Ware Cliffs Proposed Deveopment Plans

Please find below links to the National Trust Development Plans for Ware Cliffs followed by the accompanying letter received from Helen Mann:

Elevation drawings – version 2

Site plan – version 2

Floor plan – version 1

Setting elevations – version 2

Floor plan – version 2

Dear All

Following our meeting on the 14th April I am now in a position to update you on progress. We have listened to the group’s comments and worked hard to accommodate as many of these as we can. 

One of the largest areas of concern was the triangle of land which we had proposed to sell with the building plot. We have reviewed this plan and now propose that only the area outlined in red on the attached site plan is included within the planning application and eventually sold.  You will see that this excludes the triangle of land, which we intend to declare inalienable. I cannot guarantee that the Board of Trustees will accept this declaration, but I see no reason why the recommendation for inalienability would be denied.

We have also asked the architect to review the plans for the house and I have attached amended drawings. We have scaled back the footprint of the property which has reduced the bulk of the building. If you compare the original floor plan to version 2 you will see that the eastern elevation has been shortened, reducing the size of the kitchen and living room. Please note that the lines on the floor plan in the field are contour lines and are not indicative of fencing.

The primary reason for the National Trust wanting to dispose of this property is to remove the liability of the redundant farm buildings. These buildings have no agricultural use or vernacular interest. At some point in the near future they will become an environmental hazard due to the asbestos roofs and will require significant investment to remedy this. Disposing of this property will allow us to generate new funds for conservation work, some of which we are currently unable to fund.

I hope you will be able to support these amendments so that we can move to a formal submission to the planning authority. If anyone has any questions do please come back to me.


Helen Mann

General Manager, West and North Dorset

Ware Farm – A letter to members




 As mentioned at the Annual General Meeting, the Society has been consulted by the National Trust concerning development proposals at Ware Farm. 

By way of background, in 1987 the Society organised in short order a fund raising campaign to assist the National Trust acquire Ware Farm. This campaign raised £27,000 towards the £38,000 purchase price. It is clear from our archives and press reports at the time, it was the intention that the National Trust would retain the whole of the land in perpetuity for the benefit of the general public. 

It is important to understand that the gift of cash to acquire land in these circumstances does not, of itself, make the land free from the threat of development. It is the National Trust that can declare land inalienable, meaning it is free of the threat of being sold or developed, unless as a result of an Act of Parliament. 

While the National Trust has declared most of the Ware Farm land inalienable, it has not done so in respect of the site containing the farm buildings and the adjacent triangular field, which it considers as investment properties. 

I attended a meeting with Richard Nicholls, Chair of Dorset CPRE and local Ware residents with Helen Mann General Manager of the North & West Dorset Region in mid-April to discuss their proposals. Most of these proposals are against the intention expressed in 1987, and as such are opposed by the Society. However as a result of these strongly expressed objections, the National Trust are rethinking their proposals. 

I am pleased to say that Helen Mann has agreed to present the revised proposals at a special meeting of Society Members and their guests. While the purpose of this meeting is to consult Society Members we are conscious that there is potentially wider interest in what the National Trust is proposing.

Therefore without wishing to exclude anyone those who are intending to attend should be as guests of Members. There will be no charge for this meeting.

I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at this meeting. If you wish to communicate with me in lieu of attendance or in addition to attending please email me at chairman@lymeregissociety.org.uk

 With kind regards

Chris Savory

PS. Please note that, due to the difficulty of communicating with all our members at short notice in these circumstances, it has been decided that in future all such communication will be by email. Please ensure that the Society always has your current email address by emailing membership@lymeregissociety.org.uk


Diary Dates for Autumn 2016

At the Woodmead Hall:

  • Tuesday 27th September
    “The ‘new’ Shute House”
    - a talk by Maureen Turner M.A.
  • Tuesday 25th October
     “Maintaining the character of Lyme Regis”
    - a workshop with Peter Coe
  • Tuesday 29th November
     ”Beavers in Devon- restoring wetlands the natural way”
    - a talk by Mark Elliott
  • Tuesday 13th December
     ”The Lyme Regis Brewery at The Town Mill”
    – a talk by Julian Shaw
All meetings start at 2.30pm at the Woodmead Hall. Admission to talks is free for Lyme Regis Society and U3A members and £3.00 for visitors


At the Guildhall:

Heritage Open Days at Lyme Regis Guildhall will be taking place on the 9th, 11th and 12th September. 

2016 Coffee Morning

On the 5th February we had 40 members of the Society attend the annual coffee morning at The Alexandra Hotel. Coffee was drunk and homemade cakes were eaten conversation ran riot.

Bernard Spencer – RIP

We are very sorry to need to relate the death of Bernard Spencer, the Society’s President and former Chairman. In the period since he stood down from his role as Chairman at the 2011 AGM, Bernard has struggled with illness and succumbed to it on the 8th December.

It is difficult to overstate what Bernard did for the Society in the years after he attended his first meeting, with the intent of joining the Society but in fact being elected as Treasurer. The best way to give an idea of what he acheived may well be to use his own understated words.
In his final Chairman’s report in the March 2011 edition of the Society’s Newsletter, Bernard wrote:

“A resumé of my eleven years as Treasurer and Chairman.

2000 – My first visit to join the LRS committee produced an announcement from the then Chairman. “It is with regret I have to report that the Society is facing considerable difficulties,” then three of the committee stood down. An inauspicious start. Clearly the priority was to increase membership. On the plus side an Honour was awarded to member Lawrence Whistler, a glass engraver of World renown. Mary Bohane joined as Secretary and the first moves to raise the Society profile began. We had a float in the Carnival Procession and came first in our category. (actually, we were the only entry). Having joined as Treasurer, I restarted checking Footpaths.
2001 – Molly designed and painted a Tourist Map of the town paid for by advertisements. We also researched the town’s historic plaques and later printed a free book, supplies of which were gone before the year ended. At a ceremony in London, the Lyme Regis Society was chosen by the Civic Trust from 900 Civic Societies for a Best Improvement Award. The committee agreed to start a fund raising campaign for a stone seat commemorating the late Dr Joan Walker, a stalwart of the Society and famous for her pioneering work in the treatment of diabetes. In November we won second prize in a Fire Sculpture competition organised by the Carnival Committee. Our entry was Judge Jeffreys. He was recently resurrected from the Museum cellar.
2002 – Jean Smith retired as Chairman and I took over, with Molly acting as Caretaker Treasurer. We produced a sixty-page book on the town’s historic plaques which we called Signs of History. Fifteen new members joined the Society. We made our first approach to Palmers about the empty Three Cups Hotel.
2003 – Search was on for a Skateboard Park, a use for Strawberry Fields, and the Development Trust became interested in Woodbury Down for a study centre. The Society was pressing Palmers for action on the Three Cups Hotel. The Society’s Town Map had sold 2,000 copies. The new Signs of History sold 1,000 copies. The stone seat in memory of Joan Walker was installed with a short ceremony attended by the Mayor and the Chairman of the District Council. The Society’s President, Ron Arnold, died.
2004 – We made representations to Dorset Council over inadequate repairs to Horn Bridge. Committee decided to open the Guildhall in support of the Europewide Heritage Open Days. Molly and I researched and produced a book listing the local Devon and Dorset paths, calling it Roaming Lyme’s Landscape. The Town Map sold out and was reprinted. Lyme Regis invited a successful visit from Chester Civic Society. Lyme News printed a full page feature on the Society.
2005 – Instead of a December lecture the Society held a Social at the Woodmead Hall, clearly enjoyed by all who attended. A Strawberry Tea was organised at the Alexandra to celebrate our 70th Anniversary. Site meeting with English Heritage over Horn Bridge but Dorset CC inflexible. Society replaces plaque on Morgan’s Grave, joined by a fair sized crowd watching a ceremony by Barbara Austin and Reverend Keith Vivian. Molly and I had a site meeting with John Peake, Chairman of Dorset, over the Three Cups.
2006 – Delighted the bridge to the Mill, first suggested by the Society, was in operation and the Mill and Museum planning a wide series of artistic events. Our contacts with Harvard University elicit they are mystified why Lyme Regis neglects Thomas Hollis, whom they consider is our most famous citizen. We have helped provide two table tennis tables for Young Peoples Club.
2007 – A new Editor for the Newsletter, John Marriage, who has revamped the operation and produced an eye catching edition. Members of the Society are helping collect information for the Shelters Project. Molly and I are working on a plan for the Town Council Beach Huts to be painted in Sugared Almond colours. Plaque to commemorate Engineer Percy Gilchrist mounted on the wall at Cobb Gate.
2008 – Massive survey of what the population of Lyme want for users of the Shelters is finished. Beach Huts are painted and put in place. Guildhall hit by yet another lorry while Molly and I were stewarding Heritage Open Days. Dedication stone laid in Anning Road. A memorial to the Polish Airmen who died in the war.
2009 – Plans for the Shelters have leapt to over a million pounds. Group of members visited Crewkerne Civic Society and later in the year Crewkerne visited us. Rotary organised a “Photo Day” in August and almost the whole town was digitally recorded and archived in the Museum. We lost our Woolworth store.
2010 – A difficult two years for the Society when not enough volunteers replaced those retiring. The Civic Trust folded due to drop in funding. Another successful Heritage Open Days. Our volunteers working on the Shelters project were stood down and now the builders take over.”

It is because of Bernard and Molly that the Society survived and then flourished to become what it is today and this was publicly recognised in 2012 when Bernard was awarded the title of “Honoured Citizen of Lyme Regis” during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. The pictures below show Bernard receiving his award from the Mayor, Councillor Sally Holman.


Heritage Matters and the “Ron and Norah Driver Youth Heritage Prize”

Prizes for Heritage Matters, the arts competition organised by the Society and sponsored by it, Lyme Regis Museum and the Town Mill, were presented on Saturday the 19th September at the Jubilee Pavilion. Scores of entries were received from pupils at Woodroffe School, St Michael’s Primary School and Mrs. Ethelston’s School and we believe that the competition really succeeded in raising the profile of the town’s heritage amongst its young people.

The Jubilee Pavilion will have an exhibition of the three first prize winners (one from each school) and those entries which were “Highly Commended” for the remainder of ArtsFest. All the other entries are on show at The Hub in Church Street.

The best overall entry was awarded the Ron and Norah Driver Youth Heritage Prize by the Society. This went to Polly Howarth Yates of Woodroffe School (shown left with her mixed media composition). Polly’s concept was that a town’s heritage is  shown in what is thrown away. Her picture shows the huge Black Ven landslip of 2008 which brought down some of the contents of the old rubbish dump. Polly used small items from the dump mixed with pictures from the town’s history (e.g. Mary Anning, John Fowles, Thomas Coram) to form the landslip in her picture which was created on an old woodedn panel on which she had transcribed the history of the dump. Great concept and wonderful execution. It is hoped that, following its display during ArtsFest, Polly’s work will be on display for a while in the Museum.

Another great concept came from Lila and Evelyn Churchill of Mrs Ehelston’s School who won the first prize there. Their Belmont House was a painted box (right) and the inside of the box was decorated with extract of information about John Fowles life and works together with information written in their own hands about their great-great grandfather who was John Fowles’ gardener in the later years of his life.

The first prize winner for St Michael’s School was Lucy Waplington with a painting of the Cobb (left).



Belmont Public Open Days

The restoration of Belmont by the Landmark Trust is nearly complete and, in line with their promise when they applied for Planning Permission/Listed Building Consent, the Trust will be opening the house to the public. The Society has been involved in discussions with the Landmark Trust on the restoration of Belmont for several years and has fully supported what they plan to put in place. Now is an ideal opportunity to judge if we were right.
The restored frontage is above and details of the opening times are below.
Belmont Public Open Days: Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 September 2015 – 10am to 4pm
No booking required.

Heritage Matters Competition

For more information click here to go to our Heritage Matters page.

Another chance to see …..

On Friday 27th March, Keith Shaw will present his illustrated talk, “Monique Bellingham – Lyme’s Canadienne” to the Charmouth History Society.

If you missed this talk last year then come along to The Elms on The Street, Charmouth at 7pm to hear the fascinating story of this French Canadian who came to Lyme in the 1820s with her four beautiful Irish daughters and lived here until her death in 1856.

This time, the talk will include more about Monique’s daughter Henrietta (above) and her children who lived in Charmouth for some years.

Lyme through the year – a photographer’s view

On Tuesday 24th February, well respected local photographer Peter Wiles will give a presentation of his photographs depicting Lyme during the different seasons and the varying weather we all know so well. The presentation will, as usual, be at Woodmead Hall and start at 2.30pm.

Entry costs £1.50 including refreshments and everyone is welcome.

Attendees will also be able to purchase some of Peter’s cards and his 2015 calendar at reduced price. The Society’s new booklet, Historic Houses of Lyme Regis Part 3 will also be available for purchase at member’s prices.