raised in our Buy Manning's Pit Appeal - these
are updated regularly when cheque, BACs, cash
and online donations have been added together.
- £60,689.50 Sunday
have an extra £2000 pledged.
Since we began our campaign, we realised
it was not going to be an easy time to
fund raise. First we had political
uncertainty, then a general election,
then Brexit, then the usual problems
associated with belt-tightening after
Christmas bills, but we were hopeful
that spring would bring new confidence
to those who had been unsure about how
much to give. Now the
country is in lockdown because of the
pandemic, and many of our supporters are
either in isolation or on the front
line, either working at nearby North
Devon Hospital or in other key work. We
thank them all, and know that many of us
have to focus first on other matters
At the same time, it has been obvious
that Manning's Pit is more precious than
ever as a resource for the people of our
area, a place where they can exercise
freely in the open air while observing
the correct social distancing. It has
been notable how many new people have
been seen walking in the fields in the
last few days. We are asking all of
those who are discovering Manning's Pit
for the first time to think about
donating towards our appeal.
This article below was in the North
Devon Journal on March 19th, only seen
this week because of lockdown
difficulties, so we are posting it now:
Wednesday March 25th
The Auction will now be on April Ist,
but Manning's Pit is not included in
it. For some reason - we do not
know why - the sale of Manning's Pit has
been postponed. See this
Tuesday March 24th
After the message of support from Sir
Richard Eyre (CH)
we have had a message of support from
James Lovelock (another CH.) He has
family connections as is well known, and
many members of his family have walked
in Manning's Pit. We used this Quote
from his first Book, Gaia,
A New Look at Life on Earth, and
he thought it would be an appropriate
quote to use now. Manning's Pit has not
changed too much from the countryside he
knew as a boy, in the 1920s, when Henry
Williamson was researching Tarka the
Otter and visiting here. And it
has inspired new generations of Poets
too, as we saw in our Poetry
The England I knew
as a child and a young man was
breathtakingly beautiful, hedgerows and
small copses were abundant, and small
streams and rivers teemed with fish and fed
the otters. It inspired generations of poets
to make coherent the feelings we could not
Here is Jim Lovelock, with his son John, a few
years ago when they both lived near the
borders of Cornwall. John now lives in Pilton,
and did a sponsored
walk for us in January, raising over
Monday March 23rd
With only two more days to go, after
today, it is hard to know what will
happen at the Auction, but we give a big
thank you to Don't
Just Bin It North Devon who have
donated £402 to our cause.
In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic
it is also hard for many people to focus
on anything as much as they would
normally, so we give them an extra
thanks for that.
Thursday March 19th
We recently received this message of
support from the distinguished Theatre
and Film Director, Sir Richard Eyre:
"I very much hope that it
will be possible to save this remarkable
piece of land, with all its literary
associations, for use by the local community
Sir Richard Eyre”
Here is an interesting
interview with him: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCzGr26TVG0
Wednesday March 18th
More news: Auction online only - online
Thanks to our MP
Selaine Saxby for writing to the
auctioneers on our behalf a few
days ago, asking whether they can
legitimately advertise Manning's
Pit as having planning potential.
She has also given us a good quote
for the Press (see below)
We have been
lucky in having support from her,
and our two previous MPs Peter
Heaton-Jones and Nick Harvey. This
is a campaign that is supported by
all political parties, and we
thank them all.
Selaine - along
with all the other General
Election candidates - visited us
in Manning's Pit during the
General Election. Here is
the quote she has sent us now:
‘It was great to meet with
the Friends of Manning’s Pit, they
have done an excellent job in
saving this vital community space
from development. I am
confident that given time they
will be able to raise the money to
purchase it for future generations
as well. We need to protect our
green spaces and I will do all I
can to support the community.’
Selaine Saxby MP, North Devon
The photo from November,
when Friends of Manning's Pit
officials met with each General
Election candidate in turn, L to R,
Chris Bulpett (Secretary) Christine
Lovelock (Chair) Selaine Saxby, and
Tim Saunders (Treasurer)
Tuesday March 17th
Sadly, in the present circumstances,
we have had to cancel the last two events
we had hoped to hold, both Ty Redif's Pet
Portrait Photography Sessions and our last
Coffee Morning. As a community
group, we have put the safety of the
At a time when many of us are very
concerned about what lies ahead, it isn't
easy to concentrate even on this campaign,
no matter how important it is to us all.
During the last four and a half years we
have made many friendships and value all
our supporters, and the health and
well-being of the vulnerable among us must
be our first concern.
This does not mean we will not be fund
raising until the very last minute - so
please please if you haven't donated yet,
do so now. It is still possible that we
might get help in other ways, or that no
one bids at the auction. So every
last penny could still count.
Back to our
main page, if you can DONATE still.
Friday March 13th
Joanna Towns from Barratt David Wilson
Homes (the developers building in the
field adjacent to Manning's Pit) presents
a cheque to the Buy Manning's Pit
Thanks to Richard Martin for the
As we pointed out on our main page, the
auctioneers details imply that Manning's
Pit has potential for development
because of the houses being built -
by Barratt David Wilson Homes - taking
place in the adjacent field.
Speaking for Baratt David Wilson Homes,
Joanna said "We are delighted to
support the fund raising initiative of
the local community for their purchase
of the green space manning's Pit."
Report on The Manning's Pit
Dog Show, March 7th.
This event was organised brilliantly for
us by Christine Lewin, and everyone who
came thought it a real success.
Fifty one dogs took part, accompanied by
their owners (of all ages) and there were
ten classes, with each dog present doing
an average of two and a half classes.
Among the Class winners were Tracey
Bailey, for Dog Most Like its Owner (see
below) and Paul form the Yeo Dale Hotel,
for Best Trick. We hope to have a full
list of winners soon to add to our Dog Show Page,
which will have even more photos and
There was also a magnificent Raffle with
some fabulous prizes donated by a local
businesses - the Big Thank you board below
left was produced by Lynda Payne, who also
designed the poster.
All in all, the event raised about £600
and a great time was had by everyone who
This is on the North
Devon Gazette online today.
From the article:
has received a boost after a donation
from David Wilson Homes, part of
Barratt Homes, which is building the
new residential development adjoining
more on the link above
reminder about Saturday's
Three weeks to go.
What we need now are some big
donations! But also we want to thank
each and everyone of you so far for all
your donations, whether big or small, they
Leaflets have been going out across Pilton
and Bradiford, and we are getting a good
response as well. Thank you to all who
have been delivering leaflets, especially
both children and OAPs who have been
demonstrating how much Manning's Pit means
to people of all ages.
There will be more
leaflets still coming, if you haven't had
one already, but do let us know if for any
reason you were missed out.
Signs going up to make
sure anyone coming to view "Land to the
East of Windsor Road" will be aware that
they are coming to see Manning's Pit.
On the left, one of our younger
supporters delivering leaflets.
A sign went up on the Manning's Pit gate
on Tuesday February 25th announcing that
the land is for sale by auction.
Details are now in their catalogue:
Apparently, Manning's Pit is being
described as "Land off Windsor Road,
Barnstaple" yet again - as it was in the
Planning Application that was withdrawn
(for the obvious reason that it was about
to be refused)
That is like describing Hampstead Heath as
"Land off Millfield Lane, Highgate."
The auction will be on Friday March 26th,
so now we have a deadline to aim for!
More news to come.... meanwhile, come on
all you pirates - you had better get
As usual, we
get a mention in the
Panto, the Pirates say
they'd like to find the
Treasure so they could
Buy Manning's Pit.
Well done everyone for a
It's been a quiet week
on the fund raising
front, but we are
getting back to work
This is the last day of
Treasure Island, this
Panto. It's been a
great show, well done
everyone! Very many of
our supporters are
involved, and as has
happened every year
since 2016, Manning's
Pit gets a mention in
the performance, so
thank you to the
In case you haven't been
already, take this link
to find out about
tickets for today's
Thursday February 20th
Here's a great new
poster (thanks to Linda
and Martin) for the Dog
Show on March 7th. There
are some very good
Raffle Prizes as well -
more information to come
If you would like to
print your own for your
window, here's a link
to a pdf:
Saturday February 15th
This week and next week
many of our supporters
are involved with Pilton
Panto, so there will be
few other activities.
Preparations are ongoing
though for other
upcoming events, such as
our Dog Show on March
7th (posters about this
going out shortly.)
This photo of
a window in
Pilton says it
The online report shown
below was also covered
in the paper version of
the North Devon Gazette,
and this week's edition
of the North Devon
Friday February 7th
|Esther Davies, proprietor
of the Reform Inn, and members of the
Friends of Manning's Pit sampling the new
Report from Tony Gussin at the
North Devon Gazette:
from every pint of Manning's Best Bitter
will go to the Buy Manning's Pit appeal.
Some of the proceeds from the brew on offer
at Pilton's Reform Inn will go towards bid to
raise enough money to buy the local beauty
spot Manning's Pit and preserve it from
Benjamin Manning, the controversial publican
from Pilton who came to local fame (and
notoriety) in the 1850s, was surely there in
spirit when members of the Friends of
Manning's Pit met up at the Reform to sample
the new Manning's Best Bitter.
"Ten pence of every pint sold will
go towards the campaign," said publican Esther
"The beer is made by Greys brewery, but my
wholesale company (WWC) designed the logo and
named the beer for me! It is a 3.6 per cent
smooth flow session bitter with a malty
A 'ghostly tweet' also appeared on
twitter from the account of Original
Benjamin Manning: 'The Reform have a beer
named after me at last! 'ave been waiting
150 years. Tis time for a beer methinks'.
If you'd like to support the appeal, go to
Sunday February 2nd
This last week has been a quiet one on
the fund raising front, but we have been
busy in various, planning new events and
making new contacts.
We were especially thrilled by one
donation which came from Clare and
Michael Morpurgo. As the writer of
War Horse, among numerous other books,
Michael is of course very well known,
and he and his wife Clare founded the
Charity known as Farms
for City Children.
This has a special resonance to our
campaign, as the Manning's Pit fields
are the place where many children living
in our town can experience a piece of
real countryside, where they can paddle
in rivers, climb trees, and see nature
at first hand.
Saturday January 25th
The Sponsored Read
raised over £560!
Parents, children and
staff at Pilton Infants’ School and
Pilton Bluecoat Academy were keen to
support our ‘Buy Manning’s Pit’
campaign, and organised a sponsored
reading event over Christmas.
It’s not the best time
of year to ask for more money, but the
children who took part were very
committed and managed to raise over
£560, and read over 100 books.
The prize draw for a
£20 book voucher was won by Arthur
Barber of Bluecoat Academy.
This is another great
result, thank you to all the parents and
children who took part:
The photo shows Alex
Meller reading to his sister Lucy.
Alex won Third
Prize in the Under 12 Category of
the Inaugural Manning's Pit Poetry
Competition last year
Thursday January 23rd
North Devon Journal report on John's walk:
John's total is now just over £1000.
Total announced Sunday
January 19th: £44,365
January 19th Report on the
walk - go to our Blog
for full report with photos.
walk - more about it. He has raised
well over £900 with more still coming in.
Selaine Saxby, our new MP, holding the
finishing tape as John arrives after his
epic trek up and down the Bradiford
How fast time goes
by! We were barely recovered from the
excitement of the Oggle Band Ceilidh when it
was time for our Coffee Morning on Saturday
11th. This was successful too, and we had
time to chat with a number of interesting
people - including the former vicar of
Pilton, Anthony Gearing, who founded the
Green Man Festival.
The cakes as always were fantastic.
Yesterday's event, the Ceilidh with the Oggle
Band in Pilton Church Hall, was one of the best
events we have ever held. It was a complete sell
out, there was a magnificent atmosphere, and
rarely have people enjoyed themselves more. We
are so very grateful to the Oggle Band, for
putting on this event to help us raise money.
Had the Hall been twice the size it is, we feel
we could have filled it twice over, it was so
successful. And, as they said when they were
leaving - next time, maybe we will be able
to celebrate something really exciting!
The photo above was
taken with a mobile when the lights were
dimmed and is very blurry, but it gives
an idea of the fun people were having.
January 1st 2020
As expected there were not very many payments
in the last few days, so the total has not gone
up as fast as it normally does. However we have
extra amounts promised (and may not have seen
all BACS payments yet.) We also expect to raise
a good amount of money with the Oggle Band Event
this coming Saturday. It was so good of
the Oggle Band to do this event for us, and we
are all very excited about it!
We are in the process of delivering our first
campaign Newsletter, and within the next three
or four days virtually all households in Pilton
and Bradiford should have received one. Let us
know if for any reason you don't get one.
Update re John Lovelock's Walk:
For one Leafleter (John) New Year's Day meant a
lengthy visit to North Devon Hospital following
a nasty dog bite when trying to push a
newsletter through a letterbox.. The Hospital is
close to Manning's Pit, and many hospital
workers are numbered among our supporters. On
the plus side of the accident, supporters on
Facebook suggesting using a spatula to push
leaflets through letter boxes, which is a great
idea and works a treat. As part of his training
for his sponsored walk on January 17th John was
out again leafleting two days later (with
|Message from Pilton
Parents at Pilton Infants’ School and
Pilton Bluecoat Academy are keen to
support the ‘Buy Manning’s Pit’
campaign, and have organised a sponsored
reading event which is taking place over
As you’ll appreciate
this is an expensive time of year for
parents, so if you know a child at
either school who has chosen to take
part in the event (which is
voluntary), I am sure they would be
very grateful for your sponsorship, no
matter how small!
Every child taking part in the
sponsored read gets a certificate, and
the chance to win a book token, so
it’s well worth joining in.
If we don’t get enough money to buy
Manning’s Pit, any money raised
through this event will be given to
We are really grateful to the
children, parents and staff at both
schools for their support in helping
us to ‘Buy Manning’s Pit’.
Yet again we have been mentioned in the
This time it was in the North Devon
Gazette, on Wednesday December 18. The
article is by Tony Gussin, in connection
with our Presentation at the Museum the
You can expand the image to read the
article by clicking on your mouse.
In the photograph:
Tim Saunders (our Treasurer) Kate Shaw,
Toby and Theo Lawrence, Alison Mills
(Museum Manager) Christine Lovelock (our
Chair) Chris Bulpett (our Secretary) and
Katie Martin, who runs our Instagram for
John Lovelock's Sponsored walk page is now
launched. John accompanied Twinkle on part of
her walk, and Twinkle is going to join him for
some of his. You can read all about it on this
Following Thursday's General
Election, Selaine Saxby will be our new
MP. We know already that she will be
supportive of our campaign, as she has already
persuaded the Prime Minister to hold up a Buy
Manning's Pit sign (scroll down for
photo.) Commiserations to all the losing
candidates, and we appreciate their support too.
Wednesday December 11th
Apologies for late update on
this – Twinkle was in the North Devon Journal
again, published December 5th but
available until the 11th.
Tuesday December 10th
This Monday a small group of us came down to the
centre of Barnstaple to present our Shrouds of the
Somme H H Munro figurine to the Museum of
Barnstaple and North Devon, where it will have a
permanent home. We purchased it last year,
and it was sent to us after the Shrouds
of the Somme Touring Exhibition completed
its journeys around the country.
The photographs show the figurine on display,
and also a group of us around it. In the
photograph, Tim Saunders, Kate Shaw, Toby
and Theo Lawrence (the boys who live in
the house where Hector
Munro lived as a boy) Alison Mills, the
Museum Manager, Christine Lovelock, Chris
Bulpett and Katie Martin.
Friday December 6th
Our final General Election candidate
photo in Manning's Pit was the only one
that didn't quite work, with camera problems
taking photos for Finola, for both helpers. So
apologies that this one isn't posed as the
others were. Also our secretary wasn't able to
come along, so Kate steeped in as the third
Committee member. As with the four other
candidates, we enjoyed meeting Finola ONeill,
the Labour candidate. As you can see by the
helmet she is holding, she was the only
candidate to arrive on a motor bike!
How nice it has been to meet them all, and know
they all support our campaign. As always, to see
larger versions use your second mouse button and
click View Image.
Thursday December 5th
Alex White, the Liberal Democrat candidate,
came to Manning's Pit to meet us, and here is a
photo of him with us. Nick Harvey, who was
the Liberal Democrat MP for North Devon, came
along with him as well. It was good to see him
but we couldn't include him in the photo because
we had decided to show each candidate with the
three of us, to be consistently fair. Alex was
unluckier with the weather than the others had
been, but he did not let it put him off.
The photograph was taken by Mark Fowler, a
professional photographer who also sent us other
photos of Manning's Pit.
Tuesday December 3rd
The Prime Minister shows his support for the
Buy Manning's Campaign.
When Boris Johnson came to North Devon recently
he met the Conservative candidate Selaine Saxby,
and she has posted this image on her Facebook
page, along with this comment:
A very very special thank you to Twinkle and Wendy
who have raised over £1800 through
their sponsored walk. Full report on their page
"Buy Manning's Pit campaign endorsed by
When I met with Boris Johnson last week
he was delighted to lend his support to the
community to enable them to buy and preserve
As we always make clear, we are
non-political and we have been pleased
to welcome all the candidates when they
visited Manning's Pit (we hope to get photos
from the Lib Dem and Labour candidates very
soon) We have also asked the other
candidates if they can persuade their leaders
to do the same, and we will be very pleased if
they can achieve this.
We were especially pleased to have an
immediate email response to this news
from Robbie Mack(the Green Party candidate)
saying that it was good to have a sitting
Prime Minister's support and he appreciated
our efforts to always be even handed.
He and the other candidates are all hoping to
get similar endorsements from their leaders!
Watch this space, as they say!
And a final mention to add to add to
Saturday November 30th - new total coming
-full report coming shortly on her page.
She has raised well over £1700!
Here we are at the start of her walk, in Lynbro
Road, about to go down into Manning's Pit. It
was very cold and windy.
Re the General Election : Visits to Manning's
Pit from Alex White Liberal Democrat (last
Friday, waiting for photos from them) and Finola
ONeill Labour this Thursday (our camera
malfunctioned so waiting for photos from
Thursday November 28th
Twinkle and Wendy hit the headlines - their
photo by the Manning's Pit gate makes a big
splash on the North Devon Journal front
page. Twinkle has now raised well
Tuesday November 26th
A new page for Twinkle goes live - see photos
and videos here, as the date for Twinkle's
Sunday November 24th
The Coffee Morning in Pilton Church Hall was a
great success, confounding expectations as we
had not managed to advertise it as well as we
had hoped. So many people came and we had some
really interesting conversations, in fact we all
wished it had gone longer as it is hard to chat
to everyone. Last week we had a visit from Alex
White, the Liberal Democrat candidate at the
Christmas Market, today we had one from Robbie
Mack, the Green Party candidate. Nigel Dilkes,
the vicar was also able to come along, as there
was no Church service this morning. He was such
an important part of our Environmental
Exhibition this summer, and we apologise for not
finishing the website pages about that - it will
be done but at the moment we are flat out
working on the fund raising.
Friday November 22nd
This time we had a visit from the Liberal
Democrat Candidate, Alex White. He was unlucky
with the weather but nothing daunted posed with
us in a muddy damp field, As soon as we have the
photos, they will be added.
Thursday November 21st
With the General Election in full swing, it is
interesting to see that there seem to be more
Buy/Save Manning's pit posters around in Pilton
than anything political! Perhaps that is
because all the political parties involved agree
on the one issue of Saving Manning's Pit.
They are all demonstrating this by meeting up
with us in Manning's Pit itself, beginning with
with Selaine Saxby, the new Conservative
candidate, on Monday. You can see her
below left, with Chris Bulpett, Christine
Lovelock and Tim Saunders (thanks to David Hoare
for taking the photograph).
Robbie Mack, the Green Party candidate, came on
Wednesday, along with Ricky Knight, who took the
photograph. It was another beautiful day, if
rather windier. We really enjoyed meeting both
Robbie and Selaine, and look forward to visits
from Alex White (Liberal Democrat) on Friday and
Finola ONeill (Labour) next Thursday.
Click on View Image for larger version of
Sunday November 17th
Today, we had our garage sale - not quite so
well attended - it was cold and damp, and for
some reason there were very few people around.
Nonetheless, it was financially successful, and
we had so many items donated that they will be
for sale in various ways going forward, as well.
Twinkle was going to come along, but she
doesn't like the cold, and was feeling grumpy,
so she had the day off. That didn't stop people
signing her sponsor form - we'll need to do a
weekly total for that as well.
We've had a busy weekend!. On
Saturday, the Christmas Market was
extremely well supported and we made many new
contacts as well. Ian Scott came to see how it
was all going, and we also had a visit from
Alex White, the new Lib Dem candidate, who had
his photograph taken by our stall (being
non-political we will of course welcome all
candidates who support our campaign.)
Here are a couple of photos
from the Christmas Market:
Above: Ian Scott with
Christine Lovelock at our table. Right:
Alex White holding our Buy Manning's Pit
Ian Scott's Prints are for sale at the Pilton
Christmas Market, a great event in Pilton
Church Hall. This isn't just about Manning's Pit
of course, but we have a table, and will be
selling Cards and Prints.
Here are Ian Scott and Christine Lovelock,
admiring the Print. Christine's Cards of
Manning's Pit are also going to be for sale -
all proceeds from both Prints and Cards will go
to the Buy Manning's Pit Appeal.
Ian is hoping to come along to sign his Prints
in person. Orders can also be taken if we should
run out of either Prints or Cards!
Chris Bulpett (Friends of Manning's Pit
secretary) speaks on The Voice, Monday morning.
Message from a supporter - "Heard it on the way
to work - he did good !!"
Preview at the Museum of Barnstaple and North
Devon of an Exhibition of F R Lee's paintings -
Tim Saunders and Christine Lovelock attended.
One of the paintings was a Pilton one - F R Lee
lived across the road from Broadgate Villa while
Saki was growing up there - see below.
Remembrance Day at "Broadgate Villa."
Photo by Tim Saunders
Here are Toby and Theo Lawrence holding the Shrouds
of the Somme Figurine (owned by the Friends
of Manning's Pit) that represents H H Munro (Saki)
who was killed during the Battle of the Somme, on
November 16th 1916. On the wall of the house
you can see the blue plaque that commemorates the
fact that H H Munro lived here.
As a child, like Toby and Theo, Hector Munro lived
in this house in Bellaire, Pilton. And like the
Lawrence boys, he loved the countryside now known
as Manning's Pit.
Toby and Theo won First Prize for the 11 and Under
Category in the Inaugural Manning's Pit Poetry
Competition, with their poem "Manning's
November 11th Total Funds raised
in our Buy Manning's Pit Appeal : approximately £13,500.
Keep going to our Calendar
Page for latest updates on events
organised. It's great news that the
Oggle Band are putting on a Ceilidh for us on
Former Mayor Ian Scott is having Prints made of
his Manning's Pit drawing
to raise funds for the cause. He's hoping to come
along to sign some in person at
the Pilton Christmas Market on November 16th.
Robinson and Twinkle's Fundraiser for Manning's
of Manning's Pit and Green Man CIO fundraiser
Ty Redif's film Manning's Pit
- Our Future - is launched at the Big Party,
and then featured on the manningspit.com website.
by Tony Gussin, October 18th 2019
Radio Devon come to Manning's Pit. Reporter Angela
Kalwaites arrives at 7.45 to interview us, despite
the weather - rain again.
Left to Right
Ian Roome (District Councillor) Chris Bulpett,
Christine Lovelock, Ryan Vowles, KateShaw, Ty
Ryan Vowles sends first Buy Manning's Pit Message
- from Iceland
poem that won a first prize in the Inaugural
Manning's Pit Poetry Competiton