Friday, 3 October 2008

Exmoor pre-school children prepare to move into new home

CHILDREN in Dunkery Pre-School will be making a fresh start later this month when they finally move into their new room.
The pre-school has been operating for more than eight years in Cutcombe First School, Wheddon Cross.
Now, Ofsted has approved the pre-school’s new premises and most of the new furniture has been delivered, including an interactive whiteboard and library.
An outdoor area is shortly due to be fenced off and covered with soft rubber flooring.
The first day in the new location is planned to be Monday, October 13.
It is part of an extension at the rear of the school which will also provide extra space in which pupils can work and where class assistants can spend time with individual children or small groups from either class without being distracted by the other children in the class.
At the moment the pre-school children have the use of the school hall on three mornings a week, which restricts the time the school can use the hall for teaching purposes.
Pre-school children also have to either walk through a classroom or around the outside of the building to use the toilets.
New toilets which are part of the school extension have also been designed for pre-school age children.
The new room provides an opportunity for the pre-school to offer more opening times.
It is also ideal for running breakfast and afterschool clubs, which is a long-term aim of the school.
Groups could also use it during the day or in the evening, such as for parents’ coffee mornings, and adult education.
The pre-school was created in 2000 after Wheddon Cross Under-Fives, which had been running for more than 20 years, amalgamated with Exford Playgroup.
Any families who would like a nursery place should contact Sheralee Matravers on 07980423053.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

A feast for all at the Exmoor Food Festival 08

THE Exmoor Food Festival, an eight-day extravaganza to celebrate the area’s finest local food, starts on Saturday with the Porlock Tea Party and a produce market at Dulverton Carnival.
On Sunday, television wildlife celebrity Johnny Kingdom will be launching the Lyn Food Fest, a day devoted to sampling the great tastes of the moors.
During the festival, visitors can treat themselves to stunning views over Porlock Weir and equally stunning local produce at Andrews on the Weir.
They can relax and enjoy a pamper treatment as well as fine farmhouse fare at Hindon Organic Farm, and they can enjoy tasty treats cooked up by Minehead cafĂ© Cream with fresh produce straight from Minehead Farmers’ Market.
Or, visitors can glean top tips from the chef at Dunster’s Yarn Market Hotel to take home and try in their own kitchens.
There is an opportunity to learn how to catch and cook wild food at Wimbleball, or to try Morrocan evenings in Minehead, or sample a mouth-watering meal from the award-winning Hidden Valley of the Pigs, in Barbrook, followed by an amble to see the animals at Alta Lyn Alpacas.
The food festival should include something on the menu for anybody’s taste.
Festival organiser Naomi Griffith said: “There is a great variety of venues and events across Exmoor during the festival.
“People can talk to local food producers to get the inside story on what makes Exmoor’s food the best in the world.
“We specialise in fresh local produce from the moors which has been beautifully cooked and presented.
“Customers return year after year and are always delighted to find something new and exciting on the menu.
“Dulverton Carnival, farmers markets, food fayres, and a feast of events across Exmoor make this festival must for food fans across the South West.”
The food festival runs from October 4 to 12, and programmes are available at Tourist Information Centres and at, or by calling 01643 821425.
  • Our photographs show (TOP) Keith Wicks, of the Whortleberry Tea Room, in Porlock, (MIDDLE) celebrity guest Johnny Kingdom, and (BOTTOM) a sample dish from the festival. Photos submitted.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Going, going, for £1 - a parish's unwanted red phone box

A VANDALISED and unwanted West Somerset red telephone box (pictured) has been put up for sale by telecoms firm BT for just £1.
Huish Champflower Parish Council was asked if it wanted to buy the call box on Wiveliscombe Road, but turned down the offer because of the cost of maintenance and repairs caused by vandalism.
It is one of 24 in West Somerset which BT wants to remove in a cost-cutting exercise because they have been little used in the past year.
BT said the last time the box was used to make a call was more than a year ago.
Villager John Moore, a former parish council chairman said: “The offer of £1 is purely for the phone box.
“The apparatus inside comes at a much higher price. I understand BT were looking to charge the council over £500.
“There are all sorts of other things being discussed with regards to maintenance of the apparatus, such as who would be responsible for the equipment and ensuring the public safety.”
West Somerset Council is deciding on how to respond to BT’s proposals to close little-used call boxes.
It has the power of a ‘local veto’ which would force BT to go through an appeals process before it could remove any of the call boxes.
BT has claimed there was no longer any need for the public telephone boxes because most people these days had a mobile phone they could use instead.