Step back in time and watch the heavy horses……… time!

On the weekend of 12th & 13th August Jonathan and Fiona Waterer kindly hosted a Working Heavy Horse event at Higher Bidacott Farm in North Devon.   The event was held in aid of the Addington Fund and Chittlehampton Church.



Many horses of all different sizes came to demonstrate different working  skills in the fields.  The 6 horse ploughing team provided a dramatic display and there was also dung spreading with shire horses, hauling logs and wagon rides, while the younger riders showed their skills in the arena.   A farrier was demonstrating shoeing a horse and there were stalls, food and much, much more.  On the Sunday a dog show also took place.



We were also able to have a stand to promote farm accommodation locally, countywide and nationally.

I would recommend you watch for the event next year so you can go along and enjoy a step back in time!

 Higher Biddacott Farm


Bampfield Farm

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Fossil fans should flock here…..

Last month, Lyme Regis Museum reopened its doors to the public, following the completion of its new £1.5million Mary Anning Wing extension.

Lyme Regis Museum - The Mary Anning WingThanks to National Lottery investors and other funding, the museum can now offer a new interactive fossil gallery and Fine Foundation Learning Centre, as well as a larger shop and improved visitor facilities, including a lift.  The new extension is contemporary in feel and constructed in glass and zinc, robust materials ideally suited to the museum’s exposed position on Lyme’s seafront. The first floor of the extension has magnificent sea views across Lyme Bay – the only public building in Lyme Regis to offer this. The original museum building has been repainted and refreshed throughout, and retains its Edwardian charm.

Museum Director David Tucker said “The Mary Anning Wing will enable our museum to do much more to make Lyme’s fascinating history accessible to very many more people, as well as ensuring that we are better able to protect the town’s exceptional heritage for future generations. It will enable the museum to host more events, improve the offer to the town’s many tourists as well as work with larger museums and universities to encourage the study of Lyme’s unique geology. Lyme Regis is the birthplace of the science of palaeontology, and our museum is built on the site of the home of the world’s first, and greatest, fossil hunter, Mary Anning.”

David added “We are very grateful to all our funders for their help. The range of support we have received has been amazing. Our sister-charity, the Friends of Lyme Regis Museum raised £68,000, the National Lottery contributed £79,000 and we received many smaller but equally valuable gifts, including £10.00 from a fifteen year old who donated her pocket money after visiting us”.

The Mary Anning Wing provides the 113 year old museum with the services it needs to bring it into the 21st century and includes:

  • A new accessible geology gallery telling the story of Mary Anning and Lyme’s fantastic fossils
  • A state-of-the-art Learning Space, where they can welcome schools, run exhibitions and events
  • A lift, ensuring all their visitors can visit the museum’s first floor
  • An extended shop
  • Visitor toilets – so they no longer have to send people across the road to the public loos!


Posted in Fossils, Museum

West Middlewick goes unpasteurised!

West Middlewick Farm has been granted a licence by the Food Standards Agency to sell milk straight from the cow!  Guests staying at the farm, near Witheridge, already enjoy their fresh beef, pork and eggs from the farm shop and naturally wanted to buy the milk as well.

John and Jo Gibson have a 72-strong herd of British Friesian cows and will be serving up their raw milk to meet customer demand.  One litre bottles are available from the farm at £1.20 each. Holidaymakers staying at the farm enjoy seeing the cows in the fields and drinking quality, tasty milk. West Middlewick

Meanwhile the majority of the milk produced at West Middlewick is collected by Arla Foods and used by the nearby Taw Valley Creamery in North Tawton to make Taw Valley Cheddar.

Posted in Calves, Cows, Member Farms, Retail

Do you fancy giving a hen a home?

If you stay at Knowle Farm you can meet some of the hens who are now enjoying a new lease of life and freedom to roam where they like.  These six had to get used to their surroundings before being let out to be fully free range.  For the first time they were able to walk on and eat grass (yes, they like eating grass!), socialise properly with other chickens and explore the ground for bugs and other treasures.Battery hens

In just a few weeks their feathers re-grew and they were completely unrecognisable. They also continued to lay eggs, except these were far tastier than any they laid in their old cages thanks to the natural diet they now enjoy.

If you have a garden with a little bit of space, and fancy giving some of these girls an amazing new home (and if you like the idea of being thanked with delicious, free eggs), then visit the website of the brilliant British Hen Welfare Trust.



Posted in chickens, insects, Member Farms, pets

The history of Hot Penny day……

Honiton Hot Pennies Ceremony dates back to the 13th Century, when Honiton was granted a Royal Charter, the ceremony remained unbroken for several hundred years, and to this day has always taken place on the first Tuesday after July 19th.

Hot penniesThe proceedings begin at 12 noon from the Old Pannier Market, with The Town Cryer (accompanied by The Mayor and local dignitaries) hoisting up a garlanded pole with a gloved hand at the top, proclaiming that “No man may be arrested so long as this glove is up.” This was done to ensure that everyone would come to Honiton for the fair which followed the ceremony, without fear of being arrested for their debts; they would otherwise have stayed away.

The first pennies are thrown from the balcony of the former Assembly Rooms above The Old Pannier Market and then a procession follows the garlanded pole to a number of Public Houses from which “hot pennies” are thrown to hundreds of scrabbling children. The pole is kept on show for the remainder of “fair week” at the last Public House.

The reason behind the pennies being thrown hot was that the affluent people who threw out the pennies took great delight in seeing the peasants burn their fingers whilst collecting them.  Nowadays the pennies are merely warm!

Hot pennies 2This tradition has also been adopted by the nearby village of Sidbury, where the local primary school pupils enjoy scrabbling for the coins as their ancestors did before them.




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A novel place to eat!


River exe cafeDevon is famous for its fresh local food and I love finding a new restaurant to try.  My daughter recently organised a trip to a restaurant for our wedding anniversary and it proved truly memorable.  We drove down to Exmouth seafront and parked.  My husband and I started to eye up a lovely looking seafood restaurant, but were told “We’re not eating here – follow me!”  My daughter is a school teacher so we did as we were told and duly followed.  We ended up on the marina without the sign of anywhere yummy to eat.  Then a little boat pulled alongside with ‘Water taxi’ scribed on the side.  We hopped on board and were soon bobbing along.

It was enchanting.  There was barely a cloud in the sky and the sea looked so blue I was nearly tempted to jump in.  After a few minutes in the taxi I spied something in the middle of the Exe Estuary and guessed we were heading for it.  I was right.  Floating in the middle of the Exe Estuary is a pontoon on which the River Exe Café is located.  The location is really picturesque and the rustic café is delightful.  The menu did not disappoint as it changes daily, depending on what seafood has been caught that morning.

We chose the seafood platter to share.  The prawns had a light lemon aioli dressing and the Lyme Bay scallops and Dorset clams were my favourite.  After lunch we sat and enjoyed the view before heading back to the coast on the water taxi.

river-exe-cafeI would recommend this to anyone, particularly to seafood lovers, although there are a selection of other foods.  Remember it is very popular, so it is advisable to call ahead and book a table.  Enjoy!

Go to: 



Posted in Beach, Boats, Ferry, Member Farms, Restaurants, Sailing

The Red Arrows AND the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight!

Not only have Sidmouth Town Council secured a booking for another spectacular aerial display by the Red Arrows in Sidmouth this year, but they are delighted to be able to host the historic Memorial Flight (BBMF) consisting of Spitfire and Hurricane fighters and a Lancaster bomber.  The RAF aerobatic team returns on Friday 25 August 2017.

Battle of Britain flightExact times are to be confirmed but the two displays will take place between 6 and 7pm on Friday 25 August 2017 as a prelude to Sidmouth Regatta that weekend.

Flown by regular serving RAF Aircrew, the BBMF Flight operates six Spitfires, two Hurricane Mk 2Cs, a Lancaster, a C47 Dakota and two Chipmunk aircraft (primarily used for training). Three of these aircraft will perform a display together and individually before the nine jets of the ever popular Red Arrows arrive to thrill the crowds.

Red arrows 22016 saw huge crowds in the popular seaside town and thanks to the generous donations of the public, the return of the display team was secured for another year. The Chairman of Sidmouth Town Council, Jeff Turner commented: “I am delighted to welcome not just the Red Arrows but also the Battle of Britain Flight to display over what must be one the most perfect arenas in the country for an air display, our beautiful seafront.

Don’t miss it!
Display subject to weather conditions.


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Put the North Devon Show in your diary!

North Devon showThis is North Devon’s premier agricultural spectacle which celebrates North Devon’s agricultural roots.  There are a plethora of livestock classes throughout the day in the arenas, including Alpacas, cattle and sheep.  There are also show jumping classes, an open dog show, various attractions, displays and demonstrations.  Alternatively you and your family can browse the many trade stands, catering for all tastes.

The show site is a completely level area of approximately 50 acres with an adjacent car parking area of 42 acres with good access on to the A377.

Posted in Cows, Rams, Sheep, Shopping, village show

Do you fancy a night at the theatre? Try the Manor Pavilion at Sidmouth……..

This beautiful and very popular theatre is situated in the heart of Sidmouth. It seats 277 with raised seating and is open all year round, covering all aspects of entertainment at affordable prices.  Visitors can enjoy plays, musicals, comedies, concerts, variety shows, dance shows, ballet and pantomime.Manor Pavilion Auditorium_Interior

During the summer months the venue is proud to have the last standing weekly Professional Summer Repertory Season in the UK, with 12 plays in 12 weeks presented by Paul Taylor- Mills Ltd.

Manor Pavilion showsThe Theatre has great local support and also attracts visitors from all over the UK.  The venue has its own bar, which is open before and during the interval for performances.   A very warm welcome awaits you at the Manor Pavilion Theatre.  Their motto is, ‘Your Entertainment is Our Passion’!

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Wonderful Woolacombe!

Voted number one on Tripadvisor, Woolacombe beach has it all – miles of wonderful golden sand, great for surfing, swimming and stunning views. There are areas where dogs are allowed and for those who love a good stroll you can walk the 2 miles plus from Woolacombe to Putsbrough along the beach, then return inland along the dunes and Marine Drive.

woolacombe-beachThere are 3 car parks in the village – one close to the beach or drive a little way to the south and park along Marine Drive, then enjoy a tramp across the sand dunes to the beach.  There are usually fewer people that way so you can often choose a secluded spot all to yourself.

Woolacombe village has a laid back surfing vibe.  You can chill out in the Red Barn, Bar Electric or Boardwalk Restaurants, with great views across the Atlantic and where you can watch the sun set over the sea or grab fish and chips from the Woolacombe fryer to enjoy on the beach.  There are plenty of surf shops, gift shops, a post office and grocery stores too.  Visit Woolacombe TIC for lots of local information and to hire the all-terrain Tramper for those with mobility difficulties.

If you’ve always fancied horse riding along a sandy beach with the sun on your face and the wind in your hair then Woolacombe Riding Stables will be pleased to help you fulfil that dream – although sunshine is not guaranteed!!

The worst kept secret in North Devon is tiny Barricane Beach and its delightful café which opens in the spring and summer months, serving delicious curries in the evening.  A perfect setting, you must bring your own wine and beer but be sure to arrive early as it is very popular with holiday makers and locals alike.



Posted in Beach, Restaurants, Retail, Surfing, walks