Education Outreach at St Nicholas Priory

Education Outreach at St Nicholas Priory

It was great to be part of a team that worked with 120 school pupils from Sticklepath Community Primary Academy, Barnstaple last week. The school visited St Nicholas Priory in Exeter to learn about what life was like during the Tudor period.

HAP’s Education Specialist Catherine Farnell ran a mini museum activity, where the children got to handle reconstructed historic artefacts. Catherine said..

“It’s always a privilege to work in such a historically significant building with enthusiastic children. It was wonderful to give them the opportunity to have a hands-on exploration of the Tudor period. The children were full of enthusiasm and interest.”

Other workshops included exploring the Tudor kitchen, trying on Tudor clothes and learning about history and climate change.

St Nicholas Priory is Exeter’s oldest building. It was founded in 1087 as a Benedictine monastery and was home to monks for over 400 years. The church, Chapter House, dormitory and cloisters were pulled down following the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536. The Northern and Western ranges survived and became the home of wealthy Tudor merchants. When you visit the Priory today it is presented as a Tudor town house, home of the wealthy Hurst family. With replica furniture, artefacts and painted in the bright colours used at the time, it gives a unique insight into Tudor life.

If you haven’t yet discovered St Nicholas Priory, it’s a wonderful venue and well worth a visit. Explore the Tudor kitchen (look out for period cooking demonstrations), bedroom, parlour and the Great Hall. Visit the St Nicholas Priory website for opening hours and events.

If you are a teacher and are interested in arranging a visiting to St Nicholas priory, please email

St Nicholas Priory is run by Exeter Historic Building Trust. You can find out more about the excellent work they do in Exeter here.

Torbay Heritage Strategy Finalist for RTPI Award

Torbay Heritage Strategy Finalist for RTPI Award

We’re delighted that Torbay’s Heritage Strategy, developed by HAP consultant Katherine Findlay in partnership with Torbay Council and Torbay Culture, has been shortlisted for an award from the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). The strategy is a finalist for the RTPI South West Award for Excellence in Plan Making Practice. The Awards champion the very best examples of planning and planners in the South West and demonstrate the positive impact planning has on our quality of life and celebrate professional expertise.

I’m absolutely delighted that we have been shortlisted for this award. Our clients on this project, Torbay Council and Torbay Culture, have supported a creative and collaborative approach that integrates planning in a historic environment with economic, social and cultural development. It’s very pleasing that RTPI has recognised that vision and the work that has gone into bringing it to fruition.

Katherine Findlay, HAP Consultant

To develop the strategy, HAP carried out consultations with over 800 people and numerous organisations and partnerships – including local museums, heritage organisations, National Trust and the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark. We also worked closely with Historic England. HAP consultant Katherine Findlay has also been carrying out follow up work including a recently published Heritage Interpretation Framework, and ongoing action-planning which was supported by the government’s Culture Recovery Fund award to Torbay Culture from the Heritage Fund.

Decisions on the RTPI awards will be made during November. You can read more about the RTPI awards here.

The Torbay Heritage Strategy can be viewed and downloaded here.

HAP Prepares New Heritage Interpretation Framework for Torbay

HAP Prepares New Heritage Interpretation Framework for Torbay

HAP was delighted to work with Torbay Council and Torbay Culture to prepare the new Heritage Interpretation Framework. It was a pleasure to work with local partners to help develop the themes and stories for the framework. We hope it will help heritage organisations bring Torbay’s rich history and culture alive for residents and tourists alike.

The Interpretation Framework, ‘A Haven Through Time’, was produced by HAP’s heritage interpretation specialist Katherine Findlay, as part of the Torbay Heritage Strategy. It uses the eight themes of the heritage strategy as a framework for organisations and individuals to interpret and present the fascinating stories of the bay. The themes are those which the public highlighted as their priorities through the extensive consultation during 2020.

The framework is for anyone who works or volunteers in the heritage sector, and is designed to help heritage settings and organisations bring the history of Torbay and its people and places alive for audiences. You can read the Interpretation Framework here.

Stuart McLeod, Director, England, London & South, for the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said –

‘I am very pleased to support this new framework for heritage interpretation in Torbay. It will help organisations, staff, and volunteers make the most of the fascinating stories that the English Riviera has to share. It is a positive example of how the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage has supported strategic development and recovery, in a very practical way.’

The development of Torbay’s Heritage Strategy has been supported by the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage (CRF) award to Torbay Culture. The CRF is administered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

HAP Putting the New Torbay Heritage Strategy into Action

HAP Putting the New Torbay Heritage Strategy into Action

We’re delighted that HAP will be working on implementation of the Torbay Heritage Strategy 2021-2026 this year, led by Katherine Findlay, HAP consultant. The new strategy was formally adopted by Torbay Council’s Cabinet in November 2020 and the implementation work has been made possible with Culture Recovery Fund support.

It’s really exciting to start putting the new Torbay Heritage Strategy into action. I’m delighted that HAP has this opportunity to continue working with Torbay Council, Torbay Culture and organisations across the Bay to make a real difference to how heritage is cared for and celebrated in years to come.” Katherine Findlay, Heritage Arts and People

The work will involve action planning, relationship building and developing a framework for telling key stories about Torbay’s past that will help local organisations provide coherent heritage experiences. HAP will also be working with the English Riviera Business Improvement District (ERBIDCo) to promote Torbay as a heritage destination through these key stories

For more information about the implementation work visit Torbay Culture. You can also email HAP’s lead consultant Katherine Findlay at

New Torbay Heritage Strategy Published

New Torbay Heritage Strategy Published

We’re delighted that the Torbay Council’s Cabinet has formally adopted their new Torbay Heritage Strategy. At the beginning of 2020, Torbay Council in partnership with Torbay Culture and TDA commissioned HAP to update the local area’s heritage strategy. The new strategy is the result of our review of heritage across the locality.

HAP carried out consultations with over 800 people and numerous organisations and partnerships – including local museums, heritage organisations, National Trust and the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark. We also worked closely with Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund

‘Torbay Council is committed to culture and heritage being part of our future ambitions. These things matter to people in Brixham, Paignton and Torquay, and the adoption of this new strategy and the forthcoming action planning – supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Torbay Culture – will play a valuable role in taking this forwards’

Councillor Swithin Long, Cabinet Member, Economic Regeneration, Tourism & Housing, and Councillor Mike Morey, Cabinet Member, Infrastructure, Environment & Culture

The Torbay Heritage Strategy can be viewed and downloaded here.

Explore and Create

Explore and Create

We’ve had lots of fun recently creating a series of Explore and Create videos for the Blackdown Hills AONB, aimed at families with children under 12. The videos showcase beautiful places to visit in the Blackdown Hills AONB and inspiring activities to help families engage with the landscape. All of the places explored in the video series are in the visitors section of the Blackdown Hills website.

The activities are easy to reproduce and involve everyday, or low-cost materials. Discover how to make simple frames to take on walks, a mini nature raft, a colour spotting chart, a nature loom, an Iron Age pot, nature-inspired patterns and how to use clay to collect bark and leaf pattern keepsakes.

Framing the Landscape at Culmstock Beacon

There are beautiful views at Culmstock Beacon – try framing the view to look at the landscape differently. Learn how to make some simple frames to take on walks using natural objects you find like twigs and feathers, or try your own personalised card frame using fun shapes and photos.

Crayfish in the River Culm

Explore the River Culm and meet the white clawed cray fish in this video. Learn how to make a nature raft using natural materials found on the ground – will it float?

Patterns in Nature at Castle Neroche

In this video Catherine explores Castle Neroche, a site occupied in the Iron Age and then later in the 11th century, looking at things close up with a magnifying glass. Families can discover how to use the shapes they spot on their walk to make colourful patterns at home.

Wildlife and weaving at Otterhead Lakes

This video explores Otterhead Lakes Nature Reserve and demonstrates how to make a nature loom using different items in nature. Moss, feathers, pine cones, seed pods and leaves woven into an easy-to-make loom create a beautiful memory of the walk.

Impressions of Nature at Staple Hill

In this video Catherine explores Staple Hill and explains how families can use a ball of clay to collect some of the patterns and textures they might find on a walk like this one. Once the clay has dried, painting the pressed clay creates some unique keepsakes from the walk.

Reveal the Iron Age at Hembury Hillfort

Hembury Hillfort has a long and fascinating history, dating back about 5000 years. It’s a great place to visit to explore the impressive Iron Age ramparts (banks and ditches) and you can see for miles! In this video discover how to make a Hembury-inspired pot using air dried clay. Some of the beautiful pots found at Hembury Hillfort on display at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum.

Beautiful Bark at Combe Wood

In this video Catherine explores Coombe Wood, a 10 acre area of woodland north of Honiton. There’s lots of beautiful bark and leaves at Coombe Wood and Cat shows how families can make a record of their walk by taking rubbings and then creating their own unique concertina book to hold their artwork in.

Colour Spotting in Hedgerows

In this video Catherine walks from Hemyock towards Owleycombe, exploring some of the many footpaths crossing the Blackdown Hills. Families can discover how to make a colour spotting chart to see how many colours they can spot in nature. Details of this walk can be found here.