Yesterday we took down the banner at the Yeo Dale Hotel that has been such an influential symbol of our campaign.
We did not take the banner down because the battle is over. It needs cleaning, and some small repairs. It will go into storage for a while, but the moment it is needed again, it will go up once more. It will then, like the “Watch for Orange” posters be a quick way of sending out an alert to everyone. We would like to repeat our thanks to Paul and Sarah at the Hotel for their wonderful support.
Other signs and posters around Pilton may come down, for the same reason, but new ones will go up, because we want to make sure that the message is clear to everyone – we have not saved Manning’s Pit yet, and we will not give up until we have done so.
The Save Manning’s Pit Banner on the Yeo Dale Hotel has come down today. It needed a good clean, and it is going to be stored, ready and waiting in case another application comes in.
Here’s a photograph of the Banner as it was, there will more photographs showing how we took it down with a little bit of a ceremony at noon today, coming soon.
We want to express our most grateful thanks to Sarah and Paul, who run the Hotel.
And most important of all, we want to make clear to everyone that the battle to Save Manning’s Pit isn’t over yet.
In Martin Kemp’s wonderful film “The Magic of Manning’s Pit” Chris Bulpett talks about the fields containing memories of those who are no longer with us. Many of those who have contacted us during our two and a half year (so far) campaign have talked about parents or family members who had loved Manning’s Pit while they were alive. They often say as well how much being in Manning’s Pit has helped their grieving process.
As Chris mentioned after the showing of the film at our Party, Jane Hare, who appeared in the film (talking about the osprey), died suddenly, not long after its first showing. She is still greatly missed. Lance Housley, who had also been a very good supporter of our campaign, died a few days before the party, and we have put a tribute to him on the website. You can read it here.
We had a party Saturday night to say thank you to all those who have supported the Save Manning’s Pit campaign over the two and a half years since it started. Summix have withdrawn their planning application, but they still own Manning’s Pit, and may have other plans for it, we do not know as yet. At the same time, it seemed a good time to have a small “thank you” party. The big one will happen when we know – we hope, one day – that Manning’s Pit is safe for ever.
As small parties go, it was quite a big one, and a fantastic time was had by all of us. Everyone enjoyed seeing Martin Kemp’s wonderful film “The Magic of Manning’s Pit” again on a big screen, and the icing on the cake was having Brian Norman and John Norman there for “The Battle of Manning’s Pit.” Tim Saunders recited his poem “Ode to the Setaceous Hebrew Character” ( you can read the full poem here ) which was written following a Moth Survey in Manning’s Pit by John and Mary Breeds of the Braunton Countryside Centre.
Kate Shaw read a couple of short poems, Binsey Poplars by Gerard Manley Hopkins and The Poplar Field by William Cowper. These poems, probably written in 1879 and 1773, expressed feelings about lost countryside that are as relevant now to all of us who care about the future of Manning’s Pit..
We all enjoyed ourselves and there was a fantastic amount of food and drink – Pilton people are just so generous! It was great to meet some new people as well. Here are some photographs, which show us us watching the films, the films and poems being introduced by our MC, Chris Bulpett, Kate Shaw reading her chosen poems, Bev Snowden and some of our fantastic team (including Cerys. Wendy, Joe, Jan and John) setting up beforehand, plus the ceremonial cutting by Christine Lovelock of the special and amazing chocolate cake made for the occasion by Jane Bulpett. Not a crumb was left!
Today we heard that the Planning Application for Manning’s Pit has been withdrawn! That’s a tribute to all the hard work and commitment that the community has put into opposing the application. So, to everyone who put a poster in a window, wrote a letter of objection, signed a petition, attended a march or protest, bought a cake from a coffee morning or just cheered us all on – give yourself a pat on the back.
However, delighted though we are at this news, let‘s not relax our guard just yet.
KEEP THOSE POSTERS UP
It’s too early to say whether the threat to Manning’s Pit has now totally disappeared or whether it will re-emerge in some new form. Hopefully, the situation will become clearer in the next few days. As soon as we know more we will let you know.
North Devon Gazette reports:
Dr Sandie Byrne is an Associate Professor in English Literature and Creative Writing and Fellow of Kellogg College, University of Oxford. She is the author of “The Unbearable Saki.” She also took part in the three hour Radio programme about Saki on Radio Four Extra. We are especially honoured by the fact that she has signed our petition.
Manning’s Pit is indeed the last part left of what Saki’s sister Ethel called “the countryside we loved.” There is a blue plaque on the wall of the house in Bellaire where Saki (H H Munro) lived as a boy. They don’t do blue plaques on fields, but if they did, Manning’s Pit should have one too, for its place in the development of his imagination.
This was in Pilton Parish Hall on February 24th, and it was very successful . There is still no date for when the application will go before North Devon Council’s Planning Committee. We had thought it might be in March, but it now looks as if it cannot be until April. So there wasn’t very much to tell people but it was still good to meet up with so many supporters again – and thanks to all of you who brought cakes as well as bought them!