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.

A good way to spend lockdown…

Frost and fog on a November morning in Manning’s Pit

Going for a walk in Manning’s Pit is of course one way to cope with lockdown, and it can be very beautiful on a frosty morning. – but when it is dark and wet what better way of spending time could there be than writing a story to be entered in our new competition?

The Friends of Manning’s Pit are now launching their new Literary venture – the Saki Short Story Competition. Entries can be accepted any time after November 20th, and the last date for entries is June 30th, 2021. The Judges who will decide the winners are Sir Richard Eyre, James Lovelock and Peter Christie.

Read more about the compettion here:

A New Statement

As we enter the second lockdown we have put a new statement up on our website.

Here it is:

We have decided to call a halt to our fundraising efforts for now as we are able to access extra funds on top of the amount (£123,000) raised already. Thank you all for your magnificent efforts, every donation large or small has helped us on our way.

We remain in negotiations with the seller and ask you all to be patient as this is a long process. As soon as we have more news it will be posted here.

The donation links on the website remain live for the moment, but we are not asking for more donations at present.

The Children’s Poster Competition

With all the pressures of the Auction, this competition didn’t get the attention it deserved, but we had very worthy winners. Tansy Ward and Hope Gleeson shared the 7 – 16 years old Prize, while Jack Robery, age 3 won the under 6 competition. Well done to all of them.

Yo can see their photos and their posters on this page:

Window poster by Hope Gleeson, Joint First Prize winner.

Jack raises £561 for Manning’s Pit

(October 12 update – his fundraising page remains open and he plans to keep on walking, so you can still donate: )

As featured in this week’s North Devon Journal, three year old Jack Robery first came to Manning’s Pit with his mother, Marianne Hunt, about three weeks ago, and they fell in love with the place. When they heard Manning’s Pit could be sold and lost to the public, they decided to do a fund raising walk.

Here is Jack, entering Manning’s Pit for the first time through the Lynbro Road Kissing Gate entrance.

They set up a fund raising page for us about a week ago, and money came in fast. By around 11 oclock this morning Jack had passed his target of £500.

Jack arrives just after 12, dressed up in a Super Hero outfit, excited and ready to do his walk. Marianne, is just behind.

Before the start, Jack was presented with a prize by Friends Of Manning’s Committee Member Kate because he had also won First Prize in the 6 and Under Category of our Poster Competition.

Here he is, with his prize. More photos and information to follow. His fund raising page remains open and can be found here:

There were joint first prize winners in the older category of the Poster Competition. One of the joint winners, Hope Gleeson, wasn’t able to be there, but the other, Tansy Ward, came to receive her prize from Committee member Kate Shaw.

Here is Tansy, receiving her prize.

Jack was eager to start his walk, and he and Marianne set off down the hill towards Manning’s Pit bridge.

Going down to Manning’s Pit bridge

Marianne had also kindly donated a hamper of sweets to a Raffle so that each person who donated to Jack’s walk received one ticket into the Raffle. After spending some time on the bridge, watching the water rush by underneath – the river is higher than normal after all the rains we have been having – Jack was asked to pick a ticket out of the container. The owner of the winning ticket was Brian Mulholland.

Jack is about to pick the winning ticket out of the box…

Tansy and her brother Alex came down as well and the three children had a great time running around together. Tansy was only four when our campaign began, and now she is nine – let’s hope we have managed to buy Manning’s Pit before she is a teenager!

The sign Alex was holding up said something like: Jack, Manning’s Pit’s Own Super Hero

After the other children had gone, Jack’s grandfather turned up and here are the three of them:

Marianne, Jack and Jack’s grandfather/

We had thought this walk would be enough for a three year old, but it wasn’t enough for Super Hero Jack – just like our motto of Onwards and Upwards, he was soon up and running off to do a full lap of all the land that is for sale.

Here is Jack on the other side of the river, at the entrance of the rope swing field. Alongside him is John Lovelock, who did a sponsored walk for us back in January.

Our last photo shows Jack at the far end of the field, having finished a complete tour of the land that is for sale. Not a bad trek for a three year old! Let us all hope and pray that sometime soon this land will be owned for ever for the benefit of the wildlife and the people who love this very special place.

Marianne and Jack, at the furthest end of the field.

Jack has raised £561 so far, but his fundraising page is still open for donations, so please go it if you would like to add something more:

Or for more information about our campaign in general – go to