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 manningspit@gmail.com 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.

Late Summer News

The Coffee morning was a success and we raised a good amount to help with funds going forward. We have been quiet otherwise, with many of our members away over the summer. The fields are baked dry, far browner than normal but hopefully the small amount of recent rain will help to rejuvenate the grass.

There was some drama on Saturday August 13th when the entrances to the fields were blocked by the police and during a long and very hot afternoon a number of armed policemen were patrolling Manning’s Pit and the adjacent fields and woods. Helicopters also circled incessantly overhead and local residents were understandably nervous. In the end, the suspect was apprehended, and the police vacated the area, to eveyone’s relief. For a while it had felt as if we were in an episode of Line of Duty! We don’t have very much more information about the incident as of now, but hopefully have good reason to be grateful for the police action.

The area by the Manning’s Pit bridge is almost clear of brambles now, and grass is spreading across the bare earth. We hope that by next summer it will be back to the way it once was. A little more work will be needed still and we will be putting out a call for more volunteers to help with that soon

Our Next Coffee Morning

The date – Saturday August 6th

The time – 10am to 1 pm.

The place – Pilton Church Hall in Pilton Street.

We look forward to seeing all of you who can make it, and perhaps meet some new supporters as well.

Here is a photo of the Church Hall, back in the long ago pre-pandemic days when we were campaigning to save Manning’s Pit from a planning application. We are always grateful to the Church Hall for their support.

Thank you

A big thank you to our stalwart volunteers who have been clearing the area by the bridge. There will be more work to do, but eventually this will be a pleasant grassy area as it used to be in earlier years. For now, we are all going to relax and enjoy our Jubilee Weekend.

The nettles are nearly gone. This was last night, before we finished at the pub. More people came than were in the photograph (for the work, not the drinks!)
Monday night.
This was an earlier evening, all the work being done carefully to protect wildlife and and any specail plants. Merlin the dog did his best to be very helpful, but didn’t always understand what we were trying to do. He has been one of the campaign stars from the very start of our campaign to save Manning’s Pit back in 2015.

More help wanted – update – Tuesday evening, 31st May

Help wanted again.

Call for volunteers Tuesday night.

Meet at Windsor Road gate at 6.45 pm as before, and bring good gloves, bucket, loppers, forks, secateurs etc if you can. 

We will be attacking the final nettles and bramble stems left over from the big trim earlier in the year – in the end we want this area to become again the grassy bank where families used to sit by the river.

A big thank you to those who came on previous evenings – let’s finish the job!

The Friends of Manning’s Pit

If you know for sure you can come, even if only for a short time, it would help if you could let us know.

Here are Gary, Angela and Barry, about to set off down to the bridge area. on Thursday evening. Thanks to all who came along then.

Thursday 19th May

Help wanted this Thursday if you are fit enough for a little weeding and so on – meet at the Windsor Road Gate at 6.45 pm for instructions. Bring good gloves, forks, secateurs and buckets if you can as well, but come anyway if you don’t have all of that. You don’t have to stay long if you can’t manage more than a short time, every little bit of help is valued!

The Wildflower Walk

A small crowd of about 30 people turned up on Sunday 15th to take part in this walk with Mary and John Breeds. Mary and John set up the Countryside Centre in Braunton and have a wealth of knowledge about wild plants, flowers and wildlife too.

It was a fascinating tour of both the open fields – brimming with buttercups and the more delicate white pignut flowers – and the wooded and scrub areas down by the river.

Looking down on the buttercups:

Not all our photos turned out well, but Martin Hadrill who came along also took his own and sent us these below:

The group assembles at the top of the hill, and Mary introduces herself.
In the undergrowth by the river, with Mary in the centre of this small group, examing a plant.

A Damsel fly on some Himalayan Balsam.
Looking at the brilliant habitat on the fallen oak.