The Bere Peninsula
The two villages of the peninsula are different in nature. Both are on the Plymouth to Gunnislake railway line, known as the Tamar Valley Line and both have bus services, although for Bere Ferrers this is infrequent only. They are in the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on a peninsula surrounded almost entirely by the water of the Rivers Tavy and Tamar. The main road from the area goes to the attractive market town of Tavistock, but there is also a narrower winding road that will take you to the main Tavistock to Plymouth road. Across the Tamar is Cornwall, to the south is the bustling city of Plymouth, and a short drive east will bring you to the wild expanses of Dartmoor National Park.
The Tamar estuary is also an important habitat for wildlife, with extensive mudflats, saltmarch and reedbeds. It is the fourth most important estuary in Britain for its wintering avocet population and great numbers of waterfowl use it as a wintering site.
Tin, silver lead ore and arsenic used to be mined in the area and market gardening was also popular, with strawberries, cherries, grapes and daffodils being grown. Nowadays most people work in nearby towns or cities such as Plymouth and Tavistock.
Bere Ferrers, snuggled on the banks of the River Tavy just north of Plymouth (but safely separated from it by the river!), is a small, friendly community of approximately 150 houses and cottages, a public house, social club, post office (once a week in the church hall), repair garage and a hairdresser's shop that also sells essential items. There is a Saturday Community Market in the Church Hall each Saturday morning from 10am, which is well supported and popular, where you can buy everything from jams, cheese, bread, Fairtrade items and bird food to locally produced greetings cards and craft items.
There is a great community spirit and numerous groups and events to get involved in, some of which are listed below and there are links on the 'Links' page to those with websites. The church is widely supported by villlagers and is a good venue for many concerts, having excellent acoustics, although perhaps not the most comfortable or warmest of buildings! But being a listed building means the historic wooden pews must stay, so bring a cushion if attending a concert! The Church Hall is warmer, but is a smaller venue.
There is a tennis/basketball court in the playing fields which can be booked by contacting Margaret Willmott on 840380. (Margaret's Hairdressing, opposite the Church Hall.) Margaret is also the contact for the hire of the Church Hall itself.
Bere Alston is one of the largest villages in the county, but is also a welcoming and a thriving community. The main Fore Street has a selection of shops, including a small Spar and Co-op, a pharmacy, general store, book shop, hairdresser's and estate agent. There is also a local primary school and a petrol station/ repair garage, together with a social club.
The United Church in Fore Street, Bere Alston runs Hope Cottage Cafe, which opens on weekdays from 10am to 12.30pm. It is run by volunteers from the churches on the peninsula and the wider community and offers extremely cheap refreshments, including the usual tea and coffee of various varieties and food such as cakes, biscuits, bacon paninis, scones and crumpets. The cafe is available for hire, as are the church rooms.
In addition, the sports hall at Bere Alston Primary School school is available for hire. Contact Ann Blythe on 841616.
A mobile library visits both villages on the third Tuesday of the month.
A number of boating activities take place at Weir Quay, where there is also a boatyard.
Other businesses on the peninsula include garden services, bed and breakfast, farrier, book-keeping, dog walking/boarding, joinery, carpentry, cleaners, child minder, architect, builders, painters and decorators, animal portraits and home-made cakes.
There are many organisations and groups, listed on the Links page where websites exist, and others listed below. All phone numbers are 01822 unless otherwise stated. For the Parish Diary of events see the Parish Council website.
Groups associated with the church can be found on the Groups page. Please use our contact form to let us know of any omissions, but a fairly comprehensive list of other groups on the peninsula is:
Bere Ferrers Allotment Association. Contact Bev Slaughter on 841660
Bere Ferrers Art Group. Tuesdays at 9.30am during the winter. Contact Daphne MacDonald on 840544
Bere Ferrers Bridge Club (alternates between Tuesdays and Wednesdays during winter in the Hazel Room in the Church Hall). Contact Sally Mulford, 841126
Bere Ferrers Community shop. Every Saturday morning from 10am to noon in the Church Hall
Bere Ferrers Pantomime Group. Presents a pantomime every alternate year
Bere Ferrers Social Club. Runs a number of events and regular evenings. See the Links page
Bere Ferrers Spring Flower Show. See the Links page
Bere Ferrers Villagers. Fundraise for local projects. Contact Bev Slaughter, 841660
Bere Ferrers WI. Second Wednesday of each month at 7.15pm in the Church Hall
Bere Parish Photography Group, Second Wednesday of each month at 7pm at Holy Trinity Church Hall
Bingo, monthly in the Social Club on the first Wednesday of the month at 8pm
Kenpo Karate. Thursday evenings in the Church Hall. Learn the Ed Parker self defence system. Contact 01579 384441
Neighbourhood Watch. Contact Colin Street, 840191
Open Acoustic Nights. First and third Tuesdays on the month at the Olde Plough Inn. Contact Mike Grimshaw, 841863
Table Tennis. Regularly in the Social Club
Tamar & Tavy Gig Club. See the link on the Links page
Tavy Tars. A group of shanty singers. See the Links page
Weir Quay Sailing Club. See the link on the Links page
Yoga, Mondays 10.30am and 7pm in the Church Hall. Contact Christine Poole, 840612
Badminton. Mondays and Tuesdays in Bere Alston School Sports Hall from 8pm to 9.30pm
BATS. Bere Alston Trekkers, a running club. Contact Dotty Allan, 813624. Website here
BATS Badminton. A Badminton club meeting on Thursdays in the Sports Hall. Website here
Beavers. Monday 4.30pm in the Parish Hall. Paul Hughes, 841160
Bere Alston Book Club. Second Monday of month at 2pm in houses. Contact Susan Pike, 840827
Bere Alston Bowling Club. See the link on the Links page
Bere Alston Carnival Committee. Raises money for and organises the annual carnival and fun day. Contact Fiona Maddock, 841388
Bere Alston Gardening Club. Contact Bill Roxburgh, 840701
Bere Alston Royal British Legion. Contact Peter York, 840644
Bere Alston Sew'n'Sews. Third Tuesday of each month at 7pm. Contact 840427
Bere Alston Theatre Group. Contact Sally Dunn, 840234
Bere Alston United Football Club. See the Links page
BereComm. Fundraising group formed by three groups working together: Tiddleywinks, Chatterbox and BereGen
Beregen. The Bere Alston Regeneration Project. Regeneration and running of the Parish Hall in Bere Alston. See the Links page
Bere Local History Group. Last Monday of each month at Holy Trinity Church Hall at 7.30pm. Admission £1. Contact Trevor Bond, 840447
Bere Peninsula Players. Another theatre group. Contact Steve Costello, 841353
Bere Peninsula Tenants and Residents Association. Looks into local matters causing concern to residents. Contact Jane Parfitt, 841315
Bingo. Mondays at 2pm in Holy Trinity Church Hall
Brownies. Fridays 5-6.30pm in the School Hall. Yvonne Hicks, 840003
Cabin Childcare Centre. Free sessions for eligible 3-5 year-olds. In the Parish Hall. Contact 07817 40316
Cubs. Tuesday 6.30pm in the Parish Hall. Dominic and Jo Bourton, 840328
Kenpokai Karate. Tuesdays and Fridays in Bere Alston School Hall. Contact Peter Gooding, 01752 316575
Kids United. Youth group for Years 7, 8 and 9, Tuesdays at 7pm in the United Church
Scouts. Friday 7pm in the Parish Hall and various locations. Paul Hughes, 841160
Tavistock Area Support Services Senior Club. Wednesdays apart from second in month, 10.30am to 12.30pm in Holy Trinity Church Hall. Monthly minibus to Tavistock, second Wednesday in month. Contact Andy Lyle, 616958
Tiddleywinks Toddler Group. Contact Julie Marks, 840349
Victoria Social Club. Also has occasional events
Youth2Youth. Young people's group.