Archive‎ > ‎


Ketchup adds sauce to crib service 
Mary and Joseph arrived at Clayhidon's Christmas crib service in St Andrew's Church on 23 December, not on a donkey but on a real live Shetland pony called Ketchup. Parish children gave a sparkling presentation of the Christmas story, updated as a TV news bulletin, before a large and delighted audience of proud parents and grandparents.  >Click here for more pictures.
'Parishioners should clear drains' 
Clayhidon parishioners should be prepared to help clear drains and ditches near their property to keep roads free of flooding, a county councillor told the parish council.
Councillor Ray Radford agreed to arrange for a meeting in the parish with the roads foreman to look at the problems. However, in this time of austerity, the county council does not have the resources to clear ditches and drains as regularly as in the past, he said.
There was considerable discussion on the state of the parish roads following the recent floods. In some places the road surface has been washed away and many culverts and drains were overwhelmed by the quantity of water and debris. >Click here for parish council report.

Big improvements made to Clayhidon footpaths
Major improvements have been made to Clayhidon footpaths by Devon County Council. Gates and stiles have been replaced and new signs put up. 
“It is now much easier to follow our paths and there is further work planned,” says parish councillor Sue Hay. 
The next project, which was identified by last year’s survey, is to improve the footpath from Bellets to Lillycombe. It is extremely wet on the north side of the river and the plan is to place boardwalks here to raise the path above the water level.
It is now time for another annual footpath survey. If anyone is able to help by walking a few paths or can give feedback on paths that they have recently walked please contact Sue Hay on 07909 970833  >Click here for more.

Upper Culm's worst flood in 30 years
A livestock trailer is swept off the road by the raging River Culm, as Clayhidon farmer Richard Blackmore sets out to rescue stranded sheep.
Long-standing residents called 21 November 2012 
the worst flood in 30 years. Torrential rain falling on already waterlogged ground scoured soil and stones from fields, roared down parish lanes, and turned horse menages into duck ponds. At least two homes were flooded and great sheets of tarmac were ripped from the lane near the ford. For a few hours the little Culm became as wide as the Thames. When the rain stopped the river shrank back just as suddenly to its usual size, leaving farmers to wonder what else might happen to their crops in this most difficult of years.
In Hemyock, St Mary's Church and the Catherine Wheel pub flooded and services were switched to the Church Room.
Do you have a flood story or pictures to share? Email 

Christingle service at St Andrew's

A beautiful Christingle service was held at St Andrew's Church when all those attending received a christingle, writes Pam Reynolds. Many extras were delivered to children and adults who were unable to attend. The service was greatly enjoyed and refreshments followed in the Church Room.

Hospital volunteer
Juliet Heaton from St Andrew's Church, Clayhidon, was presented with her certificate by Rev Judith Lawrence when Juliet was commissioned as a Hospital Chaplaincy Volunteer at Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton.

New website for the Blackdowns
Blackdown Hills Online, a new website, has been launched by the Blackdown Hills Parish Network (BHPN). The site is still under construction but you can see progress so far on this link.
The network brings together the communities of the four local authority districts with residents in and close to the Blackdowns AONB. 
A Community Plan was published at the end of last year and is now being implemented. Catherine Bass. BHPN co-ordinator, writes: “One of the key elements to emerge in the consultation process was that there seemed to be a lack of ‘joined-up-ness’ between neighbouring parishes, particularly when divided by an LA boundary, and especially where County boundaries are involved as well. 
“One of the early resolutions of the BHPN was to set up a Blackdowns Online website to make it possible for everyone to link together and learn more about what is going on elsewhere in the Hills.
“Please be aware that the website is very new – and therefore still being fed with information. We are on the look out for information about all sorts of things.” 
Catherine is looking for a number of volunteer administrators to look after specific sections of the website. 
>Click here for Blackdown Hills Online.

DVD tells story of milk factory
The Hemyock History Association has produced a DVD of the Hemyock Milk Factory which employed at one time over 350 people. The DVD had
its public Preview in  October when over 100 people attended. 
The factory was closed down in 1999 and Unigate, the parent company, which at one time had 110 factories across the UK, was taken over.
The DVD tells the story of a happy workplace employing many local peoplebeing replaced by houses.
Copies of the DVD are available from the web site

Musical director Brenda Persey promised as usual that this year's Clayhidon Harvest Supper entertainment in the Parish Hall would be "worse than ever", but it was a full house again and the audience loved it all. The traditional mix of songs,  self deprecating humour and totally unrehearsed pantomime  went down a storm. Volunteers cooked and served a first class three-course meal, washed down with Bollhayes cider and apple juice. Margaret Blackmore was the organiser. >Click here for more pictures.

Church packed as hundreds celebrate the life of Mike Baker, broadcaster

 St Andrew’s Church was packed on October 5 for a service to celebrate the life of Mike Baker, broadcaster, journalist and blogger, who died on September 21. 
Family and friends read tributes. The Thunderbird Bluegrass Boys, a Wellington band Mike had heard at Clayhidon Parish Hall in March, sang an old American slave song, Down to the River to Pray. 
Mike’s father, Douglas, shared his memories of a young adventurous son with an enquiring spirit, who played the trombone in a big band, loved sport and after a gap year went to Emmanuel College, Cambridge. 
He met Chrissie while he was still a BBC trainee, and they were married for 30 years. Their daughters Louise and Rachel read one of his favourite poems, The Darkling Thrush, by Thomas Hardy. 
His sisters and brother, Christine, Maureen and Malcolm, shared memories of him with a wry poem they had made up. 
Mike Sparks read from Ecclesiastes, “A Time for Everything”. 
The service, which followed a private cremation in Taunton, was led by the Rev David Burton. He said there would be a memorial service on Saturday November 17 in St Andrew’s Church, Ham, near the family’s main home in Kingston upon Thames. 
Mike Baker’s brother in law Brian said the memorial service would concentrate on his professional achievements. 
He was education correspondent for the BBC for 18 years, a genuine communicator who had earned widespread respect and affection. 
His cancer blog , which he began after being diagnosed last year with lung cancer and continued almost to the end, had clearly been an inspiration to many. 
He left the BBC about five years ago and bought a second home in Clayhidon, not far from Buckland St Mary, where his great grandfather had lived. 
Sir Nigel Essenhigh, a neighbour and friend in Clayhidon, said he had warmed to this new arrival, a man who understood what made things tick and who without a trace of cant or bigotry would cheerfully argue his case. 
Whatever he took on he did well. He was always willing to lend a hand at parish events. His grit and determination were humbling, not least when he cycled across Wales to raise funds for a cancer charity a couple of months before his death.
Mike Baker was, he said, “a true gentleman and example to us all”. 
>Click here for more about Mike Baker 

Devon's newly elected police commissioner
Royal Navy veteran Tony Hogg won the election for Devon and Cornwall's first Police and Crime Commissioner on 15 November. The Conservative gained 69,419 votes, well ahead of the runner-up Brian Greenslade, a Liberal Democrat standing as an independent.

Volunteers needed for Hidon Wood clean-up
A parish council project to maintain Hidon Wood is to be carried out in stages, starting with clearance of the path around the eastern and southern boundary, which  has become overgrown. 
Volunteers are sought to help move scrub and tidy up after any cutting work and anyone would be interested in helping with the specialist work involved is asked to get in touch. 
>Click here for latest parish council report.

Friends say thanks for coffee and cake support
The Clayhidon Friends have said "a very big thank you" to all those who gave so generously to MacMillan Cancer Support at the Coffee and Cake morning on October 6 in the Church Room, and for all the cakes, buns and scones made for the stall.The grand sum of £130 was made at the event. >Click here for Clayhidon Friends

Smeatharpe tops local road speeding chart
Graham Long, of Action on Noise and Nuisance in the Blackdowns, writes: Devon and Cornwall police have again recently published their latest speed check statistics for the Honiton Rural policing area and again, the 30mph limit through Smeatharpe in East Devon has come out top of the list.Smeatharpe claimed more endorsable fixed penalties and verbal warnings issued than for any other 30mph restricted road in the Honiton Rural area.

>Click here for full story.

Skilled helpers sought for Hidon Wood 
Clayhidon Parish Council is planning to manage Hidon Wood to make it more attractive to wildlife and easier for local people to walk. The council is seeking help from anyone in the parish with right skills. >Click here for more.

Superfast broadband is coming to the hills
Superfast broadband is coming to the Blackdown Hills . . . but not just yet. The Connecting Devon and Somerset programme aims to provide 100% broadband coverage of at least 2Mbps with a minimum of 85% superfast broadband at 24Mbps by 2015 and superfast broadband for all by 2020. 

The project, led by Devon and Somerset County Councils, has secured £32 million of government funding. BT and Fujitsu have been invited to tender for the contract to deliver the infrastructure for superfast broadband across the area. 
>For more information and to have your say click here 

Applehayes Lane to close for a day
May Gurney has applied for a road closure to complete South West Water utility works near Applehayes Cottage on Applehayes Lane, Clayhidon. These works, subject to approval from Devon Highways, will take place from the December 6 to December 7 2012.
All efforts will be made to maintain access to properties within the area of the closure and minimise disruption.
If you require further information call May Gurney on 01726 224400 between 9am and 5pm (Mon-Fri), or contact the South West Water Helpline on 0800 169 1144 at all other times.

Crowds flock to see Clayhidon history show
A fascinating exhibition of Clayhidon photographs, documents and news cuttings was displayed at St Andrew's Church over the Bank Holiday Weekend.
Scores of people visited the event, which was organised by Clayhidon Local History Group. It covered people and events,past and present, as well as the natural history of Clayhidon.
Who'll live in the affordable house? 
Anyone from Clayhidon who is interested in buying or renting the parish’s new affordable home should contact both the Parish Council and Mid Devon District Council. 
The parish council is determined not to lose this asset and says it would help its negotiations with the developer if it could demonstrate that there is a need for this house. Anyone interested in paying a “sensible” rent or buying shared equity is urged to get in touch. 
>Click here for latest parish council report

Found in a suitcase: granny and grandpa's amazin
g life
Tickets are still available for Frankland & Sons, the Villages in Action play booked for Clayhidon Parish Hall on Wednesday 28 November.
This new show was created by three generations of the same family about parents, children and falling in love.
When Tom’s aunt died in 2006, he and his father inherited several suitcases containing letters written by his grandparents across 25 years. They reveal the astonishing life and love of a couple living through two world wars and a recession.
Created and performed by double Fringe First award winner Tom Frankland and his dad, John Frankland, and directed by Fringe First award winner Jamie Wood. ‘Frankland & Sons’ maps a true story of fathers and sons onto the events of the last 100 years. 
Drawing on Tom & John’s Pythonesque sense of humour, the show is playful, moving and surprising; a tale of love won, love lost, and wholly inappropriate girlfriends. 
Lyn Gardner wrote in her review for The Guardian: “Family secrets are unlocked and the skeletons in the cupboard turn out to be walking talking ones in a performance that reminds us that all families are fascinating; it sends you out into the night contemplating the truths and lies in your own family tree.”

Your chance to vote for police chief
Clayhidon’s polling station will be open on Thursday 15 November for an election to choose the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner. All registered electors are asked to take part. 
Ten candidates are standing– nine men and one woman. They include a psychologist, a former detective, an ex-naval officer, ex-prosecutor and the former chairman of the police authority. They are:
Brian Blake - Liberal Democrats
Graham Calderwood - Independent
Brian Greenslade - Independent
Tony Hogg - Conservative
Ivan Jordan - Independent
Tam Macpherson - Independent
William Morris - Independent
Bob Smith - UK Independence Party
John Smith - Independent
Nicky Williams – Labour
On the ballot paper you can vote for your first and second choice.
The person elected is supposed to: 
  • meet the public regularly to listen to their views on policing
  • produce a police and crime plan setting out policing priorities 
  • decide how the budget will be spent
  • hire and if necessary fire the chief constable
Long shot: autumn clears a sight-line across the Culm Valley to St Andrew's Church and the Half Moon Inn for this rare view of Clayhidon under a cloudless November sky.

Last chance to save Villages in Action grant by Mid Devon District Council
BEE HILL, organiser of many Villages in Action events in Clayhidon Parish Hall, writes on October 29: I have just heard bad news from Roger Werner, the director of Villages in Action about severe proposed funding cuts to V in A and other voluntary bodies – – see the link that follows for details of proposals. Item 5 [181kb]
There is no good news for anyone. There is a continuing shift from regular grants to one-off grants, so it seems likely that in 5/6 years time there could be no regular funding for local organisations.
In VIA's case, it confirms last year's recommendation to cut their grant to us to zero by 1/4/2014. This means that we will have to increase the cost of VIA events in Mid Devon and support fewer of them.
It can make a difference if people speak up before the committee meeting on Tues 30th Oct. Unfortunately I cannot be there although I am writing to Frank Rosamond our District Councillor to argue in V in A’s favour, it might lead to a change of heart.
If you, as an appreciative audience member, would you also email/talk to your local District Councillor and stress the importance of core funding for small organisations like us and the importance of VIA to rural communities - it might just help.
If you are in the Upper Culm constituency your D.C. is Frank Rosamond contact details: Tel (01884) 840623If you are elsewhere in Mid Devon, the list of Councillors is here:
Please do whatever you can today or first thing tomorrow as the meeting is on Tues 30th @ 2pm. 

Merry Harriers couple win UK award
Peter and Angela Gatling, who run the Merry Harriers, Clayhidon, are Britain's Licensees of the Year, according to the new edition of the Good Pub Guide, writes Keith Wheatley.
It puts the pretty ivy-clad pub in Britain’s top ten inns, with huge praise for the owners. "Peter and Angela Gatling are the absolute aristocrats of the pub world, showing extra-special commitment and care for both their pub and their customers – and it shows,” says the GPG. >Click here for full story

Coffee morning for Cancer research UK
A coffee morning is planned for Saturday October 27 in aid of Cancer Research UK. Organisers say the event, which starts at 10am in the Church Room, Clayhidon, will include many stalls.

Horses and riders celebrate Jubilee
The Rev David Burton leads the service for horses and riders, with Mrs Kathleen Hill of Sampford Arundel, chairman of the Somerset branch of the British Driving Society. >Click here for more pictures.

Horses in the parish of Clayhidon held their own Jubilee church service on Sunday, September 16.
Some 35 horses, riders and six carriages gathered for an outdoor service in the field of St. Andrew’s Church, Clayhidon led by the Rector, the Rev David Burton, sitting in a carriage driven by Mrs Kathleen Hill, chairman of the Somerset branch of the British Driving Society.
It was the fifth Riders’ Sunday service held at Clayhidon, and was started by the former minister, the Rev David Sherwood, who was himself a rider, following the annual Horsemen’s Sunday service held on Epsom Downs every September.
After singing ‘All things bright and beautiful’ and ‘One more step along the world I go’, the horses and some 100 people heard a reading, a poem, a short address and joined in the Lord’s Prayer.
Then, after the national anthem, Mr Burton blessed the animals and people present.
Commemorative rosettes were handed out to all the horses taking part before they set off on a ride round the lanes and fields before returning to Garland’s Bower for tea and cakes.
Church warden Maurice Bendle said he was delighted with the turnout and thanked everyone for attending. He said he was especially pleased to see the carriages as it was the first time they had attended.

Sun shines  for church barbecue
Clayhidon's barbecue boys kept the burgers and bacon sizzling hot for an appreciative crowd on August 26, when St Andrew's Church followed its family service with a barbecue. > For more pictures click here.

Kiwi wedding for Clayhidon bride
Clayhidon-raised Julia Reynolds married Andrew Ross on August 5 in Napier, New Zealand. Her family, who live at Hidon Mill, flew out for the ceremony.

Hall committee bids for varied show programme
Clayhidon Parish Hall committee has bid for five different shows from the 2012-13 Villages in Action season. Members know they will be lucky to get three, but they have bid for a renowned jazz duo, an award winning drama from the Edinburgh Fringe, an amusing opera double act, a circus and music band, and a much recorded folk musician. >Click here for Parish Hall report.

New cheese from the Blackdown Hills
A new cheesemaking business has been launched close to Clayhidon. The Blackdown Hills Cheese Company sold its first product – a soft cheese similar to camembert but dipped in cider – during the recent Artisans Trail weekend.
Run by Julie Wing, it is based at Higher Berehill Farm, Churchstanton
She calls herself “an artisan farmhouse cheesemaker”, and her range of specialist cheeses is made from milk produced at the farm next door. It’s available from local farm shops and delicatessens. >Click here for contact details.

Council complains about Ford Street ice
The problems of running water and ice at the top of Ford Street have been raised with Somerset County Council by Clayhidon Parish Council. Other issues discussed at the latest parish council meeting include speeding traffic on parish lanes, footpath improvements and erosion of the Hidewood Ford. >Click here for more.

How to catch the mobile library 
Did you know that a Devon mobile library makes regular stops at Clayhidon ?
It gives local access to books, audio books, large print and DVDs to people who cannot easily reach one of the county’s 50 static libraries. 
Membership is free and no ID is needed. You can join at any age, and even babies are welcome. 
There is no charge for borrowing books. DVDs can be hired from as little as £1 for a fortnight. 
Non-fiction books, large print and children’s books can be reserved free. You can even reserve books online and collect them from the mobile library.
Children have extra fun joining the Book Track and Summer Reading Challenge. 
It calls at Clayhidon every fortnight on a Thursday. >Click here for stopping places and times.

Three shows booked for Parish Hall
Frankland & Sons, a tale of love won and love lost and wholly inappropriate girlfriends, kicks off the autumn and winter season of Villages in Action shows at Clayhidon Parish Hall. This Edinburgh Festival Fringe award winning drama, told with Pythonesque humour by Tom and John Frankland, is based on inherited letters, written by Tom’s grandparents, revealing the astonishing life and love of a couple living through two world wars and a recession.
Opera Dudes – Licensed to Trill are an amusing and original classical tenor double act that will take you from Verdi and Elvis Presley to Lloyd Webber, via Rachmaninoff and Donald Duck.
The third show is Femme Fatales, with the highly regarded jazz vocalist Sarah Moule and pianist Jenny Carr, who will bring us “Songs for the Fallen, Wild and Wicked”. They combine music with theatre and celebrate the Femme Fatale in all her feisty glory as heroine, heartbreaker, rule-breaker and role model.

Drewfest  2012 brings out the crowds
DREWFEST 2012:  It stopped raining at last, the sun shone and hundreds rolled up to hear the bands and have fun at this year's Drewfest celebration in Clayhidon on July 21, organised by the Drew family. Dozens of children enjoyed the music, a huge bouncy castle  and a tuckshop, pictured here. >For lots more pictures click here

500 join Clayhidon's jubilee party
Clayhidon residents celebrated the Queen's Diamond Jubilee with a wonderful community occasion on Ridgewood Common on Monday, June 4. The event culminated with lighting a beacon to join in thousands of
others throughout the country and a superb firework display. Some 500 people enjoyed a hog roast, salads and pudding with music from two bands. There were stalls for sweets, tea and coffee and a bouncy castle for the children. The event was free, and underwritten by Clayhidon Parish Council. Over £1,230 was taken on the bar and this, combined with generous donations, ensured the event more than covered its costs. The fields were available thanks to Mr and Mrs Philip Blackmore. The beacon was lit by Thelma Blackmore, Alan Redwood and Sir Nigel Essenhigh. Picture by Phil Drew. >Click here for lots more pictures.
Art and cream teas at Graddage Farm
Pam Reynolds writes: On July 7, from 2-5pm, Cream Teas were being served at Graddage Farm. In spite of the earlier rain, people turned out to taste the delicious food and enjoy the friendship of this lovely occasion. The beautiful garden was predominantly viewed from the windows as more rain fell but nevertheless the rose bed was an obvious glory. 
In three former stables, the local Art Group had put on a splendid display of their work. There is no doubting that many local people have a great deal of talent and many paintings were sold this afternoon. Tricia Meredith’s paintings of flowers are a great joy, to mention one subject. Then there were the paintings of three Clayhidon farms done by Bob Brien which were also outstanding but which were not for sale. (Perhaps he will allow them to be displayed again at the end of August when the Local History Group is holding an exhibition of Clayhidon photographs in the Church Room.)
Our thanks go to Saranna and Jeremy and all the people involved in the hard work and we hope they raised a worthwhile amount for the Blackdown Support Group. I am sure they would be willing to receive donations if you were unable to attend. >Click here for pictures.

History group visits Applehayes
The creative tradition of Applehayes, Clayhidon - famous for the Camden Group of artists - continues with the pottery of Philip and Claire Simmonds. They hosted a visit on June 21 by the Clayhidon Local History Group. Click here for more.

Church and chapel get together for jubilee
St Andrew's Church held its annual service with Rosemary Lane Chapel on June 10 and celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, writes Pam Reynolds
The church was almost full for the service, conducted by Rev David Burton. Tea and coffee were served afterwards in the Church Room and then most people went down to the Village Hall for a wonderful cold lunch, which the church and chapel had provided. It was a most memorable occasion to be long remembered with the previous week's joyous community tribute. >Click here for pictures.

Parish minutes 
>Click here to read the minutes of the 2012 Clayhidon annual parish meeting.

Skittlers honour Kate and David
Fellow skittlers gave Kate Pike and David Hewitt an unusual guard of honour after their wedding at St Andrew's Church, Clayhidon on June 2. "We had a great day despite the rain - this was owing to friends, family and neighbours," said Kate. "Special thanks to Nicola Bendle, Mrs Doreen Pike , Jodie Hoare and Laura Edwards."  >Click here for more pictures.

Maddie and Dan marry in an orchard
 Here are Maddie Hulls and Daniel Flint celebrating at Deadbeer with their bridesmaids, flower girls and page boys on May 26. After a private register office wedding in Taunton they devised their own ceremony for family and friends in her mum's cider orchard. >Click here for more pictures.

Gone with the wind: could this soon be Clayhidon's view of Hemyock?
Plans for a 34m high wind turbine at Highlands Farm  have provoked a storm of protest in nearby Hemyock. Objectors say the turbine ,  above the Lickham Valley (just off the road to Dunkeswell), would violate the Upper Culm valley and the AONB. 
Matthew Boyd, of Regency House, Hemyock, has created this photo-montage to try to show what it might look like from Clayhidon. This view is from just below Rosemary Lane.
Campaigners have created a link to help fellow objectors register their views with Mid Devon District Council . >Click here.

Floods bring a soggy end to drought After the drought, the deluge. New islands, rivers and lakes appeared in the fields of Clayhidon at the end of April as the Culm became a raging torrent, burst its banks and (above) submerged the footbridge at the ford. The floods are the worst in the valley for years. N.I.Agara has kindly sent more photographs, with this message: "Herewith further evidence of how we are struggling to cope with the continuing drought in Devon following another night without precipitation. We are stoic in the face of this ongoing trial . . . thank heavens for the hosepipe ban. Let us all continue to pray for rain." >Click here for more pictures by N.I.Agara and others.

Follow the Camden Artists for a day
Local artists are invited to follow in the footsteps of the famous Camden Artists by attending  a discovery day in the Clayhidon landscape that inspired them 100 years ago.
All abilities are welcome on Saturday September 29 (9.45am - 3.30pm), and local artist Liz Gregory will be on hand to help and guide participants throughout the day of “Landscape Painting in a Camden Style”.
Booking is essential for the event, which costs £10 and is being held at Applehayes Studio and Ringdown Nature Reserve, Clayhidon.
Materials will be provided, but people are asked to bring a stool and easel if they have one.  Wellies are essential as the path to the reserve is very muddy.
For further information call the Neroche office on  01823 680846 or email 

Join the Blackdown Hills Big Bat Survey
Volunteers are needed for the Blackdown Hills Big Bat Survey, taking place on July 20. Agni Arampoglou, an ecologist working on the project, said: “Bats are thriving across the Blackdowns owing to the mosaic of habitats which make the hills such a special area for bats.
“This year we are walking 15 routes aiming to determine bat species presence in new areas too. During last year’s survey we identified Barbastelle, Leisler’s and Lesser Horseshoe. We hope to record the elusive Greater Horseshoe this time round.”

Worshippers take to the pub
Worshippers swopped the church for the pub to mark Rogation Sunday in Clayhidon on May 13. They started the annual Rogation Sunday service in St Andrew’s, then walked through the passageway of the Half Moon Inn to exercise an ancient right of the church.

After singing a hymn the congregation moved to the pub garden, then to Garlands Bower, before walking to the Rectory garden and finally back to the churchyard.
In past times the Rogation Sunday ceremony involved "beating the bounds", which meant processing around the boundary of the parish and praying for its protection in the coming year.
>Click here for Pam Reynolds’s slide show. 

Clayhidon's 1,700 virtual visitors
Clayhidon's community website was one year old on March 29. In its first year posted more than 100 local news stories and nearly 1,700 people visited the site.
The busiest month was January, when the site was visited 845 times and attracted many first time visitors, thanks to  the controversy over the Carpetbaggers car rally.

State of Hidon Wood to be discussed by council
The next meeting of Clayhidon Parish Council will be held on July 2. Among topics to be discussed are the condition of Hidon Wood and a parish defibrillator. >Click here for full notice of meeting.

Fireworks, beacon and a barbecue planned for Queen's Diamond Jubilee
Clayhidon aims to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee on June 4 in style – with a beacon, firework display and barbecue. 
The beacon – on Ridgewood Common – will be one of a chain of nearly 3,000 being lit across the country and the Commonwealth from 10pm, culminating in the Queen lighting the national beacon in London at 10.30pm. 
Entry will be free by invitation, including a hog roast (or sausages for children), a bouncy castle, and a presentation of jubilee mugs to all children of the parish under 16. There will also be a cash bar. 
The cost of the event is being underwritten by Clayhidon Parish Council. Donations will be welcomed to help defray costs and to enable the council to subsidise future events. The site is provided by permission of Phil and Thelma Blackmore. 
The event, currently being planned by a Parish Council subcommittee, starts at 7pm and will cater for all age groups. Volunteer helpers are asked to call Maurice Bendle on 680665.
A special book listing all the beacon sites for the jubilee, including Clayhidon, will be given to the Queen after the event and will join similar books in the Royal Library. 
To arrange an invitation call Nicola Bendle on 680541 or Heather Drew on 680300. 
There will be a parish jubilee service at St Andrew’s Church, Clayhidon on Sunday June 10 at 11am. This will be held jointly with Rosemary Lane Chapel and all are welcome.

Live music and beers galore at Moonstock festival
It’s Moonstock time at Clayhidon again.  The Half Moon Inn’s fifth Annual Beer & Music Festival starts at 5pm this Friday (May 25) and ends on Sunday night. There’ll be live music from local bands such as Big Knight Out, pictured above, local legend Alex Hart and new talent Darren Hodge.  A very different style of mellow rock comes from Peter Bruntnell, there’s Celtic folk from Trefellas and this year for the first time jazz from the Hot Club Jazz Trio. 
Festival goers can sample dozens of real ales from  the South West, served straight from the cask, and several local ciders. In an all weather marquee, bands will play every day until late. Hog Roast, BBQ & Local sausages will be available throughout the period, alongside the summer menu available indoors.  This year’s chosen charity is the Friends of Churchstanton School. >Click here for more information.

Artisans promise a great weekend
Thirty two businesses across the East Devon and the Blackdown Hills Areas open their doors to the public on Saturday and Sunday May 12 and 13 for the second annual Artisans’ Trail. 
Forges will be firing up, weaving and spinning machines and potters wheels will be flying, and the organisers promise visitors a unique experience. 
Among the artisans welcoming everyone to take a peep behind the doors of their studios, workshops and kitchens will be Nicola Werner, whose Majolica Pottery is in the Bolham Valley, Clayhidon. 
There is a wealth of creative talent tucked away here and there will be a chance to try your hand or sample creamy local cheeses, smoked trout pâté, Devon salami, chorizo and dry cured meats, wines and ciders.
Opening hours are 10am to 4pm on both days.

Food digesters available free
Mid Devon District Council has a supply of Green Cone food digesters which are available free of charge to any household in the District that does not receive a compost waste collection. >Click here for details

Mobile library timetable
We are now carrying the timetable for Devon Libraries' mobile library service to Clayhidon  and other stopping places nearby. >Click here for details. 

Big Breakfast nets a sizzling profit
The promise of bacon and eggs tempted scores of visitors to Clayhidon parish hall on March 3, when these Cancer Research UK volunteers cooked up another sizzling success for the 2012 Big Breakfast. They raised over £1,000.

Update on Clayhidon's affordable home
Parish Council members, Richard Kalloway and Maurice Bendle attended the MDDC planning meeting to argue the Clayhidon case for retaining the ’Affordable Home’, writes Sue Hay.
MDDC Planning Officers put a proposal to the Planning Committee that the 106 agreement should be removed from The ‘Affordable House’ allowing it to be sold on the open market. They suggested that the Developer should pay the Parish £22,500 in compensation on the grounds there were no parties interested in the house and that the Developer needed to raise capital to enable him to move on.
Clayhidon Parish Council objected strongly to this proposal on the grounds that we would lose the opportunity to have an affordable home in the Parish, the rent/mortgage combination of £640pcm that had been advertised to date was too high to make the property affordable and that the suggested compensation was too small.
Richard and Maurice were given time to make representations to the Planning committee. They suggested that the Developer should be allowed to sell the fourth property on the site (the 106 agreement prevents the sale of this property until the ‘Affordable House’ has been occupied). But that the Parish should be given six months to investigate ways of making the ‘Affordable House’ truly affordable.
The Planning Committee were unanimous in their support for Clayhidon. This has given time for the Parish Council to explore more options. Until now it has been the remit of the Planning Officers to ensure that the conditions of the 106 agreement are met. We need to be proactive.
If there is anyone locally who might be interested in the ‘Affordable House’ PLEASE register your interest asap with both MDDC and the Parish Council.

Clayhidon linked with Renoir landscapes
Historic paintings of Clayhidon feature alongside works by the great Impressionist masters Monet and Renoir in an exhibition at Exeter’s Royal Albert Museum and Art Gallery. 
“Into the Light: French and British paintings from Impressionism to the early 1920s” includes several paintings of the area by two of the Camden Town Artists group, Robert Bevan and Charles Ginner. They appear together with works by Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Sickert, Whistler and others. The exhibition ends on March 11.
A Western Morning News review says: “Clayhidon is an obscure but beautiful place on the Devon-Somerset border, located deep in the Blackdown Hills – which isn't exactly a fact that could lead you to link its patchwork fields with the world famous landscapes of Monet, Pissarro or Renoir… 
“And yet there is Clayhidon – not once, but several times – strutting its rural, leafy, dairy-land stuff upon several canvases that are placed directly alongside paintings by great Impre

Cider drinkers are quiz champs again
Clayhidon's most consistently brainy quizzers, the Cider Drinkers (pictured above), won the quiz yet again at Clayhidon parish hall on March 9. But they were closely pressed by the Bits of Fluff (pictured below) in another highly successful event chaired by quiz master Peter Walter.

Trip to Knightshayes
Clayhidon Local History Group visited Knightshayes Court, home of former Conservative Chancellor  Derick Heathcoat-Amory. >Click for more

Who knows more?
This is the stylish looking Finch family, photographed outside Andrew's Church, Clayhidon around 100 years ago. Does anyone know more about them? >Click here for Clayhidon Local History Group.

March 2012: How to claim your free food digester

Mid Devon District Council has a supply of Green Cone food digesters which are available free of charge to any household in the District that does not receive a compost waste collection.

The Green Cone has an advantage over a standard home composter because it is capable of dealing with all food waste. A normal garden compost heap or composter should not contain cooked food waste as this will encourage vermin.

The benefits of disposing of waste at home include:

· Waste food can be disposed of immediately.
· Saves 20% of household waste being collected.
· Less waste means fewer lorries on the road.
· Reduces need for landfill and large-scale treatment plants.
· Reduces methane production which is a greenhouse gas.

The Green Cone will dispose of more than 5 kg of food waste a week, which is over 25% greater than that produced by the average household. The food waste is converted into water, carbon dioxide and a small amount of residue, without the need for user intervention such as the mixing or turning of the waste.

The system takes all household food waste, including vegetable scraps, raw and cooked meat or fish, bones, dairy products and other organic food waste such as bread and pasta.

The function of the Green Cone food waste digester is to:

  • Accelerate the natural decomposition process by raising temperatures; maintaining aerobic conditions; and encouraging the growth of micro-organisms.
  • Contain and enclose the food waste to prevent dispersion and eliminate odours.
  • Create barriers to human, farm animal, wild animal, pet and bird activity.
  • Prevent surface and top soil contamination.
  • Meet all relevant health, safety and environmental legislation.

Mid Devon District Council has a limited supply of Green Cones which will be issued on a first come first served basis to any household that currently receives a weekly waste collection. These Green Cones will need to be collected in person from the councils depot at Station Yard, Blundells Road, Tiverton on 24th March 2012 between 10.00 am and 1.00 pm. Householders that would like a Green Cone should contact the council on 01884 255255 to reserve their cone. The council will be collecting waste electronic and electrical equipment at the same depot during these hours.

Mid Devon District Council will continue to explore opportunities to improve recycling throughout the District. Thanks to the efforts of the public the District recycled over 49% of waste in the last year.

Rebels remembered 
When the Clayhidon Friends visited the refurbished Taunton Museum they found themselves  in the room where the supporters of the Monmouth Rebellion were held before their execution and transportation. >Click here for details.

Why move here?
The Glover family from Cheshire are house hunting in the Blackdowns and think Clayhidon looks good. Can you tell them what's special about the pariish? >Click here for their email.

Big solar energy site planned for airfield 
Forty four acres of Culmhead Aerodrome could become a solar energy site under plans announced by Renewable Power and Notus Energy.
The project would use solar photovoltaic technology, which silently converts sunlight into electricity over an 18 hectare site (or about 1/10th of the land area at the aerodrome).
It would generate about five megawatts  of power, enough to supply the needs of, on average, 1,000 homes. 
A public consultation event was held at Churchinford Village Hall on  February 17 to present designs and archaeological and environmental survey results. 

Countryfile comes to the Blackdowns
BBC One’s Countryfile programme explored the Blackdown Hills on Sunday February 5 as Matt Baker pitted himself against the junior champion of hedgelaying and went in search of the tiny eggs of the elusive brown hairstreak butterfly. 
Ellie Harrison was on a mission to fill her tummy with a picnic sourced entirely from food made in the Blackdown Hills, from chorizo to cheese soaked in local cider, including visits to Ellises Farm, Hemyock and the Churchinford Community Shop. 
She also met local entrepreneurs who are bucking the trend and making money from wool and 
Dragons' Den's Deborah Meaden appraised their businesses. 
Planners' yes to 81ft high wind turbines
A plan to erect two 81ft high wind turbines at Culmhead Business Park has been approved by Taunton Deane Borough Council.
The owners of Culmhead Airfield were granted conditional consent by the chair or vice chair of the Planning Committee under delegated powers following a recommendation by a case officer.
The masts of the 18Kw wind turbines will measure  18.3m (60ft) and the top tip of the blades will be 24.8m (81ft) - "three times the height of the average two storey house," says Graham Long, of the campaigning group Action Against Noise and Nuisance on the Blackdowns.
To see more >click on this link , enter the reference 10/11/0047 then click Search and then click View Details.
Graham Long comments: "The plan for wind turbines on Smeatharpe airfield remains in abeyance, but turbines at Culmhead could set a precedence for any future wind turbine planning application at Smeatharpe."

Sell-out success for Thunderbridge boys
The Thunderbridge Bluegrass Boys gig at the Parish Hall on March 23 was a sell-out and made a £751 profit for hall funds. 
Organiser Bee Hill said afterwards: “The hall was rocking to the sound of fine music - the band was just amazing and certainly there was plenty of laughter, whooping and foot stamping as well as richly deserved applause that gave rise to three encore songs at the end of the gig. Feedback from many folk said ‘the best gig yet’."
They are likely to be back for another performance next year. >Click here for Action Packed Month at the Parish Hall

Clayhidon's Chris wins Gold for England
Chris Hay of Clayhidon is raised shoulder high after helping the England Men’s Epee team win Gold in the Junior (U20) Commonwealth Fencing Championships.
In the final pairing of the match, Chris, who fences with Wellington Swords, was under enormous pressure to beat the Canadian number one and reigning Commonwealth Champion. The crowd in St. Helier, Jersey went wild as he did it in style by a margin of nine to three, giving the team a 45 – 35 win. 
Earlier England’s three-man team had secured a bye through to a quarter final match against South Africa, winning 45- 25 to meet a Scotland team determined to beat ‘the auld enemy’ This was a tough match, which England won 45 - 38 to take a place in the final against Canada, who had dominated the competition in their half of the draw.
Chris, a student at Bath University, has a busy time ahead. He will be representing GB at the Junior European Championships in Porec, Croatia on the March 7 and at the Junior World Championships in Moscow in April.

Parish wins delay on affordable home
Two Clayhidon Parish Councillors have persuaded the district planning committee to delay its decision on affordable homes for six months.
Mid Devon District Council was proposing to lift the 106 planning agreement, which had been designed to ensure that the ‘affordable home’ at Hidon Fields was made available at an affordable price to residents of the Parish. 
Richard Kalloway and Maurice Bendle attended the meeting and won more time for the Parish to explore all possible options to secure the house as an affordable home. 
Barrister Nick Gerasimidis had previously offered free legal advice and support to the parish council. 
He had written on behalf of the Parish, asking for justification of the planning committee’s policy and for a decision to be delayed to allow time for a possible legal challenge.
>Click here for parish council report.

Snow team ready for winter's worst 
Clayhidon’s new snow wardens have been trained, the parish’s salt allocation has been delivered and safely stored and the Salt Bins in the Parish have been filled.
Owners of properties near each salt bin will be invited for a short training event in the Parish Hall. 
The parish council says: “The most important message from the wardens is that very little salt is needed at one time; one shovel is sufficient for 300 yards of road. Please spread it carefully to avoid wastage.” 

Night rally cancelled after protests
Car rally enthusiasts have withdrawn plans for a night-time car chase through the Blackdown Hills following local opposition. 
David Powell, of the RAC Motor Sports Association, which had authorised the event on January 14/15, announced: "The organisers have very recently withdrawn their application and the event will not now be taking place."
The news follows a campaign led by Graham Long, of the group Action Against Noise and Nuisance on the Blackdowns (AANNB).
But not everyone was against the rally. Kate Pike, her family and neighbours at Oakleigh, Battle Street have written supporting the event and urging local people not to oppose every non-rural event that takes place in the Blackdowns (>click here to see  Kate's email).
Graham Long commented: "The MSA do not say if they took any action on the organisers (Road Rally Register) for their misleading leaflets, but I know a few people who received the leaflets and contacted the MSA to request that it be moved away from their homes. 
"One car club states that before the rally was cancelled it had a full entry of 50 cars.
"As it is an annual event it will be wise to keep a watch for similar leaflets appearing in December 2012." 
Other residents emailed  the Motor Sports Association to ask for the event to be re-routed away from their property. One said previous rallies has been "anti-social, dangerous and upsetting".
But a group of Battle Street residents disagreed.  Kate Pike told the association: "My own experience has been that the rally is well organised and safety and risk have always been assessed and managed to a very high standard. 
"It is my view that pleasure comes in many forms for different people just because we live in a rural area it should not mean that we become totally averse to pursuits which are not labelled as "rural". It would seem that what one person labels as Noise and Nuisance is another person’s pleasure and enjoyment." 

Together for Candlemas
Congregations from Hemyock and Culmstock came to Clayhidon on January 29  for a service of Candlemas, writes Pam Reynolds. 
The tradition reminds us of when the baby Jesus was taken to Jerusalem. according to the custom. Here they were met by Simeon who recognized Jesus as the Christ. 
During the service everyone gathered round the font holding a lighted candle after singing ‘Shine, Jesus shine’. It was a cold morning, but soup and rolls were then served in the Church Room.