We always enjoy walking north from Budleigh Salterton along the River Otter, learning slowly about birds as we go. An exciting moment came a few days ago when what I dumbly assumed was a flock of pigeons settling on the water meadows turned out to be a crowd of curlews.
And after a few miles there's the wonderful and ancient Otterton Mill to explore, with its restored mill machinery, flour milling, art galleries, shop, café and restaurant.
The Mill, run by Simon and Caroline Spiller, is proud of its strong traditions of local sourcing and environmental conservation so I wasn't surprised to see that last November it was one of four finalists in the Food and Farming category of The Devon Environmental Business Initiative (DEBI). This networking organisation, supported by bodies like the Environment Agency, The Met Office, Devon County Council and South West Water has been recognising Devon based businesses with strong environmental practices for almost 20 years.
So after being recognised again as one of the 'greenest' businesses in Devon it's only natural that the Mill is staging an exhibition of West Country artists who use recycled objects and materials to create their art. Taking what other people might consider to be rubbish, they use their inventiveness and imagination to produce something beautiful. "This is an exhibition that will open your mind," say Simon and Caroline.
Her richly decorated 'Memory Brooches' use broken jewellery, plastic toys and other small found objects.
Since 2008 she has been making iconic Pop Art-style portraits of the famous, including Barack Obama, Madonna and the Queen, composed of thousands of bits of bric-à-brac foraged from recycling centres.
The exhibition runs from Saturday 6 March to Monday 19 April and is housed within the exhibition space of the Mill Gallery on the first floor of the historic Mill building. The artworks are displayed against the backdrop of the ancient Mill workings. Entry is free.
For more information about Otterton Mill, click on http://www.ottertonmill.com/
Jane Perkins' website is at http://www.bluebowerbird.co.uk/
For Veronica Gosling see http://www.gallery36.co.uk/ and http://www.insiderart.org.uk/