Click here to see the river Teign at Fingle bridge in full spate! This was the river Teign along the Teign gorge on Monday 3rd at 14:30. The Christmas period had not been dry, so when there was a prolonged deluge of rain from Sunday night until Monday lunch time, this was the result. The meadow was now a water meadow, weirs disappeared under thunderous white water and we had a hairy moment driving along a section of path 23 inches underwater. The arches of Fingle Bridge came close to being enveloped but the tough old bird has undoubtedly seen worse than this. I frequently marvel at how well engineered the bridges around Dartmoor are, and by the looks this, a good thing to!

Paths, Picnics and Pubs

Now that summer is with us the vegetation begins to take over many of our footpaths, making some nearly impassable to all but the most thick skinned. It is at this time of year that we begin our annual round of path cutting to maintain the paths and provide good quality access around all of our properties. For many properties, particularly coastal ones, this is a major task occupying most of the summer, with miles and miles of footpath needing to be strimmed perhaps twice a year. Here in the Teign valley we come off somewhat better as most of our paths are within woods which makes them less likely to become overgrown as light levels are lower. Never the less we still have our fair share of path cutting to do. We have also recently undertaken the annual haircut of fingle bridge meadows, having waited for the majority of flowering plants to finish seeding.  These meadows are incredibly popular at this time of year, particularly at weekends, with people walking, cycling, horseriding, picnicing, paddling in the river or just enjoying the atmosphere from the safety of the nearby Fingle Bridge Inn’s beer garden next to the river (not National Trust owned). If you have never visited before, you can find Fingle Bridge about 1.5 miles from the village of Drewsteignton, which is signposted off the A30 between Exeter and Whiddon Down. Come and see for yourself.

Setting the Benchmark.

I have posted before on the use of our own Oak for structures within the Teign Valley. Here is the latest example during creation, a memorial bench soon to join others near Fingle bridge. We like to keep our benchs rustic and in keeping with the landscape around them. The Oak used was felled  last year as part of our woodland thinning to promote better woodland structure and improve species diversity. The piece of Oak is still very much “green” as this wood will never truly dry out (season) in the round (as a log), it needs to be cut or split to begin the drying process which is reckoned to be 3 years for firewood use. We use an “alaskan” sawmill attached to our largest chainsaw to cut slabs of timber from the log. In a couple of months you will be able to visit Fingle and try out this bench for yourself. Green Oak- coming to a bottom near you!

Going wild!

On Sunday the 6th March, we held the first of our “Wild Tribe” activity days at Fingle Bridge. The purpose of these days is to allow families to take part in various activities ranging from Bushcraft, Green woodwork and rural skills, Forest school and countryside management. Around 50 people turned up to our first event which was held at Fingle Bridge near Drewsteignton. Families tried out den building, fire lighting, nature walks, two-person saws, axes, green woodwork and more.

Wild Tribe will take place on the first Sunday of every month right through until October. Activities run from 10am until 3pm, costs are £2 for adults and £4 for children. Places can be booked by calling 01647 433356. Go wild with us!
Wild Tribe Fingle Bridge

Wild Tribe

Wild Tribe is a chance to experience, explore and learn about the countryside its wild life, traditions and pastimes.

On the first Sunday of every month in 2011, starting on the 6th March, there will be a Wild Tribe event on and around the Fingle Bridge meadows.

The vision is to help and guide families and young people who wish to develop their own relationship with the countryside. We can over time provide a wide range of activities all based around the National Trusts estate which will excite, stimulate and educate and be guided by the interests of the Tribe members themselves.

Woodland dayA group may have with a particular interest in say traditional woodland skills, another in natural history, another in wildlife watch, either live or by setting up web cams, families with young children may enjoy forest school, older children may like to set up a mountain bike course. Each group would be a part of the Tribe and could come together to share their experiences on Wild Tribe days. People will be encouaged to move between groups to widen their experience and enjoyment.

Over the first few months we will be setting up a number of activities for you and your family to try we hope then if we get feedback to tailor the events to the needs of the families attending.

There is no compulsion to ‘join’ anything and it will be fine to come to just occasional days, however if you want to make a regular commitment to attending Wild Tribe events then much more can be achieved over time. This will be especially true for children who can grow into areas of interest and develop new skills and experience.
To book places at the Wild Tribe day or to get further information please ring 01647 433356 and ask for Tom or 01626 834748 and ask for Mick. Or email mick.jones@nationaltrust.org.uk