Positive Lympstone

Wild About Lympstone Festival Update

Jul 1, 2023

No wonder we are “Wild about Lympstone” it’s such a lovely place to live, alongside the great Exe River with the beauty of distant hills, moorland, forests and fields, the ever changing early morning light and evenings of sunset on water bringing hope and vision for Nature’s great power and determination to survive in our troubled World.

A small miracle seemed to take place on Saturday, June 3rd. Many lovely Lympstonians with their good friends and families had gathered in our beautiful Church and the new village Green in order to spend a day of interest and action inspired in many and various ways to show that without the Natural World of which we are essentially a vital part there would be no life at all. Today was to be a day of Festivity to show that in this village thank goodness this is certainly not the case! Quite the reverse!

Displays abounded showing so much of what IS flourishing, what IS going on to help wildlife. Beautiful arrangements of flowers with a wild flavour bedecked altar and porch with a friendly willow-made Hare who stared benignly out of a grassclad Font! Below in the aisle a mini garden accompanied by fishing items paved the way. Next to it a whole table of living wild plants the Allotment had to give away. By the main door Devon Wildlife Trust had erected a charming kiosk with information of forthcoming events. On the other side films were shown and talks by expert village collectors on bees and birds and beetles etc. with one contributor with great knowledge of swifts. One night camera revealed badgers, deer, foxes and mice and the dramatic tale of one lost hedgehog saved from an on-coming tide was told through the day! One devoted villager spends many hours photographing the increasing Beaver Families on the Otter River and recently one seen on our Exe. It’s an endearing film of the domestic life in one beaver family busy bringing up their kits.

Nature has so many gifts for us. Our help for its survival is the best gift we can give back. Some of those with wide knowledge kindly led groups round the village and one friend told me that what she learned in 20 yards was far more than she and possibly most of us could possibly imagine from minute insects to soil and seed distribution, bark. etc.  We saw the children’s beautifully mounted letters showing how they had been studying in school the water in the Wotton Brook and what still swims there now unlike in the days of their grandmas and grandpas. They had also worked hard planting trees in Woodland Trust’s potential Forest halfway up the Parish (how lovely to see that old Parish painting again. What fun we have had Beating the Bounds! Thank you for bringing it along to remind us all of our precious Parish) hedges in private gardens to form corridors for smaller creatures’ safety. I often see different classes from school taking a trip down to the river beach to look for but not take treasure trove, Happy days!

The Lady Chapel was excitingly filled with many examples of how Nature’s influence reigns over artistic skills and talents, of which there is many a strong following in Lympstone; painting, wood turning, pottery, embroidery, wool and fleece work, felting, crochet, knitting, weaving, oragami, papier-mâché, recorder making and playing with willow weaving as well as writing, singing, musical instruments, and beautiful poetry both original and sympathetically collected for all occasions displayed around the village. Tremendous enthusiasm from the children’s corner to sit down with paint and glue concocting all sorts of wild masterpieces! Did I see fanciful butterflies springing up in different places in the church? And what was that charmingly illustrated little book about a fox family? One young girl organised a music workshop in the vestry, each instrument a different wild creature at the end all playing together as a woodland might sound. Ingenious!

Where to stop I do not know ………so much fitted into the day. We will wander on the Green. Good, here is a lady helping others to spend a little time peacefully letting Nature take over for a mindful moment or two. Some very lovely letters appeared later to describe such moments of reflexion. Relaxing a while in a yoga position was led by another lady while the sun shone on other small groups enjoying doing nothing except some gentle cricket if you were about 5 yrs old. From the mind and the soul let us move to the body. Great to see some of our galant members of flood defence volunteers who study hard to work with Nature in its fiercer moods! A moment of special gratitude to them battling constantly with potential storm, soil erosion, water levels or pollution, change of stream flow, exceptional downpours and damage to natural earth absorbency with ill founded building etc. Their work never ceases to keep us safe. Sincere thanks.

But who has come only for homemade cake , tea, coffee or a fruit juice? That tall lady with her small band of servers, ‘washers uppers’ waitress have been in that corner since crack of Dawn pouring drinks and administering delicious cakes. Many thanks to you one and all.

I fear you saw little beyond your much sought after patch except those lovely embroideries hanging on the bell tower windows. Thanks too to another kind lady and her husband who also saw little of the show whilst standing all day long guarding a table heaving with tempting looking gifts. The Rafflers! Lovely prizes thanks to many kind donors. You have given much excitement and merriment! And for this lady acquiring such fine gifts. But what prize is this standing by the church door? Surely not one from a fashionable protester! Yet it’s in no way displaying any of Nature’s beauty. A post sadly decorated with Rubbish by “The Litter Picker” stuff thankfully and vitally retrieved by many humble souls, old like the Grand pas/mas and tiny like The Beavers and Cubs to save thousands of unsuspecting insects. Thank you! A vital job!

I sat to rest for a while in the peaceful Book Corner where an enticing selection of books lured one to stop and stay. Along the sill under the lovely stained glass window was thoughtfully placed a long train of painted butterflies which quite set my heart beating. Years ago an artist friend had recorded these fantastic creatures as they visited her garden the first summer she and her family came to live in the village. My joy was great but sadness followed to think that few of them would visit now. One hope is that there is one lady who had copied paper butterflies in card for a treasure hunt for the children to find and talk about. These ones still visit. A man was arduously working with the microscope a small boy “reading” by his side. I tried to gather my thoughts. I had looked round most of the displays except those still lecturing or taking popular walks around the Green. I was surprised to see so many people still gathered in various corners of the church such as the space where Gulliford Burial Ground had displayed some of the amazing successes of 4 years hard work and a lady whose knowledge of bird life had an interesting stall of further data on wild flowers.

I was filled with gratitude for the wonderful enthusiasm and hard work so many seen and unseen hands and minds have spent hours so that contributors will be comfortably set up in their space. “Mr. And Mrs. Electronics” have, as ever been invaluable with advice on the idiosyncrasies of modern “gadgets”: the Church fraternity too so helpful in many ways including knowledge about present day insurance rigmarole etc. together with the gallant company of physical Labourers, and hardworking “Welcomers”. All the unsung heroes behind our village functions. Where, oh where can gratitude end? It can’t!

None of this would have taken place in this way had it not been for many points: the exciting response in the village last year to DWT’s challenge for small communities to help save wildlife: for our CORD (Rebecca Abrahams, Mary Turner, Sally Burton and Judy Joss) as we named the five who offered to help coordination in order to have a gathering at all and, without whom, June 3rd would never ever have been achieved at all. You have been absolutely wonderful a great comfort. My sincerest gratitude. To the Church who without hesitation offered us all the facilities to enjoy a lovely venue near the Green. Thank you every single person with very special gratitude.

We were specially proud and delighted that Steve Hussey of DWT, expert on their 60 Nature Reserves and many other jobs such as Editor of a vital forward looking magazine four times a year, to have agreed to come and share his wisdom and expertise with us his infectious sense fun. Thank you kind Steve, I enjoyed our little Quiz session like those long walks some years ago.

Finally we felt so proud, happy and grateful to the Leader of DWT, kind Harry Barton, who so generously came in his busy life to cheer us on our way. He thanked you all for tremendous efforts over the last year and at all times, so pleased to find your enthusiasm in helping wildlife. He chose the metaphor of our Glorious Devon Rivers which from time immemorial had moulded the beauty of our unique countryside, Tor and hillside; ominous cave and hollow, glorious heathland sheltering so many precious creatures; meres and timeless peat bogs; culm grasslands now restored after many man destroyed precious places old sludge beds; Ancient forests across Dartmoor, orchid swathes; ponds, bluebells and wild daffodils revelling in new life by the Teign, Quarries changing the flow of the river at Meeth and Soughton the exciting Dart traversing granite outcrops through hidden woodland and the great Exe Estuary and thousands more. How the rivers have have changed us and we them but I think Harry was saying that we have got to change our ways in years to come and attempt to bring back the balance so wantonly lost between our species and that of the wild. Hurrah for the good old beavers! They’ve made a positive success of their comeback. On with the Pine Martens and Wild Cats and very good wishes for us in Lympstone to keep up the good work was Harry’s theme. And very good wishes to you Harry for your new endeavours whatever they may be. We thank you enormously for all the wonderful advice and friendship and positive forward looking you have given so many of us. To the sound of the young girl’s violin that welcomed you amongst us Lympstonians we wish you God’s speed as you move to further adventures. Thank you, Harry. thank you.

Mary Truell

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