The History and Culture of Manning's Pit

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Testimonials from supporters


Important Endorsements

Sir Michael Morpurgo
OBE, FRSL, FKC, DL, the author, poet, playwright and librettist.
He is the author of War Horse, and was Children's Laureate (2003-2005).
He sent us a handwritten card and said
Of course I support your brave and important effort to stem the tide of intrusion into our precious places."   He also said he was pleased to hear about the connection with Saki.

His Farms for City Children inspired our own description of
  Manning's Pit  as"fields for town children"

Michael and his wife Clare sent a donation towards buying Manning's Pit,

James Lovelock
CH, CBE, scientist, inventor and best selling author, originator of the Gaia Hypothesis.   He invented the
Electron Capture Detector, and designed the Life Detection experiments for the first Martian lander. The Science Museum in London put on a year long Exhibition of his work.
He has visited Manning's Pit.  All his four children and several of his grandchildren have walked there many times and donated towards buying Manning's Pit.  His son John raised £1000 on a recent Sponsored Walk and his daughter is Chair of the Friends of Manning's Pit.

He has also agreed to be one of the Judges for our upcoming Saki Short Story Competition.

Sir Richard Eyre
CH, CBE, film, theatre, television and opera director.Sir Richard has won numerous awards.

His most recent film, The Children Act, was released recently and stars Emma Thompson.  He was born in Barnstaple and participated in Shaun Ley's Radio Four Extra programme about Saki (In the Lumber Room)

He has sent us a very supportive message and will be one of the Judges for our upcoming Saki Short Story Competition.

Ken Loach
Award winning Film Director. His film  "Kes" (1969) was voted the 7th greatest British film of the 20th centry, and more recently his films "The Wind that Shakes the Barley" (2006) and "I, Daniel Blake" (2016) both received the Palme D'Or Award at the Cannes Film Festival.
He wrote:

'People need homes - but they also need green spaces. There is no conflict between a properly planned housing programme‎ and the preservation of historic open land. I strongly support saving Manning's Pit for future generations to enjoy.'

Richard and Anne Williamson
Son and daughter in law of Henry Williamson ("Tarka the Otter.") Richard is a naturalist and author, and Anne is the author of Henry Williamson's biography.
Richard and Anne have confirmed Henry's close relationship with "Grannie Hibbert," his wife's mother. Henry visited her in Bellaire and visited Manning's Pit while researching Tarka the Otter.

Dr Sandie Byrne
Author of "The Unbearable Saki"
and The Poetry of Ted Hughes

Associate Professor Kellogg College, Oxford. University.
Sandie Byrne took part in Shaun Ley's Radio Four Extra Programme In the Lumber Room, that marked the 100th year anniversary of Saki's death.
  Dr Byrne
signed one of our petitions and sent an email message of support,
wishing us every success in our campaign.

Satish Kumar
Environmental and peace activist Satish Kumar signed our Petition.
Satish is the Editor of Resugence & Ecologist Magazine, and has been influential in environmental concerns over many years. You can read more about him on the Resurgence website:

He is also an author, and supporters who live in North Devon may especially enjoy this article:https://www.resurgence.org/satish-kumar/articles/favourite-walk.html

He wrote:
"I fully support your efforts to save Manning's Pit
 and I wish you every success in stopping the destruction of such beautiful countryside."

Sir Jonathon Porritt
Former Chair of the Ecology Party and later Director of Friends of the Earth
and leading environmentalist. Many media appearances.
Jonathon signed one of our petitions and made this Comment,
Our countryside is disappearing,one development at a time. Local communities are right to fight and fight again to protect the places that are so special to them."

Peter Christie
Well known in North Devon most especially for his knowledge of local history, he took part in Shaun Ley's 2016 Radio programme In the Lumber Room that commemorated the death of Saki . He was also helpful to us when we were setting up the Exhibition on the Museum in 2017.
Peter is an author and especially well known for the many
talks he gives on Local History.  After signing one of our petitions, Peter wrote this:
Saki is one of my favourite writers and his connection to this area
 guarantees my support for preserving it.

Peter has agreed to be one of the Judges in our upcoming Saki Short Story Competition

Julia Bird
 Poet, author of Hannah and the Monk and Twenty Four Seven Blossom.
She lives in London but has visited Manning's Pit many times. Julia was the
 Judge of The Inaugural Manning's Pit Poetry Competition that attracted
 entries from across Britain and as far abroad as India.

She was one of the first to sign an online petition back in 2016, and made this comment:

"Everyone needs a home -
so build more of them on brownfield sites."

Mark Manning

Mark is a musician and artist. His hard rock band Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction had a Top Twenty hit in the 1980s. As a writer he has contributed to The Idler magazine, for example. As an artist he has exhibited successfully and Damien Hirst has bought a number of his paintings. Mark once lived in Windsor Road and used to take his young son down by the river to play there.

We were very grateful to Mark for sending one of his paintings to be exhibited in our Museum Exhibition, where it was a great attraction. Manning's Pit remains important to him, although he lives in London now.

Trevor Beer, MBE
Naturalist and artist, who visited Manning's Pit numerous times during his lifetime.  He sadly passed away in 2017.  This is a link to the letter he wrote to the North Devon Journal about Manning's Pit.

He signed our first petition and made this comment "
As a born and bred Piltonian I have known Manning's Pit and the Bradiford Valley and Tutshill Woods as a child. attending Pilton School and over many years as a naturalist and nature writer. I will fight where I can to save the site from development and despoilation and trust it will be safeguarded for wildlife, with its several rare species,a s well as for the peace enjoyed by people."

Martin Kemp
  Award winning Film Director,
who has produced films for BBC/Channel Four/National Geographic, etc. These include "In the Footsteps of St Paul," with David Suchet, and many documentaries.  Martin has lived in Pilton and made two important films to support our campaign:
The Magic of Manning's Pit and
The Battle of Manning's Pit.
(these films are unfortunately not available for viewing at present)

David Bellamy,
watercolour artist, countryside lover, leads painting courses, producer of DVDs and  presenter of television series on watercolour painting in Wales.

Jenny Keal,
pastel artist, author of books on painting, leads painting courses, countryside lover.

Please note: Our online petition was closed in November 2018 for technical reasons and we have not had access to it since then.  If you signed it before then and wish to contact us for any reason, please do so at manningspit@gmail.com

Local Politicians who have supported out Campaign and signed our Petition

This will be updated shortly!