The Broomhill Estate

We are very excited to announce that the Broomhill Estate are sponsoring two extra prizes for our Saki Short Story Competition. These will both be local prizes, one for the best entry from a resident of North Devon, the second for the best entry from a resident of Pilton and Bradiford, the villages where Saki lived as a boy.

Bradiford Water, close to Manning’s Pit bridge.

As entries close on June 30th, make sure you don’t leave it too late to send in your story! Full details of how to enter are on our website,

The Broomhill Hotel and Sculpture Gardens are very well known locally, and Bradiford Water, the river that winds through these gardens, continues down the Bradiford Valley, through Blakewell, along beside Tutshill Woods, and across to Manning’s Pit. We believe this small river was in Saki’s mind when he wrote one of his most famous stories, Shredni Vashtar, and we like to think that the little plank bridge in the story is the one that is now known as the Manning’s Pit bridge.

Here is a link to more information about the Broomhill Estate:

The grinning shadow that sat at the feast.

Professor Tim Connell gave this lecture in 2006 on the 90th anniversary of Hector Hugh Munro’s death. Professor Connell is an Emeritus Foundation professor at City, University of London, and an honorary life fellow of Gresham College. He kindly asked Gresham College to send us this link to the video of the lecture, which is very worth watching.

Entries for our Saki Short Story Competition close on June 30th – we feel that we are already achieving our primary aim of raising awareness about Saki’s writing as stories and enquiries arrive from places from across the world.

The children who love Manning’s Pit

There are so many children who have been featured during our campaign. and here is another little girl having a good time in the fields. Lizzie doesn’t live in Pilton but she spent a happy week here visiting her grandparents. This tree trunk is all that is left of the fallen tree that was featured in our Equinox Walk.

Here is Lizzie on the tree trunk
Here you can see how much of the tree is left…

And here is the tree trunk as it was in March, with one of our most intrepid supporters climbing up on it.

Here she is in the Arctic, with her home made Save Manning’s Pit Flag.

What a beautiful spring it is again…

Just like last year, when we entered the first lockdown, the weather has been wonderful and the hours exercise we were all allowed then was when so many more local people realised quite how much it meant to them to have a nearby green space.

Here are a few photographs from this month:

The blackthorn blossom has been especially wonderful this April – later than last year, perhaps because of several cold snaps.
A violet peeping out among the wild garlic leaves and buds.
The cattle are back – these young heifers in the field nearest to Shearford Lane had temporarily lost their friends.

Spring Equinox Photos

What a lovely day it was, with supporters out in Manning’s Pit from Sunrise to Sunset yet again, demonstrating how much this small piece of countryside means to them all. As usual, this included all ages, from toddlers in their first years to the over 80s.

We have put up a slide show so that you can see how the day went, from the moment that John started his walk, as the sun came up, through all the hours of the day when the sun came out until the moment that Kate and Tim stood watching the sun go down over Bideford Bay to the West.

In the slide show you can see a little girl called Ivy, who came along with her pug Monty to do the final walk of a fundraiser she was doing to help another little girl called Esme (who is having chemotherapy.) We will post more about that next.

The Spring Equinox Walk

We’re sorry to be slow with our follow up, technical problems having to be sorted out, but meanwhile here are some photos of Mothers and Daughters who have supported our campaing since 2015, and came out again on Sunday.

Aria and Tansy beside the sign at the entrance to Manning’s Pit. Tansy was very much smaller when our campaign began! She won first prize in our Painting Competition at our Art Exhibition back in 2017 – see here:, and also in the Children’s Poster competition in 2020.
Lucy and Charlotte at the same sign last Sunday. Charlotte and her sister took a Save Manning’s Pit poster to Lapland back in 2016 –

Spring Equinox

Therre isn’t much we can do during the pandemic, but in the last year we have marked – or celebrated – the Summer Solstice, the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice by encouraging our supporters to show how much they care. From Sunrise to Sunset on each occasion, supporters have been out in the fields, socially distanced, making no fanfare, just quietly demonstrating how much they love Manning’s Pit. The same is happening today (a day late to be accurate, but we had reasons why it couldn’t be yesterday.)

This little robin came out to watch over us we prepared to start off on a walk.

A full set of photos will be shown later.

Happy New Year Everyone

It may have been cold this morning, but it was stunningly beautiful as the sun rose over a hard frost in the Manning’s Pit fields. Let us hope that this new year will bring good news in our campaign to buy Manning’s Pit and keep it safe for ever.

The Winter Solstice

We started marking the Solstices and Equinoxes in June, and today is the shortest day of the year. We chose the closest weekend day to mark this Equinox, and yesterday – Sunday 20th December – yet again there were supporters walking round the fields from the moment of Sunrise until the moment of Sunset.

The weather was both good and bad, with beautiful sunshine plus heavy showers at times. The highlight was a perfect rainbow over Manning’s Pit, that curved down into the field itself so that an unsuspecting walker appeared to walk right through it. Because of the rain, and an old camera it wasn’t possible to get a photo of that fleeting moment, but it was indeed a perfect moment.

As at the other Solstice, John Lovelock was the first to start walking and the photograph shows him looking East towards the Sunrise. It was darker than it appears in the photograph.
John looking at a gap in the clouds where another cloud caught a touch of the light from the rising sun.

Following on from weeks of rain it was very muddy indeed! Here are some more photographs – sometimes it was raining too hard to take any.

Another of our earlier walkers
This was an attempt to photograph a running supporter who went too fast and was gone before the camera was out of its case!
Another walker sets off in a shower of rain

Then there was the beautiful rainbow….

This was just the beginning of the rainbow but shows the colour

This shows more of the rainbow but the photograph wasnt so good because of the rain and it wan’t possible to get a good one of the rainbow actually arching down into the field.
It was sunny again and a walker looks back from the bridge beyond Manning’s Pit after walking through the fields. This bridge is on the footpath that leads to Tutshill Woods.
Leo’s owner came with festive sparkly earrings – you can just see them if you look closely
Leo loves Manning’s Pit and doesn’t care how wet it is.
Another walker ready for the off… and the sun was shining again.

A couple of photos sent next are not uploading properly so until we fix the problem we’ll continue with the later ones. Dusk was approaching early and it was getting damper and colder.

John was out again – dressed in more festive style now_ and he joined Robin at the end of his walk.
It’s darker and colder and Richard and Katie are well wrapped up for their walk.
It isn’t obvious in the photo but we were holding candles (in jars) as the dusk drew in – and Carols begain to play from somewhere behind us in Lynbro Road to add to the festive mood.
Tim, our Treasurer, was the last walker to do a leg of the fields, and he too brought a candle with him,

We would have liked to make a special occasion of the finish, with mulled wine and mince pies and a bigger crowd, but with the news the day before about the new variant of the virus it wasn’t right to do that. Even so, as dusk came down on Manning’s Pit, and Christmas lights began to twinkle in the distance on houses bordering the fields (as well as some striking ones over at Anchor Mill) we were glad we had had our small socially distanced event. We all hope that this time next year it will be different. Until then our message has to be, keep safe, and keep your fingers crossed for our campaign and our hopes to buy Manning’s Pit.