Chilly Dog Walk

A few iPhone pictures from the evening dog walk on the Exmoor coast at The Valley of Rocks, Lynton

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After many months waiting for consents and conditions to be aligned I had a pleasant morning doing a recce run deep into the heart of Exmoor with Neil and Christel from Experience Exmoor. They will be helping us transport guests of The Friends of Hoaroak Cottage to Hoaroak Cottage as part of the Voices of Hoaroak Project we are working on. The guests are quite elderly but have valuable memories of the cottage and the people who lived there. We are hoping visiting the cottage will bring more memories to the fore.

The cottage is completely cut off from the world, to get there is an offroad adventure driving over open moorland with little more than a sheeptrack marking the way. Obviously taking vehicles over open moorland is very sensitive and we needed consent from the land management company on the day we were intending to travel. We also undertook to assess the conditions as we went to be sure we minimised any environmental damage. We took my Land Rover 110 to inspect the ground conditions and take a view on the logistics of taking Experience Exmoor’s Discovery 4 next time.

After a couple of weeks with no rain the moor was very dry and we had no problems getting to the cottage as the photographs show. Only one section of the drive could present a problem for the Discovery on less aggressive tyres and we can overcome that by winching it up the vulnerable grassy slope.

Voices of Hoaroak Valley

Many voices over many years have echoed through the Hoar Oak Valley on Exmoor.

 Here is a chance to add yours!

Thanks to a Heritage Lottery All Our Stories Grant two local charities based in the Hoar Oak Valley on Exmoor  will be collecting, sharing and celebrating peoples’ memories and stories of the Hoar Oak Valley.   The Friends of Hoar Oak and the St Mary Lyncombe Trust which runs the Exmoor Centre are asking for your help.

  • You may have memories and stories about, or be descended from, one of the many shepherd families who have lived and worked at the remote and secluded Hoar Oak Cottage since the 1800s.
  • You might be one of the many people, young and not so young, who have enjoyed staying at or helping to build and run the Exmoor Centre since the 1960s.
  • You may be one of the many people who simply love the area and have memories and stories about your times spent walking in the Hoar Oak Valley.


To find out more and how to get involved please contact us:

Post:                Voices of Hoar Oak Valley Project, 9 Rock Avenue,  Lynton,  North Devon,  EX356DL

Email:                or


Having moved house I needed somewhere to work so I’ve set about building s workshed. I don’t need a lot of space, much of what I do is paperless and is done online. Previously I had a 4′ long desk on the landing so anything more would be a bonus.

First up I get a bog standard 8’x6′ garden shed.

After much consideration I opted for some old railway sleepers for foundations, these were ridiculously cheap at £12each +VAT delivered. I dug them into the garden to form a level base. Putting  the shed up proved a slight challenge singlehanded on a windy day but using some lateral thinking and some clever knots it wasn’t too bad. One of the reviews for the shed suggested it needed 3 people to erect, some people really are useless.

Next up was insulation. I did some calculations and realised with such a small area I wouldn’t need to go too mad with insulation. I gathered up a stash of scrap polystyrene and bubblewrap from the house move and the packing for new furniture we have bought and used that to insulate the walls and roof. Inside I lined the walls with a foil laminate insulation material, more as it is easy to form a good vapour barrier and draught seal with this than for its insulation value. Ultimately there will be an inside wall finish of driftwood and other offcuts but that can wait.

The floor has some underlay and a bit of offcut carpet, it’ll do.

Electrickery was next, I had a spare heavy duty extension lead so that has come into play as a temporary supply. Firing up an electric fire on a sub-zero day it seems I need less than a kw to heat the space comfortably. Ultimately I have my eye on a boat woodstove to heat the place.

The desk is made from a bit of elm that we have been looking for a use for since 2001.

Wifi is available from the house via a secure network.

So after a month of chaos I am finally back to work re-arranging pixels into architectural shapes and scratching my head over problems other people don’t want. If you’ve got an architectural problem and nobody else can help, knock on my shed door…or email me…

Lyn Food Festival

Yesterday, 30th September 2012, Lyn Food Festival was held at Lynton Town Hall. I think the festival exceeded all expectations, the weather could have been kinder to the exhibitors outside but I think the vast majority of the traders and exhibitors had a very profitable day. The organisers had lots of great feedback from visitors and already plans are afoot for next years event. Put a note in your diary for next September and follow @LynFoodFestival on Twitter for updates.

Here are a few pictures of the event.

Tour of Britain

We went to the Tour of Britain Devon Stage start at the weekend. Thousands turned out for it and it seemed really well organised and very friendly. There were a few idiots who thought that barriers didn’t apply to them but they were roundly booed by the crowd which was fun and embarrassed them a treat. They were typical snob cyclists, a breed of people I have no time for, they turn up to an event like this with thousands of people and expect to be able to ride their expensive touring bikes through the crowds.

After a bit of waiting at the Team Sky bus Mark Cavendish came out and signed eldest sons old HTC cycling shirt. Cav seemed more than happy to be signing everything waved at him, he couldn’t have been looking forward to the day much though. I’d think the profile of the Devon stage was like a bad day at the office for him.

We saw Devon rider and event leader Jonathan Tiernan-Locke sign on at the start, glad to hear after he had kept the lead and went on to win the event. We’ll keep a closer eye on J T-L from now on.

After the start we bought some bargain Tour of Britain goodies then nipped back to the Sky bus and the chaps there very generously let the kids jump on board to get a photo sat in Cav’s seat. Thanks again fellas if you read this :-)