Edition 193 - August 2021

Photo: Susan Richards

Artwork: Judie Weedon


It was August 1989 when the first edition of the Newsletter was 'distributed to every house in the parish'. Just 20 pages produced on a typewriter with stencils and an inky Roneo duplicator on behalf of the then Parish Council, much has changed since!

In August 2001 it had increased in size to 40 pages and looked more professional. At that time, we were in the middle of a foot and mouth epidemic and the Best Kept Village competition had been cancelled, but the Berry in Bloom team continued its campaign - where litter lies, beauty dies!

Ten years later and the now 44 pages included colour! But the summer's predicted heatwave never materialised.

Another ten years on and in spite of the Covid pandemic, the Newsletter continues with the support of the many contributors, and I must, as always, thank you all. Please keep up the good work as items for the October issue will be welcome as soon as possible and by Friday, 10th September - thank you.

A big thank you to Sue and Mike Richards for sponsoring, once again, the cover of this the August issue, with Sue's special photograph of sunset over Watermouth Harbour from Napps.

A warm welcome to newcomers to the village and get well wishes to all those not feeling at their best right now. It has been a sad time and our thoughts go out to all those who have lost family and friends.

At the time of reading, restrictions are due to have eased but, especially when welcoming all the visitors now holidaying at home and not going abroad, we should still stay vigilant.

Enjoy the rest of the summer and keep safe.

Judie - Ed




As We Were

Our absolute priority at your Community Shop remains the safety and wellbeing of all of our customers and staff and so, despite the easing of restrictions towards the end of last month, we shall still be politely asking people to wear masks and socially distance when in the shop and continue to restrict the number of people inside at any one time. However, with the expected arrival of a large number of visitors during the holiday season, we know that some may not want to wear masks and we will not be able to insist upon it. Our opening times will therefore remain as they are now [close at 16.30] as it will be even more important to allow time for a deep clean of the shop at the end of the day.

Meat or Non-meat?

There is a growing trend for people to try out plant-based recipes and our shop has lots of new delicious offerings to cater for these tastes. According to a survey at the end of 2020, 22% of the UK now enjoy a meat free diet. 11% of these are vegetarian, 4% vegan and 7% pescatarian. Just a note: vegetarians choose not to eat meat but veganism is stricter and also foregoes dairy, eggs, honey and other items that derive from animal products such as leather and silk. Pescatarians eat fish but not meat.

So what's on our shelves? We have Cook & Co Banana Blossom and also their Jackfruit. Banana Blossom hails from south-east Asia and its chunky, flaky texture can be used as a substitute for fish or chicken. Jackfruit, the largest tree fruit in the world, is native to south India and has a lovely, subtle sweet and fruity flavour, often used as a meat substitute in Asian cooking due to its texture, which is similar to shredded meat. There are some great recipes for these online such as vegan fish pie, paella and crab cakes. Why not give them a go?

In the freezer we also have quorn roast, lasagne, Linda McCartney sausages, burgers, country pie. cheese & leek plait, falafels, lazy vegan Thai green curry, cheese & broccoli escalopes and veggie finger.

Of course, for those who prefer their meat, we have delicious Jon Thorner pies, a range of Besshill meats, a wide choice of frozen meals and deserts, and a fabulous selection in our very popular deli and dairy chiller cabinet. The choice is yours!

If there is anything you would like us to stock, please let us know, we'll try to get it for you. We always go the extra mile so you don't have to!

Special Offers are Coming

Look out for our special offers arriving in September. Check out our shelves and look for the 'smiley faces' that will show where the offers are. Also, you may like to make sure you are on our mailing list so we can keep you up to date with all our latest offerings. Just leave your mailing address at the shop.


Artwork: Paul Swailes



I am sure you have noticed this report is for May only. I shall be away before the end of June and not back in time to write up the June weather before the copy goes to the printer.

What a massive change from April's weather as we moved into May! The first day started off with 4/8ths cloud cover, dry, bright sun and a slight ground frost, the temperature climbed to 11.6˚C by 1700hrs. The wind was gentle from the NNE with a maximum gust of 10mph. The barometer was reading 1016.3mbars and rising, the sun managed to shine for 5.35hrs. and no rain in the gauge.

The weather continued cold until the 8th with over double the total rainfall for the whole of April and the temperatures were disappointing. On the 3rd we had a gale from the SSW [top gust 42mph] and the barometer fell to 998.1mbars. On the 8th we had a very wet day - the wettest day of the year - with 43.4mm in the gauge. This was over seven times the total for all of April! This pattern continued through to the 26th before more summer-like weather started, with little rain and the mercury higher in the thermometer. All this poor weather did not go down well with us gardeners, it was a struggle for our tender plants and the nesting birds trying to stay warm and find natural food.

Looking at the figures for the month. The total rainfall was 194.8mm [average 71.36mm] the highest May on my records, the next nearest was in 2002 at 156.0mm. Total for the year so far 515.8mm. I notice that for last year for the same period we had 515.6mm, so nature has compensated for the dry April. The temperatures were low most of the month, the 1st being the lowest at 0.8˚C [average 3.55˚C] and the 31st the warmest at 24.6˚C [average 25.25˚C]. The top wind speed was on the 3rd at 42mph (average 33.06mph) and wind chill on the 1st 1.1˚C [average 1.14˚C]. The barometer was predominantly low, deepest depression was 992.1mbars which arrived on the 10th and the highest was on the 29th at 1027.6mbars. Sunshine was in short supply with the best day on the 26th, shining for 8.81hrs. Total for the month was 136.40 hrs [average 165.77 hrs]. Humidity was high most of the month, on the 14th and 26th at 95% and lowest at 1700hrs on the 31st at 45%.

I hope things improve as we could all do with a nice summer to cheer us up.

I shall report the weather for June, July and August in the next Newsletter. I hope you all enjoy the rest of the summer. Take care.


Illustrated by: Peter Rothwell



Whilst it pains me to say this, we desperately need a new Parochial Church Council Secretary and at least three new Committee Members to bolster our ageing PCC.

If this does not happen, then our Church will be in serious danger of closing altogether! The church cannot run itself, and it is not a big ask for people to volunteer to serve on the PCC, which meets just 6 times a year.

As the retiring Chairman of our PCC, I appeal to someone out there to come forward and help prevent the inevitable happening. We fully realise that many people are not churchgoers or even religiously minded, but let me state emphatically that apart from church services there are Weddings [3 this year and 4 booked for next year], Baptisms, Funerals, Burials and Internment of Ashes Services, Music Concerts - remember the Military Wives Concerts - our wonderful Bellringers who haven't been able to ring for 18 months, and finally our beautifully kept Churchyard for relatives in this village and elsewhere to visit their loved ones.

Please contact me on 883893 if you are willing to help and save Berrynarbor Church from closure, or if you would like more information.

Stuart Neale



Dear Berrynarbor

We should like to send thanks to you all for doing such a brilliant job in supporting the Hygiene Bank. You have been outstanding in your donations into the yellow bin in the shop and we are so thankful for generosity from you all. So far you have donated over 20kg of product.

This product goes straight to our warehouse where it is weighed and then sorted into the individual boxes. Every week we are packing bags that are then delivered to the community partners who in turn give it to those in need. We are supporting people across the north Devon area and it is very gratefully received. Since we started in January, we have given out nearly 2 tons of product and have received nearly 3 tons. We recently outgrew our initial warehouse but were kindly donated warehouse space by Banbury's Department Store.

We continue to fund raise and access grants but the collection boxes that are situated around north Devon are providing us with a great selection of hygiene product and peoples generosity never ceases to amaze us.

Your support enables us to take on more community partners and so help many more people living in hygiene poverty. For more info on us have a look here:

Thank you so much and please keep giving - it makes a real difference to people's lives.

The Hygiene Bank North Devon thbndevon@gmail.com





By the time you read this, we all hope that the Government's decision [to be announced on Monday 19th July] will be to relax the current restrictions enabling churches throughout the land to reopen and allow congregations to sing once more! We hope that many businesses will begin to prosper once again and that everyone will be vaccinated against this dreadful Virus. We also pray that the current Delta virus is brought under control and that our NHS will be able to redirect their efforts to the huge number of people awaiting appointments for specialist treatment.

The sad news, however, that Rev. Peter Churcher has resigned from his position, has resulted in the three churches under his mantle are once again without a Priest in Charge. We wish Peter, his wife Josie and family happiness in their new venture. We shall, of course. notify everyone when we have news of a replacement.

Despite this absence, Church Services will be held on Sundays commencing at 11.00 a.m. and we shall ensure that more detail regarding the type of service will be advertised throughout the village and our Village Shop in August and beyond. We are very fortunate in having George Billington, who has kindly offered to take two services each month, which will help us enormously through this difficult period.

Repairs to the Church are nearing completion, and the fitting of new cast iron guttering and downpipes at the rear of the church will shortly be completed. The scaffolding will soon be removed - and the church will once again ensure a beautiful backdrop for the weddings taking place in July and September this year.

We continue to pray at this time for Margaret Sowerby who is undergoing chemotherapy and following a difficult time in hospital is now back at home with her husband Roger. We all hope that in the months ahead Margaret responds well to specialist treatment and returns to her bright and happy nature that we all know and love!

We have just heard that one of our Berrynarbor Choir members Lesley Symes has sadly passed away following a long illness. We send our deepest sympathy to Lesley's husband Dave at this very sad time.

Finally, we all look forward to hearing the Church bells ringing again, and hope that this will be possible in the very near future.

Stuart Neale





The village was stunned at the untimely passing of Alan, in his garden, on the 6th June, and our thoughts are with Barbara, his family, Rosemary and Barry and his friends at this time of shock and grief.

We shall miss his cheerful presence - always happy to be doing something to help others or for the benefit of the village, especially through Berry in Bloom. A true community-spirited gentle man.

Alan was born in the South Devon village of Ipplepen, 75 years ago, on his father's market garden, where I think he got his love of gardening. We lived in Buckinghamshire for 40 years but he always wanted to return to Devon when he retired and have a larger garden. We have spent nine happy years in Berrynarbor and he wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else. I had a job to get him out of the garden.

We met Barry and Rosemary and their two sons some 43 years ago, and we became the best of friends. Without their help and other family members and friends, I would not have managed to get through these last weeks, thank you so much.

Alan could turn his hand to almost anything and in 50 years of marriage he very rarely said, "We will have to get somebody in to do this." there were no problems only solutions according to Alan. He was a very positive person who looked forward to each day and loved talking to people.

He did an apprenticeship with the Electricity Board and then worked for a boat hire company on the Thames at Maidenhead, fitting out and repairing their boats; next working for an Agricultural Merchants again in Maidenhead as an HGV fitter and finally he had his own company as a Corgi registered plumber and electrician, based in Burnham, Bucks.

We had or own narrow boat built in Cannock and brought down by road to a farmer's field near Slough, where Alan fitted the 60ft boat out, fitting a vintage engine Kelvin K2 and we launched her in 2002. We had many happy days on board Rooster, going up as far as the Lancaster Canal or down the Kennet & Avon canal. The engine was a great talking point and Alan was always happy to talk about it!

Alan was also a motorcycle enthusiast and we took his AJS to New Zealand in the year 2000. He broke his ankle and Achilles tendon at different times on motor bikes.

In the last years he took up woodturning and really enjoyed making the items in his workshop.

Alan really enjoyed the activities in the village, like Berry in Bloom, the Horticultural & Craft Show, Manor Hall, the Community Shop, the Newsletter and upholstery lessons. He was always happy to help out in any way he could, using his various skills and tools.

As you may know, we are collecting for a bench to be put in the village, hopefully near the telephone box which Alan restored. My brother commented, "A bench for Alan, a man that never sat down!"

The kindness of the people of Berrynarbor has been overwhelming, thank you everyone.

Barbara, Barry and Rosemary

The celebration of Alan's life to be held at the Manor Hall for afternoon tea and cakes, is pencilled in for the 25th September 2021 subject to covid restrictions. All our village friends will be welcome.



Villagers will be saddened to hear of the passing of Peter, just over a year since the death of his beloved wife Jean. He was born on 11th November 1941 in Worcester Park, south-west London and had a varied working life, mostly as a civil engineer, at Aubrey Watson Ltd in Henley on Thames, Associated Asphalt, Hanson, and Martin Collins equine surfaces.

He and Jean met in the mid-1990s and, in 2000, moved from Berkshire to Berrynarbor, taking up residence at The Cedars in the Sterridge Valley. It didn't take long before they, along with near neighbours Geoff and Christine Taylor, became the hub of social activities in the upper valley, be it garden parties, summer BBQs, Christmas get-togethers, games nights, or bonfire night extravaganzas (more often than not in the rain!).

In 2010 Pete tied the knot with Jean at Berrynarbor church. The many friends and family members who attended the wedding reception, held in Bood, near Braunton, will recall both a wonderfully happy day, but also the unseasonably arctic conditions, particularly the biting wind that whistled through the gaps in the barn's wooden structure. It certainly helped everyone to stay on their feet dancing!

Like Jean, Pete was a great 'doer', lending a hand wherever it was needed, including in the Village Shop where he was a member of the team that sorted out the daily newspapers. To say that he was active is certainly an understatement. He was a keen sportsman, enjoying rugby (with frequent trips to watch Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park), cricket (as a member of Somerset County Cricket Club), golf (as a member of Willingcott Golf Club where he was variously Chairman, Club Captain and Handicap Secretary), billiards/snooker (as a member of the Berrynarbor Men's Institute) and, in his later years, table tennis.

Other passions while living in Newbury were sailing, which he pursued for many years, winning a clutch of trophies, and eventing, at which he was also keenly competitive, taking part in cross country, show jumping and dressage. His interest in the latter was sparked when his first wife, Jane, and eldest daughter, Sarah, got into horses. He sold his boat and used the proceeds to buy horses for them, and later ponies for his younger daughters, Becky and Emma - and himself!

Another hobby during later years at The Cedars was model aeroplanes, which he built himself and flew from Woolacombe Down. Whatever Pete turned his hand to, he was good at, and this extended into all corners of life. Sarah recalls her dad teaching himself bricklaying, electrics, plumbing and so on when he built the family home in Newbury whilst holding down a full-time job in Henley. The girls would stack bricks ready for him to lay when he got home from work!

In their later years together, Peter and Jean bought a campervan which they christened 'Nellie-bell'. This brought them immeasurable pleasure, touring not only in the UK but also further afield in Europe, even letting the house for a year to do so. It was during these travels that they discovered Les Medes campsite in L'Estartit on Spain's north-east coast. This inspired them to sell the campervan, buy a caravan and drive it to Les Medes, where they subsequently spent long periods enjoying the Mediterranean lifestyle, warmth and sunshine in the company of many friends.

Pete and Jean, you will long be remembered, cherished and much loved by the many people whose lives you touched.

Tim Davis and Tim Jones

24.5.1935 - 17.6.2021

How sad it was to learn that Norman had passed away on the 17th June and our thoughts are with David and Louise and all the family at this difficult time. One of the few remaining people true born and bred in Berrynarbor, a loving father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother and uncle, Norman will be sadly missed, not only by his family but his many friends.

Tribute to Norman by his Nephew, Philip Squire

There are many people in the world who take a long time to figure out what they want out of life. They don't quite know who they are and what their purpose is for. They struggle to know what A Levels to take, what sports to play, what careers to pursue and they are unhappy in that respect. But Norman, father, brother, godfather, uncle, was not one of them, he knew from a young age that he was going to be a farmer.

But that said, he elected after school to do his National Service and joined the Devonshire Regiment. I struggle to picture Norman as an army man. I mean I have always seen him as giving instruction and never saw him as one receiving instructions! So, when the sergeant major apparently in some drill exercise commented that Norman was marching like a farmer. I was not surprised to learn that he retorted, "That's because I am a farmer!" Which he, of course, thought amusing but the SM otherwise!

So, I wonder why? Why did Norman join the Army? He did not have to, he could have taken the easy option and work on the farm. Was it out of duty? Was it out of conscience? Was it to explore what life was like away from the hills of Berrynarbor? What is for sure, is that in getting to Africa, he found he hated sea travel. He got extremely seasick, even on his return through the Suez Canal which is normally as flat as a mill pond! Of course, his mother Ivy was worried about the danger he might have been in and whilst the army were in Kenya to deal with the Mau Mau rebellion, he played it down, saying there was more chance of being harmed through accidents with fire arms. It was not in his nature to brag or boast, but perhaps above all his army experience reconfirmed here in Berrynarbo was where his life was meant to be. This was where he was happiest. This was what he stood for - a life, as Yvonne his sister put it, "tied to a cow's tail"! He had many opportunities to travel, he was welcome to come and visit us in Trinidad, the Middle East, Africa, but it was Angela who came, never Norman. As Norman once said to me as we drove up to his fields overlooking the hills and Sterridge Valley and in the mid-distance the Channel, "Why on earth would anyone want to be anywhere else."

I must admit as a youngster living on the farm, as I did from time to time, I was frankly quite terrified of Norman. I had never quite met anyone like him, and due to his broad Devon accent, I could not, on occasions, understand exactly what he was saying, but too nervous to ask! You could not quite make out if he was teasing you in a nice way or challenging you in direct way! If we mucked up his hay bales making camps or jumping into the grain piles or doing something stupid, he would let you know how he felt. But as I grew older, I saw a different side to Norman. When I brought girlfriends and now my wife, he just loved to tease them and they simply adored him.

When he was a member of Round Table and Rotary, he seemed, with Angela, to go out more and his circle of friends grew and we saw him become more sociable. Maybe it was as a consequence of David playing a bigger role in the running of the farm that allowed him to do so. He perhaps relaxed a bit more. It was devasting that he lost Angela so prematurely and, of course, Sally his daughter. But so touching to see him move in with Ivy to enable her to stay at home and not go into a nursing home. He was quietly generous and altruistic. In more recent times it has been David looking in on Norman, checking that he was alright, supported, of course, by the lovely Louise. I feel for David who has now lost his father, mother and sister.

We shall miss Norman and those memories: crook in hand herding the ewes, calling the dogs to go up to the fields, milking the cows, twinkle in his eye, the warmth of his welcome, but for me he will always be here, walking the fields of Berrynarbor.


We were all so sorry to learn that Lesley had passed away at home on the 28th June after a long illness, which she treated with positivity and cheerfulness. Our thoughts at this time of sadness are with Dave and all her family.

Lesley always took part in village activities, singing in the Church Choir, as a member of the Book Club and Combe Martin Writing Group, and if there was a Quiz in the offing, she would be there with Dave.

Many of us have benefitted from her relaxing hands as a member of the Association of Reflexologists.

She will be missed by so many. Bless you, Lesley.

And I've got to understand
You must release the ones you love
And let go of their hand.
I try and cope the best I can
But I'm missing you so much
If I could only see you
And once more feel your touch.
Yes, you've just walked on ahead of me
Don't worry, I'll be fine,
But now and then I swear I feel
Your hand slip into mine.


Joyce Grenfell



Meadow Magic - with Tim Davis

What I have learnt over the 20 years that we have lived at Harpers Mill is that a wildflower meadow is a wondrous thing. It takes time and patience to create a meadow from scratch but the results are hugely satisfying and the enjoyment derived from it increases year on year. For example, a few years ago the first southern marsh-orchid appeared, most likely from long-dormant seed waiting for the right conditions. Their number has steadily increased until this year there were 75, mostly in the meadow but others appearing in other parts of the garden nearby. Twayblade was another orchid that popped up one year, but in its second year it got nibbled early on, probably by slugs, and hasn't been seen since. Common spotted orchid is another that suddenly appeared in a smaller meadow area and has flowered twice in recent years. Then, in late June this year, we made an astonishing discovery.

Greater butterfly-orchid and (top to bottom) trembling-wing fly, western bee-fly and small semaphore fly

There, standing tall (over a foot high) and 'hidden in plain sight' amongst the ox-eye daisies and meadow grasses was a greater butterfly orchid (Platanthera chlorantha) coming into flower. Mesmerised, we stood transfixed, hardly able to believe what we were looking at. Records of the species in the two most recent 'Floras' describing the plant life of Devon (published in 1984 and 2016) show how rare it is: just two North Devon records in the earlier Flora and only three more since then. The entry in the 2016 Flora describes it as 'occasional' and Near Threatened on the British Red List, occurring in 'well drained, usually, base-rich or calcareous soils in woodland, commons and meadows, pastures and roadsides, but very rare in North Devon'.

If you haven't yet discovered the joy of a meadow, big or small, and would like to devote a patch of your garden towards creating one, visit Plantlife's website (www.plantlife.org.uk) and go to the blog page entitled 'What is a meadow, why do meadows matter and how can you make one?'. Not only will you be adding variety to your garden, but also helping to stem the loss of insects, which pollinate many of our fruits, flowers and vegetables, and also help break down and dispose of wastes, dead animals and plant material.

Such excitements for us over the years have extended from birds to plants and more recently, especially during the periods of pandemic-induced lockdown, insect life. Of three new discoveries during the last month (including on the morning I wrote this article!) one, of a tiny fly, occurred in our kitchen. It was a mere 5mm long but with longer wings which it was constantly waving around - hence known colloquially as a trembling-wing or flutter fly; its scientific name is Palloptera muliebris.

The second was a western bee-fly (Bombylius canescens) which we photographed nectaring on rockrose. This turned out to be another fairly scarce species for North Devon, with currently fewer than 40 records for our region on the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas. And the third new fly - a 3mm-long small semaphore fly (Rivellia syngenesiae) - we found, would you believe, feeding on the stem of the butterfly orchid! There are four Devon records on the NBN Atlas, just one previous record shown for North Devon.

Whatever will we discover next?!

Photos: Tim Davis and Tim Jones



Artwork: Harry Weedon


The whole Berry in Bloom team are shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Alan Eales. Alan was our No.1 man to go to for help with everything we do around the village. With his smiling face and cheerful manner, he was always willing to help and could provide all manner of equipment from hedge cutter to tractor and trailer. Alan you will be sorely missed and Barbara our hearts go out to you.

Alan's death came as we were preparing for the judging on 6th July and we had to pick ourselves up and get on with the job, and I am very grateful to those in our group who stepped into the breach in so many ways.

This year, because of covid, we only had 1 judge, Tim Eley. We started in the car park and shop then visited Jean to see the wonderful job she is doing in growing plants for sale at the gate and in raising almost £2.000 for the Hospice and Berry in Bloom. Then on to see the planter and sign at the top of Barton Lane and down to the harbour and castle. This gives the judge an overview of the village. We travelled up the Sterridge Valley to visit this year's 'growers'; firstly, Gill and Andy who grew the plants for the tubs. and then Dan, Oli and Sally who grew and planted all the hanging baskets which the judge was very complimentary about.

Then back to the car park where the judging continued on foot through the centre of the village, taking in Claude's Garden and as far as the small dog walking field to see the wild flowers planted last year in lockdown. Finally, we met some of the children and teachers at the Pre-school where the Berry in Bloom team have been turning a stinging nettle infested corner into a child-friendly wildlife and growing area.

Tim then joined some of the team in the Manor Hall for refreshments and a chat.

We don't get the results until October but I am quietly confident and hope it is a GOLD for Alan's sake.

Wendy Applegate


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


Artwork: Angela Bartlett

Wendy Applegate



Solution in Article 32.


Artwork: Helen Weedon


In April 2000, having spent the previous ten years enjoying holidays in North Devon, we sold our property in Brighton, gave up our jobs and moved into our static caravan in Berrynarbor. Out of work and with no idea whether we would find somewhere to live by the end of the season, I woke up the next morning and thought, "What have we done?" But sometimes in life you have to trust your gut instinct; and in our case we were right to trust those impulses. We soon gained employment and, just before the site closed for the year, we found a bungalow in which to live on the outskirts of Ilfracombe. There was, however, one consequence of that initial move to Berrynarbor that I did not envisage; having popped into the local village shop to purchase some goods, I also picked up, like I did on all our previous holidays, the latest copy of the Newsletter. Reading the editorial, I noticed how Judie never forgot to express her gratitude to the issue's contributors, adding that she would also appreciate articles from anyone who had not previously written a piece. Nothing unusual, perhaps, except that on this occasion, I had an inclination to put pen to paper.

From memory, that first offering was a ditty to do with how we had come to move to the area. Similar contributions followed, all being short lyrical odes. But it was in the spring of 2001, having witnessed the extensive clearance work in our garden that encircled our corner bungalow, that I had an urge to put together an article. The piece made analogies between our clearance work and the Great Storm of 1987, depicting the latter as an opportunity for the town in which I lived at the time, Brighton, to have a re-birth, with mature trees that had stood on guard for centuries being replaced by fresh, juvenile saplings; and where, in the woods out of town, grand old trees were allowed a respectable death with their decaying trunks providing food and shelter for a multitude of creatures. I then argued that, like the Great Storm, we too had robbed our garden of numerous trees, not to mention the overwhelming abundance of brambles which had provided blossom and fruits for wildlife to savour. But, as with the Great Storm, we too reaped benefits from our clearance work. Come early spring, a breathtaking carpet of snowdrops appeared, followed by a mass of miniature narcissi and finally a dazzling display of tall daffodils which, as I surveyed them swaying in a warm spring breeze, I likened to the wagging tails of puppy dogs on a parade: all on show and so much wanting to please us.

Having titled the article "Rural Reflections", I e-mailed it to Judie and soon received a grateful reply, along with that renowned, well-intentioned editor's question, "How about another one for the next issue?" And so here we are, a further ninety-nine contributions on. Who would have thought?

Looking back, it's interesting to see how many articles have, like that first offering, made analogies between mankind and our natural world [usually concluding that nature is wiser than man] or involving other reflective debates. For example, there was the piece about the imminent arrival of the wind turbines appearing on the North Devon landscape; another about local fields being given over to housing developments and one other debating the dominance of Friesian cattle over traditional British breeds. In relation to my own doorstep locality, I also argued whether the felling of trees in my local public woodland for Health and Safety reasons was, on the other hand, unfairly terminating their natural life expectancy.

Along with trees, wildflowers have also been the focus of my attention. For example, a run of articles followed my observations on the variety of flora observed in the Score Valley from early spring of one year through to late autumn. I have also used pieces to emphasise the benefits to nature that wild flowers can provide in a garden, finishing one article with the line, "may all your weeds be wildflowers!" Or as I said in another piece, it's about regarding those dandelions in a lawn as a blessing to nature; for whilst they may be spoiling those perfect green lines, they are at the same time acting as a valuable source of nectar and pollen for our bees, especially in early spring.

Viewing matters with a positive outlook has also been a regular feature of my contributions. Without doubt, becoming a writer for the Newsletter has encouraged me to take the time to stop, stare and reflect. It also led me to read more books by naturalists, many of whom I was surprised to discover experienced bouts of depression and found solace and therapy through walking in the countryside. In my own way I have also written many articles in the December and February issues in a bid to help readers who struggle with the winter months. In one piece I renamed S.A.D. "Spring Approaching Discovery" and in another concluded that the Newsletter's February issue should be titled the "Premature Spring" edition. In others I have made references to how spring's imminent arrival is evident within weeks of us bidding farewell to the old year and how, even in the depths of winter, nature is still busy at work despite everything appearing dormant.

All of the seasons and not just winter have been the key topic in certain articles. One piece again took on that 'glass half-full' approach, reasoning that whilst the blossom of some trees may be short lived, their brief displays ensure we appreciate their beauty even more. Another argued the 'for's and against''s' for each season, but concluded with the question "Who can dislike spring?" There was a feature on what colours our countryside provides in autumn beyond the shades of gold, brown, orange and yellow and one other about how an autumnal walk upon the Cairn led me to conclude that the season is shifting and now seems later than when I was a boy.

I had forgotten. too, the piece I wrote about an unplanned drive onto Exmoor in the middle of winter on an overcast day. Having pulled into a lay-by, I impulsively began climbing a footpath on a steep hillside. Reaching the ridge of the hill, I scanned my limited view and realised I could have been anywhere on the moor. Isolated and alone in the countryside for the first time ever in my life, I discovered how the company of the cool drizzle on my cheeks and the wind dashing past my ears ensured I felt safe and secure.

Other weather conditions have been a regular topic. A scrutiny of my contributions over the last 20 years reflects how meteorological records have been continually broken, not to mention the rural impact of unseasonable weather conditions. One article, for example, discussed the benefits of witnessing the increase in bird species in our villages and towns as a result of severe inclement weather in the countryside. In another piece I reflected upon the dominance of one particular bird species in our own gardens wherever we have lived; but more on our numerous abodes later.

Returning to weather related articles, there was the item about a visit to friends in South Molton close to Christmas 2004. Whilst we ate and laughed, black clouds gathered and then vigorously discharged their heavy raindrops, continuing to do so as I attempted to drive back to Ilfracombe late that night. Rivers burst their banks and drains overflowed, causing roads to either disappear beneath deep pools of water or become extensions of parallel rivers. Eventually, in the early hours of the following morning, I reached home. Yet within days of the incident, my experience had paled into insignificance when on Boxing Day an earthquake in the Indian Ocean caused a tsunami which killed over 200,000 people. Nature at its cruellest.

Other significant incidents have featured. Soon after I began contributing articles there was the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease. More recently it has been the COVID-19 pandemic. In their own way, both are examples of our countryside having a respite from the trampling heels of the human race. During the first lockdown I wrote a piece about the enjoyment gained from bringing the countryside to my doorstep by watching the various birdlife in my own garden. It was something I recently discussed with my elderly uncle who, living in a park home surrounded by fields and woodland, used the lockdowns to relax on his veranda and observe his natural surroundings. He explained with glee how much he had learned about birdlife by just sitting and watching, not to mention how therapeutic it had been for him. A lesson for us all.

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

Giving lessons to youngsters, both directly and indirectly, have also been articles in their own right. Two come to mind. One centred around some youngsters who were taking it in turns to forcefully push each into a low-growing shrub in my local park. On politely asking them to stop, I had to hide my shock when they genuinely assumed that, with autumn imminent, the plant would lose its leaves and then die in winter, allowing the park keeper to plant something else in its place next spring. A brief nature lesson followed. Another article explained how I had enabled a group of local Girl Guides achieve their Duke of Edinburgh Award by assisting me collate records of wild flowers upon the Cairn during the course of twelve months. These records were then passed onto the Devon Wildlife Trust.

The Cairn has been a regular feature of my contributions during the ten years I lived in Ilfracombe. Indeed, on reflection I should conclude that my initial articles ignited a desire to learn more about my rural environment and in turn led me to write a book about the Cairn. Having that book published had been a life time's ambition and became the feature of another article.

There have been other instances where I have used my Rural Reflections space to share personal stories. For example, how the countryside was my therapy and refuge after the loss of my parents; how it provided comforting memories of Bourton and Gifford, our two black Labradors who were a regular feature of my early pieces but who are now happily running through the fields and woods up above; and how, by observing the way in which the branches of all the trees in my local woodland were intimately touching, it had reminded me of a get together I had meticulously arranged for my extended family tree.

My 'RR's' have also followed one other personal aspect in the life of me and my husband - our numerous moves! As already mentioned, the Cairn and the Score Valley featured regularly during the ten years we lived in Ilfracombe. On moving to Combe Martin it was another doorstep discovery, Hams Lane [a recommended walk] that I wrote about and in particular how I gave names to various key points along the route of the path. Our move to Riddlecombe then reflected upon how it was the first time we had ever lived in a remote hamlet with no amenities on hand and with the nearest shop two miles away. Yes, waking up to the sight of cows peering over our back fence was always a joyful sight; but the extent of the isolation proved too much. A return to civilisation through our next move to Yelland was, therefore, a relief; and, in any case, we still backed onto a horse's field and had farmland surrounding us.

But then I lost my job. "Let's move near the M5 corridor," we said. "There'll be better opportunities for work." And so the move to Weston-super-Mare. "We've still got the countryside nearby," we said. "And we'll soon adapt back to an urban setting." Except we didn't - and to think, I even wrote articles at the time convincing myself that we weren't missing a rural outlook. But who was I trying to fool? Oh, how we longed for a countryside view again. So, six years later, we moved to Minehead. Our rural surroundings are very much like North Devon [minus the turbines], except we're on the other side of the moor! Better still, it's an area that is relatively new to us, meaning new rural places on our doorstep to discover - and, no doubt, accompanying articles to follow!

Steve McCarthy.



Artwork: Angela Bartlett


Illustration by: Paul Swailes

Widow Mary Kemp lived on her own in a semi-detached house in Marlow. Next door was Ted Hanbury, a lay about. He had not worked for some time and was living on State Benefits.

One day Mary went to her fridge to get some milk to make herself a cup of tea. "I'm sure I had more milk than this, and the piece of ham seems smaller," she thought.

As the days went by, she often noticed food was missing from the fridge and told her son, he said he would think about it. Think about it he did! Soon he had come up with the answer. He remembered that last time he was in her roof, seeing to a connection for her television, he noticed that there was no continuing wall between the two homes.

"I know," he thought, "Ted must be coming into the roof by his own roof top and coming down the trap to my mother's." "Mother," he said, "You go out and do you shopping as I have something to do." Off she went and her son got busy. He simply fixed bolts to the trap and said to himself, "that's that!"

The result? Well, no more missing food and a very sheepish looking Ted!

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket




I like best the wine drunk at the cost of others.
Diogenes the Cynic

Drinking wine at the cost of others has been possible for a while, as restrictions have been gradually reducing; Monday July 19th is another date in the pandemic calendar for England. Politicians made statements, prior to, about donning a mask being a personal choice, but the professors seem to think we should all wear these, so it's probably wise to wait and see.

Berrynarbor's Wine Circle will be delighted to restart in October, the 20th to be precise, all being well. We'll have to wait and see as to our social-distancing, but I'm sure many will prefer to continue the 2-metre approach; however, the Manor Hall has plenty of space for us to conform to this and, therefore, welcome anybody and everybody at 8.00 p.m.

Judith Adam - Promotional Co-ordinator






A first taste of education

At Berrynarbor Preschool we provide care and education for young children between the ages of 2 and 5. We are now taking bookings for the next academic year. If you would like to book a place for your child/children, then please call on 07932 851052 or e-mail preschoolberrynarbor@gmail.com for more information.

Our opening times are 8.30 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. Monday to Friday. We are flexible and have a range of session times to meet your needs.

  • Morning - 8.30 a.m. or 9.00 a.m. - 12,00 noon
  • Afternoon - 12.00 noon - 3.00 or 3.30 or 4.00 p.m.
  • All Day - 8.30 or 9.00 a.m. - 3.00, 3.30 or 4.00 p.m.

We are Ofsted registered and in receipt of the 2-year-old funding and Early Years Entitlement. We are offering 30 hours free childcare to eligible families. Further information in regards to this funding can be found at 30 hours free childcare - GOV.UK {www.gov.uk}

Topic of Learning

We focused this summer term's learning on the Environment from Recycling to Bugs, Bees and Butterflies and our adventures took to The Jungle and back to The Seaside.

The children's learning was shared with parents, grandparents and members of the community in our Children's Communication Corner. This was only possible from the Berry in Bloom team who reclaimed a small area of garden where we now share our learning topics. This is to support our children's communication skills and is in line with the New Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum focusing on the importance of talking.

Have a lovely summer.

Best wishes from the
Preschool Committee and Staff




The holiday season is upon us. For me this means a number of things; more people walking past my house, more annoying cars on the road and fewer walks on the beach.

The cars can be a real issue especially since the Mrs. lost her hearing in one ear. She doesn't seem to hear them creeping up from behind. I have saved her life on a number of occasions but she doesn't always appreciate it. My darting into the hedgerow has caused a few brushes with nettles and one occasion I did pull her a bit too hard. One minute she was upright and the next flat on her face kissing the road. We had several days of very slow walks after that which were intensely annoying for an agile dog like me.

It has to be said though that some drivers just don't know how to drive on our roads and come tearing along taking even me off guard. The Mr. and Mrs. both utter rude words when that happens. They think I don't know but I do. It can be quite amusing watching the standoffs too, when two cars meet face to face and neither wants to reverse to make room for the other. We stand back and wait patiently. I am supposed to sit but I like to stand to see the looks on the driver's faces. I wish I could lip read as they sometimes do a lot of muttering at each other! I think they say rude words too! I suppose it's a bit like when I meet some of the village dogs who strangely don't like me. [Yes, believe it or not, there are a few who don't appreciate my finer qualities.] They make a lot of angry noise and their people and mine have to decide who is going forward or who should turn the other way and wait. It all results in a bit of a kerfuffle.

I get a bit confused too when new dogs appear in the area. You never know if they are going to be friends or foes and obey the rules of the neighbourhood. I spent ages trying to get off my lead to go and play with Storm the other day at Watermouth Harbour and it turned out not to be Storm - it was a complete imposter who had no manners at all!

Going back to the cars, the other issue is they clutter up the road causing traffic jams. I don't mean the sticky sweet red sort of jam that I occasionally get to sample when the Mr. drops some toast. These are long lines of cars, caravans, lorries and camper vans that spend ages not going anywhere. They stand still forever, moving inch by inch very, very slowly. Consequently, our walks at Woolacombe or Crow Point [my two, all-time favourite places] cease as the Mr. refuses to sit doing nothing. I don't really understand that as he often sits doing nothing watching football on that TV thing in the lounge. but alas no beach walks for me!

The holiday season isn't all bad though. There are some good things about holidays. Like I said before, more people walking past my house to jump and wag my tail for and a steady run of visitors to our house for me to annoy, lick and lunge at. They don't know the rules of putting food out of my reach or leaving socks on their bedroom floor so I have lots of extra fun! They always make a fuss of me and want to hold my lead when we go out walking which is nice. Visitors also tends to mean extra walks to Sandy Cove or Storm in a Teacup for refreshments and time spent outdoors, admiring the beauty of our area.

I enjoy the odd holiday myself, you know. When the Mr. and Mrs. go away, I get to go on holiday too. I either go to the farm or move in with Storm. Last month I went to the farm. I love the freedom of racing through the fields and playing with the other dogs. The only problem is those sticky buds that get stuck to me and I collected rather a lot of ticks as well this time. I can't help attracting these things. The Mrs. moaned but it's no different from her going on holiday and getting sun burnt or getting bitten by mosquitos. I don't intentionally collect these things. Anyway, I soon looked glamorous again after a trip to Vicki's parlour.

I'd better go now as we have some new guests arriving shortly and I need to keep a look out. My message this month: enjoy the holiday season, welcome the visitors and try and stay patient with the ones that are annoying!

Happy holidays everyone.




Since the return to school in March we have been busy cracking on with our work in class. The children have settled back into the daily routine extremely well - thank you to our staff and families for enabling this to happen. We are pleased to say that school trips are now firmly back on the agenda! The whole Federation has taken part in our courageous camp-out at Stapleton Farm, hosted by Adam and Natalie Stanbury. Over the course of the week the children took part in lots of activities, including foraging, fire lighting, pond dipping, a stream walk, as well as meeting the cows and learning about where milk comes from. How lovely for the children to spend a few days in the wilds at Berry Down. Special mention must go to our brave year 2's - they took part in their first ever sleepover at West Down School. We are so proud of them for camping out all night - they are all ready for the big camp out next year!

We have also ventured out to Saunton for a day at the beach. We managed to achieve not one but two things that day. Filming our socially distanced Year 6 performance in the absence of the use of the Landmark Theatre this year. It was fun to do some outside broadcasting! The children also had the opportunity to take part in a surf lesson and they were all so good. We clearly have some talented sea farers in our midst.



The children have been trying out their French conversational skills in Mrs. Owen's French Café afternoon. It was wonderful to see our children playing the part of café customers. They confidently ordered hot chocolate and croissants from their equally confident waiters and waitresses. Ambience was provided by French music and games - bravo les enfants!

At the time of writing, we are busy planning for Sports Day - sadly we shall not be able to invite families to watch this year but the children have been busy practicing for the usual array of events. We are so looking forward to holding a joint Federation event across both schools next year.

While lockdown has had its obvious drawbacks, restrictions on people visiting school have allowed us to think outside the box in terms of careers education for our older pupils. We have continued to host our Broadening Horizons event. This includes virtual presentations from a number of visitors, each showcasing their career. We have had some very interesting people offer their insight and expertise to our children. If you would be interested in being interviewed for our Careers Week event next year, please get in contact, we are always looking to inspire the children.

We are incredibly proud of our school family this year, including staff, children, parents, carers and governors. It goes without saying that this has been one of the most challenging and difficult years in education. Children have missed a significant amount of school, they have coped incredibly well during this time. We cannot thank our staff and families enough for the huge team effort it has taken to get us to the end of the academic year. Despite such a tricky time our children have been happy and committed to their learning. A wonderful tribute to our vision "being the best we can be, committed to making a difference".



This time of year is also full of pride and hope for our wonderful Year 6 who will have finished their time with us. In our special Final Assembly, we wished the very best of luck to them: Ruby, Donovan, Salah, George, Alfie, Angus, Rosie S, Rosie T, Harley, Rhys, Benjamin, Eddie, Sky and Lilie. You should be very proud of all you have achieved both inside the classroom and out.

We can't wait to welcome all our new starters in September - let's hope we are heading for a restriction-free Autumn Term.

We hope you have a happy and safe summer and we look forward to getting involved in the community as restrictions ease - hope you enjoy a few pictures from our camp-out below!

Su Carey, Faye Poynter
and the whole Staff Team.



Most of you will know that I am married to Pam, who at one time was a professional cookery demonstrator.  She even taught cookery demonstration at the Birmingham College of Food for two yearuntil I dragged her off to Ireland.

With her for a partner, it is not in my interest to admit any skill with the stove!  However, I was once a laboratory research chemist, so I can weigh, measure, mix and heat and follow instructions! Occasionally, if necessary, I have been known to provide scrambled egg with smoked salmon, or cheese and bacon omelette should the need arise, and I have an excellent simple recipe for Hollandaise Sauce.

Many years ago, we were living in Coventry and had joined a small walking and social group, about 20 people.  When the members discovered Pam's profession, they requested a demonstration.  Pam, who thought nothing of addressing say a thousand strangers in say Birmingham Town Hall, did not like the idea of talking to 20 friends and would not do it, unless I would join in.

Some of our older readers might remember the famous cookery demonstrator Fanny Craddock, and her husband Johnnie. She was known for her spectacular presentations and her constant denigration of Johnnie.  What she was not known for was her strong [even foul] language, dreadful manners [off stage] and outrageous demands. On one occasion she was presenting in Birmingham Town Hall for the Gas Board and Pam was involved.  Fanny demanded that the whole of the stage be newly re-carpeted to match her dress.  When the demonstration was over the evening dress that she was wearing was immaculate, but the carpet had been ruined! 

Pam agreed to do the demonstration if I took part as Johnny the stooge! She started with the theme of fresh Scandinavian food, savoury dishes and fish etc. Eventually she said, "Now for the desert, I will demonstrate pancakes!"  That was my cue to stand up with a balloon brandy glass in my hand [with just a drop of cider in the bottom of it] and say, "For this audience, pancakes are not good enough!  It has to be Crepes Suzette." The reply, "If that is what you think, you can do the demonstration yourself!"

It was, of course, all well-rehearsed.  I made some very acceptable crepes, and flambéed them in a mixture of brandy and Cointreau.  Just for good measure, I whipped up some egg-white and made a pavlova.

A few days later a neighbour came in to chat with Pam about the demonstration and was told, "Don't talk to me about Crepe Suzettes. For 5 evenings he stood in the kitchen talking to the cupboards as he practiced his Crepes Suzette. I'm b . . . dy sick of Crepes Suzettes!" The neighbour said "I know. I feel just the same about fish fingers!"

Alex Parke



The North Devon UNESCO Biosphere Partnership has launched a new Nature Recovery Declaration and Plan. This sets out a vision for the future of nature in northern Devon, aligning with the Government's

25 Year Environment Plan and the Prime Minister's pledge for 30% of the UK land to be protected by 2030.  Today, our wildlife is a shadow of its former glory and our natural systems are ceasing to function. If we are to turn the tide for nature's recovery, everyone in northern Devon needs to engage through their choices and actions. It's time for urgent and transformative local action!

Join individuals, businesses, schools, landowners, farmers and other organisations across the Biosphere area to sign the Declaration and support nature's recovery.

You can read the Nature Recovery Plan and sign the Declaration here: https://www.northdevonbiosphere.org.uk/nature-recovery-plan.html

Emily Willoughby - Project Coordinator




Chairman: Adam Stanbury [01271] 882252
Gemma Bacon, Jenny Beer, Andy Burch, Adrian Coppin, Bernadette Joyce, Jody Latham, Nic Wright
Parish Clerk: clerk@berrynarborparishcouncil.org.uk.
County Councillor: Andrea Davis
District Councillor: Joe Tucker
Snow Warden: Adrian Coppin

We are pleased that the repairs to the steps on the footpath leading to Broadsands Beach have now been completed and the path re-opened. The bollard appears to be working well preventing unauthorised parking. We have not yet seen the same issue with litter on the beach as last year and hope people will continue to respectfully enjoy the area.

We welcome Councillors Andy Burch and Sian Barten who have recently been co-opted to the Council.


We have been notified of several bonfires that are taking place during the hotter weather. The Parish Council ask that when planning a bonfire, you consider your neighbours and the impact that the time of day you choose may have on those around you.
If a bonfire is a statutory nuisance which is having an unreasonable effect on someone's enjoyment of their home or garden, the North Devon Council could take enforcement action.
Thank you for your co-operation

A Reminder: If you are having a bonfire, please remember to check carefully for sleeping hedgehogs or other small creatures.

The next Parish Council Meeting will take place at the Manor Hall on Tuesday, 10th August, at 7.00 p.m.

Members of the public are welcome to attend. The first item on the Agenda is Public Participation when members of the p ublic can make representations. Items will be heard, but please note that decisions cannot be made during this part of the meeting and will be discussed later in the meeting. Representations are limited to three minutes, in line with Devon County Council and North Devon Council.

Vicki Woodhouse - Parish Clerk


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


Things have remained largely the same this past couple of months in the hall, with only a small number of user groups, but with the lifting of restrictions it is very much hoped that things can safely start returning back to normal and by the autumn all of our regular groups will be happily back with us.

Over the summer holidays it is the Pre-school's turn to have a much needed 'make over' with among other things some painting, new flooring and better and more energy efficient lighting installed.

We should like to thank Berry in Bloom for once again providing some lovely baskets and tubs, also along with the Pre-school children and staff, they have developed a lovely spot next to the shed - it looks so much better than the nettles!

When the birds have finished their nesting, we plan to give the Birdswell Lane hedge a thorough trim and tidy up in time for our Fete on Sunday 22nd August. Tables are available to hire - please contact Sharon [07823881455] if you would like to rent one. Once again, a plea: helpers would be very much appreciated, either to man a stall or with contributions to our raffles.

Have a happy and safe 'unlocking' summertime.

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





The Manor Hall in Berrynarbor is used by young and old
It stands proud in the heart of the village, a special sight to behold.
It's the place that hosts many activities, each and every day.
The place to learn new skills, socialise or simply come to play.

The children at Pre-school enjoy their regular sessions.
Learning through play is the key to all their lessons.
Teenagers and adults enjoy table tennis on a Friday night.
The Wine Club enjoy their tastings; wines, bold and heavy, others fruity and light.
Committees meet regularly in the Manor Hall
Planning events like 'Soup and Pud' and even a special ball.
The Upholstery Club, Spinners and Artists too,
Photographers and Berry in Bloom to name but a few.

Badminton Club use it, their fitness to maintain.
And Beaford Arts sometimes come to entertain.
The men's institute play snooker and enjoy meeting upstairs.
It's the place the village host fashion shows and Christmas fayres.

Here's hoping that things return to normal soon
And all the exciting activities will be able to fully resume.
The Manor Hall is special I am sure you will agree.
A place to support the whole community - that means you and me.

The 22nd August is the Manor Halls Summer Fete
Put it in your diary; mark it a special date.
We hope you will join us, come and see the stalls,
Buy raffle tickets, drink some Pimm's, there's something there for all.

Pam Robinson

Illustrated by: Peter Rothwell


Production of the Millionth Morris Minor

The Morris Minor has often been described as Britain's best loved small car. It certainly holds a place in many people's hearts and most families in Britain have owned one at some time. During its 23-year production run, over 1.5 million cars were produced in saloon, convertible, traveller, van and pick-up forms. Now, thirty-six years since production ceased, there are estimated to be over 100,000 Minors still on the road worldwide; proof, if needed, of the Minor's durability. Gone are the Vicar and the District Nurse images of the late 1960's. Today, the Minor is a popular classless car, loved by millions and used as a very practical everyday form of transport. 

Design of the Minor started in the early 1940's, led by the brilliant Alec Issigonis who was later to mastermind the BMC Mini. Production started in 1948 and the car was launched at the Motor Show in October that year. Lord Nuffield was not thrilled with the Minor, describing it as a 'poached egg', but the public were very impressed with a car way ahead of its time in design standards. By the end of the next decade, it was clear that BMC was going to achieve a new world record - the first ever British car to sell a million units. The feat was actually achieved on 22nd December 1960 when the millionth car rolled off the Cowley production line.

Such an achievement could not pass unnoticed and BMC aimed to get the maximum publicity benefit, with the idea of a limited number of special edition cars; and so it came to be that the Minor Million was created. The original Morris board members were very keen to finish the car in silver but the paint technology of the time thwarted this so lime green and a shade of orange were also discussed. Frustrated that they could not come to an agreement on a colour, they handed the decision over to the Publicity Department who chose lilac, with the Vynide (synthetic leather) white interior with black piping.

Plans immediately followed for every Morris showroom in the country to display a lilac Minor Million, in pride of place for public viewing. This was fully in action at the start of 1961.

The first Minor Million was made between the 22nd and 25th of November 1960 when a two-door saloon car with chassis number 881386 was taken out of normal production to be turned into a prototype special car. The interior sported creamy white leather facing, with black piping and black carpets. Outside the showrooms, their distinctive lilac paintwork, "1000000" badges and chrome wheel embellishers set the Million apart, but otherwise all 350 Millions were standard 948cc two-door saloons.

The millions were given special chassis numbers, out of sequence with other cars to take into account the separate numbering system for commercial vehicles. Car numbers 1000001 to 100349 were made between the 13th and 22nd of December with the prototype being re-numbered 1000330 in this sequence. Thirty Minor Millions were made with a left-hand drive specification. Twenty went to North America and the other ten to dealers in Europe. The remaining 320 right-hand drive cars were sent to dealers all over the UK with BMC's aim being to get one in every showroom for the launch date.

The official launch was on the 4th of January 1961 and a publicity brochure, "A Million Morris Minors", told the world how wonderful the car was and how, in real terms, it was cheaper to buy in 1961 than when the car was launched in 1948. At the same time, BMC held a competition to trace the earliest Morris Minor. The first production car was found and the owner, Mr. Cyril Swift of Carr Road in Walkley, Sheffield was presented with a new Minor Million in exchange [reg 5599 WA, sadly no longer around]. His original car is now on display at BMIHT at Gaydon. Morris Millions hit the country far and wide. Stewart & Arden, the largest BMC dealer, took 32 so they were certainly all over Greater London. Others went everywhere, from Cornwall and the Channel Islands to the Outer Hebrides and Shetland. It appears they did not sell very fast - perhaps the British public were not ready for lilac in 1961! The last Million to be sold was in mid-July, six months after the launch, in the Isle of Skye.

Arguably, the two most interesting Millions are still in existence, the millionth Million to be produced and the prototype Million. The prototype was sold in Stranraer in Scotland and has been restored by the Dorset Branch of the Morris Minors Owners Club. It is thought that in total between twenty and thirty Millions have survived to this day.

Lilacs in the West Country

The weekend of the 7th and 8th September 2019 saw a very rare occasion [as well as being a very rare sight for the local passers-by] when, for the first time, the Morris Minor Million Rally was held in the South West. Vehicles attended from far and wide with one owner flying in from California - their left-hand drive vehicle is stored in this country. Another came across from New Zealand, whilst another couple came from Jersey with their Million. The rally saw thirteen Millions attend - the most that have ever attended, I believe - and considering that there is estimated to be only between twenty and thirty still on the road worldwide, that's pretty good going; and better still, nobody broke down either! Always a bonus.

The Millions set off for the Rally run on Sunday at 10.00 a.m. from the Tiverton Hotel. The day had gifted beautiful blue skies with large fluffy clouds gently rolling along. Initially travelling along the wooded Exe Valley to Dulverton via Bolham and Cove village, the Millions regrouped after temporarily being split by a cycling event. Then heading up on to Exmoor, we all reached Exford where we stopped briefly to take advantage of the picturesque village and take photographs. From there, driving uphill to Dunkery Beacon at over 1,700 feet above sea level [one of the highest points in the South West] we looked down upon Minehead and Porlock and then across the Bristol Channel to Wales and over to Hinckley Point, currently the largest construction site in Europe. We then took a short drive to The Rest and Be Thankful Inn at Wheddon Cross for a pre-arranged meal. Once replete and back into our Millions, we travelled along the top of the Brendon Hills, past Raleigh's Cross Inn and then descended steeply whilst taking in the views of the Quantock Hills. Next stop was the West Somerset Steam Railway Station at Bishops Lydeard, arriving at 4.00 p.m., where the staff had allocated a parking area beside the platform - another great photograph opportunity. From the WSR Railway we headed back via Wiveliscombe and through the lanes into Devon, passing Hillcommon and Holywell Lake, with the final stop being at the private motor museum of Glenda and the late Ron Frost. Kindly, Glenda had laid on a cream tea - delicious and much appreciated after a run of about 70 miles.

Tim Lang of Tim Lang Classics of Taunton, Somerset, who owns the Taunton dealership Minor Million commented, "I remember all the surprised smiles and double takes of bystanders as one Lilac Million drove past, then another, then another, and so on. People waving enthusiastically and of course being waved back to."


Illustrated by: Paul Swailes





1. Aback, 4. Obese, 10. Oasis, 11. Tornado, 12. Tallboys, 13. Keep, 15. Mirror, 17. London, 19. Lamp, 20. Gladioli, 23. Tension, 24. Clive, 15. Paper, 26. Faded.


2. Basil, 3. Cash book, 5. Barn, 6. Seaweed, 7. Contemplate, 8. Stays, 9. Compensated, 14. Boadicea, 16. Rumania, 18. Bland, 21. Olive, 22. Pipe.



Artwork: Angela Bartlett


"Happy spring!" said the elderly earth-worm, "And how was the winter with you?"
"Very nice, thank you," said Moomintroll, "Did you sleep well, sir?"
"Fine," said the worm, "Remember me to your father and mother."

"A moomintroll is small and shy, round and smooth with a large snout that makes them vaguely resemble a hippopotamus. With a moominmama and a moominpapa, moomintrolls live in the forests of Finland. They like sunshine and sleep right through the winter. The snow falls and falls where they live, until their houses look like great snowballs. But when spring comes, up they jump."

In this way began The Moomins and the Great Flood, written by Tove Jansson in 1945, the first of the many Moomin tales that have captivated the young reader ever since.

Tove Marika Jansson was a Swedish-speaking Finnish author, novelist, painter and comic strip artist. She was born in Helsinki on the 9th August 1914 and brought up by her artistic parents, Segne and Viktor. From1930 to 1938, she studied art in Stockholm, Helsinki and Paris. Her first solo art exhibition was in 1943, at the same time as she was writing short stores and articles for publications, as well as creating the graphics for book covers and other purposes. She continued to work as an artist and writer for the rest of her life. She died, of cancer, on the 27th June 2001 in Helsinki and is buried with her parents and younger brother, Lars, at the Hietaniemi Cemetery in Helsinki.

Jansson had several male lovers, one of whom was her inspiration for the character Snufkin. Many of her characters related to her family and friends. However, as she put it, she eventually 'went over to the spook side', a coded expression for homosexuality.

In 1956 she met her lifelong partner Tuulikki Pietila. Living in separate blocks, the visited each other privately via an attic passageway. In the 1960's they built a house on a remote island in the Gulf of Finland, where they spent summers together, leaving Helsinki in April as the ice broke and returning in October. The island, which meant privacy, remoteness and intimacy, has been highlighted in film and writings by them both.

Tuulikki was an American born Finnish graphic artist and professor, born in Seattle on the 18th February 1917. Influential in Finnish graphic arts, she died in Helsinki in February 2009.


Besides the Moomin stories, Jansson wrote and illustrated four original and popular picture books.

Jansson's Moomin stories have been translated in 35 languages and The Summer Book is one of 10 novels that she has written for adults. It is regarded as a modern classic in Scandinavia.

"One summer morning at sunrise a long time ago
I met a little girl with a book under her arm.
I asked her why she was out so early and
she answered that there were too many books and
far too little time. And there she was absolutely right."

Tove Jansson

Judie Weedon



[1 March 1870 - 29 November 1944]

Film maker, theatre owner, and builder of Burgh island Hotel, South Devon

If you are an enthusiast of Michael Portillo's Great British Railway Journeys, you may have watched in June the series covering the South West from St Ives to Salisbury via Tiverton Parkway. On one programme, he visited tidal Burgh Island overlooking Bigbury on Sea beach and mentioned that Archibald Nettlefold built the Island's hotel. "He sounds interesting," I thought, so here goes.

Archie was born in Marylebone, London on 1st March 1870 into a family of successful industrialists [think Guest, Keen and Nettlefold]. His parents were Frederick Nettlefold and Mary Catherine [nee Warren]. It appears that Archie was studying agriculture in1891 and farming in 1901, but later he indulged in financing plays, films and even expeditions to Mount Everest.

He was one of 6 children, hut sadly it is difficult to get information about his early life. Even the Hotel website states "He is a man of mystery, with few images remaining and less still known about his private life." These were the days before active paparazzi! We do know, however, that he married Winifred Ramsden from Leeds in 1899, but no record that I could find of any children.

In 1926 he bought Hepworth Studios in Walton on Thames and renamed it Nettlefold Studios. Here he produced comedy silent films until in the early 1930's when, with the advent of sound film, he upgraded to sound production. His films were mainly known as 'Quota Quickies' -films trying to protect the British film industry from the commercial threat of Hollywood productions.

In the 1890's, a music hall star called George Chirgwin built a wooden house on Burgh [don't forget - the 'g' is silent!] Island to entertain weekend guests. The island was sold to Archibald in 1927 who built a more substantial house in the then popular Art Deco style. He also used it to entertain his friends. The only problem was their reluctance to leave, so he started charging them, and a hotel was born.


By the 1930's, Burgh Island Hotel was one of the most popular hotels in the country, attracting amongst its famous clients, Lord Mountbatten, Winston Churchill, Josephine Baker, Malcolm Campbell and of course Agatha Christie, who wrote two novels whilst staying there, Evil Under the Sun and And Then There Were None. A special writer's retreat built into the rock face with superb sea views was created for her, now listed as the sexiest room in the hotel! In the late 1920's, Noel Coward was invited by Archie for the weekend and loved it so much that he stayed for 3 weeks. Who knows, perhaps Room with a View was written here! Many of his guests came because they knew Archibald personally, through his theatre connections.

Improvements to the hotel were made during the 1930's, including adding the Captain's Cabin, the complete structure being transferred from HMS Ganges, that was built in 1821.

During World War ll the hotel was used as a recovery base for wounded RAF personnel. It suffered bomb damage to the top two floors and in spite of repairs being carried out, went into decline after the war. I remember in the late '80's we walked across in our wellies and asked to see the rooms for a future visit. We did take our boots off, but I was not impressed by the shabbiness of furniture that would have been thrown out by our parents years before! However, in the first decade of this century the hotel has been restored to its former glory and continues to thrive. Indeed, if you fancy a short break, it is fully booked until November!

Hotel guests have never had to brave the causeway in their wellies. At low tide a vehicle collects them and at high tide the Sea Tractor is available. This is the third one and the only one in the world.

It was designed in 1969 by Robert Jackson [a pioneer of nuclear power in the 1950's] in exchange for a case of champagne, and cost £9,000 to build. Now recently renovated, she is a stylish way to arrive through the surf, although in bad weather she may not be operating! Non-guests can take a ride for £2 each way.

The island boasts the Pilchard Inn, built in 1336, so it's been reviving Devonian throats - whether local fishermen or later smugglers and wreckers - for nearly700 years! A cafe is open daily, and the inn is open Wednesday to Sunday for drinks and dinner.

The island covers 26 acres. On its south east side, a natural sea water bathing pool, The Mermaid Pool, secured in World War ll by a sluice gate, is available for guests. Surrounding rocks give it privacy. Guests are reminded to check with the Duty Manager before taking a dip and for those not inclined to take the plunge, a rowing boat is on hand to explore the lagoon.

Archibald's Nettlefold Studio closed within three years of his death in London on November 29th 1944, but almost 100 years after it was built, Burgh Island Hotel is still doing very well. Archie would be proud of its continuing success. So, too, are its many returning visitors!

PP of DC


P.S. This month I've wandered a bit out of my normal area, but as this is an extraordinary year, I thought that anywhere in Devon might be of interest!





The Fizzy Pheasant

We're 2021 Global Wedding Awards Winners and are beyond excited to win the award for the Most Stylish Mobile Bar in South West England in the 2021 LUXlife Global Awards.

We pour our hearts and passion into creating the most beautiful bars we can so that they add to the elegance of every couple's wedding day.

Often, the bar isn't thought of as an element of that special day that can add to the overall style or tone of the reception space. But in our opinion, the bar is a pivotal piece of the reception and as such should complement the space and further create a sense of luxury, both through the drinks and service, as well as the actual style and look.

Jade and Nick - The Fizzy Pheasant

Congratulations to Jade and Nick on winning this prestigious and well-deserved award, and thank you for advertising in the Berrynarbor Newsletter.

Their award-winning mobile bar is now fully booked for this year and bookings for 2022 and 2023 will need to be made as soon as possible.



In early July, Sue and I travelled over to the Isle of Wight for a week-end break, having had great difficulty in booking a hotel beforehand and landing up in the 3-star hotel in Ryde.

We were given the key to our room, accessed by climbing a long, two-foot-wide staircase to the top floor [or was it the attic?]. The room wasn't too bad, but the traffic noise from the adjacent road was so bad that all our windows had to be closed. However, the central heating in both our room and the bathroom was full on and couldn't be turned off, leaving us sweating as if in a sauna!

Saturday morning, having had very little sleep, we staggered down to breakfast to find another 25 residents awaiting their breakfast with a single waitress serving! Three waitresses had failed to turn up for work and so you can imagine the chaos that arose.

Moving on to the evening when we had booked a table for two in the hotel restaurant, we arrived expecting to be shown to a table - but nothing happened! After five minutes or so, I caught the eye of someone who looked like a waiter and managed to get pre-dinner drinks. Ten minutes passed and so the eye-catching procedure was repeated and we asked about our table, adding that no menu had been offered. Eventually, we were shown to a table and then a young boy came over to ask us about drinks, so we asked to see the wine list. The lad, looking totally bemused, disappeared only to return and tell us that the hotel didn't have a wine list! However, he did have a small notebook upon which he had written: Merlot, Shiraz, Chardonnay, but no prices and that was it. Clearly the lad had not been trained and we felt quite sorry for him. This was followed by another delay until a waitress eventually took our food order - and then the fun really started! Twenty minutes later she returned to serve food to two other occupied tables, which was quickly followed by heated voices complaining that the food was not theirs. She disappeared only to return five minutes later with the same two plates and bellowing, "Who ordered the two Surf and Turfs?" This was the food we had ordered, which we found out was left outside the restaurant area, unheated, whilst she checked with the chef to ascertain whose order was whose! It was at this juncture that we convinced ourselves that Fawlty Towers was not actually based in Torquay! Finally, we asked for the bill and the waitress's card machine broke down - say no more!

We did, however, have two very pleasant days visiting Osborne House [a favourite holiday retreat for Queen Victoria' and a very special 50th Anniversary Gala Day on the IOW Steam railway, coupled with dozens of marquees and period vehicles depicting the 1940's era.

Warning - Should you ever consider staying at Yelf's Hotel in Ryde, please think again!

Stuart and Sue



10th Mobile Library in Village from 11.40 a.m.
Parish Council Meeting, 7.00 p.m., Manor Hall
22nd Manor Hall Summer Fete, 2.00 p.m.
6th Primary School: Start of Autumn Term [new academic year]
7th Ilfracombe Academy: Start of Autumn Term [new academic year]
Mobile Library in Village from 11.40 a.m.
14th Parish Council Meeting, 7.00 p.m., Manor Hall
5th Mobile Library in Village from 11.40 a.m.
8th Wine Circle, 8.00 p.m., Manor Hall

Manor Hall Diary
MondaysUpholstery, 9.00 to 1.00 p.m.
Craft Group, 1.45 p.m.
Badminton, 7.30 p.m.
TuesdaysN.D. Spinners [2nd & 4th]
1st and 3rd: Craft Art Group, 9.30 a.m.
WednesdaysPilates Body Workout, 9.00 a.m.
Primary School p.m.
ThursdaysWatercolour Painting 10.00 a.m. [10 week terms]
Pilates, 7.00 to 8.00 p.m.
Penn Curzon RoomPre-School: Daily - Term time only
8.00 to 4.00 p.m.
Mobile Library
Village Shop: 11.40-12.10 p.m. Sterridge Valley: 12.25-12.55 p.m.

School, Pre-School and Toddler Group - Term Time only


Illustration by: Paul Swailes


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


In Berrynarbor [71 Higher Sterrage Valley]

This view was taken by William Garratt, the Bristol Photographer about 1904. It shows two of the Street family sisters, Tilley and Dorcas, daughters of Ephraim and Susan Street, outside their home in the Valley.

Ephraim, an agricultural labourer, horseman and gardener, was born in Marwood c1844, Susan in Berrynarbor c1854. They had nine children and where they all slept is a real wonder! They were: Mary [1873], Richard [1875], William [1878], Ellen [1880], Elizabeth [1884], Caroline aka Kitty [1886], Edward John [1889], Matilda aka Tilly [1894] and Dorcas Evelyn [1898]. Ephraim died in1918 and Susan in 1923.

On the right is Barn Cottage and in a similar postcard shown in the 1990 April issue, the tap house opposite No. 71 is shown and is still there today. It supplied water to all the nearby cottages and was lovingly restored by Vi Kingdom in the 1990's, including a new roof.

No. 71, now known as Derrivale, is home to Shirley and Graham, Harley the dog and Penny and Lola the cats; whilst Barn Cottage and its extension are home to Sal, Chris, Dan and Oli and a menagerie of animals!

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