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Bampton’s a buzz with parachuting bears & a duck race!

PUBLISHED: 10:50 18 May 2017 | UPDATED: 10:50 18 May 2017

Swan front from Paul

Swan front from Paul

David Griffen Photography

VISITORS to Bampton in Devon next Saturday (May 27, 2017) are being invited to bring their bears to have a go at teddy skydiving or try some duck racing.

The town’s Spring Fest, which is on May 27 this year, includes races on the River Batherm and furry friends will be launched from the church tower just behind the award-winning pub, The Swan.

Leading chef Donna Berry, who co-owns the establishment with her husband and fellow chef Paul, said: “Here in Bampton, the town’s Spring Festival, which is on May 27 this year, includes lots of wonderful activities and it really gives the town a buzz.

It’s great fun for all the family and a good time to come and visit if you have little ones. With the teddy parachuting, don’t think this is just a children’s event, people of all ages bring their bears to take part. Some of the teddy bears we’ve seen in previous years have been more than 60 years old! Afterwards, each bear gets his personal bravery award.”

The event from 10am until 4pm also includes a Blue Cross dog show, classic cars, a street market, music, crafts and dog agility event as well as free parking.

“Bampton is an idyllic, historic, market town, which still boasts a vibrant high street with a traditional butcher, baker and greengrocers. The area is hugely popular with visitors.

Leading westcountry chef Donna Berry with Neil Hawkins from The Butcher Shop in BamptonLeading westcountry chef Donna Berry with Neil Hawkins from The Butcher Shop in Bampton

“During the event, we’ll be celebrating the very best of our local suppliers. Our ethos has always been to provide good food, sourced locally wherever possible, while supporting other businesses in the community too. Among our list of suppliers is the butchers in Bampton, which is owned by nearby farmer John Westcott.

“They provide the joints for our popular Sunday roasts and Oakridge Pork at Oakford near Bampton rears the traditional breeds that go to make the lovely sausages and bacon we use here too. You can’t get any fresher or tastier produce than stuff reared nearby. We also have a very close relationship with our suppliers, it’s a special partnership and, during events like the Spring Fest, we like to support the community as much as we can.”

The award-winning foodie pub with rooms, The Swan in Bampton, is offering a base for anyone wishing to stay in the area for the festival.

“We’re open all Bank Holiday weekend including the Monday. However, we do get very busy, so please plan ahead and book in advance if you’d like to stay or have lunch with us on May 27.”

Olivia Doran,10, from Eggesford feeding up her teddies for the Bampton Spring Fest parachute eventOlivia Doran,10, from Eggesford feeding up her teddies for the Bampton Spring Fest parachute event

The Swan, which is an AA Four Star Gold Inn and the oldest pub in Bampton, was named as one of the top 50 gastropubs in the country this year. The ‘Estrella Damm’ Top 50 Gastropub Awards are voted for by food writers, executive chefs, celebrity and top hospitality industry chefs, pub guide editors, industry chiefs and food operators.

It has scooped a plethora of awards for its food in the past few years including being voted Best Trencherman’s Pub 2016 and a Visit Devon Tourism Award, Pub of The Year Gold Award (2015). It has two AA Rosettes for Culinary Excellence as well.

Paul added: “The AA inspector said we were really thinking outside the box and that was a huge compliment.”

In 2016, the pub was named as a Highly Commended winner in the national tourist board VisitEngland’s Awards for Excellence 2016. This Award places The Swan in the top five businesses for excellence in the pub category in England.

The team has a passion for food and embraces the use of produce from the area to create some real pub classics, such as sausages and mash, cod and chips, pies, grilled rump steak and sweets.

Donna said: “We try to keep our dishes simple, yet bursting with flavours and imagination. From the freshly baked bread at the start of the meal, to Paul’s very own sticky toffee pudding, our kitchen produces everything we serve here at the pub.”

The Swan’s menu is created from fresh, seasonal ingredients, sourced from nearby, on a daily basis by Paul and Donna and their team.

Paul, who is a leading chef with more than 20 years’ experience in the industry, explained: “We are dedicated to using all the local or regional produce available to us, needless to say we are so lucky living here in the Westcountry, we have local farmers supplying us with their beef, pork and lamb and the fishing communities providing us with the freshest cod for our classic cod and chips.”

To find out more about Bampton Spring Fest on Saturday, May 27 from 10am until 4pm, please visit www.bampton.org.uk or to book in at The Swan, please call 01398 332248 or visit www.theswan.co.

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