Marshwood+ December 2023

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Ron Frampton archive in Axminster Page 28

Avant-pop in Lyme Page 37

Look out for Panto Page 33


Marshwood + Magazine


© Phil Clarke Photograph by Robin Mills

The best from West Dorset, South Somerset and East Devon No. 297 December 2023

To all our readers in... Abbotsbury, Alphington, Alson, Ashill, Ashley Heath, Askerswell, Axminster, Barrington, Barwick, Batcombe, Beaminster, Beer, Beer Hackett, Bettiscombe, Bincombe, Birdsmoor Gate, Bishops Wood, Bishops Waltham, Blackdown, Bothenhampton, Bournemouth, Bowers Lane, Bracknell, Bradford Abbas, Bradpole, Branscombe, Bridport, Brixham, Broadmayne, Broadoak, Broadway, Broadwindsor, Buckland St. Mary, Burton Bradstock, Burstock, Burwash, Catherston Leweston, Cattistock, Cerne Abbas, Chaffcombe, Chalmington, Chard, Chard Common, Chard Junction, Chardstock, Charlestown, Charminster, Charmouth, Chedington, Chetnole, Chetwode, Chickerell, Chideock, Chilcombe, Chillington, Christchurch, Church Green, Closworth, Colyford, Colyton, Coombe St Nicholas, Corscombe, Coryates, Crech St. Michael, Crewkerne, Cricket St. Thomas, Crimchard, Crossways, Dalwood, Dinnington, Dorchester, Dottery, Dowlish Wake, Draycott, Cheddar, Drimpton, Dunkeswell, East Bexington, East Chinnock, East Coker, East Knighton, East Lambrook, Easton, Evershot, Exmouth, Eype, Fishpond, Fordington Dairy, Fordington Fields, Forton, Friar Waddon, Gillingham, Greendown, Halstock, Hampton, Hardington Mandeville, Haselbury Plucknett, Hawkchurch, Heathstock, Hertford, Hewish, Hilfield, Hinton St. George, Holditch, Holnest, Holway, Holywell, Honiton, Hooke, Howley, Illminster, Ivybridge, Kilmington, Kingcombe, Knowle St. Giles, Langton Herring, Leigh, Lillington, Little Bredy, Litton Cheney, Loders, London, Long Bredy, Loscombe, Lower Holditch, Lower Wraxall, Lyme Regis, Maiden Newton, Mapperton, Marshalsea, Marshwood, Martinstown, Martock, Meare, Melbury Osmond, Melplash, Membury, Merriott, Milborne St. Andrew, Misterton, Monkton Wyld, Montacute, Morcombelake, Moreton Hampstead, Mosterton, Mudeford, Musbury, Netherbury, Nettlecombe, North Allington, North Bowood, Northhay, North Leigh, North Perrott, North Poorton, Norton sub Hamdon, Odcombe, Offwell, Osmington, Overcombe, Overmoigne, Over Stratton, Piddlehinton, Piddletrenthide, Pilsdon, Portesham, Portland, Poundbury, Powerstock, Preston, Pucknowle, Puddletown, Pymore, Rampisham, Rocombe, Rodwell, Rousdon, Ryall, Salwayash, Seaborough, Seaton, Seatown, Seavington St. Mary, Seavington St. Michael, Shaftesbury, Shepton Mallett, Sherborne, Shepton Beauchamp, Shipton Gorge, Shute, Sidbury, Sidford, Sidmouth, South Chard, Southleigh, South Perrott, Southill, Stinsford, Stockland, Stockwood, Stoke Abbott, Stoke Hill, Stoke sub Hamdon, Stratton, Swyre, Sydling St. Nicholas, Symondsbury, Synderford, Tatworth, Taunton, Thorncombe, Tintinhull, Tisbury, Toller Porcorum, Tolpuddle, Uffculme, Uphall, Uploders, Uplyme, Up Sydling, Wadbrook, Wadeford, Walditch, Wambrook, Water Street, Waycroft, Wayford, Waytown, West Bay, West Bexington, West Chelborough, West Chinnock, West Knighton, West Lulworth, West Milton, Weymouth, Whetley Cross, Whitchurch Cannonicorum, Whitelackington, Whitford, Widworthy, Wilmington, Winfrith Newburgh, Winsham, Winterbourne Abbas, Wolminstone, Wool, Wooth, Wootton Fitzpaine, Worthing, Wyke Regis, Wynford Eagle, Yarcombe, Yawl, Yetminster… and wherever you read your Marshwood Vale Magazine.


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COVER STORY Robin Mills met Phil Clarke in Crewkerne

© Phil Clarke Photograph by Robin Mills


y career as a war crimes investigator seems to have been influenced by my DNA, for my Danish mother is from a family of prosecutors, lawyers, and judges, while my father—a Fleet Air Arm helicopter pilot—had many ancestors who have also experienced combat with the armed forces. In 1971, when I was 4 years old, he anticipated regular postings to Portland and Yeovilton, so my parents searched for a home halfway between the two. They settled in a Somerset longhouse in the centre of Crewkerne, which has become the UK base for three generations of my closest relatives over more than half a century. My mother continued family tradition by becoming a Legal Exec in Beaminster, while my oldest nephew now studies law at Exeter and has joined the Officers’ Training Corps. Apples don’t fall far from the tree… My route to war and law was less straightforward; I was educated at St. Bartholomew’s, Maiden Beech, and Wadham schools in Crewkerne, followed by Yeovil College, and then did a degree in mechanical engineering at Birmingham. I considered a career with the RAF, but was lured away by Africa’s wildlife after a visit to that continent in 1988, when I persuaded the company that sponsored me through university to arrange a placement in Johannesburg during one summer break. While there, I did a weekend safari in a national park, which was memorable not only for getting charged by two rhinos while on foot, but also for the game Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 3

Phil Clarke guide’s amazing knowledge of local plants and insects. That sparked an unexpected interest in natural history, so after leaving university, I joined an expedition to Tanzania’s tropical dry forests to help with a biodiversity survey. This led to a job as camp leader, and then a year later I became the program coordinator. Working in those pristine fragments of God’s Creation was a huge privilege that compensated for the minimal pay; I learned zoology and botany on the job, collected many species that were new to science, and have since co-edited a scientific textbook Coastal Forests of Eastern Africa that was published by IUCN in 2000. In September 1993, on the last day of my final expedition, I rediscovered the extinct tree Karomia gigas. A month later, hundreds of thousands of refugees fled into Tanzania from neighbouring Burundi to escape massacres by the army. That caused an apparently chance encounter with two newly-arrived representatives of the French aid agency Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), who were looking for premises in Dar es Salaam to run their operations. They took up an invitation to share the base where I worked, and I was soon impressed by their dynamism and ethics. That rekindled my desire to work for refugees—I had applied for aid jobs while at university, but had been rejected due to a lack of experience. Now however, after three years of running expeditions in the bush and speaking fluent Swahili, I was sufficiently qualified to become a logistician. MSF sent me to Somalia in 1994, shortly after the Black Hawk Down incident, into a maelstrom of violence and anarchy where every man carried an AK-47 and where aid workers were kidnapped for ransom. Next, I was posted to Rwanda and Zaire (now DR Congo) and the utter darkness of genocide

where half a million refugees were secretly exterminated in the surrounding forests to avenge the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Those wars traumatised me and shook my faith in humanity, but strengthened my relationship with God, who has spared my life at least 15 times from murderous rebels, wild animal attacks, tropical diseases, road accidents, and severe Arctic storms. After Congo, I worked for MSF in relatively calm contexts in Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Lebanon. An idea arose to fictionalise what I had experienced as a means to heal, so I started to write a novel. Falling Night was finally released twenty-five years later in June 2023, and is one of the few aid worker novels ever published. It tops the Goodreads list of humanitarian aid books. In 1998, I moved to my maternal homeland when I became director of MSF-Denmark, which was a dream job that allowed me to learn about media campaigns and develop techniques to investigate war crimes. I visited Sudan’s war zone in 2000 to understand how the petroluem industry was exacerbating that conflict, and was shocked as a Scandinavian to learn that one oil company was Swedish. My subsequent failure to get MSF to speak out against their activities made me realise I would have to do such work on my own. When a new war broke out in Darfur, Sudan, in 2003, I quietly arranged for a satellite analyst to map the burned villages and enabled Amnesty to publish the results in 2004; it was the first time remote sensing was used to document human rights abuses. I then asked the satellite analyst to map the destruction in the Swedish oil company’s licence area, and guided a volunteer to gather all relevant data on the company’s communications and on attacks in their concession. This information was given to a Dutch organisation who used it as the basis of a report that

4 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 Email Tel. 01308 423031

© Phil Clarke Photograph by Robin Mills

was released in June 2010, which exposed how the company made 93 million USD profit at the alleged cost of 12,000 dead and 160,000 dispossessed Sudanese civilians. Two weeks later, the Swedish State Prosecutor for War Crimes opened a criminal investigation into the company’s activities in Sudan. Over 80,000 pages of evidence have now been gathered, and a court case against the company’s two top executives was started in September 2023. The trial will take two and a half years and will be the longest in Swedish legal history, plus the first time worldwide that a major company is prosecuted for complicity in war crimes since the conviction of Nazi industrialists at Nuremberg in 1948. Despite the success, I realised my undercover investigations posed a risk for MSF’s field staff, so I resigned my directorship in March 2007. I also felt called by God to continue working on war crimes; without prospective income, I decided to ‘live by faith’, trusting God would provide. A year later, with no money and a huge mortgage repayment that I was unable to meet, I was unexpectedly offered well-paid part-time work with a mineral exploration company in Greenland. That Divine intervention led to seven memorable expedition seasons in the high Arctic with its vast, dramatic landscapes, violent storms, and a very close encounter with a polar bear when my rifle jammed. It also gave me insider insights into the extraction industry that proved essential for my ongoing attempts to indict the oil company’s middlemen who have escaped the current prosecution. I released a report in 2013 that was filed with the Swedish authorities together with another filing against a daughter company for similar activities in Somalia; both cases were unfortunately

dropped due to legal technicalities. But I have not given up—the right opportunity to reopen them will surely come. My life took another dramatic turn in 2019 when my mother suffered a brain haemorrhage; she was the main carer for my father, who was severely disabled by 30 years of Parkinson’s disease. With two incapacitated parents, I was forced to pause my life in Denmark and move home. My mother eventually recovered but struggled to cope with my father’s deteriorating condition. Covid exacerbated the problem, so I spent half my time in Crewkerne over the following years. That cloud however had a silver lining, for my return to the West Country brought some of the healing I still need from over-exposure to war and suffering. Walking, cycling, and driving through the beautiful countryside and quaint villages that I have known since childhood anchor me to a time before I encountered the misery that blights so many people’s lives. And they are a reminder that I am attached to this small corner of the world unlike anywhere else, for I grew up in this area where many friends plus part of my family were, are, and will remain. My grandparents lived in Sidmouth and North Coker, while other relatives were in Birdsmoorgate, Charmouth, Mosterton, and Sherborne. My father, who passed away two years ago, is buried in Crewkerne’s cemetery beside my eldest niece, who died of cancer aged 6 in 2013. My mother is still here, whilst my twin brother and sister both have a house in the town. And in the centre stands St. Bartholomew’s Church where I have worshipped Almighty God for over fifty years, connecting me to generations of Christians who have lived here and have each done their part to make this world a better place.

6 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 Email Tel. 01308 423031

Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 7

UP FRONT While it is true that our standard of living has significantly improved in the last century, many of us still long for the simplicity of the past. Here in the Marshwood Vale, we enjoy beautiful coast and countryside; stunning landscapes, rolling hills, and picturesque villages that capture the essence of the West Country’s culture. The timeless beauty of our local communities has always provided a vibrant backdrop for photography, as well as a rich source of local cultural and historical stories. Through these traditions and customs, we have learned about the deep-rooted connections between the people and the land, as well as the resilience and resourcefulness of rural communities. One of the features in this issue is a look back on the life of the late Ron Frampton, a local man who started his career as a motor engineer but went on to develop a passion for photography and social history. Ron coordinated dozens of articles on local people, places, and the history of the area. These stories offer a glimpse into the rich tapestry of rural life in the West Country. They also serve as a reminder of the intrinsic value of our natural and cultural heritage, offering a sense of grounding and appreciation for the simple yet profound aspects of life that have endured throughout the ages. In the coming months, we will explore ways to broaden our coverage of the social history of our wider communities, including looking back on some of the many features that we have run over the last twenty-one years. And while many technological advancements have been rightly criticized for speeding up our lives and making it harder to keep up with rapid changes, we will continue to embrace modernity and progress. However, we will use it to help preserve the beauty and cultural significance of our communities. As part of this effort, we will be improving access to our expanded magazine, Marshwood+, while renovating and repositioning our printed magazine. To stay informed about our coverage of local culture and history and our increasing consideration of the environment, please email us at info@ with the subject line ‘More Marshwood,’ and we will ensure you receive updates on all new features. In the meantime, we wish you a happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year. Fergus Byrne

Published Monthly and distributed by Marshwood Vale Ltd Lower Atrim, Bridport Dorset DT6 5PX For all Enquiries Tel: 01308 423031 info@marshwoodvale. com


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Cover Story By Robin Mills Event News and Courses News & Views Nature Studies By Michael McCarthy The R Word By Dr Sam Rose

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House & Garden Vegetables in December By Ashley Wheeler December in the Garden By Russell Jordan Property Round Up By Helen Fisher

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Food & Dining Christmas Chocolate Shards By Mark Hix

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Arts & Entertainment Local Heritage in and around the Vale By Fergus Byrne Galleries Preview By Gay Pirrie Weir Screen Time By Nic Jeune Young Lit Fix By Nicky Mathewson


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Editorial Director Fergus Byrne


Deputy Editor

Helen Fisher Mark Hix Nic Jeune Russell Jordan Michael McCarthy

Victoria Byrne


People Magazines Ltd


Fergus Byrne

8 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 Email Tel. 01308 423031

Nicky Mathewson Robin Mills Gay Pirrie Weir Dr Sam Rose Ashley Wheeler

The views expressed in The Marshwood Vale Magazine and People Magazines are not necessarily those of the editorial team. Unless otherwise stated, Copyright of the entire magazine contents is strictly reserved on behalf of the Marshwood Vale Magazine and the authors. Disclaimer: Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of dates, event information and advertisements, events may be cancelled or event dates may be subject to alteration. Neither Marshwood Vale Ltd nor People Magazines Ltd can accept any responsibility for the accuracy of any information or claims made by advertisers included within this publication. NOTICE TO ADVERTISERS Trades descriptions act 1968. It is a criminal offence for anyone in the course of a trade or business to falsely describe goods they are offering. The Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. The legislation requires that items offered for sale by private vendors must be ‘as described’. Failure to observe this requirement may allow the purchaser to sue for damages. Road Traffic Act. It is a criminal offence for anyone to sell a motor vehicle for use on the highway which is unroadworthy.

December EVENTS 25 November

Jewellery Making Workshop 10.30 - 12.30 or 1.30 - 3.30 Join jeweller Nicky Barton and learn to shape, saw, texture and solder solid silver to make your own individual pendant / ring / earring to take home. All materials and refreshments provided £55 / £50 THG Friends / 15-25 yrs free. Bridport & West Dorset Rambling Club 7 mile walk from Abbotsury. For further information please ring 01308 898484 or 01308 863340. Oddbodies - King Lear 7:30pm. Powerstock Hut. Box Office: 01308 485730 or 07817429907 or www.artsreach co uk. Tickets: £12, £5 u18s, £25 family. Cantamus presents a selection of choral music for Advent. Includes works by Byrd, Rachmaninoff, Warlock and the choir’s director, Peter Nardone. St Mary’s Church, Cerne Abbas, 7pm. Tickets £12 on the door or from the village shop. Christmas Craft Fayre at Musbury Village Hall - 10.00 am to 12.30 pm. Proceeds to St Michaels Church Musbury. Enquiries 01297 552440/552711 Plastic Free Axminster’s Christmas Eco Fair 10 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. Axminster Guildhall, West Street, Axminster, Devon Chideock WI Christmas Fayre in Chideock Village Hall. Starting at 12 noon until 3pm. Free entry. Light lunch available plus stalls and raffle. More details - White Tara 2:1s Dean Carter and Anna Howard return with this very powerful healing modality. Oborne Village Hall, Oborne, nr. Sherborne, Dorset DT9 4LA 12.30-5PM Ihr individual sessions @ £80/60 concs. Please book in advance via 01935 389655 or email

26 November

Advent Concert given by The Occasional Singers at 3.00pm St Mary’s Church, Edward Road, Dorchester DT1 2HL There will be a retiring collection in aid of Mosaic a charity which supports local children who have been bereaved. Everyone is most welcome. East Devon Ramblers 9 mile moderate walk. 10.00am. Colyton. Telephone: 07719-380718 Candles on St Catherine’s Hill Abbotsbury. This popular atmospheric event returns when we create a pathway up the hill to St Catherine’s Chapel with candle bags lit from within by battery tea lights. Bags are on sale in Abbotsbury shops and also from Bridport tourist information. A workshop will be open in the village hall between midday and 3pm bags cost £2.00 each and the tea light will be added by our volunteers on the day. A service will be held in the Chapel at 3.45pm preceeded by music. All welcome. More info and photos Divine Union Soundbath Oborne Village Hall, Oborne, nr. Sherborne, Dorset DT9 4LA 2-4PM £15 Please book in advance 01935 389655 or email

27 November

An evening of Scottish Dancing at Chardstock Village Hall 7.30-10.00 p.m. Tea and coffee provided but please bring your own mug. No partner required. Cost £2.00. For more information contact David on 01460 65981

Bridport Folk Dance Club If you like exercise, socialising and maybe learning something new, then come along to our dance sessions in the W.I. Hall on Monday evenings from 7.159.30pm. All welcome, especially beginners. Musicians welcome. Refreshments. Tel; 863552 or 459001 for details. Winsham Art Club 2pm at Jubilee Hall TA20 4HU. Members £5, non-members £7. Annual membership £15. All welcome. Contact: Email : for further details. Terrorism, how to prevent it! A talk by Alan Jenkins, formerly of the Merseyside and Dorset Police. His talk will include coverage of the current threats. 2.30 pm in United Church Main Hall, East Street, Bridport. National Trust Golden Cap Association. Contact: Mike Nicks 01308 459855. Members £3, Visitors £5.

28 November

Scottish Country dancing at Horton Village Hall Nr Ilminster TA19 9QR every Tuesday evening from 7.30 to 9.30 pm with refreshment break. Please wear soft, flat shoes if possible. Pay on the door £3.00 per evening. Contact Anita on 01460 929383, email or visit our web site at www.ashillscd. All welcome. Beaminster Museum Winter Talk Georgia Piggott will be sharing her experiences of researching a historical novel set in plague-ridden 17th century Dorset, followed by a book signing. Beaminster Museum, Whitcombe Rd, Beaminster DT8 3NB. 2.00pm. Entry £5. Bridport U3A talk at Bridport United Church hall, East Street, Bridport, DT6 3LJ. The talk will start at 2pm and last for about an hour, followed by a Q&A and then refreshments. This month’s speaker is Jonathan Thompson of Co-op Legal Services.

29 November

West Dorset Ramblers White Hill Barn. Little Bredy. Starts at 10.00am. 8 miles. contact Jill & Simon 07974 756107. East Devon Ramblers 8.5 mile moderate walk with pub lunch. 10.00am. Dalwood. Telephone: 07719-380718. Bridport Scottish Dancers will meet at Church House, South Street, Bridport, DT6 3NN. 7.15 for a 7.30 start. Cost: £3.00 Contact: Malcolm on 07790 323343. Check out bridportscottishdancers for more information.

30 November

West Dorset Ramblers Winyards Gap Start 10.00am. Morning walk before AGM at 2.30pm . contact Laraine 07889 921435. Folk dancing at Combe St Nicholas village hall (TA20 3LT) at 1930 hrs. Dancing Keys are the musical attraction this evening and Rosie Shaw will be calling. It’s £4.00 per person which includes a cuppa and cake, all welcome and it is a lot of fun! Further details from Elaine on 01460 65909.

1 December

South Somerset Youth Orchestra & Friends seasonal concert. £5 includes mince pies & mulled wine/soft drink; please book in advance if possible. 7pm, at Clapton & Wayford Village Hall. Further information from Mary (01460 74849) or Barbara (01460 73713). Bolan’s Shoes (15) – at 2pm (With optional lunch) & 7.30pm.

Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 9

December EVENTS

A light-hearted comedy with supernatural chills abound in this inspirational story. The Beehive Honiton www.beehivehoniton. 01404 384050. South Somerset Youth Orchestra & Friends seasonal concert. £5 includes mince pies & mulled wine/soft drink; please book in advance if possible. 7pm, at Clapton & Wayford Village Hall. Further information from Mary (01460 74849) or Barbara (01460 73713) The Mummers will be performing at the Symondsbury Barn Christmas Fair on Friday 1st December at 4.30pm. Hare & Hounds, Netherbury on Friday 8th December at 6.30pm. White Horse, Litton Cheney on Saturday 9th December at 7.30pm. Also Please note - new venue for the traditional New Years Day performance Loder’s Arms, 6.30pm by kind invitation of Harriet and Matt (Sadly our usual venue - the Ilchester Arms, Symondsbury will not be opening on NYD).

2 December

The Great Escaper (12a) at 7.30pm. Bernie Jordan (Michael Caine) stages a “great escape” from his care home to join fellow war veterans on a beach in Normandy, commemorating their fallen comrades. The Beehive Honiton 01404 384050. Cantamus presents ‘What sweeter music…’, a selection of choral music for Advent. Includes works by Byrd, Rachmaninoff, Warlock and the choir’s director, Peter Nardone. St Mary’s Church, South Street, Bridport, 7pm. Tickets £12 on the door (cash or card). Three Churches Christmas Coffee Morning 10 am - 12.30 pm. The Comrades Hall ,Broadwindsor DT8 3QP. Cake Stall, Tombola, Bric-a-Brac, Books,Christmas Stall. Admission £ 2 to include Coffee/Tea and mince pie. Come along and bring some friends. For details contact Kate 01308 868083. The Friends of Weymouth Library (F.O.W.L.) talk will be by Dr. Francis Burroughs and entitled “Don’t Put Your Daughter on the Stage.” Francis Burroughs has experience of producing and conducting over two hundred operatic productions, and not all the drama happens on stage! The talk begins at 10-30 a.m. and lasts until 12noon. Refreshments are included. All are welcome. Tickets are £2 for members and £3 for non-members. These are obtainable at the library (tel. 01305 762410). Dinky Scrapstore at the Community Shed 10-12am Bridport Community Shed brings people together to make and repair items. It also strives to reduce waste by saving materials from landfill and makes them available to use for arts and crafts projects. It has has a great array of materials; yarns, felt, fabrics, buttons, beads... the list goes on. Perfect for Christmas craft projects! The Dinky Scrapstore is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings and on the first Saturday of the month 10-12. For more information please email Details on our website Wreath Making Workshop Join us in embracing the festive spirit making a Christmas wreath with a mix of wild and natural ingredients. Cheesy tunes, a glass of fizz and nibbles included. 10am - 12 noon. The Salt House, West Bay DT6 4HB. Tickets £55.

Book online: Beaminster Museum Christmas Cake and Coffee Morning. Drop in between 10:00 am and 12:00pm to enjoy homemade cake, mince pies, tea and coffee and to browse the museum shop, which will be full of Christmas goodies. Entry is £3.00 for adults, £1.00 for children. Beaminster Museum, Whitcombe Rd, Beaminster DT8 3NB. Christmas Wreath Workshop Jubilee Hall, Church Street, Winsham, Chard TA20 4HU. 10.30 til 12.30. Using natural seasonal foliage, cones and ribbon come and create a sumptuous wreath for your front door or garden gate, join Angela for the simple pleasure of making something beautiful for this lovely festive season £40.00 everything included just bring yourself. Tea or coffee and homemade cake included. Phone Angela to book 07949 510787. Christmas Fair Memorial Hall, Colyford (A3052), 10 am - 2 pm. Easy parking & free entry. Refreshments from 10 am and Homemade “Soup & Puds” from 12 noon. Stalls include: Home bakes & makes, Beautiful Crafts & home-knits, This ‘n That, Children’s Corner, Plants & Xmas decs, Raffles, Tombola & more. Stockland Christmas Market Victory Hall 10-12 noon. Santas Grotto. Many festive craft stalls by local makers, food stalls. Hot Refreshments, Free entry & parking. Information contact Monica 01404 881 535. Dorset Independent Makers Christmas Market St Mary’s Church House Hall, South Street, Bridport 9.30am - 3.30pm Free entry. A fundraising coffee morning will be held at WI HALL, North Street, Bridport, DT6 3JH, 10am until noon by the National Coastwatch, Lyme Bay. All are welcome for coffee, tea and cake. Available to purchase cakes, preserves, sweets, books and DVD’ Mad Dog McRea Gateway Theatre, Seaton – live music – 8pm support, 9pm main act, doors at 7.30pm, tickets £20. Mad Dog Mcrea blend a unique mixture of folk rock, pop, gypsy jazz, bluegrass and ‘shake your ass’ music. Support band is Man The Lifeboats. Tickets from 01297 625699, www.thegatewayseaton. or in person Tue - Thur 10am - 1pm.

2 - 3 December

In Dalwood Church EX13 7EQ, a display of U.K. Christmas Customs, 10am - 5pm each day. Raffle for Christmas Hampers. Event finishes with a carol sing-a-long at 5pm on Sunday 3rd with mulled wine and mincepies Contact Sue Drew 07501 016393.

3 December

East Devon Ramblers 10.00am. Leisurely 4 mile walk. Sidmouth donkey sanctuary. Phone 01395-488480. ‘Andre Rieu’s White Christmas’ Gateway Theatre, Seaton, screening – 3pm, doors 2.30pm, Tickets adults £15, Under 16s £8. Tickets from 01297 625699, or in person Tue - Thur 10am - 1pm. Annual Lighting Up of the Christmas Tree at the Market Cross in Winsham, TA20 4ED. 6pm Children from the Primary School will be singing our opening carol. Chard Concert Brass Band accompanying us. Mulled wine and hot mince pies served from

10 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 Email Tel. 01308 423031

Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 11

outside The George. Free event funded by The Winsham Street Fair Committee. Retiring collection bucket. Everyone welcome. Followed by: 7pm Hot Turkey Baps and Festive drinks at The Bell Inn. Order at The Bar. Parking behind The Pub: 11 Church Street, Winsham, TA20 4HU. André Rieu White Christmas at 4pm. Tickets £15. The Beehive Honiton 01404 384050

4 December

An evening of Scottish Dancing at Chardstock Village Hall 7.30-10.00 p.m. Tea and coffee provided but please bring your own mug. No partner required. Cost £2.00. For more information contact David on 01460 65981 Bridport Folk Dance Club If you like exercise, socialising and maybe learning something new, then come along to our dance sessions in the W.I. Hall on Monday evenings from 7.15pm9.30pm. All welcome, especially beginners. Occasional live music and always a Caller to lead the dances so no experience or partner required. Musicians welcome. Tea and biscuits . Only £3.00. Tel: 863552 or 459001 for more information. Hawkchurch Film Nights in association with Devon Moviola, proudly presents ‘Oppenheimer’ (180 mins + interval, Cert. 15 - strong language, sex) Doors open 6.00pm, film starts 6.30pm (please note earlier start time than usual) at Hawkchurch Village Hall, EX13 5XD. Ticket reservations £5.50 from csma95@gmail. com or leave a message on 01297 678176 (socially-distanced seating available if reserved in advance); tickets also available for £5.50 from Hawkchurch Community Shop or £6.00 on the door (cash only). Subtitles for the hard-of-hearing provided. Home-made cake, wine and other tasty refreshments available.

5 December

Scottish Country Dancing at Horton Village Hall Nr Ilminster TA19 9QR every Tuesday evening from 7.30 to 9.30 pm with refreshment break. Please wear soft , flat shoes if possible. Pay on the door £3.00 per evening. Contact Anita on 01460 929383 , email or visit our website at www.ashillscd. All welcome.

6 December

Bridport Christmas Cheer 2023 Join us to kick off Christmas in Bridport with an evening of festival fun at Christmas Cheer - a magical evening for the whole family to enjoy. There will be a Christmas Market along East, West and South Street with many of the regular Market and street food Traders in attendance ; a great selection of arts and crafts and charity stalls in the Town Hall and Arts Centre, charity Christmas card on sale in the Tourist Information Centre, for Cards for Good Causes, and lots of other Christmas entertainment Christmas Cheer will start at 3.40 pm with carols by local primary schools in Bucky Doo Square and will finish at 8pm. Car parking in all car parks will be Free. East Devon Ramblers 10.00am. Moderate 11 mile walk. Tipton St John. Phone 07791-416052.

7 December

Lyme Voices Community Choir 19.30 to 21.15. Sing for fun. Learn songs in harmony by ear. Everyone welcome. Baptist Church (pine hall round the back), Silver St., Lyme Regis, DT7 3NY. Phone 07534 116502 or email Please let us know if you are coming. Tatworth Flower Club have Denise Jones as our demonstrator. She has not visited our club before and with Christmas coming we are looking forward to some great ideas. Our doors open at 1.30pm at Tatworth Memorial hall and we begin at 2pm. All are welcome. Non members £7. Arrangements are raffled to the audience and there is cake and a drink to purchase afterwards. Enquiries, Julie

Kettle 0146065883. The Stanchester Quire will be performing old Christmas Carols from the South West of England, in support of The David Hall, Roundwell Street, South Petherton, TA13 5AA, at 7:30pm. Tickets £8, £5 Under 12’s. 01460 240340, The Fabelmans (2023, US, 12A, 151 mins, Director: Steven Spielberg) Doors 7:00 pm, 7:30 pm start. Clapton & Wayford Village Hall (TA18 8PS).). Membership £25, guests £5 per film. For more details, contact or ring Mick Wilson on 01460 74849 or Di Crawley on 01460 30508. Dr Feelgood at 7.30pm. The English pub rock band formed in 1971. Hailing from Canvey Island, Essex, the group are best known for early singles such as “She Does It Right”, “Roxette”, “Back in the Night” and “Milk and Alcohol”. The Beehive Honiton www. 01404 384050. Sale of Christmas Gifts Decorations, Raffle 9.30 - 11.30am Fresh coffee, soup, rolls and cakes served St. Swithun’s Church Hall, Allington, Bridport DT6 5DU 07741457505

8 December

Discussion evening “Fighting for a Healthy River Lim”, Friday December 8 at 7.30pm at Uplyme Village Hall. Main speaker is Harry Barton, former CEO of the Devon Wildlife Trust, with others from the River Lim Action group. Free to attend, refreshments for sale. Contact: Cinechard at Chard Guildhall at 7.30pm. And Then Come The Nightjars (15) is described by The Guardian as ‘a touching tale of love and loss on the farm’. Tickets in advance from Eleos, the PO and Barron’s for £5, or on the door for £6. The Stanchester Quire will be performing old Christmas Christmas Carols from the South West of England by Candlelight at The Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Holnest, Nr. Sherborne, DT9 5PU, at 7pm. Admission by donations, to include mulled cider and mince pie! Limited seating. Phone Graham on 01963 210632. Dean Carter live Out Of The Loop album launch launch 7.30 PM Digby Memorial Hall, Digby Rd, Sherborne DT9 3NL entry by donation to British Red Cross Israel and Palestinian Appeal. East Devon Ramblers 10.00am Leisurely walk. Commons walk. Phone 07739-392614. Beaminster Museum Christmas Concert in association with Parnham Voices. A programme of Advent and Christmas music, with readings from choir members and museum volunteers. Be prepared to join in some familiar carols! Tickets are £8.00 and include a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie in the interval. Book your place via or at the museum between 10.00 and 11.00am any Friday morning. Beaminster Museum, Whitcombe Rd, Beaminster DT8 3NB. Happy Days Productions presents ‘A Magical Christmas’Gateway Theatre, Seaton, live show - 7.30pm doors 7pm, Tickets Adults £15, Family (2+2) £50 Tickets from 01297 625699, www. or in person Tue - Thur 10am - 1pm.

9 December

‘Magnificent Buble At Christmas’ live music- Gateway Theatre, Seaton, 8pm doors 7.30pm, Tickets £23 table seats, £21.50 row seats. Magnificent Bublé is the UK’s finest authentic Michael Bublé theatre tribute show with an incredible 12 piece big band, fronted by Exeter’s James Billington and proudly presents this fabulous festive show: Magnificent Bublé At Christmas. Tickets from 01297 625699, or in person Tue - Thur 10am - 1pm. Bridport & West Dorset Rambling Club 7.5 mile walk from Axminster. For further information please ring 01308 898484 or

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01308 863340. Festive Folding! workshop Join me for a relaxing and creative day of paper folding to create pop-up cards, decorative containers and a few other seasonal pieces. Just the thing for presents and posting. James Hargreaves Community Hall, Morcombelake, Bridport DT6 6EA. 10am - 3.30p.m. £45 All materials included. For details and to book a place contact 07984 001830. Beginners welcome. Colyton Grammar Festive Fair Join us for a delightful shopping experience featuring artisan makers, unique cards, handcrafted candles and charming Christmas gifts. 10am to 4pm. Colyton Grammar School, Whitwell Lane, Colyford, EX24 6HN. Entrance free. If you are interested in being a stallholder please get in touch via Cantamus presents ‘What sweeter music…’, a selection of choral music for Advent. Includes works by Byrd, Rachmaninoff, Warlock and the choir’s director, Peter Nardone. Colyton Parish Church, 3pm. Tickets £12 on the door (cash or card). The Beehive’s Christmas Craft & Shopping Fayre Free entry. Open 10am – 4pm. Café open all day. The Beehive Honiton www. 01404 384050. Yarcombe Village Market 10-12noon at The Yarcombe Village Hall, fantastic local produce – cakes, pies and pasties, homemade seasonal mincemeat, locally produced Pork, fresh farm eggs, beautiful pottery, crystals, fantastic crafts and much more… come and have a browse and enjoy a coffee and cake. Enquiries 07858625421. Bridport Choral Society presents Ring Christmas Bells An evening of festive music across the centuries, including traditional and modern songs and carols, with performances of Madrigal for Christmas and the Hallelujah Chorus. 7.30 p.m., Bridport United Church. Tickets: £12, available from Smith & Smith, Bridport Music Centre or on the door. Refreshments available during the interval

10 December

East Devon Ramblers 10.00am Moderate 11 mile walk. Churchinford. Phone 01823-601497. MJB presents Classic Songs Revisited Soul & Funk Special Gateway Theatre, Seaton, 3pm doors 2pm, Tickets £15. Tickets from 01297 625699, or in person Tue - Thur 10am - 1pm. The Stanchester Quire will be performing old Christmas Carols from the South West of England at St. Mary’s Church, Chard Street, Thorncombe, Dorset, TA20 4NE, at 3pm. Admission by donations. Details 01460 30539. Lyme Bay Chorale’s Christmas concert: Rutter’s Magnificat plus carols for choir and audience. With organist Andrew Millington and pupils from The Woodroffe School. Lyme Regis Parish Church, 4pm. Tickets £13 in advance from Fortnam, Smith & Banwell, Lyme Regis, or choir members. £15 on the door. Under-19s free.

11 December

An evening of Scottish Dancing at Chardstock Village Hall 7.30 - 10.00 p.m. Tea and coffee provided but please bring your own mug. No partner required. Cost £2.00. For more information contact David on 01460 65981 Bridport Folk Dance Club If you like exercise, socialising and maybe learning something new, then come along to our dance sessions in the W.I. Hall on Monday evenings from 7.15pm9.30pm. All welcome, especially beginners. Occasional live music and always a Caller to lead the dances so no experience or partner required. Musicians welcome. Tea and biscuits. Only £3.00. Tel: 863552 or 459001 for more information.

12 December

The Lyme Regis Society presents A Talk: Thomas Hollis Part 1 by John Dover 2pm on Tuesday 12th December 2023 at Woodmead Halls, Hill Road, Lyme Regis. DT7 3PG. All Welcome. Members Free. Visitors £3.00. Refreshments Included. Social distanced seating available if desired. Please check website for further information: http// Parkinson’s Lyme Regis District Support Group Meeting. We welcome anyone from the Lyme Regis, Axminster, Charmouth or Seaton area living with Parkinson’s to come along and share anecdotes, ideas and wisdom in an informal, friendly environment. Complimentary refreshments. 2pm - 3.30pm at the Lyme Regis Powerboat Club, Monmouth Beach, Lyme Regis. DT7 3LE. For more information email Beaminster Museum Winter Talk Former obituary writer and professional genealogist Nick Serpell will be exploring 19th century mourning rituals and etiquette in ’The Victorian Celebration of Death’. Beaminster Museum, Whitcombe Rd, Beaminster DT8 3NB. 2.00pm. Entry £5. Scottish Country Dancing at Horton Village Hall Nr Ilminster TA19 9QR every Tuesday evening from 7.30 to 9.30 pm with refreshment break. Please wear soft , flat shoes if possible. Pay on the door £3.00 per evening. Contact Anita on 01460 929383 , email or visit our website at www.ashillscd. All welcome. Mindfulness & Self-compassion half-day with Sue Howse at Othona, Burton Bradstock 10.-12.30 . £25. Contact <howsesp@> or call 07741018530.

13 December

Christmas Coffee Morning including mince pies, scones, & savouries, and bacon/egg rolls (made to order), 10.30am – noon; all welcome. Clapton & Wayford Village Hall. More details from Julia (01460 72769). Please note this is the 2nd Wednesday, rather than the usual 3rd Wednesday.

13 - 14 December

And Then Come The Nightjars (12A) showing at Kilmington Community Cinema (EX13 7RF). Set and shot in Devon, Doors open 6.45 film starts 7.15 on Wednesday. Matinee on Thursday doors open 1.45pm film starts 2pm, advance booking required for this matinee, cream-teas served during the interval but must be prebooked with your seats @ £3.50. Pre-booked seat tickets @ £5 or £5.50 on the door, booking essential for the matinee. Tickets can be pre-booked by email: or Tel: 01297 639758 see for more information.

14 December

Chard History Group The History of Chard School Caving Club by Peter Glanville. 7.30 pm. Upstairs in the Pheonix For further details 07984481634. The Organic Pest Control Revolution Thursday 14 December 7pm (Doors 6pm supper available). Film specially made by Dave Goulson, Author of Silent Earth: Averting the Insect Apocalypse (2021) and A Sting in the Tail (2103) Professor Philip Howse in conversation. Sladers Yard West Bay DT6 4EL Phone 01308 459511 for Tickets: £12 in advance / £14 on the door. Christmas Film Matinee ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’(U) screeningGateway Theatre, Seaton, Matinee screening, 2pm, doors, tickets £5. Café open for mulled wine and mince pies. Tickets from 01297 625699, or in person Tue Thur 10am - 1pm. St. Agnes Fountain at 7pm. Christmas, as they say, starts with St. Agnes Fountain. Presenting xmas carols with a curve. The Beehive Honiton 01404 384050

14 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 Email Tel. 01308 423031

Chesil Bank Writing Shed Do you write? Would you like to be a writer? Whatever you want to write why not come and learn with our creative writing group. New writers always welcome. 7pm - 9pm, Portesham Village Hall. Call Linda on 01305 871802. Folk dancing at Combe St Nicholas village hall (TA20 3LT) at 1930 hrs. Jeroka will be providing the music and Simon Maplesden calling. It’s £4.00 per

EVENTS IN JANUARY Live or Online send your event details to th


Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 15

person which includes a cuppa and cake, all welcome and it is a lot of fun! Further details from Elaine on 01460 65909. Seaton Garden Club at 2.30.p.m. Seaton Masonic Hall. “Christmas Floral Arrangements.” By Angie from Cottage Flowers Ilminster. Members free, visitors £2.00 to include tea and a mince pie. For more information phone 01297 22869. Handing out of Children’s Gifts 9.30 - 10.30am Donated to the United Church, by the people of Bridport, Tea and Biscuits served St. Swithun’s Church Hall, Allington, Bridport DT6 5DU 07741457505 Lyme Voices Community Choir 19.30 to 21.15. Sing for fun. Learn songs in harmony by ear. Everyone welcome. Baptist Church (pine hall round the back), Silver St., Lyme Regis, DT7 3NY. Phone 07534 116502 or email Please let us know if you are coming. The Shanty Sessions Ahoy there! Come and join in with East Devon shantymen, The Chantry Buoys, from Colyton. Enjoy an evening of traditional sea shanties and other well known songs of the sea. Entry is free and the licensed bar will be open for local beers and soft drinks.Marine Theatre. Lyme Regis. Doors open at 7.15, the Buoys start at 7.30. All proceeds go to local charities 07761 469676. Bridport History Society presents a talk by Dr Roger Ball, University of the West of England - ‘I fear there will be blood spilt here this evening’: the 1831 Reform Riots in Dorset. Bridport History Society meets on the second Thursday of each month (except July and August) at the United Church Hall, 2.15 for 2.30pm. Visitors welcome £4pp. Membership is £10 individual / £15 couple. For more information visit www.

15 December

East Devon Ramblers 10.00am Leisurely 4.5 mile walk. Exeter quay. Phone 01392-833109. The Royal Ballet: The Nutcracker at 4.30pm. Discover the enchantment of ballet with this sparkling festive treat. Join Clara at a delightful Christmas Eve party that becomes a magical adventure once everyone else is tucked up in bed. The Beehive Honiton www. 01404 384050

15-16 December

Duncan Honeybourne; classical piano Join us for this preChristmas solo piano treat from Duncan Honeybourne. He will play piano music with a Christmas theme and introduce us to his recent explorations of the piano music of German Romantic Woldemar Bargiel, the half-brother of Clara Schumann, and Kent housewife Jessy Reason (1878-1938), whose luxuriant and impressionistic music is currently being rediscovered and explored. The same programme will be played on both evenings. Tincleton Gallery, The Old School House, Tincleton, nr Dorchester, DT2 8QR Opening / performance times: doors open 19:30; concert starts 20:00. Admission fee: £15. 01305 848 909. www.

16 December

The Martin Schellenberg Music Trust presents A Christmas Concert Joyful & Triumphant with Malcolm Archer - Organ, Winston Leese - Trumpet & The Beaminster Church Choir directed by Peter Nardone at St. Mary’s Church, Beaminster at 4pm. Tickets: £10 (to include a glass of mulled wine) available from Yarn Barton Community Centre, Fleet Street & The Church Office, Hogshill Street, Beaminster. Enquiries: schellenbergmusictrust@ / 01935 509510. Tickets will also be available on the door Sponsored by A.J. Wakely & Sons - All proceeds to The Martin Schellenberg Music Trust This is our third Christmas concert and promises to be another enjoyable afternoon with

wonderful music and pleasant company in the beautiful St. Mary’s Church, Beaminster. Mulled wine will be available on arrival and in the short interval when a raffle will be drawn. The concert should finish no later than 5.45pm. Sheldon Singers present A West Country Christmas - St Paul’s Church, Honiton at 6.30pm. West Country carols with the Stick the Fiddle string quartet. Entrance Adult: £12, under 16s: £6, family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) £30. Pasties and refreshments. Cash or card on door. The Barefoot Bandit 8pm supported by BlimeyOhRiley & The Upperhand. The band mixes elements of reggae, punk rock and dub music. The Beehive Honiton 01404 384050 Christmas Family Fun & ‘The Grinch (U)’ Gateway Theatre, Seaton -. Activities & film , doors 1pm, film 3pm tickets adults £7.50, Under 16s £10 to include gift from Santa. Activities & Santa tickets £5. See Santa in his Grotto and get a small gift plus lots of fun activities including- letters to Santa to go in our special Postbox, stockings to colour and hang on the fireplace, plus our cafe and bar will be open, selling festive drinks and cakes. Then watch the film The Grinch! Fancy dress or Christmas jumpers is definitely encouraged! Tickets from 01297 625699, www. or in person Tue - Thur 10am - 1pm.

17 December

East Devon Ramblers 10.00am Moderate 9 mile walk. Seaton wetlands. Phone 07886-926636. The Royal Ballet ‘The Nutcracker’(12A) – screening - Gateway Theatre, Seaton – 2pm, doors 1.30pm, tickets Adults £15, Under 16s £8. Join Clara at a delightful Christmas Eve party that becomes a magical adventure once everyone else is tucked up in bed. Marvel at the brilliance of Tchaikovsky’s score, as Clara and her enchanted Nutcracker fight the Mouse King and visit the Sugar Plum Fairy in the glittering Kingdom of Sweets. Tickets from 01297 625699, or in person Tue - Thur 10am - 1pm. Carol Service with the Roman Catholic, Church, Bridport 3.30pm Service starts at 4.30pm Followed by mince pies and tea St. Swithun’s Church, Allington, Bridport DT6 5DU 07741457505. Owdyado Theatre’s ‘Twisted Christmas’ will return to the South-West in 2023 with its deliciously depraved take on the holiday season. Featuring writers from Cornwall and across the UK, this selection of original dramas includes tales of how to buy the perfect gift for your unloved ones, the dark side of Christmas cracker jokes, and why you should never turn your back on a panto dame. Influenced by cult classics such as Inside No.9, The Twilight Zone and Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected, Twisted Christmas promises a darkly comic evening of macabre mini plays all with a festive flavour! Plenty of parking and a licensed bar. 7.30pm. Stockland Village Hall, EX14 9EF. Tickets: under25 £10, Adult £12 Age:14+

18 December

An evening of Scottish Dancing at Chardstock Village Hall 7.30 - 10.00 p.m. Tea and coffee provided but please bring your own mug. No partner required. Cost £2.00. For more information contact David on 01460 65981 Bridport Folk Dance Club Xmas Party If you like exercise, socialising and maybe learning something new, then come along to our dance sessions in the W.I. Hall on Monday evenings from 7.159.30pm. All Welcome, especially beginners. Occasional live music and always a Caller to lead the dances so no experience or partner required. Musicians welcome. Xmas theme with Bring and Share food. Tel:863552 or 459001 for details.

18 - 20 December

Wonder Pantomimes present ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ – Gateway

16 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 Email Tel. 01308 423031

Theatre, Seaton tickets Adults £15, Under 16s £12.50, Family (2 adults & 2 Children) £50.Wonder Pantomimes are pleased to be bringing Jack and the Beanstalk to The Gateway Theatre, this festive season. Tickets from 01297 625699, www.thegatewayseaton. or in person Tue - Thur 10am - 1pm.

19 December

Scottish Country Dancing at Horton Village Hall Nr Ilminster TA19 9QR every Tuesday evening from 7.30 to 9.30 pm with refreshment break. Please wear soft , flat shoes if possible. Pay on the door £3.00 per evening. Contact Anita on 01460 929383 , email or visit our website at www.ashillscd. All welcome. Wild and Messy Church 3.30 - 5.30pm Fun activities and tea St. Swithun’s Church Hall, Allington, Bridport DT6 5DU 07704959426

20 December

East Devon Ramblers 10.00am 10 mile moderate walk. Budleigh with mince pies. Phone 07870-804711. The Elf Who Lost Santa Claus Interactive activity at 2.30pm. The interactive show is about three elves tasked with arranging an afternoon for a special group of people to meet Santa. Includes materials to make a craft keepsake and festive refreshments. The Beehive Honiton 01404 384050

21 December

Handing out of Children’s Gifts 9.30 - 10.30am Donated to the United Church, by the people of Bridport, Tea and Biscuits served St. Swithun’s Church Hall, Allington, Bridport DT6 5DU 07741457505. Nostalgic Cinema: Santa Claus The Movie screening at 2pm. The legend of Santa Claus is put in jeopardy when an unscrupulous toy manufacturer attempts to take over Christmas. Our dementia friendly cinema ticket includes a free hot drink and biscuits. The Beehive Honiton www. 01404 384050

East Devon Ramblers Christmas morning walk with lunch afterwards. For more details Phone 01395-266668.

27 December

East Devon Ramblers 10.00am Strenuous 10 mile walk. Symondsbury. Phone 07874-198660.

28 December

Folk dancing at Combe St Nicholas village hall (TA20 3LT) at 1930 hrs. Chris Toyne will be providing the music and the caller for the evening is yet to be confirmed. It’s £4.00 per person which includes a cuppa and cake, all welcome and it is a lot of fun! Further details from Elaine on 01460 65909

29 December

East Devon Ramblers 10.00am Moderate 6 mile walk. Otterton. Phone 07780-638350.

31 December

East Devon Ramblers 10.00am Leisurely 6 mile walk. Broadclyst. Phone 07776-342711. New Year @The Gateway with The Zoots Gateway Theatre, Seaton – 7.30pm, doors & DJ, Band from 9.30pm tickets £25. 18+ New Year @ The Gateway returns for it’s second year. Join us on New Year’s Eve for a fun party night to see in the new year 2024! Party the night away with our DJ and then live music leading up to midnight and Big Ben’s chimes. Tickets from 01297 625699, www. or in person Tue - Thur 10am - 1pm. Divine UnionSoundbath 2pm Oborne Village Hall, OBORNE, nr. Sherborne, Dorset DT9 4LA Quieten your mind, calm your emotions, and relax and detox your body. Booking: 01935 389655 £15.

22 December

East Devon Ramblers 10.00am Moderate 6 mile walk. Beer. Phone 07540-048787. A Magical Christmas at 4pm. A variety show full of all your favourite Christmas songs, with laughter, fantastic choreography and truly spectacular costumes, you will be transported to a Winter Wonderland. With special guest Phil Blackmore, Britain’s Got Talent Star! The Beehive Honiton www. 01404 384050

23 December

Carols round the Christmas Tree The Rotary Club of Lyme Regis ‘Carols Round The Christmas Tree’, in aid of Julia’s House The Dorset Children’s Hospice. Accompanied by The Lyme Regis Town band , The Mayor of Lyme Regis in attendance and led by our Town Crier; carol sheets provided. All welcome for a wonderful start to the Christmas festivities. 7 pm Broad Street, Lyme Regis by the large Christmas Tree. , secretary@lymeregisrotary. org, Facebook :- Rotary Club of Lyme Regis.

24 December

East Devon Ramblers 10.00am Moderate 10 mile walk. Branscombe. Phone 07759-324849. First Eucharist of Christmas 6.00 - 7.00pm followed be mince pies and mulled wine St. Swithun’s Church, Allington, Bridport DT6 5DU 07741457505

25 December

Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 17

News&Views LYME REGIS Lyme Lunge

Supporting the Alzheimer’s Society and the British Lung Foundation, the Rotary Club of Lyme Regis are again holding their annual ‘Lyme Lunge’ on New Years Day, 1st January 2024 at 1.00 pm on the Sandy Beach in Lyme Regis. This has become one of the largest events of its kind in the West Country and attracts people from all around the country. Participants can get sponsored to raise money for the chosen charities or just turn up and take a dip.

DILLINGTON Dillington House closes

For many years used as a location for a range of adult education courses and events Dillington House has now closed after Somerset County Council (SCC) decided to cease its activities there. SCC leased the 16th Century Grade 2 listed country house since 1966 for adult and community education as well as meetings, conferences and events. However operations were run at a loss and this decision is to enable public monies and resources to be focused elsewhere.

HONITON Visitors’ Choice winner

Thelma Hulbert Gallery (THG) has announced the winner of the Visitors’ Choice award in the THG Open 2023. Gallery-goers cast their vote for a favourite piece in the exhibition and THG has announced that emerging artist Octavia Madden is the winner for her artwork ‘Colour of the Harbour’. Octavia is a painter based in East Devon who recently graduated with a Fine Art degree from Aberystwyth University School of Art.

18 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 Email Tel. 01308 423031

DORCHESTER High Sherriff at Legal Service

The Dorset Legal Service took place at St Peter’s Church, Dorchester recently organised by The High Sheriff of Dorset, Colin Weston MBE JP. Colin’s professional life has spanned manning customs cutters, working for the Dorset Police Authority and sitting as a magistrate across Dorset and the southwest for over 30 years. His focus this year has been ‘Helping one another’.

WEYMOUTH Dribbling to Dorchester

A Weymouth man has taken a circuitous route from his home town to Dorchester to dribble a football the whole way without ever touching it with his hands. Andy Mutter, who admitted his football skills were ‘a bit rusty’ was raising money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. The 48th of 52 marathons that he planned to run this year he finished in Dorchester Town’s stadium and has so far raised over £5,000 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Iridescent blue: the broad-bodied chaser Photo: © Robin Mills

Nature Studies By Michael McCarthy


ooking back across 2023 I see that I have written here about snowdrops, chalkstreams, hedgehogs, dormice, butterfly transects and swifts, among quite a lot else; so now I am going to list some of the other wildlife highlights of my Dorset year, which for one reason or another I did not mention. Butterfly experts thought the summer drought of 2022 might have a bad knock-on effect on lepidoptera this year; in the event, despite the washout July and August, 2023 was surprisingly good for butterflies, and the abundance of autumn red admirals in particular was remarkable. But my insect highlight of the year was not a butterfly, but a dragonfly. In April my wife Jo realised a long-term wish and had a pond installed in the garden; and we sat back to see what would happen. After a week the pond skaters appeared, those small insects which appear to row across the surface film; God knows where they came from. That was interesting enough, but after a month, there was a true delight: a male broad-bodied chaser dragonfly came and took up residence. This is a common species, but I never fail to be thrilled by the iridescent pale blue of the body (to be precise, of the abdomen) seen to such advantage here in the lovely photo by Robin Mills, which Robin took at the pond in his own garden in the village. We felt blessed; we felt we had a distinguished visitor. With wild flowers, there were two highlights for me. One was to discover the orchid meadows by the sea, shown to us by our friend Anthony, who holds many of the Dorset countryside’s secrets (he showed us the ruined chapel deep in the woods near Abbotsbury, which some readers may know.) The orchid meadows are fields of grassland above a well-known beach, bypassed by most visitors other than dog walkers; but get right into them in June and you find that they are filled with pyramidal orchids, and clumps of bee orchids, and there are even groups of that loveliest of flowers, the greater butterfly orchid. They were fabulous. The other floral highlight was something which just blew in, that is, it appeared in the garden of its own accord. There were several such species, in fact, including that pretty pink end-of-summer flower, soapwort; but the real highlight among the unexpected

An incomer’s discovery of the natural world in the West Country visitors was a dandelion-relative with a charming and distinctive deep orange colour, and an equally charming name: fox-and-cubs. It grew from a crack in the path and I could scarcely believe my eyes. I fervently hope I will see fox-and-cubs again. Finally, two encounters with birds gave me particular pleasure, one being a group evening walk on Brownsea Island in early June to look and listen for nightjars. On the heath in the island’s centre we waited and as dusk fell, the long churring calls began and we saw a couple of distant birds, so a few people—including me—began to wave white handkerchiefs. This is meant to be an infallible nightjar-attractor, as in the half-light the hankies resemble the white patches on the wings of the bird and they will come and investigate. And so they did. One came and swooped silently around us in the gloaming, silhouetted on its hawk-like wings against the glowing sky; and then another; then another. That was magical. The other encounter, and for me the highlight of the whole year, brief though it was, happened in the Frome valley below Moreton where I was fishing with my son on Saturday May 13, a sublime spring day with the hawthorn in flower and the cow parsley high in the verges. At ten past eight in the evening Seb came running towards the car where I was taking a break, shouting at me to come and listen and I did, and over the watermeadows floated the most wonderful mellifluous sound, the most musical sound in all of nature, those two notes, the descending minor third—it was a cuckoo! So common a spring sound once and so rare now, with the bird having declined by nearly 80 per cent in England, and certainly, hardly ever heard around the village. It was the first I have heard myself since before the pandemic, for at least three years, and I was moved almost to tears. Two notes, that’s all; but it seemed for that brief moment as if the whole of the worth of the natural world was in them. Recently relocated to Dorset, Michael McCarthy is the former Environment Editor of The Independent. His books include Say Goodbye To The Cuckoo and The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy. Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 19

The R-Word: It’s all about the money, money, money… Generating income from ‘producing nature’ as opposed to food. By Dr Sam Rose

Left: Ecotourism and glamping at Knepp. Top right: Reconnecting the river with the floodplain can take out chemicals and reduce flooding, all of which can receive payments. Bottom right: Scrub at Knepp is an attractor for tourists, a source of wild meat and of carbon and biodiversity credits. Photographs by Dr Sam Rose.


ow can farmers or landowners replace income from producing food with income from ‘producing nature’ through rewilding? It’s the question I’m asked the most in my rewilding work and there is so much to unpick here that I thought I would make it the subject of this edition of the R-Word. Firstly, many farmers would admit that their business is often very marginal, i.e., not always very—or at all— profitable. This is particularly in areas in which the land itself is very wet, steep, with heavy soils and generally not great for agriculture, such as some parts of Dorset, hillfarms and peatlands. To make these areas produce high yield crops or support intensive dairy or meat production there is a need to chuck a lot of cash at them, in the form of fertiliser, pesticides, drainage, tractor fuel, and so on. Farmers might then get a healthy payment for their maize, wheat, lamb or milk, but at the end of the day, their margin is often tiny. At Knepp Wildlands, before rewilding, they were growing wheat on heavy clay (very marginal land), and even throwing everything at it they were only able to do one crop a year. Because of the costs involved in wheat production, they made at best a 1% margin, and sometimes that became a loss due to global wheat prices. Yes, they produced food, but at a huge cost to the environment… just think about the chemicals, soil degradation, and tractor fuel, especially when there are areas with much better land for growing wheat. More than 20 years on from starting their rewilding journey, Knepp are making a 20% margin, and even though their income is less overall, their outgoing

costs are so much less, so their margin is more. So how do you make money from ‘producing nature’ as opposed to food? It’s important to remember rewilding is not about stopping food production; it is about making space for nature where it is difficult, costly and damaging for the environment to produce food. Rewilders—like all of us—are strong advocates for continuing food production, although ideally regeneratively (see my previous R-Word for more details about this). There are lots of ways to replace farming income through rewilding, the most obvious ones being subsidy, tourism, and direct sales of ‘wild’ meat. Then there are the less known ones that are bundled under the banner of ‘Green Finance’, and include biodiversity net gain, carbon and biodiversity credits, nutrient neutrality and natural flood management.

Rewilding is not about stopping food production; it is about making space for nature where it is difficult, costly and damaging for the environment to produce food Government subsidies are changing as I write: under the scheme being replaced now, farmers were/are given money—called Basic Payments—just for either “undertaking agricultural activity” or “keeping land ready for production and clear of ‘nasty’ scrub”. You already

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know that I like scrub, so I could rant about that for a whole article, but thankfully this scheme is now changing and in the post-Brexit programme, farmers will get “public money for public goods”, i.e., they will be able to claim subsidy only if they are undertaking practice that is good for nature such as improving biodiversity, soil and water quality, or undertaking carbon sequestration. There are a bunch of these schemes, called Sustainable Farming Incentive, Countryside Stewardship and Landscape Recovery. There are also similar programmes for woodland creation, all of which can fit within the rewilding spectrum. I won’t go into the detail but suffice to say that undertaking rewilding type activities can lead to subsidy payments for 20+ years. Who gains from this? Well, the farmer can cease environmentally harmful farming practices, and we all gain from the improvement of nature…. a win win!! The problem will be about how much money the government has for this, and I can say here and now, it ain’t enough. Tourism is certainly another way of making an income from rewilding. Knepp cite it as their primary income source—through eco-tours and low intensity glamping— but they have 23 years now of rewilding and lots for visitors to see. It is also quite a high-end experience so can be out of some people’s price range. They, and other places, also include education within this, there is quite a big education market and hosting visiting groups can provide income. It’s a great option, but not for everyone. Direct sales of wild meat is another option, because even through the stocking density of rewilding areas is low, herbivores continue to breed. With no apex predators (wolves, lynx or bears) to keep the numbers steady, some cattle or pigs are slaughtered each year and sold, ideally locally, as very high quality ‘wild’ meat. It gets a premium and is delicious—if you eat meat. The income from this will depend on numbers, but as stocking densities are already low, in the smaller areas’ income is unlikely to be high… but you can see how with subsidy and a few smaller income streams, things are starting to add up into something more substantial, and as the outgoing costs are far less than with intensive agriculture, the overall numbers may be lower, but the margin may be a lot higher. Then (drum roll) there is the smoke and mirrors world of Green Finance, which is both potentially ‘the’ way to finance ecosystems at scale, and yet at the same time mired in the murky world of Corporate ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) accounting, credit trading, offsets and the dreaded greenwashing. Green finance basically refers to the selling of ‘natural capital’ or ‘ecosystem services’, the things that nature do that are ‘good for us’. If we start with biodiversity, at a simple level an increase in insect diversity and abundance will increase and improve crop pollination. Rewilding does this very quickly, and the resulting uptick in biodiversity can be measured. Companies like housing developers or others who damage nature can then can pay for these units or credits of biodiversity—this is called Biodiversity Net Gain or Voluntary Biodiversity Credits. I will come back to the ethics of this below.

Peatland restoration in Scotland can lead to carbon credits

Other means of generating green finance to help fund rewilding or similar work is to look at the rivers. Measures like wetland creation and allowing natural regeneration alongside rivers would help to reduce introduced chemical pollutants (mainly nitrates and phosphates). This will allow more fish to return and mean that cleaning it for drinking is less expensive, saving us money. You can get nutrient neutrality payments to help this happen, as can you for natural flood management techniques (another story, another day). And then there is carbon—the doyenne of green finance, but something that has had a bit of a bad rep of late. Basically, if you sequester (suck up) or store carbon on any significant scale you can calculate how much, and then ‘sell’ that carbon either to a company who wants to offset their own carbon emissions, or an investment body who wants to hold on the credits until the price of carbon is higher, then sell them off to someone else who needs them and make a killing. Sounds dodgy on both counts and yes, well some of it is, and even some of the projects who have sold their carbon have been shown to not produce anything like the amount promised. Like with the biodiversity credits above there are ethical questions here… it’s great to restore nature, but surely it shouldn’t be paid for just to allow companies to go on polluting. Carbon is where we have seen greenwashing at its worst, and so most organisations and people doing this now are only working with ‘high integrity carbon’—good projects with sound verification methods—and companies with high environmental ethics. Rewilding approaches, which can certainly include peatland restoration and scrub and woodland regeneration, and which all improve soils, can generate and sell carbon credits to pay for the work and maintenance long-term, but as with the biodiversity they need to be careful who’s buying! So, there you go, lots of ways to make money from rewilding, some pretty straightforward, some a lot murkier. I have no doubt that the world of private finance will be the future of paying for biodiversity, carbon, water quality etc., and rewilding will be a part of that, but we are not quite there yet. Watch this space.

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New woodland to commemorate the late Queen Elizabeth II


he National Trust team at Kingston Lacy has collaborated with Trees for Dorset, a local conservation charity, to create a woodland to commemorate the life of the late Queen Elizabeth II. Ninety-six oak trees were planted—one for each year of the Queen’s life—at Shapwick, Dorset on Saturday 18 November. The oaks were supplied by Trees for Dorset and grown by Rosie and John Palmer from secondgeneration acorns collected by them from the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest. This iconic tree, which is between 800-1,000 years old, was voted Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year in the 2014. Residents of Shapwick were invited to come together with National Trust staff and volunteers, and volunteers from Trees for Dorset to plant the oaks and sign a commemorative book that will be sent to King Charles III. Eleanor Egan, Countryside Manager at Kingston Lacy, said: ‘We were delighted to be able to make this land available. We have some pretty big tree-planting ambitions at Kingston Lacy—we are planning to plant more than 9,000 trees next year, because of the importance of trees not only as a source of food and shelter for wildlife but also as a means of locking up atmospheric carbon. ‘But trees also carry huge emotional importance, and we hope these saplings will develop into a woodland that will be enjoyed by many generations to come.’ Rachel Palmer, former chair at Trees for Dorset ( and responsible for thousands of trees being planted across Dorset, said: ‘In the words of Richard St.Barbe Baker, founder of the International Tree Foundation from which Trees for Dorset sprang, this prestigious planting is a real ‘togetherness effort’, with the National Trust providing land, care, planters and expertise, Trees for Dorset providing the trees, expertise and planters, and Dorset County Council providing protection for the trees. Planters and volunteers who come from across Dorset will be able to sign the lovely commemorative book.’ The woodland will be a community amenity and extended next year with further planting of orchard and woodland trees.

22 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 Email Tel. 01308 423031

The Major Oak Photograph by Edward Parker

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Vegetables in December By Ashley Wheeler


his is always the time of year that gardeners and vegetable growers take shelter from the dreariness of the weather and take solace whilst poring over next years’ seed catalogues. The days are still shortening, and it is only natural to hunker down a bit, but to also try and get a little excited about spring and the hope that the lengthening of days will bring by the end of the month. The danger is that we can become like kids in a sweet shop. The photos of new varieties of vegetables can be all too tempting at times and it is easy to get carried away. My advice is to take a deep breath and try to think back to what worked well this year and in previous years and what didn’t. We have decided to leave a notebook in our barn where we take tea breaks so that we can note observations down through the year referring to successes and failures of crops, tweaks needed to the sowing plan and timings that haven’t quite worked out. This will all then get fed into the following years’ crop plans to fine tune things. For us, vegetable growing is our livelihood so we need to produce as much from our 5 acres as we can whilst building soil health and focusing on diversity to not only feed into the veg bags that we do, but also to increase habitat, food and associations with soil microbes and in doing so achieving a well balanced ecosystem working with the natural environment. One of the easiest ways for us to achieve this is to have a really well organised crop plan. This allows us to create a sowing plan, meaning that we can be much more consistent in our production of certain crops but it also allows us to see where there are gaps in the garden that we can plug with crops either before or after another crop. This not only adds diversity of crops to the garden but also means that we can maximise production. Over the years we have changed the way that we grow and gradually added detail to our crop plans allowing us to grow a much wider range of crops and produce more from the area, whilst alleviating drainage problems partially caused by damaging cultivations that we have done in the past. A key skill of being a farmer or grower is observation and adaptation. By observation of plant and therefore soil health, we can see the effects of our growing methods on soil life and the availability of nutrients. By noticing a particular patch in the garden that is not draining well for example, we can see that the plants are suffering, and change our growing techniques to try to overcome this. We have gone from ploughing the soil every spring, to no ploughing and very little cultivation in the market garden, and this combined with the sowing of green manures through late summer and early autumn has massively helped to improve drainage. Throughout the wet October and November, although the market garden has been pretty wet, it is far better than it used to be when we were driving the tractor around much more and causing compaction and smearing of the clay which led to drainage issues. Some of the plant health issues may come from a lack of certain nutrients being available, but often this

is down to a lack of accessibility of nutrients that is caused by poor soil health. It is the life in the soil that makes nutrients available to plants, so if that soil life is unbalanced so will the nutrient availability be. The focus on fine tuning the cropping plan and improving soil health has had a big impact on making our market garden more productive, and there are plenty of things that home gardeners and growers can do to achieve this too. One of the easiest ways is to not cultivate or dig, but also to take notes through the year—when you have a glut of one crop or a lack of another—these are the moments that the sowing plan maybe needs a bit of changing. Or when one crop goes over but you don’t have another to put in its place—these are the moments that can be tweaked to ensure a more consistent supply of vegetables through the year, not just in the middle of summer. We will be running more salad growing, seed saving and market gardening courses next year at Trill Farm Garden, so keep an eye out for dates. Also, if you haven’t got space of your own to grow veg you can always try a bag of ours—more details at WHAT TO SOW THIS MONTH: Best to wait until next year now! WHAT TO PLANT THIS MONTH: OUTSIDE: Garlic (if not planted already) INSIDE: peashoots, sugarsnap and early pea varieties, spring onions, broad beans, garlic (for extra early garlic). Try and plant all of this early in the month. OTHER IMPORTANT TASKS THIS MONTH: If the weather dries, continue preparing beds for the winter by mulching with compost (or hopefully you sowed plenty of green manures to keep the ground in good health through the winter, in which case you can leave the beds to look after themselves for now). Also any polytunnels or glasshouses could have a wash this time of year to get the maximum amount of light in for any winter salad and veg that you have growing in them. Don’t be tempted to tidy things too much— its always good to leave plenty of crop residue for worms and leave nettles for habitat for overwintering insects. Take the opportunity to take it a bit easier!

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The Organic Pest Control Revolution WITH estimates that by 2050 world production of food will need to increase by 70% to feed a population of 9.1 billion, the question of how to control pests is often hotly debated. New kinds of pesticide have been developed which are suitable for organic farming, but which have not yet been adopted by multinational agrochemical companies. Philip Howse, Professor Emeritus in Biological Sciences at the University of Professor Philip Howse Southampton will discuss the ‘Organic Pest Control Revolution’ at Sladers Yard in West Bay in December. His main research into insect behaviour and pest control without the use of synthetic insecticides has taken him to many countries in the world and has led to the award of an OBE. He has also received a number of awards for his recently published books on mimicry in butterflies and moths. The Organic Pest Control Revolution with Philip Howse is Thursday 14 December at 7pm (Doors 6pm, supper available). The evening will include a film specially made by Dave Goulson, author of Silent Earth: Averting the Insect Apocalypse (2021) and A Sting in the Tail (2103). Sladers Yard, West Bay, DT6 4EL. Telephone 01308 459511. Tickets: £12 in advance / £14 on the door.

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December in the Garden By Russell Jordan


f there’s anything that springs to mind about this past year, especially the last six months, it’s the copious amount of rain that we’ve had. Here in the west of the country we can expect to be wetter, and consequently milder, than the extreme east of the UK due to benefiting from the ameliorating influence of the ‘Gulf Stream’. There are fears that these warming currents, that lap our south western coastline, a function of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), are already at their weakest in sixteen hundred years and could fail completely as early as 2025 (or as late as 2095). As with so much that is happening to our climate these days, the shutting down of the ‘AMOC’ is due to the melting of the icecaps as global temperatures continue to rise with sea temperatures following suit. We benefit from higher average annual temperatures as a consequent of the ‘AMOC’, with a consequently longer growing season and an increased number of frost-free days, which is why we can grow some borderline hardy plants in our Dorset gardens. The zenith of these ‘exotic’ gardens is exemplified by those wonderful gardens made in the especially sheltered coastal valleys on the south coast of Cornwall, the epicentre around Falmouth, where economic factors, sea trading Quaker families and an explosion in global plant hunting all came together in the ‘perfect storm’ of exotic garden creation. Going back some thirty years, I remember visiting ‘Architectural Plants’, in Sussex not Cornwall, a nursery supplying garden plants grown predominantly for their foliage rather than flowers, and back then it seemed that global warming was a ‘good thing’ which was opening up a larger range of plants for our gardens. Having said that, I was there to film the various methods of protecting your ‘hardy’ exotics from the ravages of a British winter. This was at a point when everyone seemed to be acquiring hardy bananas (Musa basjoo) and tree ferns (Dicksonia antarctica) and I’m willing to bet that not many of those specimens are still alive thirty years later. In the case of many doubtfully hardy plants, it is the winter wet that kills them, in combination with below freezing temperatures, and half the battle is to provide them with some kind of protection which also keeps them dry. In the case of hardy bananas the smaller ones had their foliage cut off and the ‘trunks’ cut down to a size whereby a chimney pot could be dropped over them. This was stuffed with dry straw and a lid, such as a weighted down roofing slate, to keep the rain out. With bananas as long as the growing point, at the base of the ‘trunk’, is kept alive, with adequate protection, then it will shoot again come warmer weather. Bananas also tend to produce new plants from basal offsets so that a single

large specimen can become a small banana grove over the years as long as they are not killed off in a very severe winter (or if you forget to protect them!). Tree ferns are much trickier to keep going because their growing point is at the top of the plant and it’s not as easy to keep this protected in the winter as it is with a banana. On top of this a tree fern is likely to be a large financial investment because they are most impressive when already at a decent height, over six foot, which means that they will almost certainly have been imported from Australia. They don’t like strong winds, exposed sites, too much sun or very dense shade and they like to be kept wet, not just at the root, during the summer months, especially when first establishing. Assuming that you’ve planted them in an already sheltered spot in your garden and have set up a drip irrigation system, to keep their growing point moist during dry weather, then winter cold is the next danger. Protection can be provided by folding the large fronds over and around the growing point at the top of the trunk and securing in place with chicken wire or stuffing into a large old compost sack or dumpy bag. This will be unsightly so disguising the inner bag with a more aesthetically pleasing covering of hessian, or old potato sacking, will be necessary if the tree fern is in a prominent position. I’d be wary of covering the growing point with hessian alone because if this gets soaked wet through, a pretty likely event in our wet winters, then when temperatures drop below freezing this will become frozen through and the tree fern could still be damaged. The advantage of having an inner bag over your folded down fronds is that it should keep the inner layer dry and it is this that prevents severely low temperatures from penetrating right to the growing point. Extra wrapping of the ‘trunk’, actually the old bases of fronds from previous years’ growth, with copious quantities of horticultural fleece is also advisable. That might all seem very specific and you may have ‘zoned out’ if you don’t have bananas or tree ferns in your own garden. However, December is often the first time that we are likely to face properly low temperatures, with overnight frosts, as winter take a proper grip and our gardens are finally denuded of all but evergreen foliage. The principles of protection and the importance of the microclimates that exist in every garden are worth considering, even if you are not gardening on the extremes. Just knowing that you have a spot in your garden which is sheltered from strong winds, has a southerly aspect or is just close to the house, is useful because that’s the place where plants are likely to come into growth a little earlier than elsewhere and die down the latest. It’s these favoured spots where you might want to plant a special plant,

26 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 Email Tel. 01308 423031

or just place a container full of spring bulbs, so that you get blooms a little earlier, maybe to bring into the house, than you would otherwise. It’s these little things that are worth considering when evaluating your garden, whether you’ve had it for fifty years or if this is your first chance to make a garden. The winter months are a good time to make these assessments as ‘real’ gardening tasks are best kept for the balmiest winter days and thinking time, in the warmth of indoors, is a luxury worth indulging in. The garden is, helpfully, stripped to its bare bones at this time of year so you can get a clear idea of how the structure is working, especially when it comes to hedges, garden buildings, paths and lawns, and whether you need to make any changes in the year ahead. From a practical point of view, now we are well into the ‘dormant’ season, it’s that time, yet again, when I bang on about obtaining plants ‘bare-rooted’! It’s the cheapest and most convenient way to obtain many of the trees and shrubs which will become the backbone of your garden, field or arboretum in the future. Roses are the plant which is typically bought while in its bare-root, dormant, state and there is a bewildering choice of cultivars available from a myriad of internet, formerly known as ‘mail-order’, specialist nurseries. If you are stuck for a Christmas present, for a gardening friend, then getting them sent a beautiful rose plant, or some other choice shrub, might be a solution. If you are feeling especially generous then teaming it with a sturdy fork and spade set, a pair of secateurs (I still favour ‘Felco’s) and some ‘Rootgrow’ will really set them up and make it a memorable Festive Season that keeps on growing, year on year.

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‘Deck the Halls’ of your New Home By Helen Fisher

BRADPOLE £850,000

A handsome, double-fronted attached former farmhouse with 3 double bedrooms and a separate office/studio and utility building. Grade II listed with period features inc: flagstone flooring, window seat and shutters, inglenook fireplace, high ceilings and exposed beams. Large gardens backing onto the River Asker. Ample parking. Stags Tel: 01308 428000


A Grade II listed late Georgian farmhouse with 4 double bedrooms in a peaceful position. Reception rooms with wood burning stoves, contemporary kitchen and useful cellar. The former coach house is now a double garage with storage above, plus a second detached double garage with a loft room. Mature garden and ample parking. Knight Frank Tel: 01935 810064


LONG BREDY £1,400,000

Completed in 2021 and situated in a small prestigious development. With 4 double bedrooms and a bright, dual aspect sitting room with wood burning stove plus French doors leading to the garden. Downstairs also benefits from underfloor heating. Rear garden with far-reaching countryside views and patio area. Driveway with parking plus car port and single garage with power and electric door. Goadsby Tel: 01308 420000

A beautifully positioned 6 bedroom detached house with a contemporary 2 bedroom detached bungalow, built only 2 years ago. Magnificent far-reaching countryside views. Family kitchen with Aga. Beside the main house is a triple garage with a utility/laundry area. Above the garage in a one bedroom flat. All set in 1.31 acres. Symonds and Sampson Tel: 01305 261008

SEATON £595,000

WEST BAY £695,000

A spacious, detached home in a sought-after cul-de-sac. Refurbished to a very high standard with 3/4 bedrooms. Light filled rooms throughout with fabulous sea and estuary views from the first floor. A converted garage provides a useful studio/home office. Secluded gardens to the rear and driveway parking. Gordon & Rumsby Tel: 01297 553768 28 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 Email Tel. 01308 423031

A well proportioned, detached family house dating from the 1920s with a single storey annex. 4 double bedrooms, double-glazed widows and conservatory. Long driveway with extensive parking and leading to a gated side entrance and the rear garden. Featuring a patio area, fishpond, large wooden lodge, greenhouse, summerhouse and artist’s studio. Kennedys Tel: 01308 427329

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CHRISTMAS CHOCOLATE SHARDS These make great little Christmas gifts wrapped in clear plastic or paper, actually forget the plastic I’m not sure even why I suggested that, it’s bad. You can get the kids involved in mixing and spreading and breaking the chocolate into interesting shard-like shapes. It’s one of those dead simple festive treats where you can vary the flavours by adding various nuts or dried cranberries etc and even doing a marbled effect with white chocolate but the crucial thing here is to buy the best chocolate for the job. It’s also great to place on the table at the end of a dinner party as an alternative dessert. You can just break it up into large, rough shapes and serve it in a bowl or on a tray.



1. Place the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until melted. 2. Line a flat baking tray with silicone or greaseproof paper and pour on the chocolate, scraping the bowl with a spatula, and spreading the chocolate to about cm-thick. Don’t worry about having neat edges. 3. Scatter the orange, pistachio and Venezuelan black chocolate all over and leave to set in the fridge. You can place it in the freezer if you wish. 4. To serve, break the chocolate into large, rough shards.

• • •


500g dark chocolate, chopped 60g pistachio nuts, lightly toasted 60g candied orange peel, chopped 50g 100% Venezuelan black chocolate, coarsely grated (optional) Serves 4 - 6

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Local Heritage in and around the Vale Highlighting the work of Ron Frampton by Fergus Byrne


t is now 21 years since the late Ron Frampton’s first association with this magazine. And with the recent closure of Dillington House in Somerset where he lectured for many years and the opening of an exhibition of his work in Axminster, it seems a good time to highlight his enormous contribution to the local area. In 2002 Ron curated his second exhibition at the Town Mill in Lyme Regis. It featured the work of 40 West Country photographers and was held in association with The Royal Photographic Society. The exhibition included powerful black and white images all hand printed by the photographers. The work depicted the beauty of Dorset, Somerset and Devon and included seascapes, Dorset Hill Forts, the Somerset Levels as well as churches, chapels and cathedrals, local crafts people, farmers and country folk. Our cover in that particular issue was a beautiful photograph, The Pilgrim, taken by Somerset based photographer Justin Orwin. Thus began a long association with The Marshwood Vale Magazine that only ended with Ron’s passing in 2019. Writing in this magazine in 2019, Ron’s son Magnus described him as a ‘thoroughly local man’. Ron was born in Courshay Cottage, on the edge of Hawkchurch in 1940 and managed to live within 6 miles of his place of birth all his life. He rarely left the area: living in Holdich, Tatworth, Thorncombe, and Churchill. Ron’s mother, Dorothy Frampton (née Churchill) was a professional cook, his father Arthur was a chauffeur and gardener. Fascinated by his family’s social background and upbringing Ron began to research these family histories in his late teens, and soon developed an interest and skill in eliciting valuable personal life stories from family, friends, and local people. Initially a motor engineer Ron became an environmentalist, ‘in the broad sense of the term: geographical, natural, social, and cultural’ according to Magnus. However, he soon became involved with Friends of the Earth; organising campaigns and coordinating media coverage. He photographed demonstrations on a variety of social, political, peace, and environmental issues. This led him to develop a passion for photography, so he retrained as a photography teacher and lectured in locations such as Symondsbury College and latterly Dillington House. He went on to become a Royal Photographic Society Fellowship assessor winning the Fenton Medal for outstanding contribution to the work of The Royal Photographic Society in 2003. Over the many years that he worked with The Marshwood Vale Magazine, Ron Frampton coordinated dozens of articles that highlighted local people and the structure and architecture of West Country society. Following his death in 2019 friends and former students looked to find a home for his archive, not only including his

and his students’ photographic work but also his lobbying for environmental groups. His archive mainly covers the three counties of Devon, Dorset and Somerset meaning there was no natural place in a museum or archive that would have the same collecting area. Instead of risking the collection being split up, Axminster Heritage Centre agreed to take it all as Ron had been born near Axminster and had lived most of his life in the area. The archive is a unique collection of black and white photographs spanning from the early 1980s until the 2010s looking at the landscape of the area, local residents and buildings, at a time of great change. It is hoped that it will become one of Britain’s most significant collections of photographs of an area showing the change in the rural landscape at the transition from the 20th to 21st century. The exhibition looks at a sample of his work and also allows the Heritage Centre to explain their plans for the collection and the creation of their Archive Room at the Centre which will be available for public use by appointment later in 2024. The Exhibition is open Tuesdays and Thursday 10-4, and Saturdays 10-1 between January 20th and March 30th, and 10-1 Monday to Friday and Saturday 10-1 from April 1st. Entry to Museum is £4 for adults, 16 and under are free. Ron Frampton, A Life in Photographs will be open at The Axminster Heritage Centre from January 20th to April 27th 2024.

JUST in time for Christmas, Marshwood+, the digital version of The Marshwood Vale Magazine is giving away five copies of Ron’s book Beyond the Vale, each with a copy of the brocure for his exhibition A Sense of Place.

To enter, simply sign up for our email alert giving you early access to each monthly Marshwood+. Send your email address to with ‘Ron Frampton Book’ in the subject header. The first five names out of a hat will receive a copy of the book. Prizes are non-transferrable and no cash alternative will be offered. No correspondence will be entered into. Images on opposite page: The Pilgrim, Somerset by Justin Orwin; John Sparkes, Somerset by Ian Beech; Rose Dennison, Dorset by Robin Mills; Amanda and Nicola Kathrens, Dorset by Dianne Dowling; Almhouses, East Devon by Rob Hunt;

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1 - 3 December

Sou’-Sou’-West Art Fair Sou’-Sou’-West Arts Gallery, Symondsbury Estate, Bridport DT6 6HG. Open daily 10:304:30. Free admission & parking. Contact 01308 301326 www.

1 - 22 December

New English Art Club Christmas Exhibition. The Jerram Gallery, Half Moon Street, Sherborne DT9 3LN. www.

1 - 30 December

Kit Glaisyer presents an evolving exhibition of his West Country landscape paintings, with works on show in his gallery and studio, including original paintings, drawings, and prints on canvas. Open Fri & Sat, 10am - 4pm or by appointment. Kit Glaisyer Gallery, 11 Downes Street, Bridport, Dorset DT6 3JR. 07983 465789 @kitglaisyer.

2 - 3 December

Dennis Chinaworks Open Studio weekend. Demonstrations, throw a pot, trials & discontinued designs for sale. Vintage glass shop & delicious free refreshments. Shepton House, Shepton Beauchamp, Somerset TA19 0JT 11am - 4pm www.

2 December - 21 April

Elisabeth Frink: A View from Within An exhibition that will reveal an intimate portrait of the celebrated British sculptor Elisabeth Frink. Coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the artist’s death, Elisabeth Frink: A View from Within will be the first exhibition to focus on the significant body of work produced by Frink (1930-1993) at her Woolland studio in Dorset between 1976 and 1993. It will explore her artistic process, personal life and the profound influences that shaped her work: human conflict and our relationship with the natural world. Dorset Museum, High West Street, Dorchester DT1 1XA

Until 7 December

Pop-Up Vintage The Malthouse Gallery, Town Mill, Lyme Regis. Open from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm every day. We are only

here for 13 days so don’t miss us! All the usual, lovely things which have been sourced, renovated, repaired and upcycled by us so that you don’t have to. Shop at Pop- Up Vintage for a truly sustainable Christmas.

Until 20 December

Future Present Bridport Arts Centre’s annual Christmas selling exhibition will bring together a diverse selection of designer makers in a display of contemporary craft and design, including wood, paper, textiles, prints, ceramics, jewellery plus Christmas gifts, decorations and cards. Located in our beautiful Allsop Gallery, Future Present will be a great opportunity to find the perfect Christmas present from a wide range of high-quality, handmade items whilst supporting small, local and creative businesses and craftspeople, as well as those from further afield. Get away from the wintry weather and join us in the warm and cosy atmosphere of the Allsop Gallery for a real Christmas treat. Preview: Friday 24th November, all welcome. Allsop Gallery, Bridport Arts Centre, 9 South Street, Bridport DT6 3NR 01308 424901. Open 10am – 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday, Free Entry.

Until 1 January 2024

‘Gruppenausstellung’ is a celebration of Hauser & Wirth’s Swiss heritage through a playful presentation of over 20 artists. Durslade Farm, Dropping Lane, Bruton Somerset BA10 0NL.

Until 2 January 2024

Unwrapped The gallery’s annual festive exhibition, featuring some of the best handmade decorations, tableware, greetings cards and gift inspiration our local artistic community has to offer. Sou’-Sou’-West Arts Gallery, Symondsbury Estate, Bridport DT6 6HG. Open daily 10:30-4:30. Free admission & parking. Contact 01308 301326

Until 5 January

Autumn mixed exhibition Consuelo Child-Villiers brings visionary oils. A nautical theme comes from printmaker Colin Moore and Kim Pragnell’s charcoal deftly contrasts curvature of the boats with the linearity of the yard architecture. Hill forts enter by way of landscape monoprints from Bristol-based Ruth Ander. The Hampshire artist Philippa Headley adds her impressionistic

34 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 Email Tel. 01308 423031

landscape oils to the mix alongside the detailed landscape etchings of Devon-based Mary Gillett. A variety of raku ceramics are with us from Londonbased artist Alison Wear as well as stonework from Sarah Moore and the fine metal/glass/stone scuptures from Bershire based Johannes von Stumm. Imogen Bittner has some new textile pieces as well as work from London-based guest artist Chloe Fremantle and pieces by local guest artist Sarah Batt. Tincleton Gallery, The Old School House, Tincleton, nr Dorchester, DT2 8QR Opening 10 – 4PM Fri/Sat/ Sun/Mon Or by appointment Admission fee: nil. 01305 848 909

Until 21 January

Radiance Alex Lowery, Louise Balaam, Julian Bailey, Martyn Brewster, Vanessa Gardiner, Frances Hatch, Petter Southall. A celebration of light in the landscape, contrasting the distilled sophistication of Alex Lowery’s bright new paintings, the painterly energy of Louise Balaam’s wild open spaces and Martyn Brewster’s deeply felt abstracted landscapes. Works by some of our most popular artists including Vanessa Gardiner, Julian Bailey and Frances Hatch, from perfect small presents to thrilling major works. Petter Southall’s work includes a new refectory table exploring beautiful simple lines and natural textures. Ceramics, sculpture, textiles, books, prints and accessories by leading designers and makers. Sladers Sladers Yard Gallery, West Bay Road, West Bay Bridport, Dorset DT6 4EL. 01308 459511.

GALLERIES IN JANUARY Live or Online send your gallery details to BY DECEMBER 8th

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Bridport artist initiates an International Chain Reaction A 14 MEMBER artist group, International Online Art Collective (IOAC), has just launched the first of a series of worldwide exhibitions at Jamestown’s Pearl City Clay House in New York. Initiated by Bridport artist Ruth Christensen, the exhibition, ‘Chain Reaction’, is a 100 work series of artworks that are each a reaction to a work by another artist. The series has been likened to a very long distance game of ‘telephone’. Starting with one single piece, each piece is inspired by the previous work, provoking a literal chain of artworks, culminating in the grand total of 100 pieces assembled into one bigger physical multimedia installation. IOAC’s 14 members have been working on the ‘Chain Reaction’ project for over two years. ‘It started with this crazy idea back during lockdown to create 100 pieces of art together’ explained Ruth. Seeing the project culminating in the first live exhibition in New York, with all 100 artworks on the wall together, has been an exciting journey. ‘The opening was fabulous’ said Ruth. ‘It was well attended by many local artists and citizens including the mayor.’ She said it had been wonderful to see all 100 artworks from the 14 artists assembled for the first time. The group also hosted art events for the community over the weekend of the opening. The IOAC artists reside in eight different countries so up until recently their activities have been entirely online. But now the chain reaction of physical exhibitions will take them around the world to meet in person at last. Ruth says the next exhibition will be in Washington DC in Spring 2024 and further venues are planned in the US before it comes to Europe and the U.K—‘hopefully Bridport!’—then Australia and New Zealand. To view the online exhibition and learn more about ‘Chain Reaction’ and the IOAC, visit

Members of IOAC gather at the opening exhibition in New York

36 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 Email Tel. 01308 423031

I t’s Panto Time!

OH YES IT IS—time for the pantomime again, and all around the area theatres are getting ready to welcome those familiar dames, princes, knockabout comics and hissable baddies to the stage in time for the Christmas holidays. Those of us who live in the Marshwood Vale area have to travel a bit further to see the colourful and spectacular shows, but if you are ready to face the travelling, you have one of the most eagerly awaited panto debuts of all this year—Dame Kelly Holmes is going to be playing the Ringmaster in Plymouth Theatre Royal’s circus themed production of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, starring with Coronation Street’s Alexandra Mardell and Strictly dancer Brendan Cole from 15th December to 13th January. Exeter Northcott has Le Navet Bete’s adapation of Dick Whittington, with the cat in pole position as our hero leaves Devon to find his fortune in London, and finds that RATS are his biggest problem. It’s on from 30th November until 7th January. Further afield, Poirot favourite David Suchet channels his dark side as the villainous Captain Hook—named for the end of his arm—in Peter Pan, running from 2nd to 31st December at Bristol Hippodrome. He’ll share the stage with Andy Form and Faye Tozer in his spectacular show. Sleeping Beauty, at Bath Theatre Royal from 7th December to 7th January, stars East Enders’ Neil McDermott, with the south west’s favourite twosome, Jon Monie and Nick Wilton. Another celebrated duo, winners of the 2022/3 pantomime duo awards, are Andrew Pollard and Alim

Jadavji, who played Nadine and Doris in last season’s Cinderella. This time they are back in Aladdin, with Chris Jarvis as Widow Twankey and Melinda Messenger as The Spirit of the Ring, from 7th to 31st December at The Lighthouse in Poole. Ashley Banjo and Diversity star with Christopher Biggins in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Southampton Mayflower, but you can see the ever-popular story much nearer to home at Weymouth Pavilion from 13th to 31st December, and with George Sampson and Jamie Riding leading the cast. Yeovil’s Christmas pantomime has gone from strength to strength in recent years, and this year Gordon Cooper and Jack Glanville join up again for Cinderella, with Yeovil’s own Tash Moore. Performances are from 8th to 31st December BUT remember that the Octagon is closed for refurbishment, and the show is on at Westlands. If you are not familiar with the venue, give yourself time to find your way and navigate the (very large) car park. It will be worth the effort. The Hampshire-based touring company Bumblefly kicks off its 2023/24 progress with two performances promoted by Artsreach. See The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood at the village halls at West Stafford on 8th December and at Burton Bradstock the following night. Visit the Artsreach website for more details. Get ready to cheer, shout, hiss and boo and you can rest assured that good will win—which will be a reassuring outcome in these difficult days.

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December PREVIEW

Snow fun with Lyngo Theatre at Dorchester

An unwelcome guest

DORCHESTER WHAT would you do if one year Winter moved into your house? That’s what happens in Snow Play, the festive show from Lyngo Theatre, coming to Dorchester Arts at the Corn Exchange on Saturday 9th December at 11am. Aimed at children aged three and over (and their grown-

ups), it is a snowy spectacular, where you are guaranteed a white Christmas, no matter what the weather! Snow Play is a showdown between Winter and Spring over who gets to stay and who must go away. So come and help Mr Green against Mr White in this interactive production. You get to make a giant snowman, cover a whole house in snow and have a super snowball fight!

38 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 Email Tel. 01308 423031

Welsh chamberfolk trio VRi are coming to Litton Cheney and Corfe Castle

Welsh Chamberfolk

TOURING AWARD-winning Welsh chamberfolk trio VRi have two Dorset dates in December with Artsreach, on Friday 15th at Litton Cheney community hall and on Saturday 16th at Corfe Castle village hall, both at 7.30pm. Winners of Best Album at the 2023 Wales Folk Awards, VRï have been praised for making a “formidable artistic and cultural statement” (Folk Radio UK) and a “primal roar of Welshness” (Songlines). Jordan Price Williams (cello, voice), Aneirin Jones (violin, voice) and Patrick Rimes (viola, violin, voice) are three young men from deepest chapel-going Wales, who have mined the cultural upheaval of past centuries and drawn inspiration from the time when Wales’ traditional music and dance was suppressed by Methodist chapels, and its language banned by the Act of Union under Henry VIII in 1536. Three-part harmonies, stunning fiddle and the unusual addition of cello help to make the trio’s unique sound. Since forming in 2016, VRi have been pumping out their foot-stomping dance tunes while maintaining the poise and elegance of a string ensemble. Seizing the remaining strands of subsumed tradition and music, VRï blends them into a joyous celebration of Welsh identity and a contemporary rediscovery of lost traditions. The trio’s 2019 debut album Ty Ein Tadau (House of Our Fathers) received a five-star review in Songlines magazine and numerous awards nominations. The second album, Islais a genir (A Sung Whisper), was named Best Album this year.

Merry men at Christmas

VILLAGES The Travelling Players, an occasional company formed by

Bumblefly and Forest Forge, based in the New Forest, and Mischievous Theatre, has two dates in West Dorset with a Christmas family show, The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, at West Stafford village hall on Friday 8th December at 6.30pm and at Burton Bradstock on Saturday 9th at 6pm. Can Robin and his barmy band of brigands save the poor people of the Forest from the scheming Sheriff ? Can they thwart his greedy plans? Can they find a way to level up? And can Robin right the wrongs, with mischief and merriment, without getting into a terrible mess? Who will he meet in the woods?. With quirky storytelling, merriment and mischief, the Travelling Players present a stout-hearted tale of epic proportions. Expect a great deal of swashbuckling, a number of ridiculous fights and some improbable archery. Packed with live music, puppets and far too many trees, this show is sure to hit the target for families this Christmas.

Three Little Pigs for Christmas

POOLE LIGHTHOUSE BRIDPORT-based Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company brings a collaborative production of The Three Little Pigs to Poole’s Lighthouse arts centre from 5th to 24th December. The show, created by company founder-director Niki McCretton, has been developed in collaboration with nine young people It is a joyful, family-friendly retelling of the well-known tale, which has been on a nationwide tour before its Dorset festive season. With raucous puppets and original music, this version promises to capture the curiosity and attention of young children, with a family connection at the heart of the story. After tricking the unsuspecting wolf onto a bus, the three little pigs are on the run and in search of help from Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 39

December PREVIEW

the audience. With the need to build a strong shelter, these problem-solving pigs call upon the audience to help them outrun and outsmart their unwitting pursuer. The young co-writers have worked alongside the team to create the show—this included attending rehearsals as well as a day at the National Theatre studios in August, as part of National Theatre’s Generate programme. While the company regularly runs workshops for schools and works with children, The Three Little Pigs is an extension of this process, involving children’s input from beginning to end. Working with schools in Plymouth, Bridport and Poole, three children from each school were selected to work closely with the Stuff and Nonsense team. Led by Niki McCretton, the company supports children’s learning and development through creative activities. Teachers are given a greater understanding about the benefits of learning through the creative arts and given confidence to widen their curriculum planning. Niki says: “It is a show about family—three plucky siblings and a Lone Wolf! We have been creating it with a group of wonderfully insightful and inspiring children who have contributed brilliant ideas, so it’s a show that has real heart as well as some exciting adventures.” Co-writer Anna Murphy agrees. She says: “The Three Little Pigs, like their other shows, is a suitcase full of delight, inventiveness, joy, and wonder.”

recent explorations of the piano music of two unfamiliar composers, the German Romantic, Woldemar Bargiel, the half-brother of Clara Schumann, and Kent housewife Jessy Reason (1878-1938), whose luxuriant and impressionistic music is currently being rediscovered and explored. The same programme will be played on both evenings, with the concerts beginning at 8pm.

But what would Santa like ...?

LYME REGIS AND TOURING WE are used to the idea that children (and grown-ups— let’s be honest) are very good at telling Father Christmas what we want for Christmas ... but what does the man with the red cloak and big beard want for himself ? That’s the theme of a fun festive show coming to the Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis, at 4.30pm on 4th December, as part of a nationwide tour. Santa’s Christmas Wish is a song-filled, interactive family show particularly suitable for two to eight-year-olds. It lasts 45 minutes and is followed by a meet, greet and treat with Father Christmas. Join the adventure to grant Santa’s secret wish, then meet the man himself after and receive a special present. Christmas is a season of joy, love and sharing, a time when Santa delivers presents all over the world. The show invites youngsters and their grown-ups to find out what Santa’s friends think—Dasher the Reindeer has an idea, Pompom the Penguin thinks he knows, or maybe Snowy the Snowman has the answer? Dotty the Elf needs all their help—and yours—to find out! The tour also includes daytime performances at Teignmouth Pavilions on 2nd December, Exmouth Pavilion on 3rd, Swanage Mowlem on 19th, and the Landmark Theatre at Ilfracombe on 23rd.

Play along with Ratty

Duncan Honeybourne plays the December recitals at Tincleton Gallery

Lesser known keyboard composers

TINCLETON THE December recitals at Tincleton Gallery at The Old School House, Tincleton near Dorchester, on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th, feature the Dorset-born pianist Duncan Honeybourne, a regular performer at the gallery’s series of chamber concerts. There is a Christmas theme to these solo piano recitals, which will also introduce the audience to Duncan’s

BRIDPORT AND TOURING THE Last Baguette, the adventurous theatre company which is resident at Pound Arts in Corsham, Wiltshire, is coming to Bridport Arts Centre on Sunday 17th December, with two performances, at 11am and 2pm, of their enchanting seasonal show, A Winter’s Tail. Described as a play-along theatre adventure for two to six year olds and their grown-ups, A Winter’s Tail is a great introduction to live performance for young children. The snow is falling and the solstice is approaching. Ratty is getting ready. She wants everything to be really rat-tastic! But will her friends make it through the snow to the winter woodland revels? Can you help them on their journey? There’ll be excitement, adventure, play-acting, games, music, a splattering of silliness and lots of snow!

40 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 Email Tel. 01308 423031

Penguin Cafe, coming to the Marine Theatre at Lyme Regis

Led by Sidney and Tristan from The Last Baguette, A Winter’s Tail is a fun, relaxed entertainment with lots of opportunities for the audience to laugh, play and get involved. It lasts for one hour, including a stay and play session. The Last Baguette were most recently seen at Bridport Arts Centre with their production of Pandora’s box!

Avant-pop favourites

LYME REGIS THERE is avant-garde ... and there is avant-pop, and that’s what you get from the Penguin Cafe, coming to the Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis, on Friday 1st December with music from their most recent album, Rain Before Seven, which was released in July. Avant-garde pushes back the boundaries of contemporary classical and jazz music—avant-pop is described as genre-defying and in the hands of the skilled musicians led by Arthur Jeffes it combines folk, classical and minimalism. Musician, composer and producer Jeffes and his ensemble will be performing back catalogue favourites as well as work from the new album. The band creates a vivid series of panoramic sonic landscapes, cerebral, poignant and rich in emotional depth. Following in the footsteps of his late father Simon Jeffes and performing music from both the Penguin Cafe Orchestra’s repertoire and the new Penguin Cafe material, the talented line-up makes use of a wide range of instruments, including balafon, violins, cello, bass, percussion, upright and grand pianos, synthesiser, harmonium and more.

Noël! Noël!

DORCHESTER BOURNEMOUTH Sinfonietta Choir comes to the Corn Exchange at Dorchester on Wednesday 20th December at 7.30pm, for a concert of Christmas carols and favourites. Conducted by the choir’s musical director, David Gostick, with piano accompanist David Warwick, the

popular Noël! Noël! programme is a celebration of the Christmas season with uplifting music and readings. Come and listen to carols old and new, as well as close harmony arrangements, and enjoy joining in with some traditional favourites. Together with a glass of mulled wine in the interval, this evening should provide a perfect start to your Christmas celebrations.

A not-so festive show

BRIDPORT CHRISTMAS shows come in all shapes and sizes, not all of them versions of Dickens’ Christmas Carol, but you might not think of The Addams Family musical as an obvious seasonal choice. But it is the 2023 festive show for the talented Bridport Young Performers, at the Electric Palace from 18th to 21st December at 7.30pm. The show is centred around one night in the life of the eccentric Addams family—passionate parents Gomez and Morticia, the moon-obsessed Uncle Fester, a kooky grandma, mischievous Pugsley, the servant Lurch and daughter Wednesday, who has fallen in love for the first time. This is the night when the family meet boyfriend Lucas and his parents Mal and Alice for what seems to be a regular dinner. However, with secrets, jealousy and ancestors who cannot return to their crypt until love triumphs, their night develops into something that is anything but ordinary! With four performances at Bridport’s beautiful Art Deco cinema-theatre, the company has double-cast the show, giving opportunities for as many young people as possible to take part. Bridport Young Performers (BYP) is a youth theatre group for young performers aged 25 and under. They offer opportunities throughout the year in the arts, including workshops, trips, fundraising, community events and the Christmas musical. Past productions have included The Young Ones, The Demon Headmaster, Annie, High School Musical,

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Screen Time with Nic Jeune

Top Six at the Flix Bridport Electric Palace. The Great Escaper (2023) The two British icons bring a huge amount of joy to the heartwarming true story of Bernard Jordan, the 89-year-old veteran who snuck off to attend the 70th anniversary of D-day. The Guardian. Peter Bradshaw. The Miracle Club (2023) An ensemble cast led by Maggie Smith, Kathy Bates and Laura Linney brings persuasive conviction to period heartwarmer The Miracle Club, the story of a group of women on a pilgrimage to Lourdes. Screen Daily. Alan Hunter. Plaza Cinema Dorchester Wonka (2023) Paul King, known for his work on the heartwarming Paddington 2 and Paddington, seamlessly weaves magic into the fabric of Wonka. His adept direction ensures that the film captivates from start to finish, a true testament to his storytelling prowess. First Look Entertainment. Roy Parker. Odeon Cinema Dorchester Ferrari (2023) The specter of death haunts the racing scenes in Ferrari. That’s part of their intoxicating charge. But it isn’t just the action that’s fraught with thrilling danger. Every moment of the drama moves with a sense of high-stakes dread, of underlying emotional turbulence. Variety. Owen Glieberman. Netflix NYAD (2023) While a dedicated Bening gives her all in a tough, physically demanding role, deserving of at least another nomination if not necessarily a win, it’s Foster who steals the film with a fine reminder of her easy charisma. The Guardian. Benjamin Lee. Apple TV +. Sharper (2023) Sharper is an incredibly entertaining entry into the canon of Apple Originals. While it might not have the threshold of darkness or intensity that classify it exactly as a neo-noir, this film is a thoroughly enjoyable mystery. Consequence. Mary Siroky.

Jazz favourites collaborate in Lyme Regis

Seussical and, most recently, Oliver! The group aims to support members in their development as performers, with a youth production team of more than 25 people, and cast of more than 50 for the last production. They are hoping The Addams Family will be their biggest and best show yet!

Jazz favourites collaborate

LYME REGIS AN exciting trio of brilliant jazz musicians comes to the Marine Theatre at Lyme Regis on Friday 8th December to play a lyrical travelogue from early American song through Ellington, Horace Silver and Billy Strayhorn to Joni Mitchell. The line-up of legendary UK saxophonist Iain Ballamy (Hermeto Pascoal, Loose Tubes, Norma Winstone), singer Ian Shaw and brilliant young pianist Jamie Safir (Will Young, Elaine Delmar, Kyle Minogue) will be playing songs from their 2019 recording, What’s New (Silent Wish Records). This album was a timely coming together of three players whose collective interest in ‘the moment’—ie musical improvisation, combined with a love of classic song forms—makes the live experience a truly magical evening. The material is about human connections—friendships, relationships, positive and otherwise—and plunders 80 years of the popular song form. These are fresh arrangements of songs of love and hope, from the title song to Bernstein’s Some Other Time, the Bacharach/David classics Alfie and You’ll Never Get To Heaven and works by Legrand, Jobim and Ellington.

Strangers on a train

DORCHESTER DORCHESTER Arts hosts three performances of a new play, This Christmas, at the Corn Exchange, on Saturday 16th at 2.30pm and 7.30 and Sunday 17th at 7.30. Written by Vince Jones and James Cuthill, the writers of Tipping Point, the play is a heart-warming, feel-good romantic comedy about love in later life. The story unfolds on Christmas Eve when strangers Tim and Jenny meet on a train. Thinking they will never see each other again, they share the story of their lives, only to find that when they reach their destination, they have much more in common than they could ever have imagined. Can family and friendship overcome past internet-dating mistakes, and can this Christmas be the one they’ll always remember?

42 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 Email Tel. 01308 423031

The Young Lit Fix

Narthen have three Dorset dates with their show, Icicles and Inglenook.

Festive chills

WOOTTON FITZPAINE NORTH country trio Narthen have three dates with Artsreach in December, including Wootton Fitzpaine on Saturday 9th, performing their seasonal show, Icicles and Inglenook, a collection of winter songs, Described by Classic FM and former BBC Radio 3 presenter, and Dorset resident, Natalie Wheen as “my favourite Carol Singers”, Narthen are three experienced and gifted singers and instrumentalists, Fi Fraser, Sarah Matthews and Doug Eunson. Their music, including carols from Yorkshire, is a reminder that while winter is generally cold, the seasonal chill can be thawed by heart-lifting music. Performing on fiddles, viola, hammer dulcimer, diatonic accordion, hurdy-gurdy and more, Narthen presents a programme that includes polyphonic, unaccompanied carols and a selection of tunes that make you want to dance. Similar in style to the Dorset West Gallery tradition, familiar to Thomas Hardy and William Barnes, the carols come in alternative regional versions as well as Narthen originals. Throw into the mix a few irreverent songs about pheasants and other seasonal fare, and you’ve got a show that promises to thaw your icicles and warm your inglenooks. There are three concerts, at Blandford Parish Church on Friday 8th December, Wootton Fitzpaine village hall on Saturday 9th December, both at 7.330pm, and at the earlier time of 4pm on Sunday 10th at Studland village hall. Narthen will also lead a series of vocal harmony singing workshops, exploring polyphonic carols from Yorkshire and beyond.

A new community play

LYME REGIS LYME Regis continues to build on its long-standing heritage of community plays—the town hosted the first ever production of what would become known as a community play, Ann Jellicoe’s The Reckoning, in 1978. This year’s play, Lyme and the Sea, was a great success and now planning has started for the 2024 production. A Midsummer Lyme’s Dream will be the fourth community play written by local resident and actor Andrew Rattenbury, who wrote this year’s engaging sweep through the maritime story of Lyme Regis. The many colourful tales of this beautiful seaside and fishing town will also feature in the new play, described as an irreverent, modern-day blast through Shakespeare’s most popular comedy, interwoven with nuggets of Lyme’s history, and told by the community, for the community. Contact the Marine Theatre for more information or to take part in any way, acting, back-stage or other aspects of the production. GPW

The Snow Girl by Sophie Anderson Illustrated by Melissa Castrillon Published by Usborne £12.99 Hardback Reviewed by Nicky Mathewson TASHA and her parents have moved from their coastal home to live on Grandpa’s farm in the valley. He is getting old and has become ill so can no longer manage on his own. Winter is approaching so he has asked the family for help and they are more than happy to assist, especially Tasha who loves spending time with Grandpa and has good reason to move away from her old life. She becomes reclusive on the farm however, and is scared of making new friends. Damaged from her past experiences, she is reluctant to trust people beyond her family, but she is ever so lonely. After hearing one of Grandpa’s stories about a girl made of snow who magically comes to life, she and he build one of their own. Secretly, Tasha makes a desperate wish for a new friend and the snow girl comes to life, her name is Alyana, her ice blue eyes sparkle in the moonlight and she has magic at her fingertips. Tasha risks her life venturing out every night in the depths of winter just to spend time with her new friend and she doesn’t want the magic to end. The consequences of her actions ripple through the valley causing spring to be delayed. Can she let go of her past and start to trust again in order to save grandpa and save the valley? This is a wonderful wintery adventure based on traditional folk tales which is what Sophie Anderson is best known for. She weaves magic into every story and pulls you in with rich characters and landscapes. I loved it and think it is a perfect seasonal story for confident readers age 8+. 10% off for Marshwood Vale readers at The Bookshop on South Street, Bridport. 01308 422964 Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 43

Crowds come to enjoy BridLit


housands of people flocked to Bridport for the annual literary festival. Venues were packed to see and hear a variety of eminent writers discuss a wide range of subjects including politics, nature, fiction, poetry, travel, history and sport. Audiences acclaimed the 19th festival, affectionately known as BridLit, as the best yet, and plans are already being made for next year. BridLit Director Tanya Bruce-Lockhart said: ‘Being the architect of a literary festival has its risks. Will authors make the pilgrimage to Bridport—will we attract audiences? But BridLit is now in its 19th year. November is a fallow time of year, but Bridport becomes alive, bringing together lovers of literature and those who read books from across the county and even further afield.’ Mrs Bruce-Lockhart paid tribute to the speakers, interviewers, venues, volunteer stewards, sponsors, audience and the BridLit team. She added: ‘Our town shines and BridLit basks in reflected sunshine. Next year is our 20th Festival—Sunday 3 - Saturday 9 November—and we hope there will be much to celebrate.’ There were packed houses for broadcaster and journalist Clive Myrie, political activist Alastair Campbell—who stepped in at the eleventh hour for the BBC’s international editor Jeremy Bowen, who is reporting on the current conflict in the Middle East— rewilding expert Isabella Tree, Chris Bryant MP in conversation with former West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin, and Guardian political sketch writer John Crace.

But it wasn’t just politics that grabbed the BridLit audience’s attention. Jon Woolcott’s Real Dorset at the Bull Hotel was a real draw, as was novelist Patrick Gale’s Book Club talk at Bridport Arts Centre and novelist Nikki May’s creative writing workshop at the Bull. Dr Jim Down’s stories from intensive care proved popular as did a talk by Fiona Davison about women gardeners in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There was something for everyone, including children and young people with events at Bridport Library, Mercato Italiano on the Dreadnought Trading Estate and Bridport Arts Centre where The Bank of Dreams and Nightmares participants put on their own show after workshops hosted by award-winning poet Joelle Taylor. Bridport’s Sir John Colfox Academy also became the venue for talks by husband and wife team Peter Snow and Ann MacMillan, and Adam Nicholson. Slader’s Yard at West Bay provided an intimate setting for events featuring music, poetry and cookery. And the Tithe Barn at Symondsbury was the venue for the annual George Millar Literary Dinner where the guest speaker was Ben Macinture who talked about his book, Colditz: Prisoners of the Castle. West Dorset law firm Kitson & Trotman were this year’s main sponsors, with individual events sponsored by a variety of businesses and individuals.

44 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 Email Tel. 01308 423031

Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 45

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Very Short Let Comfortable, warm 2 Bed Bridport house to let for 7 weeks from mid January. 07932 677540

Mature lady offers part time care work in Bridport area. Experienced (home care, NVQ 2), kind and patient, also trained in dementia care. Tel. 07778921044.

taken off, 50 cm depth, 100 cm wide. £50.00 ono 07776320922. Rotary Lawn Mowers Mountfield 18” Rotary mower £400 Sarp 18” FOR SALE Rotary mower £350 Good condition. Used regularly. inches long. with shock Downsized garden so absorbers plus bluetooth surplus to requirement. function. Overall size for Telephone 01297 553341. transportation 67 inches Metal detector Garrett long by 31 inches wide. Ace 300i +AT pointer Plus instruction manual. headphones + spade. Only ever used for walking. £275.00 hardly used. 07377 And very little of that. 165242. Excellent condition. £350. Treadmill. Branx fitness Can e-mail photo. 01297 elite runner. Pro. BF-ER- 33889. Axminster. 50885-TR. Foldable. 21 Rieker brown leather running programs. Speed boots, size 38, £30. Clarks up to 21Km/h. Can incline brown suede boots, size 22 levels. Running deck 38, £20. Contact 01395 is 19 inches wide by 46 515249.

46 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 Email Tel. 01308 423031

STORAGE One new 20 foot container available, located inside secure building near Beaminster, £36.00 per week including VAT. 07931 269002 Dec 23

RESTORATION FURNITURE Antique restoration and bespoke furniture. Furniture large and small carefully restored and new commissions undertaken. French polishing, chair repairs and modern hand finishes. Phil Meadley 01297 560335

Dec 23

TUITION Piano, violin, theory tuition at your home. Highly qualified teacher. Adults and children welcome. Beginners to advanced. Dr Thomas Gold 07917 835781. Dec 23

Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 47

FOR SALE Medicine cupboard, wall hanging, white, double doors, glass shelves, 14” H. 24” W. 5.5” D. £10 01308 423776. Parker Knoll Froxfield vintage pair of wing armchairs model PK750 professionally reupholstered in sage green. £175 for the pair. 07866 427561. Bridport. Curtains, 2 pairs, Morris and co. ‘fruits’ design. Lined, 3” pencil pleat header tape. Width 49”/124cm. Drop 51”/130cm. Excellent condition £60 a pair. £100 for both pairs. Can send pictures 07800726827. Collection of LP’s and CD’s featuring big band era music, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitgerald, Glen Miller, Nat King Cole etc Approx, 50 CD’s for £20 and 60

LP’s for £20. Graco baby high chair, fair condition £8, Hauck travel cot £15, good condition. Gents Scarpa walking boots size 12. Gortex lined. Little used, vgc.£30. Tel. 01308 423849. Sofa, pet-free/smoke free owner, beige corduroy. Good condition. DFS Large 2 seater. Photo/ dimensions can be supplied. Buyer would need to collect. £100. Bridport. DT63PP. 07398 760637. Ladies shoulder handbags: Gianni Conti (brown leather) £60, Gianni Conti (deep red leather ) £40, Saccoo (brown leather) £60, Earth Squared (purple cord and tweed) £15, Damart (brown), £10. Ladies shoes: Seasalt

(Piran’s Storm Cat, size 38) £35, Seasalt (Piran’s Cherrywood, size 38) £35, Moshulu (Harte Tan, size 39), £50. Contact 01395 515249. Over- Blanket. Electric. Brand New. Boxed. Unwanted gift. 130cm×160. £29. Tel 07398760637. Bridport. Bosch Vario perfect washing machine 9.0kg capacity. £350. As new. Seldom used. Buyer collects. 01460 76545 (Merriott). Exercise bike DKN Technology. Model EMB600. 2 years old , excellent condition, Professional model as used in many gyms. Displays exercise time, speed, distance, calories used, pulse rates and generated energy. 12 programs with 4

profiles for each. Load level adjustable for each program. Price £425. 01297551222. Ecel Wheelchair red, little use, bargain £195. 01460 78714. Go-Cart 5.5hp chain drive £299. Bosch dishwasher large £80. Cupboard freestanding pine 5ft x 6ft x 17”. £100. 01300 341250. Stihl chainsaw MS230 petrol. 14” bar length. Very little use £50.00 01308 897488 (Burton Bradstock). Futon sofabed. IKEA black metal frame blue+white striped mattress. £50.00 01308 897488 (Burton Bradstock). Gazebo h/d frame Zapp 3 mt sq. Needs cover. Suit market stall or garden.

£100.00. 01308 897488 (Burton Bradstock). Rointe electric radiators. One 975 mm wide (11 elements) one 1125 mm wide (13 elements) Fitted but unused. £300.00 01308 897488 (Burton Bradstock). Tile cutter – Rubi TS-60. Very little use and now retired. £50.00 01308 897488 (Burton Bradstock). Tilt & Recline Armchair, 20 months old, vgc, bought from Coastline Mobility Sidmouth. All reasonable offers considered. 01297 552627. Lastolite collapsible reversible black white background 1.5m wide £75. 75mm/ 29 ½” white background room for rear lighting. 07710528274. Crewkerne.

FREE ADS for items under £1,000 This FREE ADS FORM is for articles for sale, where the sale price is under £1000 (Private advertisers only — no trade, motor, animals, firearms etc). Just fill in the form and send it to the Marshwood Vale Magazine, Lower Atrim, Bridport, Dorset DT6 5PX or email the text to Unfortunately due to space constraints there is no guarantee of inclusion of free ads. We reserve the right to withhold advertisements. For guaranteed classified advertising please use ‘Classified Ads’ form

Name .............................................. Tel. ............................................ Address ................................................................................................ Town ................................................ County...................................... Postcode .................................. 48 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 Email Tel. 01308 423031




Secondhand tools. All trades and crafts. Old and modern. G. Dawson. 01297 23826. www. Dec 23

Dave buys all types of tools 01935 428975

Jan 24

Coins wanted. Part or full collections purchased for cash. Please phone John on 01460 62109 or 07980 165047.

Jan 24


Do you have a shed / garage full of old tools, car bits, unfinished projects etc? I buy job-lots of vintage items. Also enamel signs & slot machines & complete collections, 07875677897 Jan 24

Vintage & antique textiles, linens, costume buttons etc. always sought by Caroline Bushell. Tel. 01404 45901. Feb 24

Stamps & Coins Wanted by collector/investor. We are keen to purchase small or large collections at this time. Tel: Rod mar 24 07802261339

To advertise here email: info@

FOR SALE Large quantity needle craft materials, including fabrics, wools, silk threads, patterns, ribbons, projects, offers invited. 01460 221793. Nearly new cream & taupe jumbo cord sofa with


cushions at back. 40”w x 64”L. £100. Nearly new double divan bed, super comfy, grey fabric headboard, £100 buyer collects. Phone 077336 55964 for photos.

Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine December 2023 49

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