Showing posts from September, 2009

Award for Budleigh’s Lily Farm wine

Within three years of opening their vineyard on Dalditch Lane, Budleigh producers Faye and Alan Pratt (pictured left) were delighted to find that their red table wine has been a hit at the South West Vineyards Association's annual blind tasting.

The husband and wife team who run the two-acre Lily Farm Vineyard won trophies for their 2007 vintage at the tastings, held at Kenton Vineyard near Exeter on 4 September.

“Our first vintage has been awarded The John Buchan Agronomy Shield – Best Red Wine from a small scale producer – and also a bronze award in the main red wine category where we competed alongside top wine producers in the UK,” announced Mr and Mrs Pratt, from Moormead in Budleigh. “We are very excited to have received such prestigious recognition of the quality of our wine and we will work to maintain this standard in future vintages.”

Lily Farm Vineyard made national headlines in 2007 when picking of its Rondo grape harvest began a month before anywhere else in the UK.

A World War memory via the Web

Otter Valley Association (OVA) members were urged to use the internet to research local history during the talk given by Dr Todd Gray on 5 September in East Budleigh, previously reported on my pages

On a personal note, that advice was borne home to me when I received out of the blue a few days ago an email from Argentina. The writer had contacted me after reading about a sad but inspiring episode during World War Two that I had described in my book Oundle’s War, published in 1995 and featured at

Major Patrick Dudgeon MC (pictured above) had nothing to do with Budleigh Salterton as far as I know. A former pupil of Oundle School in Northamptonshire, he had joined the Royal Corps of Signals at the outbreak of war, and won the Military Cross for ‘gallant and distinguished service in the field.’ Later he was engaged on various sec…

Another rape in Budleigh Salterton?

Below:The Rolle Flats on Budleigh’s sea front are now one of the town’s major landmarks, thanks to planners who gave the go-ahead to the demolition of Budleigh’s best known hotel.

The headline may seem sensationalist, and this story may appear nimbyist. But ever since arriving in Budleigh Salterton I’ve been struck by the number of fine old buildings in the town that have been destroyed, to be replaced by architectural eyesores. Budleigh is a lovely town, beautifully situated, with an interesting historic heritage. That has not helped to save it from the greed of developers and the stupidity of planners.

The full story of this desecration is told in a series of 20 or so files kept on a shelf in the town’s excellent Fairlynch Museum. The title of one of the files, 'The Rape of Budleigh Salterton', seemed to me to be highly appropriate.

Right: Clyst Hayes House on Exmouth Road, Budleigh Salterton. Planners have given the go-ahead to its demolition.

So when I received a letter from …

An Avian Extravaganza: Colin See-Paynton Exhibition enchants at The Brook

Coinciding with the launch of Budleigh Salterton’s first Literary Festival on Friday 18 September the town’s Brook Gallery will be exhibiting until 19 October a wonderful selection of ‘Avian Alphabet’ woodcuts by a renowned artist viewed as a ‘national treasure’ for his skill and craftsmanship.

“His delight in the lines of a bird so elegantly inscribed by the cut of his graver, his skill in varying texture… his palpable pleasure in composing his subjects into joyous designs have brought something new to the portrayal of birds,” comments the celebrated naturalist Sir David Attenborough of Colin See-Paynton. Above: A Gaggle of Geese

Widely regarded as the leading exponent of the art of wood engraving, Colin See-Paynton, with his exhibition ‘Of a Feather: An Avian Alphabet’ brings an elegant vision of our feathery friends to Budleigh Salterton’s renowned gallery this autumn. The series of prints has been produced from a body of fresh new engravings, launchin…

Heritage Weekend 2009: Budleigh-based collection’s glimpse into the past

Striking images and fascinating memorabilia from a vanished age will be on display at East Budleigh’s Salem Chapel over Heritage Weekend on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 September.

Budleigh Salterton’s Nick Loman has been collecting pictures, documents and artifacts for more than 30 years.
Above: A view from the past of Fore Street Hill in Budleigh
The result is an impressive archive giving a unique insight into life as it used to be in Budleigh, Exmouth and the surrounding villages.

Having spent his working life as a fish merchant, Nick, of Swains Road, has a special interest in the local fishing industry, and felt that there was a need to preserve memories of it for posterity. Visitors to Budleigh today wouldn't necessarily realise how much importance the industry had for the town, as there is no real sign of how much fishing went on, he believes. Above: A map of 1895 showing the hamlet of Kersbrook, north of Budleigh Salterton

“A hundred and seventy people attended my last talk about th…

Fairlynch Heritage Day: Friday 11 September 2009

With one of the important costume collections in the country, Budleigh Salterton’s unique thatched museum is not just a collection of fascinating fossils and other curiosities from the past but a unique opportunity outside London to see how clothing fashion has changed over the centuries. And it’s not just Victorian ball gowns and 19th century Honiton lace underwear. This year has seen a special exhibition of costumes by the designer Zandra Rhodes celebrated as one of the new wave of British designers who put London at the forefront of the international fashion scene in the 1970s.

Visitors to Fairlynch will be admitted free of charge all day on Friday 11 September as part of the Heritage Open Day programme organized by English Heritage.

It’s an amazing building dating from around 1811 in the ‘marine cottage orné’ style so frequently found in Budleigh’s larger Jurassic Coast neighbour Sidmouth. The original owner, ship owner Matthew Lee Yeates, is said to hav…

It’s a gas with the Lions at Budleigh Salterton in spite of the weather

There’s nothing like a spot of patriotism to cheer you up on a typically British bank holiday. So the bright red, white and blue of our national flag was an effective antidote to the drizzly mist which covered Budleigh Salterton seafront in time for the town’s Lions Club’s Balloon Race.

Lion Peter Mason promotes the event with bell and balloon.

Proceeds from the day went towards the Lions’ campaign to provide Medic Alert pendants and bracelets.

Over 700 balloons went soaring up into the cloud, bearing their greetings messages along with the hopes of many seeking that prize of £100 for the person whose balloon travels the furthest. The winner’s balloon last year was returned from Switzerland.

The weather did nothing to keep the crowds away from the 23 charity stalls which took part in the event. But Budleigh Salterton Carnival Club's Margaret Briggs, pictured left, and her fellow- Club member Julia Meredith are understandably keeping up their spirits with a hot drink. They'd been c…

East Budleigh actor’s journey from Delhi to Dali

Budleigh Salterton’s recently founded Film Society will soon have the option of screening a locally-made movie starring one of the area’s well-known theatrical names.

East Budleigh resident Michael Terry, pictured left, has been combining rehearsals for the Salterton Drama Club’s production ‘Murder, Mayhem and the NHS’ at Budleigh’s Playhouse with appearing at Torquay in a surreal comedy docu-drama directed by Exeter-based film maker Tom Austin.

The movie is based loosely on the life of Spanish artist Salvador Dali. “It’s called ‘La Legende~Dali’ and looks at the relationship between Dali and Hitchcock in the making of ‘Spellbound’– I play Alfred Hitchcock,” says Michael.

Set in a boxing ring, the film tells the story, in a dramatic, theatrical way, of Dali’s relationships – with his family (primarily his dead brother, of whom he believed he was a re-incarnation), his nymphomaniac wife, and the canvas. Dali duels in the ring with his ghost brother, who is a Dali figure/alter ego showman…

Talking of heritage

Budleigh Salterton’s Fairlynch Museum (pictured left) and East Budleigh’s Salem Chapel will be among the many historic centres which are celebrating this month with special exhibitions.

Since 1991 Heritage Weekend European Heritage Days have been held annually in September in 49 countries, from the Baltic to the Balkans, from Iceland to the Iberian Peninsular, highlighting not only the dazzling diversity of Europe’s heritage, but also its intercultural links.

Across the Atlantic, interest in heritage is just as strong. This September will see the anniversary of the launch of an exciting new project by the University of Massachusetts at Boston and the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities.

Brewster was the first Cape Cod town to be visited by the Mass. Memories Road Show.
On the afternoon of September 13th 2008, residents were invited to bring up to three photos or documents that illustrate the early – and and/or – current life of Brewster. The items were scanned onsite and the orig…

Fact and fictions in Brewster, Cape Cod

[This September sees the launch of Budleigh Salterton’s first-ever literary festival with a pre-festival event on 5 September, when Michael Morpurgo will be the guest author. The festival proper will take place from 18-20 September.

To mark the occasion I reproduce with acknowledgement to the Boston Globe newspaper a recent feature which highlights the literary debt owed to the landscape and history of Cape Cod by one of its best-known residents.

Sally Gunning writes award-winning historical novels that have won praise for their compelling storylines, thorough research and strong characterization. She is a resident of Budleigh Salterton's sister-town of Brewster.]

Below: Local author Sally Gunning sits at one of her favorite places, at Lower Mill Pond under a willow tree. Photo credit: Bill Greene/Globe staff.

Fact and Fictions

Sally Gunning sets her novels in familiar, favored places that bear the imprint of the town’s history.

The wet sand stretches out …