Author Archives: justinseedhouse

Dunsland Volunteers Spring In to Action!

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As the earth warmed and the avian symphony began the sun shed it’s dappled light through the trees and we set about the task ahead.

Our team for the day consisted of our very own Dunsland Volunteer Group and Community Ranger as well as Full time Volunteers, all kindly giving their time to help us improve access to this wonderfully intriguing historical Parkland, a walk through which reveals walled gardens, ancient trees, rare lichens and numerous other natural treasures.

As time has passed our car park has become somewhat tired and as such was in need of a bit of a face lift. Within hours our plucky team had re-surfaced the whole car park, installed drainage pipes to prevent waterlogging and beautifully re-assembled the stone coin at the entrance.

The weather was kind, the banter was great, some new skills were learnt and in the process the car park has now become more usable to locals and visitors alike.

I did forget the cake though!

Thanks to everyone who was involved and I’ll look forward to seeing you on our next work day.

Ranger Gregg

If you have an interest in volunteering then please do get in touch. We’d love to speak to you. See the National Trust website for details.

Indestructible toilet!!!

Part of the Dunsland Estate forms a training site for Holsworthy Bee Keepers Association and it’s old engine house is used by members as a place to “relax”. But with recent high winds it’s a miracle this historical building is still there. As the recent high winds whistled through the ancient trees of Dunsland, there was one casualty, an impressive Lime tree which alone would have, without a doubt crushed the building beneath it. Luckily, it’s fall was cushioned by a large stand of Laurel and a an Oak limb which was left straddling the roof. This was a specialist job and as such we called in the experts who adeptly unveiled the engine house to reveal the damage- two broken ridge tiles!?!

A miracle I’d say and the toilet lives to see another day.

Ranger Gregg

Found out more about Dunsland’s wonderful Parkland, history and wildlife at


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Burning in the Sun

In today’s beautiful sun, myself and the rangers at Hartland were out on Windbury Hill Fort creating a lot of smoke. We seized the beautiful weather and very low winds to spend the day out burning the gorse to encourage the diverse grassland on the hill fort. This work, paired with future grazing by hebridean sheep will reduce the effects of scrub encroachment.  With spring very much round the corner we will hopefully see the results of our labour in improving the habitat in this stunning location.

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By Karen Saunders

Full-time Voluntary Ranger, Torridge

Peppercombe Beach Path Re-Build

On a fair Friday in February, Luke and I found ourselves down on the beach with some of the community volunteers at Peppercombe. During the recent stormy weather the path down to the beach was washed away meaning that access to the beach was lost. So we headed down to rebuild the path. We were lucky to have the help of 3 volunteers. As is often said, ‘many hands make light work’ and the new path was built in just a few hours, restoring access to the lovely beach.

Check out the photos below of the new beach path.

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Thank you to the volunteers that came down to help us on the day.


Karen Saunders

Full-Time Volunteer Ranger, Torridge.

A Rare Treat at Bucks Mills

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We had a wonderful day down at Bucks Mills Cabin last Saturday with a great turn out of people, many of which had made a special effort to see the modest retreat of the renowned artists Judith Ackland and Mary Stella Edwards.

This is a small, yet charming building, set on the cliff overlooking breath taking scenery. I love this place!  The building itself has plenty to keep you interested. A time capsule from the 1920’s to the early 70’s it provides an intimate insight into the lives of these two strong and inspiring women.

Much of their artwork is held at the Burton Art Gallery in Bideford, along with the diaries of Mary Stella Edwards, providing a comprehensive snapshot of life spent at Bucks Mills and completing an inspirational story of two pioneering women of their time.

The National Trust took ownership of Bucks Mills Cabin in 2008 and will continue to preserve it.  To allow the public to enjoy the building we have a number of open days throughout the year. We were also part of Art trek this year and welcome local artists to use the Cabin and surrounding area as inspiration for their work through short term residencies. This often provides further opportunities for the general public to see inside this special place.

Thank you to Gill Grove for providing the lovely black and white photos from Bucks Mills.

Gregg Wilson

Torridge Ranger

Boat Bonanza at Clovelly Lifeboat Day

In our second year at the Clovelly Lifeboat Day last Sunday, Gregg, Nicky and I were out early setting up our stand on top of the lime kiln in the harbour. The aim of the day was to celebrate the Clovelly lifeboat & its volunteer crew.

At our stand we had badge making and boat making out of recycled drinks bottles with endless design possibilities. It was a very busy and lovely day with some of the kids making lifeboats. We also had a boat testing area where we could try out and race the finished boats, with only a handful needing rescue! The most popular boats were our speed boats made with a propeller for extra power!

 Thank you to Clovelly Estate for including us again this year, we had a great day.

All of the proceeds from the day will be shared by the National Trust & RNLI.

Karen Saunders – Voluntary Ranger

Shiver Me Timbers!

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A sunny day at Welcombe saw National Trust Rangers and volunteers building a pirate ship on the beach with local sculptor Tom Hyde. It was a glorious day and we had lots of help from children and adults alike to create a brilliant pirate ship made of drift wood collected from beaches along the Torridge coast.

Drills, hammers and sun cream were abundant at the event which was part of Welcombe Open Studios annual event which gives the public the opportunity to enjoy artist studios around the area. More information on Open Studios can be found at

 Yo-ho yo-ho a pirates life for me!

Karen Saunders – Voluntary Ranger