'Bolham Water facing pollution disaster'
on Smeatharpe Airfield are putting Bolham Water in danger of “an environmental disaster”, campaigners are warning. They are being used by Keily Bros to sieve stones swept up from roads all over Devon, which include oil, tar and rubber. What appears to be washing equipment has also been brought onto the site.
Graham Long, of Action Against Noise and Nuisance in the Blackdowns, says the Gotleigh Moor Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) is in danger of contamination if waste from washing the stone sweepings enters the water table on the airfield.
“The runway drains have not been maintained since 1948, but only take surface water into the Bolham River anyway.”
A map on his campaign website shows how near springs on the Gotleigh Moor SSSI are to where Kiely Bros are operating their machines. The company says it does not need planning permission, but Mr Long believes it needs a licence from the Environment Department.
All the land to the north of the runway slopes down to the Bolham River, which rises in Smeatharpe and flows along the boundary between the two SSSI's, Gotheigh and Southey Moors.
Kiely Bros resumed stone sieving at Smeatharpe on 22 April in defiance of Mid Devon District Council. Now Graham Long is urging Devon County Council to act. The owner of Gotleigh Moor has alerted Natural England. >Read more.
How the valley looked 100 years ago
A century ago in 1913, Applehayes Farm belonged to Harold Harrison, a retired rancher from Argentina. While studying art in London Harrison became friends with the group and from 1910 onwards he invited the members to visit his farm.
Among them were Spencer Gore, Charles Ginner and Robert Bevan. Bevan, in particular, was inspired by the East Devon landscape and returned regularly until 1920.
The Royal Albert Museum and Art Gallery in Exeter is commemorating this centenary with a display of its important 1913 paintings by both Bevan and Ginner from now until 24 November.
You can buy a copy of this picture, Robert Bevan’s Devonshire Valley No 1, and others at the gallery and online.
Boardwalk reopens footpath over bogOne of Clayhidon's loveliest walks, between Bellets and Lillycombe, has for years been virtually impassible because of a bog. Now a boardwalk has been built across the mire by Devon County Council following pressure from the parish council. Walkers who had been avoiding this path have rediscovered an enchanting route across the River Culm and the Stapley stream through woods and drifts of wild flowers. >MORE CLAYHIDON FOOTPATH NEWS.
Ray Radford sees off UKIP challengeClayhidon’s Conservative county councillor Ray Radford headed off a storming challenge by UKIP to retain his Willand and Uffculme seat in the Devon County Council Elections on 2 May.
He polled 1,243 votes, while the UKIP candidate David Graham polled 759, pushing the Independent, David Pugsley, into third place with 499. The Green Party, in bottom position with 168, was only four votes behind the Liberal Democrat.
The turnout was 30.7%.
The full result was:
FOORD, Richard John, Liberal Democrat, 172
GRAHAM, David Ewart, UKIP, 759
MELLER, Hugh, The Green Party, 168
PRITCHARD, Jocelyn Anne, Labour Party Candidate, 325
PUGSLEY, David Follett, Independent, 499
RADFORD, Raymond Francis, The Conservative Party Candidate, 1243. The Conservatives retained overall control of Devon County Council despite the loss of three seats. UKIP gained four seats, Labour gained three and Lib Democrats lost five.
Buddhafield is back for a four-day Camp
The Buddhafield returns to Clayhidon on 24 May for a four-day Green Earth Awakening Camp.
Up to 500 people are expected to take part in the event at The Gallops, on the old Buddhafield festival site on the Wellington road.
The programme promises “a chance to connect with the land, re-learn forgotten skills and live communally for a while, exploring pathways towards a sustainable future”.
Workshops include a Really Wild Forest School for children, solar energy, spinning, tuffet making, blacksmithing and copper bowl making, working with leather, spoon carving, tanning fish skins and soulful singing. Talks include one on the Tinkers Bubble commune in Somerset.
There will also be a space for “massage swaps and other healing”, a kids area with activities, storytelling, poetry and acoustic music around the camp-fires at night.
For more information and booking >click here.
To Fudge and Eeyore, an Easter baby
This little donkey star was born in Clayhidon the Sunday before Easter and quickly found the strength to dash about enjoying the pending spring. Owners Helen Hutchings and Andy Curtis haven't named her yet, but mum is called Fudge and dad is Eeyore. We'll let you know when they decide.
It was 31 March, Easter Morning, when a group of people gathered inthe intense cold in a field at the top of Grays Lane, Clayhidon, writes Pam Reynolds. The clocks had just been put forward an hour but nevertheless they wanted to be there at 7am to join together in a Sunrise Service on the day of the Resurrection. About 30 men and women were there from the churches and chapels of Clayhidon, Hemyock and Culmstock and as they waited for the start, the sun rose behind the trees reminding them of that first Easter Day. The sheep and lambs bleating through the singing added to the atmosphere of the occasion. Everyone was warm in clothing and in spirit as they stood round a blazing brazier.
Afterwards many of them made their way down to Hemyock Church Room where a wonderful breakfast had been prepared.
The week-long search search for Bodie the missing mongrel ended happily on 24 March when he turned up at his home, Shepherds Halt, Clayhidon.
Parish Hall is spellbound by Talking Heads
The title put a few people off. 'Talking Heads' hardly promises action. And the format – three plays, three monologues – sounds iffy. But the author’s name should have been enough to fill the last four seats in an almost packed Clayhidon Parish hall on 17 May.
Alan Bennett’s plays are sad, funny and wise, and the Northcott Theatre’s Uncommon Players fielded three remarkable actresses who made the very best of a wonderful script.
First Imogen Smith, as the alcoholic wife of a vicar, then Jenny Start, as the new widow cheated into penury by her own son, and finally Janet Hookway, as the little old lady determined to live to the end in her own home.
Each chattered away to herself, revealing great truths about their lives and ours. These plays, first written for television in 1988 and now classics on the English Literature syllabus, have proved a challenge to some of the finest performers of our age. I doubt if any of them could have held a Devon village audience more spellbound than the Uncommon Players.
Their next production is Educating Rita – and Clayhidon made it clear it wants them back. - Gareth Weekes.
Public meeting on changes to
A public meeting to discuss footpath changes in Clayhidon is being held at the Parish Hall on Wednesday 5 June.
Emily Spurway, a Devon County Council footpaths officer, will be present to explain possible changes to the definitive map of public rights of way in the parish.
Parish Councillor Sue Hay says these could include:
The public meeting starts at 7.30pm and will be followed by a regular meeting of the parish council.
Charity May Ball sell-out
All 200 tickets for Clayhidon's third Charity Ball on Monday, 27 May have been sold and no more are available. The event, being held in Strawberry Field, courtesy of the Blackmore family, is to raise funds for the Devon Air Ambulance, Cancer Research and the Children's Hospice South West.
Bodie is back ... thin and dirty but safe
"Bodie has returned home this morning. Very thin and dirty but we are just so thankful," said Helen Gendall, who had put up posters all over the area.
Bodie had gone missing on 17 March while on a walk in the woods between Cordwents and Shepherds Halt.
Clayhidon walking route features in The Times The footpaths and lanes of Clayhidon featured in The Times on 9 March when the newspaper devoted nearly a page to “A Good Walk: Clayhidon and Culm Valley, Devon.”
Christopher Somerville and his companion dressed “like lifeboatmen” when they braved rainy winter weather to explore “this beautiful green corner of the mist-shrouded East Devon countryside”.
Their four-mile walk began and ended at the Half Moon Inn – an “excellent village pub” concluded the writer as he peeled off his muddy clothes and steaming boots.
>You can read the full walk and many others and see his photographs here.
Parish presses county for action on potholes
The state of Clayhidon's roads and drains was discussed at the parish council meeting in February.
Much of the work to repair our roads and unblock drains is still outstanding.
The council is continuing to seek a meeting with the Devon Highways department to show them the specific problems around the Parish.
If you would like to report any potholes or similar damage please email Devon County on firstname.lastname@example.org
The annual parish meeting is being held on Monday 11 March at 7.30pm in the parish hall.
Road to close for water infrastructure work
Contractor May Gurney has been granted a temporary Road closure at Graddage Farm. Clayhidon ( EX15 3TP) to undertake "essential water infrastructure works".
The work will last for five days between 13 and 17 May. The firm says all efforts will be made to maintain access to properties and minimise disruption, but there may be delays and it advises people to avoid the area if possible.
For more information call 01726 224400 between 9am and 5pm (Mon-Fri) or contact the South West Water Helpline on 0800 169 1144 at all other times.
Thieves break into Clayhidon garages
Two garages in Clayhidon have been broken into. Various pieces of equipment, including chainsaws,were stolen, police reported on 5 February. If you saw anything suspicious or know anything about this please call Devon and Cornwall Police on 101 and quote crime numbers KU/13/75 and KU/13/77.
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