About 40 members gathered for the Platinum Jubilee Concert on Ferndown  St George V field    The weather could have been warmer but dressed up with coats and rugs we enjoyed a very convivial evening with drinks and nibbles.   We sat at the back of the audience so that we could still hear each other speak  !!  So lots of chatting and catching up.   The band were very good (and loud!) and some dancing was seen!!   The grand finale was the fireworks.  They were extremely good …”well done Ferndown Council “ 
A good evening was had by all.

 Angela Larcombe



This was a wonderful visit. Richard Tucker had put together an extremely interesting and well organised tour. Everything went smoothly and even the sun was on our side. The weather was glorious. The accommodation at Lanhydrock was lovely and we enjoyed pre dinner drinks overlooking the golf course. The only downside was that Richard was unwell and unable to make the trip himself. However, his detailed itinerary and organisation meant that Bob and Clare were able to pick up the reins and lead this fabulous three days.

Thank-you Richard, so glad you are on the mend. Thanks also to Bob and Clare for stepping in and leading a great visit.


The first stop on our trip was Exeter where we were given a guided tour of the city by the extremely knowledgeable red coat guides. The City Wall tour covers 2000 years of history from the Romans to present day.  We learn about the significance of the Cathedral and how the city developed, the witch hangings and the devasting fire in 2019.



The Heligan estate is a palatial manor house with surrounding parklands first built in the 1200s. It wasn’t until the 16th century that the wealthy Tremayne family moved in, and another two centuries before they started cultivating what is now known as the “Lost Gardens of Heligan”.

The gardens are considered lost because there was a 75-year period during which they were forgotten and received no attention.

At the outbreak of World War One, the estate employed 20 men working in the Heligan gardens all of whom were conscripted. The manor house took priority and was turned into a convalescence hospital during the war. Jack Tremayne the last heir to the estate died unmarried and childless and Heligan was given to a trust made up of extended family none of whom remembered the existence of the gardens. The gardens remained forgotten until the hurricane of 1990 when the discovery of an old door revealed the lost gardens. In the past 30 years, the gardens have been cultivated and restored to mirror the grandeur they knew in the time of the Tremayne family.


The clay works began at Wheal Martyn in the 1820s and were started by Elias Martyn on the Carthew Estate. Elias became one of the major clay producers in Cornwall and by 1869 he was producing 2,000 tons of clay a year at Wheal Martyn. After his death in 1872, the family kept the land but leased the works to other operators and the site continued to operate until 1969.

The museum was established at Wheal Martyn in 1975 by English China Clays Ltd., the producers of China clay at the time. The adjacent Wheal Martyn clay pit continues to operate today under the global mining company, Imerys Minerals Ltd.




In the 1990’s a group led by Tim Smit, bought an exhausted steep-sided clay pit 60 metres deep, with no soil, 15 metres below the water table, and essentially gave it life.

Into it they brought a huge diversity of plants that are used every day but often don’t get to see, planted in soil made from ‘waste’ materials, watered by the rain, in giant conservatories and buildings that drew inspiration from nature.

The project opened to the public in 2001 and with its now famous Rainforest and Mediterranean domes has continued to develop into the most amazing ecological site.

To find out more  about the Eden Project visit   





Congratulations and thanks to everyone who attended or contributed in any way to our Open Day event which was an outstanding success. We attracted a lot of interest from visitors so much so at one point we could hardly move! It was great to be back in the Barrington Hall where we could show first hand what we are about.

In particular, thanks go to Jo Brearley and her team for organising the event, and Jenny Bass and her team for the refreshments which were extremely popular. In addition, thanks to the outdoor team who encouraged the public over our doors.

Finally, it was also great to see so many of our Group Leaders taking considerable trouble to promote their Groups in imaginative and interesting ways.

Discovering Wessex. Sherborne Castle May 2022

Discovering Wessex. Sherborne Castle May 2022

We all set of in high spirits despite the heavy rainfall. On arriving at the Castle, we were driven along the drive to alight at the front door. Once inside, we were treated to a wonderful tour of this beautiful house, by three extremely knowledgeable and engaging guides.

The castle dates back to Sir Walter Raleigh who acquired the Old Castle in 1592. At first he tried to modernise it, but then he built a new house in in the deer park, known as Sherborne lodge. When Raleigh fell out of favour the house was acquired by the diplomat Sir John Digby and it has remained in the family for the last 400 year. John Digby added four wings to Raleigh’s building, giving the house its present H-shape.

The castle contains works by artist of their time and nationally important collections of furniture and porcelain. In every room there was interesting artefacts and collections from the 1500’s to present times.

At the end of our tour the sun decided to shine and we were able to enjoy the magnificent grounds designed by Lancelot Capability Brown. The 50m acre lake is surrounded by beautifully landscaped grounds and boasts many champion trees and stunning views.

Thanks to Anne Hutton and Keith Banks for arranging the visit

Events Committee. Exbury Gardens May 2022

Events Committee. Exbury Gardens May 2022

This was a glorious day out. The sun shone and we were treated to a wonderful, guided tour of the gardens. Exbury gardens are situated on the border of the Beaulieu River. They were created more than 100 years ago by the Rothschild family who still manage them today.

The gardens are renowned for spring colour, with its world-famous collection of rhododendrons and azaleas.  We also saw some spectacular displays of camellias and magnolias, as well as hundreds of thousands of spring bulbs in daffodil meadow.   Other delights were the Dragonfly pond and the Giant Koi Carp and Golden Orfe fish at top pond.

We all enjoyed a ride on the narrow-gauge railway, which is celebrating its 21st anniversary this year. It departed from a replica Victorian station, Exbury central and travelled through a tunnel, over a bridge, round the dragonfly pond and through the summer lane garden.

Thank you to Richard Tucker for arranging.

International Study Visit. Bruges May 2022

International Study Visit. Bruges May 2022

What a wonderful Study Visit. We were so lucky with the hotel which was situated just off the Burg square, the centre point of this beautiful city. Bruges is famous for its stunning architecture, cobbled streets and canals.

The architecture in Bruges spans the centuries, dating back at its oldest to medieval times. The different buildings and styles chart the changes in design over the years. We visited the Gothic Town Hall built is 1376 with six Gothic style windows across the front façade, as well as 48 niches for statues, there was plenty to see.  Four of our group even climbed the Bruges Belfry – also known as Belfort and took some amazing photos from the top.

A beer tasting evening was enjoyed by all, as were waffles and chocolate.

During the day, many of us travelled the canals by boat whilst other took a mini coach tour of the city.  Some enjoyed a horse and cart tour, something for all.

We also enjoyed a day trip to Antwerp to view the Rubens Museum and walk around the city.

Thanks to Bob Reeve and Clare Clayton for organising a wonderful trip.