Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Five fascinating facts about Brewster and Budleigh Salterton (2)

Festive towns

The festival season is on us, both in Britain and across ‘The Pond.’ Brewster welcomes the Spring with a three-day Brewster in Bloom Festival http://www.brewsterinbloom.org/ The original daffodil festival 23 years ago has grown into something like Budleigh’s Gala Week, with parades and ‘open house’ for the town’s shops. Later in the year comes the pre-Christmas Brewster For the Holidays "A Sea of Lights" Festival http://www.02631.com/

Above: Brewster in Bloom photo ©CapeCodSoul.com/Marcia Duggan
Budleigh may be smaller as a town, but has a lively festival scene which includes a very successful first-ever Jazz Festival in April and a well established Festival of Music and the Arts http://www.budleigh-festival.org.uk/in July/August. Its first-ever Literary Festival http://www.budlitfest.org.uk/ takes place in September this year. Less well-known among Budleigh festivals are Budstock in August http://www.myspace.com/budstockspace.com/budstock and September’s UKDemoscene & Sundown Demoparty Forums for computer enthusiasts http://ukdemoscene.org/forum/viewtopic.php?id=100kdemoscene.org/forum/viewtopic.php?id=100

Above: The Henschel Quartet with Gottlieb Wallisch, piano, open the Budleigh Festival of Music and the Arts on Thursday 23 July 2009. Photo credit: Marco Borggreve Copyright: Henschel Quartett

Golfing partners

Brewster has three nationally acclaimed 18-hole golf courses, including The Captains, Cape Cod's premier public golf course http://www.captainsgolfcourse.com/, the Cape Cod National Golf Course http://www.capecodnational.net/, and the Ocean Edge Golf Course http://www.oceanedge.com/.

Above: Friends from Brewster and Budleigh meet up for a round of golf.

Budleigh’s East Devon Golf Club http://www.edgc.co.uk/, situated on the cliff top above the town and commanding magnificent views along the coast, is regarded by many as one of the finest courses in the South West of England.
Above: Rhododendrons in bloom at the entrance to East Devon Golf Club

Salty tales

The coastlines of both Budleigh Salterton and Brewster were once important for producing salt.
At Budleigh in medieval times salt was manufactured in large pans situated at the mouth of the River Otter, and owned by the monks of the priory at the village of Otterton upstream.
Above: Otter Head and the salt marshes of Budleigh Salterton where the River Otter meets the English Channel.

Brewster’s coastline had over 60 saltworks scattered throughout the town in the mid-1800s. The industry proved of such value that during the war of 1812 the British naval commander Richard Ragget aboard the HMS Spencer threatened to blow them up unless the town paid a ransom of $4,000. The town paid.

Above: Brewster flats at sunset; photo by Byron Cain

Various stages

Brewster is home to the highly regarded Cape Cod Repertory Theatre, known as the Cape Rep Theatre http://www.caperep.org/ Situated in the grounds of an old scout camp and approached by a winding road through trees and woods, the theatre exterior is of a modest cinderblock construction. Inside however the 137-seat wood framed space impresses with what has been described by director Kim Weild, currently preparing the summer 2009 production of My Fair Lady, as “a sense of history, quaintness and a ‘can do’ attitude.”
Above: Brewster’s Cape Rep Theatre

Budleigh Salterton has an equally idiosyncratically located (down an alleyway off Station Road) but well-supported theatre in the Salterton Playhouse where the Salterton Drama Club http://www.saltertondrama.co.uk/ stages four plays a year. The town also has a special relationship with the Operatic Society of Imperial College London (ICOS) http://www.union.ic.ac.uk/arts/opsoctour/home/index.php , which has been annually touring shows to Budleigh since 1968. Every summer, usually the last week in July and the first week in August, around 60 members of the ICOS cast and crew stay for a fortnight in the town, presenting ten performances in the Public Hall, as well as organising a charity concert in St Peter's Church.

Above: A scene from the Salterton Drama Club’s 2008 production ‘Ladies in Retirement.’ Photo by Roger Simmonds

More grist for your mill
The Old Grist Mill at Brewster’s Stony Brook is situated in a rustic setting at one of Cape Cod’s most serene spots. Yet it was here that the town's history grew when the first water-powered grist and woollen mill in the USA was built in the late 1600s, developing into one of the most active manufacturing communities in New England, producing cloth, boots, and ironwork. The present-day structure was built in 1873 and later bought by the town and fitted out as a corn mill where you can buy corn meal.

Above: Brewster Stony Brook Grist Mill
From Budleigh Salterton, walk upstream for just a few miles along the River Otter and you will arrive at Otterton Mill. During the Middle Ages it was one of the largest and most productive in Devon before it fell into disrepair. The watermill was restored in 1977, and once again began producing the wholemeal flour for which Otterton is so famous. Today the old working water mill has a bakery and shop, a restaurant, and an art gallery with work from artists from Devon, Dorset and Somerset, making it one of the most popular attractions of the Otter Valley.
Above: The flour milling machinery at Otterton Mill

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