A Saxon King’s Treasure Horde

Anglo saxon Workshop at Castle Drogo

Judith Richardson-Dawes is running a workshop at Castle Drogo near Chagford on Tuesday 11 October between 11am and 4.30pm.  The workshop is a unique chance to discover the fantastic jewellery found in the Saxon Ship Burial at Sutton Hoo.

Participants will create their own unique artwork based on Anglo Saxon treasures!   Participants will gild their work with gold!

The workshop is suitable for all abilities and costs £35.00 per person.  This does include lunch, coffees and teas.  Expert tuition and fine materials provided.  Book your place on 01647 434144.




As I mentioned in last weeks blog Sunday 2nd October I will see me taking part in the National Trusts penultimate cycling sportive this year. Go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cycling/ for full details. I’ve always enjoyed riding bikes and had the good fortune to cycle all over the country but Devon and in particular Dartmoor are my favorite.  The National Cycle Network route 27 runs north to south down the west side of the moor and is an endless succession of stunning views, interesting places, great ridding and a host of National Trust properties!  These include Lydford gorge, Buckland Abbey, Plymbridge woods and Saltam House.  Plymbridge Woods is perhaps the best introduction to this route, for more details see http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-plym_cycle_trail.pdf. Next weeks blog: tour of Britain comes to Dartmoor!


Lost in Translation

This year sees the NT host a number of cycling sportives across the country at various properties. Distances range from a few miles, to more testing 50-100 mile rides. Parke Estate at Bovey Tracey will  be this years penultimate challenge on the 2nd October.

I’ve been messing about on bikes since I was a kid and decided I was up for a challenge; that was until I had my first bonk! Yes bonking, clearly an american term spawned by those unschooled in the art of ‘carry on’ films. Bonking is what cyclists call hypoglycaemia which is the medical term for abnormally low levels of blood glucose.

Sniggering aside I would not wish it on anyone. I was out training with 10 miles to go when my body virtually shut down. I began to shake uncontrollably, sweat profusely and felt dizzy. But it was when I started having heart palpitations that I really began to worry. Easily the worst day I’ve had on a bike, ever.

It was all my own fault of course, next time I’ll follow the old mantra; eat before you’re hungry, drink before you’re thirsty. Look out for my next installment on Friday.

For more details about taking part click on this link http://www.andycookcycling.com/andy-cook-sportives/national-trust-sportive-castle-drogo/

Wild Tribe

Phil Ireland NT Ranger checks the catch

Our latest Wild Tribe event took place on the meadows at Fingle Bridge with rivers as a theme.

Starting with river dipping everybody got into delving and scooping, kick sampling and looking under stones. All the effort resulted in a good range of river life, Stone fly larva, blood worms, Caddis fly larva, Whirligig beetles, Phil swears he caught two baby trout ‘but they got away’ we have all heard that one before. Gail Parker and her family can be seen in the photo getting ready to look at their catch under the microscopes.

While this was going on some of the children were den building and doing wood sculpture as well. Mums and Dads got involved while being  kept  topped up with tea and coffee.

Lunchtime came with baked potatoes, and sausages cooked on the open fire.

Taking a break from walking the plank. Photo by Ed Mash

After that we laid out a ‘river ‘ on the grass and the task was to cross without falling in. Lots of materials were supplied ropes, planks,barrels, logs etc and everybody had a great time engineering different ways across. Large amounts of rope were strung between trees and imaginative rope slides constructed. Luckily we used a dry river or everybody would have got very wet and the life guards would have been busy.

As everybody was into the rope slide one of the fathers suggested we do a proper one, so we did, Steve Philips ranger at Lydford gorge, where they use allot of ropes and stuff, delved into his land rover.

The result abseil rope, blocks and tackle, snatch block and an old motorbike tyre a bit of ingenuity, skill and experience and lo and behold a rope slide.

Who wants the first go? Photo by Ed Mash

We sent Godfrey down it first to check the safe working load and then the kids all took turns to pull each other up and whizz down to the landing area. A few families just walking the area came and joined in and left their details so that they can be contacted about the next Wild Tribe.

The weather was much better than forecast with lots of sun while a few sharp showers came and went almost unnoticed

The day ended with the usual toasted marshmallows.

The next Wild tribe is on Sunday 4th September. To book or get more info email tom.wood@nationaltrust.org.uk or ring 01647433356 and leave a message if no reply.


A day with the nocturnal animals!

Pupils find a badger print

Leigham Primary School visited Plym bridge woods last week to see what nocturnal animals they could find.

Following a talk in school by the ranger, the children began their day by tracking a trail of clues left by nocturnal animals. The animals had been busy during the night leaving tracks and droppings which the children identified using their key of animal prints and facts they had learnt in school.

As well as listening out for the sounds of owls, the children also had the opportunity to look at badger, fox and hedgehog skulls and investigate the results of a night’s moth trapping.

In the afternoon they had a  chance to become a moth in a preditor prey game before visiting the Peregrines and a spot of bird watching.

Back at school the year 2 children will be reporting on their findings as part of their Literacy and Science curriculum.

Our very own ‘Wild Tribe’ complete 10 Tors

As an organisation we want to be as well known for our work in the countryside as we are for our work with our houses and gardens. We also want to appeal to all sections of society regardless of age.

To that end we have spent the last 6 months preparing for the Dartmoor 10 Tors Challenge organised and run by the Army. This year for the very first time we had our own team ‘National Trust Wild Tribe’. The team consisted of 3 girls and 3 boys aged 14-15. They set off on saturday morning at 7am and completed a course which included Sourton, Kitty, Lynch, Great Mis, Black, Beardown, Higher White, Sittaford (where they camped) Hound and Shilstone Tors before returning to Okehampton camp. They carried full kit including camping gear, cooking equipment and food. Their course was 35 miles as the crow flies and I guess they went around 40 miles in 28 hours – total respect!

Amazing – well done and thanks to Freddie (Team Leader), Emma, Harley, Annie, Laurence and Jasmine.

You can read more and see additional photos about Wild Tribe on my blog here.

The National Trust are really grateful to Paul, Team Manager at the Maynard School Exeter, Nigel, Team Manager at Torquay Girls’ Grammar School and Peter, Team Manager at Torquay Boys’ Grammar School for all their help in mentoring us this year. Without their help, guidance and advice there would have been no Wild Tribe. Thanks finally also to the Army to organising the event and letting us join in.

Wild Tribe

Our latest Wild Tribe event took place on Sunday at its new site near Fingle Bridge. I felt that the site on Fingle meadow was good but in the busier summer months would be difficult with lots visitors about and would not be very ‘wild’.
The new site up in the woods is far more private and sheltered it is a short walk from the car park at Fingle Bridge and offers great views, a small stream to one side and bags of potential. Sounding a bit like an estate agent sorry.
But seriuosly it will enable us to build semi permanent structures, like the fire site and will give great scope to develop future activities. We will initially do some work to create flat areas for activities and then the Tribe can make it their own.
This week the weather was annoying cool and wet, not very wet but enough to make us dash to the shelter every now and then.
In spite of this we had a great day with den building, some excellent wood sculptures were made using a variety of tools and media (see below) two tribe members lit their own fires and baked their own potates in them. Sausages and baked potatoes were cooked over and open fire for lunch and marshmallows were toasted later. Se all had fun and everybody went home damp but ladend with things they had made.

Beware this crocodile is still lurking in the woods




Unfortunately there is not enough memory available on the blog to put all the work in.
If your familly would like to get involved in Wild Tribe with the next event being held on the 5th June contact Tom on 07812974512. We can offer something to famillies with children up to about 16

Lydford Gorge Wild Tribe Meets for the First Time

On Wednesday 13th April children from the Lydford area met Rangers at Lydford Gorge for some exciting activities. The morning was spent in Cammo clothes playing ‘Robbers on the Run’ and in the afternoon the group made brushwood shelters. The next date for Lydford Wild Tribe has been set for Sunday 15th May at 10am-2pm when families will be using hand tools to make woodland sculptures from ‘green’ wood. Meeting at the main entrance of the gorge. To book please telephone 01822 822005 or email: adrian.shaw@nationaltrust.org.uk  Cost of the Wild Tribe day will be £4 per child and £2 per adult.

Easter & Birthday Celebrations at Plymbridge

Over a hundred children descended on Plymbridge Woods to take part in the National Trust’s annual Easter Egg Hunt. This year the trail was set along the old canal tow-path and the finish was at Carpenter’s Meadow. After the children completed the trail and collected their Cadbury’s chocolate egg, we had lots of activities for them to enjoy.

Easter Bonnet making (pictured) proved very popular; as did the Bumble-bee game, created by Plym Valley’s volunteers.

The event was combined with the Plym Valley Peregrine project’s 10th birthday celebrations. At the peregrine stall, children made bird-feeders using empty milk bottles and we had to bring in an additional bag of bottles to meet the high demand! Plym Valley’s bird expert, John Randall, led some free guided walks and the viaduct received over 500 visitors, all keen for a glimpse of a peregrine through one of the project’s telescopes.

The Herald took an interest in the event, their article can be read here.

Well done to all the volunteers and staff who made the day such a success!