A rural parish in North Devon, England including Brayford village, High Bray and Charles, and a part of Exmoor National Park


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  From the April/May 2020 Newsletter:            (April May Newsletter pdf)

(Note: Any event still listed below is likely to be cancelled or postponed.)


With the ongoing Coronavirus epidemic, the Chairman and the Parish Council are concerned for parishioners who are struggling to cope with everyday living. Many people in the parish are elderly, including some members of the Parish Council, and are limited with the social contact they can have with others. Therefore, the burden is having to fall on some of the younger members of the parish to help others. Although Facebook and social media are a good way of communicating within the community let us not forget that a large number of the parish do not use or have access to social media. They are often reliant on just a landline, family and neighbours for help. Joe Poole has a list of local people who he can contact if you require any help. Joe's contact details are 710236 or It is also possible to keep up to date on Radio Devon throughout the day as they have twice hourly bulletins and of course the BBC News Channel.

We have had a jam packed term leading up to Easter with many events and trips enriching the children’s learning. As part of our “Farm to Fork” topic the infant children travelled to Otterton Mill to learn about how flour is made. They had a walking tour of the mill and saw the process of how wheat is ground to make flour and watched the cogs turning in the mill by water power. We learnt about different types of foods that are made from wheat, oats, barley and maize. They had a go at hand grinding some wheat to make their own flour. The children also enjoyed a walk along the river, learning to spot signs of beaver activity. They also took part in a chocolate workshop led by the company “Celebrate Cacao”. The children learnt about the history of chocolate, where it comes from and how it is made. They had the opportunity to crush cocoa beans and make raw chocolate and an Aztec style chocolate drink. The junior class enjoyed their trip to Asda before half term where they learnt about the running of a supermarket and how the food is processed. They learnt many facts about how the supermarket is working to reduce plastic waste and make their products more environmentally friendly. Also a big thank you to Rob and Barbara Jones for hosting the junior children at their farm for a morning. The children really enjoyed visiting the farm and finding out how it works on a day to day basis. They were able to ask lots of questions and extend their knowledge. Trips out extend and enhance the curriculum and provide important learning opportunities for the children, which cannot be created in the classroom. Our Brumble Bee preschool also visited a farm this half term. They spent a wet and windy time at “Apple Tree Farm” meeting the pigs, guinea pigs and alpacas. The children were able to feed the sheep and alpacas and hold the farm's two guinea pigs, Patch and Pippin. The children also made a flower picture and were able to take home some alpaca fleece. If you would like to know more about our preschool please telephone the school office. It has been an unfortunate end to the term with the school having to close. The staff are saddened that they are no longer able to teach the children who are extremely keen and love learning and school life. We understand though, that this measure is essential to safe guard members of our community. It is the kindness and support we give to each other that will help us get through these unprecedented times. For more details on Brayford Academy please contact the school on 01598 710345 or see our website

The annual Plant Sale and Coffee Morning will be held on the early May Bank Holiday, Friday 8 May from 10 am to 12.15 pm at Lamb Cottage Charles. This year all proceeds will go to North Devon Hospice. In past years we have supported Parkinson's UK, Charles R D Blackmore Pageant and Charles Church together with schools in Nepal and Africa. Herbs, Perennials, Bedding Plants and Vegetables will be on sale, along with the opportunity to place plant orders for the end of May – when we hope the cold nights will be long gone. Given the uncertainty of the coronavirus outbreak, we will be happy to take orders over the phone -Howard/Dianne Tolley on 01598 711828 or by email to Howard Tolley using . We will then deliver all of the orders, within a reasonable drive time from Charles. We certainly don't know what the next few months will be like for us all, but we can make our gardens look great and, of course, why worry about food when it can be grown in your back garden!

Another year. Another Show. As winter passes and spring hovers expectantly in the wings, it's time to turn our thoughts to growing things, making things and photographing or drawing things. And what better way is there to show off the talents that abound in our villages than to hold a Brayford Show. The Show will be held on Saturday, 1 August in the Village Hall (slightly earlier in the year than normal which should help the lovers of flowers) and the detailed schedule together with entry forms will be distributed with the June/July Newsletter. Please start to think about your entries now so that the Hall in August is full of wonderful displays. Changes from last year are only a few but include in the cooking class: chocolate cake, cherry loaf cake, lemon drizzle traybake: in the crafts a handmade birthday card: and the photography includes a tree, sunrise or sunset, a waterfall, a flower, a bird and anything funny ….. something we could all do with at this moment. Oh, and radishes have made a comeback in the vegetable section!

For the time being, the Farmers' Market will not be held, certainly for April and May. We hope that this challenging situation will pass sooner rather than later, but meeting the challenge by observing and respecting the Government’s guidelines will help. We do regret not seeing you all, but will look forward to the next Market. If you wish to get in touch with any of the stallholders directly please ring Jonathan or Madeleine Brownell on 710389 and we will give you their contact details.

In the midst of the great plague of 2020 and isolating ourselves and gorging on toilet rolls (?), we have set up a community loop in Charles of volunteers to shop, pick up medicines and just keep an eye on those who live alone or may be vulnerable. Contact Jonathan Hudson 710350 if you need help. I am isolated because of age but can check round for a volunteer to help out. A list has been circulated to all households in Charles. Returning to good news we welcome Tim and Gill Vaux to Sunnyside Cottage and look forward, when we can, to socialising etc. We have 3 new families join us in our tiny village over the last few months.

We are hoping that this exciting tournament will return to Charles this year. It's hard to believe but this year will be the sixth staging of the Charles and Brayford Single Wicket – Kwik Cricket Challenge, held annually just a few hundred yards from Charles Church, although unfortunately we did have to cancel last year's event because the fields were not ready. However, in 2018 the late summer sun was replaced by storm clouds and a cold wind. But despite the poor weather over 30 “villagers” of all ages turned out to enjoy the competition … and the cream teas were delicious. This is an early diary notice to say that we will be putting the nation's troubles behind us on Sunday 19 July from midday, a beautiful setting for a great event. Full details will be included in the June/July Newsletter.

Did you know that we have a Charles Car Club? Did you know that we welcome anyone who owns a classic or simply a much-loved car, old or modern, to join up with us? The “Club” - a very loose description of our activities – gets together a few times each year. We enter cars at the Braunton Wheels Show, held every year in July, and no doubt you will have seen a few of our cars at the Brayford Show. In addition we drive out a couple of times each year to a pub or lunch and our annual Christmas event is held at the Broomhill Sculpture Hotel. This year we plan to do all of the normal stuff but in addition plans are afoot to include a drive out on the evening of the last Friday of every month, from 2 May to 25 September. Why not join us with your car or perhaps just ask for a backseat trip. Give Jonathan Hudson a call on 710350 or Howard Tolley on 711828 to have a chat if you want to join us. If nothing else we will all be very happy driving around the beautiful Exmoor landscape in blissful self-isolation. Admiring the open road ahead and ignoring the traffic behind us!

The world is being challenged as never before. Sadly we will not be able to have our Sunday morning Service or any other activities until further notice. How fortunate that we live in Brayford at this time. We are blessed to live in this beautiful area. We can walk in our own gardens. Imagine self isolating in a high rise flat opposite another concrete block, a tent in Syria or a slum in India. We have a caring community. The generous people who support ALL our charity events are the same people who are all wanting to help the more vulnerable in our village. We are all pleased to see our village social worker, cleverly disguised as our smiling postman. The dogs around Brayford miss Simon, and his biscuits, on his days off. It will be very difficult for many people to cope financially with the close down. We hope that there will be help for them and that they will still have jobs afterwards. We could hope that the “selfie age” might have reached its peak and this catastrophe will remind us all that we are human beings and need to care for each other to thrive. I pray that we can all catch the Kindness Bug.

Our little Church will not be having any services or meetings at present but we can all have Good Friday readings at home. On Easter Sunday BBC Radio Devon at 10 am Archbishop of Canterbury Most Reverend Justin Welby will broadcast a service we can share. By then I expect television will also be picking up other services.

As a group of churches we have come together to freely offer our support and help in this extraordinary time. We have a list of volunteers who can offer help, for example in picking up prescriptions or dog walking. We are organising “Food Boxes” and a “Children's Play Box”. We have a team of experienced clergy and lay members who can offer counselling for those who are anxious. If we can help please get in touch. David Baker, 01598 740325 email:

Sadly we will not be having coffee for the foreseeable future. We had 21 people last month enjoying each other's company and hope to see you all again soon.

Two of our very fine gentlemen Bill Maddox and Tony Bawden will be celebrating very special “milestone” birthdays. Love and Happy Birthday to you both.

We enjoyed Mr Pip Howard's talk about bees and their needs. South Molton Honey Farm has always been an interesting visit and now it has moved to Aller Cross and expanded dramatically, it is even more fascinating. We all like to learn about bees and their preferred habitats and children must love being shown around. Our April meeting has been cancelled, also the Spring Group and Spring Council meetings. Happily the Barn Dance held in conjunction with the Village Hall Committee a few weeks ago was enjoyed and we would like to thank Brend Hotels, Besshill Farm Shop, The Black Venus and others for their generous raffle prizes. Also, Steve for producing leaflets and everyone else who helped to make the evening fun. We hope to be able to continue with our programme in the not too distant future. In the meantime, we offer assistance to anyone so please let us know if you need help.

The Parish Council has agreed to the temporary closure of the Village Hall. This means with immediate effect all meetings, clubs, private events and any social gatherings cannot be held in the Village Hall until further notice. With regard to the “big” village events, the Duck Race is cancelled but we will leave the door open to the possibility of holding it later this year if the virus situation allows. The same applies to the Brayford Show. The Management Committee is very conscious of the impact the closure of the Village Hall will have on the community. We will therefore regularly review the official advice given, and local circumstances, to minimise the period for which the Hall is closed. As you may be aware the Village Hall was recently connected to high speed fibre broadband. In the interest of keeping everyone connected to the outside world, for the duration of the pandemic, we will be making WiFi freely available to all. It is possible, whilst parked in a car with a phone, tablet or laptop to get online in the area directly outside and to the right of the main entrance. As from 23 March the access key will be published in the Meetings Room window. For further assistance please contact Steve Warren on 711970.

 Thanks to the Newsletter Editor for providing Newsletter information.

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