol Channel Observations.

4/1 at 08.00 bulk carrier Izmir, 63,200 tons d.w., owners Izmir Maritime ltd Turkey, inward bound for Portbury. At 15.56 cargo vessel Kertu, 4,800 tons d.w., owners HS Kerto OU Estonia, inward bound for Avonmouth.

5/1 at 07.30 bulk carrier Agia Eleni, 29,664 tons d.w., owners Pineapple Maritime SA Greece, outward bound from Avonmouth having sailed at 01.38.

10/1 at 07.15 cargo vessel Arklow Rover, 4,993 tons d.w., owners Invermore Shipping Ltd, inward bound for Avonmouth. At 07.20 hrs tanker Northern Skagerrak, 708 tons d.w., owners Kristensson Shipping AB Sweden, inward bound for Cardiff.

11/1 at 10.31 vehicle carrier Hoegh Tracer, 21,983 tons d.w., owners Hoegh Autoliners of Norway, inward bound for Portbury.

13/1 at 09.15 cargo vessel Arklow Valiant, 5,169 tons d.w., owners Avoca Shipping BV Netherlands, inward bound for Avonmouth.

17/1 at 16.05 vehicle carrier Monza, 12,303 tons d.w., owners Monza GMBH & Co KG Germany, inward bound for Portbury.

18/1 at 10.06 cargo vessel Maras, 3,825 tons d.w., owners Maras Herman Lohmann Germany, inward bound for Newport. At 10.35 cargo vessel Baltica Hav, 1,761 tons d.w., owners Hav Ship Management AS Norway, outward bound from Sharpness having sailed at 00.39.

20/1 at 07.20 vehicle carrier Grand Champion, 18,262 tons d.w., owners Cido Shipping (H K) China, inward bound for Portbury. At 07.40 vehicle carrier Neptune Aegli, 6,580 tons d.w., owners Aegli Shipping Ltd Greece, inward bound for Portbury. At 17.23 bulk carrier Aasnes, 4,015 tons d.w., owners Hans Martin Torkelsen Norway, inward bound for Avonmouth.

21/1 at 0725 vehicle carrier Grande New York, 18,360 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 03.11. At 15.33 cargo vessel Maras, 3,825 tons d.w., owners Maras Hermann Lohmann Germany, outward bound from Newport. At 16.49 cargo vessel Thebe, 2,500 tons d.w., owners Reederei M Lauterjung GMBH Germany, inward bound for Cardiff.

22/1 at 16.44 tug MTS Vector, 135 tons gross, owners MTS Group Ltd Brixham, inward bound for Newport. At 17.28 tanker Scot Munchen, 8,266 tons d.w., owners Scot Munchen SA Turkey, inward bound for Port Talbot.

26/1 at 12.27 bulk carrier Maccoa, 30,898 tons d.w., owners TRS Rode BV Greece, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 07.11.

27/1 at 07.43 vehicle carrier Boheme, 28,360 tons d.w., owners Wallenius Wilhemsen Norway and Sweden, inward bound for| Portbury. At 13.33 vehicle carrier Autopride, 4,442 tons d.w., owners United European Car Carriers Norway, inward bound for Portbury. At 15.07 vehicle carrier Grande Colonia, 12,292 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, inward bound for Portbury. (Seen again at 17.43 28th having sailed from Portbury at 11.46).

28/1 at 15.36 cargo vessel Hermas, 4,903 tons d.w., owners Hermas Hermen Lohman Germany, outward bound from Sharpness having sailed at 20.38 27th

29/1 at 07.52 vehicle carrier Emerald Leader, 10,819 tons d.w., owners White Bear Maritime Ltd Japan, outward bound from Portbury. At 11.50 bulk carrier Ida, 18,172 tons d.w., outward bound from Newport having sailed at 21.49 13/1 having meanwhile been anchored off the South Wales coast.

30/1 at 13.00 vehicle carrier Neptune Galena, 6,580 tons d.w., owners Aegli shipping Ltd Greece, inward bound for Portbury.




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New £110K grant scheme for sole traders in Torridge.

Torridge District Council is set to launch a business grant scheme of up to £5,000 for local businesses ready to take on their first employee.

The scheme recognises the important role small businesses play in the local economy, with an estimated 4,800 sole traders making up 60% of the 8,000 or so businesses operating across the district. Councillors were keen to find a targeted way to provide growth opportunities for this important sector of the local economy and the adopted £5K grant scheme is the result of that focus.

The scheme will require applicants to submit a business plan and some financial information, which will then be considered by a grant panel, who will decide which businesses will be awarded a grant and an amount up to £5K. Even if a grant isn’t awarded or businesses just want help and guidance for other issues, the Council’s Economic Regeneration team and partners will be on hand to advise, and can also provide information on free business and training courses.

The opening window for the first round of applications is from 2nd March to 30th April, with decisions to be made at an investment panel meeting on 20th May. A special awareness event will also be held at Torrington Town Hall on 3rd March. Businesses are invited to come along and discuss the grant scheme but can also talk to business experts from partner organisations.

Councillor Bob Hicks, Lead Member for the Economy at Torridge District Council, said: “This is an exiting opportunity for all types of businesses across Torridge to take that next step in expansion. Helping already established businesses to grow will be a boost not only for successful applicants but also for job creation and skills development across a large sector of the local economy. We hope that local business people will seize this opportunity for a potential £5,000 cash injection to help them grow and expand. In the process it should also result in the creation of 20 or more new jobs across the district as well. A win-win for everybody.”

Jane Maynard BFA, FCA., President of Bideford Bay Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is a great opportunity for businesses to take that first step towards growth and to employ for the first time. Often a worrying time for many business owners, this grant will help to offset the financial concerns and allow them to spring forward. Chamber are delighted to be supporting this initiative.”

The application process has been designed to be as simple and straight forward as possible. Simply visit the Council’s website “business grant” page for more information, or email Any new employees must be employed for at least 18.5 hours per week and for a minimum of 12 months.


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‘Journey to the Sea’ films.

‘Journey to the Sea’ film series set to make waves in North Devon.

A new six-part documentary series starring the people and landscapes of North Devon premieres in the county this month – narrated by BBC Springwatch presenter Gillian Burke. ‘Journey to the Sea’ has been produced in partnership between North Devon Biosphere, WWF, Sky Ocean Rescue, the National Trust, and the Environment Agency.

‘Journey to the Sea’ is a celebration of the connection between people, land and the sea – putting nature centre stage. A special Director’s Cut of the films was screened on Tuesday 21st January in North Devon. The exclusive event will be hosted by science communicator, zoologist and star of one of the episodes, Sophie Pavelle. Following the launch, one episode per week will then go on general release.

Filmed in North Devon, and following the course of the county’s waterways, the collection of short films is a celebration of Devon’s stunning, diverse habitats – from the wild moors of Dartmoor, to the crashing surf of the coastline and out to the open water around Lundy’s shores. The series aims to inspire viewers to take action to protect the UK’s natural world wherever they live.

The films are told through the eyes of local people, who help bring these special places to life. During the series viewers will meet a range of characters, whose lives and livelihoods are intrinsically linked to the area’s waterways, including Ilfracombe’s harbour master and Lundy Island’s warden.

The six films are:

Wild camping with Trev’ – hiking through Dartmoor National Park.

Farming for the future with Simon’ – connecting young people with wildlife on a working farm.

Exploring the estuary with Sophie’ – paddleboarding on the peaceful Taw-Torridge Estuary.

Surfing with Jasmine’ – disadvantaged young people learning to surf with the Wave Project at Saunton Sands and Croyde beach.

The harbour with George’ – meeting the thriving harbour community in Ilfracombe.

Lundy island with Dean’ – diving below the waves and exploring the island.


Rose Stainthorp, Marine Pioneer Coordinator, North Devon Biosphere, said: “North Devon can be a magical place, packed full of wildlife and diverse habitats. We have world-class surfing conditions, which attract surfers from across the country and beyond. Along with the beauty and tranquility of Dartmoor National Park, and the wildlife found on land and at sea, North Devon supports a thriving tourism industry that employs thousands of local people. This should be celebrated and brought to life so we all understand why now is the time to take action and protect nature on our doorstep.”

Alec Taylor, Head of Marine Policy, WWF, said: “We know our oceans and waterways are under threat like never before, from plastic pollution and climate change, to overfishing and underwater noise. Nature is not just a nice to have – it’s our life support system and we can no longer ignore the pressures we’re placing on our environment. We hope these films will inspire people to join the fight for our world and take action to help protect and restore our precious oceans and waterways for the wildlife and communities that depend on them.”


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Shipping notes No. 177 (December).

Bideford Quay.

No cargo shipping since last issue.

Yelland Quay.

Nothing since last issue.


No shipyard news forthcoming, so keeping fingers crossed that the New Year will bring some good news.

Bristol Channel Observations.

1/12 at 07.58 cargo vessel Wilson Clyde, 4,450 tons d.w., owners Wilson A/S Norway, inward bound for Newport. At 10.31 bulk carrier Nordtigris, 37,000 tons d.w., owners Nordtigris Schiffahrts Germany, inward bound for Newport. At 11.21 vehicle carrier Autosun, 6,670 tons d.w., owners United European Car Carrier Norway, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 06.27.

2/12 at 07.20 cargo vessel R.M.S Wedau, 1,708 tons d.w., owners Rhein Maas-und See-Schiffahrtskontor GMBH Germany, inward bound for Sharpness. At 08.30 cargo vessel Ammon, 3,800 tons d.w., owners Q-shipping B.V Netherlands, inward bound for Newport.

3/12 at 12.15 bunkering tanker Whitdawn, 4,500 tons d.w., owners John H Whitaker Malta Ltd Hull, outward bound from Port Talbot having sailed at 08.55. At 13.30 vehicle carrier Zenith Leader, 12,260 tons d.w., owners RBSAF25 Ltd London, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 08.29.

4/12 at 13.50 vehicle carrier Coral Leader, 12,164 tons d.w., owners Nippon Yusen Kaisha Japan, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 08.49. At 15.05 vehicle carrier Titania, 31,108 tons d.w., owners Wallenius Wilhelmsen Norway and Sweden, inward bound for Portbury.

5/12 at 11.36 cargo vessel Starvip, 18,615 tons d.w., owners Vipima Societa Di Navigazioe Italy, inward bound for Newport. At 12.45 cargo vessel Erkul S., 13,347 tons d.w., owners unknown, inward bound for Newport.

6/12 at 08.45 cruise ship Marco Polo, 5,180 gross tons, owners Story Cruise Ltd Greece, inward bound for Portbury having sailed at 03.31. (She was 12 hours late sailing because of the severe storm, with winds of 70 mph recorded at Chivenor).

7/12 at 07.27 cargo vessel R.M.S. Deudorf, 2,620 tons d.w., outward bound from Newport having sailed at 00.22. At 08.42 cargo vessel Kristel, 5,000 tons d.w., inward bound for Newport.

8/12 at 12.34 bulk carrier San, 17,083 tons d.w., owners Hermione Six Maritime Ltd Poland, inward bound for Newport.

10/12 at 13.09 vehicle carrier Victory Leader, 13,363 tons d.w., owners Victory Ray Ltd Isle of Man, inward bound for Portbury.

11/12 at 14.18 vehicle carrier Crystal Ace, 18,481 tons d.w., owners Story Cruise Ltd Greece, inward bound for Portbury. (This was the fourth vehicle carrier in the Channel on this day – the others were the Monza, Niagara Highway, and Aegean Highway, all bound for Portbury but sheltered to the North of Lundy. At 19.20 the fully-illuminated cruise ship Marco Polo, 5,180 gross tons, inward bound for Avonmouth. At 22.08 vehicle carrier Apollon Leader, 18,758 tons d.w., owners Flor deVapores SA Japan, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 17.56.

15/12 at 11.50 vehicle carrier Victory Leader, 13,363 tons d.w., owners Victory Ray Ltd Isle of Man, outward bound from Portbury having sailed 11th at 15.38 – she had been sheltering off Lynemouth due to the gale force winds. At 14.44 vehicle carrier Monza, 12,304 tons d.w., owners Monza GMBH & Co Germany, outward bound from Portbury having sailed on the 12th – she had been sheltering off Lynemouth with the Victory Leader.

19/1 at 07.30 container vessel Hansa Asia, 47,116 tons d.w., owners MRC Ship Co 1 LLC Germany, inward bound for Portbury.

21/1 at 13.00 cargo vessel Beaumagic, 3,817 tons d.w., owners Unisea Shipping B.V. Netherlands, inward bound for Newport.

23/12 at 08.15 vehicle carrier Grande Colonia, 12,292 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 03.00.

28/12 at 13.50 vehicle carrier Sirius Highway, 20,419 tons d.w., owners Kawasaki Kisen K.K. Japan, inward bound for Portbury. (Also seen again at 12.30 29th, having sailed from Portbury 0854.

29/12 at 07.50 cargo vessel Celtic Warrior, 4,123 tons d.w., owners Charles M. Willie Cardiff, inward bound for Cardiff. At 10.58 vehicle carrier Grande Roma, 14,900 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, inward bound for Portbury. (Seen again at 14.41 30th having sailed from Portbury at 11.40.

30/12 at 12.10 tanker Two Million Ways, 73,965 tons d.w., owners TMW Shipping C.V Netherlands, outward Portbury having sailed at 06.57.




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“Down on the Farm” – short films.


A short film commission has produced six five-minute documentaries about farmers and farming within the unique environment of North Devon’s UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The films are a revealing insight into the lives of our farming neighbours and will provoke thought and discussion around our food and where it comes from.

Community film making organisation North Devon Moving Image (NDMI) commissioned these emerging documentary film makers from around the UK to bring their individual film making creativity to the telling of these farmers’ stories.

Amanda McCormack, Creative Director of NDMI, says –

Since founding North Devon Moving Image six years ago it had always been my intention to make some films about farmers in north Devon. In my mind, it was a project that couldn’t NOT be done. As well as creating, collecting and sharing films it is an important part of our remit to encourage and facilitate new film makers. So, putting the two together, I decided to run North Devon’s first short documentary film commission and (as you will see) it has been an amazing success!”

Giving the film makers a year in which to make their films has meant that they really got to know their subjects and you will experience the impact of this in the intimate and passionate stories they tell in their ‘Down on the Farm’ films.

These films are important. They have value in preserving a snapshot of farming today, reflecting and celebrating a very important part of North Devon’s essence. They will do the job of enlightening, inspiring and entertaining those who watch them, connecting people with their farming neighbours and encouraging thought and dialogue around the food we eat.”

The films are free to watch via the North Devon Moving Image website, and thanks to generous funding from local, regional and national organisations, NDMI are able to offer a free screening licence to any groups who would like to show the ‘Down on the Farm’ films on a big screen.


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‘Plastic Free North Devon’ – short film.

Plastic Free North Devon Awareness Raising Short Film

New 3-minute film to highlight our connection to the natural world and  encourage individual actions to help combat environmental issues.

Plastic Free North Devon (PFND announces the release of their awareness raising short film which aims to highlight many of environmental problems that surround us all and how we can all play a part as individuals in making a positive difference.

This deeply emotive film takes the viewer on a journey,  highlighting our connection to the natural world, showing what we are doing to destroy those connections and then gets the viewer to ask themselves a question: ‘What will YOU do?’

We decided to create a film that encourages us as individuals to change our everyday behaviour to reduce our impact on the environment and to highlight the important role we have to play in this story’, said Claire Moodie, CEO of PFND. ‘Whilst we understand that systemic change has to come from government and corporations to really halt the environmental degradation that we are witnessing, it is the hearts and minds of the general public that will force this change – we have to be the change we want to see. Big business and government are still not listening so we have to shout louder. We really hope you enjoy this film as much as we enjoyed producing it, it’s been an emotional journey and one that we hope will inspire our local community and others to act’.

James Szymakiewicz, Chair of Plastic Free North Devon, said ‘We supported our core team at Plastic Free North Devon in producing this short film which amplified the message of our vital work in this locality and contextualised it within the wider environmental crisis. We feel that the film powerfully illustrates the grave nature of the challenges that we collectively face, whilst effectively capturing the essence of hope and community power that is so important in tackling the crisis’.

Plastic Free North Devon’s unique selling point is its local focus and its intricate involvement in the community. This film aims to engage the local North Devon community to feel empowered to take action and for other communities around the world to take inspiration from it. ‘We are lucky enough to live in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ says Anne-Marie Eveleigh, Director of Operations at PFND. ‘If we open our eyes we can all see the impact that plastic pollution and climate change are having on our surroundings. Now is the time to take action. We want everyone in North Devon and around the world to feel empowered to do this’.

This film was only made possible by our very talented local videographer Gemma Pons Alsina, and the additional footage donations from various individuals, organisations and community groups including Panoptic Media, South West Water, Plastic Oceans UK and Horsey Seals, to name a few. We are also very thankful to the local people who played a part in the film.

PFND aim to get this film into local cinemas, galleries and at events. If you would like to use this film please contact and visit to find tips on how to take individual steps to reduce your impact and find information about what else the charity does.

The film can be viewed here: (Scroll down slightly to see film on home page).

It can also be seen here on You Tube:

About Plastic Free North Devon

Plastic Free North Devon is a registered charity (Reg No: 1182464) and local environmental movement started by volunteers who want to reduce the impact of plastic pollution on the environment in North Devon and beyond. Working with local councils, community groups, businesses, schools, residents and visitors we aim to raise awareness of the issue, reduce the amount of plastic consumed, clear waste plastic from the environment and ensure that it is recycled or disposed of appropriately.


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Plans for new Burrows Centre take shape.

At the recent Community and Resources committee meeting on Monday 14th October Members were updated on the latest developments in plans to deliver the exciting new Visitor Centre for Northam Burrows. The new facility will be the focal point of the Country Park which covers 258 hectares lying within a designated AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), Unesco Biosphere Reserve and designated SSSI (site of special scientific interest).

The project, which has already received £1.2M of Coastal Communities funding towards its delivery, is being designed to create a new interpretation centre and activity hub for nature based tourism – tourism based on viewing and experiencing the natural environment. Amongst the many improved facilities the building will accommodate permanent and temporary exhibition spaces, a café, flexible community spaces, and business support for local firms and new tourism start-ups.

The update included the announcement that WSP have been appointed for the centre’s structural, mechanical and engineering elements. Their input has resulted in new methodologies being considered for the building including Nudura building sections, which when slotted together are filled with concrete. This makes the build process quicker but also improves energy efficiency. Changes have also been made to the floor space to accommodate a small aquarium area with further enhancements to the exhibition areas.

Councillor Cheryl Cottle-Hunkin (Lead Member for Community, Culture and Leisure) said: “This is a really exciting project which will create a centre of excellence for environmental education within one of our most important environments. I especially like the ambition of making more of our environment and developing tourism in the area in a sustainable way. The additional facilities and café will also be a real asset to the area and a great improvement on what is currently available.”

The current building is due to be demolished early next year with plans to inaugurate the new building in 2021. The project has also received widespread support from businesses and business organisations, as well as educational establishments. Research suggests over 180 businesses will be supported by the centre, and will create around 90 new jobs including 12 within the centre itself.


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Abbotsham – an historical note.

If you have been watching the last series of ‘Poldark’ you will know that the final episodes dealt with the threat of invasion in the West Country by the French. This threat was temporarily resolved by the Peace of Amiens in March 1802, but by May of 1803 the war was back on and the threat of invasion with it.

This threat was perceived very seriously in the area around Bideford, as can be seen from two documents in the North Devon Record office that relate to the parish of Abbotsham. These are what in today’s parlance might be called a ‘contingency plan’.

The first document, dated 4th December 1803, is The minutes of the resolutions entered into at a meeting of the inhabitants of Abbotsham’. There were six numbered resolutions setting out where parishioners were to meet and place themselves under the direction of named persons, where they should take their stock, that various carts were appointed for the removal of sick and infirm people and that the overseers of the poor would supply 6 bushels of meal at parish expense to Mrs Stone to make 4 loaves of bread for each of the poor. The Overseers of the Poor were also to supply materials to enable the livestock to be marked and they even specified how and where such markings we to be placed.

The document then sets out who would conduct and drive the stock along one of two specified routes – one to Dartmoor and the other to Somerton, distances of about 40 miles and 80 miles. They weren’t taking any chances!

The second document details the owners of the stock that was to be moved plus the names of the old and decrepit persons and whose cart they should travel on. There followed details of the routes to be used, with some alterations written in pencil, showing slight differences to those of the first document, which must be the later version.

This shows some forward thinking by the leaders of the parish, although one can’t help wondering how much notice of invasion they would need to put this plan into action.

David Snow.


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Heroine of India honoured with statue in Torrington.

A bronze statue of Sister Nivedita (1867-1911) was unveiled by Great Torrington Town and Torridge District Councillors in Great Torrington Cemetery on Saturday 27th August . Sister Nivedita, who was born Margaret Elizabeth Noble, spent much of her life in India where she is revered as an educationalist and campaigner for India’s freedom movement. Her involvement with India came about after a meeting with Swami Vivekananda in London in 1895 after which she travelled to Calcutta. She was given the name Nivedita meaning “dedicated to god” and opened a girls school in 1898. Her intention was to educate girls who were at the time deprived of even the most basic education. She is also noted for nursing the poor during the plague epidemic in Calcutta in 1899 as well as having a close association with the Ramakrishna Mission until later when she made an active contribution in the field of Indian Nationalism.

She died in Darjeeling in 1911 and following her cremation her ashes were returned to Great Torrington where they were interred in the family grave. The statue and plinth were commissioned and paid for by the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Ms Mamata Banerjee to commemorate the 150th anniversary of her birth on July 4th and also in commemoration of her life which she dedicated to India. Torridge District Council provided the plot on which the bronze statue has been sited as a permanent memorial. It is the first statue of Sister Nivedita to be erected outside of India and was unveiled jointly by Deputy Mayor of Torrington Doug Smith and Torridge and Great Torrington Councillor Cheryl Cottle-Hunkin who is also lead member for Community, Culture and Leisure at Torridge District Council.

TDC Lead member for Community, Culture and Leisure – Councillor Cheryl Cottle-Hunkin said – “I must admit that I was largely unaware of Sister Nivedita’s family connection to the Great Torrington area or of the fascinating and selfless work she devoted herself to in India. Clearly she was a remarkable woman at a time when people (and women in particular) were not given the opportunities that they have today. This makes her achievements even more significant, and I hope that the statue will act as an inspiration to those who see it and bring about a greater recognition of her life which was dedicated to helping those who were less fortunate.”

Mayor of Great Torrington – Councillor Keeley Allin said: “The information in relation to Sister Nivedita’s incredible achievements in India and her connection to Great Torrington have been a revelation to many over these past few months. It is clear that amongst other things, this lady’s life had a major impact in empowering young women in India through the provision of education and learning. It is a privilege to host the statue of remembrance and recognition in our town’s cemetery and hope that many people, young and old, will visit and be inspired by the life and achievements of Sister Nivedita.”

Swami Sarvasthananda said: “We are delighted to be part of unveiling ceremony of Sister Nivedita, also known as Margaret Noble, who gave her all to India at the behest of her spiritual master Swami Vivekananda. She was inspired by his message of Service of God in man and contributed a lot in several fields for the uplift of the Indian masses including that of women’s education. It is a great privilege for the monks and devotees of the Ramakrishna Mission to honour her contribution by installing a bronze statue in Torrington kindly made possible by the help received from the government of West Bengal, India. Our sincere thanks to Torridge District Council for their unconditional help and support.”


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