March Newsletter: Weathering the Rain, Enhancing Paths, and Preparing for Exciting Experiences and Events

March Newsletter: Weathering the Rain, Enhancing Paths, and Preparing for Exciting Experiences and Events

Welcome to our March Newsletter!

As we started on the journey of 2024, we eagerly anticipated the crisp days of February. However, nature had other plans, as the month turned out to be a mild, rain-soaked deluge, with 159 mm of rainfall and temperatures reaching an unexpected high of 17°C on February 13th. Despite the soggy start to the year, we’ve made the most of it by utilising woodchippings from our hedge laying endeavors to maintain the paths. While Oak and Water Meadow pitches remain dry, Charcoal is passable, and the main Hay Meadow will be closed until April due to the likelihood of cars getting stuck. Please keep an eye on your emails for updates, as we may still ask campers to park at the B&B even after April.

Now, let’s shift our focus to the exciting happenings and upcoming events in and around Wray Valley. This month’s newsletter delves into a variety of topics, from sustainability initiatives and local attractions to a diverse array of events and outdoor activities:

As promised last month, we’re sharing more details about our unique experiences and will soon launch a brand-new section on our website dedicated to these offerings. Stay tuned for the launch email once we’ve tested everything to ensure a seamless experience for you.

As we move forward into the year, we’re grateful for your continued support and enthusiasm for all that Wray Valley has to offer. Together, let’s embrace the unpredictable weather, celebrate our region’s beauty, and create lasting memories through the many adventures that await us.

Happy exploring!

Michelle & Kevin

Introducing Our Upcoming "Sustainability Activity Trail"

Riverside street sign with a pair of striped wellies and daffodils. First image in March Newsletter

We’re excited to share our plans for a new “Sustainability Activity Trail” at Wray Valley, which will highlight the work we’ve been doing and the unique qualities that make our site truly special. While we’re still in the early stages, we can’t wait to bring this project to life over the next few months.  The trail will take you throughout our grounds including our enchanting woods between the Wray Valley Trail and the Wray Brook, showcasing our dedication to preserving the natural environment. 

We’re also looking forward to collaborating with a talented paid intern from the University of Exeter via their Access to Internship (A2I) scheme, and we’ll introduce them to you once they start. Thanks to a generous Farming in Protected Landscapes (FIPL) grant from Dartmoor National Park, the project will include:

  • An Extended UK Habitats Survey to deepen our understanding of the ecosystems present on site.
  • Beautiful interpretation signs to guide and inform your journey.
  • Activities for young and old
  • Improved paths, such as the route from the river to the garden, offering improved accessibility.
  • Careful management of the scrub areas, balancing the needs of diverse habitats.
  • Simple bridges that will span the ditches in the woods
  • Nest boxes of various sizes.

This initiative will not only highlight our commitment to sustainability but also contribute to the protection and enhancement of our beloved Dartmoor National Park. While we work on bringing this project to life over the next 3 to 4 months, we invite you to stay tuned for updates, and we look forward to showing you around it once the trail is complete.


Harnessing the Power of Renewable Energy at Wray Valley

solar panels and scaffolding on a rainy day

We’ve just undergone a significant solar power upgrade! The addition of a further 16 new solar panels and a battery will significantly reduce our reliance on grid electricity and oil usage. This green initiative means that we can now store solar energy to heat water efficiently, especially during peak times and when the sun isn’t shining.

Not only does this upgrade contribute to our commitment to sustainability, but it also ensures that our guests enjoy uninterrupted hot showers, no matter the time of day. Plus, the new automated switch will provide emergency backup power during any unforeseen power outages, ensuring a seamless experience for all.

We’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to local firm Devon Electrical Contractors for their outstanding work in making this solar power upgrade possible.

We’re excited to offer an even more eco-friendly and energy-efficient experience for our guests at Wray Valley!


Join the Moretonhampstead Flag Festival: A Celebration of Accessible Art and Sustainability

Michelle repairing a brightly coloured flag

We’re excited to participate in the upcoming Moretonhampstead Flag Festival, taking place this year from June 15th to 30th. Michelle had the opportunity to attend a flag repair workshop at Green Hill Arts, and she’s now enthusiastically designing a flag for Wray Valley! What do you think our flag should feature? Let us know your creative ideas

This festival showcases the dedication of countless individuals who have spent hours, even years, creating and repairing over 140 flags that adorn the town’s houses and businesses during this fortnight. The event fosters new skills, such as sewing, and transforming ideas into beautiful works of art. In an amazing display of sustainability and repurposing, the flags are crafted from reclaimed materials like discarded tents and offcuts from a balloon factory in Bristol. Local craftsman Owen skillfully handmakes the flagpoles from sycamore coppiced by the Woodland Trust at Pullabrook. 

As you explore the town and surrounding areas during the festival, keep an eye out for the vibrant flags, including ours hopefully! 

If you happen to have a retired tent, please don’t discard it. Instead, give the fabric (not the poles) to us, and we’ll donate it to the flag festival team. They’ll use the materials to create new flags or repair existing ones, they are particularly interested if its brightly coloured.  Let’s come together to celebrate this unique folk art tradition, support sustainability, and enjoy the magic of the Moretonhampstead Flag Festival! 


Unleash Your Inner Pizzaiolo: A Woodfired Pizza Making Adventure!

Michelle tossing pizza dough

Indulge your love for pizza with our immersive, half-day experience that takes you on a scrumptious journey through the art of woodfired pizza making! Perfect for pizza aficionados and beginners alike, you’ll learn the ins and outs of crafting the ultimate woodfired pizza, from mastering the dough to stoking the flames and savoring the delicious results.In this hands-on adventure, you’ll:

  • Master the art of mixing, kneading, and stretching pizza dough.
  • Chop wood and build a roaring fire for that authentic woodfired flavor.
  • Select and prepare fresh, flavorful ingredients for your unique toppings.
  • Construct your pizza with expert guidance from seasoned pizzaiolos.
  • Experience the thrill of cooking in a traditional woodfired oven.
  • Gather with fellow pizza lovers to enjoy your mouthwatering creation!

Don’t miss out on this unforgettable experience that will awaken your inner pizzaiolo! Reserve your spot today and prepare to unleash your passion for pizza in a truly unforgettable way!


Cheers to Supporting a Great Cause with Bays Brewery's Tracker Beer

Bottle of Tracker Beer and Dartmoor Rescue Group logo

This quarter, we’re proud to offer Bays Brewery’s Tracker beer, a charity brew that supports the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team – Ashburton. A portion of each sale goes towards this noble cause, with 5% of the trade price being donated.  Read their blog article all about it here.

As you may know, Kevin from Wray Valley is not only a member of this vital rescue team, but he also serves as their fundraising officer. If you’d like to lend your support and can’t get hold of their beer, you can easily do so by selecting the donation option on our booking form. While the default amount is £1, we encourage you to consider giving more if you’re able. Additionally, if you’re a UK taxpayer, don’t forget to ask for a Gift Aid form to increase the value of your donation!

So, raise a glass of Tracker beer and toast to the incredible work of the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team. Your support makes a real difference, and we’re grateful for your generosity!


Exciting News! Riverside B&B Reaches Southwest Regional Tourism Finals!

SW tourism 2023/24 finalist logo

We are thrilled to announce that our B&B has made it to the Southwest Regional Finals! Despite receiving a Bronze award in the Devon Finals, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that we had advanced to the next round. We’ll be anxiously awaiting the results at the Awards Ceremony in Exeter on March 14th, but with such strong competition, we’ll be elated with any recognition we receive. Fingers crossed and stay tuned for updates!


Our Prize Draw Winner Enjoys a Memorable Stay Despite the Weather!

A young couple standing in the carpark of our B&B

Earlier in February, we were delighted to welcome our prize draw winners, Frankie and Lilly, from Kent, for a Valentine’s Day getaway at our B&B. Despite the less-than-perfect weather, they made the most of their visit by exploring the picturesque Dartmoor and enjoying the tranquil atmosphere of our grounds. 

We’re so happy that our survey and prize draw brought them back to us, and we hope they’ll create many more special memories during future visits.  Remember, you too can have a chance to win a 2-night stay at our cosy B&B or peaceful campsite by simply filling out our survey during or after your stay. The draw is open to all guests, not just the lead booker, so don’t hesitate to scan the QR code in the campsite loos or reception! 


Discovering the Magic of Bluebells in Dartmoor's Enchanting Woodlands

Woodland path through bluebells

May at Wray Valley is a truly mesmerizing time, as our woods and riverside are adorned with a stunning display of bluebells. Nestled in a valley, our bluebells tend to bloom slightly later than those on west-facing slopes, reaching their peak beauty from mid-May to early June. Keep an eye out for posts on Dartmoor Facebook groups for updates on the best places to witness this natural spectacle each week.  

If you have school-aged children, why not plan a half-term adventure to explore Dartmoor’s bluebell-covered landscapes? Noteworthy spots like East Hill Bluebell Circular Walk near Okehampton and Holwell Lawn Bluebell Circular Walk near Widecombe-in-the-Moor offer unforgettable experiences. 

Remember, the beauty of bluebells is fragile and fleeting, so please enjoy them responsibly by sticking to established paths and taking care not to trample on the delicate flowers. Let’s celebrate and preserve this enchanting springtime tradition together!


Revitalised Trails Await at Wray Cleave: Perfect for a Walk or Climb!

Path through Wray Cleave - thin path in the woods with bluebells on both sides

Looking for a scenic and rejuvenating walk close to Wray Valley? Wray Cleave, the ancient woodland just across the road from us, offers a wonderful opportunity on our doorstep to explore the great outdoors, thanks to the tireless efforts of the National Park team. Over the past year, they’ve been busy clearing overgrown paths, installing new signage, and adding gates to enhance your experience.  We’ve lots more suggestions for walks on our  website.

Choose your route from a leisurely stroll along the bottom of the woods or a more strenuous climb to the top, where breathtaking glimpses across the valley and hidden tors await. Take a look at www.torsofdartmoor.co.uk to find out probably more than you ever wanted to know about them.  For bouldering enthusiasts, Wray Cleave boasts an extensive area with four ridges of boulders, perfect for honing your skills in a serene setting.

With improved accessibility and a variety of routes, Wray Cleave is a fantastic destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. Don’t miss the chance to discover the revitalized paths and challenge yourself to new heights!


The Hedge Saga Continues: From Laying to Shredding and Repurposing!

Nicely laid hedge

Remember last month when we were halfway through laying the hedge along the road? Well, we’re happy to report that we’ve completed that task, and the brash has been put to good use around the grounds!

Some of the shredded brash has been used as a nourishing mulch around our raised beds, while the rest has been added to our compost heap or spread on the paths near the river to combat mud caused by rainy weather and foot traffic.

We’ve also been mindful of repurposing the wood from the hedge. The thicker trunks are now stacked and ready to use as path edging, and the thinner staves have been neatly piled outside the stables for guests who want to get creative with bushcraft activities. Anything that can’t be used will be left to season for a couple of years to be used as firewood. We’ve even made a short YouTube video capturing our work.

We’re pleased to have turned a routine maintenance task into an opportunity to enrich our gardens, improve accessibility, and provide resources for our guests. It’s just another example of how we strive to make Wray Valley a welcoming and sustainable destination!


Immerse Yourself in Nature with the Nearly Wild Camping Club Weekend (5-7 April)

Prepare for an unforgettable experience as we gear up for the Nearly Wild Weekend here at Wray Valley Camping, in collaboration with the Nearly Wild Camping Club  

Due to the popularity of similar events last year, the Nearly Wild Camping Club are asking for a small, non-refundable deposit of £20 per adult and £5 per child under 16 to secure your place. This is separate from our usual affordable campsite fees, which will still apply. By paying this deposit, you’ll not only secure your spot, but also contribute to organising more amazing events in the future.  This fee will enable you to take part in the organised activities over the weekend including navigation sessions led by our expert team at no extra charge.

Participation in the weekend will be bookable through the club (details yet to be announced) but you will need to book your pitch through us. To reserve your place for this special event, please send us a message or give us a call, as we’ve currently closed online bookings to the general public over this weekend.

Remember, anyone can join the Nearly Wild Camping Club for an annual fee of £24 per group, and members receive a £2 discount per person per night at our campsite. This membership quickly pays for itself and grants access to a directory of wilder, more natural campsites.


Travel Green, Save Green: Sustainable Transport Discounts at Wray Valley

bicycle leaning against a tree with small bike packing tent in background on Charcoal pitch under the trees

At Wray Valley, we encourage our guests to make environmentally friendly travel choices by offering discounts for those arriving via sustainable means of transport. Whether you choose to walk, cycle, or use public transportation to reach us, you’ll be rewarded with a discount on your stay.

For campsite bookings, you’ll receive a £2 discount per person per night, while B&B guests will receive a voucher for our bar per person per night. (This offer cannot be combined with the Nearly Wild Camping discount). 

By taking advantage of our sustainable transport discounts, you’ll not only enjoy a more affordable stay, but also contribute to reducing your carbon footprint and preserving the natural beauty of Dartmoor for future generations.


Discover "Dogs on Dartmoor" and Join Waggy Walks!

Keep dogs on short leads poster during ground nesting season

Did you know that the National Trust has a Dogs on Dartmoor project? The National Trust manages over 6500 acres of woodland, moorland, and heathland on Dartmoor. There’s plenty of space for you and your dog to explore, however Dartmoor is a haven for wildlife and a working landscape providing grazing for cattle, sheep and ponies.

Find out how to have a safe visit and make the most your day out with your four-legged friend by visiting their website.

They also have several sociable “Waggy Walks” arranged at Parke and on the Castle Drogo estate led by Nathan from the Dogs on Dartmoor Project.  Come along to chat to their “special guest” and meet new people while your dog enjoys the sights and sniffs.  Booking advisable, click the links to find out more

Please remember that during the Ground Nesting Bird Season (1 March and 31 July) your dog must be on a short fixed lead of no more than 2 metres on Access Land. At all other times keep your dog under effective and close control.


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…

Image of a man's face made up from green oak leaves

Many, but not all, of the links below are on Facebook


Thanks for Reading

As we wrap up this edition of our newsletter, we hope that you’ve found it an enjoyable read and encourage you to share it with friends who might also appreciate the insights and updates from Wray Valley.

Your support means the world to us, and we’d be truly grateful if you could take a moment to like and follow us on social media (@WrayValley) and subscribe to our YouTube Channel. By doing so, you’ll stay connected with our latest news, events, and developments, as well as help others discover the beauty and excitement of Wray Valley.

We wish you a wonderful time ahead, filled with unforgettable adventures, memorable experiences, and precious moments with loved ones. We look forward to sharing more stories and updates with you in the coming months and hopefully seeing you here. Until next time!


Selfie of Kevin and Michelle at Scorriton Stone Circle on Dartmoor

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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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