This summer, residents of a village in the South West welcomed Bristol Hospitality Network members for the second year running for an enjoyable break in the Devon sunshine.
Twenty people from BHN travelled to Chagford in July 2019 for five days of sightseeing, walking, and other activities.
They were hosted by eight households in the village, with three families organising an itinerary for the guests. Highlights included a banquet in the village hall, planting vegetables at a community farm, walking on Dartmoor, swimming in the local pool and learning to crochet.
Even local businesses stepped in to welcome the visitors, with the Two Bridges Hotel kindly providing cream tea for everyone in the group free of charge during one day of the holiday, while residents of Chagford took turns to cook dinner every evening.
Claire Ash Wheeler, who runs the organising group named Chagford Hospitality Network with husband Roger, Deirdre and Brian Skilton, and Jo and Paul Diffey said: “We couldn’t have done it without the people of Chagford, the collaboration and generosity were amazing. It was a cross-cultural experience for our guests, we’re opening our doors and enjoying having people from other countries come to the village and showing them our landscape and culture.”
One of the guests, John Patrick, recalled the hospitality of the hosts, who made him feel very welcome.
“Sheila and Graham organised and prepared some breakfast and packed some picnic stuff including chairs and so on and took us on top of the hills overlooking Chagford and served breakfast which we shared with them. This I must say was a very special treat and moment. It was really therapeutic to me and very special,” he said.
“I have to say that this was a poignant moment of the whole week and a true taste and experience of what a true holiday treat really means or feels like.”
During one of the evenings Moveable Feast held a fundraising banquet for more than 100 people at the village hall, pictured below, with food from Kurdish, Congolese, and Indian cuisines.
Claire said the ‘cross-cultural’ experience was hugely positive for everyone.
“Local residents took part and it was a cross-cultural experience for our guests,” she said. “We’re opening our doors and enjoying having people from other countries come to Chagford and showing them our landscape and culture like the cream tea, while they’re meeting local people and they’re making new friends.”