Father Christmas returns to his stable grotto at Arlington Court


Father Christmas will once again be stopping off at Arlington Court on 11 and 17-20 December from 12pm until 3pm.

For the third year running he will base his grotto in the Victorian stable block which is now a carriage museum. With less precious décor, the room can be made very festive and, as a bonus, even dogs will be able to visit and get a little treat. Continue reading…

Monty Halls at first South West Outdoor Festival

TV personality and marine biologist Monty Halls, a former Royal Marines Officer who is famous for his televised escapades and adventures all over the planet, will be taking part in the first South West Outdoor Festival, at Heddon Valley in North Devon (23-25 September).

The festival is being supported by numerous well-known names from the outdoor world who either hail from the region originally, or have gravitated here because of the wealth of exciting adventure opportunities that exist in the area.

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Partners in wild running and parenting

Jen and Sim Benson and children

Jen and Sim Benson and children

The South West is a mecca for outdoor sport and adventure. For the first time the South West Out-door Festival (23-25 September) brings them together in one unique place at Heddon Valley –Exmoor’s secret valley.

The festival is being supported by numerous legends of the outdoor world that either hail from the region originally, or have gravitated here because of the wealth of exciting adventure opportunities that exist in the area.

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Charting North Devon and Exmoor’s unique seascape

Watermouth Copyright North Devon AONBFor the first time, the iconic coastline and surrounding seas of North Devon and Exmoor have been studied in meticulous detail. Published this month, a new report North Devon and Exmoor Seascape Character Assessment  not only celebrates the many, valued natural, cultural and perceptual aspects of both land and sea but will also become a vital tool in future conservation and planning activities. Continue reading…

The saviour of the North Devon Coast by Julian Gurney


“Some of my earliest memories revolve around our fantastic and varied coastline; it feels like it is part of me, in my blood as it were. As a boy my Father would take me out in his small fishing boat, we would even sleep on it from time to time which was very exciting and quite an adventure, I remember well falling to sleep with the waves gentle lapping at the sides the boat. I learnt to swim in the sea and vividly remember my Father explaining to my younger sister and I that it was so much easier than swimming in a pool as the salt would help us float, he was right.

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Ewe has five times the charm this Easter

Flora and Verity Sharpe with Arlington's quintuplets

Flora and Verity Sharpe with Arlington’s quintuplets

The team at Arlington Court have just welcome five new lambs to their flock – all from the same ewe.

National Trust Ranger, Murray Sharpe says, “This is the first time in the 15 years I have worked at Arlington that one of our ewes has had five lambs. Despite the eighteen hour days, I always enjoy lambing, but this year it was a real joy to have five healthy lambs born at once.”

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National Trust raises concerns over Atlantic Array proposal

The beautiful, wild seascape of Lundy Island

The National Trust has again raised concerns over Atlantic Array, the proposed wind farm off the North Devon coast. We’ve submitted our response to the consultation this summer on the environmental impacts of Atlantic Array, and will be objecting to the proposals when they come forward to the Planning Inspectorate for decision later in the year.

The National Trust supports all the principal forms of renewable energy, providing they are of an appropriate scale and design for their setting, and produce a net environmental benefit. We are demonstrating how this is possible on our own sites, with over 130 renewable schemes already in place and a commitment by 2020 to be producing 50% of our direct energy use from non-fossil sources.

Renewable energy proposals which have a high environmental impact, such as Atlantic Array, present a particular dilemma. The local impact on landscape, setting and habitats have to be balanced against the longer term benefit of avoiding damaging climate change. It is now clear that in the case of Atlantic Array, the impacts are so severe that we must object to the whole proposal. Squeezed as it is, between two sensitive coastlines, we do not believe it is possible to locate a viable large scale windfarm within this zone without the damage substantially outweighing the benefits.

We believe that offshore wind should make an important contribution to the country’s renewable energy targets. We have not objected to a number of offshore wind development proposals within sight of the coastline protected by the Trust – for example at Liverpool Bay visible from Formby and at Great Gabbard visible from Orfordness, Suffolk. But we cannot support proposals that would seriously damage the beauty of our coastline, and believe that the locations chosen for Round 3 offshore wind developments have not taken sufficient account of environmental factors, and in particular the sensitivity and designations of nearby coast.

If you wish to find out more about the Atlantic Array, then more information is available on the following websites/resources:

National Trust’s position statement

National Trust response to the Environment Impact Assessment

North Devon AONB position statement

RWE, the energy company developing the Atlantic Array

Independent LUC report we commissioned on landscape/seascape and visual impacts


Watersmeet, a National Trust site in North Devon, has completed £20,000 of work to restore Lynrock Bridge to its former glory, following extensive damage caused by a falling oak tree in 2009.

Last Autumn, the site was chosen by the public to receive funding as part of the Bovril Great Outdoors Revival, beating off over 70 National Trust sites to gain a share of a £100,000 prize fund.

Thanks to the Bovril, the Lynrock Bridge has been completely rebuilt and transformed. Connecting two of the busiest footpaths on Exmoor across the stunningly beautiful East Lyn River, the repaired walkway will once again allow visitors and local residents to access the path. As well as providing access for people who are fishing or canoeing in or around the East Lyn River.

Julian Gurney, Head Ranger at Watersmeet commented: “To see such a beautiful local landmark in disrepair was so sad. Thanks to the funding from Bovril, the bridge is set to again become a useful access point for the North Devon and Exmoor communities.

“Using the local knowledge and expertise of the National Trust Rangers, local craftsman spent three weeks constructing the bridge a mile away from the site. Once completed, we faced the extremely delicate task of transporting it and lifting it into place. All the effort was worth it – feedback from day trippers, hikers, fishermen and canoeists has been very positive. The rebuilding of this bridge will make accessing to the East Lyn Valley easier for many people both locals and visitors.”

Brand Manager for Bovril, Roxana Parvizi notes: “We have been overwhelmed by the public’s support of the Bovril Great Outdoors Revival. Bovril has been fuelling outdoor enthusiasts for years, giving warmth and comfort to walkers, ramblers, anglers and those who just love to explore Great Britain’s untainted countryside, so it is amazing to see the funding come to life and the difference it has made to outdoor country projects like Watersmeet.”

Before and after pictures of Lynrock Bridge can be seen at www.bovril.co.uk/revival as well as information about Watersmeet. You can also keep up to date with developments at the other winning Bovril Great Outdoor Revival places.