Edition 190 - February 2021

Artwork: Paul Swailes

Artwork: Judie Weedon


Christmas has come and gone, different this year, but I hope you were all able to enjoy it, and the festive lights around the village. I wish all readers a safe and peaceful new year.

'The old year was ushered out with some relief and the new one ushered in with such hope.'

At the time of writing, we are waiting for Storm Christoph to roll in but also rolling in are the first cohorts of the vaccinations. By the time you read this, I hope many villagers will have been vaccinated. However, that does not mean we can go partying, we must still heed the restrictions in the hope that we may be able to enjoy some form of normality in the not-too-distant future.

Normality has, however, been possible for the Newsletter, which I understand has been appreciated - thank you - and thanks must go to the contributors, the printer and the means by which it is circulated. Thank you to Paul for the cover, reminding us that spring is not far away.

But, there's no peace for the wicked! Items for the April issue will be needed before too long - contributions are welcome as soon as possible and by Wednesday, 10th March at the latest. Thanks.

Finally, a warm welcome to any newcomers to the village and get well wishes for those not feeling their best right now. Get well soon.

Stay safe and keep well.

Judie - Ed


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


Happy [belated] New Year from St. Peter's, Berrynarbor

Not the start of the year any of us were hoping for, but, perhaps, at least partially expecting. We pray that you and yours are keeping safe, and that you are finding ways to thrive despite the current climate.

It was an odd end to 2020, but I am thankful to Stuart Neale and the Choir for their wonderful performance and for leading us in carols at the Christmas Eve Communion. Odd as it was to not sing along, it was wonderful to be able to hear those wonderful words remind us of the amazing story of Jesus, God with us, coming to live among us and give us hope.

As for 2021, at St. Peter's we have decided that given the current infection rate, the lockdown, and the vulnerability of many in the congregation and the village, the only reasonable course of action is to close the building to physical services. Don't worry though! The church is alive and well. Our Sunday services are now online on our website on Sunday from 10.00 a.m.


There are lots of other services and events too, and you can read about them all in the latest parish letter available on the website as well. If you have an issue accessing the internet, we also have a telephone service on Sunday evenings at 7.30 p.m. You can 'phone me to get the details if you can't access the website: 07803253286.

Looking forward into the year, we have a glimmer of hope in the vaccines that are rolling out. We are grateful for the wise and well-educated people that are producing them. However, we are a long way off normality. The good news is that no matter what life throws at us, we can have a true and certain hope through the Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that, if you've not already, you will come and know this hope too.

God bless you all in 2021.

Rev. Peter




7.2.1949 - 17.11.2020

It was sad to learn from his daughter Alice, that Terry, who was born in Berrynarbor and where he spent his young days, had passed away suddenly at home on the 17th November.

Our thoughts are with his wife June, son Christopher and daughters Rebecca and Alice and grandchildren Albert, Violet, Ivy, Mabel and Margot, and all the family.

1.5.52 - 24.11.2020

How sad the village was to learn that Sheila had passed away, at home, on the 24th November, and our thoughts, at this time of sorrow, are with Richard, who would like to thank everyone for their kindness, help and support, and her sisters and all the family.

Her sunny, cheerful and friendly personality will be missed by so many. Bless you, Sheila.

22.5.1921- 11.1.2021

It was with sadness we learnt that Doris had passed away peacefully at home with her family on the 11th January, just a few months short of her 100th birthday. A much-loved mother and grandmother and a very special friend to many.

She will be much missed by her family and her many village friends. Our thoughts are with her daughter Val and her husband Peter, her son John and his wife Ann Marie and her grandchildren.

As she wished, Doris has returned to her birth place in Surrey where her funeral will take place.

I'd like the memory of me to be a happy one.
I'd like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done.
I'd like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.
I'd like the tears of those who grieve, to dry before the sun;
Of happy memories that I leave when life is done.

Helen Lowrie Marshall

JOHN VINCE - 18.1.2021

I was sorry to learn that John had passed away peacefully on the 18th January. Thoughts are with his family at this sad time.

Longer term residents of the village may remember that John was our Parish Clerk in the 1990's, resigning when he and his wife Ann moved to South Devon to be nearer their family. From that time, 1998, they were recipients of the Newsletter, something John continued after Ann passed away in October 2015. He always kept an interest in Berrynarbor.



June Marangone
4th June 1933 - 26th October 2020.

June, the eldest child of Hercules and Winifred Parkin, was born in Skirhead Lane, Combe Martin, elder sister to Pauline and brother Jimmy, who sadly died at a very young age. After a short while they moved to 4 Star Cottage, Combe Martin where she spent her younger years.

Her parents were so poor that she slept in a drawer instead of a cot, and she, like many, didn't experience the benefits of electricity until she was at least 12. June went to the local school but was never a very high achiever, presumably because of her poor attendance record!

However, she passed her 11+ at the second attempt and went to Ilfracombe Grammar School where she found her strengths in mathematics and home economics. She left school at 15 and immediately started a job in Boots the Chemist in Ilfracombe, where she remained for 10 years working her way up to become the manageress.

In 1948, at the town hall dance, she met Germino, a dashing young Italian who had moved to Combe Martin after the war. She befriended him despite neither being able to speak the other's language. They were apart for several years, during which Gerry found work in London whilst having singing coaching, but they kept in contact and eventually married in September 1955, so they were able to celebrate 65 happy years together just before she passed away. Despite Gerry being a Catholic, June retained her Methodist roots and supported the church throughout her life.

In 1958, June left Boots when she was expecting her first child, and ran a B&B business from her home in Victoria Street. Gerry was working as a mechanic at Irwin's garage, and studying to be a sign writer at night school. During this time June made lifelong friendships with many of the visitors who stayed with her.

They were a very sociable couple, loved their dancing, and frequently travelled to a dance school in Westward Ho! At that time Gerry [Gino] was singing in many of the hotels in the local area; they also compered 'Mr and Mrs' together at the Mount Hotel in Ilfracombe, which must have been a lot of fun!

In 1974, June and the family moved to Berrynarbor, to a bungalow which had been bequeathed to her. She loved living there and never tired of the views across the valley.

After her family had flown the nest, June started a new chapter in her life as a doctor's receptionist in the Ilfracombe Health Centre until her retirement. From then on, her close family and friends were never able to decipher her acquired 'doctor's handwriting'!

She had three grandchildren and when the youngest, Molly, started at Berrynarbor School she began to volunteer hearing children read and became affectionately known to many of the local children as Nanny June.

In the last few years up until her illness, June volunteered in Berrynarbor Post Office and Shop and always enjoyed a good natter with visitors and locals alike. She had an amazing ability to retain facts about people and their families, and had a genuine interest in everyone she met.

June will be sadly missed by us all.

Terry Goodman
7th February 1949 - 17th November 2020

Born in Dormer House on 7th February 1949, Terry was the son of Violet and Dave Goodman, brother to Gladys and Wilf Toms. When he was young, Terry's family took in visitors and Dormer Cottage remained in the family until 2002, when Vi passed away.

From a young age, Terry may be remembered by locals for helping Claude on the milk round. He attended Berrynarbor School and later Combe Martin Secondary School, where he was Head Boy and House Captain for Grenville House. After leaving school at 15, he joined Ayres and Grimshaw as an apprentice.

Terry was proud of having grown up in Berrynarbor. He rang the church bells and enjoyed taking part in village activities including athletics, football and playing snooker in the Manor Hall. He also became the youngest Parish Councillor at the time.

His trade as an engineer and toolmaker took him and his wife June to Kuwait, where Terry worked for Kuwait Airways as an aeronautical engineer. He made many lifelong friends while in Kuwait. When returning to Devon in 1981, he and June raised their three children in Braunton.

More recently, Terry may be remembered for running for many years, Colours curtain shop in Barnstaple. After Colours closed, he spent some years before retiring working for Eaton Aerospace in South Molton.

Terry had been retired for 4 years and he and June are now grandparents to 5 grandchildren. Two grandchildren, Albert and Violet, live with them and Terry spent most of his retirement enjoying looking after his granddaughter Violet.

Terry passed away suddenly in mid-November. Due to Coronavirus restrictions, a small family service was held, and a memorial will be planned to celebrate Terry's life once these have been lifted.

He will be greatly missed by all those who loved him.





During these difficult times, it is heartening that we had two services led by Rev. Peter leading up to Christmas. However, our Christmas Eve Service was poorly attended, in some part due to the very cold evening and the ongoing situation with regard to the Covid pandemic. At least the Christmas lighting in the churchyard and around the Church wall was a very welcome sight for all to enjoy!

We are pleased to confirm that repairs to the church roof valley have been completed and other areas requiring attention will shortly be underway. Our builders have been working under great difficulty with rain interruptions being all to frequent!

We have one piece of good news with our quest to find a new Treasurer. Tom Oliver has very kindly offered to take on this important role and this will be a great deal of comfort to our outgoing Treasurer, Margaret Sowerby, who has been aided by her husband Roger. We are also delighted to welcome Kate Sargent to the fold and look forward to her contribution at the next PCC meeting in 2021.

However, our first meeting scheduled for 11th January, had to be cancelled following the Prime Minister's nationwide broadcast on the 4th January advising that a new lockdown would be introduced immediately in an effort to contain the new strain of the virus which is spreading rapidly through the country. Following discussions with Rev. Peter, our PCC and some regular churchgoers, it has been decided to close the Church for church services. Weddings and funerals are exempt from this ruling. We all hope that things will return to a safe level in the weeks ahead and with the vaccination programme currently underway it is hoped this this awful virus will eventually be defeated!

This must be the shortest contribution I have ever had to write, but clearly things have been extremely difficult for everyone in this village and elsewhere throughout the United Kingdom. However, it is important to recognise that our PCC members have all worked hard within the village to offer help and assistance to those who are infirm or alone. We recognise that many others within the village have also played their part in looking after friends and neighbours during these difficult times. We thank you all, and remember - keep safe and well!

Stuart Neale


In view of the PCC's desire to keep costs down covering water, electricity, gas, tower clock and organ servicing, building insurance [plus maintenance of internal and external parts of the Church, the Churchyard grass, Boundary trees and bushes], we have decided to go out to tender for all this necessary work to be carried out.

As a first step [but by no means the last] we shall be going
out to tender for the
Churchyard Grass Cutting

Please contact our Secretary Alison Sharples
[01271-882782] for a Tender Application Form.

The closing date for this work is 1st March 2021


THE BEACON - Combeberry

The Beacon is an online magazine I have created for our local area to hopefully be helpful in these difficult times.

The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has
not overcome it. John : 5

Find the February issue at tinyurl.com/CBYBFeb21. The Beacon is an informal Christian-based magazine for everyone in our parishes and is not associated with any particular church or denomination.

A Prayer for the Current Times

I watch the sunrise lighting the sky, casting its shadows near.
And on this morning bright though it be, I feel those shadows near me.
But you are always close to me following all my ways.
May I be always close to you following all your ways, Lord.

From the song 'I Watch the Sunrise'

Kate Sargent


Artwork: Paul Swailes


November and December

I am not sorry to say goodbye to 2020, it will certainly go down as a very different year for all of us, perhaps we will start to see an improvement in 2021 as the vaccination programme rolls out. Despite the restrictions I do hope you all managed to enjoy Christmas and New Year.

Beginning with the 1st of November, we were saying goodbye to storm Aiden, the first named storm of the season and waiting for the remnants of ex-hurricane Zeta to arrive. The day started with total cloud cover and drizzle, sunshine was in short supply with zero hours, the lowest temperature during the day was 10.4˚C and went up to 17.2˚C, which turned out to be the highest of the month [lowest temperature was on the 27th -0.6˚C], 4.6mm of rain and a maximum wind speed of 35mph from the SSW. On the 2nd and 3rd we felt most of Zeta with the highest wind speed of the month on the 2nd at 39mph [average 37.24mph] from the SSW and the second wettest day of the month on the 3rd with 16.8mm of rain, [the wettest day was on the 9th with 17.4mm]. Total rain for the month was 124.9mm [average 156.93mm], the sunniest day was on the 4th with 3.13 hours and a total for November of 22.40 hours [average 21.97 hours]. The barometer ranged between 1040.1mbars exactly on midnight the 4th and 990.1mbars at 0500hrs. on the 15th. Humidity varied from the lowest at 1900hrs on the 2nd at 71% and 97% at 1000hrs on the 30th. The lowest wind chill was on the 27th at -0.3˚C [average -2.43˚C].

December started off with a brighter but cooler and dry day, a light breeze from the NNE. The temperature ranged between 4.8˚C and 9.2˚C. The barometer was 1029.1mbars, falling slowly and the sun managed to shine for 14 minutes. During the rest of a very dull month the top temperature was 13.3˚C on the 18th [average 13.26˚C] and lowest on the last day at -1.7˚C [average -2.08˚C]. The strongest wind on the 26th was 48mph [average 38.94mph] from the SSW. The wettest day was on 18th with 22.6mm and the total for the month was 173.00mm [average 165.31mm]. The barometer remained low apart from two days when it reached 1029.1mbars on the 1st and 1034.8mbars on the 25th, the lowest was on the 28th at 0659hrs 968.6mbars and the second lowest recorded was on the 21st December 2019 at 967.7mbars. This record only goes back to 2016 when a quicker way of reference became available in my system. Humidity ranged from 95% on many days but was lowest briefly on the 24th at 71%.

Looking back over 2020, here are the highs and lows.

Day: Surprisingly, 10th June 37.8mm
Month: February 210.4mm
Year Total: 1377.4mm, close to the average of 1379.65mm.

Highest: 25th June 29.9 Deg C.
Lowest: 24th March -1.9 Deg C
Lowest Wind Chill: 26th March -3.6 Deg C

Wind Speed
Highest Gust 16th February 57.08mph. Direction: SSW. [Yearly average 35.64mph]

Sunniest Month: May 185.58 hours
Least Sunny: December 4.09 hours.

High: 20th January 1049.7mbars.
Low: 28th December 968.6mbars.

High: 1000hrs 29th September 98%.
Low:1800hrs 29th May 30%.

A photograph just to brighten the last weather report for 2020

Seals enjoying the July midday sun, Seal Rock, Lundy North End

Take care and all the best for 2021.




I can't believe where the last year has gone! In spite of the many difficulties we have encountered, the Newsletter has been able to continue as normal. Now, however it is time to think about finance and subscriptions again!

Currently, funds look quite healthy due, in many ways, to the very generous support when things became critical last June. However, being complacent is not an option with costs rising.

The annual subscription for readers receiving their copy by post is now due and this has, regrettably, risen for the first time since 2011 and will now be £7.50, which covers the cost of postage, stationery, etc., but not the Newsletter itself. If this applies to you, a letter is enclosed with your copy. If there are readers who would like to receive their Newsletter this way, please do get in touch with me.

The Newsletter, a Parish Council undertaking produced and edited by myself, is technically free, but obviously it incurs costs, approximately £1.50 a copy, so all donations are very much appreciated.

Thank you all for your donations. Thank you to the Shop [and the Globe and Sawmill, when they able to open] for having copies available and Central Convenience, Combe Martin, and the 'paper boys' who deliver copies with the newspapers.

Judie Weedon - Editor



Dave Beagley


Solution in Article 30.





With Tim Davis

With woodland on the slopes either side of our house at the upper end of the Sterridge Valley, and numerous berry-bearing trees and shrubs as well as regularly filled seed and suet feeders around the garden, we are blessed with a wide variety of birds. One of the great joys of midwinter is the 'start-up' of bird song, nearly always kicked off in the second half of December by Great Tits and Song Thrushes, all keen to establish territories well before the onset of nesting as winter gives way to spring - which now happens two to three weeks earlier than when I was growing up in the 1960s.

By February - assuming we aren't hit by another 'Beast from the East' - Blue, Coal and Marsh Tits, Woodpigeons, Blackbirds, Chaffinches, Siskins, Wrens, Dunnocks, Goldcrests, Treecreepers and Nuthatches will also be singing in the surrounding woodland, along with one of the shyest and most elusive of British birds, Mistle Thrush, their strident, ringing song delivered in long bursts from the very tops of the tallest trees. Last year three pairs were 'broadcasting' their territories in Woolscott Cleave (two) and Smythen Wood. While Blackbirds are renowned early breeders, some even before the old year turns in milder winters, Ravens are amongst the first to be feeding young in the nest. Already in very early January, as I write this, our local pair are back on territory, while on sunny days we have watched Buzzards and Sparrowhawks begin their aerial displays.

If we find ourselves in lockdown again this spring, there's plenty of nature close to home in which to breathe and lose yourself for regular mind-restoring periods.

An exciting find

Tim J and I found this little fellow (about 1cm long but sadly dead) caught in a strand of a spider's web above the door to our cottage on 30th December. One of a family of pollen-feeding beetles commonly called False Blister Beetles, this nationally scarce species, Oedemera femoralis, is nocturnal and feeds mainly on ivy and sallow from April to September. The Devon beetle recorder, Martin Luff, tells me that there are currently 40 records for the county, but this is the first for North Devon. The find was a reminder that during the past year, due in large part to lockdown (no work and no travel!) and the warm and sunny spring and early summer, we added all sorts of insect species to our garden list. To find this one on the penultimate day of the year was something of the icing on top of the Christmas cake!

If you want to get into insects, one of the best photographic guides is Paul D. Brock's A comprehensive guide to Insects of Britain & Ireland, a new and expanded edition of which was published in 2019 by Pisces Publications. We purchased our copy online at www.nhbs.com, price £28.95.

Wanted: old wellies!

If you have old, worn-out or unwanted wellington boots, I should be delighted to have them - the upperparts make perfect hinges for nest boxes! All you need do is drop them off either at the village shop for me to collect, or put them under the post box at Harpers Mill. Many thanks.


Photo - False Blister Beetle, by Tim Davis



At the time of going to press, the Gardens are unfortunately closed due to the current government lockdown.
However, once it is possible, the Gardens, Tea Room and Plant Sales will reopen.
To keep in touch or for further information please visit our
website: www.marwoodhillgarden.co.uk.
e-mail: info@marwoodhillgarden.co.uk,
or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Trip Advisor




We have had a difficult start to this term, remaining open at the government request while under another national lockdown. We have supported all our critical and keyworker families and have respected that some of our parents have chosen to keep their children at home. To support our children's learning from home, we sent out activities and ideas that can be learnt through different hubs such as:


Switch off the TV and read to your child. Ask what they can see on the pictures. If it's a familiar story, get them to recall some of the story. Get your child to hold the book and turn the pages.

Make up your own story

Fold a couple of sheets of paper in half to make a simple book.

Ask your child to draw a picture of something that interests them. Ask your child what they have drawn and write next to the picture what it is. Together, use imagination to make up a story about the picture, adding new pictures to the other pages to extend the story. Ask your child to 'read' their story to someone else. [Ensure your child leads the storytelling and you don't take over - easily done!]


Engage your child in a safe way with any cooking you are doing. Talk about where the food comes from, where/how it is grown, what it smells like and best of all how it tastes in the end.

Maths is covered in cooking, measuring, recognising numbers in a recipe, capacity full/empty, time and temperature as well as science, texture change.

Keeping fit: Watch Joe Wicks' PE lessons

T​he sessions called PE with Joe are streamed live on Wicks' YouTube channel at 9.00 a.m. three days a week. They will be 20-minutes​ long. ​ The sessions will be live Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9.00 a.m. on YouTube. They will not require any specialist equipment or large amounts of space.

RSPB Garden Birdwatch

The children enjoyed making bird feeders last term at Pre-school and watching the bird's feed. Support the RSPB and count the number of birds in your garden or when out on a walk. https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch/

Topic of learning at Pre-school - Literacy

At Pre-school we have been working on our Reading and Writing from the Early Year framework. Children have been encouraged to sound out familiar letters and begin to form recognisable letters or make patterns, putting meanings to their marks. This is all based on the child's individual stage of learning.

We have found fun ways to develop the children's fine motor skills, strengthening their fingers and encouraging them to make marks, before learning to form letter shapes. Activities have been both indoors and outside.

Supporting this learning, we have looked at our environment and incorporated some elements from Understanding the World into our topic. The children have explored winter: ice, snow and examine nature and changes in plants in the outdoor area. We joined the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch and used a chart to record the birds we saw.

We've introduced new stories, games and found information about our own homes and community. In our role play we had different occupations such as doctors, vets and builders.

We had stories such as The Tiger who came to Tea, Next and many winter stories.

Christmas Raffle Thank you for supporting our Christmas raffle. We raised over £308.00 which is fantastic. We hope to do something similar for Easter, so if anyone has any unwanted gifts or wish to donate an item, please bring them to Pre-school. Thank you

Christmas Cards We signed up to IQ Cards, a fabulous service, which turns children's artwork into unique Christmas/greetings cards, gift wrap, key rings and fridge magnets. We raised £53.00 from parents Christmas card orders. This will enable us to invest further in the children's education.

Donations We kindly received a donation of £100 from Ewe Move, the estate agent. Our Pre-school was put forward as a local charity by a local family and we are very grateful for this donation.

We hope to purchase a climbing frame or put the money toward a new shed.

We have started to take bookings for September 2021. Please contact the Pre-school either by e-mail preschoolberrynarbor@gmail.com or by calling 07932 851 052 Thank you.

Keep safe and well everyone.

From all the Staff at Pre-school - Sue, Karen, Lynne, Emma and Lisa


Artwork: Paul Swailes


Our Sheila

It was with great sadness we learned that 'Our Sheila' [Sheila Chatterton] had lost her brave battle towards the end of last year. Sheila was the most effervescent character who lit up the shop with her amazing positivity and friendliness. We miss her so much.

The New Year started with another lockdown and a plea from the Government for people to stay close to home. So do shop local! Staff at our village shop are working tirelessly under very challenging conditions to keep the doors open and the shelves well stocked. But just as the shop is always there for you, we need you to be there for the shop.

We're already into February and with it comes a couple of special calendar days. First up is Valentine's Day and however precious your loved one is to you, we have a wide range of cards starting from the bargain price of just £1 [it's the thought that counts], so you'll probably have enough left for those chocolates or bottle of wine!

Note: Valentine is one of the busiest of Saints with additional responsibility for beekeeping, plague and travel. When he's finished with helping our star-crossed lovers. perhaps he could turn his attention to the pandemic so we can reduce its spread and we can all get out and about again!

Hot on the heels of Valentine's Day is Shrove Tuesday, 16th February. This comes from the word 'Shrive' and was traditionally the start of Lent and the day you confessed your sins as you started fasting. But before you do that, we have all the ingredients you need for your pancakes. Let us know if you need any lemons. We don't charge for confessions.

We have a number of special offers lined up for March including McVities' biscuits at just a £1 a packet [down from £1.65] and Bisto Gravy granules at £1.39. Lots more too!


If you are unable to visit us and/or are self-isolating, just give us a call on [01271] 883215 with your grocery order, minimum £5, and we'll be happy to deliver. Alternatively, let us know what you want and if you're able to visit to collect, we'll let you know when your order is ready.

Plant Sale

Yes, plant sale. Who knows when the current restrictions will end but we have to plan ahead with optimism and so we have ear-marked Sunday, May 30th for our 2021 Great Village Plant Sale. This will hopefully take place in the Manor Hall and now is the time to get those seedlings started. The shop is always grateful to our wonderful villagers for their generosity in supporting this event with donated plants.

We shall again be stocking bags of compost at very competitive prices, so let us know what you need and we'll be happy to help.



Happy New Year everyone!

It's that time when you humans make promises that you rarely fulfil [well the Mrs.'s usually lasts a month max!] I wondered whether I should make some resolutions, but what could I choose?

  • Return home clean after a walk? You've seen me that's never going to happen!
  • Not jump up and lick Postman Neil when I see him? Well admit it, you would lick him too if you could ... well maybe not lick.
  • Stop digging holes in the Mr.'s garden? Where's the fun in that? Life would be too boring! I love seeing him do his impersonation of angry Mr. Bean!

I am not impressed with any of those ideas. I do wonder though if I should actually support the Mr. and Mrs. to become better humans. They still need quite a bit of training you know.

I have taught them the importance of allowing dogs on the sofa. They both realise it's far more fun snuggling with me than each other. For a start I am a lot softer. Have you stroked me since I went to Devon's Dashing Dogs for a groom? I am so, so, soft now. My coat's like silk. I noticed the Mr. was trying to groom himself last week. I heard that familiar sound of the clippers. There he was standing in the bathroom, in all his finery, struggling to do it himself. He really should go to Vicky, she would do a much better job. Maybe I should resolve to get him booked in a few times a year.

I have taught them the importance of allowing me good boy treats. They get so excited when I sit/lie down or give them my paw. They are so easily pleased! Maybe I should help them realise a few extra a day would bring them even more pleasure! I wonder what I would get for "Roll over!"

I have even taught them that there are huge benefits to at least one weekly trip to the beach. There's nothing quite like the fresh sea air or the excitement of chasing waves. Of course, there is the added benefit of truly letting off steam and returning home with someone else's ball too. [Yes, a year on and I still do that!] I obtained a great one last week - it had one of those squeakers in it that annoy you humans. It was larger than your average tennis ball. Sadly, I dropped it on the climb back to the car and it rolled down the hill. I hoped the Mrs. would run after it but no chance. Once she has climbed the sand dunes there is no way she's going back down again. Anyway, on this occasion I left it for another dog to enjoy. Maybe I should train the Mrs. to run up and down a bit more after all it would help her with that resolution to get fit.

Okay I have a few ideas now. Look out for us around the village. The Mr. is going to be the best-groomed human in the village; the Mrs. will have a new waistline and will be positively running up Barton Lane, and I'll be the one with the big smile on my face after all those extra treats!



"There is a fine line to be drawn between disruption and destruction."

David Cannadine


Sir David Cannadine FBA, FSA, FRHistS, FRSA is a British author and historian who specialises in modern history, Britain and the history of business and philanthropy. Born on 7th September 1950 in Birmingham, he studied at Clare College, Cambridge. He married Linda Colley in 1982. Amongst his edited work is Rituals of Royalty: Power and Ceremonial in Traditional Societies.

"Marriage is 90% shouting,
"What?" to each other from another room."

Katherine Jakeways

Katherine Jakeways is a British comedian, actor and writer. She has appeared in numerous television, radio and theatrical productions. A lady who never tells her age!


"One should never trust a woman who tells her real age.
A woman who would tell that would tell anything."
Oscar Wilde




Berrynarbor Parish Council
Chairman - Adam Stanbury [882252]

Gemma Bacon [883341]

Adrian Coppin - Vice Chariman [882647] Mill Park Touring Site, Mill Lane, Berrynarbor, EX34 9SH

Bernadette Joyce

Lesley Lowe

Jenny Beer [882171]

Martin Johns

Jody Latham

Nicholas Wright

Parish Clerk - Ms Sue Petters - clerk@berrynarborparishcouncil.org.uk
Rose Cottage, Higher Slade, Ilfracombe, EX34 8LH.
County Councillor - Andrea Davis andreadavis@devon.gov.uk
District Councillor - Joe Tucker Frederick.tucker@northdevon.gov.uk
Adrian Coppin - Clive Richards [882647]

Information, help and support during latest lockdown:

Please remember that the dedicated NDC phoneline and webform is still in place. Please spread the word and ensure that anyone who might be vulnerable or elderly knows how to contact the team at North Devon Council. The number to call is 01271 388280 and the online form is on the website.

You can still find the latest Covid-19 local information, including the number of confirmed cases throughout Devon, on Devon County Council's website:

The cold weather is upon us and so thoughts go to snow and ice. Please be aware that Cllr. Coppin is co-ordinating grit bins and would happy to hear from anyone about additional bins. His contact details are on our website or you can email clerk@berrynarborparishcouncil.org.uk.

Even in the cold weather, work continues in the Berrynarbor play area and you might notice new saplings which were planted by Cllrs. Bacon and Latham. They will quickly grow to form a lovely new willow screen.

Finally, you might have seen publicity on a couple of consultations, an opportunity to influence:

Please stay safe.

Sue Petters - Parish Clerk


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


It goes without saying but for obvious reasons the Main Hall and Snooker Club are now closed again [Pre-school continues to be open] as at the time of writing we are now in our third lockdown. Very difficult and disappointing times, but of course necessary to keep our community safe.

Thank you very much to Wendy and Colin and their team of Carol Singing in the square organisers, who gave half the donations to the Hall; also Judie and the Newsletter who kindly gave a proportion of the Christmas Message contributions to the Hall. Both these donations are very much appreciated.

Our only hall event since the Covid chaos began was a welcome respite. Beauty and the Beast, produced in conjunction with Beaford Arts, was enjoyed by young and old in a very covid secure hall - in other words a bit chilly, as amongst other covid precautions, the doors and windows had to be open! The show had a nice local twist as the story was adapted to incorporate our local area including Berrynarbor and Exmoor. A big thank you to John and Fenella for organising the event, and thank you, too, for donations given on the day from the audience.

With a positive attitude for 2021, we have set a date of Saturday 21st August for our village fete, followed by live music in the evening for what is greatly hoped to be an evening of dancing and celebrating that there is no longer a need for stringent restrictions - fingers crossed! This event will take a lot of organising and with that in mind if you think you would like to join our Hall Team of Trustees, we should very much welcome new faces, and if you are new to the village it is a great way to get to know people.

Many thanks for your continued support.

Julia Fairchild - Chairman [882783]
Alan Hamilton - Treasurer [07905445072]



Artwork: Harry Weedon

Wendy Applegate


Artwork: Angela Bartlett

Artwork: Angela Bartlett

Wendy Applegate





"I have lived temperately... I double the doctor's recommendation of a glass and half of wine each day and even treble it with a friend."
Thomas Jefferson

I suspect that the latter part of the above, i.e., 'and even treble it with a friend' may well have been appropriate during lockdown one and two, and may be again, during three, for a few of us! Who's counting, I say! If it was alright for Thomas Jefferson, then it's okay! There is no 'naughty list' this year.

Who would have thought that activities up and down the country that were cancelled last March, will still be cancelled this March, as I'm sure they will be, and rightly so. If those of us expecting to be given the jab, receive it during the spring or summer, then fingers crossed that our very popular Wine Circle will resume in September, which would be Wednesday 15th at 8.00 p.m.

I'm sure Geoff and I were not the only ones to play a board game or two during the festive season. We chose, deliberately, to use one that had remained unopened, from a few Christmases ago. Some of the questions reminded us of our Wine Circle Wednesdays!

Here are a few to tease you - the answers will be in the next Newsletter!

  • Q: True or false: Sherry wine is left in barrels to oxidise, with a thick white layer of yeast being encouraged to form on top of the wine?
  • Q: Which three grape varieties are most widely used when making Champagne?
  • Q: True or false: red wines are better drunk with cheese than white wines?
  • Q: As well as Chardonnay, what other white grape variety is grown in Burgundy: Aligote, Esperanto or Alicante?
  • Q: Glayva is made with Scotch whisky, herbs, spices and honey plus which particular type of fruit?

2021: Stay positive, Test negative

Judith Adam - Promotional Co-ordinator & Secretary


Artwork: Helen Weedon


Whilst living in Brighton in the 1990's, I attended a creative writing course at a local college. One week our homework was to personalise something; in other words, to write about a thing ['it'] as though it were a person ['you']. The tutor told us to think 'outside the box', emphasising that the 'it' need not be a specific object and added that our work could be presented in any format;[ composition, prose, poetry or even a letter. From recall, I wrote a poem about my seizures which, in the opinion of the tutor, gave a chilling insight into the experience of having one especially when read in the context of 'you' rather than 'it'. It was also an unexpected therapeutic exercise as personalising my seizures enabled me to truly express how I felt about living with epilepsy at that stage of my life.

So, poised with pen and paper on the last day of 2020, I decided it was time to once again set myself the challenge. Firstly, to think outside the box and try not to consider a specific object. How about personalising the pandemic? Or maybe revisiting my epilepsy? Or perhaps personifying a colour, or a sound or even the weather? Suddenly, I chuckled, for as I gazed out of the lounge window, I once again relished the rural view that I was now looking out upon and compared it to the outlook from my home twelve months ago, thanks to moving last September from a town which I decided would be my subject matter. And the format? For some reason I felt compelled to write a letter.

Dear Weston super Mare,

It seems like only yesterday when I and my husband first got to know you. Where did those six years go? Such a pity, don't you think, that our friendship did not work out? But please, do not feel guilty, for you are not to blame.

On reflection, it was perhaps our fault for jumping headfirst into the relationship without first getting to know you. Plus, don't forget, it was us who made the assumption the relationship would work based on our previous urban friendships that had been amiable and successful. However, what we had not taken into consideration was the impact that our fourteen-year fellowship with North Devon had on us. Put simply, the closeness we developed with our rural companion meant that any future urban affinity was doomed from the start. We just failed to realise it at the time.

As I have mentioned, we did not do our research. Nor did we consider what we were sacrificing in my bid to find alternative employment somewhere along the M5 corridor. We had forgotten how we always had dog walks literally on our doorstep. Instead we suddenly had to drive everywhere. Gone, too, were the clean running streams that our three Labradors adore, replaced as a substitute by the muddy riverbanks and algae-covered rhynes which edged all of your nearby fields. Oh, how it was a constant effort preventing the coats of our Labradors from turning black or chocolate-brown into shades of green or grey, not to mention adorning them with that pungent aroma of stagnant water! Yes, you provided us with local woodland, where, unfortunately, the ground was too rocky and sharp for the delicate paws of our eldest Labrador.

A pity too, how we found your surrounding countryside uninspiring; for we had grown so used to the rolling hills, the steep valleys and the hedge-banks which our previous companion had aplenty. No doubt many people gain great pleasure from your Levels, but to be brutally honest, we just don't do flat! And whilst I cannot deny you provided entertainment and provisions for your inhabitants, it wasn't for us. Where were your farm shops, country fairs, village fetes and quaint tea rooms? But, worst of all, we had no outlook and lived amongst the constant din of traffic. Both peace and rural views were aspects we had taken for granted whilst being in the company of our old pal. Yes, we thought we would be able to once more live without them. But we were wrong.

Be pleased for us though, for we have found a new friend in Minehead. We live on the outskirts with a rural view across to North Hill and the border of Exmoor. Needless to say, there are bountiful supplies of dog walks amongst countryside which looks like a twin of our old chum, North Devon, and where our Labradors can once again enjoy fast-flowing streams where they come out the same colour as they went in! We have yet to enjoy the many pastoral community events on offer but have at least savoured the local amenities including a farmer's market and farm shop. Oh, how refreshing it is to once more be within a rural environment! And best of all, serenity surrounds us. No more hustle and bustle.

As I said at the start of this letter, it was a pity that our relationship did not work out. But let's not be negative. Instead, let us view our six-year friendship as an experience my husband and I needed to go through in order to realise what we truly want out of life, and more importantly, to recognise that whilst we both have urban roots within us, those metropolitan seeds have germinated into strong rural branches and buds above ground. We are back in the countryside, and we're here to stay. Best of all, with the daylight hours increasing and with spring just around the corner, we have so much to look forward to.

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

Steve McCarthy



It stole up on us like a thief in the night.
Stealing our freedom, causing quite a fright.
Sneaking into our home; an unwelcome guest.
A horrible virus, an evil pest.

  Why had it chosen our house? Why us?
We're not the sort to make a big fuss.
But this thing was debilitating, it knocked us for six.
No medicine could cure it; nothing would fix.

  We had to let it pass, take one day at a time.
Rest and pray that soon we'd feel fine.
Trust that our exhaustion would soon pass away
That our bodies would fight it and face a new day.

  Supplies from dear friends, showing loving care
Homemade soup, bread and other great fayre.
FaceTime with family and friends from afar
No trips to the pubs or outings in the car.

  Staying inside until the torment had ended.
Fighting exhaustion, until our bodies had mended.
Slowly, slowly we started to heal
Each day a little better we started to feel.

  And now that the evil has truly past
We can go out again, enjoy walks at last.
Breathe deeply, take in fresh air
Enjoy the elements; the wind in our hair.

  This virus is deadly, a frightening force
What can we do but let it take its course
Hopefully its impact will soon start to wane
and we can enjoy life together, once again.


Pam Robinson


Illustration by: Peter Rothwell


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


"Who from a state of rags and care
And having shoes but half a pair;
Then fortune and then fame would fix
And gallop in a coach and six."

The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes was published in 1765 and there have been few children's books that have continued for so long, with numerous versions published, even a pantomime based on the story, in both England and America, but none latterly.

The story has been attributed to Oliver Goldsmith, although this has been disputed and the author still remains anonymous.

Goody Two-Shoes is thought to be the first really successful children's book. It tells the tale of two orphans, Margery Meanwell and her brother Tommy. Dressed in rags and with only one shoe, Margery is given a pair by a charitable gentleman. She is so happy that she tells everyone she has two shoes!

Through hard work she becomes a teacher, later marrying a wealthy landowner. At the time of her wedding, Tommy returns from overseas having made his fortune and providing Margery with a dowry. When she is widowed, she uses her inherited wealth to help the poor as she herself had been helped.

Although there is obviously a moral aspect to the story, with lessons on hard work, education and honesty, the book was in fact written to entertain, remaining popular well into the 19th Century.

This anonymous story was published by John Newbery, one of the first publishers to produce books expressly written for children.

He was born in Waltham St. Lawrence, near Reading, in 1713. Having been apprenticed to a publisher, he set up a bookshop and publishing house in London in 1744. Two other notable publications are A Little Pretty Pocket-Book and the first collection of nursery rhymes, Mother Goose's Nursery Rhymes.

Newbery was an eminent innovator. He produced the first children's periodical - the Lilliputian Magazine [1751-52] - which contained stories, verse, riddles, dances and songs.

At the end of the Goody Two-Shoes story, there is an advertisement for other books on sale by Newbery and also a fascinating list of ten patent medicines, sold by him.

One of the most successful medications was Dr. Robert James's Fever Powder. The ingredients were kept secret but an analysis in 1791 revealed the main constituents as antimony and calcium phosphate. Newbery's friend Oliver Goldsmith [possibly why he was thought to have written Goody Two-Shoes], swore by it and when ill refused to be treated with anything else. Sadly, he died aged only 45 in 1774 from kidney disease. The life and times of Dr. Robert James is another story!

Newbery married Jordon May Carnan in 1739. They had 3 children, Mary [1740], John [1741-1752] and Francis [1743]. He died on the 22nd September 1767 and is buried in his birthplace of Waltham St. Lawrence.

Strangely, there is a connection between this book, a worldwide 'flu epidemic and today! By 1919 the spread of Spanish 'Flu was resulting in alarming cases of death and to stop the cycle of the disease spreading, the government in both Sydney and Melbourne closed all places where people congregated, including schools, theatres and music halls. This affected the show at Her Majesty's in Melbourne, a production of Goody Two-Shoes, the pantomime!

In 1922, in Newbery's honour, the Newbery Medal was created by the American Library Association. It is awarded annually to the most distinguished contributors to American Literature for Children.

Judie Weedon


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


When Mary and John were much younger it was their idea to buy a plot of land and design and have built for them, their own house. They were lucky as they thought that there seemed to be an ideal plot advertised in a Billericay paper. It measured fifty feet of frontage with a depth of one hundred and fifty feet.

They consulted the owner who was a dear old gentleman who asked for a ten per cent deposit, which they gave him and then he took them around his back garden pointing out some bulbs and cuttings which he would give them later to set up their own garden.

Mr. Sams, as he was known, showed them a plan, stamped by the local council and passed by the local planning department - later to prove false.

All was well, until they contacted their solicitor.

    "Oh!" he exclaimed, "Mr. Sams is at it again!"

    "What do you mean?" they asked together.

    "Well," he mused, "What he does is this. He gets young people, such as yourselves, interested and gets a deposit out of them. Then when they find that there is no such plot, he plays a difficult attitude in returning their deposit. After many tries, most give up and lose out.

    "Not this time", said the solicitor, "I happen to have found out that he is an undischarged bankrupt and must not try to get credit for more than £10. I'll write to him immediately and let you know the result."

A few days later, there was a letter from him, complete with the appropriate cheque enclosed.

    "How much do we owe you?" they chirped.

    "Nothing at all," was the reply, "It was a pleasure doing it."

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket




Thanks must be given to ALL the staff at our Primary School, who in these troubled times for education, are keeping our school open, helping vulnerable children and those of Key Workers, as well as holding on line classes.

An Acrostic Poem about West Berry Federation Remote Learning
by Ruby Barrow [Year 6]


Live lessons keeping us motivated,
Outdoor intervals keeping us refreshed,
Continued Federation community brought together by a lunchtime 'Energy Boost' session,
Kind and caring teachers doing their best,
Delivering devices to help us,
Online play-times so we can communicate with our friends
Wonderful teachers keeping us as safe as we can be,
Normality - looking forward to being back together with our Federation Family.



Again, please remember that this is written about happenings some 50 years ago, and Ireland is a very different place now!

The Job

The factory, Lirelle Ireland Ltd., had been designed and construction started in the Republic of Ireland as part of the ambition of our then Courtaulds' Chairman to reduce the problems of the border and increase co-operation between North and South. The factory was promised relief of property tax on a sliding scale for10 years. Unfortunately, just after the project had been committed and work started, the price of oil doubled. The factory had been designed with two lines and about 750 staff, but it was decided to build only one line, with 350.

The project was never big enough to make a profit, and investment was limited.

Every day at 10.30 a.m., the six senior managers and the general manager [the Boss!] would meet in his office for a coffee. We would discuss recent happenings, difficulties, and what needed to be done for the immediate future. Socially, the boss was very pleasant, but in the office he became a 'four letter man' who would express his displeasure and requirements in no uncertain terms. I was unfortunate in that none of my areas of responsibility directly affected production, and I had only two workers of my own, so that if I needed work done, I was always at the end of the queue! However, there were one or two experiences that stand out during my time there.

The factory when in full production in the late 1970's

The factory 2012. All that remains is the gatehouse.


There was at that time a customs border between Londonderry in the North, and Letterkenny in the Republic. We had not been there more than a couple of weeks when a colleague of mine had to go into Londonderry, and invited Pam to go with him so that he could show her where to go to shop, and where it was not too safe to go! They had a useful trip, but on the way back they were stopped at the Irish customs who demanded identity documents.

Pam had nothing other than her driving licence with an English address. Were they husband and wife? "No." "Who is your husband, where does he work?" I was phoned at work to be told that my wife was in a car with another man, and that I must make sure that my wife did not try to cross the border again without proper identification! After that, Pam always took the other route. There were two routes, the main road where the commercial vehicles went and were always stopped and a slightly longer,

quieter one that we usually used. The Republican post was on the up-side of a slope and the customs officers there were not nearly so fussy. Often, if it was raining, they would not come out for a single Irish registered car. As Pam approached the post, she would always switch her wipers on, and she was rarely stopped!

Most of the factory's raw materials came from the UK through Northern Ireland. One of my responsibilities was transport, and I was phoned by the Irish customs chief at the Irish Letterkenny border to be told that the English customs staff had gone on strike, and unless they had signed the lorry's paperwork, the Irish would not let them through.

"You realise that within 10 days the factory will be out of raw materials and will have to close?" I said.

"Yes, but that is government policy!" he said.

"Who is your boss?" I asked.

"I reckon it would be the Minister of Trade in Dublin Castle"

I phoned Dublin Castle, and to my astonishment was put straight through to the minister. He said that in the interest of cross border cooperation, the Irish customs could not be asked to "black" on their English colleagues. I reminded him that for generations, the Irish had been blaming the English for subjugating them, starving them, and forcing emigration.

"Will you let an English union for their own selfish purposes, put 350 good Irish men out of work, because that is what will happen?" I asked.

"I had not quite seen it in that light" he said. "I'll get back to you".

Within half an hour my phone went. It was the minister.

"The Irish Government has changed its policy." he said: "You will get your goods."

So, all was well! [I sometimes wish that we could change English government policy so easily!]


In 1978 there was a strike in Ireland that started with the telephone engineers and quickly spread throughout the whole Irish postal system. It lasted about three months and we were having to send a car, twice a day, with letters and parcels to a Courtaulds factory in Londonderry to get them into the English post, and to pick up our own post. Shortly after the strike ended, one of our security guards told me that he had chased 7 men from the grounds of a company house, who said that they were telephone engineers. I was furious. I phoned our local postmaster saying "Your country's communications are in chaos and here are 7 of your [adjectival] telephone engineers playing football at 10 in the morning."

"If they are telephone engineers," he said, "They don't report to me. Speak to the chief engineer in Sligo." Some 80 miles away! I did, and I did not mince my words. He heard me out, and then said, "I have spoken to the minister this morning and he has specifically prohibited me from taking any disciplinarian action that might only make a difficult situation worse. I have only one word of advice to give to you sir, and it is go and get a gun and shoot the b----- rs. Good morning to you!"

It is about that time that I thought of coming back to the UK!

I finally resigned at the end of 1981. About a year after that Lirelle Ireland Ltd. was bought up by an American company who moved the production to a more modern factory in South Carolina, and finally cleared the Letterkenny site. I might have got a job in America, but I doubt it!

The Return

30 Pitt Hill was our English base, so we came back to Berrynarbor. We were very lucky that Middle Lee Farm, really a group of self-catering properties, was on the market and we were able to buy it.

Pam and I ran it for 9 years - but that is another story!

Alex Parke




Unfortunately, the Craft Group will not be able to hold its annual Knit and Natter afternoon this February - another event to be missed.

However, the Hospice will still need strips to make into welcome and warm blankets and this year are also hoping to farm knitted chicks! So, why not set aside a morning or afternoon to get out those knitting needles and wool [size 8 needles and 20 stitches] to support the Hospice. Strips and chicks can be left at the Shop or Chicane and will be taken to the Hospice when it is possible to do so.

If you would like to include a donation to the Hospice [usually at the afternoon a minimum £5], this will also go to the Hospice, where it would be most welcome and appreciated.

The Hospice also has patterns for other items - Huggie Bunnies, Twiddle Muffs, Hat, Scarf and Mitts. If you would like to have a copy of their pattern book, contact Jess on [01271] 347213 or e-mail her at jessburgordredgrove@northdevonhospitce.org.uk.

For the chick you will need:

Yellow or lemon double knit wool. A pair of size 11 UK needles. Orange felt for the beaks, black felt or thread for the eyes and a cotton wool ball for the head. Coloured ribbon to finish off and a chocolate cream egg, for size fit.

  1. Body: Cast on 26 stitches.
  2. Knit I row.
  3. Increase 1 stitch at the beginning of every row until 42 stitches are on the needle.
  4. Cast off 11 stitches at the beginning of the next 2 rows [20st]
  5. Increase 1 stitch at the beginning of the next 4 row [24st]
  6. Knit 4 rows
  7. K2 then 2 together to last 2 stitches, Knit 2 [14st]
  8. Knit 4 rows
  1. Knit 2 then 2 together to last 2 stitches, knit 2
  2. Draw wool through remaining stiches and pull tight.
  3. Sew round the edge of the work leaving the cast on edge open so that egg can be inserted.
  4. Stuff the head with cotton wool ball and sew around the neck and gather in.
  5. Sew 2 eyes and stick on or sew a small diamond shaped piece of orange felt for the beak. Try a few beaks to get the size right!
  6. Tie a thin piece of ribbon around the neck and tie in a bow.

Tip Try a creme egg for size - you should be able to hold the chick by its head without the egg falling out!

When the Craft Group is able to meet again, there will be a couple of empty chairs, Our Anne and Doris, who will be very much missed by us all and our thoughts are with their families.



Following the lockdown on the 4th January, Devon Libraries decided to temporarily close all their facilities, including the mobile libraries and the Choose and Collect delivery option until further notice. The return/renewal date for books currently held from our Mobile Library will be extended until the 29th March.

For future information ring 01884 244644 or e-mail: tiverton.library@librariesunlimed.org.uk.





1. Eland, 4. Adverse, 8. Ill, 9. Evens, 10. Silence, 11. Coo, 12. Catch, 13. Diary, 15. Sea, 16. Also ran, 18. Taker, 20. Ice, 21. Miskeep, 22. Sleep.


1. Exe, 2. Avert, 3. Discharge, 4. Also, 5. Validate, 6. Run, 7. Every, 12. Charm, 14. Ankle, 15. Snip, 17. SOS, 19. Rip.

Illustration by: Paul Swailes



[1839 - June 22 1907]

Victorian solicitor who tried to turn Woody Bay into an exclusive holiday resort

This is a sad tale, but for those of us living with Woody Bay nearby, it has a happy ending! Here was an ambitious man who misused funds, ended up bankrupt and was imprisoned for his sins. Thankfully because of his financial problems, we can today still enjoy the tranquility of Woody Bay.

Benjamin Greene Lake was born in Orpington, Kent in 1839, just two years into the reign of Queen Victoria. The following years were exciting times for Britain: slavery had been abolished in 1838, steam trains and iron clad paddle steamers opened up land and sea, and social and political reforms were underway.

Other happenings during his lifetime were:

  • 1840: Introduction of the Penny Post, forming of Province of Canada and convicts no longer sent to Australia
  • 1851: Darwin published 'The origin of Species'
  • 1859-69: The Suez Canal was built [to the consternation of the UK Government]
  • 1881: Street-lighting by electricity was first used
  • 1901: Marconi sent his first message across the Atlantic by radio waves

Possibly, because of unrest overseas, [the Crimean War, mutinies in India and then the Boer War], Benjamin volunteered for Her Majesty's Auxiliary Forces where he rose to the honorary rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. Later he let it be known that he was Colonel Benjamin Lake. [Shades of 'Dad's Army'?]

The Swimming Pool

As a teenager, a visit to the 1851 Exhibition in Crystal Palace could have inspired him with thoughts of making his own mark on society, and what better place than a quiet spot in North Devon?

So, 4 years later [1885] at the age of 46 he bought the Martinhoe Manor Estate from Sir Nicholas Throckmorton of Coughton Court in Warwickshire. Lake had ambitious plans to develop Wooda Bay, as it was known then, into an exclusive holiday resort, with well-healed guests arriving by steamer at his planned jetty.

He had joined the family firm of successful solicitors at Lincolns Inn, London, firstly with his father, and after his father died, with his cousin, George Edward Lake. It should have sounded alarm bells when he immediately mortgaged the estate for £25,000 having lost £28,000 speculating in Kent Coal shares in 1878. This was the first of his financial problems that would plague him for the next umpteen years.

Hunters Inn

In spite of this, he went ahead with road building, including what is now the wide footpath from Hunters Inn to Woody Bay across Heddon Valley, and the road connecting the two places across the Moor. He converted the manor house into the Wooda Bay Hotel [now back to Martinhoe Manor - and up for sale at around £2 million], built eight houses including the Glen Hotel and Stables [now Woody Bay Hotel and The Coach House] and opened a golf course on the common.

In 1895, Lady Newnes 'cut the first sod' of the new Lynton to Barnstaple Railway. Lake allowed a station on his land at Martinhoe Cross to be built at no cost in return for siting a junction at Woody Bay Station for his branch line planned to access the beach. He even planned for a cliff railway similar to that at Lynmouth/Lynton to get down to his pier. This pier was hopefully going to attract steamers away from Lynmouth [not popular with local people]. It was completed in 1897, but guess what? He had financial difficulties, so it was only 80 yards long instead of the planned 100 yards with a dog-legged extension and landing stage! A teashop and swimming pool were also constructed. A storm whilst building the pier washed ashore the vessel fitting the piles, and the contractor lost not only his pile-driver but also the steam engine and went bankrupt. And because of bad planning, the pier wasn't long enough for ships to dock at low tide.

ThePier on a cold January day 2021!

In 1899, the pier was severely damaged by a storm, followed by another a year later. It is rumoured that locals helped the damage! It was never repaired and in 1902 was demolished for scrap. It is said that the good pitch pine from the pier is to be found in renovations of several local houses.

Last week we decided to try to find the remains of the pier. We drove down the precarious and tortuous lane as far as possible and walked the last bit past Wooda Cottage, even steeper than Hagginton Hill! At a small terrace was an unassuming gap in the wall. By following the narrow track down beyond it, we were rewarded with the sight of the remains of the pier: a sad - but solid looking - wall of stone. All it is used for these days is by fishermen at low tide.

Colonel Lake continued pouring money into the area to fulfil his dreams, but was an adventurous schemer and careless with other folk's money. He would mortgage one property to finance another, and offset losses by borrowing further cash. He also took money from trust funds dishonestly - in spite of being a trustee.

On Tuesday 22nd January 1901, Lake appeared at the Old Bailey in the Bankruptcy Court. In his defence, he blamed cousin George for any wrongdoing: his faulty book-keeping and consequent mounting debts which he failed to disclose. This was after George had died, so he couldn't deny it! An indictment listed 17 charges, but the jury only had to give verdicts on 4 of these. He was found guilty and made bankrupt with debts of over £170,000 - in today's money about £6 million. He was sentenced to 12 years for using clients' money. And this was a man who had been President of the Law Society, Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee which investigated charges of solicitors' corrupt behaviour, and a Devon Justice of the Peace!

Colonel Lake was released after eight years on health grounds and died 3 years later on the 22nd June 1909 at his son's home, suffering from influenza and a stroke aged 70.

So, what of his dreams? Any plans for further development died with him, and the 1,930 acres including Hunter's Inn, Woody Bay Station, and other plots of land were auctioned in 1900 to various folk including owners of a local brewery and a well-to-do squire.

And generations since have enjoyed the peace and quiet of Woody Bay.

PP of DC



The owners of Watermouth Harbour Ltd. are pleased to announce the appointment of Rob Lake as the new Harbour Master following the retirement of Keith Allsford after 14 years.

Rob was very pleased to take up the helm at Watermouth as Harbour Master on 1st January. Rob was born in Barnstaple and has lived in North Devon all his life, having run his own building firm for the last 25 years. He was brought up on the coast around North Devon with boats, with fishing as his hobby, since a small boy. He has had a boat at Watermouth Harbour for many years, hence his passion for the harbour.

Rob said, "It is really a dream job come true. With all the potential at Watermouth, I really can't wait to get stuck in."

Rob's wife, Laura, has Storm in a Teacup, the Boat Cafe at the harbour, and both are very much looking forward to working together and improving and maintaining this beautiful part of North Devon. They are both very excited about the coming season.

If you have been thinking of having a mooring, or would like to launch a boat from Watermouth, please give Rob a call on 01271 865422 or email him general@watermouthharbour.co.uk or visit www.watermouthharbour.co.uk.



Sadly, under present circumstances, there are no events planned for February and March but with the vaccine rolling out, hopefully this will change before too long!

Sue and her team are doing a grand job keeping the Pre-school running and for families thinking about joining in September, the session times are:

Penn Curzon RoomPre-School: Daily - Term time only
Morning Session: 8.30/9.00 - 12.00 p.m.
Afternoon Session: 12.00 to 3.00/3.30/4.00 p.m.
All Day: 8.30/9.00 a.m. to 3.00/3.30/4.00 p.m.

There are just one or two dates to keep in mind:

14th St. Valentine's Day
16th Shrove Tuesday - Pancake Day!
14th Mothering Sunday
20th First day of Spring
28th British Summer Time begins at 1.00 a.m.
Palm Sunday
2nd Good Friday
4th Easter Sunday
30th Great Village Plant Sale
21st Manor Hall Summer Fete



Artwork: Angela Bartlett


In Berrynarbor - North Lee Farm

For this issue I have chosen a very early, c1903-4, upright postcard of North Lee Farm House. Outside the front door is Richard Huxtable with his wife Susan. Susan has or is just about to milk their cow or cows, and is holding her milking stool with a milking bucket on the ground beside her.

North Lee Farm is situated at the foot of Hagginton Hill and like the majority of cottages and farms, was held by the Watermouth Castle Estate.

North Lee Farm was sold at the first sale of the Watermouth Estate held on Tuesday, August 17th, 1920, at Bridge Hall, Barnstaple, with completion date being 25th March 1921. The following particulars were given:

"Lot 22. [coloured blue on Plan] North Lee.

A Very Excellent Small Holding.


A Slated Dwelling House, convenient Outbuildings, Meadow, Pasture and Arable Lands,
containing together about 36a. 1r. 16p. in the occupation
of Messrs. R. Huxtable and I.J. Bowden as Yearly Lady Day Tenants, and in hand.
The apportioned Tithe on this Lot is £6.5s.6d.
The Timber to be taken in the sum of £3.0s.0d.
There are two Water-taps on this Lot."

Mr. Huxtable purchased Lot 22 North Lee at the Sale for £1,100.0s.0d. and their line of ownership continued right up until the last listing I have, being Kelly's 1939 Directory.

Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Huxtable took over the Farm in c1939 until Stanley became ill in 1948. His wife then had to sell some of the fields and the livestock. They kept the field known at Pitt Meadow. Pitt Meadow was later sold to the Council for sewerage purposes.

Mrs. Huxtable sold North Lee to Miss Edna Barber in 1973.

My thanks to Rosslyn Hammett [nee Huxtable] who gave me some of the information way back in April 1997!

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, January 2021
e-mail: tomandinge40@gmail.com