The Queen of Seaweed

This week, two of us went on a little tour of Ilfracombe and Braunton, delivering Poetry Competition leaflets. We visited Ilfracombe Library (which has what is probably the best view from its windows of any Library in England) the Lantern Theatre and the Tourist Information Centre there, an interesting Arts and Crafts Gallery, and Ilfracombe Museum, where we were told about Amelia Griffiths, the “Queen of Seaweed” a wonderful woman scientist who was born in Pilton in 1768. She lived there until her marriage when she was about 25, and while we do not know this for sure, she was very likely to have walked in the fields that are now known as Manning’s Pit.

You can find out more about her here:

Everywhere we went, people already knew about our campaign, which was a testament to the power of all those signs and posters. So keep putting up new ones and refreshing the old, and remember the Yeo Dale Hotel sign may be down at the moment but it can go up again in a flash if a new application comes in to the Council.



The Inaugural Manning’s Pit Poetry Competition

We are very excited to announce the launch of our new Poetry Competition – see the Title above. This Competition is not just limited to local writers, but open to anyone, anywhere. All you have to do is write a poem – it can be about Manning’s Pit, but if you live further afield it could be about a threatened piece of countryside near to where you live.

One of the first people to sign our petition was the well known London poet, Julia Bird.   Julia has in fact visited Manning’s Pit many times, and we are very proud to announce that she is going to judge the competition for us.

More information and details of how to enter can be found at this link on our website. The entry fee is £3 per poem, but for children aged 18 or under entry is free. Entries close on 30th November 2018, and we look forward to receiving plenty of entries!


Julia Bird


Important News

if you spoke to us at the Green Man Festival you probably know this already, but we have two items that we are making public.

Firstly, following the withdrawal by Summix Ltd of their application to build on the Manning’s Pit fields, our solicitor wrote to them to say that we were interested in purchasing the land. That was April. Three months later, there has still been no reply to that letter, which is an obvious reason why we presume the threat to Manning’s Pit has not gone away. So keep refreshing your posters and make sure that everyone knows we have not won the battle yet!

Secondly, we have asked North Devon Council to have Manning’s Pit listed as an Asset of Community Value. If this listing is successful, it will mean that if the owners (Summix Ltd) want to sell the land, local community groups will have up to six months to prepare a bid to try and buy it on the open market.

This does not give complete protection because after six months Summix Ltd can still sell to whoever they choose, but we feel this is also an important way of marking how much Manning’s Pit means to the local community.

You can read more about the Community Right to Bid here:

Green Man Day and the sun shone!

After the last two years, when both times it rained for the whole of the day, it was wonderful to have sunshine following a wet night. We were even grateful for some of the cloudy intervals, as it can get very hot in Pilton Street on a sunny day.

We had a great day, chatting to so many people. The Tree of Love for Manning’s Pit was very much a success, a special thanks to Wendy for the idea, to Chris for making the trunk, and to Bev for making it beautiful.  The first leaflets for our Poetry Competition were on display and some exciting contacts were made – more to follow soon on this.  Here are some photographs, taken while we were setting the stall up:

Shrouds of the Somme

There is an Exhibition in Exeter at Northenhay Gardens called The Trench – the Missing of the Somme. Among the list of names of the fallen is that of H H Munro (Saki.)  This is part of the Shroud of the Somme Artwork.

The family who now live in Saki’s house found his name on the Roll of Fallen at the Shrouds of the Somme exhibition. They sent us these photographs below:

Satish Kumar

Satish Kumar has signed our petition. We are very grateful to him for this! He is an eminent environmental and peace activist who lives in Hartland, not too far away from Manning’s Pit by car, although it would take a day at least to walk there if you took the coastal path.

Satish is the Editor of Resurgence and Ecologist Magazine, and most famous for a walk that he did back in 1962, from India to Europe. He has made many media appearances – including Desert Island Discs – and is an author as well.

You can read more about Satish here: