Spotted in Manning’s Pit recently….

Not a bellowing of bullfinches, a charm of goldfinches, or a parliament of owls, but something more exotic – a Stanza of poets, seeking inspiration for our Poetry Competition.

What is a Stanza?  Well, according to Google it is ‘a group of lines forming the basic recurring metrical unit in a poem; a verse.’  It is also – however – a poetry group run by Poetry Society members. You can read more at this link:

We were very pleased to meet members of the Poetry Society’s North Devon Stanza on their recent visit to Manning’s Pit, and they seemed to find their visit inspiring. Several poets commented on the wonder of finding such a beautiful spot so close the town, and the importance of having a place that town dwellers could walk to without the need of a car.  Some of them have already started on their poems, so we look forward very much to the results of the competition.


This photograph shows some of the poets at the entrance to Tutshill Woods, and includes (from the right) Mark Haworth Booth, Pat Millner, Frances Corkey Thompson and (fifth from the right) Pat Glover, along with accompanying non-poets.  All those named are award-winning poets (see links below)

Pat Glover:

Frances Corkey Thompson:

Pat Millner

Mark Haworth Booth


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: