East Devon Branch report: Sep 2019 to Jan 2020


Our autumn programme began with two new ventures, the first being a joint lunch in September with the Exeter Branch at the Exeter Golf and Country Club. In his pre lunch lecture our President, John Allan, shared his research on Breton craftsmen in early Tudor Devon in a well illustrated and informative presentation. This was followed by a convivial lunch at which it was decided that a joint lunch should become an annual event.

The same conclusion was reached after our second new joint venture in October when we hosted the Sidmouth Science Festival for a well attended, and hugely successful lecture by Dame Julia Slingo FRS. Taking as her title “Climate Change; a Defining Challenge for the 21st Century”, she presented a convincing argument for the present acceleration of climate change and we were left with the difficult message that we all need to think of the bigger issues and become Earth Stewards, protecting our planet for future generations.

Our meeting in November celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the East Devon Branch and began with a lecture by former President Andrew Cooper . In his beautifully illustrated talk, “Dartmoor, a Celebration of its people, places and wildlife”. Andrew explored the diversity of Dartmoor from its evolution to the present day, and left us wanting more. After the lecture a social gathering of members, visitors and guests enjoyed bubbly and cake, remembering the past successes of the Branch while looking forward to future challenges.

In December our speaker Tony Flux, National Trust Coast and Marine Advisor for the South West, again tackled the question of climate change in his lecture, “Caring for the Coast in the next 100 years”. The National Trust’s Shifting Shores initiative, which started in 2005, commits the Trust to working with natural processes while adapting to coastal change. An example of this is rolling back, which involves moving buildings and infrastructures out of harm’s way and creating new space for nature. His presentation ended with an entertaining, though thought provoking, YouTube video “A Tremendous Tale”, which is worth downloading!

2020 began with a presentation by Peter Beacham “Buckfast Abbey: History, Art and Architecture”. His beautifully illustrated and detailed account of the history of Buckfast Abbey from its Cistercian beginnings in the twelfth century, to its rebuilding as a Benedictine abbey in the 20th century, was fascinating. Many of us had enjoyed the DA conference at Buckfast Abbey in June 2017 so it was good to be reminded of its treasures and beauty.

As we plan our AGM it is with regret that I have accepted the resignation of Marienne Carnochan from the East Devon Branch Committee. Marienne joined the committee in 1987 and has been a hard working and reliable member ever since. She was Chair of the Branch from 1999 to 2009 and served on the DA Council from 1988 to 2014. Marienne has a wealth of knowledge and experience on all matters pertaining to Devon and the Devonshire Association and I know I will still be contacting her when queries arise, and look forward to seeing her at future meetings.

Hazel Harland
Chair