Plastic pollution – Sparkwell Eco Rangers fight back!

The reduction of plastic pollution in our oceans and rivers has become one of the most highlighted environmental campaigns, lead by Surfers Against Sewage, in recent years and here on The Flete Estate, we are committed to help in any way we can by keeping our beaches as clean and plastic free as possible. The introduction of recycling bins on Mothecombe Beach in 2018 has helped to encourage visitors to dispose of their litter responsibly but sadly that does not stop plastic and other items of flotsam and jetsam being washed up on our shores.

It is reported that every day approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans with over 5,000 items of marine plastic pollution being found per mile of beach in the UK. (stats taken from surfers against sewage website

We are often approached by local community groups, schools, universities and businesses who wish to help by carrying out a “Beach Clean” on their local beach.

Recently, we welcomed pupils (and the dog!) from Sparkwell Primary School to our Coastguards Beach, located just below our row of our Coastguards Cottages, to take part in a beach clean as part of their topic work on climate change and the environment.

Head Teacher, Francesca McLoughlin kindly wrote the below for us to share with you following their day on the beach.

Sparkwell Primary School achieved the Plastic Free Schools Award last year and we have continued our work to learn more about climate change and help to protect our environment. We have a group of ‘Eco-Rangers’ who carry out lots of missions and organising a beach clean was one of their pledges this year. Thank you to the Flete Estate who gave permission for us to visit Coastguards Beach on Saturday 8th June. Luckily the rain clouds cleared, and the sun came out and we got to work. We were pleasantly surprised at how clean the beach was, however once we searched the high tide line, we found a lot of micro-plastics, the coloured pieces were easy to find and we had to look carefully for clear plastic. After an hour and a half, we had half-filled a Bag for Life with these small pieces of plastic. We enjoyed doing this, the children found time to look for shells and crabs and paddle in the water too!

Well done to the Eco Rangers of Sparkwell Primary School, we think your amazing so keep up the good work!

The perfect wedding venue by celebrant Zena Birch

As I drove along the wild flower strewn B roads of beautiful South Devon I knew that we would be in for a treat at Pamflete House. If the journey there is this beautiful, then the promise of a wedding in a beautiful home nestled in the valleys with views of the sea surely wouldn’t disappoint? And it didn’t!

I had been looking forward to marrying Sarah and Ollie for many months. The process I go through with my couples to not only help create a personalised wedding ceremony, but to also make sure that they have put in the prep work to get married (this involves homework, but I have it on undebated authority that this is one of the most fun and pleasurable parts of the build up to a wedding day!) invariably means that once the wedding day arrives I can’t wait to share everything we’ve learnt along the way.

This had been a less usual journey than others, Sarah and Ollie both work on yachts, so one of our meetings (to help them write their own vows) took place in Barcelona where they were dry docked. This whole process has been an adventure! Pamflete House joined in the magic.

We conducted their ceremony on the lawn to the front of the house. The backdrop couldn’t have been more picture perfect. Bucolic and spring like, tranquil without another house or road to be seen for miles around. The cows from a neighbouring field even came a little bit closer to join in the love!

The house itself is the most wonderful location to house your friends and family. Rabbit warren corridors continue to find nooks and quiet rooms you didn’t know existed whilst large dining rooms, comfortable lounges and sumptuous bedrooms tick all the boxes for a relaxed wedding day morning (and morning after!).

When you are making memories with your nearest and dearest you never want the fun to end and Pamflete House allowed Sarah and Ollie the opportunity to celebrate the whole week long.

We had an informal rehearsal the day before to make sure there weren’t any loose ends. On the day itself, D – who runs the house events couldn’t have been more friendly and accommodating – helping me source the perfect chess table for us to sign their certificate on and thoughtfully hiding chilled glasses of water under the bride and grooms chair – it was a gloriously sunny day and it was needed!

One of the best parts of being a humanist celebrant is the opportunity to conduct ceremonies not only outdoors, but in places that mean something to a couple. Ollie and Sarah grew up nearby and so many of their memories were made on the back lanes, beaches and woodland that surround Pamflete House, so bringing their friends and family here meant something extra special.

We stood in front of a beautiful circle of flowers created by the incredibly talented Caroline Hodges, which was in keeping with the garden around them, birds sung adding to the ambience, their story was shared to much laughter and applause, we tied their marriage knot with two pieces of rope donated from the boat they have worked on for the past 8 years and as they exchanged their vows all that could be heard was the promises they were making to each other. It’s a haven!

As Sarah and Ollie walked back down the aisle to raucous applause, confetti and insane amounts of goodwill, drinks were served and continued story sharing followed. As we all climbed aboard a trailer – to be tractor pulled and whisked to a nearby field overlooking the sea – we all realised we had been blessed with the quintessential spring glory of an English garden!

I was lucky enough to be here with a dream team, Jenny Wren Weddings along with D made sure that Sarah and Ollie had nothing to worry about beyond saying ‘I do’ and having the time of their lives. I wish the same joy and ease for every couple and Pamflete House certainly delivers!

Zena Birch

If you would like to contact Zena directly please click on the links below:

For more information about weddings or special occasions please call D on 01752 830234, email or visit