Devon Lifestyle

David Rampling Love of Art and Nature

Living in Clovelly North Devon, David Rampling love of art and nature has been with him from a child. Born in Suffolk he tells us of his life and his obsession with all things nature from Suffolk to The Isle of Mull to Lundy Island and finally at peace in North devon.

David Rampling Love of Art and Nature

I have been fascinated by wildlife for as long as I can remember. And a childhood in rural Suffolk brought me into contact with so much of it. I was the weird ’bird boy’ at school, and the two lovely women who ran the school library soon got used to caring for whatever animal I turned up within the morning. Baby rats, Magpies, Jackdaws, Snakes, it could be anything. I read books on wildlife, and how to care for it, voraciously. I learned as much as I could from local Gamekeepers, Eel fishermen, Poachers and bird watchers. I liked to draw, even then, but the school was not for me. I could not concentrate on lessons and spent my time looking out of the window and thinking about wildlife. My father, a scientist, was disappointed at my unwillingness to study the things I was being taught in a school that had no idea how to handle a boy obsessed with nature.

David with a Lanner Falcon on his head

I Learned How to Hunt

I learned how to hunt, and how to poach, quietly at night. My parents had divorced and now I lived with my mother and six siblings and anything I could catch was appreciated by my mother, who cooked many a fine Rabbit pie, Pheasant casserole, or Coypu stew!

I drifted for a few years, taught myself taxidermy from library books, and made a reasonable living at that.

I decided to study agriculture at college, I had no experience of it, farming was not in my family. But I knew I wanted to work outside, with a dog, so I signed up. And at last I found something I wanted to study. No previous experience was not a disadvantage at all, as it meant I was a blank piece of paper. And the more I studied, the more I wanted to learn. The college, and the lecturers, seeing my passion, offered me work on the college farm early in the morning, and in the evenings after college work. I had begun to hunt with hawks by then, and my Sparrowhawk came to college every day with me.

When my course finished, they offered me a full-time job working on the college farm, and within three years I was running the whole thing. Pigs, sheep, cattle, arable…I loved it all.

Davids Painting of an Owl

I Was Offered a Farm to run on the Isle of Mull

I was offered a farm to run on the Isle of Mull, off Scotlands west coast. I jumped at the chance. And soon had Golden Eagles soaring over my sheep fields. It was as if I had died and gone to heaven. The scenery, the wildlife, the coastline, the shellfish. And SO many rabbits. And when not working on the farm, I was hunting with my hawk and my working Collies. After three years I fancied a change and moved to Scotlands east coast, to run another big farm, with pedigree Highland cattle, a pheasant shoot, a Deer Park and a Fly fishing trout farm all attached. And still, I hunted and flew hawks, whenever I could. Adjacent to the farm was one of the UK’s first ‘falconry centres’, which was part of the reason I took the job in the first place. And in my spare time, I learned how to manage a whole team of hawks and do flying demonstrations. Those first shows were terrifying for a shy boy like me. But I practised until I got good at it, and was no longer shy.


I Wanted to Come Home to England

After a few years, I wanted to come home to England, and my advert in the ‘Farmers Weekly’ ( pre-internet) stated ‘Experienced shepherd with good working collie seeks lambing position in the south-west’. And the first phone call I got was to offer me the job as a shepherd on Lundy Island. Now, you may not be aware that Lundy Island is a special place for falconers like me. The Peregrine falcons who live there are birds of myth and legend for us. So I jumped at it…that year, 1993 was one of the best of my life, and it was there I met my second wife and mother to my two kids. I was only supposed to be there for the spring, but I stayed for a year. It was on Lundy started to draw again. No Tv or other distractions, and when I started drawing I could not stop. My stepmother sent me some paints, and a book on art and that was it…I have not stopped painting from that day to this.

I married and had two kids. Moved to the Devon mainland and travelled around doing shows with my hawks. I also worked for the council as the Animal Welfare officer for our local council just in time for ‘Foot and mouth’ to rear its ugly head.

I Knew the Stanbury’s

I knew the Stanbury’s, who own and run The Milky Way Adventure Park, thanks to the small bird of prey centre they had there. I knew they were good people to work for, and they offered me the centre to run in the new year of 2001. For nearly two decades I have done their summer bird demos with my ever-growing team of hawks, falcons, eagles, owls and vultures, and I can hardly believe my luck. It has allowed me to hone my painting skills, and push the envelope of what can be done with a team of birds, reared and flown on home soil. Now, falconers come from all over the UK and beyond to see my birds fly and to learn how they can be given extended periods of free time to explore the countryside, hunt for themselves, and still return home at a set time to start a show.

David with a Saker Falcon

And Now in My Mid Fifties

And now, in my mid fifties, I paint non stop. I have a busy website sending my paintings and prints all over the world. I illustrate falconry books. I get to catch my own tea with my hawks in the winter, and teach people about birds of prey and their place in our ecology in the summer. I can hardly believe my luck. I get paid to do all that..

And I live in Clovelly. A village I saw for the first time appearing out of the sea mist on a boat trip from Lundy Island. My cottage is so old the walls are like skin, a living breathing structure. And I paint. It has truly been a charmed life..and sometimes I have to pinch myself….

Peregrine Falcon with its kill

Find Out More David Rampling love of art and nature

Rampling Art

For more art work from David Rampling go to


If you would like to know more about Falconry here are two websites that may be useful

British Falconers’ Club A Future With Falconry

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9 June 2020 / by / in ,
How to Do a Big Spring Clean

updated 17 April 2020

During the lockdown the start to the spring season has been anything but ordinary. Never-the-less, this is the season where we look toward getting the mundane tasks out of the way before the summer of fun and back to normal. One of the main activities to check off the list is the big spring clean. It might not be the most exciting topic for our Devon lifestyle blog, but it’s a tradition that we must all complete!

We know it’s easy to get in a fluster or cut corners, especially if you have a lot to clean. With our guide, we hope to make it simpler to organise the spring clean this year and take some of the hassle out of the whole ordeal. Whether you’re looking to spruce up the family home or holiday lets, this guide is a must-read. Some of these points could even apply to your workplace, too. And if all else fails, we’ve got the details of the professionals to call!

How to Do a Big Spring Clean

Start with the Clutter

Many of us have no idea where to begin with the spring cleaning; that’s why countless people abandon the process before it’s even started. We did a lot of digging around to clue ourselves up on the spring clean best practices for this blog. The majority suggest beginning with the clutter, disposing (responsibly) of anything that you haven’t used or appreciated in the last six months.

To start this process, separate the items into piles of ‘keep’, ‘donate’ and ‘bin’. Just be careful not to throw something precious in the bin pile, it’s all too easy to do when you’re not paying attention!

Once the home is de-cluttered, it will be so much easier to clean the property. Plus, you’ve given to charity in the process. It’s a win-win all round!

Make a Detailed Plan of Action

Another way to prevent deserting the spring clean before its finished is by writing out a detailed plan of action. Making sure you have enough time set out in the diary is essential, and don’t be afraid to delegate tasks out to other family members or even local cleaning professionals if you need a helping hand. Being realistic about time and expectations you have will ensure you see the spring clean through to the end.

Go room by room, hopefully completely de-cluttered from step one, to assess what needs to be done (and don’t forget your outdoor spaces like garages, sheds and gardens). Write down a list of what you would like to achieve and the time scale for completion. Remember to give yourself some slack to consider work, downtime and breaks you’ll be taking to avoid disappointment in progress.

Preparation should also include compiling all the necessary cleaning supplies into the room where it will be needed. Nothing wastes time like having to run back to the kitchen sink to collect the cleaning products you need, or having to pop to the shops because you’ve run out of bleach.

Don’t Forget the Music

Compile a playlist of every happy tune you like to dance and sing along to and crank them up while you work. Who said cleaning must be boring?! You will find the playlist will energise you to get the work done, and it won’t feel as much of a chore as it has in years previous. We will even forgive you for dancing around with the hoover or singing into a hairbrush, because we’ve all been known to do that … especially Mark, Yellow Trumpet CEO, who’s been professionally cleaning carpets for years.

Alternatively, tune in to The Voice who play a great selection of songs every day.

Try Making Your Cleaning Products

If you’re aiming to be eco-conscious this year, or maybe you have some ingredients knocking about the house, there are some home-made cleaning products you can make.

The following are tried-and-tested cleaning products, consisting of ingredients you will have in the cupboards:

• Vinegar can be used to remove any limescale build-up on taps (as long as they are not gold-plated) and shower screens. Additionally, vinegar can also make your windows shine.
• Remove stains from worktops, sinks, ovens, saucepans and cookers with a paste made up of one-half bicarbonate of soda and one-half water.
• Our favourite is lemon juice, which is known as a natural bleaching agent. Lemon juice will remove stains from the chopping boards; rub it on, leaving to stand overnight before washing off. Lemon is also tough enough to tackle rust, while half a capful of lemon juice will have your white-wash sparkling.

Get the Professionals In

The regular cleaning you carry out on a daily or weekly basis aims to keep your home or holiday let at a standard level of cleanliness. Of course, for this type of cleaning, you will not necessarily need the help of professional cleaning services. A deep cleanse, however, is much more technical than regular cleaning tasks such as dusting or mopping. It is recommended to perform an annual deep cleanse for any property. Deep cleaning aims to rid the house of dirt and germs that can build up over the year and is typically done in spring.

You can expect Devon cleaning professionals to clean kitchen appliances, carpets and windows, as well as difficult to reach areas with high-quality cleaning products and equipment. You wouldn’t achieve this with the box-standard cleaning products you have hiding under the kitchen sink. A deep clean will result in a home that feels like it did the moment you moved in. Deep cleaning requires routine, expertise and sophisticated equipment to get a gleaming outcome. If you don’t have the know-how, equipment, time or energy to do the spring clean your home deserves, it may be better to get a professional in to do the job for you.

Let us know how your spring cleaning goes, as well as any tips and tricks you would recommend for fellow readers. As always, be sure to recommend the cleaning professionals you use. Each recommendation you write helps to support your local business owners and may even see you win a prize!

9 March 2020 / by / in ,