What Manning's Pit means to us - poems, lyrics, personal comments and memories from those who love the Manning's Pit Fields... plus activities that have taken place in the fields.
Many more comments can be found on the North Devon Council website, where several hundred people wrote in to object to a proposed planning application for houses on Manning's Pit.
Three boys snowballing in Manning's Pit in 1951.
This photograph came from the Pilton Story Website.
The picture link shows the full photograph with a text,
explaining who the boys were.
|A poem from the 1940's by Brian Norman
We were especially thrilled to meet Brian himself at our first Exhibition. He told us the battle took place in about 1946, when he was a boy.
The Battle of Manning's Pit
Here is the tale of
One of blood and guts and gritshows Brian and John Norman together,
When, some years ago one August night
Two Pilton boys put up a fight.....
Read the full poem
Martin Kemp's film
(may be temporarily unavailable)
reciting the poem in Manning's Pit.
| Brian Norman's latest poem -
written in April 2018
| Manning's Pit
Past and Present... and Future?
When I think of Manning's Pit
There's one thing I must say
It takes me back to childhood
Where mates and I would play
With Manning's Pit and Tutshill Woods
And paddling in the stream
Is what we all enjoyed so much
And any childhood dream
Tim Saunders wrote this poem after an evening's Moth watching in Manning's Pit with John and Mary Breeds.
While we all knew Tim was an accomplished artist, we had no idea that he had another hidden talent.
Tim recited his poem on stage at our party in April 2018.
One of the moths found
Ode to the
Setaceous Hebrew Character
A letter of support that we received from Revd Dr Nigel Dilkes, Parish Priest of St. Mary's Church, Pilton,
following our application to have Manning's Pit made an Asset of Community Value.
He makes some very important points.
Message from the Revd Dr Nigel Dilkes
Knight, former Town Councillor (like Benjamin Manning)
and leader of the North Devon Green Party for many
years. He was also a teacher in Pilton for many years.
This an interview Ricky gave after our Protest March in December 2015. He describes how when he was courting his wife, they used to walk up into Manning's Pit.
The same story is told by so many couples, as in the film, The Magic of Manning's Pit.
The Manning's Pit Banner makes an appearance
in the 2017 Pilton Pantomime, to enthusiastic applause.
Will it appear again in 2018 ?
Yes! See below.
Annie Featherstone, Pilton Resident, has written this poem.
A Designated Site of Scientific Interest... The Bradiford Valley
Have the developers gone completely crazy?
Will an ecological murder be written in the script
NO, we will save our beloved Manning's Pit!
Horseshoe bats , midges, and worms that glow,
Larvae, dragon flies and meadow blues,
Bumbles bees, tawny owls , marbled whites,
Are they really to be buried in a concrete site?
Song birds will mourn, their demise, and their passing,
The destruction of habitats, from their generations lasting,
Swallows not feeding, nesting, and breeding,
From far away lands, lost on their returning.
Read the full poem
A.M, a local resident sent us this... she isn't the only one to voice such feelings following a loss.
When my dad died I don't know what I would have done without this walk.
I cried and talked to him out loud where no one could here me .
Twenty years we have had the pleasure of this beautiful place
and I feel so sad for our loss.
This photograph and text also came from the Pilton Story website.
In 1977, to mark the Queen's Silver Jubilee, a Men versus Women's football match was held in Manning's Pit, by kind permission of Mrs May. After the event, a barbecue was also held, down near Manning's Pit bridge.
Anne Beer, local artist, has written this for us.
To study the tiniest ladybird on a twig and then in one glance to be able to span the vast horizon and see Hartland, and then look over the dunes and estuary, what magic!
Then the joy of letting the dog sniff out a new adventure, a paradise of smells and a mudfull of muck! Meeting up with others or sometimes preferring to be “solo”, lost in though around the familiar yet ever changing beaten track of hundreds of visits.
Memories. The Acorn coffee I made, elderflower cordial, comfrey ointment, blackberry rose hip and sloe jelly, Alexander seeds ground up to make pepper, and the mushrooms.
Concrete sitting on top of our dreams and
memories? I hope not, but I thank God for what we
have enjoyed and pray for a miracle.
Anne (formerly Lovelock) Beer.
Dan Reynolds, former resident of Pilton
In the 1980s, several Easter events were held in Manning's Pit,
organised by the vicar.
They included egg pacing (Easter egg rolling) and
an egg decorating competition.
Read more here
Pilton Resident, and her children Megan and Oli
A rainbow over Manning's Pit - photo taken by Bev Snowden on a recent morning walk
Bev and her children write how they feel about Manning's Pit
"I would like to save Manning's Pit because it is exceptionally beautiful and special. We don't have any other green spaces that we can access easily in Pilton. People come from all over to enjoy it's peace and tranquility. Each time I walk there I see at least three or four other people. That's hundred of people a month who take pleasure in walking around and enjoying its fields, streams, trees and birds. Psychosocially this is so important to the people of Barnstaple and North Devon."
'Because Mannings Pit
is a beautiful place where we can be free and have
fun.' Megan Snowden age 12
Pilton Resident and John's sister.
Christine and Wendy Robinson founded the Friends of Manning's Pit campaign group in October 2015.
Christine's reasons for caring about Manning's Pit (written in October 2015 at the start of the campaign)
"A town is more than houses, it needs green spaces where people can walk and refresh their spirits. We need housing, but the most beautiful parts of our countryside and towns need to be protected, too. This is the most accessible countryside to the North and West of Barnstaple, the one place where you can walk away from traffic noise and enjoy peace and tranquility. These fields are part of our heritage, as important to us as Hampstead Heath and Primrose Hill are to Londoners. If the government relaxed planning laws in London so that those places could be built upon, what an outcry there would be!"
Coming shortly- locals sledging,
video from 2018
Wheneve it snows, it seems as if the whole of Pilton descends on Manning's Pit.
One of the best tales we've heard is the one about the vicar, back in the 60's,
who took an old framed oil painting off his wall, and used it as a sledge because he couldn't
find anything else more suitable.
Manning's Pit has been described as the "Cresta Run" of Pilton.
Locals enjoying the snow in
Manning's Pit 2010
Ray Bunting, Bradiford resident
Two sets of lyrics to use as chants when we March
What will we get if its sacrificed?,
Zsuzsa Reynolds, Pilton resident and one of the founder members of the Friends of Manning's Pit.
An artist who has visited Manning's Pit many times and put a painting in our 2017 Exhibition
Pilton Panto 2018
A resounding cheer went up each night when the Manning's Pit Banner appeared.
It goes without saying that virtually all of the cast support the campaign to save manning's Pit.
Our online and paper petitions.
Children on Manning's Pit bridge in the 1970s
Children playing by Manning's Pit bridge, 2016
Gymnastics in Manning's Pit
This little dog loves
(as does its owner)
Over 3400 people have signed our online petition, which has unfortunately had to be closed for technical reasons. If you have not been able to sign you can still send us your comments and endorsements to add to the list of signatures.
When we did our survey of Pilton and Bradiford we found that quite a large number of people preferred to sign a paper petition instead, and we have hundreds of signatures on that as well. The population of Pilton Ward is about 5000, but that of course includes children who have not signed, and perhaps elderly people who were too unwell to do so, so we can say wth some certainty that there are very few people in Pilton who do not want to save Manning's Pit.
There are so many comments that people have made that it would take ages to transcribe them all, but here are a few:
I'm signing up because my father (who is 90) used to watch the kingfishers there. My husband and brothers used to swing over the stream there as boys. I walk the dog there regularly. Manning's Pit is a Barnstaple treasure.
I've grown up in Pilton...In the 60s and 70s we had the freedom to play and explore in the fields, flying kites, tadpoling, picking wild flowers, laying in the grass looking up to the sky and enjoyning the nature around us.. a place for summer days, sitting on the wooden bridge with our legs dangling over throwng sticks in the steam, a beauty spot we were proud to show off and shared by many generations for hundreds of years...
T.S. Bishops Tawton
Manning's Pit has always been a favourite place to take my family on walks together. We even carved our names on the dead tree trunk by the swing because we loved it so much there...
...Manning's Pit is the therapy centre where we can all go to think and enjoy nature...
I used to go there as a child. So many residents in this town went there as children. I spoke to a taxi driver last week who was upset about it. He takes his children there as his parents took him there as a child....
..my daughter has just started her Duke of Edinburgh's award and the team use Manning's Pit as a training area, and it's really the only left close to the school..
Manning's Pit was a favourite playground during my childhood in the 1950s and it will break my heart to see it developed and despoiled. I visit the site often and it remains a special haven of peace.
T. H. Thornbury
I grew up with Manning's Pit as a place to go for walks, picnics, nature walks from our primary school and to play...
My scout grouphave been using Manning's Pit to have lots of fun and games and it would be a shame if it disappeared... B.C. Barnstaple
Of the many happy days and nights in the fiftys spent having fun with friends. .. Manning's Pit is so beautiful and natural... it must be saved for the children of the future
R.H Ramsbottom, UK
I spent many happy childhood days exploring Manning's Pit, Bradiford Water and adjoining Tutshill Woods. Enjoyed watching brown trout and sticklebacks lazing in the shaded waters... it shold be protected from such development.
J R, Plympton-Wyoming, Canada
My family and I have lived in this area all our lives. Although we no longer live in the Pilton area, we still love to return to Manning's Pit for a peaceful walk sometimes...it's such a necessary part of life and God given right to have these beautiful green open spaces in which to feel that one can breathe again away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life... a little piece of quiet in the magic that is Manning's Pit...
More comments to be added.