Are we safe drivers?

The race to put driverless cars on public roads might not be as culturally pressing as the Space Race of the 1960s, but you’re more likely to notice its impact in your day-to-day life.
Last November, the US saw its first fully driverlessride-hailing service (without a safety driver) hit the road thanks to Waymo, while the UK aims to have driverless cars on our roads by 2021.
The first big step in achieving this comes in the form of the HumanDrive project: a 200-mile autonomous journey across the UK. The car will be prepared for this journey through a series of tests designed to emulate human drivers.
But will the UK have a harder time putting this plan into action? Unlike the US’ highways and easy-to-navigate straight roads, anyone who’s had to drive anywhere off the beaten path here in the south west will know that our road systems here in the UK are comparatively more complicated.
If you visit the HumanDrive website, you’ll see a gorgeous landscape shot; the rolling green hills ahead of a stunning sunset. Through the middle of the scene? A winding country road.
The website says that the lengthy journey the prototype is to take will consist of A-roads, motorways and, of course, country lanes, all under a variety of weather conditions. The aim here is to help develop a stronger, safer system. If the cars can tackle these roads, the project will be one step closer to achieving its goal: natural, human-like control.
The more we think about this exciting project, the more we think about how we currently commute. How safe are we when we drive?
A quick visit to the THINK! webpage on country road safety reveals some surprising facts. They state that 59% of all road fatalities occur on country roads. Reasons for this include the narrow width of the roads, in addition to sharp corners and plant life obscuring a driver’s view.
These roads also run through the homes of local wildlife, and encountering an unexpected hazard, such as an animal, is not as rare as you might think. Because Animal road deaths are so unfortunately common on UK roads, the Dartmoor Livestock Protection Society (DLPS) began marking livestock with reflective paint in 2015.
So, how can we ensure we stay safe? THINK! offer some brilliant advice to all drivers planning to venture onto a country road.
They suggest that drivers should be able to anticipate potential hazards by paying attention to the road in front of them. This could mean being more considerate when sharing the road with other road users (like horse riders or cyclists), or exercising patience with slower vehicles. Hasty decisions in these moments could end up disastrously.
Perhaps the most important lesson is not to take the road for granted. Even if you know the road like the back of your hand, you may never know what’s around the corner on a country road. THINK! suggests you approach a country road with the conditions of the road at that moment in mind.
It might seem less nerve-wrecking to imagine a car tackling these roads, when accidents caused by human drivers are so common. We hope that as we find out more aware of the exciting HumanDrive project,  we will all take a moment to consider our  own road safety.
To find out more advice on country road safety, visit the THINK! website:
For more information on HumanDrive, visit the website:

Devon Bat Survey Opens for Bookings

A Devon-based project dedicated to conserving one of the county's most endangered animals is now appealing for volunteers to help it in its vital work.

Find out about the bats on your doorstep! This spring and summer, you can take part in a major scientific bat survey run by the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project. The survey allows volunteers to borrow a detector from one of 20 monitoring centres dotted around the county, to place in a selected 1km grid square for 3 nights. Anyone can get involved in the survey – no experience is needed and full instructions are supplied. Everyone who takes part receives a report detailing the bats they recorded. All the bat calls recorded will be used to increase knowledge of how bats are using the Devon landscape, and what can be done to help them.

The booking system for Devon Bat Survey 2018 is now live! To take part, visit our website to choose a square We have some new locations hosting our bat detectors this year, so hopefully even more people will be able to take part.

Ruth Testa, who manages the project, said: ‘Knowledge of how bats are using our landscape is key to protecting them. This survey allows us to gain information across the county, and will let you find out what bats are using your local area. In 2017, survey volunteers recorded greater horseshoe bats at 230 sites out of the 705 surveyed. In total the survey recorded a whopping 750,000 sound files!’

The Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project is a 5-year partnership project of 18 organisations led by Devon Wildlife Trust and is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), as well as other funders. The project aims to secure the future of the greater horseshoe bat in Devon; the northern European stronghold of this highly threatened mammal. To do this the project is working with landowners and communities to raise awareness and to improve habitats, as well as running research programmes like the Devon Bat Survey to increase understanding of bat species.

The Monitoring Centres for 2018 are as follows;

·       Avon Mill Garden Centre, Loddiswell

·       Beehive Community Complex, Honiton

·       Braunton Countryside Centre, Braunton

·       Combe Martin Museum & tourist information point, Combe Martin

·       Chudleigh Town Hall, Chudleigh

·       Blackdown Hills AONB, Hemyock

·       The Dartington Hall Estate, Totnes

·       Devon Wildlife Trust, Cricklepit Mill

·       Devon Wildlife Trust Cookworthy Forest Centre, Cookworthy

·       Eggesford Garden Centre, Eggesford

·       Lydford Gorge National Trust, Lydford

·       Mole Avon Forecourt, Okehampton

·       Occombe Farm (Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust), Paignton

·       Poole Farm, Plymouth

·       Puffing Billy Trading Co., Great Torrington

·       Quince Honey Farm, South Molton

·       Seaton Jurassic, Seaton

·       Stover Country Park, near Bovey Tracey

·       Tamar Valley Centre, Drakewalls

·       The Watermark, Ivybridge

Detail not more words needed in delivering vision for future of farming, says CLA

The CLA which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses has reacted with disappointment to the many unanswered questions that remain following the publication of the consultation on future farming policy by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs today (27 February).

The long-anticipated consultation paper is the pre-cursor to promised legislation that is required to manage the transition of the UK’s farming industry out of the EU and the Common Agricultural Policy.

CLA President Tim Breitmeyer said: "We are up for change; we can do better than the existing EU farming policy. We can make our industry more productive and more profitable and we can deliver world-leading standards in animal welfare and environmental protection. But to do this we need certainty and time to plan. That is what we were promised and instead we have open questions, few decisions and no answers.

"In just over a year from now we will be leaving the EU. Love it or hate it, the EU has shaped the way we farm, provided most of our customers and been a source of vital income for thousands of businesses.

"Our businesses can thrive outside the EU but we need to make plans, to adapt where necessary, and to invest where possible. Government has a responsibility to provide clarity and as greater certainty as it is possible to give. We will be asking Ministers for urgent answers on when they will deliver this.

"The consultation sets out important areas where decisions are needed:  how can we manage an effective transition out of the current system, how long should it be? If money is to be removed, how much and from whom? Our message is that in the short-term, only money that is clearly necessary for transitional measures should be taken out of the system, and no business, no matter how wealthy its owners are perceived to be, should face sudden and dramatic cuts.

"In a few months the Government will bring forward legislation that will set the direction for the next generation of farming and land management. It has promised a bold vision for a profitable industry which can deliver environmental management, one we consistently have supported.  But it is the detail, not the words, that will define farming's future and this is still seriously lacking."


Encourage new homes for farmers before Brexit retirement surge, CLA urges Government

England’s planning policy on homes for retiring farmers must catch up with the rest of the United Kingdom before Brexit changes take effect, says the CLA.
While the planning frameworks of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland recognise that being able to build a new rural home can be crucial in helping a farmer to retire and in bringing young people into farming, England’s National Planning Policy Framework still does not.
The process of farm succession is notoriously difficult, and restrictions on building in the countryside create an additional barrier for farming families wanting to make space for the next generation to take over the farm business.
The CLA represents 30,000 landowners, farmers and rural businesses in England and Wales. It has set out the case for change in its Homes for Retiring Farmers paper published today.
CLA Deputy President Mark Bridgeman said: “Agriculture has an ageing workforce, and handing over the farm to the next generation or to a young person entering into the industry can be financially and emotionally difficult.
“England is the only country in the United Kingdom that does not recognise in its planning system that a home on the farm for the retiring farmer to move into can really ease this process while also allowing the retired farmer to continue to provide advice and support.
“We can expect that the changes Brexit will bring to the agricultural sector may be the catalyst for many farmers to retire. Now is the right time to change the National Planning Policy Framework to encourage local authorities to grant permission for this type and purpose of rural development.”
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is currently undertaking a review of the National Planning Policy Framework for England.

Spring wheat weed control boosted by new approval

Spring wheat growers have a new weed killer at their disposal this season after Dow AgroSciences secured approval for Broadway Star to be used in the crop.
A co-formulation of the company’s long-standing actives pyroxsulam and florasulam, the product has been a cornerstone of spray programmes in winter cereals.
Now spring growers have a new option in the fight against yield-robbing broad-leaved weeds such as poppy, cleavers, brassica weeds, cranesbill, groundsel, speedwells and pansy.
Importantly, the product also delivers activity on spring germinating wild oats.
Dr Alex Nichols, cereal herbicide product manager, said; “Spring wheat has become a vital crop for growers who are trying to get on top of blackgrass and 85,000ha were planted in 2017 – nearly triple what went in the ground in the previous season.
“They need a simplified and cost effective approach to weed control and now have the option of using one product to control the main yield robbers.”
The approval has come in time for applications from 1 March to 31 May from growth stages 21 to 32.
The maximum application rate is 200g/ha in spring wheat and it is safe on all varieties, regardless of when they were sown.
“For optimum results growers should follow the basic principles of ALS chemistry by waiting for weeds to display active growth before treatment,” Dr Nichols added.
“An adjuvant must be used and applications should be made using a fine to medium spray quality.”

North Devon Business Celebrates success at the South West Tourism Awards

An RHS Garden is not the obvious consideration when it comes to venue hire. However, Rosemoor in Devon is celebrating after winning a Bronze in the Venue and Business Tourism category in the South West Tourism Excellence Awards.

The glittering awards ceremony held at The Riviera Centre in Torquay last night,

(1 February) saw the best businesses of the whole of the South West gather for the South West Tourism Excellence Awards. For more information on the awards The award adds to the two Silvers that Rosemoor received at the end of 2017 in the Visit Devon Awards.

Rosemoor offers a selection of flexible venues for that special occasion and is able to accommodate up to 420 for a whole raft of different events and all set within the stunning 65 acre garden to which the guests or delegates have access. Its flagship venue, The Garden Room, was only opened in April following a £1.2m investment in the tourism industry. It has already hosted over 40 major events including weddings, conferences, trade fairs, flower shows, theatre and live music concerts, together with well over 50 already booked in for 2018. The award-winning catering team also can service all your needs.

For more information on hiring one of the many venues, please telephone 01805 626810 to discuss your requirements or visit  

Rural Enterprise Centre Opening

On 25 January 2018 The Royal Bath & West of England Society hosted the official opening event of its new Rural Enterprise Centre, situated on the Bath & West Showground in Shepton Mallet, Somerset. Around 100 guests attended the event to experience the new Rural Enterprise Centre for themselves. The facility is set to become the hub of rural enterprise across Somerset and the West of England, encouraging knowledge sharing, education and business growth amongst the rural community. Rupert Cox, CEO of the Society, comments, “We’re delighted to mark this momentous occasion by welcoming our members and supporters to our fantastic new Rural Enterprise Centre. We are pleased so many people have come today to tour the new facility and hear our vision for the future of the centre. We want to congratulate Jeams Super Mixes on being the first winner of the joint Thatchers Cider and Bath & West Award. The company was picked as the worthy winner because of its innovative product, eye-catching packaging and brand personality. We’re confident Jeams Super Mixes will benefit considerably from Martin Thatcher’s extensive experience in the food and drink sector.”



Axe Vale Show 2018 – Call for Exhibitors, Traders, Demonstrators & Volunteers.

The 24th Axe Vale Show will be held just outside Axminster on June 23rd - 24th welcomes applications from those wanting to take part in this wonderful annual event. Normally attracting around 10,000 people this is a considerable opportunity for you to reach many customers from the local area. Come along, take a stand, sell, sample and demonstrate your products.

The show appeals to a wide selection of ages and interest groups. There is the ever popular Food and Drink area, Arts and Crafts, Toys and Hobbies, Vintage Retro, Antiques & Collectables and of course the Floral and Gardening section.  There are also many other general stands selling everything from wooden spoons to windows!

If you would like to find out more about being an Exhibitor or Volunteering at the Show please find the relevant contact details on our website, alternatively contact us on

Beware grid connection con, warns Roadnight Taylor

Rural landowners are being conned into paying £1,000 or more for spurious applications to connect potential energy generation or battery storage sites to the power network.
According to independent power consultants Roadnight Taylor, unreputable ‘experts’ are leading landowners to believe that they have a suitable site, and charging up-front fees for inappropriate electrical grid connection applications that stand no chance of success.
The consequences of this are extremely high – not only have landowners spent £1,000 or more on an application that was never going to succeed, they may also be missing out on a genuine opportunity worth up to £125,000 in annual rent for less than two acres, explains Roadnight Taylor’s chief executive Hugh Taylor.
With such high rents available, both for battery storage and gas-fired generating set (genset) sites, it’s understandable that many landowners are exploring the opportunities. “However, it’s also causing a scourge of unscrupulous activity from so-called advisers keen to exploit this lucrative market,” says Mr Taylor.
It is difficult for land agents, and other generalists, to provide grid advice in such a specific market – planning and site conditions may stack up, but it is the grid connection that is crucial. “The grid market is so specialist that it’s vital to speak to a professional who is totally immersed in the industry,” explains Edward Holloway, land agent at Knight Frank. “We will always speak to Roadnight Taylor to establish whether a site is suitable before our clients start incurring unnecessary fees.
“The sad thing is that many people are unaware that they have been taken in by the scam, as it appears that their project is legitimately unattainable – they may even have been referred by a respected national firm.”
Another issue is that network operators are being inundated with worthless applications, for which they are legally obliged to produce an offer. “We have to design a grid connection offer even if an application doesn’t have much chance of going forward,” explains Richard Allcock, connections policy engineer at Western Power Distribution (WPD). “We will help and advise anyone for free: If there’s no chance of it going anywhere, it’s much more helpful for the customer to know that up front, before the application process.”
The problem has become so bad that Government is likely to put a statutory instrument before Parliament this spring, allowing network operators to charge applicants upfront fees for making connection offers – potentially costing thousands of pounds.
“Landowners should therefore try and get their grid application in as soon as possible,” explains Mr Taylor. “In addition, grid capacity is issued on a first-come, first-served basis, so it’s important to get in early. However, if you don’t produce a strong application for the right capacity of appropriate technology and on the right site, the chances are that you won’t succeed.”
To counter the issue of high up-front fees, Roadnight Taylor has launched its ‘Stop-Go’ study, whereby landowners pay from £250+VAT for a professional evaluation of whether a site has true potential. “If we recommend proceeding with an application we do it on a no-win, no-fee basis,” explains Mr Taylor. “If a consultant recommends submitting a grid application, they should be prepared to work at their own risk. If they won’t back their advice in this way, ask yourself why.”
For more information contact Roadnight Taylor on 01993 830571.

All poultry keepers must follow bird flu biosecurity protocols, says BFREPA

The British Free Range Egg Producers Association says it is vital that all poultry keepers follow heightened biosecurity protocols following the implementation of a bird flu Prevention Zone.

DEFRA announced the Prevention Zone this morning (18 January) following the discovery of dead birds carrying the H5N6 strain of avian influenza in Dorset and Warwickshire.

It is a legal requirement for all poultry keepers to follow the heightened biosecurity guidelines set out by the Government's Chief Vet, Nigel Gibbens.

Robert Gooch, the chief executive of BFREPA, said: "We welcome the move from Defra to heighten biosecurity in light of the further discovery of avian influenza.
“It’s vital that all poultry keepers - including small backyard flocks - follow the guidance that has been issued today so that all flocks are protected.
“Consumers should be reassured that Public Health England has advised the risk to public health remains very low and the Food Standards Agency has said that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk.”



We look forward to welcoming you on
Friday 26 January 2018 at
Dartmoor Lodge, Peartree Cross, Ashburton, Newton Abbot TQ13 7JW

Dinner:  Carvery - Pork, Gammon, Beef, Turkey, Nut Roast
Time:    18:30 hrs for 19:00 hrs
Price:     £10.95 per person  - Dessert and Coffee is extra (full payment in advance please)

20:00 hrs

1.      Apologies for absence
2.      Minutes of previous AGM
3.      Chair’s report
4.      Secretary’s report
5.      Treasurer's report
6.      Election of committee
7.      AOB
8.      Guest Speaker Mr Russell Steer, Company Director Kivells.  Awarded "Auctioneer of the Year 2017" by Farmers Guardian, Mart's the Heart Awards

Followed by a Raffle

A sparkling Christmas at Hestercombe

Excitement is building for the festive season as Hestercombe prepares for this weekend’s annual Christmas Market.

Guaranteed to include some of the area’s best producers of food, drink, jewellery, cosmetics, and homewares, you’ll be sure to find the perfect gift for that special someone.

 With more than 60 stalls there will be plenty to see and do from Friday 17th -Sunday 19th November, as choirs perform carols in the Courtyard and entertainment for your little ones is provided on Saturday and Sunday only.

Deliciously festive and wonderfully-crumbly mince pies, indulgent Yule log and mugs of creamy hot chocolate are all available in the Stables Café and Bampfylde Hall.

 The market spells the beginning of Christmas for us here at Hestercombe, and there are plenty more festive events to get you in the spirit.

Our wreath making sessions have proved so popular that we are now running a waiting list and if we have enough interest we will run another session on Saturday, December 2.

Fabulous florist Jan Waters will be on hand to help your creative juices flow as you make your very own wreath with green foliage, dried fruit, and other materials selected from the gardens at Hestercombe. You’ll also be treated to a mince pie and a cup of either tea or coffee.

Our annual Festive Skating sessions return this year, so you and your family can enjoy gliding around our artificial skate rink, housed in a magical winter marquee.

When you’ve got your skates off, you might like to check out our Christmas Trail around the gardens. Running from Saturday, 2nd December until Sunday, 7th January, the trail costs just £1 per child.

Of course it wouldn’t be Christmas at all without the man in red coming to pay a visit.

And sure enough, Father Christmas has found time in his busy schedule to come and spend some time at Hestercombe in our wintertime gardens. He’ll be waiting in his folly in the Landscape Garden with a roaring log fire and a sack full of presents for those lucky children who come to see him.

We’re delighted to welcome Folksy Theatre back to Hestercombe on Sunday 17th and Monday 18th December for a Christmas production of The Snow Queen - a story of friendship, bravery and love. Perfect for all the family, this is sure to get you feeling festive, and on Thursday, December 21, The Taunton Concert Band rounds off the Hestercombe Christmas programme, with their symphonic wind band playing in the Bampfylde Hall. Modern and traditional come together with this festive collection of Christmas carols sure to get you ready for the big day itself.

For information on booking all our Christmas events, please visit our website at

Please #rememberhedgehogs on Bonfire Night

With bonfire night and Halloween fast approaching, the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) is urging people to build bonfires on the day they are to be lit to save hedgehogs and other wildlife from appalling suffering. This will not only save wildlife from burning to death but will also stop the bonfire from getting soaked should it rain the night before! Fay Vass, Chief Executive of BHPS, said “If material is stored on open ground in advance of having a bonfire, it’s crucial to dismantle it and move it to another spot just before lighting. Ensure it’s moved to clear ground – never on top of a pile of leaves as there could be a hedgehog underneath, and not too close to pampas grass which can ignite very easily and is another favourite spot for hedgehogs to hide under.”

If a large bonfire must be built in advance, protect it whilst building by putting some chicken wire, at least one-metre-high, all the way around the bottom. This should be held in place with stakes and the wire should slope outwards at an angle to make it difficult to climb, as hedgehogs are good climbers! In case you have missed anything light the fire from one side only and keep people away from the unlit side so that any hedgehogs can hopefully escape in peace.

If, whilst building, a bonfire is left unattended, for however short a time, it’s imperative to check for young children, hedgehogs and other animals, including family pets, before lighting. As hedgehogs tend to hide in the centre and bottom two feet of the bonfire, check by gently lifting the bonfire section by section with a pole or broom. Never use a spade or fork as these can stab them. Using a torch will help to see and listen for a hissing sound, as this is the noise they make when disturbed. Fay continues “If hedgehogs are found, take as much of the nest as you can and place them in a high-sided cardboard or plastic box with plenty of newspaper/old towelling. Ensure there are air holes in the lid and that the lid is secured firmly to the box, as hedgehogs are great climbers. Wear garden gloves so as not to get human smells on them and to keep them calm as hedgehogs are easily stressed – also, it protects your hands from their spikes. Put the box in a safe quiet place such as a shed or garage well away from the festivities, offer specialist hedgehog food, meaty cat or dog food and water. Once the bonfire is totally dampened down, release the hedgehog under a hedge, bush or behind a stack of logs.”

Going to an official organised fireworks display is a far safer option for both humans and animals!

For more information on helping hedgehogs please see

Enjoy magical illuminations on a greatly extended trail

RHS Garden Rosemoor in Devon is always a treat and is beautiful throughout the year. This year, following all the wonderful feedback from our first illuminations in 2016, visitors can once again enjoy the garden lit up on a greatly extended trail. Innovative hi-tech, dynamic colour-changing illuminations provide a magical festive trail around the trees, shrubs and winter sculptures.

 This year, the trail is roughly 4 -5 times the length with additional dates too running from 17 November through to 6 January 2017. It takes in the Formal Gardens and into the Stream Field where visitors can buy warming hot drinks and snacks at the Shepherd’s Rest – a brand new al-fresco catering facility. The trail then follows back down the Long Borders and incorporating displays in the Hot Garden and all around the Winter Garden too.

 Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday the gardens will be open until 8.30pm to maximise the effects of the lighting into the evening hours, and on those days garden entry will be discounted after 3pm.The award-winning Garden Kitchen Restaurant will be once again be serving ‘Simple Family Suppers’ 5.30pm - 7.30pm, and booking is highly recommended to avoid disappointment. The Rosemoor Shop & Plant Centre will also remain open for late night shopping on these nights and will be a magical place to go for all those Christmas decorations, gift and plant ideas, including for the first time, potted and freshly cut Christmas Trees.

 Rosemoor is also holding an exclusive Preview Evening on Friday 10 November from 6pm. Be the first to experience the illuminations. Ticket holders will be welcomed with canapés and mulled wine at the Shepherd’s Rest before having their exclusive preview of the winter illuminations and sculpture Exhibition. The evening continues with a delicious three-course dinner in the Garden Room accompanied by live music until late. Information and tickets available online or by phoning 01805 626810.

 A wonderful festive atmosphere will be created on some of the evenings with Christmas Food, Craft and Antique Fairs; and on two weekends in December, the very popular Entertainingly Different will be performing ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ in their own inimitable style with songs, stories, poems and dancing. Tickets to these are free but limited and online booking is strongly recommended.

 The final day of the illuminations, Saturday 6 January, Rosemoor’s Garden Room events building will be the location for a special Quantum Theatre production of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Information and details on limited ticket prices, together with a booking link are available on line at

 During the same period, Rosemoor’s extremely popular annual Winter Sculpture Exhibition where each year over 33,000 visitors enjoy the eclectic mix of exhibits set against the backdrop of the garden. Some of these will be lit up by the illuminations too to make them extra special. Most of the sculptures in the exhibition are for sale.

 To make the most of a winter visit to Rosemoor there is a wonderful winter walk and trail taking in much of the surprising amounts of colour, scent, texture and structure including dogwoods, ornamental grasses and some of our national collection of hollies, as well as the sculptures set amongst the shrubs.

 For more information on events at RHS Garden Rosemoor visit Normal garden admission applies (free for RHS members). Garden open every day (except Christmas Day) 10am – 5pm.

Two Hearts join to Raise Money for Southampton’s Heart Patients

Self-confessed veg nerds, Riverford Organic Farmers, organised a charity trip to the heart of Riverford in Devon on 3rd October.
50 people set off from Southampton & Poole in aid of Wessex Heartbeat, to experience a culinary day in the hands of Riverford, at their main Buckfastleigh Farm in Devon.
The day consisted of; a bread making tutorial introducing ‘Peggy’ to the group. Peggy is the farm’s 15 year old sour dough, the guests were able to take some to recreate sour dough at home; a tour of the farm’s poly-tunnels with Penny, Riverford’s Head Gardener asking questions around organic farming and what natural pests help with the production of the farm’s wonderful seasonal veg and fruit, then finished with a 3 course lunch in Riverford’s Field Kitchen.
Tina Richardson, from Wessex Heartbeat said ‘It was an amazing opportunity to travel to Devon and see the farm in all its autumn glory. The food was totally amazing. Riverford very much support our ethos of long-term self-prevention of heart disease and related problems by simply eating well and looking after yourself’.
The day raised over £500 for the charity.
Wessex Heartbeat have joined Riverford’s Veg Fund, so those who chose to order a box can quote VEGFUND 7 at the checkout and Wessex Heartbeat will receive £15 per household upon delivery of the 3rd box.
To find out more about future events please visit: or

Highbullen Hotel Raises £1,160 for Macmillan Cancer Research

I am delighted to share the below news with you following a successful fundraiser for Macmillan Cancer Research in North Devon on Friday 29 September.
The team at Highbullen Hotel, Golf and Country Club, part of the Bespoke Hotels collection, took part in a special 'Cake Off' competition at the leisure club to help raise funds for the charity.
With an array of delicious cakes on display, the hotel managed to raise £580 on the day which was then matched pound for pound by Mr Chapman, the owner of Highbullen Hotel raising a total of £1,160.
Amongst the winners were Linda Leach with her delicious mint chocolate cake and Annaliitta Damms winning second place for her floral muffins.
I have included further information below on Highbullen Hotel, Golf and Country Club.
Please do let me know if you require any further information or high-res images for news features this week.

The Glamping Show Stamps Its Mark

Having now closed the doors on its third-year outing, it is clear the Glamping show has really stamped its mark on the glamping sector, not just in the UK but worldwide.  The 3-day event welcomed suppliers and visitors alike from all corners of the globe as far afield as New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.  Doubling in size since its inception in 2015, this year’s event welcomed over 100 exhibitors showcasing all types of different structures, accessories and services.  In fact, everything you need to set-up and run a successful glamping business. 

Wayne Clark, from The Septic Tank Store had this to say: “Thursday, the first day of the Glamping Show, was the best day we have ever had at any trade show!”

Galvin Broughton, from ASTECtherm, added: “It’s been breathtakingly amazing.  The picture in my head about how good it was going to be was great but then times that by 100 and that’s how good the glamping show has been.”

It was a bit of a soggy start to the show this year but the rain did nothing to deter well over 1,000 visitors on the first day coming through the doors to see what the glamping show had to offer this year followed by many more on days two and three.

New glamping operators visiting the show from the Wye Valley commented: “Our overall impression of the show is really good, there is such a range of different ideas and prices here that we are spoilt for choice.  We want to keep our business simple and we have seen several ways that we can achieve that here at the Show.”

In addition to the increased size of the show, the organisers unveiled three new visitor innovations this year; Meet the Experts, Top & Tail Workshops and Design & Styling Demonstrations.

‘Meet the Experts’, sponsored by Success Matters, hosted fifteen sector experts who conducted 20-minute one-to-one meetings with visitors, who wanted to get a better understanding or insight into a particular business challenge.  The experts covered a range of topics from social media and marketing through business planning and setting up a glamping site to insurance and planning.  The visitor feedback on this new innovation was exceptional, with virtually everyone who took a meeting giving it a 10 out of 10 and saying that they would like to see it run as a regular feature.  They all felt it added value to their visit and injected another level to the show. 

Also new to the Glamping Show this year were the top and tail workshops hosted by glamping consultant, Kate Morel, and aimed at new business owners who were looking to get the most out of their trip to the Glamping Show.  For the first hour of the show Kate helped 20 delegates to identify what their business objectives were and then set an itinerary for the day, providing a debrief session at the end of the day to consolidate learnings.  Again, these workshops were very well received by all who attended, giving delegates a real focus for their visit to the Glamping Show.

Saturday saw yet another new feature to the show when Nikkita Palmer Designs ran a series of design and styling demonstrations throughout the day.  For those visitors who were looking to enhance or put the finishing touches to their glamping offering, Nikkita provided some exceptional insight and knowledge in to how to create stylish interior themes to project the perfect image.

The seminar programme, which presented a wide variety of topics that applied to both new and established glamping operators, was as popular as ever with many presentations having standing room only.  However, the new floor layout with the seminar theatres situated in an open plan design in each corner of the exhibition hall made them much more accessible and an integrated part of the show adding to the superb atmosphere of the show.

Sarah Orchard, of Orchard Associates, commented: "I felt the show had really moved up a gear this year; it was fantastic; not only from a marketing professional's point of view but also that of a future glamping site owner.  Speaking to visitors who attended my seminars and ‘Meet the Experts’ sessions, I found a lot of people had returned to the show after attending last year and the year before, some of whom are well established site owners, as they still found the show added value to their businesses.  One gentleman I spoke to has run an established glamping site for the last four years but still spent two days at the Glamping Show this year to make sure he got around everything.  Now that is testament to how good the show is and the value it provides for its visitors."

TV presenter and Upcycler, Max McMurdo of Find it, Fix it, Flog it and Shed of the Year fame, was once again in attendance, presenting seminars over two days of the show to captivated audiences talking about upcycled design and how to make the most of small spaces.  On walking around the show in between times he marvelled at how the show has grown in breadth and diversity as well as size compared with what was on offer just this time last year.

Max commented: “I got to the end of the first day at the Glamping Show and I was shattered.  It’s twice as big as last year and nobody told me!  I spoke to so many exhibitors and picked up leaflets on everything from solar panels and battery packs to yurts, tents and wooden structures.  This show is awesome!”

Well that says it all; see you again next year!

Want to grow Your Own? Become an Allotment Graduate at RHS Garden Rosemoor

RHS Garden Rosemoor, in Great Torrington, is once again looking for 10 keen gardeners to take part in their informative and practical allotment course in 2018.

Starting in February, the successful candidates will receive expert RHS tuition, have their own plot to tend, and take away home-grown harvests. They will receive regular allotment master classes and weekly access to their plots, all in the picturesque setting of RHS Garden Rosemoor.

Pete Adams, course leader at RHS Garden Rosemoor, said: “Our allotment course has grown from strength to strength over the past four years, and once again we are excited to welcome new novice vegetable growers to join us to learn from our expert team. We offer brilliant facilities, all the equipment and the know-how for a successful year of vegetable growing. So why not apply to join us for the 2018 course!”

The course, which attracts a small fee (to cover safety boots and a contribution towards materials) is open to everyone and the 2017 intake came from a great variety of backgrounds and across all age groups but they all have one thing in common – the passion for and a willingness to learn the basic principles of growing your own vegetables. The hope is to see a similar diverse group of people apply this year too.

Comments from last year’s graduates:

“Thank you Pete, it’s been a blast! I’ve had so much fun and learnt lots” – Julie

“What a wonderful experience. Thank you Peter for all your hard work and advice. This opportunity to learn gardening skills is so valuable” – Dan

“Thanks Pete. Working the allotment has made me realise that with the right knowledge and well worked soil I can grow great veg. I’ve found the experience just so rewarding and great fun with great people.” – Steve

The course will start in February 2018 and run through to the end of the year. Applications close 28 November 2017. To apply, please write to Curator Jon Webster with a brief personal background (approx. 50 words), stating why you would like a beginners vegetable plot at Rosemoor (approx.. 50 words), and indicating what you will do with your new knowledge (approx. 100 words). By post: Jon Webster, RHS Garden Rosemoor, Great Torrington Devon EX38 8PH. By email:

For further information please visit