Urgent appeal for boiled cardies

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This is not a wind up. Anna Ash wants shrunken wool from cardigans, jumpers, scarves etc. for the Craft Fair. On the day (Saturday November 3rd) she’ll set up two sewing machines, where people can help her make a patchwork blanket that will be raffled or auctioned at the end. (For the uninitiated, take unwanted woollen items, rub in washing liquid and boil.) Contact Anna for more information or to deliver your goods to her!

The Craft Fair is a friendly annual event full of locally made crafts and a good excuse for a get-together that raises valuable funds for the church and Space. Donations of craft, plant and produce, raffle prizes and cakes and savouries are very welcome. And volunteers to man Tracy’s Cafe and the Village Stall are needed. Contact Ali for more information.

Lots about Lot 7

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Last month a group of locals met up with Lynne Kenderdine from Devon Wildlife Trust, who gave much expert advice on the management of Lot 7 in terms of biodiversity and conservation. There was discussion about how the central area of flat land could be mown to allow use as an amenity area, while leaving surrounding areas “rough” as habitats for small creatures such as hibernating bees and also creating “scrapes” to encourage invertebrates and wading birds. Other exciting suggestions included planting wetland-loving trees such as willow, alder and birch along the stream, planting a commemorative oak, boxes for bats and dormice (did you know the latter lived in trees?) and keeping an area “topped” to encourage the spread of wildflowers. Moving on to the orchard, discussion was had about “steeping” the hazel hedge at the top of the field, grazing sheep possibly between November and February to keep ground cover under control, maintain biodiversity and even up the ground, managing the brambles, creating a hazel coppice in a corner at the top, and of course, looking after and using the orchard.

It was a brilliant and expert introduction to the amazing variety of creatures and plants that inhabit our community land. Lynne’s final piece of advice was keep it “native” and take care of the provenance. So much food for thought in all this to help form the basis of a long term management plan. The five Lot 7 trustees are currently working hard to set up a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation) and once this is done will then have time to work on the fun bits!

A couple of weeks later, we had further help from the Devon Wildlife Trust: this time it was the children’s turn to have fun and learn what lives and grows in the orchard area. Education officer, Millie Gardener, (pictured at the back) was brilliant and kept young and old busy with loads of creative activities, investigating habitats, exploring sounds and smells, and working together to discover just what a lot is going on in the seemingly peaceful orchard. It was a perfect evening – warm and mellow – and a good reminder of how lucky we are to secured this land.

If you’ve spotted somebody harvesting the apples – don’t worry. It’s Tim Walker from Orchard Link – he’s helped identify some of the varieties, but not all. Finally, a big thank you to John Floyd, who has made the bench that is now installed in the lower meadow (funded by the Littlehempston Fete).  A great place to sit and contemplate commented one local.

Kiwi community spirit served up in Tally

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There are new faces behind the bar of the Tally Ho in Littlehempston, as the next chapter in the pub’s long history begins. The 187 shareholders of South Ham’s first community pub have decided to hand over the management reins to tenants and recently a long term tenancy agreement was signed with Kelly and Mike Joiner, who are now installed in the pub with their son, Isaac.

This is shaping up to be a match made in heaven. Kelly and Mike owned a successful bar restaurant in a small village called Peel Forest in South Canterbury, New Zealand, that had a strong community bias, with locals travelling miles to get there. They were hunting for a similar business to run on their return to England, when they were delighted to find an ad for a tenancy on a small rural pub.

And they come fully prepared: they’re used to hard work, long hours and the challenge of running a pub in an out of the way location. They’re bringing loads of energy and enthusiasm with them from the southern hemisphere, backed by a firm commitment to maintain the Tally’s reputation for good food and drink, plus innovative ideas for entertainment and community involvement to draw in more custom. Live music shows with many of the talented local singer songwriters from the west country, along with live theatre and other events are now regular features.

Working with Tally chef Paul, the new landlords have devised menus that offer both good value and gourmet food. One local commented “We’re all feeling very lucky that the Joiners have taken on the business. They’re a friendly couple, who respect the traditional feel of the place, while bringing in some exciting new ideas.” So why not pop in and meet Kelly and Mike – you’ll be given a very warm welcome from this very friendly couple, who’ll be happy to chat about their plans for this historic pub. Find out more on the Tally Ho website and Facebook page.

Youth Club, Ukuleles and Lucky Lottery Winners

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The Community Space has been busy of late …..

The Youth Club got off to a flying start with eighteen youngsters aged between 7 and 11 enjoying an action-packed evening provided by leader Asher Levin (pictured left). A good time was had by all and it was great to welcome children from local schools, but from other parishes.

There are two places left so get in touch if you’d like more information. The club runs fortnightly – next one is on Friday October 26th. Check our Events page for future dates.

The Community Space also hosted a great night this time for adults. A huge thank you to all who helped make the What a Show such a success – the food was delicious, the music and singing with the Newton Abbot Ukulele Band sent everyone home buzzing (the band said we were their favourite audience) and the poetry from Thelma was hilarious. Plus £300 was raised to keep our lovely church open for all.

A most welcome financial support for the Youth Club came from the Littlehempston Lottery drawn at the Tally last month: £120 was donated to help fund various costs including publicity and snacks.  Ali from the Tally  drew out the two lucky balls winning £96 and £24 in prizes, making two local people very happy. The next Lottery draw is at the Tally on Wednesday 12th December to coincide with Villagers’ Night. If you’d like to have a flutter and help fund village activities, just get in touch.

New Craft Club a big hit

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The new Craft Club set up by Lisa Fisher in September got off to a flying start with lots of locals turning up to work on a range of crafts, including making poppies for Armistice Commemorations. Lisa’s just moved into the village and said “It was fab to see so many turn up to our first get together. Lots of chatter and laughs and a lovely way to get to know everyone.”

Fourteen people turned up for the October get together, showing what a popular idea this is. So if you like to knit, crotchet, stitch, make cards and jewellery, decorate cakes and other such crafty things, whilst having a good chinwag, come along and bring whatever project you’re currently working on. Don’t worry if you’re new to crafting or don’t have anything to bring – there’s a community project you can help with!  A warm welcome awaits, even if you only fancy a cuppa, cake and chat. The next club is on Saturday November 10th from 10am to 12.30pm.

Lisa makes beautiful handmade gifts and has run workshops and clubs before, so we’re lucky to have her – check out her CraftyLane Facebook page or come along to her stall at the Littlehempston Craft Fair on November 3rd, where the Craft Club will also be displaying their wares.

Weight and width restrictions on Littlehempston Bridge

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Devon County Council have published a notice showing that vehicles over 10 tonnes weight  or 2.5 metres  width will be prohibited from passing over Littlehempston Bridge from 10th October 2018. You can read the notice by clicking here, and read the full order here.

Wanted: a shared Parish Lengthsman

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Littlehempston Parish Council have been successful in sharing some funding with Staverton and Dartington PCs to allow the services of a self-employed lengthsman to be used across the parishes for this coming winter only.

So if you’re interested, you can find full details by clicking on this advert that Staverton has put together. Closing date for applications is 31st August.

Littlehempston Youth Club to expand?

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The Community Space Team is working with our youth club leader, Asher Levin, to secure the future of the club, which has proved so popular with many children – and with the parents, who enjoy the get-together at the Pub Club in the Tally next door. Those of you involved in the past have been contacted to find out your views on how the club can be run in future. Proposals include inviting children from other local rural areas to join and to limit the age range to seven to eleven year olds.

Ash provides a great range of exciting activities including drama games, group challenges, physical games, acro-balancing and action songs. You may have met him at Littlehempston Fete – he’s great on stilts (as pictured here), at circus skills and story-telling.

If you’d like to have your say or find out more about the Youth Club, please get in touch.

Hidden treasures of Lot 7

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We don’t always need to travel far to find amazing wildlife – sometimes it’s here on our doorstep, waiting to be appreciated. The land recently bought by the community in the centre of the village harbours a remarkable variety of wildlife. Pictured here is the confluence of Gatcombe Brook and the Hems, on the borders of Lot 7. The orchard area is particularly rich, as it has been left untouched for several years. Recent surveys have revealed 60 varieties of lichens, 55 different wildflowers, 50 species of moths, 9 types of bat and an unknown quantity of bugs and birds. Many thanks to Jenny Galton-Fenzi, who sent in this touching account:

‘It’s six-thirty on a fine morning, and I’m sitting at the top of the orchard in Lot 7 taking in the view. And feeling massively, humbly grateful to those village activists and donors who seized the day, and secured these precious four acres of meadow and orchard for all to enjoy. Things could so easily have ended differently; but now this piece of very special land will belong to the village for ever.

Just how special it is I’m only just beginning to appreciate. I’ve recently been privileged to walk the orchard with two amazing people. One, Nicola Bacciu, is a lichenologist. The couple of hours I spent in her company were fascinating and enlightening. With the help of magnifier and scraper, she identified over 60 types of lichen in the orchard, including the delightfully-named Fanfare of Trumpets (pictured here). Before, I would have walked past these complex organisms without a second glance, only vaguely noticing that they were grey or orange blobs. I learned that orange on twig tips, although not on walls, is bad, as it indicates too much nitrogen in the air. We don’t have too many orange tips, so our air is pretty clean.

My second expedition was with Chris Knapman, the Chair of the Devon Ancient Tree Forum, another extremely knowledgeable and wise person. He was delighted with the orchard and its bramble patches, and suggested we leave it just as it is, only planting a few extra trees if we want to. As we stood and watched tree creepers and nuthatches running up and down the trees, he warned against removing dead wood or fallen trees, as these are full of bugs and are an important part of the ecosystem. Inside one hollow apple trunk, he identified an ‘air root ‘, that is, the tree was trying to grow a root down to the ground through the hollow space from a height of about five feet. Who else would have seen that? He said he did not think there was any need to cut the grass in the orchard, but we could have a late September cut if we wanted, but not too short as some creatures overwinter in the tussocks. If we do cut it we should remove the debris and put it in a pile for grass snakes, however he did not think that nutrient enrichment would build up fast, as the ground is on a slope. He suggested trying to introduce Yellow Rattle and Knapweed, to parasitize the grass.

We took part in the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat survey recently, and found that 9 types of bat, including Greater Horseshoes, were flying around the orchard. 55 types of wildflowers were counted between May and July. Most recently, our fifth annual moth-trapping event (pictured here) with Richard Fox of Butterfly Conservation totalled 50 species – the results will be shared with the Devon Biodiversity Records Centre and also with the National Moth Recording Scheme.

We hope to arrange a bug survey of the meadow shortly. The People’s Trust for Endangered Species have been surveying old orchards to try to find the rare Noble Chafer beetle, which feeds on dead heartwood. Perhaps there are some on Lot 7!

So Lot 7 is about much more than cider-making, although this will be good too. And I do recommend early-morning (or other time) visits, just to sit and watch and listen. See you there!’

Quest for bronze ends in the Tally

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Early drinkers at the Tally Ho last Friday evening agreed to keep the noise down, while a film crew from the news channel NewsAsia Singapore shot the final sequence of a documentary featuring Mr Tan Kee Wee, who years ago inherited bronze antiques from his father – his quest was to discover whether they were from the Shang and Zhou dynasty or were admirable fakes.

The search led him to Berry Pomeroy and the studio-foundry of bronze artist, Andrew Lacey, an expert in archaeometallurgy (study of metal produced by people in ancient times). The final scenes of the UK part of this documentary, Bronzes: A forgotten treasure, due to be screened in Singapore in November, were shot in the Tally.

Dawn Tan, the documentary film host, and Kee Wee reflected on what they have discovered on their journey over drinks. (Dawn is a well known documentary maker and news reader in Singapore – a bit of an Anna Ford, possibly?) They and the film crew were hugely enthusiastic about the Tally, their welcome and the surrounding area. Pictured here from left to right are Simon, Pete, Dawn, producer Nivitra and Kee Wee.