A kind of Open Day…

We did have plans for a big celebration, but decided instead to defer that to the spring or summer next year. Instead we simply spread the word that we would be there in the fields today from 2-4 pm to answer questions and say hello to new supporters. Then it began to drizzle and we almost cancelled the plan, but by 2pm the sun had come out again, and we had a lovely afternoon chatting to people who turned up.

We didn’t manage to photograph all the groups who came through, but here is a nice photo of some of us near the Windsor Road entrance. It was especially lovely to see Steve and Sheila Pitcher back in Pilton again for a visit. Steve was a very important member of our Committee during the crucial planning battles, and we owe him a great debt of gratitude.
Here are Teresa who owns alpacas, Christine who ran our dog show and Katie our seceretary having a chat about fund raising ideas. Teresa made some interesting suggestions!
Finally here is John with our wonderful supporters Robin and Susan, while some other long time supporters, the Townend family, walk off into the distance. Many other new and old supporters came along during the afternoon, and we enjoyed chatting with them all.

Entry at last!

Following the celebratory sip of bubbly, the plan was for Wendy, assisted by Twinkle, to cut the tape, but she decided that as her husband Joe was one of those who built the gate, it would be most special for their grandchildren to do the honours.

Joe and Wendy’s grandchildren cut the tape. (photo by Jim D N Smith)
The children are asked forward by their grandparents. Photo by G H

We would like to thank Pearce Constructions for their support in licensing access to Manning’s Pit from Windsor Road, and to Tozers and Wollens for their assistance in enabling this to happen.

It completes the wonderful achievement by all the local community and supporters from across the world. Together – in the words of Ryan Voules whose poem inspired us all – we have saved Manning’s Pit.

Local residents are finally able to enter Manning’s Pit from the main access to the field. Photo by Jim D N Smith

Grand Gate Opening Cerenomy

There will be more to come later, including photos of Wendy and the children cutting the tape, but here for now are photographs of the team enjoying a well-earned glass of bubbly.

By the main gate, now moved forward into the field to provide better access.
Gary, Jim, Barry, Joe and Chris – all the talents! Kissing gate designed by Chris, and tested out this morning by a mother and child in a pushchair – it worked, of course.

Work began today on the Windsor Road gate

Our maintenance team turned up in force this morning under the leadership of Chris Bulpett to begin work on the new gate. They are going to move the original gate back and add a kissing gate as well so that pedestrians can access the field again at last.

Here they are arriving…
Carrying equipment in
Working out where everything is to go.

Thank you everyone

There are so many people we would like to thank, and we hope you all know how grateful we are. We have been very quiet since the announcement made on June 20th for several reasons. The photograph below shows some of you in the field on the day of the announcement.

One reason for being quiet is that – frankly – we have worked very hard for nearly six years (since we heard the news in September 2015 that Manning’s Pit was for sale) and we needed a break.

Another reason was that there remained some problems to sort, most especially the access into Manning’s Pit from Windsor Road. This problem has now been resolved and, as soon as our volunteer maintenance team are back from their holidays, work will begin on a proper entrance, so that – at long last – there will be easy pedestrian access there again.

Thirdly, and perhaps most important, we don’t need to be in a hurry. Throughout our campaign, the message has always been that we want to keep Manning’s Pit as it is, a part of our rural heritage, allowing access for the public at the same time as protecting the wildlife.

We will need to raise an amount of money going forward, to cover various costs such as Insurance, but this will be nothing like the amount we needed to raise before. With Covid still around, especially in Pilton and North Devon, we are taking this carefully too, and while we long to start up our Coffee Mornings again, we are being careful for the moment. All suggestions are welcome, as are volunteers, so if you would like to be more involved, email us at manningspit@gmail.com.

Here we are under the Yeo Dale Banner

L to R: Clare, Helen, Chris, Jane, Cerys, Harit, John, Christine, Kate, Sarah, Tim, ? Paul, Sarah and Paul’s son, Wendy, Mark, Asha, Paul, Karen.
Thanks to Chris and Lynda for the addition to the banner saying Purchased. And so very many thanks to Sarah and Paul for allowing us to hang our banner on their hotel balcony.