Ilfracombe Carnival 2013

Ilfracombe Carnival 2013
New organisers same eclectic fun

This year’s carnival takes place on Thursday August 22nd starting at the swimming pool car park at six thirty in the evening with judging the best floats, and then the procession will move from there along the High Street and down to the sea front along to George Street.

In previous years it was organised by St. John’s Ambulance, who have a very active training scheme in town. But this year they relinquished their interest as it was becoming increasingly difficult to organise the event and still do all their other things.

So the event has been taken over by a consortium of organisers but it is expected that much of the event will be the same as it has been in previous years.

Uncle_Tom_Cobbley_floatAn ever popular float is one involving a large model horse carrying uncle Tom Cobbley and all, and with a tail that waves around splashing onlookers with water. It wasn’t so popular last year since everybody was already sick of getting wet from ordinary rain, but hopefully this year, with the weather back to normal the odd splash will be a welcome relief.

It is fairly obvious that the roads will be closed for this event from 18.45 prompt until the procession has fully passed. This may take several hours so avoid using your car in town and if you need to leave then make sure it is not trapped by the closures.

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Unsigned rock festival Barnstaple August 2013

Unsigned Rock Festival
@ The Old Bus Station Barnstaple

Presented by Dr. John’s Rock Surgery
August 10th and August 11th 2013

John Forster runs a radio show called Dr John’s Rock Surgery, which plays 100% unsigned bands. It has a substantial audience, partly thanks to syndicating to several radio stations. Obviously he plays rock although there is a fairly broad scope within the genre.

The festival has been set up to raise money for a local charity, PATHFIELDS SCHOOL in Barnstaple Caring for children with Downs and severe learning disabilities.

John says,
I have been shown around the school and it is a great place and the kids are incredible. With kids going to the school from Ilfracombe, Barnstaple, Bideford think you will agree it is well worthwhile cause and we couldn’t be happier to be doing this for them.

Of the bands playing, I have already heard of, or written about several of them, “Band Of Roses”, “Ataraxis Vibration“, “Billy Brown“, “Blackwater England”, and “The Black Dogs”. Based on my knowledge of those band this is going to be a totally brilliant couple of days.

£10 for the two days is an absolute bargain and all profits go to the charity so I think this is a must see if you live anywhere in North Devon.

Ilfracombe’s Verity looking green about the gills

What was the point of the polish?

Verity looking very green. Photo taken 1st August 2013 Samsung S3 camera unedited.

Verity looking very green.
Photo taken 1st August 2013
Samsung S3 camera unedited.

Damien Hirst’s controversial sixty foot bronze statue, “Verity” was polished up to a gleaming shine when she was installed, at the end of the pier, last October.

There was a great deal of talk about how she would revive the town’s fortunes and I, for one, thought that she would; however the jury is still emphatically out, despite the enthusiastic cheering by the North Devon Journal about increased use of car parks which conveniently ignored the fact that there was a corresponding increase in other towns which had not added a statue recently.

So now as I look at this vision of …. well this …. sight, for want of a better word, I wonder what was the point of all that polishing? She now looks almost completely green from verdigris. Not an attractive visage in the glorious Devon sunshine.

Surely a quick coat of varnish would have saved the need for a twice yearly polish at great expense, of this monstrous cabbage coloured object.

Bicclescombe Mill and tea rooms

Bicclescombe tea rooms
and Bicclescombe Mill

Ilfracombe’s Bicclescombe park is the largest public park in the town and has been awarded a green flag consistently for several years now. As well as beautiful landscaped gardens, children’s playground, and tennis courts, the park benefits greatly from the tea rooms housed in the old farmhouse which is part of the mill.

The tea rooms is entirely staffed by volunteers and is run as a not for profit organisation. Consequently prices are very reasonable. Many locals come here to relax and enjoy a cream tea (£2.50) toasted sandwich (£2.00) cold drinks (50p a can) and especially the Dunster Farm dairy ice creams for just a pound.

There are new picnic tables outside as well as seating inside in case the weather turns ugly. There are customer toilets and public toilets nearby and there are various toys fir younger children close by where parents can supervise while enjoying their snack.

The older children’s playground is the other side of some trees and a stream.

Indoor Market – Ilfracombe High Street

Ilfracombe Indoor Market

11 – 12 High Street, Ilfracombe, Devon, EX34 9DF

Especially worth a visit on wet days since it is all under cover, the indoor market has a range of stalls some changing frequently.

These include, hair and nail treatment salon, antique furniture and bric-a-brac, paintings, cards and small gifts, second hand books and records, sweets, baby clothes and accessories, framed photos from the area, arts and crafts, and bespoke tee shirt printing.

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Devon bus transport information – indispensable website

Indispensable interactive bus map for Devon

Devon County Council provides this excellent bus map online which allows you to see at a glance where buses go from and to, at every level of detail.

Having moved here from London, where we were used to having an integrated regional transport system co-ordinated by regional government, the hotch-potch of transport providers proved a major obstacle to getting around when we didn’t have access to a car.

The companies own websites are often very uninformative so this map which I only just found out about today and appears to be fairly new, is going to be in my bookmarks from now on.

The Lamb Hotel, Ilfracombe – listing

The Lamb Hotel, Ilfracombe

The_Lamb_Hotel59 High Street,
EX34 9QB

01271 863708


The Lamb Hotel has been closed twice in the last two years, but has recently been sold by Enterprise breweries and reopened under new ownership. Update It has been closed again for the last couple of weeks for “a refit and change of management” and is scheduled to re-open today (Friday 13th September) Therefore the following information may no longer be accurate, pending a further visit.

The_Lamb_Hotel_barThe decor is modern with some quite bold wallpaper but it is not too overpowering in this large open space. There is a large upstairs room which can be used for functions as well as providing extra restaurant space during busy times, like Sunday lunch time.

The food served is good and reasonably priced. I had a very nice pint of Otter for £3 there is usually a choice of two local real ales. I was there while they had a live band playing. The venue intends to host regular music on Friday nights.

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Buddy’s, Ilfracombe – Pub listing

Buddy’s bar Ilfracombe


106 High St,

EX34 9ET

01271 879777


Buddy’s in the High Street is one of the largest pubs in town. The downstairs bar is trendy and aimed at younger customers, and “career” drinkers; with cheap lager, no real ale, and a noisy ambiance; dance music, and laser lighting.

Buddys_barThere are bottled beers, but the pub thrives on its reputation for selling cheap lager.
There is no beer garden and nowhere, except the narrow High Street, for smokers.
It has attracted criticism from some locals because of smokers and drinkers outside from quite early in the day.

There are large TV screens for showing major sports events, and seating on several levels. There is no parking but it stands in the centre of town.

Upstairs is a separate venue called Buddy’s Live Lounge which plays host to irregular live music, as well as other functions. It has two stages and a quite large capacity of about 150 people.  (Only the Pavilion and Landmark are larger for live music.)

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Boat House pub, Ilfracombe – listing

The Boat House, Ilfracombe

The_Boat_House_IlfracombeThe Boat House,
1-4 The Promenade,
EX34 9BD

01271 862545


Boat_House_barThe boat house was formerly known as The Wheelhouse and is an integral part of the promenade of shops on the sea front on Wilder Road which is designed to represent a paddle steamer. It is currently run by local landlord “H” and features live music, mainly during the tourist season. With a seating area outside this is a great place to sit and enjoy the sea views on warm days.

There is usually a choice of two local ales but, on this occasion, I was limited to Yelland, at a very reasonable £3. Service is warm and friendly. Decor is mainly traditional with nautical leanings.

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George and Dragon pub, Ilfracombe – listing

George and Dragon, Ilfracombe

I picked a bad time to take this as it was raining.

I picked a bad time to take this as it was raining.

George and Dragon,
4 Fore Street,
EX34 9ED

01271 863851


The George and Dragon is officially Ilfracombe’s oldest pub having been one since it was built in 1360. The Prince of Wales next door is the older building but has not been a pub for as long.

It is a small and cosy place with plenty of beams and old features. Outside on sunny days there is space to sit and almost no traffic as the road is close except for access.

George_and_Dragon_barApart from a small selection of decent real ales (I had an Exmoor at £3) the pub also serves excellent food.

There is a notice on the bar that requests customer snot to use mobile phones and this is enforced fairly strictly. Although I was allowed to use mine as a camera and notebook, actually taking a call would have had me asked to leave. As this is the only pub in town that I know of which has such a rule it means that if you do want a quiet pint this is where to go.*

Dogs are welcome as are children; the kids menu is good as well.

*Mobile reception in this part of town is dreadful anyway. A woman asked me (in a welsh accent) where she could find a mobile signal, I told her Cardiff. 

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