Embracing February – Exciting Updates and Upcoming Events

Embracing February - Exciting Updates and Upcoming Events!

February 2024 Newsletter

Dear friend
As we navigate through the crisp days of February, we are excited to bring you a fresh wave of updates and exciting events from Wray Valley. Don’t worry, you didn’t miss a January newsletter, we decided instead to look forward rather than backwards and publish at the start of the month.  Let’s dive right in and explore all that’s happening at our haven of hospitality.  

We hope you find it and enjoyable read and don’t forget to tell your friends about it too.  If you’ve not yet subscribed to receive the newsletter as soon as its out then click here to get on our mailing list.  

We’d be really grateful if you could like and follow us on social media (@WrayValley – links at the top and bottom of the page) and subscribe to our YouTube Channel as well.

Happy readiing

Michelle & Kevin

Welcoming the first campers of the year

A father and his two young sons sitting on the ground having a bedtime drink sitting beside a campfire in front of their small tent in the woods

Kickstarting the season with enthusiasm, we welcomed our first campers – a father and his two adventurous sons. Taking advantage of a dry spell, they set the tone for a season filled with exploration and outdoor escapades.  

Explore camping at Wray Valley here

Cozy Comforts at Wray Valley

Now, you can escape to Wray Valley and indulge in the cozy comfort of our Riverside B&B on Dartmoor in winter.

Embarking on a journey to redefine comfort at Riverside B&B, we have made significant upgrades to transform our rooms with the installation of cutting-edge hot water underfloor heating. The meticulous process involved the removal of traditional radiators, underfloor piping, carpets, furniture, and skirting boards even before the installation work could begin. In the family room, two inches of additional insulation has been added on two external walls ensuring both coziness and energy efficiency. Led by the resourceful Michelle, we navigated confined spaces to install underfloor insulation, optimizing every nook for comfort. 

Play Video about Michelle and Kevin laying the underfloor heating pipe into the pre-routed flooring.

Utilising pre-routed underfloor heating system boards from Omnie in Exeter, these were expertly connected to our central heating infrastructure by a local plumber, each room now boasts individual thermostatic control. Once commissioned and tested it was time to redecorate and replace the carpets and furniture.  Check out our forest themed family room.

Family room with king size bed in foreground. Showing revised woodland themed wallpaper

The result is a personalised oasis of warmth, marking our commitment to providing an unparalleled and eco-friendly experience for our valued guests. 

Nearly Wild Camping Members Weekend - Brushing Up on Navigation Skills

Small tipi style one person tent in the woods

Mark your calendars for an exciting event in 5-7 April! Join fellow Nearly Wild Camping members for a weekend focused on enhancing your navigation skills. Led by our team, it’s a fantastic opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals.  

For those members who think April is a bit early to camp why not book a stay in our B&B.   This event is not currently bookable online so send us a message to find out more and book your place. 

Not a Nearly Wild Camping Club member yet? Its only £24 a year for the family and don’t forget that all family members get a discount all year round on our camping fees so you’ll make your money back very quickly.  As a member of the Nearly Wild Camping Club you can stay at any of the 280+ wilder camping locations across the UK, many of which are not otherwise open to the public.

Bookable Hearty Homemade Evening Meals

Skip the hassle of going out after a tiring day of sightseeing or strenous exercise by booking our hearty homemade evening meals. Delight in dishes like pasta bakes and casseroles, followed by sweet treats like Devon Apple Cake and Baskervilles Ice Cream. And don’t forget we are fully licensed, selling a range of locally made drinks to accompany your meal.  Please book at least 48 hours in advance.  We’ll send you a reminder before you arrive.

Cartoon grey cat wearing red apron and large saucepan surrounded by vegetables

Orchard Wassailing

Nightime in orchard. Michelle dressed in blue waterproof jacket and red hat pouring cider on an apple tree lit by a candle lantern

Apple Wassailing dates back to anglo-saxon times. This pagan ritual was to ensure a good apple harvest and would have occurred on the old Twelfth Night (January 17). The villagers would gather in the cider orchards with their hot wassail in hand, encircling the largest of the apple trees and they’d sing and make as much noise as possible to ward off any evil spirits that might have otherwise threatened the harvest. They’d pour cider along the roots of the tree and place the toast from the wassail at the tree’s roots or tied to the branches in offering.

This year our apple trees were wassailed twice! Once on the old Twelfth Night with apple juice by the Woodcraft Elfins who meet here on a Wednesday and then again on the Saturday when a few of us got together with our own home grown mulled scrumpy and mulled apple juice for the drivers. Luckily the rain held off until we had finished.

The Hedge Saga

Since we arrived here five years ago we’ve gradually been rejuvenating the hedges and apple trees that were here already and planting new ones. This winter its time to lay the overgrown hedge that runs along the road beside the house.

We are currently about half-way along it and its slow going as its on the top of a Devon bank. We are by no means experts but are getting better year by year.

Overgrown hedgerow
Kevin laying the hedge
Step ladder propped up against laid hedge

More about Hedgelaying

Did you know?

  • Biodiversity Boost: By laying hedges, we create a denser and more structured environment, providing nesting sites and shelter for birds, insects, and small mammals.
  • Enhanced Hedge Structure: Hedgelaying involves partially cutting through the base of shrubs and trees, encouraging new growth. This technique thickens the base of the hedge, creating a sturdy and more impenetrable barrier.
  • Agricultural and Environmental Harmony: Laying hedges helps to maintain field boundaries, prevent soil erosion, and reduce the need for artificial barriers.
    Long-Term Hedge Health: Regular maintenance and rejuvenation through laying ensure that the hedge remains robust, disease-resistant, and capable of supporting wildlife.
  • Traditional Craftsmanship: Embracing hedgelaying is a nod to traditional countryside craftsmanship. By supporting and practicing this age-old technique, we contribute to the preservation of rural heritage and cultural practices.
  • Windbreak and Weather Protection: Well-maintained hedges, especially those laid to provide a windbreak, offer protection against harsh weather conditions. This is particularly beneficial for crops, livestock, and even buildings, creating a microclimate that shields against wind and reduces the impact of weather extremes.

As we continue with our hedgerow rejuvenation project, we’re not just transforming the physical landscape; we’re nurturing an environment that thrives on ecological diversity, sustainability, and a deep appreciation for the natural world. Thank you for being part of this journey toward a greener and more vibrant.


Create Memories: Experiences to Remember

Elevate your stay with unique experiences tailored just for you. This year we are moving into the whole new realm for us of bookable experiences. First up is …

Navigation Skills

Dartmoor awaits – are you ready to navigate its wonders with confidence?

Are you gearing up to stride confidently across Dartmoor’s vast landscapes or aiming to hone your navigation skills for an upcoming assessment?

Picture yourself in a scenario where fog blankets the moor, and your phone’s battery has dwindled – would you know how to find your way safely?

Look no further; our half-day or full-day training sessions offer the ideal opportunity to build confidence and sharpen your navigation prowess in a supportive environment.

Kevin posing on the top of a tor on Dartmoor
Kevin teaching night navigation skills

Led by either Kevin, a qualified mountain leader and member of the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team, or Michelle, a certified Hill and Moorland Leader, both bring many years of navigation training experience to guide you. These sessions can be seamlessly combined with a guided walk, allowing you to put your newfound skills into practice.

But wait, thinking you’ve mastered it all? For a bit of exhilarating fun, join us on a night navigation adventure to truly put your skills to the test! Our sessions are not only informative but also designed to be enjoyable and memorable.

The cost for these invaluable experiences is as follows:

  • £30 per person for a half-day (minimum charge £60)
  • £60 per person for a full day (minimum charge £120)
  • £30 per person for a night navigation (minimum charge £60)

Get in touch with us to let us know your requirements and embark on an adventure of learning, exploration, and skill enhancement. 

Valentine's Celebration and Stay Discounts

Congratulations to our prize winners announced last month. They will be celebrating a romantic 3-night break this month!

Thanks to our early finish on the B&B upgrade we are open for half-term bookings this February. Don’t forget to take advantage of our stay discounts – perfect for mid-week getaways and longer weekend retreats. Booking directly ensures the best rates.

Dates for your diary

There’s something happening throughout the year so why not plan your stay around a local event.  Here’s a few of the regular fixtures to get you started….

Lustleigh May Day celebrations. Children dressed in white dancing around a Maypole
  • Lustleigh May Day – first Saturday in May (4 May)
  • Bovey Craft Festival – 7 – 9 June
  • Bovey Carnival – starts 27 July ending with the parade the following Saturday
  • Moretonhampstead Carnival Food Festival – starts carnival week on 17 August 
  • Moreton Carnival – a week of fun with the parade on August 22
  • Manaton Show – TBA – normally second Saturday in August
  • Lustleigh Show – August Bank Holiday Monday 26 August
  • Nourish Festival – TBA – normally around 7 September
  • Widecombe Fair – 10 September (always the second Tuesday)
  • Devon Open Studios – 7 – 22 September 2024
  • Lustleigh Boxing Day Duck Dash – December 26 
  • Lustleigh Orchard Wassail – January 2025!

Follow us on social media to keep up-to-date with whats on.

So are you planning your 2024 getaways now?

Take another look at the rest of our website to see how much we’ve changed since your last visit.

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