Beavering away for Bideford flood protection.

There are proposals under consideration for raising the level of the Kenwith Reservoir dam to give the necessary added protection from fluvial flooding resulting from anticipated climate change and the amount of new housing development in the catchment area.

In this context, the following quotation from an account of works carried out near Pickering, North Yorkshire, seems rather appealing !

In Pickering, rather than building a £20 million concrete flood wall through the centre of town, the community planted 29 hectares of woodland upstream to naturally soak up water, and created hundreds of natural obstructions in the river made of logs, branches and heather to restore its natural flow. The flood risk has now fallen from 25%, to just 4%, and at a fraction of the cost of hard defences”.

This description almost exactly matches the account of work carried out by beavers in a controlled experimental research project by the Devon Wildlife Trust in the south of Torridge district (see below). Here the storage and slow release of water from sudden rainfall events is proven to significantly reduce peak flows downstream. When you consider the popularity of the wild beavers on the river Otter, the presence of Bideford Beavers in the Kenwith Valley Nature Reserve could also be a great tourist attraction.

After all, with beavers on the river Otter in east Devon, why shouldn’t we have beavers on the most famous otter river of all, the Torridge? They should live happily together, as beavers are vegetarian and otters would love the extra fish that beaver pools encourage to breed and thrive.

Chris Hassall.


Beavers win top BBC Countryfile award.

The remarkable story of Devon’s wild beavers goes on, with the announcement that the Westcountry rodents have now won a top national award.

Readers of BBC Countryfile Magazine have selected the River Otter Beaver Trial based in East Devon, along with the Scottish Beaver Trial, as their ‘Wildlife Success Story of the Year’ for 2017. The public poll attracted 56,000 votes across its 12 award categories.

The accolade is recognition of the work being done with the East Devon beavers by the charity Devon Wildlife Trust. The beavers are the first wild population of the animals to exist in England for 400 years. Devon Wildlife Trust leads the River Otter Beaver Trial in partnership with Clinton Devon Estates, University of Exeter and the Derek Gow Partnership.

Devon Wildlife Trust’s Mark Elliott manages the River Otter Beaver Trial and said:

We’re delighted to have won this prestigious BBC Countryfile Magazine Award. The fact that thousands of members of the public have taken the time to vote for beavers in Devon and in Scotland shows the wide support these charismatic creatures enjoy.”

A breeding population of beavers was first discovered on the River Otter in 2014. No one knows how the beavers came to be living wild in East Devon. In 2015 Devon Wildlife Trust was granted a five-year licence from Natural England, which allowed the beavers to remain after they were initially threatened with removal. The licence also allowed the charity to establish a project which will monitor the beavers until 2020 when a decision about their long term future is to be made by the government.

Devon Wildlife Trust’s Mark Elliott added:

The BBC Countryfile Award stands as a tribute to the strong partnership we’ve established to conduct the trial. Our research is now beginning to show the important role that beavers could play across our wider countryside in improving water quality, mitigating against the worst effects of flooding and drought, and in benefiting other wildlife. The trial has a long way to go, but this is a very public endorsement of the work we’ve done with beavers here in Devon and of the trial that has already been carried out in Scotland.”

News that Devon’s beavers were in the running for the BBC Wildlife Magazine Awards was announced in February. Nominations were made by a panel of judges which included the author Bill Bryson, along with broadcasters John Craven and Anita Rani. Other nominated projects in the same award category included conservation work done with dormice, cirl buntings, bumblebees and bitterns.

Prof Richard Brazier, University of Exeter, project partner and Chair of the River Otter Beaver Trial’s Science and Evidence Forum welcomed the public recognition:

“Undertaking research into the impacts of beavers is a challenging yet highly rewarding field of study, made all the more fascinating via the genuine partnership approach that Devon Wildlife Trust is leading and the huge interest in this keystone species shown by the general public.”

Dr Sam Bridgewater, Conservation Manager for Clinton Devon Estates, said:

There was a lot of stiff competition. The award is testament to the hard work of all the partners involved. Clinton Devon Estates recognises that the beavers can have great benefits for wildlife and society and this award is affirmation that these benefits are being recognised nationally. We are very grateful to everyone who has voted for this project.”

Devon-based mammal expert and project partner Derek Gow said:

I am over the moon that the Devon Beaver Trial has been given this recognition. I have worked with this magnificent species for 22 years. It is just brilliant that BBC Countryfile Magazine have recognised the importance of beavers in the presentation of this award.”

Chairman of Natural England, Andrew Sells, said:

I would like to add my congratulations to Devon Wildlife Trust for their work on this programme. Their careful planning and monitoring of England’s first wild population of beavers for 400 years continues to provide us with important evidence on any impacts which a potential reintroduction might have. This is an exciting time for conservation and their award success is a clear indication that many people are very supportive of this scheme.”

It is thought that around 20 beavers now live on the River Otter, which winds its way through 20 miles of East Devon countryside. Last year one breeding pair of the rodents established themselves on land owned by Clinton Devon Estates close to the village of Otterton. Throughout the summer the adults along with their five offspring, known as kits, were seen most evenings. The family drew hundreds of visitors to the area.

The River Otter Beaver Trial receives no government funding. People can learn more about its work, help, and give their support via

Steve Hussey, Devon Wildlife Trust.


Posted in Animals, Environment | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Bideford’s Newfoundland links & the Chope Collection.

Devon has strong historic links with the Canadian Province of Newfoundland dating back to the 16th Century, when boats from local ports sailed to the waters of Newfoundland to fish for cod. Initially men left Devon in April and returned in the autumn, but gradually land bases were established and in 1583 the Devon mariner Humphrey Gilbert claimed Newfoundland as the first English overseas colony.

While people in Newfoundland are very aware of their Devon roots, Devonians are less well informed about the link. Indeed most of us would have to ask Google where it is! Bideford of course was a major port in the Elizabethan age, and quickly developed close maritime links with the New World colonies. Importing tobacco was initially the main source of income but the town also gained a large share in the lucrative Newfoundland cod trade, sending out more ships than any other English port except London and Topsham. The fish were sold in southern Europe in exchange for fruit and wine. Bideford pottery for export and provisioning ships was also renowned for several centuries.

If you want to do some reading about this, we have in our Chope Collection in Bideford Library a number of books that cover early Devonian seafarers such as John Hawkins and Francis Drake. We also have a couple about Newfoundland in particular. A History of Newfoundland by D W Prowse 1896 is a fine old book with reproductions of lots of contemporary illustrations and a big fold-out map at the back. (It’s a bit worn, so you’ll need to be careful if you come to have a look at it). There are references to Bideford in the earlier parts of the volume. Westwarde Hoe for Avalon in the New Found Land as Described by Captain Whitbourne of Exmouth Devon 1622 very nearly has a title longer than the book! Published in 1870, it is only 47 pages long and is a transcription with the original Early Modern English spellings preserved of Richard Whitbourne’s accounts of his travels. It is a lovely little book, nicely bound and has beautiful woodcut illustrations.

For those of you who don’t know, the Chope Collection is a collection of books left to the people of Bideford by Richard Pearse Chope (1862-1938). A native of Hartland parish, he was a keen local historian, writer and member of the Devonshire Association. These books are held at the library but they do not belong to the library. They belong to the people of Bideford. They are available for reference only, so why not come in and have a look at them.

Matt Chamings, Bideford Library.


Posted in Books, History | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

One hundred years ago – March 2017.

There has been no break in the wintry conditions across the region. The seasonal rise in temperature usually seen during this month was only very slight. Frost and fog have been persistent and snow has fallen on several days – over an inch was recorded nearby at Cullompton and more was seen in South Devon. It has been the coldest and wettest March since 1888.

A Mr Prothero has written to the Archbishop of Canterbury seeking guidance on the question of Sunday working, especially on farms and in the fields because of the expected poor harvest. In his reply from Lambeth Palace Archbishop Randall says that as long as there is no compulsion to work, men and women may, with a clear conscience, work on a Sunday.

Despite the cold an adder was killed in Parkham at Powlers Piece and another at the waterworks at Meddon.

Bideford Guardians now meet monthly, because farming members who are short of labour cannot attend the original fortnightly meetings. During the meeting this month the Board decided to change to margarine instead of the usual butter. At a similar meeting of the Torrington Guardians a review of the weekly allowance for inmates was considered – currently this comprises 6lb 14 ozs bread, 9½ oz cake, 6oz flour, and 1lb 11½ oz meat per week. The Guardians suggest that in view of the recent Food Rations Directive this consumption will have to be cut down.

Addressing the shortage of labour, the Board of Agriculture is releasing nearly 1,000 men for service on the land in Devon. Many of these are Army reservists. No German prisoners are available. Local Farmers requiring help should apply to the clerk to the War Agriculture Committee, Mr W T Braddick, at 25, High Street, Bideford.

Bideford Chamber of Trade hosted an interesting lecture on “The Metric System of Weights and Measures” given by Mr Cecil J Smith. At the closure the Mayor, Mr Chope, proposed a resolution in favour which was defeated amidst laughter , much reluctance, and outright hostility.

Property for Sale this month: ‘The Oak’ in Fore Street, Northam, currently occupied by James Chapple, and a field also in Northam known as Lords Meadow, in the tenancy of John Penhorwood.

On 27th March the usual timetable for the Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore Railway appears on the front page showing train times up to 31st May. However in the Western Express & Weekly News dated 31st March this Notice appeared indicating that the service had already ceased.


The Archive is preparing an exhibition about the Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore Railway and have already received postcards not previously published. If you have any memorabilia or items of interest, we would be pleased to borrow them.

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.


Posted in History | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery – March.

A belated happy and prosperous 2017 to everyone. This year I plan to visit the fish festivals in Devon and along the north coast – there will be 3 spaces in my car, so come along. Please contact me or the editor. The first in April will be the Crab Festival in Salcombe, (Mary Berry’s holiday home!) then Westward Ho! Fish Festival in May, and then the Seaweed Festival in Clovelly in June.

March has 2 national saints’ days! ; St David’s Day on March 1st and St Piran’s Day on March 5th. This recipe combines both leeks, symbol of Wales, and Cornish cauliflower that are in season now. Here is a useful family recipe that also has potatoes – a meal in one pot!

Cheesy Smoked Haddock, Cauliflower and Leek Bake. (4/8 servings).

Ingredients. 2 small/medium peeled potatoes, cut into small cubes.

1 medium cauliflower, broken into small florets.

1 or 2 leeks chopped into small rings (more leeks for more people!).

300ml pouring cream and 1 heaped tbsp. cornflower.

100gm Cheddar or Gouda cheese, coarsely grated.

2 tbsp. chopped parsley and 2 tbsp. snipped chives.

500g/1lb+natural smoked haddock (or pollack, whiting, hake), skinned and cut into pieces.

Black Pepper for seasoning and Paprika for dusting.

Butter or oil for greasing dish.

Method. 1.Preheat the oven to 200C/180Cfan/Gas 6 and use a shallow oven proof dish.

2.Put the potato cubes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water, add salt and bring to the boil approx. 5 mins and then add cauliflower, and then leeks for a further 4 mins. Drain well and allow to dry in a large colander. Tip into a greased dish and season with pepper.

3. Measure the cornflour into a bowl, pour in the cream, add some salt and pepper and stir to combine.

4. Scatter half the cheese over the cauliflower, leeks and potatoes in the dish. Sprinkle the chopped herbs, then add the pieces of smoked fish, so they cover the top as an even layer. Pour the cream mixture all over the top and down through the veg. Scatter the remaining cheese and dust with a little paprika.

5.Bake in the oven for 20-25 mins until the top is light brown. Serve with extra warmed cream if required.

Next month – Devon Newfoundland Story and Salt Cod favourite recipes. Check the lovely programmes available now.

Felicity Sylvester – 07918 779 060.


Posted in Food & Drink | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Let’s be careful out there – Part 2.


If you’d like to get started on the basics consider –

Home Wi-Fi – change your password away from a factory pre-set (i.e. the label on the back), as these are published on the dark web and are easy to find. (Your broadband site will have guidance on this).


Password99’ or ‘123abc’ common-type passwords can be cracked in seconds.

Change all of your passwords. (There are government approved sites where you can check the strength of a password – don’t use a real one, just test the structure). These sites will give advice to use lots of different random letters and symbols (hard to remember) or longer phrases, that when typed with no spaces are still strong but may be more memorable, perhaps as in a favourite breakfast ‘CornflakesTeaToastJam’.

Record your passwords securely – use a trusted encrypted password app such as ‘Last Pass’ or a similar trusted app (lots of reviews availablea) and find one that is recommended through the website.

Systematically record all your digital assets – hardware devices, subscriptions that you pay for, utilities/ banking that you use on line, digital photos, important files….whatever it is. (Don’t write down the passwords!).

Then imagine 1) that you’ve been burgled and all your hardware is taken, 2) that your system has been hacked and ‘identity stolen’.

In each case, who do you have to call to cancel/block accounts, or to regain control?

How do you prove that you are ‘you’ if the hacker now controls your email accounts?[tip – landline phone is great verification, mobile phone pretty good but not flawless, physical letters(?), attendance in person at your bank(?)]

How can you replicate what has been lost? (Cloud storage, duplicating your PC? Or separate USB or backup drive where you’ve backed up photos etc.? – kept away from your other hardware to minimise the chances of a burglar stealing it too).

Harm caused and how to minimise this?

Online banking – use credit cards (they have better fraud protection) and have a bank account used only for online purchases where the provider insists on an account. Use strong passwords and do not use public Wi-Fi without encrypting your connection (they can capture every keystroke, including your bank log in and password) – consider using a VPN (‘virtual private network’).

Talk to your family about sensible precautions and make sure everyone takes care (you being safe is little use if someone else then lets a virus onto your computer that takes it over.)

Emails– what do you send/receive? Would it be embarrassing/ damaging professionally if it became public? …most email systems are very insecure – assume they are not safe.

You can take time to encrypt all emails (fairly common now), or simply use good discretion.

Do not trust any email attachments (this is where the malware sits) and remember that all email headers and appearances can be faked exactly like the real thing (a phishing email) – it will look like it’s from your bank, the only giveaway is within the extended email header (technical).

Be careful in your main email account and set up ‘disposable’ email accounts to share when you have to sign into things or log into Wi-Fi etc.; then if these get sold on/ shared (and then hit with spam and phishing attacks) you can simply close it down and set up another.

Social media – what are you (and family) sharing?

Personal/ risqué/ banking info/ your address (or means or locating you)/ job, children’s schools?

Make sure your privacy settings are on, review your online footprint, discuss safe habits with family (and friends) too – they may take a picture of you in the pub and tag it exposing you/ your job etc.

Photos on Facebook and social media are not your photos anymore – they belong to FB, Twitter etc.

Social engineering attacks

It’s usually simple to find out something about you – your bank, broadband provider, water/ electricity supplier, a subscription you have – whatever they can find out, can be faked and you may be emailed (often phoned as well) very convincingly – to get you to share passwords or bank details which can be exploited.

Often this will be in stages so that it seems harmless, but put together gives them all they need (‘for security reasons give me the first and third numbers of your pin’….seems harmless? Next call a week later, ‘give me the second and forth numbers of your pin’…harmless? Now they have your entire PIN and can empty your account).

Always decline, get a reference number and call/ email them straight back on a number or email address that you know is genuine (from an older statement maybe?)

Ensure all your software is kept up to date (software patches are almost always to protect against discovered weaknesses/ threats) – but only update from the trusted source (Apple App store/ Microsoft site directly etc.)

Use trusted security software (anti-virus and firewall) – not necessarily paid for, (free software can be good) but research these before using either and start from a trusted industry or government site… to make sure it’s not malware in disguise.

So you are now digitally safe?’….everything has strong passwords, you have anti-malware software running on everything, firewalls, a VPN set up for using public Wi-Fi ; you’ve all your passwords and account details carefully recorded and encrypted in case of emergency, you and your family follow the above steps …

something can still go wrong or slip through at some point.

Assume the worst will happen and that you will have to replace or factory reset one or all of your machines at some point….plan so that this isn’t an irreplaceable loss – treat digital assets as you do physical ones, and if the worst happens retrieve your data from a backup, claim on insurance and move on.

Remember – technology can be great, it’s a huge part of our lives because we want it to be and enjoy it; so find the balance between security and isolation.

Minimise the risk of it happening, the harm it causes if it does, and have a plan…but continue to enjoy the benefits.


Posted in Computers, From Bideford's Beat. | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Buzz Byte – antivirus & internet security.


What is the difference between antivirus and internet security; don’t they both protect your computer? I hear you say. Yes they do, but to a different extent.  An antivirus protects your computer from those mean little bugs that can infect your PC and cause it to misbehave. Internet security offers all the features of an antivirus, but with the additional features of a firewall, increased security against Trojans, viruses, and worms, as well as having the capability to detect key loggers and phishing – (obtaining sensitive information for malicious reasons to defraud or perform identity theft.)     The disadvantage of internet security packages is that they require a high usage of memory and CPU (Central Processing Unit ) so will slow down your computer, especially if it is an older model. This is due to the system scans that are performed on a regular basis. It is worth considering the cost as well – anti-viruses are generally cheaper and many can be downloaded for free from the internet – but be careful to use a reputable site or you may infect your PC before you even install an antivirus.

It is a matter of personal choice but if you send and/or receive sensitive data and conduct high level financial transactions over the internet then we would recommended an internet security suite (with a possible memory upgrade).

Any good computer store should be able to advise you, if you are unsure on which protection would be the most appropriate, and on which company to use as there are a myriad of suppliers of software to protect your PC. Some are better then others.

Nickie Baglow. (‘Complete Computing’.)


Posted in Computers | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Let’s be careful out there – Part 1.



Sexting/ Grooming.

– Victim is encouraged to share naked pictures of themselves (or explicit mes- sages) via text/ apps/ emails. Often involves children being groomed by adults or their peers.

There will often be offences under the Sex Offences Act 2003; and always a big risk of being pressured into going further or having full sex.

Frequently linked to or develops into Sextortion. (Megan’s Story – Sexting 1:52) (My story – online grooming 0:56)


• Victim has engaged in intimate online communication with the offender via webcam. The victim is filmed without their knowledge and then blackmailed for money and threatened with their video being revealed to friends and family. Adults or children can be victims. (Singapore crime message 2:27 mins), (Sextortion public service announcement, 1:30 mins)

Phishing emails.

• Victim receives an email purporting to be from the victim’s bank or similar, containing a link to a fake website. When the victim clicks the link either a virus/ ransomware is downloaded, or they are asked to enter their banking details and password, which are then used to steal money from their account. (Phishing real world example 2:53 mins), (Safety in Canada, 3mins, Phishing), (1 min, Spear phishing)

Remote access Tool (RAT) / TeamViewer (software brand)

Victim receives a phone call from the offender who purports to be from the victim’s bank or similar. The suspect usually tells the victim that their account or computer has been compromised and in order to fix the problem the victim is instructed to go online and download software. The software the victim is actually downloading is TeamViewer or similar which then gives the suspect remote access to the victim’s computer including the webcam and screen. The suspect then elicits personal information such as banking details in order to steal the victim’s money.

E.g. Microsoft scam (10:18 mins, first 6 mins only necessary)


• This can be installed a number of ways; by the victim following a link on a fake email, by downloading a program online that has ransomware hidden inside, or by the victim’s computer or network being hacked due to weak passwords etc. Once installed the ransomware will encrypt all of the files on the system preventing the victim accessing them. This can include photographs, business documents etc. The victim will be unable to use their computer while the machine is infected. They will normally see instructions on the screen asking for money in order to get their files and computer unencrypted. Often the payment can be requested in bitcoin (online currency). (1:03 mins Kaspersky Lab)


• These can be installed in a number of ways similar to ransomware. The purpose can be varied; disruption of the victim’s computer system, as a means of obtaining personal information from the infected computer or in order to use the computers processing power as part of a “botnet” (collection of infected computers). Many offenders will use a botnet to send out millions of phishing emails or launch a DDOS (distributed denial of service) attack on a website to take it down and cause disruption

(Difference between viruses, worms, malware, Trojans, ransomware and spyware – Kaspersky lab, 2:45 min).


Posted in Computers, From Bideford's Beat. | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

One hundred years ago – February 1917.

February 1917 saw several radical changes in the Bideford Gazette newspaper. The Great War headlines were still most depressing. There was a least one page in each issue devoted to news from the action across the world – one of the February pages proclaims “British Raiders take 1228 prisoners”, “big Turkish losses”, “German Sink-at-sight claims” and “U.S. action – Liner seized and torpedoed”. There was a day-by-day diary of events and further reading explains that the Anchor liner “California” was sunk with considerable casualties. It is feared that this action was designed to provoke President Wilson into joining the War.

Completely new are three photographs showing Devon soldiers setting up sawmills to cut timber for use at the Front. This is the first time photographs have been printed in the Gazette, albeit for apparent propaganda purposes. The tribunal hearings continue across North Devon and the shortage of male labour is becoming acute.

February was a very cold month. The lake at Stevenstone has been frozen for some time, and in Hartland the frost has split pipes and radiators at the new United Methodist church and at the council school. It has also cracked several cylinder blocks of internal combustion engines and cars. Clamps of mangolds have been seriously damaged. In Appledore Mrs Vaggars and Mr Tom Barkwell have both fallen on ice and injured limbs. On the 20th February the frost lifted allowing work on the land to recommence, but fears are expressed regarding the autumn wheat that is looking very poor because of the cold weather.

Property for sale this month includes 39 and 40 Geneva Place, Bideford, currently let to tenants Messrs J Found and A J Mills on a weekly tenancy. The sale will be later in the month.


The Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore Railway closed during the late Spring 100 years ago. To celebrate this centenary the Archive is planning an exhibition of our references , pictures and maps to be held later this year. If you have any material relating to the railway, perhaps you could contact us so that we can include it in our display.

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford & District Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. You can also follow us on our Facebook page, Bideford & District Community Archive.


Posted in History | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Buzz Byte – printers.


Welcome to this new series of articles about home computing. This month’s tips are about printers. Most home users will have an inkjet printer which will use either a colour and black cartridge or a black with individual colours, cyan (blue), magenta (red) and yellow.

You need to turn the printer on at least once every week to charge the ink. This helps to prevent blockages and keeps the ink fresh in the head and stops the inks from drying out. You do not need to do anything to your printer as the cleaning function happens automatically when the printer is turned on and you do not need to print anything either.

Once the printer has finished making its ‘start up noises’ this means that it has performed the above function and can be turned off again. This is true of the majority of inkjet printers ; if your model doesn’t work automatically it will be a feature that is accessible from the lcd panel on the front of your printer, or via the printer software on your computer.

Many people think that you must only use original cartridges as cheaper compatible inks will either damage the printer or void the warranty of the printer, a misconception that the manufactures do not correct. This is not the case. You can get wonderful prints from inks that are a fraction of the cost of an ‘original’.

Did you know that if there is an interruption to your phone or internet service you can still print documents or pictures as your printer will still be able to operate wirelessly (providing the router is turned on! ; you just won’t be able to surf the web until the problem is fixed!! ) It is handy to keep a USB cable in reserve, just in case. If you need to print direct from the web, or if your router breaks, a solution would be to use a mobile broadband dongle, which is a little pre-paid USB device that plugs into your PC or laptop in conjunction with the USB cable.

Nicola Baglow (Complete Computing).


Posted in Computers | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Regulation by “Impress” – “Buzz” complaints procedure.

Bideford Buzz” is now regulated by ‘Impress’, the independent press regulator.

Making a complaint.

We can look into complaints about items we have published which are in our control. We adhere to the Standards Code adopted by IMPRESS and can only deal with complaints which relate to an alleged breach of the standards set out in this Code.

We can only deal with your complaint if you are:

  •  personally and directly affected by an alleged breach of the Code.
  •  a representative group affected by an alleged breach of the Code, where there is public interest in your complaint.
  •  a third party seeking to ensure accuracy of published information.

We are also regulated by IMPRESS, but initial complaints must be made to us, Bideford Buzz, in writing at the following address or by email:

Buzz community newsletter,

c/o TTVS,

14, Bridgeland Street,

Bideford, EX39 2QE.


Telephone: 07929 976120

We will acknowledge your complaint by e-mail or in writing within 7 calendar days and will normally respond to your complaint with a final decision letter within 21 calendar days. If we uphold your complaint, we will tell you the remedial actions we have taken.

If you are not satisfied with the final response to your complaint, or if you do not hear from us within 21 calendar days of submitting your complaint, then you can refer your complaint to our Independent regulator IMPRESS at the following address:

Regulated by IMPRESS: the independent monitor for the press

16-18, New Bridge Street, London, EC4V 6AG


Posted in 'Impress' regulation. | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

One hundred years ago – December 1916/ January 2017.


The first three issues of the Gazette in December 1916 are full of seasonal cheer of all varieties.

W.J. Ridge, Wine merchant of 70 High Street has two adverts – one for Old Scotch Whiskies including “Dew off the Highlands”, the other for “Anglo” ales and Oatmeal Stout. Charles Ashton, family grocer trading at Trafalgar House, is the sole agent for W& A Gilbey’s wines and spirits. For the home baker, Tattersalls Stores boast that they have the largest stock, the best of everything at the lowest prices. Among the items for sale are loose Muscatels for cooking at 8d per pound, Chinese figs and the finest Tunis dates are 9d per pound. Tattersalls also offer “Evaporated fruits” – apricots, peaches and pears as well as a wide variety of nuts.

Suggestions for Christmas presents are plentiful. A. M. Morrish at the Quay Café is showing a good selection of chocolates, confectionery and season’s novelties. F. Karslake, draper from London House, heads his advert with the words “Christmas should be enjoyed in a reasonable manner. Our old fashioned custom of giving and receiving presents must not be allowed to pass. It is a glad time of friendship and goodwill of the year.”

If you are looking for practical presents, Heywood & Heywood of Grenville Street offer serviettes, 5 o’clock tea cloths and tea cosies as well as handkerchiefs and Antimony trays. Steward & Co.’s Bazaar at 56a Mill Street has a splendid selection of British-made toys. W. Wood of 10-11 Meddon Street reminds readers that Christmas is the children’s festival and offers dolls, toys games and tea sets.

For the ladies, Robert Yeo at Manchester House(in an advert illustrated with line drawings) suggests that “Suitable and acceptable” presents include aprons and pinafores, whilst Sanguine & Son’s Boot stores in Grenville St. promote their pretty slippers, house shoes and ladies gaiters. For the man in your life you could visit H.I. Meredith at 18 High Street and buy vacuum flasks, shaving requisites and electric pocket lamps, whilst Coles & Lee at the Gazette Offices offer useful leather goods.

The troops have not been forgotten and suggestions include “Swan” fountain pens with ink tablets in tubes, metal cigarette cases and photo cases.

The more extravagant could buy an American organ from J.T. White of 77-78 High Street, a piano from Nicklins in Bridgeland St., watches and jewellery from E. Northwood at 69 Medon St., or furs from Burrows at 17 High Street.

To decorate your home, Perkins and Son, florists on the Quay offer ferns and palms in pots as well as cut flowers supplied fresh daily.

If you were unfortunate to be unwell, Gerrish’s Speedy Cure for coughs and colds can be bought for 1/3 a bottle at E Gerrish, dispensing chemist on The Quay. We are also assured that Mother Seigels Syrup banishes indigestion.

To return to more pressing matters, the 28th December edition reports that Bideford Council are discussing the food shortage and considering the possibility of ploughing up Victoria Park to provide extra allotments. Early in the New Year Bideford Council advertise a Public meeting in the Town Hall for the purpose of considering providing extra Allotments. Northam Council are also concerned about the shortage of vegetable patches, and in particular the shortage of potatoes. The Committee were told that 2 miles from Northam a farmer was holding a large quantity of potatoes waiting for prices to rise. A committee member, Mr Vincent remarks that “the Government should do something” and suggested that as they now controlled the railways they should lead by growing potatoes beside the track. Later in the month a report appears stating that the National Food controller has set and published potato prices. Main crop, of not less than 6 tons will be priced at £5-15-0d per ton, rising to £6-10-0d in the Spring. Locally a 2-acre field at Kiltrasna is available for a period of 3 years for cultivation, but a flood of letters to the Editor decry the notion of ploughing Victoria Park, citing that it is the only pleasant area where the elderly can walk and enjoy.

At the Devon Crown Court 2 local residents are accused of stealing £300 worth of jewellery (£14,500 in today’s value) from their employer, Mrs Elizabeth Daw of Baddesley Grange, Northam. Herbert Clarence Leonard, alias Victor Howard, was employed as a cook but was actually a deserter. His common law wife, who was pregnant, Daisy Fowler, alias Leonard or Howard was a servant and was acquitted of the crime but her partner was found guilty and sentenced to 15 months hard labour. Only a tiny proportion of the jewellery was recovered.

Appearing in the first January edition is an Almanac for the year. In the centre are famous events and personalities for every day throughout the year but around this are local details and information, postal rates and times, bus and train times on both Bideford, Westward Ho! & Appledore Railway and, across the river, the LSWR. Financially the public are served by National Provincial Bank, Fox Fowler & Co Bank, Lloyds Bank and London, City & Midland Bank all in the High Street and Exeter Savings Bank has offices in Bridge Buildings opposite the Town Hall.

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford & District Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. You can also follow us on our Facebook page, Bideford & District Community Archive.


Posted in History | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery, December.


Here’s a recipe for Christmas Eve or parties with friends and family. This is based on Darina Allen’s  Simply Delicious Christmas book and is rather retro as it was originally written in 1989! (and reprinted in 2002).

Ingredients for 4. (Can be scaled up for parties)

500g of monkfish or scallops.

I onion, chopped(50gs); 30g butter and 60g/2tablespoon flour/cornflour.

Dry white wine, 500ml fish stock.

125 g /4oz/cup sliced mushrooms.

1 tablespoon parsley, fennel and thyme mixed.

Salt and freshly ground pepper.

Creamy milk/half milk and single cream.

100gm /2oz Cheddar Cheese or Cornish Yarg.

Duchesse potato for piping or spreading around the edge of the serving dish.


1.Trim monkfish tail and cut into 1cm/half inch thick slices, cut fish at an angle – or cut large scallops in half.

2.Use a heavy saucepan – stainless steel or enamelled pan. Add fish slices and cover with white wine and 250ml half fish stock or water. Bring to the boil and poach for 2/3 mins only.

3.Remove fish and continue to boil the liquor until 200ml/2/3pint approx.

4.Cook chopped onions in melted butter for 5-8minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook for 3-4 mins. Stir in the flour and cook for 1min stirring all the time, add liquor with the milk added (300ml total) gradually.

5.Add the freshly chopped herbs /dried herbs. Sauce should be smooth and tasty – check taste. Correct the taste, add the fish into the sauce and cook lightly for 2mins only!

6.Pipe a border of duchesse potatoes -mashed and creamed or spread around the edge of a serving dish and add the sauce, sprinkle top with grated cheese. (This can be cooled and warmed later. When required, reheat in a cool oven 190F or Gas 5 for 20 mins. to melt the cheese).

To serve immediately, heat under the grill for approx. 5mins to melt the cheese.

Serve with a good green salad.

Happy Christmas and a very Prosperous New Year!


Posted in Food & Drink | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“Fire Kills” campaign.



Torridge District Council is supporting the campaign launched by Fire Minister Brandon Lewis for people to test their smoke alarms after research showed that only 28% of all households who own one test them on a regular basis.

The “Fire Kills” campaign highlights the importance of having at least one working smoke alarm in your home and encourages everyone to test their smoke alarms immediately and then regularly every month. Analysis of fire data shows that you are at least seven times more likely to die in a fire in the home if you do not have any working smoke alarms. The cheap and easy to install devices are vital in ensuring that, should a fire start, individuals have valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999.

There were 229 fire-related deaths in the home last year. The “Fire Kills” campaign hopes that by encouraging everyone to test their smoke alarms straight away, and then every month, more deaths could be prevented.

To help keep you and your loved ones safe, follow these simple steps:   Test your smoke alarm(s) now or when you get home · Make sure you fit smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them monthly, even if they’re wired into the mains. · Whatever happens, never remove the battery in your smoke alarm unless you are replacing it. Some require a new battery every year. · Plan and practise an escape route and make sure that everyone in your home knows it. In the event of a fire, get out, stay out and call 999. · Test others smoke alarms who are unable to test their own.     The Local Fire Service also offers free home fire safety checks for everyone.

Graham Rooke – Local Risk Manager for Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service – said:

A key aim of the work we do locally is to try and reduce the incidence of fires and prevent casualties and fatalities through education and proactive campaigns. Having a working and regularly tested smoke alarm is vitally important. We are very keen for everyone to take up the fire services offer of a home fire safety check over the telephone by calling 0800 05 02 999. The checks may then be followed up with a home fire safety visit and the fitting of a free smoke detector if required. We also want to attend more meetings with community groups to advise people and promote good practice and welcome further enquiries in this area as well. Community groups interested in arranging a talk should call us on 01237 423859”.


Posted in Fire matters | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

One hundred years ago – November 1916.


Several farms are advertised this month under the “To be let by Tender” columns. Lot 1, South Hill Farm, Little Torrington comprising 157 acres and all the usual farmhouse buildings and two workers’ cottages; Lot 2, Higher Cross Lawn, 11½ acres; Lot 3, Lower Cross Lawn, 32 acres; Lot 4, Broad Parks ,28 acres. All currently in the occupation of Mr D Howard.

Also to be let – Sudden Farm, Newton St Petrock, comprising 162 acres that are stocked with sheep. The taker will be required to keep the oil engine running together with the barn machinery. Farm labour is a worry with all able bodies conscripted to the War and several farms are unable to continue in these circumstances.

Mr S. J. Williams of ‘Rothsay’, Abbotsham Road, Bideford has been “Called to the Colours” and is selling his beloved Rover 3½ hp motor cycle and coach built side-car, together with lots of household furniture.

A correspondent to the paper signing himself as “Rouge et Noir” was answering queries about the number of grist mills in the area and he states that in 1866 there were 14 operating. Of these Upcott, Edge, Littleham, Halsbury, Goldworthy and Tithecott Mills have been discontinued. The only mill still working full time is Orleigh Mill, where the Sanders family continue to flourish.

Farleigh’s Stores are now stocking “Nu-Way” Egg Flour. One packet makes a big cake 2lb in weight, needs no eggs, yeast or baking powder. Each packet costs 3½d and the thrifty can buy 2 packets for 6½d.

A strange Public Notice appears in several weeks during November headed “To men now serving in the Army who were employed on roadwork”. It goes on to say that if these men or their relatives will send a considerable amount of personal information including their regimental number to R. A. Stone, County Surveyor at Barnstaple, they will “hear something to their advantage”. (Has anyone heard of this? Was this genuine, or a very early and callous scam?)

After a wet month the reservoir at Melbury is overflowing and millions of gallons of water are going to waste. The rainfall during October was over 9 inches.

We reported last month on a great storm which affected the area. Bideford Workhouse Guardians were told of considerable damage to Meddon Street premises. Slates were torn from the main roof; a piece of lead weighing 1 cwt was lifted from the SE corner of the boardroom and carried to within a few feet of the gates, 30 feet of guttering was knocked down and destroyed and a number of the Infirmary roof lights were blown in. No injuries were recorded. It seems this area escaped the heavy and early snowfall that accompanied the gale.

Under the auspices of Bideford Farmers Union, in the cattle market and in support of the British Farmers Red Cross Fund, a guess-the-weight of a bullock, sheep and a pig is to be held. Prizes consist of silver jug, tea pot and sugar basin and if one person wins all three J. M. Metherell, President, will give the Winner £5.

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford & District Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. You can also follow us on our Facebook page, Bideford & District Community Archive.


Posted in History | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery; November.


Here is a recipe from Rachel Allen Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland -more from them next month after I visit!

Preservation recipe when Herrings are glutting from Clovelly this month –

Pickled Herrings.

12 fresh herrings

600ml Vinegar

110g/4oz Sea salt

50g /2oz Sugar

1tbsp Black peppercorn -crushed ;1 generous tsp pimentos, and /or allspice berries – crushed.

6 Bay leaves.


Gut, scale and wash the whole fish leaving the heads on.

Put into a pottery container, pour over the vinegar and leave overnight

Next day. Mix the rest of the ingredients and put a layer into the base of the of stonework crock (large deep pottery bowl). Then layer with herrings and more dry mix. Pour vinegar over the herring layers keeping the herrings submerged.

Keep in a cool place -larder is best for 2/3 days -before eating.

These will keep for ages – ensure the vinegar is over all the fish.

Serve with bread, potato salad or green salad.


Clovelly Herring Festival – 10th Anniversary.

Sunday 20 November from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.Clovelly harbour.

This year we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Clovelly Herring Festival, which is held to promote these tasty, nutritious Silver Darlings and support sustainable fishing.

The village once depended on the harvest of herring, which are caught in superb condition for a short season off its coast. (Records go back over 400 years, and in 1749 there were a hundred herring boats in the port). When fishing was good, 9,000 herring could be landed at one time. Those days of massive catches are long gone and there remain just two herring fishermen ,who still employ sustainable fishing methods using drift nets and long lines.

There’ll be delicious herring specialities, cookery demonstrations, beer tastings, local food and craft stalls, live shanty singers, stiltwalker entertainment, face painting & henna tattos, a herring fishing photo exhibition, Herring Hunt and the National Trust event-themed children’s craft activities.

Maritime historian, Mike Smylie, will be returning with his “Kipperland” exhibition, which is devoted to the history of the herring. He will also be turning herring into delicate-tasting kippers and bloaters in his smokehouse.

There’ll also be net making, flax processing and a Curragh on show provided by ‘Flaxland’ and a Herring Art Competition organised by The Small School, Hartland with the participation of other local schools. All the art will be on display on the day to be judged.

Contact: Visitor Centre. Tel: 01237 431781. Email:


Posted in Food & Drink | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment