Section: Region

Page of 13

Museums and galleries respond to the climate crisis

Virginia Button

The US west coast is on fire, the hurricane season is off to an early start and in the UK a year of unseasonal weather has resulted in the worst wheat harvest in decades – yet more reminders that climate change is a pressing and immediate global crisis. And, as leaves fall and mists rise […]

The soil depletion crisis – retired Devon organic dairy farmer spells out the hard truth.

Rory O'Connor

My current edition of ‘Grass and Forage Manager’, published by British Grassland Society, shows just how far many farmers have come in recognising their responsibilities to environmental matters over the last ten to fifteen years. Articles on livestock sustainability, growing herbal leys, locking in carbon with grassland and grassland management effects on earthworm communities are […]

The future of planning in rural areas

Mike Chapman

Rural communities in the recently created unitary Dorset Council area are working hard and democratically to make Neighbourhood Plans. The bases of these plans lie in the traditions and desire for continuity of small rural towns and villages. This cultural heritage is under attack now and is further threatened by proposed changes to the planning […]

Sir Thomas More speaks for Sir Geoffrey Cox

Anthea Simmons

Boris Johnson may think he has managed to sweet talk abstaining and objecting MPs into backing his heinous Internal Market Bill, but some, it seems, remain resistant to his blandishments and see the issue for what it is: an attempt to legitimise/democritise (make the MPs carry the can) the breaking of international law. Sir Geoffrey […]

A Conservative MP who chose not to undermine the rule of law.

Anthea Simmons

South West Devon’s MP, Sir Gary Streeter, along with his neighbour in Torridge and West Devon Sir Geoffrey Cox, witheld their support for the Internal Market Bill. Sir Gary articulated his reasons for so doing in clear and unequivocal terms. We have his permission to share them here. His fellow Conservative MPs would do well […]

Testing fiasco in Devon: a mother writes to Johnson

Anthea Simmons

As this economical-with-the-truth government continues to claim that testing is working fine, the facts on the ground tell a completely different story. Here is a message for our Prime Minister from a Devon mum with young kids, caught up in the testing chaos. Dear Prime Minister, This is what your handling of the pandemic is […]

Mel Stride puts his foot in it

Alex Pilkington

Mel Stride, Conservative MP for Central Devon, was photographed wearing a wheatsheaf brooch in support of the Back British Farming Day, whilst failing to vote for Neil Parish’s (Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton) amendment to the Agriculture Bill. This amendment was designed to maintain our food and animal welfare standards in any future trade […]

Cornwall faces cold homes pandemic

James Miller

Despite its mild winters, Cornwall has among the highest levels of cold homes and fuel poverty in the UK, forcing many people to choose between heating their homes, and eating. The Government’s £2bn Green Homes Grant scheme, which aims to insulate up to 650,000 homes and create 140,000 jobs across the UK, launches this month. […]

Double down – MP accuses constituent of “lacking democracy”

Anthea Simmons

Nice picture of Steve Double MP for St Austell and Newquay showing his ‘support’ for food and farming businesses in the UK. Shame he didn’t vote for fellow Conservative Neil Parish’s amendment to enshrine our food and animal welfare standards in law, but hey! That’s not what we are writing about here. West Country Bylines […]

Reflections of an anti-racist rambler

Tsara Smith

When I set out on a 140-mile anti-racist ramble across rural mid-Devon, it was really driven by two words: do something. The murder of George Floyd (and the reflection of countless stories like his) made me sit up and pay some real attention to the experience of black people, not just in America, but in […]

A walk with Coleridge in Ottery St Mary

Mike Temple

Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born in 1772 in Ottery St Mary: the churchyard and river area were his playground and the source and inspiration of much of his poetry. He returned to Ottery as a young man aged 21, and later wrote a sonnet To the River Otter, addressing it as a friend. He recalls […]

Know your place!

Eric Gates

No, not a Conservative MP addressing his family retainers, but a very useful internet resource. If you live in the west country, or are planning to visit, Know Your Place is a brilliant website that provides details of all sorts of local historical information. If you are interested in history, or like walking, or simply […]

Boxing clever

Anna Andrews

Well, here we are again, heading for the end of the transition period without any real sign that the UK will have a proper trading arrangement with the EU, and amidst  increasingly dire warnings about possible shortages of food and other essentials. The Covid-19 pandemic has also served to expose the weaknesses in the “just-in-time” […]

The new terra incognita

Matt Borne

GPS navigation has led Matt Borne to a library abandoned to moths and mice. So he’s decided to finally switch off his satnav. I was driving to the Eden Project last week for a work thing. I’d been asked to go to the service gate, an entrance I’d used many times over the years, but […]

The Lizard’s vagabond girl

Jenny Steele Scolding

I lie in bed and listen to the waves crashing on the shore. I pull back the covers, cross the bedroom and settle into my rocking chair in front of the window that overlooks the sea. Down in the cove, the fishermen have pulled the boats up high; a storm is brewing. I always start […]

A walk on the edge – along the Mendip scarp by Westbury Beacon

Mick Fletcher

There are many good walks in the Mendips, but popular sites on top of the plateau can get a little crowded at peak times. I prefer a walk that starts from one of the spring line villages that surround the upland – more challenging, but a more varied terrain, and a walk where the landscape […]

Animal welfare – another of this government’s sacrificial lambs?

Danny Chambers

To the huge concern of vets and farmers, the UK government seems to be preparing to sacrifice our high animal welfare standards in order to obtain a trade deal with Donald Trump. Worryingly, this also threatens our ability to combat deadly disease in humans, writes Cornwall-based vet Danny Chambers. With the end of the transition […]

Make, borrow, mend…and copy? A community project in Paignton

Anthea Simmons

For many people in the West Country, real life is a long way from the rural or coastal idyll portrayed by the tourism industry or the media.  The percentage of children living in poverty has been climbing across the region and high unemployment, low-paid work and a cycle of deprivation are often hallmarks of many […]

What next for Somerset’s apple growers?

Oliver Patrick

Cornwall is renowned for the mighty Cornish pasty (awarded protected geographical indication status (PGI) in 2011). Devon is known, internationally, for cream tea. Dorset is famous for Blue Vinney cheese (awarded PGI status in 1998), whilst Somerset is probably best known for its apples and award-winning ciders. However, Somerset’s apple orchards face a bleak future: […]

Planning for the future: an open letter from Kernow Matters to Us

Anthea Simmons

Editor’s comment: this open letter is published to amplify local voices. It has not been edited. To: Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing Communities & Local Government Rt Hon George Eustice MP  Steve Double MP Cornwall’s Representative to the Council of Europe Scott Mann MP Sherryl Murray MP Derek Thomas MP […]

Testimonies from Refugee Support Devon: Waala’s story

Anthea Simmons

Refugee Support Devon (RSD) asked members of the refugee community if they would be willing to tell their stories. In 2018, Walaa wrote her story below in English and RSD have not changed any of it, except to remove the names of her husband and family, which Walaa asked RSD to do. We would like […]

Amin’s story: testimonies from Refugee Support Devon

Anthea Simmons

We are very honoured to be able to reproduce a series of intervews with refugees who have found homes in Devon with the help of Refugee Support Devon, based in Exeter. Credit for the interview goes to them. Setting up home in Devon is no easy matter after the traumas of war. It’s hard to […]

Silence of the Mann

Tom Scott

Many young people in Cornwall have been bitterly disappointed to find their A-level results unfairly downgraded amid the ongoing exam shambles. Scott Mann MP, parliamentary secretary to education minister Gavin Williamson, has been strangely silent on their plight. Sarah Johnson, the mother of a boy studying at Truro College who had been hoping to go to […]

Four young people launch ‘Diversity in Devon’

Claire Wright

Four A Level politics students from King’s School are officially launching a six-week campaign, starting 17 August,, with the aim of debating the benefits of diversity in Devon and a greater understanding of what constitutes racist behaviour or prejudice. Diversity in Devon is being launched through the voices of 17 year olds Sandra Sanena and Anoo […]