A fascinating digital archive offering a glimpse into many facets of North Devon s past is the focus of a new touring exhibition which opens at the Museum of Barnstaple on Saturday. The Second World War bomber that crashed at Mortehoe in 1945, the militar

A fascinating digital archive offering a glimpse into many facets of North Devon's past is the focus of a new touring exhibition which opens at the Museum of Barnstaple on Saturday.The Second World War bomber that crashed at Mortehoe in 1945, the military history of Winkleigh airfield and a window on Victorian Bideford are just some of the subjects featured in the Explore North Devon showcase.The project is an innovative archive which enables communities or individuals to collect and research information about their local history and present it to a global audience through the Internet.The fruits of contributors' labours so far will form the centre piece of the exhibition, which following its opening in at the Museum and subsequent run until April, will move on to the North Devon Record Office in May and then various locations as part of the North Devon Festival.An impressive range of collections, recordings and stories has been assembled on the website at www.explorenorthdevon.org providing an ever-growing resource that should prove interesting to both locals and visitors alike. Once there, listen to witnesses of the Lancaster bomber crash in Mortehoe in 1945, look at old photographs of Bratton Fleming's churches and schools, learn about the wild flowers of Hollocombe or take a virtual heritage trail around Winkleigh Airfield.The project was awarded a £50,000 grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Archives 4 All phase of the popular Access to Archives programme, which offers a searchable database (www.a2a.org.uk) of historical records collections.Explore North Devon, is a partnership between the Devon County Council archives and coast and countryside services, North Devon and Torridge District Councils' museums services, The National Archives and community groups in Bratton Fleming, Hartland, Mortehoe, Parracombe and Winkleigh.A further £12,000 has been contributed by Natural England through the Northern Devon Coast and Countryside Service to carry out related projects in the communities lying within the North Devon AONB.There is still plenty of scope to join the project, add history from your community to the database and share it with all. To find out more about Explore North Devon, contact Lizzie Potter at the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon on (01271) 346747.