Congratulations to Cartwheel Member ‘The Old Rectory’, which has been awarded the prestigious Gold Star Award by the Green Tourism Business Scheme, making them the greenest B&B in the UK 2012. This award adds to Sally and Chris’ accolades, as they have already achieved 5 star Gold from Enjoy England thirteen years in a row. Here are just a few of ways that the Old Rectory supports sustainable tourism and makes your stay greener:

Breakfast and evening meals are a real treat as they are made using some of the 70 types of fruit and vegetables grown at The Old Rectory, as well as homemade sausages and home-cured bacon from their free range rare breed pigs, and eggs from their free range hens and ducks. If you are lucky enough to stay when their 3 honeybee colonies have been busy, you might even get some fresh honeycomb! All dairy products are from an organic farm just down the road, fish is locally caught and smoked, bread is locally baked and even the cheese is locally produced.

As well as reducing food miles, The Old Rectory strives to have as little impact on the environment as possible. For example, vegetable waste ends up back in the earth via their wormery and compost bins, all cleaning products are environmentally-friendly and guests are welcome to use refillable Faith in Nature shower products, which are from naturally derived sources with no synthetic additives. The Old Rectory uses green energy sources - during the day it is powered by an 80 panel solar system that Chris and Sally developed themselves, and their own wood is used for heating the house. 

The Gold Star Award is a real testament to dedication of The Old Rectory team. Sally and Chris say “Guests enjoy the history of the house and the beautiful natural surroundings we have to offer and we hope they leave here with new ideas and a sense of peace.” Congratulations on a well-deserved award!

The South West Coast Path is not only one of Lonely Planet's 'World's Best Long Walks', it has just won Best Coastal Path at the Coast Awards 2012, proving yet again that the South West truly is a haven for walkers and a beautiful place to visit. The footpath encompasses 630 miles of glorious coastline, starting at Minehead in Somerset, travelling around North Devon, Cornwall, South Devon and finishing at Poole in Dorset. Seen as the ultimate challenge for the long distance hiker, the full ‘walk of a lifetime’ is estimated to take around 8 weeks, and although can be quite strenuous at times, is surely worth it for the amazing views!

If you don't have 8 weeks to spare or are not that fit, you'll be pleased to hear that the South West Coast Path has sections for all abilities and you can do as much or as little as you fancy. Take a look at the South West Coast Path website for a wealth of information to help you plan your visit and ideas for seasonal walks, easy access walks, pub walks, family walks and even treasure trails.

If you are thinking of staying near the coast in the South West, the coastal path is definitely worth a visit. Many of Cartwheel’s members are just a short walk or drive away, just ask your hosts for the best places to join the route.

So get ready to dust off your walking boots and breathe some fresh sea air!

Congratulations to Cartwheel member Wheatland Farm Eco Lodges and Cottage, who is the 2012 GOLD winner for sustainable tourism in the prestigious VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2012. It tops their run of awards in the Visit Devon, the Devon Environmental Business Initiative and the South West Tourism Excellence awards.

Wheatland Farm's owners, Ian Ripper and Maggie Watson, from Winkleigh, Devon received the award on Tuesday 22 May at the national finals. Ian said, "We're absolutely delighted. This is England's top green tourism award and the other finalists were hot competition."

Andrea Nicholas, Director of the Green Tourism Business Scheme, and sponsor of the Award, said "Congratulations to Wheatland Farm! Visit England has told me the Sustainability Award had one of the most entrants of all the categories."

Maggie added, "We're so pleased to win, and also to hear 'green' trumpeted across so many other categories too. We got the top award because we stand out. But our approach, cuttings costs, cuttings carbon and looking after our natural capital, should suit all businesses--and build a better future for everyone. For example, Wheatland Farm, with its own wind turbine, and with solar panels on our latest (and nearly finished) straw bale eco lodge, produces more green energy than it uses. And I'll bet you've never seen a prettier power station."

Ian agrees, saying "We've invested a lot into new thinking and renewable energy. With interest rates so low, money in the bank is wasted. But put it on the roof as a solar panel and it's dramatically cutting the bills and generating income. But it's not just about technical solutions. It's much more about changing attitudes, recycling materials, using less, and still getting more."

Torridge, Wheatland Farm's part of North Devon, has just become one of the government's new Nature Improvement Areas, aiming to really develop a green economy where the environment and people both thrive. It is already within the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Maggie said, "It's a fantastic place to live, and to visit. And when you choose a sustainable holiday you help keep it that way. Tourism can be a real power for good. So where-ever you stay, start asking for sustainability like you expect it! Make your consumer voice heard and help us make sustainability the norm."

Dreams definitely are made of this 

Well, fortune was on my side and I did make it to the wonderful Farexmooor_coast.jpgm holiday at West Ilkerton Farm .

What a wonderful place this was, modern and comfortable, yet far removed from the real world!

As a competition winner, I won a three night break at the farm, but, unfortunately could not arrange to take all those I had hoped to s

hare the holiday with because of the short notice.

Having sorted out who could make it I travelled up the North Devon Link Road on the Friday afternoon and arrived at the farm just before 17:00. The farm is located about 2 or 3 miles from Lynton and Lynmouth and has it's own world dedicated to it.

I went with my daughter and her friend, both recently relieved to have completed their GCSE's. We were met on walking.jpgarrival and shown the accommodation, it was all we could have hoped for.

I had a king sized four poster bed, and they shared a room with two singles. The other king sized bedroom was spare! We rattled around in the space, but it was so good to be able to relax without any constraints. 

We took plenty of BBQ food and decided that we should get the most out of the outdoor cooking facility, and we certainly did that! As we cooked on the first evening we had the delights of rural North Devon to survey and were accompanied by some of the farm animals to help us out. The homemade burgers, with a hint of curry and chilli were a hit, along with the sausages and accompaniments. The wood for the BBQ was given to us by our host and certainly did the trick. To cleanse myself of the smell from the BBQ I took a soak in the bath, which was long enough for me to lay almost flat, that was so relaxing.

On the second lynmouth.jpgday the girls went off into Lynton and Lynmouth, travelled back by bus and then walked the last mile up the rather steep approach and they had a wonderful time. They toured the selection of shops they found and also went for a dip in the rather chilly sea, time for another BBQ, followed by a few drinks and a relaxing time with some of the video's that were available in the house. The girls also found the table football entertaining, but I was limited by a cricket injury to my hand, so couldn't make much use of it. Luckily, that was good news as I was also chief BBQ cook.

The weather had been good to us, especially after recent wet periods, and on Sunday we travelled to Porlock where we met up with a couple of friends who would share the day with us. Of course, we also shared another BBQ and went to town with Prawns, kebabs, more home made burgers and so many sausages! Just for consistency and to keep ourselves lubricated, we also had a few drinks, testament to this could be found in the recycling bin in the kitchen. We had a race against the weather as signs of wetter things to come greeted us. We managed to get the BBQ done and eaten and cleared away before the low cloud over the hill (which felt like rain) brought an end to our outdoor eating. We retired to the comfort of the lovely farmhouse and chatted whilst we finished our drinks. 

Such a simplexmoor_ponies.jpge, but hugely relaxing time was had, no mobile phone calls or messages, there's virtually no chance because of the lack of signal, and that gave us the opportunity to remove ourselves from everyday life.

I must recommend the farm itself and the holiday company CartwheelHolidays because they have been fantastic. Just enough involvement, but not too pushy to put you off. I managed to give my head an almighty clatter on the way out of the back door, it nearly brought me to my knees, but this was to be expected at least once, having been warned about it, but luckily there was no lasting damage and I look forward to another opportunity to share the delights of this farm. The next time will hopefully be with more of my close family, but this was certainly special.

 By Simon Bailey, Blog competition winner

FIREWORK  FESTIVAL - 6th November 2010

The Pirates Revenge Bonfire  - Fancy Dress Competition at 6.00pm, 6.30pm  March of the Pirates - the best dressed Pirate will light the Bonfire. Top Guy competition, Devon's Monstrous Firework display, Sideshows, BBQ , refreshments, Ben the Master Juggler & Spangles the Clown and Live Band.

All the extra entertainment on special event days is included in the usual admission price to the most exciting family theme park in Devon. 

16 family rides, 10 playzones for all ages and 100,000sq.ft. undercover - All weather fun guaranteed!

For full info check out or phone 01803 712598

Woodlands Family Theme Park, Dartmouth, Devon. TQ9 7DQ


The Spooky party with Spangles the Clown, New Spectre of the Abbey Ruins, Daring Phantom Pirates Maze, Trick & Treat Hunts, Workshops, Ghoulish Ghost Train,  Flying Spooks Tractor Ride, Free pumpkins & Pumpkin carving competition, Wicked Witch of the Woods Procession, float your wishing candle in the Monks Cave and Best Spooky Fancy Dress competition.

Woodlands Family Theme Park, Dartmouth, Devon, TQ9 7DQ. Telephone 01803 712598 or visit the website



Family Fright Week at Woodlands Family Theme Park - 23rd - 30th October 2010

Captain Skeleton and 6 Beastly Attractions will be raising screams for 9 days of the best Halloween ever at Woodlands from Oct 23rd - 30th.

Woodlands Family Theme Park near Dartmouth is famous for it's free Pumpkins and daily Carving Championships. The ghastly rides & spooky attractions are perfect for families wanting to celebrate the fun of Halloween.

Win creepy prizes in the Fiendish Workshop making Marvellous Masks, Lanterns, Ghostly Lollies & Batty Bats. Find a Haunted House Trick or Treat Ticket to win another prize, it's all Free!

Woodlands Family Theme Park, Dartmouth, Devon, TQ9 7DQ. Telephone 01803 712598 or visit the website -


Terms and Conditions

Prizes as shown no cash alternative. All Cottage breaks will be subject to availability and will be arranged directly with the owner of each property. The breaks will be available from October – March 2011 and will exclude half terms, Xmas and New Year. With the exception of Church Farm Stables which will be by arrangement for 2011.

To enter the competition

From 1st August 2010, text 'RINGWOOD' to 81025 or visit for your chance to win.

[Read more]

After leaving her sleepy Dorset village as a gawky teenager to seek her fame and fortune in London, Tamara Drewe is forced to return to Ewedown after the death of her mother, to renovate and sell on the family home. Much changed from the teenage ugly duckling with the enormous conk, Tamara returns as a smouldering femme fatale, media celebrity and aspiring novelist, and most importantly with her new nose job.

Her arrival sends shockwaves through this quiet community, particularly amongst its male contingent: there’s successful 50-something thriller writer Nicholas Hardiment, a serial philander to his poor wife Beth, and who once spurned the advances of a teenage Tamara; there’s Andy Cobb, her teenage boyfriend, now handyman and gardener at the Hardiments’ writers’ retreat, but surely too much of a local yokel for the new Tamara; and there’s Ben Sergeant from Swipe, rock musician and teen idol, who moves to Ewedown to be with Tamara after she interviews him at a local music festival. His arrival creates yet more ripples amongst the villagers, particularly for Jody and Casey, two local schoolgirls obsessively smitten with Ben and harbouring fantasies of ‘living the dream’ and the rock star lifestyle.

As autumn turns to winter and spring, Andy sets about renovating Tamara’s family home, with hopes of reviving their teenage trysts in the shed; Tamara starts writing her first autobiographical novel; Ben tries his best to adjust to rural life with his beloved; and Nicholas sees a way to reinvigorate both his life and writing, and free himself from the cosy domesticity of Beth and the writers’ retreat. All the while the romantic machinations going on all around them provide plenty of grist for the literary mills of American Thomas Hardy scholar Glen and the other writers at the retreat.

Can life at Ewedown ever return to normal after Tamara Drewe enters the village, leaving a trail of envy, lust and gossip in her wake? And will Tamara make the right choice about who is the right man for her?

Visit the Official Website at

Become a fan at

Click here to enter the competition

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