Meet the Team
We bought Riverside in January 2019 as retirement project to spend more time together and outdoors on Dartmoor. We moved from a small village 15 miles north of Exeter. The property had been a family home for over 30 years and was in need of a great deal of TLC and the grounds had not been well managed. It is our aim to improve the biodiversity present here. We will endeavour to run the Wray Valley business as sustainably as possible for the benefit of the environment while encouraging our visitors to get closer to nature.
We are keen walkers, campers and travellers but what you might not know is that when we get a chance we love to dance cuban salsa.
Kevin fell in love with Dartmoor while at Bristol University in the 1980s, and moved down to Hexworthy in 1987 to create and run an outdoor activity centre for 10 years. His main pursuit these days is hill walking, not only across Dartmoor, but throughout UK, Europe and even further afield. He’s a qualified Mountain leader, and has been a member of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton team for over 10 years. In addition he’s closely involved with Scouts, running activities, expedition and Duke of Edinburgh scheme for the Explorer and Network sections (14 – 25 year olds).
Professionally Kevin is a Chartered IT Professional and Chartered Engineer, now working part time for a local engineering firm, developing new software for their range of water system data loggers.
Michelle is a retired environment consultant with a masters degree in Environmental Sustainability. She loves the outdoors and her bachelors degree was in Geology. The last 17 years of her career were spent mainly in the nuclear industry minimising the impact that the waste arising from taking apart nuclear power stations has on the environment. Professionally Michelle is a Chartered Scientist and a member of the Nuclear Institute. Following on from her MSc dissertation subject she took an active part as a volunteer in the River Otter Beaver Trial monitoring all the video footage captured over a 5 year period.
She has travelled extensively including going round the world for six months in 2001. She is now the head gardener and also does most of the cleaning and catering. In the B&B she is most likely to be the one serving you breakfast as Kevin is not good first thing in the morning. She is also does most of the social media marketing and updates the website. She is a qualified Hill and Moorland Leader and is a Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition assessor and supervisor.
Michelle plays flute and alto Sax in the Moretonhampstead Community Folk Orchestra, and in three separate ensembles the other side of the moor in Tavistock. You will see her dashing out on a Tuesday and Thursday evening.
She has danced salsa since 1998 and introduced Kevin to it when they first met.
Anne is Michelle’s mum and lives in the lodge next to the campsite. The build of the lodge was started just before the first COVID lockdown in January 2020 and finished 8 months later. Anne is a retired nurse and lifelong girl guiding member and leader. Until 2021 she had spent at least 1 night camping every year for over 70 years and likes nothing better than a campfire singsong. She fell in love with Africa several years ago and will happily regale you for hours with her tales of her safari adventures in Botswana. She is the queen of the steam press and is responsible for ironing the bed linen for the B&B. If Michelle & Kevin have a rare weekend away then she is the one that will show you to your campsite pitch.
Led by Vera, the chickens are all ex-battery hens enjoying an idyllic retirement, even during the spells of flockdown due to avian flu. Their primary role is to provide eggs for the B&B guests. but they also provide education and entertainment to our younger campers and B&B guests. Vera is a strong-willed chicken and dictates a periodic blog called “Vera’s View” to Michelle. Vera is convinced she is one of the human team members and is always trying to come inside the house.
The Farm Cats
We rehomed 2 farm cats from the Cats Protection League (CPL). You may see the young black female about hunting during the daytime but we never see the older tortoiseshell except on the trail cam. Their job is to keep the rodent population under control. Whenever you have chickens, you also have rats and mice. These two do not have names yet.
The House Cats
Shadow lives with Michelle & Kevin in the B&B. He spent his first year in a rented apartment with a young family until they had to move and could not take him to their new home. So they gave him to the CPL to be rehomed. Unfortunately he had never met other cats and was badly traumatised by the whole cattery experience and hid away from sight. As a result he was never chosen and got more and more upset. We were persuaded to take him on as a replacement for our elderly cat. He spent his first 3 weeks behind the sofa and all we could see were his eyes which was why we called him Shadow. He was terrified of the outdoors and stairs. Once he gained in confidence he started to show his playful side. His favourite toys are hairbands, christmas bows and stars. He still prefers to spend all day asleep in our sun lounge but will go out if the grass is dry but prefers carpet and hard surfaces. He is not supposed to go into the B&B guest areas unaccompanied as, due to his lack of confidence, he always try to mark his territory. If you do see him please encourage him to go back into the staff areas.
Diego lives with Anne. He is a rehomed stray cat of unknown age although he does seem to have slowed down a bit in the last couple of years. Like his Shrek namesake he is a bit of a scoundrel and a fighter. He used to terrorise Shadow and is known to take the farm cats’ food too.