Dulverton Farmers Market: Buy local this Saturday!

The Dulverton Farmers Market returns to the Lion Stable Car Park this Saturday, 30 July, from 10am till 4pm.  It is a fantastic opportunity to stock up on local produce and find locally made gifts.

Amongst the traders are Secret Orchard Cider, Little Oak Farm (sausages), Styles Ice Cream, Grown Up Marshmallows, JinKs Art, and Rupert Smith Wildlife Photography, plus many more.

Alas Poor Johnny…. Boris Johnson’s Grannyfesto

Alas Poor Johnny coverBoris Johnson announces his ‘Grannyfesto’ to a packed and appreciative audience of friends and family at the launch of Alas Poor Johnny, a memoir of life on an Exmoor farm written by his grandmother Buster (Granny Butter), Dulverton Town Hall, Easter Monday, 6 April 2015

“It is fair to say that no one in our family has much of a reputation for meeting copy deadlines – and indeed one of the reasons my brother Jo has had to zoom back to London this morning is that someone rang him before breakfast and reminded him that they needed 4000 words by 7pm for the Tory election manifesto – don’t worry – it’s going to be superb. 

But Granny Butter has today beaten all comers by producing her book not just late but fully 28 years after her death – to call her the late Granny Butter is an understatement, my friends – and it is a triumph. 

Her memoirs have been brilliantly edited by Birdie and every page of them evokes a world that has almost vanished – Exmoor in the 1950s. A world without television and the internet, a world without central heating and mains electricity. Where life is an elemental struggle to start the fire and light the tilley lamps and pull the cows from the bog and save the sheep from an appalling disease called blackleg, to which they invariably succumb.

And yet I am sure that Jo would agree with me that there is so much we can learn from this book. And in this tense pre-electoral period I believe it is time to cull the 10 key points and put them to the people.

Yes; here it is – the Grannyfesto.

1. Abolish VAT on hearing aids.

2. Apply to the UN for immediate recognition of the superior intelligence of rats, geese and other animals.

3. Create a fourth emergency service, staffed by volunteers, to perform that humanitarian function essential to any civilised society of pulling your husband, and his landrover, from the river when he has had one too many at the Royal Oak.

4. Institute forthwith an NHS for animals, funded out of general taxation, to help cope with the appalling and vaguely obscene consequences of terrier tail baldness.

5. Admit asylum seekers from Italy and other Eurozone disaster areas on the strict understanding they speak English and help with the lambing.

6. Bring back hunting to Exmoor. While always respecting the feelings, and indeed the wishes, of all animals involved.

7. Relax planning bureaucracy so that hard pressed hill farmers can build attractive tractor sheds for machines that ceased to function at least 20 years ago.

8. Negotiate an immediate opt out from all burdensome and intrusive EU legislation on vacuum cleaners and other electric appliances, because sometimes the wood is so wet that the only way to get the fire going is the old Electrolux on reverse thrust, and put it to the people in the form of an in-out referendum.

9. Make scrabble an Olympic sport, provided that joey with a small j is globally recognised as a valid term for a baby kangaroo.

10. Finally, above all, bring back MANNERS, in young people. So that they stand up when all grown-ups, particularly ladies, enter the room. And so that they eat crisps in the proper way, with a knife and fork, as Granny Butter was taught to do when she was brought up in the Pavillon du Barry, Versailles.

That is the Grannyfesto my friends, these are the ten key policies that I think will carry this country, or indeed any country, on May the 7th. If you seek any further elucidation it is all here in this wonderful book, for which we thank Granny Butter, as indeed we thank her for so much else. So well done Birdie on a brilliant job – and forwards to victory with Granny Butter.”


Alas Poor Johnny by Buster Johnson

Edited by Birdie Johnson, with a foreword by Boris Johnson

paperback £7.99 and ebook £3.99. For more information go to www.troubador.co.uk/shop


Letter from Exmoor: THE OLD WAYS – Exmoor Walking Festival 2014

This post was originally published by Davina Jelley on the Number 7 Dulverton blog.

On Friday I led a walking book club special as part of the North Devon and Exmoor Walking Festival which is now in it’s fourteenth year. Walkers were asked to read The Old Ways – A Journey On foot by Robert Macfarlane, which seemed a very apt choice for a walking festival, particularly as the route I had chosen would include two beautiful holloway tracks.
The weather was perfect for walking, bright, a slight breeze, not too warm and dry and so I guided the group to Dulverton’s alternative venue, our favourite book club spot, the den that is situated on the site of an old hill fort in Burridge woods.

r Wal


There were plenty of fallen logs for us all to find a spot to sit amidst the emerging bluebells. The book met with a mixed response, some found it far too in depth and intellectual, others thoroughly enjoyed his style of writing and sense of place. Personally I loved it. I tend to steer away from non fiction, so was a little tentative about starting this book. What if here was the first book club choice that I would be not be able to finish. My fears were immediately alleviated as I was lost in his magical description of a nighttime walk in hushed snow and keen to read on.
Discussion over it was time to continue on a walk and chat in smaller groups about the book, had it inspired our walkers to walk on their own, plan longer walks, walk in different countries or perhaps write about their own journeys on foot.

Not all the group were keen to tackle the steep climb that leads to Court Down, so we said our farewells at Marsh Bridge and they walked along Northmoor Road with the River Barle to accompany them back into town – leaving the keener walkers to continue on the advertised route.

Reading The Old Ways has sparked an inclination to read other non fiction nature writings. Although why I was perturbed I don’t know, as I loved Roger Deakin’s Waterlog, sometimes it’s good to be gently  reminded and nudged back into forgotten territory, surely that is the beauty of a book club. On my list are a couple of proofs that look interesting including Meadowland by John Lewis-Stempel and just published Dip by Andrew Fusek Peters.

Thank you to all who joined us on The Old Ways walk, our regular book club members and those who were discovering the woods around Dulverton for the first time.

* * *

If you’d like to find out more about Number 7 Dulverton and join their Walking Book Club, then please pop over to their website. The next walk will take place on 31 May 2014.

Exmoor Memories: There are no bilberries in Zambia

Everyone tells me how lucky I am to live in a wonderful place like Victoria Falls and that it true. Not everyone has the chance to live just 10 kms away from one of the natural wonders of the world.

heather2However, I come from Tiverton, Devon and was lucky enough to be brought up just that same roughly 10 kms (perhaps a little further) from Exmoor and how well I remember that beautiful place. The heather and the bilberries spring immediately to mind. Picnics with my family overlooking the Devil’s Punchbowl, clambering over the stones at Tarr Steps and that wonderful drive over the moors to Lynton and Lynmouth, always asking my parents about the terrible floods and loving the ride from Lynmouth up to Lynton on the cable railway!

Or, over the moors and to Saunton Sands – miles of sand, great for swimming and surfing in the summer, wild and windy in the winter but lovely at all times. The allegedly haunted Saunton Sands Hotel high up on the cliff – “can we go there” – “no darling we’re having a picnic” And my mother’s picnics were wonderful on Exmoor.

The treat of treats? The drive back from Exmoor to Tiverton and stopping for ice cream in Dulverton, and oh what wonderful home made ice cream it was!bilberries2

Talking of bilberries us kids used to compete as to who could pick the most! Who had purple lips from eating not packing? Me! Home and my mother’s wonderful bilberry and apple pie with clotted cream for dinner dessert! Wow! Those are some memories!



Richard Chanter

Chanters Lodge, Livingstone,








Where to stay: Streamcombe Farm near Dulverton

Streamcombe Farm is a small, boutique bed and breakfast 1.5 miles from Dulverton, situated on the southern border of Exmoor National Park. The setting is very rural and wild, tranquil and relaxing.

Barn back view

A beautiful stone barn was converted in 2009 to create unusual and contemporary guest accommodation. The barn annexe is private and separate from the main house, having its own entrance, lounge, wood burner and conservatory. There are three double bedrooms, each having a lovely en-suite bath or shower room.

Streamcombe offers excellent candlelit evening dinners and a superb breakfast menu, utilising the very best of local Exmoor farms and its wild produce.

Streamcombe Cookery is owned and run by Ian Jarmarkier. The one day cookery courses are held in beautiful rustic stone barn and have a maximum of six places. In addition to bread making, fish, game, desserts, taste & techniques and seasonal inspiration,  bespoke courses are also available for special celebrations, friend reunions and team building.

Please visit the web site or call Karen and Ian for more information on dinner bed and breakfast packages and cookery course availability.  Gift vouchers are also available and bespoke enquiries are always welcome. Thank you.

Streamcombe Farm B&B and Cookery School



TA22 9SA



01398 323775

Find us on facebook, follow us on twitter @StreamcombeFarm

Where to stay: The Bark House on the southern edge of Exmoor

Discover the hidden treasures of greater Exmoor from the Exe Valley and the Bark House
A place where you can enjoy a traditional Devon welcome, where cream teas and dinners are served in cosy, cottage style surroundings. Every assistance is given to enable you to get the best from your stay, and to discover those corners of Exmoor and the West Country that appeal to you.

Enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the Bark House, in the comfortable lounge with open fire, where tea is served and a place to meet other guests, or enjoy mulling over the day. Breakfast and dinners are cooked to order with dishes using local produce from Bampton’s butcher, the local farm shop, and travelling fish monger.

Within easy reach of the Bark house is Anstey Moor and Winsford Hill, Dulverton and Bampton, National Trust properties of Piles Mill and Knightshayes Court, and some great places for horse riding, fishing, water sports, and walking. The Exe Valley is an excellent base to visit sites of historic interest such as Raddington Church, Sweetworthy, Tarr Steps locally, or further afield to Exeter, Dartmoor, and Hartland.

The Bark House is located in the Exe Valley, just south of Dulverton on the A396, and about 20 minutes from jct 27 on the M5. There is ample parking and we will help with baggage. Guests are welcome to bring their dog and there is an area for exercise.

The Bark House
Oakford Bridge
EX16 9HZ

01398 351236



Twitter                 –        @barkhoubandb
News and Views    –  http://thebarkhouse.wordpress.com/
Walks and visits    –   http://barkhousebandb.blogspot.co.uk/

The Walking Book Club

Love reading? Love Walking? Then this book club is for you!



“Join us at 2pm on Saturday 27th April for an amble in the woods and to discuss the month’s selected book.​ We shall depart from Number Seven in Dulverton, allow approx two hours, wear stout footwear; happy dogs are welcome!”


Visit  the Number Seven website  to choose one of the three titles pictured below. A more detailed synopsis is available over at the Chapter Seven Blog post. To vote simply email the shop via their contacts page. You may also send in suggestions for later sessions. The selected book will be announced at the end of March – which allows you plenty of time to relax and read!

Circus Picnic Pilgrimage


Future dates for your 2013 Diary

Saturday 27th April​ – Saturday 25th May​ – Saturday 29th June​ – Saturday 27th July​​ – Saturday 31st August​ – Saturday 28th September​ – Saturday 26th October​ and Saturday 30th November