Saturday, August 15, 2015

Baggins me a room in Liverton holiday haven.

Fans of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit can now experience a bit of the hobbit’s homeland, The Shire by visiting the North York Moors. 


Golden Hill Farm near Liverton in the North York Moors National Park has just completed a new underground holiday cottage that has been inspired by the stories written by English author JRR Tolkien.  


Owners Carol Hopkinson and Karl Wragg – with the help of £15,000 of tourism-related funding from the North York Moors National Park Authority and Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council* plus a start-up loan from Teesside charity Five Lamps – have stuck closely to Tolkien’s description of the underground hobbit holes which became instantly recognisable following the release of the films. 


The result, Potts Corner, would have done Bilbo Baggins proud with its green round porthole-like door, stained glass windows and grass roof. 


As befits the residence of one of the most respected hobbits, Potts Corner, which sleeps six, doesn’t skimp on any of the comforts either, offering a cosy retreat with cooking facilities, lounge including log burner, roll-top free-standing bath and luxury organic wool mattresses made by Leeds firm Harrison Spinks. 


The couple, who are already employing four apprentice hobbits to help run the growing business, now plan to continue the transformation of their campsite into North Shire by recreating the fabled Hobbiton setting, a first on UK soil. 


Already plans are afoot to start work on a further couple of hobbit holes this year adding to the longer term vision of having seven hobbit residences and a replica of the Green Dragon inn within a wildflower haven.


Potts Corner holiday home is available to rent for £650 for three nights or £850 for seven nights for up to six people.  


Carol explains: “We are delighted to be opening our first hobbit hole and our thanks go to the members of our family and the various organisations that have helped provide financial support along the way. This has given us the confidence to press on with our plans to create a magical setting for families where they can get back to nature and have fun, and which encourages children to start reading fairy tales and adventure books. 


“Importantly, we’re also planning to expand our Apprentice Academy, giving young people opportunities to train in the tourism, horticulture, business and catering sectors. 


“It’s also great to think that we’re helping re-connect the whole Lord of the Rings legacy with Britain, in-line with JRR Tolkien’s English roots.” 


Councillor Carl Quartermain, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Skills, and Leisure at Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, said: “The council is delighted that the Coastal Communities Fund can be put to good use in such a unique way. It really is the spirit in which it is intended.


“These Hobbit Houses must be the only examples in the North East, if not the country, and they will be a great place to spend a weekend away in The (North York)Shire. 


“I also look forward to seeing the Apprentice Academy really take off, the council is committed to seeing young people in work or training, and Carol’s plans sound like they will be a great addition to the area.”


For information and booking Potts Corner please look on


Monday, August 03, 2015

Taste Buds Tickled at Saltburn Food Festival

Thousands turned out to sample a wide variety of tasty delights at this year’s 3rd annual Saltburn Food Festival.

The town was packed out with visitors who were able to enjoy the tastes and smells from more than 70 local traders, as well as experience a variety of cookery lessons and displays on Sunday.

Event organiser Lorna Jackson, who runs family business Real Meals in the town, was delighted the festival keeps going from strength to strength three years after its launch. "What an amazing day,” she said.

"It is very humbling to see the people flock to the festival today. There is a real sense of community surrounding the festival and we are really humbled at the support and encouragement we receive from the people of the town who get behind it.

“This really shows the town at its best and I’m incredibly proud to both live and work here.”

Visitors were able to take advantage of a distinctive vintage bus for the festival’s park and ride scheme to ensure as many people as possible could enjoy the day.

Special guests, including TV chef Peter Sidwell, Richard Ingram, Gilly Robinson and BBC Tees foodie expert Catherine Hill, were cooking up a treat at a live outdoor cookery theatre.

TV chef Peter Sidwell said: “It’s my first visit to Saltburn and an amazing town it is. The festival is just incredible and the place has been absolutely buzzing all day long.”

Richard Ingram, a chef and lecturer at Middlesbrough College, said: “Last year was just incredible and today has just been amazing yet again. The crowds have been a great support all day long, and it has just been a great joy for me and the team from the college to have been part of an amazing day.”

The free festival also included a vibrant street market with around seventy of the best independent food producers from the North East and North Yorkshire, a children’s kitchen academy, live music, world street food, outdoor dining and picnic areas.

Saltburn-born food writer Catherine Hill said: “What an absolutely fantastic day, wonderfully overwhelming, not just fantastic. It is incredible to have a festival like this on our doorstep – it was absolutely wonderful all day long.”

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Saltburn Food Festival Returns with More Tasty Treats

Saltburn Food Festival will be back for a third helping on August 2 with even more tasty treats.

Organisers of the popular event promise that the town’s Milton Street will again be buzzing with around 70 producer stalls, a kitchen academy for children, live music, world street food and outdoor picnic and dining areas.

Special guests, including TV chef Peter Sidwell, Richard Ingram, Gilly Robinson and BBC Tees food expert Catherine Hill, will also be cooking up a storm at a live outdoor Cookery Theatre sponsored by Middlesbrough College.

The free festival, which runs between 10am and 4pm, builds on the town’s popular monthly farmers’ market.

Organiser Lorna Jackson says: “The last two food festivals have been amazing, really, a fantastic street party celebrating locally produced food.

“Milton Street was pretty much transformed into a village in itself and there was a wonderful sense of community around both days, with people coming in and out of the festival all day long.

“All the traders share our passion for good, local food. They love the people here and can’t wait for the day to come along.

“Above all, though, I think the festival is a real tribute to all the people of Saltburn who get behind the day, reflecting a real sense of optimism and community spirit that shows the town at its best.

“We’re currently smack bang in the middle of our final preparations and we hope we can do the town proud again this year.”

The festival’s guest chefs are all set to share some fabulous recipes and kitchen tips with visitors.

Peter Sidwell, author of the Simply Good cook books, says: “I’ve heard the festival is an amazing day, full of people who share my passion for good local food, so I jumped at the chance to be involved and I’m looking forward to being part of a really top day.”

Richard Ingram is making a welcome festival return after being part of it last year. The chef and lecturer at Middlesbrough College says: “Last year was just incredible – ridiculously busy but in a wonderful way.

“I didn’t need asking twice when I was invited back again this year. Some of the best new chefs from the college here are looking forward to a fantastic day.”

It’s set to be a festival homecoming for fellow guest chef Gilly Robinson, who grew up in Eaglescliffe and is now head tutor at Malton Cookery School.

Previously senior tutor at TV chef Rosemary Shrager’s Cookery School in Kent, Gilly says: “We have a lot of customers from Saltburn and the rest of Teesside and East Cleveland who come to visit us in Malton, so I’m really looking forward to coming to see them on home ground for a change.

“I know the festival is going to be buzzing all day long and I can’t wait!”

A Whitby Vintage Bus will be on hand to carry people into the heart of town on the day as part of the festival’s park and ride scheme.

Cars will be able to park free on the old council coach park opposite Saltburn Golf Club and at the Saltburn Learning Campus (formerly Huntcliff School) and an all-day bus ticket will cost £2 for adults with under 16s going free.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Savannah's Summertime Charity Night


Don't miss out on a fun-filled summery evening at Savannah's Saltburn Charity Night on Friday 7th August.

The event will be hosted at the exclusive Saltburn Golf Club and popular UK band The Happy Cats will be entertaining guests with LIVE music!


A whole bunch of prizes are also up for grabs in an exciting raffle, including;

• 2 night stay for 2 at Ald White Craig Cottage, Northumberland

• 2 night family stay at YHA National Forest with a day at Conkers

• 6 month leisure pass for Everyone Active, Redcar

• Middlesbrough Football Club tour


Tickets cost just £15 and include a pie and pea supper. All proceeds go to Teesside Hospice! For tickets please call 07708925063.



Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Engineering His Future

Saltburn's hugely popular Cliff Lift, one of the areas biggest tourist attractions, welcomes its
first ever apprentice in time for the summer season.

Learning the ropes at the unique attraction is eager apprentice, 18 year old Ryan Mapp, who will be working at the Cliff Lift for the coming year.

The water-balanced lift, an iconic piece of engineering, has been in operation since 1884 and is believed to be the oldest working funicular of its kind in the UK.

Ryan, whose apprenticeship is through Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council with day releases at
Middlesbrough College, spoke of his unique experience and said that one of his favourite parts of the job is the people he gets to meet every day.

He said: “I’m really enjoying it; I get to meet lots of new and friendly people, many of them have never seen anything like the lift.”

Ryan added: “The skills I’m learning on this apprenticeship will be invaluable for when I become an
engineer one day.”

In the summer season Ryan’s job is customer service based, and he can often be seen on the tracks carrying out daily inspections with a member of staff prior to opening. In the winter months he will be working with Cliff Lift engineer, Paul Wakeford, assisting with the winter maintenance programme.

The Cliff Lift now welcomes volunteers to help with the daily running of the Saltburn attraction,
including Stella Coombe who works on Tuesday's.


Friday, May 22, 2015

White Rabbits, and Adventures in Wonderland - The Yarnstormers Return.

They're back. Overnight the mysterious yarn bombers have returned to Saltburn Pier. This time it's a real tea party. Mad Hatters and all.

The secret knitters have struck again, this time celebrating 150 years since the publication of Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland.

Characters from the much-loved book have been wonderfully recreated in wool - with the enigmatic knitters working through the night to bring them to life in a magnificent display.

Working under the cover of darkness, the elusive team stitched their latest creations to the railings on the town's historic pier.

Figures include the famous grinning Cheshire Cat, which sits perched along the pier’s railings alongside other favourites like the Mad Hatter, the white rabbit - complete with his trusty stopwatch and black hat - and the chubby, argumentative twins Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

Other fun characters include the playing cards, loyal servants to the Queen of Hearts and of course, Alice herself takes centre stage amongst teacups and teapots from the famous Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and other popular symbols from the book.

The latest yarnbombers’ creation has been displayed just in time for the Bank Holiday weekend.

Previous displays produced by the secret knitters include knitted characters for the World Cup, Queen’s Jubilee and a display to coincide with the London Olympics in 2012.

Thousands of people have travelled from around the country to see their creations but the identity of the knitters remains a mystery.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Capture Coastal Wildflowers this Summer

The Tees Valley Wildlife Trust project is compiling a catalogue of nature’s blooms growing along sand dunes to high cliff tops and is offering snappers free outdoor photography workshops whether they use a camera or mobile phone.

Funded through the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, the scheme will concentrate on the Cleveland coast which is recognised as an important wildlife corridor.

"The flowers we are interested in are those growing in the narrow strip between the sea and the first roads or field boundaries inland,” said Kate Bartram of the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust.

To demonstrate different habitats the coast has been divided into six different sites at South Gare, Coatham dunes, Redcar Stray to Marske Cliff House, Marske Cliff house to Saltburn, Saltburn to Skinningrove and Skinningrove to Cowbar near Staithes in North Yorkshire.

Free outdoor photography workshops led by botanist Martin Allen are being held:

1 In Marske on Thursday, May 21, from 6pm to 8.30pm meeting on Saint Germain’s Lane by the church.

2. South Gare on Saturday, May 23, from 10.30am to 12.30pm meeting opposite the fishermen’s huts.

3. Cattersty on Sunday, May 24, from 1.30pm to 4pm at St Helen’s church, Carlin How. 

4. Coatham dunes on Tuesday, May 26, from 6pm to 8.30pm meeting at the Majuba Road car park in Redcar.

Snappers are advised to wear appropriate footwear and clothing as some walking will be involved.

To book a place on a workshop email or call 01287 636382

You can read more about the project and find out where you can upload your own photographs by reading Martin' s Blog here:

How do you get people to be interested in their local flora? New Blog: New Project

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Bat Woman Arrives.

The Tees Valley Wildlife Trust has appointed a new Bat Officer for the East Cleveland Batscape. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Northumbrian Water’s Branch Out Fund, the two year project aims to establish an understanding of bat populations and distribution in the East Cleveland area. By running local bat events, the project will engage with local communities and encourage the development of village batscapes to create an understanding and appreciation of bats of the local area, which we know so little about. The project launch is in Loftus on the 16th of May, see below for details.

Sarah is very excited about her new role and the project she will be undertaking within the local community. Sarah is from Redcar, but has lived in Moorsholm and Marske. She can often be spotted on the road with her red car with lady bird spots. Her interest in bats stemmed from her experience in bioacoustics, the study of animal communication by sound. Sarah has been working with whales and dolphins all around the world for the past sixteen years and is a marine mammal medic for the Cleveland area. Wanting to be closer to home, to learn more about our amazing wildlife here in Cleveland and to enthuse others, Sarah was thrilled when she was offered the position of Bat Officer. Friends and colleagues have dropped many suggestions that she should have her own bat costume, which she may be coming round to the idea of.


“Bats are cryptic animals that hunt at night so are totally overlooked, but thanks to this new project being launched in the East Cleveland area, bats are at last to be celebrated. Whilst not always considered to be the cutest of animals, bats are a vital part of our ecosystem. Sadly bat populations in the UK have suffered severe declines in the last few decades. For this reason, all bats and their roosts are protected by law. One of the main reasons for their decline is a loss of important habitat for them – woodland, hedgerows and buildings they may have been roosting in. Their declining numbers flag up an urgent need to understand them better before it is too late, and it is important that this knowledge is shared with local communities in order to protect them“ said Sarah.

Small but perfectly formed
“These small but perfectly formed creatures are definitely misunderstood. There are many misconceptions about bats, which we hope to dispel at our events. Lots of people squirm at the thought of a bat, or panic if a bat gets too close, but they shouldn’t. The bats we have in the UK are insectivores, so they only eat insects. This includes up to 3000 midges in one night! So ironically, they actually eat the little critters that suck blood from you. Bats of the UK are shy and are more frightened of you than you are of them. They have been known in the past as flying mice. However, humans are actually genetically closer to mice than bats are! Bats also are very clean animals and spend many hours grooming” said Sarah.

The wooded nature and rural character of the East Cleveland Batscape area gives it the potential to be important for more than eight species of bat, but there are very few records. The project will encourage people to help collect data by loaning special bat recorders to find out if they have bats in their back yard and the wider countryside to build up a picture of our local batscape. It is a unique opportunity to experience unusual wildlife encounters on a local patch. Sarah will provide advice on how to use these bat detectors and the best places to use them to gain recordings.

Unique bat talk and walk will launch the project
Wildlife lovers are being asked to turn up in force to count the range of bat species that are emerging in the town of Loftus. This event is open to nature lovers of any age and will go on until dusk in a bid to observe bats that appear in the evening.

The launch of the East Cleveland Batscape project will involve a talk on bats and how to go about detecting them. The talk will also involve a little on why bats are important and some quirky facts that will interest all ages. Echolocation calls will be played so that people know what to listen out for during a bat walk. The bat walk will involve going outside with bat detectors to see what is flying around as bats emerge for feeding as the sun goes down.
At the launch, and throughout the project, Sarah hopes people will learn to love bats and discover their importance in our landscape.

Sarah said: “We want as many people to get involved as possible. We’ll be running bat talks and walks to identify different bat species, asking for volunteers to take part in surveys and field work and undertaking children’s events to educate the next generation about why bats are special, unique and important to our natural heritage. We hope that getting people involved, in the long term, will contribute to their conservation”.

Saturday 16th of May. Loftus. The old Co-op building. 7:30.
This event is free and suitable for children. The bat walk will be relatively easy, but the route will include some uneven path. The talk will last around 20 minutes and the walk around 30 to 40 minutes. The walk will be followed by some hot soup and to have a chat about the bats that have been seen and heard. It is recommended to bring a torch and wrap up warm.
There will be further events over the next two years throughout the project so keep an eye on the Coastal View for more information. “We really hope to see you at one of our events to help us with this new fascinating programme that you can all become involved with” said Sarah.

To find out more about events or how you can become involved in the East Cleveland Batscape contact:
Sarah Barry, Bat Officer, Tees Valley Wildlife Trust on 01287 636382

As part of the Redcar and Cleveland walking festival there will be a “winged wildlife of the Tees Valley” walk at Coatham Marsh in Redcar on the 21st of June. Meeting at the car park on Tod Point Road, Warrenby at 10:00. Be it ducks, herons, butterflies, beetles or bees, we will stop and admire and identify all winged wildlife along the way. The walk will be approximately 2 miles. Wear sturdy footwear and appropriate clothing. Suitable for all ages.