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A chat with the Editor of Dartmoor Magazine

Gardens, Events Coombe TrenchardSarah MarshComment
Front cover image of the March & April issue of Dartmoor Magazine

Front cover image of the March & April issue of Dartmoor Magazine

Supporting local independant enterprise - a catch up with the Editor of Dartmoor Magazine

I’m pleased to confirm that the Dartmoor Magazine will be joining our local exhibitor panel at Coombe Trenchards English Country Garden Festival this year on the 1st and 2nd of June.

Editor Sue Viccars has kindly included a feature about our Garden Festival in the Spring issue of Dartmoor Magazine, which is out now.

Always one for returning the favour, supporting independent enterprise in this beautiful part of Devon - todays blog post shares afew questions I put to Sue about her role as Editor, and what readers of the Dartmoor Magazine can expect from this lovely local publication.

Sue Viccars - Editor of Dartmoor Magazine

Sue Viccars - Editor of Dartmoor Magazine

Q. Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be editor of Dartmoor Magazine.

A. I studied geography and archaeology at Exeter University, then took up a job with a publishing company in London for a brief spell before managing to move back to Devon (always the plan!).  After 20 years as a commissioning editor with David & Charles Publishers I went freelance in 2000, and now work as an editor (books as well as Dartmoor Magazine), author and photographer, specializing in writing walking books all over the South West, with particular reference to Dartmoor and Exmoor. I have been editor of Dartmoor Magazine since 2008, and joint owner of the business with my brother since 2013.

Q. What do you most enjoy about your role as editor?

 A. It’s really great to ‘have to’ get properly immersed in every aspect of somewhere as special as Dartmoor! I commission the magazine, and decide what should be published in each issue. I have regular meetings with my contributors, who are a great bunch of people and who all have a real interest in this remarkable part of the country.

I’m lucky to be able to work from home too, and have a genuine excuse to get out on the moor as often as I do. It’s also great that my other work – writing walking books – often doubles up with whatever I might be doing for the magazine: for example, photos I take when out and about can be used for a number of different purposes. 

Q. How long has Dartmoor Magazine been established, and what would you say is unique and special to the publication?

 A. The magazine was started in 1985, so it’s coming up to its 34th birthday! It's an unusual publication in that it’s not advertorially led, by which I mean that the articles aren’t dictated by the fact that we may or not be able to sell advertising space to support them.

It’s not a lifestyle magazine – there are not features on fashion, or cars, or interior design, for example. All the articles are about Dartmoor ‘proper’ – the photography is fantastic – and the editorial pages take pride of place (as opposed to having to wade through pages of advertising before you can get to something to read). It has a healthy and very devoted following, many of whom have bought every issue published since 1985.

Q. How many issues to you produce a year?

A. Four - spring, summer, autumn and winter.

Q. Where can our readers get hold of a copy of the magazine?

 A. Anyone interested can buy a copy of the magazine at one of our 80+ sales outlets across and around the moor, as well as at some of the major supermarkets in the vicinity.

Subscriptions and single copies can also be purchased via the website www.dartmoormagazine.co.uk or by calling us on (01647) 441174.

 Q. In this ever-changing digital age how do you feel about print?

 A. I still think there’s a place for print – curling up on the sofa with an iPad isn't quite the same as doing the same with a good quality magazine or book and having a good read!

 Q. Tell us about the spring edition of the magazine – what can readers look forward to?

 A. This spring’s issue is, as always, packed to the gunnels. We’ve got a fantastically dramatic front cover image of swaling – burning off the gorse on the moor, which is done in early spring – and an excellent article which discusses the pros and cons of the practice (it’s quite controversial).

The well-known Dartmoor photographer Chris Chapman interviews local character Tich Scott; wildlife presenter Nick Baker looks at the way Dartmoor’s hedges are treated at this time of year; and we’ve got two new series, one on Dartmoor’s village shops, and the other a beautiful photographic study of a particular hill or tor.

Then there’s a look at the local arts scene, at moorland flowers, local bunkhouses, two great walks, the latest news, and diary… there’s masses to interest everyone.

The contents page - Dartmoor Magazine - March/April 2019

The contents page - Dartmoor Magazine - March/April 2019

Q. If you had to choose a favourite time of year when it comes to the collation of the magazine and its content – what would you choose and why?

A. I don’t really have a favourite time. When you work as closely with the moor and with the changing seasons as I have to (when editing a quarterly magazine) you realise that every season has its own particular beauty. I suppose I could say that I prefer the ‘out of season’ times, when the moor is less busy – but there are always places to go, even in the height of the summer, where you will have the moor to yourself. 

Q. We are thrilled to be welcoming Dartmoor Magazine to our English Country Garden Festival on 1st and 2nd of June this year. What are you most looking forward to about the festival and fair season, and what will visitors to the festival be able to discover at your stall?

 A. It’s just the most beautiful place to spend a couple of days – especially in an English summer!

I enjoy meeting subscribers (and potential subscribers) throughout the summer show season, and it’s a good way of getting feedback about how people feel about the magazine.

On the stand we will also have a range of southwest walking books – ones I have written or edited – including my most recent, an extended and revised edition of The Two Moors Way: Devon’s Coast to Coast walk. We’ll also have Dartmoor cards and a good selection of books written by local Dartmoor authors. 

The Terrace in Summer at Coombe Trenchard

The Terrace in Summer at Coombe Trenchard

Our thanks to Sue for supporting us and for answering these questions.

If you would like to contact Sue about the Dartmoor Magazine or her other written works, do feel free to email her. editor@dartmoormagazine.co.uk

With just under 3 months to go until our English Country Garden Festival takes place for the 8th year, I shall be sharing more interviews and blog posts highlighting some of the terrific supporters and exhibitors that you can expect to find at this years event over the coming weeks.

Here’s to those warmer days, and to a great English Country Garden summer.

Sarah x

A look back at this years English Country Garden Festival

Events Coombe Trenchard, GardensSarah MarshComment
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A huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone that came along and supported our much loved English Country Garden Festival on 2nd and 3rd of June this year

From the exhibitors and stall holders, to the volunteers and charities including Childrens Hospice South West, our media sponsors, Devon Life, and our hard working in-house team and family - all of whom helped us to put on a great event.

Good old fashioned community spirit was flying high throughout the weekend, and I am thrilled to share that the English Country Garden Festival 2018 was a terrific success.

Visitors numbers were up significantly this year, with over 2,500 people through the gates. 

The weather was most kind, our marketing activity made a real impact, and our exciting rebranding was very well received - everyone loved to see Jasper stealing the show on our new event logo designed by Laura of Mingo Mingo Studio.

Lorna and I continue to pay particular attention to the selection of high quality exhibitors, and our visitors remain delighted by what they find when they come along.

It is incredibly important to us that the festival provides a special, memorable, vibrant, high quality experience throughout - with a growing number of repeat visitors year on year, so we always aim to have a 30% range of new exhibitors to the Festival each year.

Our mission is to keep the Garden Festival fresh, interesting and supportive of local enterprise as the event celebrates some of the regions best independent producers, arts, crafts, and growers.

Our return visitor numbers are growing in our 7th year of the festival - and we're told how much they love the event from it's location, to the stalls, the atmosphere and the food.  Several have even declared it a calendar highlight for them, and the word is spreading, so we will continue with our quest to deliver an event that ticks the boxes and is thoroughly enjoyed by all.

The media support we enjoy from Devon Life and Cornwall Life magazines is greatly appreciated - did you see our two page editorial feature together with an exclusive 2 for 1 voucher this year? Our thanks to Andy Cooper and Catherine Courtenay particularly for the editorial and social media support they kindly provide.

This year for the first time, we introduced the ‘return for free on Sunday’ incentive, which proved a remarkable success, as not only did many visitors enjoy a second day for the price of one, but in most cases they returned with a family member of a group of friends.  We shall look to offer a similar scenario for next year, so watch this space. 

The English Country Garden Festival 2019 will be held on 1st and 2nd June 2019.

And we are already plotting and planning new ideas, recruiting new exhibitors and stall holders, as well as inviting our visitor favourites back for another year. 

Would you like to exhibit your wares and join us in 2019?

Our pitch fees are extremely reasonable, so if you or anyone you know would like to apply for an information pack, do get in touch by emailing lorna@coombetrenchard.co.uk

We couldn't create such a wonderful event without each and everyone mentioned above, and we truly appreciate and value your comments, feedback, ideas. We also love to see your images too.

Did you come along this year? 

We'd love to hear from you if you did, and we look forward to welcoming you back in 2019.

Kind words go a long way to help us here at Coombe Trenchard, so if you could take a moment to leave a Google review on us, we would be so very grateful. Leave a review.

Or if you'd like to share your thoughts and images with us direct, do always feel free to email us. My thanks to those who have already been in touch to say how much you enjoyed this years show, and for the comments on our facebook page too.

To learn that so many of you love Coombe Trenchard almost as much as we do, quite simply makes the hard work worth it.

Wishing you a wonderful summer, and I look forward to sharing more of what we have in store for next years festival with you soon.

Sarah x

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What our friends say about Coombe Trenchards English Country Garden Festival

Events Coombe Trenchard, GardensSarah MarshComment
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Time really does fly - and I cannot quite believe that we will be hosting our much loved English Country Garden Festival once again next weekend on the 2nd and 3rd of June.

The festival is a labour of love for us all here at Coombe Trenchard, and for our stall holders, our dear friends, supporters, and our volunteers - all of whom help us to ensure year on year, the weekend is seamless and throughly enjoyed by everyone.

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As the last 7 days leading up to our cheery festival unfold, and we crank up a gear with all the preparations this brings, I thought I'd share a few words from a loyal member of the Coombe Trenchard community, Miranda Waite.

Miranda is the wonderful step daughter of Lorna Vanier, and for those that don't know, Lorna is indeed my right hand lady when it comes getting this show on the road each year, and I am extremely grateful to both Lorna and Miranda for their support.

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Q. Tell us a little about yourself, and how you first became involved with the English Country Garden Festival at Coombe Trenchard?

A. I came to visit the festival the first year it started 7 years ago, and not only did I fall in love with the setting and location, I really enjoyed the variety of stalls and the friendly happy atmosphere.

Q. The Festival is delighted to welcome visitors and stall holders from across the South West, with a great emphasis on supporting local independent businesses and the tranquil setting that Coombe Trenchard gardens lend. For those that haven’t visited the festival before – can you share some personal highlights from previous years?

A. There is so much - it’s hard to pinpoint! I really love the plants, the artwork and sculptures, and the crafts. The crafts are brilliant every year and it's great to see many small independent local businesses and their wares.

Q. What would you say is unique and extra special about the annual festival, something that you perhaps don’t see at other garden shows?

A. The setting is second to none - you can't beat having a lovely Pimms whilst watching the croquet and soaking up the atmosphere (and hopefully the sunshine!) in the beautiful gardens.

Q. Can you tell us what you are most look forward to seeing and enjoying at the Festival this year?

A. The lovely selection of stalls - many familiar faces and there are always some new gems that Sarah and Lorna have found to be part of the show. Oh, and the food - the chance to enjoy some delicious food!

Q. Do you have a favourite spot within the Gardens and grounds of Coombe Trenchard?

A. There are so many beautiful spots on the estate, but I have to say I do love walking down through the woodland walk to arrive at the festival, it's so peaceful and unspoiled.

Q. Local foodie stalls and drinks play a huge part at events like this – tell us which stalls you will be savouring this year. 

A. The tea on the lawn.. with lots of home made cakes - plenty of Gluten free too! It's a real treat!

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Q. The cream tea debate lives on – tell us, is it Clotted Cream first or Strawberry Jam?

A. Living in Cornwall now, I really ought to say jam first, which is the Cornish way....but I must confess I actually like my cream tea the Devon way, Clotted Cream first with a large splodge of jam on the top! 

Q. And finally, if you had to sum up the English Country Garden Festival in just three words, what would they be.

A. Beautiful. Delightful... and Delicious!

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Heartfelt thanks to Miranda for these kind words which are echoed by so many of our visitors. Every year I am blown away by the lovely cards and notes of thanks which are sent to me after the festival - it is one of the reasons why I will continue to look forward sharing my home with others for years to come.

See you on the 2nd & 3rd of June!

Sarah xx

 

 

The English Country Garden Festival 2018

Events Coombe TrenchardSarah MarshComment

With the wet cold winter hopefully firmly behind us, and as our gardens at Coombe Trenchard spring into life, we are looking forward to hosting our annual garden show once again for the 7th year running.

Each year on the first weekend of June, Coombe Trenchard opens its gates to exhibitors and visitors from the South West and beyond, to share the tranquility of our gardens and celebrate English Country Garden life.

Specialist plant growers provide a riot of colour to delight our visitors, as well as being on hand to offer lots of great tips and advice. There will be many vintage home and garden treasures too, as well as unique artisan craft makers.

Children’s Hospice South West will be providing a delicious selection home baked cakes and teas on the sunny south terrace, using beloved recipes tried, tested and shared by us all here at Coombe Trenchard.

And once again there will be Edwardian croquet amongst a host of traditional family garden games for all to enjoy.

Freshly prepared hot lunches will also be available on the Italian terrace, and of course there will be ice cream...

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The show this year has been rebranded using our stunning peacock ‘Jasper’ as inspiration, so look out for our new road directional signs and our promotional pieces on social media, on the dedicated page on our website, and in many local publications all of whom help us bang the drum for the event, and are great advocates for the festival and of the on-going garden restoration works here at Coombe Trenchard.

We are delighted to be supported again this year by Devon Life & Cornwall Life magazines, and you will find an article about our gardens and the event, to include a '2 for 1 Voucher' in this months edition out now.

The English Country Garden Festival is being held on Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd June, with gates open from 10am - 5pm.

Entrance fees: £6 adults, children under 14 free, dogs always very welcome.

Myself, Lorna and our trusted team of loyal supporters, family and friends are counting down the days, and look forward to welcoming everyone.

The Home & Garden Show 2016

Events Coombe TrenchardSarah MarshComment

In early June, our normally quiet and serene gardens became a hive of activity. Delightful assortments of plants and flowers were unloaded and carried down to their stalls, stretching out like delicate little rainbows across the lawns. Kettles were boiled, cakes baked and Big Pan Parties delicious creations filled the air with appetite inducing deliciousness. Highly talented local artists, food producers and green fingered folk unpacked their wares and the gates were opened: Coombe Trenchard’s Home & Garden Show 2016 was in full swing.  

Thankfully the weather was humid but dry, warranting one (or two!) trips to the Icicle Ice Cream Tricycle to cool down. Picnic blankets were unrolled and wallets unfurled as the visitors kept on coming. We welcomed over 2,000 people during the whole weekend; an amazing amount of friendly faces, happy smiles and wagging tails keen to discover new additions to their home and gardens.

Coombe Trenchard itself came to life, revelling in so many welcome guests and showcasing just how much our beautiful home has to offer. We overheard innumerable snippets of conversation enthralled with picturing wedding celebrations on the terrace and bridal gowns in the woodland. The atmosphere was happy and content; no doubt in part owing to such a delicious array of treats to savour (we had the best brownie of our lives from Column Bakehouse). Children swooned over The Ark Man’s divine hand carved animals while their mothers sampled The Lavender Lady’s natural treats. Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Visit Dartmoor educated lovely visitors on our precious part of Devon. After picking up advice from our friendly plant suppliers, legs were rested and much needed cups of tea enjoyed. 

Children’s Hospice Southwest were delighted with the funds raised from their tent on the croquet lawn, and received many pledges of support for their Silver Anniversary Tea Party Celebrations. You can find out more and get involved by following this link

As 5pm approached, visitors followed the woodland path back to their cars, laden with armfuls of new favourite things. Exhibitors dispersed (with much lighter loads than when they arrived) and we cracked open a well-earned bottle of wine.  

You can watch a slideshow of some images of our wonderful weekend below. 

 

A huge, heartfelt thank you to everyone that came together to put on such a glorious weekend; exhibitors, staff, guests and their canine companions! There are too many exhibitors to name, but you were all fabulous; your hard work and huge effort is much appreciated.  We’re already looking forward to our next Home & Garden Show, and hope that you can all join us once more.

If you would like to be kept in touch with details of events at Coombe Trenchard please do join our mailing list here

Sarah xx