© 2019 Tarka Clinic

Tarka Clinic, 7 Paiges Lane, Barnstaple EX31 1EF

01271 373346

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Osteopaths are experts at treating musculoskeletal complaints. This includes a variety of conditions, much more than just back pain. Osteopathy is a hands on approach, encouraging the body to return to health. Techniques are wide-ranging and beyond purely manipulation, enabling treatment of a great variety of conditions successfully. We believe in improving the body’s flow of blood, using massage & soft-tissue work we liberate tissue & speed up the bodys natural healing process.

Osteopathy is recommended by the NHS (NICE guidelines 2016). The growing of evidence based research means your GP can recommend a course of osteopathy for specific complaints.

Treatments are tailored to each patient and are suitable for babies through to the older person. If you have any queries, do call for a free telephone consultation. All the osteopaths working at the Tarka clinic are registered with the General Osteopathic Council.

Brief list of what we treat:

  • Back pain

  • Sciatica

  • Neck pain

  • Headaches

  • Sports injuries

  • Arthritic pain

  • Shoulder pain

  • Knee, hip & foot pain

  • Wrist pain & repetitive strains

  • Pregnancy related pains

  • Digestive, menstrual, circulatory issues

We have an experienced team of 5 osteopaths:

  • Peter Spencer

  • Lisa Flynn

  • Ellie King (Matt Brierley is currently covering Ellie's maternity leave)

  • Sharon Beckwith

  • Maria Robinson


Dr. Peter Spencer

BSc MBBS PhD DO – qualified in Medicine in 1976 and gained a PhD in physiology in 1984. He has held posts in cardiology, diabetes and community medicine and was a lecturer in physiology at Charing Cross Hospital Medical School from 1978 until 1984.

In 1984, he was appointed lecturer at the London School of Osteopathy (LSO) and trained in osteopathy there, qualifying in 1989. He commenced practice in Barnstaple in 1989 in partnership with Nigel de Salengre.

He has since retired as Principal of the LSO after 6 years in the post and two years on the Board of Governors.

Peter is the author of a number of papers in scientific journals and has written a book of case histories for students. He is a former external examiner in osteopathy for the Universities of Brunel, Kingston and Westminster and is active in promoting increased standards of education for both undergraduate and postgraduate osteopaths, being a member of the General Osteopathic Council reviewers panel.  Peter is on the International Advisory Board for the journal Manual Therapy, and is the co-ordinator of the Tarka Clinic Continual Professional Development Programme.

Peter has now cut his hours down to four mornings a week, so that he can spend more time looking after his  grandchildren.











Lisa Flynn.

Lisa has been an osteopath for 32 years graduating with a Diploma in Osteopathy from the European School of Osteopathy in 1987. I am a local lady working from my home in Combe Martin while my children were young before moving to Barnstaple and starting work at the Tarka Clinic in 2006. Recently I have become a Secretary for the Western Counties Society of Osteopaths which involves sourcing speakers for, and organising our conferences ... which keeps me extremely busy. I like to treat my patients in a holistic way, looking at the body as a whole, using soft tissue technique and articulation to increase the range of movement in painful joints, making my treatment plans unique to each patient with their individual symptoms. I also treat more subtly using cranial technique which can identify tension throughout the body and within the cranium. This tension can be as a result of a past trauma or indeed stress related and it changes the rhythmical pattern of the bodies tissues. Subtle pressure can release this tension and restore the tissues to normality. I treat a variety of ages ranging from babies to the elderly deciding which method of treatment is most appropriate for their age and symptoms.



















Ellie King

Graduated with a Masters degree in Osteopathy from the British School of Osteopathy. After receiving osteopathic treatment at a young age, it was this introduction that inspired her to study osteopathy herself. Since starting the profession, Ellie has only become more enthusiastic about osteopathy & the different methods available to improving health. With a firm belief in guiding the body to restore its own vitality & health, she enjoys creating tailored treatment plans to make sure each patient is addressed as an individual.
Ellie has a special interest helping patients with systemic/widespread issues requiring a holistic approach. Her post-graduate training in Classical Osteopathy has further assisted & enhanced her knowledge in this area. She has recently completed further training in Cranial Osteopathy, and has experience treating children and babies. 
Ellie lives in Braunton, being in Devon means she can enjoy all the county has to offer, an active lifestyle, including surfing and hiking. She has attended courses on sport biomechanics and has experience treating a number of sporting injuries. She enjoys working with athletes to resolve any problems with fitness or health.

“Cranial osteopaths are trained to feel the Involuntary Mechanism, a very subtle, rhythmical change that is present in all body tissues. The movement is of very small amplitude, therefore it takes practitioners with a very finely developed sense of touch to feel it. This rhythm was first described by Dr. William G. Sutherland and its existence was confirmed in a series of laboratory tests in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Tension in the body disrupts the rhythmical motion expressed in the body tissues. Practitioners compare what your rhythm is doing to what they consider ideal. This shows them what stresses and strains your body is under at present, and what tensions it may be carrying as a result of its past history. It also gives them an insight into the overall condition of your body, for example if it is healthy, or stressed and tired.”


















Matt Brierley

Graduated from the British School of Osteopathy (now the University College of Osteopathy) in 1995. After working in New Zealand, he returned to the UK and has been working in Cornwall for the past 20 years.

Together with hands on osteopathic treatment Matt also feels advice on exercises and lifestyle very important. He has worked for the NHS for many years and this has enabled him to gain a wide understanding of  how different disciplines integrate. He will sometimes use acupuncture if it is appropriate and is registered with the British Medical Acupuncture Society.

He has 3 children which keep him busy as well as an interest in music and sport and has recently returned from a year long trip to Colombia with his family.

In the clinic he has a special interest in treating patients with issues relating to pregnancy as well as working with the elderly, helping those with wear and tear and arthritis to live life to the full.

He is committed to continually learning and developing his osteopathic skills.




















Sharon Beckwith

Trained as to be an Osteopathy for four years at Surrey Institute of Osteopathy (SIOM) and  have level 3 ITEC qualifications in Sports and Holistic Massage. Sharon is fully registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) which is the UK’s regulating body for osteopaths, details of which you can find on their Register under my name, Sharon Beckwith, or registration number 8903. Sharon is also a member of the Institute of Osteopathy, the biggest professional membership organisation for osteopaths in the UK whose purpose is to unite, promote, develop and support the osteopathic profession, to improve public health and patient care.

















Maria Robinson

Graduated from The College of Osteopaths with a First Class Masters degree in Osteopathy.

Maria is a caring osteopath who takes the time to understand each patient’s circumstances, condition and history in order to provide the most suitable treatment plan based on the individual’s needs and preferences. Maria is professional and approachable and will always ensure patient centred care.

Maria has a background in clinical research in the hospital and ambulance service setting and is involved in the osteopathic research community locally and nationally. She has won awards for her research activity and has a special interest in women’s health and maintaining healthy bladder function.

Maria uses a range of osteopathic techniques and an integrated approach, taking into account the individual needs and preferences of each patient. Maria is passionate about providing patients with the advice they need to help them to help themselves.




All the osteopaths working at the Tarka clinic  are registered with the general osteopathic council, please clinic on the logo to check the register

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