The RAF Community Plate

On Monday May 15th the Mayor of Barnstaple, Cllr Louisa York presented the RAF Community Plate to our Chair, Christine Lovelock, who accepted it on behalf of the Friends of Manning’s Pit. This was a great honour and we were all very proud to be there, especially as we have such fond memories of a meeting of the Town Council Planning Committe members in this same building back in 2017 when they were unanimous in their recommendation that the application to build 41 houses on Manning’s Pit should be refused.

Cllr Gary Kennedy read out a short summary of the reasons why we were chosen, and later a larger photograph was taken with some of our committee, including Treasurer Tim Saunders, former Secretary and Maintenance Team founder, Chris Bulpett, former Treasurer, ZsuZsa Reynolds, and present Secretary Katie Martin, along with supporters, maintenance team members, and Martin Haddrill representing the Green Man CIO. We are all so grateful to every single person who helped us save Manning’s Pit.

Here are local people queuing up on a cold February night back in 2017 to support us and the Town Council in recommending refusal for planning permission for 41 houses in Manning’s Pit.

When the going gets tough…

We keep going. A stalwart group of supporters joined us under our gazebo and we raised a glass to celebrate a special weekend and the power of volunteering. Our volunteers couldn’t do much work in the rain – most jobs weren’t suitable in the wet – but some important weeding was done and we signed up a number of new volunteers for the future. A big thank you to all who came out despite the weather.


 Hi everyone,

Tomorrow – May 8th – is our Big Help Out Day, from 10 am to 4pm and we look forward to seeing you there. Despite the drizzle yesterday, there was an amazing turnout for the Coronation, and we’re sure that we’ll have a great day tomorrow, rain or shine.

Although the conditions may not be ideal, we’ll still be meeting at the Windsor Road Gate at 10 am. We may not have as many tasks for our helpers, but we’d still love for you to join us and catch up with friends. Plus, a little rain won’t stop us from getting some exercise and fresh air!

Let’s face the weather with determination and show our commitment to Manning’s Pit. Even if it’s not the perfect day, every bit of effort counts towards preserving this beautiful area.

Hope to see you tomorrow.

The Friends of Manning’s Pit

May 8th

We are excited to invite you to our Big Help Out day on Monday, May 8th, as part of the Coronation weekend celebrations. You can learn more about similar events taking place across the country by visiting

Our gathering at Manning’s Pit will be an intimate event, as the location is small with no car park and not suitable for large crowds. However, that doesn’t diminish the importance of our efforts. As E.F. Schumacher, the inspiration behind an ecological college in South Devon, once said, “Small is beautiful.” We believe that our small contribution to maintaining these special fields is just as valuable.

We hope to see you at the Windsor Road entrance, where we’ll be stationed under a gazebo throughout the day. Even if you can only join us for a short time, your presence will be greatly appreciated. If you’d like to help with tasks such as weeding, please bring gardening gloves and a fork or a similar implement. If you’re unable to assist with maintenance now, don’t worry – you’re still welcome to join us and learn about other ways you can contribute in the future.

We wish you a joyful Coronation weekend and look forward to seeing you on Monday, May 8th.

The RAF Community Plate to be awarded this year to the Friends of Manning’s Pit.

This is exciting news for us all, and it will be presented in May by the Barnstaple Town Council. This award was presented to Barnstaple Town Council by RAF Chivenor in 1974, and is presented each year to the individual or group thought by the Council to have made a contribution to the community of Barnstaple.

We will have more to say about this, of course, but for now we simply want to say what an honour it is.

Happy Christmas

We wish all our supporters a very happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year.

The Festive Christmas Coffee morning was a great success, despite the freezing cold and icy pavements that made it difficult for some of our less mobile supporters to come along. The mulled wine and hot chocolate, Christmas music and decorated Church Hall all added to the sense of cheer, and as always it was lovely to see so many old and new friends.

Here are a few photographs in a slideshow. As you can see, we nearly all kept our coats on despite the heating being on, but the cold didn’t stop people enjoying themselves. It is wonderful knowing that Manning’s Pit is safe from development. We don’t have to raise money to purchase it anymore, but we do need to maintain it going forward, and we are always looking for new volunteers, so don’t hesitate contacting us if you would like to help, in any way.

Hedgerow trees

The Woodland Trust have kindly given us 30 native hedgerow trees, most of which will produce fruits in the autumn for the wildlife. The area by the Manning’s Pit bridge used to be a lovely open grassy spot but had gradually become a dense thicket of tangled brambles. While we wanted to restore it to its previous state we were aware of the fact that we had removed both protection and food for the wildlife, so we have done something to redress the balance. Despite the wet weather, our hardy team of volunteers spent last Monday morning planting these trees to make a lovely hedge that will not only provide winter fruit but give future protection to wildlife at the edge of the woodlan behind. The trees include Hazel, Hawthorn, Dogrose, Dogwood and Crab Apple. A few saplings left over were used also to fill gaps in the hedge at the top of the fields.

Here are the first couple of photos, showing some of the volunteers turning up, despite the weather. More helpers arrived shortly afterwards.

Autumn Update

Our volunteers have been busy in the last month, and the area by the bridge is now almost grassed over, looking more like it did in years gone by.

We are always looking for more volunteers, especially as some of us who worked so hard during the long campaign to save and buy Manning’s Pit are beginning to feel our age. It was great to see some younger people come along on a recent Monday and we will be having weekend work parties soon as well.

If you would like to help in any way: please email or Message our Facebook Page.

Here are some helpers assembling near the Manning’s Pit gate on a recent Monday morning (two or three more helpers turned up after this photograph was taken). Many thanks to you all.