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Pretty as a Christmas card: Clayhidon under deep snow last winter. The view from Hillside, Battle Street, photographed by Kate Trewhella.

Beacon for the Queen
A beacon is to be lit in Clayhidon on Monday June 4 to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Plans for a parish celebration are being made, including family entertainment event in the evening of Monday 4th June. Details to follow, meanwhile please put the date in your diary. >Click here for Parish Council report.

Parish fight for home
Clayhidon Parish Council is trying to insist that the affordable home it fought for is not sold on the open market. The developer has offered to pay £22,500 for the planning agreement ban on its sale to be lifted. 
Mid Devon District Council planning committee will be considering the matter soon.
>Click here for more

Pony goes to church
A live pony joined children at the Christmas Crib Service in St Andrew's Church before Christmas. The pews were packed for a delightful performance of the nativity story.
>Click here for a slide show of the event, by Pam Reynolds.

Carols by Candlelight
Traditional carols were sung in candlelight by the Clayhidon Friends,  led by Brenda Persey on her keyboard, and the Bishopswood Bell Ringers added their Christmas melodies. The event raised £120 for the Devon Air Ambulance. 
Road reopens after lorry accident damages wall
The lane at Mill View, Clayhidon has reopened after a two-week closure. Emergency repairs were needed when a lorry slid off the carriageway and damaged a retaining wall, which Devon County Council has now rebuilt.
Thousands of chickens were trapped for hours on November 10 when the lorry carrying them from Churchstanton to Lincolnshire broke its rear axle and slid off the narrow lane between Lilycombe and Bollhayes. It hung precariously over Tim and Trish Andrews's field at Mill View while police and two  recovery crews worked out how to extricate the lorry safely from the bank. Eventually a crane arrived and the job was done.

Carriage driving course
The Fenix Carriages and Driving Centre in Clayhidon is offering horse enthusiasts the chance to go on a carriage driving course run by the British Horse Driving Trials Association, says the Somerset County Gazette. >Click here for story.

Wedding belle
And the bride wore . . .  a hat worthy of Ascot Ladies Day. What a fashionable Clayhidon wedding looked like in 1902. >Click here

Who'll join the footpath volunteers?
Do you enjoy walking our footpaths, 
 writes Clayhidon Parish Councillor Sue Hay. Would you be interested in adopting a path?
The idea is that each volunteer would walk their path every 4-6 weeks and report back on any changes. In the past there has only been an annual winter survey which has not captured the many seasonal changes.
Hopefully, with more regular monitoring, we will know when paths become overgrown or obstructed and if gates or stiles need repair. 
If you would like to help then please call me on 07909 970833 or email 
The Devon Footpath Officer, Stuart, has been busy – he has walked every path in Clayhidon and as a result he has arranged for contractors to undertake a programme of gate and stile repairs and other minor works. 
This work is due to take place in the next few weeks and will improve access to many of the Parish Footpaths.
Police catch 77 speeders
The number of drivers caught speeding in Smeatharpe since May has reached 77,  according the the Devon & Cornwall Police website.
The campaigning group Action on Noise and Nuisance in the Blackdowns (ANNB), which has been monitoring the issue of speeding, says it is clear that the biggest problem with speeding in the Honiton Rural area is in Smeatharpe. 
"The electronic speed warning sign alone is clearly not working and one wonders how many of the drivers caught by the police were travelling through the village to reach the banger stadium or airfield motor sports events such as Streetwars. 
"Readers concerned about the danger to pedestrians and others in the village may wish to take this issue up with local councillors or Devon and Cornwall Police."
>Click here for more on Smeatharpe speeding.

Villages in Action shows raise £2,000
The four shows put on at Clayhidon Parish Hall in 2011 that were sponsored by Villages in Action have helped raise nearly £2,000 for hall funds, writes Bee Hill.
Two plays, Ben Osborne's multimedia show and the last gig, Doudou Cissoko, have helped to fund the kitchen improvements and redecoration, insulation of the hall and the forthcoming insulation and decoration of the gents’ loos and  back corridor. 

St Andrew's Church Flower Festival, August 2011
Clayhidon's church was a riot of colour over the Bank Holiday weekend. The pictures  in  Picture Gallery show Nicola Bendle with part of her team of flower ladies and a few of their glorious displays. The theme of the festival was the song If I were a butterfly. Cream teas were served in the Church Room.

All shapes and sizes of bike, including a penny farthing, rolled up for a family service at St Andrew's.      Picture by Pam Reynolds.

Help needed to maintain footpaths
Every year a group of volunteers surveys all the Parish Paths, noting where work needs to be done. The condition of the paths has improved considerably over the last few years but there is still work to do.
If you would like to volunteer to help with work such as strimming or replacing missing way markers please contact Sue Hay on 07909 970833 or
Larger projects are usually undertaken by contractors and paid for by the Parish Council from the 3Ps grant. Please also contact Sue if you find any problems with paths that you have walked.
Clayhidon has a large network of footpaths and a few bridleways which provide an unrivalled opportunity to enjoy the wonderful scenery and wildlife of The Blackdown Hills.
More information about our Rights of Way, including maps, can be found here
There is also a map showing all the Parish Rights of Way on the wall of the Parish Hall to the left of the main entrance.
Clayhidon is part of the Parish Paths Partnership (3Ps). This scheme is funded by Devon County Council which works in partnership with the Parish Council, Landowners and Volunteers to improve and maintain  our local Rights of Way. 

Ploughman's success
Dave Persey, of Clayhidon, proved he is one of the best horse ploughmen in Britain when he came third in his class (Oat Seed Furrow Work) in the British National Ploughing East Combe, near Bishops Lydeard.  He was one of 265 ploughmen and five ploughwomen who competed in the two-day event on October 8/9. Click here for Mid Devon Star report.

Smeatharpe dumping plan withdrawn
The application to dump 5,000 tons of waste at Smeatharpe Banger Stadium has been withdrawn by Purple 10 Ltd, according to the Devon County Council planning website.
Action on Noise and Nuisance in the Blackdowns, which has been campaigning against the application, comments: “Whilst this is good news and one could surmise that Purple 10 Ltd withdrew the application due to the strength of local opposition to it, it should be remembered that Purple 10 Ltd have a history of withdrawing previous planning applications made to MDDC and then resubmitting them with amended details.
“It will be important to keep watch for this application being resubmitted again to DCC. Thank you to everyone who wrote to DCC about this application.”

Doudou triumph

World-music maestro Doudou Cissoko and his Ancient Strings & Fabulous Things wowed an almost full  Clayhidon Parish Hall  on  November 11. He gave a mesmeric performance of Senegalese songs with his 21-string kora (a beautiful harp made from calabash, cow hide, mahogany and fishing wire) and his band (a Norwegian guitarist and Welsh-born African-style drummer).
The concert, sponsored by the now-threatened Villages in Action, found an enthusiastic audience. The £554 profit will pay for improvements to the hall. 
Click here for Villages in Action fighting for its life.

Parish says thank you 
Richard Kallaway, chairman of Clayhidon Parish Council, presented gift tokens to long serving former councillors Mike Hudson and Judith Ward at the twice yearly village quiz on Friday, October 28. Mr Kallaway praised their commitment and service to the parish over many years. 

Clayhidon's new quiz champions
Winners of the fiercely contested twice yearly village quiz were the Smith and Saunders team. Pictured are Bill and Viv Smith and Louise and Lee Saunders.The event, on Friday, October 28,  raised £184 for village hall funds.

Rosemary Lane welcomes pastor

Peter Glasgow is the new Pastor and Bible teacher at Rosemary Lane Chapel. He and his wife Gill have moved from Chichester. For Gill this is a return to the area where she was brought up. 
Click here for a report on Peter's commendation service , then click on This Month leaflet for November 2011

Twinners plantrip
The Upper Culm Twinning Association is already taking bookings for its trip via the Plymouth-Roscoff ferry to St Herblon next May. A three-night visit is planned. Click here here for details
Hungry peasants 
"Think: peasants. Think: very hungry, desperate people living in tough times…" Mid-Devon Councillor David Pugsley did the famous Clayhidon Murder Walk recently, and there was an entertaining account of it in the Western Morning News. Click here to 'Follow David in the gory footsteps of murderers'

Planners to act 
Planners are to take action against a Clayhidon holiday caravans business,  the Mid Devon Gazette reports.
Middleton Mill, in the Bolham Valley, advertises its "romantic Romany horse-drawn caravans" extensively on the internet, but Mid Devon District Council officers allege the owners do not have permission for a change of use of agricultural land.
The Gazette says they want to ensure the caravans and three mobile homes are not lived in illegally, and they plan to serve an enforcement notice.

'Wee' gifts needed 
Church supporters are calling for “wee donations” to a “flush fund” to pay for a toilet at the St Andrew’s Church Room, Clayhidon. 
Nicola Bendle and Pam Reynolds, of the Friends of St Andrew’s, say the £22,000 toilet will be “extremely beneficial for the Church, especially at weddings, baptisms and children’s services”. Click for details and pictures

Bats in the Blackdowns 
Which parts of the Blackdown Hills are the most important for bats? Devon Wildlife Trust is trying to find out, and has received a £4,425 grant towards mapping and survey work. It is seeking volunteers to help in the work. The money has come from the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty's Sustainable Development Fund. Click for details

Salt solution for snow
Clayhidon Parish Council has agreed to appoint a snow warden and qualify for five tonnes of free salt from Devon County Council for next winter. 
At the August 8 meeting in the Church Room, Councillor Bob Pike agreed to act as the warden and point of contact for the county. Click for full story

Potholes impatience 
Parish councillors  gave Devon County Councillor Ray Radford a list of potholes and road surfaces needing work done. Bob Pike mentioned the road from Clayhidon Cross to the top of Ford Street and between Crosses Farm and Burrow Cross. Alan Redwood said: “Our patience is running out. We keep badgering and nothing gets done.” Click for full story

Land Trust scheme to build houses
Clayhidon Parish Council plans to join with Hemyock in forming a Community Land Trust. There is only a short window to apply for funding towards this.
    In essence the Community Land Trust would form a partnership with a Housing Association to build houses that would be available to the local community in perpetuity, with a proportion available to Clayhidon residents. 
    The trust would be allowed to purchase land on an ‘exceptional site’ (agricultural land bordering the village which would not usually be available for development) at a price above agricultural value but considerably below that usually paid for building developments. 
    It has been estimated that 24 houses would be needed and these would be built to the latest eco-friendly standards. Click here for full Parish Council report 

Harvest supper hilarity
Only one person was hit by a police truncheon in Clayhidon's version of the haka, performed at the harvest supper in the Parish Hall on October 7. This eccentric song and dance routine, involving a truncheon, cricket bat, shovel, golf club and ladies in cycle helmets, left Pam Reynolds soldiering on with a bruised head and the audience in stitches.
   Rev Ron White provoked more laughter with his reading of the latest regulations affecting Devon dairy farmers. There were duets by Jenny and Becky Doble and witty local songs from Mike Reynolds and the choir, who sang a Bob Brien composition, 'Clayhidon', to the tune of 'Oklahoma'.
  An enthusiastic audience,  warmed by a superb four-course meal and Bollhayes cider, joined in the singing. Brenda Persey held the show together with accordion, keyboard and much humour.
  This rip-roaring success was organised by Margaret Blackmore. "One of the best ever" seemed to be the general verdict.
   Before the supper a well attended Harvest Festival service at St Andrew's Church was addressed by Pastor Steven Reed, of Hemyock Baptist Church, who is leaving to become chaplain at Musgrove Park Hospital.
Click here for pictures

Is banger racing on the way out? 
The high price of scrap metal means competitors at the Smeatharpe Banger Stadium are finding it harder and more expensive to obtain old cars for banger racing, and some are leaving the sport, says Action on Noise and Nuisance in the Blackdowns (ANNB). 
There were fewer competitors and spectators at the last banger race day (August Bank Holiday Monday) and they did not run a "demolition race". ANNB speculates that if their income falls the stadium owners may seek to hold more ‘drifting’ events, which do not result in the cars being destroyed. Click here for latest ANNB update

Merry Harriers wins again
The Good Pub Guide has named the Merry Harriers. Clayhidon as Devon Dining Pub of the Year for the second year running and has listed the licencees, Peter and Angela Gatling (pictured), as being among the Top 10 Landlords in the country.The 2012 guide, which bases its awards on recommendations from pub-goers, says the Merry Harriers is one of the Top 50 Dining Pubs in the UK. 
This is the first time any establishment has won Devon Dining Pub of the Year two years on the trot. 
The Gatlings commented: “We are overwhelmed and delighted to receive this accolade once again.” 
Seen as the Oscars for publicans, these awards have been selected by more 2,000 regular correspondents. They send in their recommendations to the Good Pub Guide’s editors and all main entries are inspected anonymously by the editorial team. 
The guide describes the Merry Harriers as a “bustling and friendly dining pub with imaginative food, several real ales and quite a few wines by the glass; sizeable garden.”

Clayhidon's new priest and family
Pictured above: the new priest in charge of Clayhidon, Hemyock and Culmstock, the Rev David Burton, with Jill, Hannah and Will.
He will be licensed as a part-paid priest by the Bishop of Crediton in a service at Hemyock on December 7.
David writes: "We are all looking forward to coming to the Rectory at Hemyock. Already familiar with the area, we know what a lovely place it is to live.We enjoyed living in Hemyock 5 or 6 years ago, before moving to Starcross, where David has been a part time priest in the Dawlish group of parishes, with particular responsibility for the parishes of Starcross and Cofton, which includes Dawlish Warren, on the Exe Estuary. 
"Jill is a lecturer in English at Richard Huish College, Taunton, and is looking forward to being closer to her work. Hannah is studying Classical History and Archaeology at Edinburgh University. Will is studying for A-levels at Exeter College."

'Affordable' home down to £640 a month
Affordable housing was again discussed at length by Clayhidon Parish Council. Mrs Cathrine Simmons from Mid Devon District Council has told a possible applicant for the shared ownership three bedroom house at Hidon Fields that the cost of rent and mortgage would be about £640 a month. 
The chairman said there was a new valuation of £180,000, which was not that affordable but the developer still had to be persuaded to sell at a lower price to Yarlington Housing Association. Mid Devon  were going to try hard to get a settlement. 
He said: “We have moved on. It’s certainly not £1,000 a month.” 
Click for full story

Do you own a septic tank?
Householders who own septic tanks or package sewage treatment plants may soon have to register them with the Environment Agency, and Clayhidon Parish Council wants to warn everyone about the possible new rules. 
If they are confirmed following a Government review they will take effect next January. For a statement on the current situation click here 
For details on how to register click here

Clayhidon welcomes Bishop John
The Bishop of Plymouth, the Right Rev John Ford, took a family communion  service on August 28 at St Andrew’s Church, Clayhidon. Afterwards, Bishop John, pictured here with David Hortop, Clayhidon's Reader, attended a barbecue in the parish.

Smeatharpe dump plan protest
The owners of Smeatharpe banger Stadium have sparked new controversy by seeking permission to dump 5,000 tons of “non toxic waste” above ground on the former airfield.
    Devon County Council, which is responsible for waste management, has received an application from Purple 10 Ltd, the stadium owners from Truro, and RJA Planning Services of Exeter, a specialist waste management company.
    They want to dump hardcore on the northern spectator bank to make it longer, wider and higher than the current bank although the application says that it will not be made any higher than its current highest point.
    The application gives three reasons for doingthis: 
  • To “secure” the outer perimeter of the site
  • To allow emergency vehicles’ access to the rear of the spectator viewing bank and 
  • To provide a platform on which a “cherry picker” can be positioned holding high up a video camera which will stream video of banger racing events over the Internet.
    The campaigning group Action on Noise and Nuisance in the Blackdowns, is urging local residents to object. It cites several objections, including noise and dust created by 330, 15 tonne trucks transporting the waste on local roads and the possible contamination of springs and wells. 
    Devon County Council has set October 6, 2011 as the closing date for objections to this waste management planning application.  

It's all happening at the parish hall
There’s a busy programme of entertainment booked for Clayhidon Parish Hall this autumn.
Events include a concert by an African world music star, Doudou Sissoku (pictured), and his band, plus an amazing multi-media show about the Dorset & East Devon Jurassic World Heritage Site,  a harvest supper and a quiz night. 
Tickets for the American bluegrass band Leon Hunt and the Growling Old Men are sold out. 

Treat for the ladies who cook lunch
                                                  Click picture to enlarge
The Blackdown Support group has enjoyed the Rosemary Lane Ladies cooking lunches since 1993, and each August the helpers invite the ladies to a lunch which they produce, writes Margaret Blackmore.
This year the meal was held in the Church Room, and the ladies and their husbands enjoyed being waited on for a change.
The eagerness with which most of the group went up for second helpings seemed to show the helpers’ cooking passed their high standards, and they said they had enjoyed themselves.
The Rosemary Lane team work so hard, and are so dedicated to giving their guests delicious meals, so it was a great pleasure for the helpers to entertain them.

Last Tribe of Doris
Around 1,000 people converged on Clayhidon last week (August 9 - 14) as the final Tribe of Doris Intercultural Summer School got under way. Co-founder Siobhan Kierans says the time feels right to call it a day.
Describing the event as “not quite” a festival, organisers promised “an inspirational time bringing together people of all ages, all abilities and all kinds of backgrounds to express, explore and share your own and other cultures”.
The packed programme included workshops in drum, dance, song and ceremony with experienced and award winning teachers from all around the world, as well as “inspiring” evening performances.
On Wednesday evening the emphasis was on North Africa and the Middle East, on Thursday it was Latin America and Friday was African Party Night. Click here for details
The Western Morning News says the "unique Westcountry cultural experience known as Tribe of Doris bows out on a high after 20 years of pioneering drumming, dance and song". See thisisDevon

Smeatharpe noise equipment fails
Plans to measure noise levels at the “drifting” event at Smeatharpe Banger Stadium on July 24 went wrong when noise recording equipment installed by Mid Devon District Council failed to work. 

Environmental Health Officer Ian Winter has invited residents to send detailed complaints if the noise disturbed them. The council could take enforcement action to control future events.
Click here to read a letter from Graham Long of the protest group ANNB (Action on Noise and Nuisance in the Blackdowns)  to the chairman of Clayhidon Parish Council, Richard Kallaway. 

Band of Brothers returns to Blackdowns
Leading actors from Stephen Spielberg’s TV series Band of Brothers will take part in special events at Smeetharpe and Dunkeswell airfields over the weekend (August 20 – 21). 
On the Sunday morning at Dunkeswell members of the cast will parachute out of a plane to raise funds of a special leadership monument in Normandy.
After that they will be convoyed in military vehicles to Upottery Airfield (Smeatharpe), where a two day military themed event called Wings and Wheels is being held. 
Smeatharpe was the setting for one of the real-life events portrayed in the series. More than 1,100 members of the 101st Airborne Division boarded 81 unarmed transport planes here and were parachuted into Normandy behind enemy lines during the night of D-Day 1944. 
The actual filming for this sequence was made elsewhere, so at last the actors will get a taste of the real setting and meet visitors. 
Organisers of the Smeatharpe event expect a large gathering of military vehicles, WWII re en-actors, a militaria fair, classic cars, visiting light aircraft, 1940s entertainers including “Blitz & Peaces”, local cadets demonstrations, a replica Spitfire and child amusements.

Balloons released for Chloe
The life of Chloe Dearsley, who grew up in Clayhidon, was celebrated in an event at the Longmead Playing Fields, Hemyock.  Friends, colleagues from Hemyock Pre-School, family members and villagers paid tribute to the 23-year-old, who was killed in a traffic accident in Taunton in April. More than 800 balloons were released into the sky in her memory. Chloe leaves a son, aged four. Click for thisisDevon report and picture
LATEST NEWS: A 19-year-old man has been charged with causing her death and is due to appear at Taunton Crown Court on September 9 - Click here to read thisisDevon court preview

BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND FLOWER FESTIVAL: Nicola Bendle (first from left) and part of her team of helpers preparing to turn St Andrew's Church, Clayhidon into a riot of colour for the flower festival held over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Click here for more pictures
New priest appointed for Clayhidon
A new priest in charge has been appointed to the benefice of Clayhidon, Hemyock and Culmstock.  
Rev David Burton (pictured here with Clayhidon parishioners) will be licensed as a part-paid priest by the Bishop of Crediton in a service at Hemyock on December 7.
He is currently part stipendiary associate priest in the Dawlish group of parishes, responsible for Starcross and Cofton.

Eight-year-old holds coffee morning
Fern Bennett, an eight-year-old from Clayhidon, held a coffee morning in aid of the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals and raised £122. Click for thisisDevon report and picture

Chloe Dearsley 
The Dearsley family of Clayhidon are mourning the loss of 23-year-old Chloe Dearsley, who died on April 30 after a car crash in Taunton. A service of thanksgiving was held on May 26 at Rosemary Lane Chapel.
The Mid Devon Star reports that Chloe grew up in Clayhidon with her brothers Ben and Marc, sister Emma and parents Peter and Alison Dearsley. She went to Uffculme School and worked at Hemyock Primary School. She leaves a four-year-old son, Finnley. Click for Mid Devon Star report and tribute

Bangers go ahead despite objections
A motor sports event at Smeatharpe Banger Stadium on Sunday July 24 went ahead despite objections from 77 local people.
Mid Devon District Council planners agreed to the organisers holding 14 “demonstration” events each year in addition to the 17 days of banger racing already approved.
The protest group ANNB (Action on Noise and Nuisance in the Blackdowns) is urging residents who are disturbed by the noise to keep a “noise diary” and complain to MDDC Environmental Health. Click for ANNB statement

Clayhidon cider best in the west
Clayhidon cider makers Bee and Alex Hill are celebrating winning first prize at the Royal Bath & West of England Show.
Bollhayes Cider beat a field of 50 entries in the dry farmhouse cider class.
They also won second prize in the medium cider class. Their entry in the sweet class was broken en route to the show.
The Bath and West, arguably the world's leading cider competition, attracts more than 400 entries including some from Europe and the USA. 
Bollhayes Cider is served at several pubs in the Blackdown Hills, including The Merry Harriers in Clayhidon, The Candlelight Inn in Bishopswood and The Culm Valley Inn in Culmstock. 
It is also served at many village hall events and will be available at both the Blackdown Hills Beer & Music Festival on August 12 and 13 and the Beautiful Days Festival at Escott on August 19, 20 and 21.
Bollhayes cider and apple juice can bought at Vigo Ltd, Dunkeswell,  tel. 01404 892101.

Look out for Growling Old Men 
Leon Hunt, the UK's top banjo player, and The Growling Old Men, a leading US bluegrass band, have been booked for a one-off concert in Clayhidon Parish hall in September. Click for details

Busy Bank Holiday weekend
A busy Bank Holiday weekend is planned at St Andrew's Church, Clayhidon, writes Pam Reynolds.
The Bishop of Plymouth will be taking a 'Family Communion Service' at 11am on Sunday (August 28). Coffee will be served afterwards in the Church Room. 
There will also be a beautiful FLOWER FESTIVAL in the Church over the weekend, Saturday, Sunday Monday 2pm - 5pm. 
There will be a cake stall and cream teas. 
On Sunday there will also be a guided walk, taken by Dr Pugsley, around the area of the 1850 murder. £2.

Cyclists flock to St Andrew's
People attending a family service at St Andrew's, Clayhidon on July 24 were encouraged to come on their cycles, writes Pam Reynolds.
Many did so including parents and children and there was an extra surprise when one gentleman came on his 'penny-farthing'. During the service, he told us about his recent participation in a race for fifty pairs of contestants on similar cycles which he and his friend won. 
After the service and refreshments, the cyclists gathered to go on a cycle ride around a part of Clayhidon and finished at Gollick Park for a picnic. The children were as enthusiastic as the adults. Click for picture

Footpaths survey reveals problems
Cows spooked by walkers  and a footpath crossed by an unmarked electric fence are among issues identified in a survey of Clayhidon's 36 public footpaths. Click  for full report

Royal year for Fenix Carriages
CARRIAGE driving team Fenix Carriages, based in Clayhidon, have attended two royal events this year. 
In the Royal Windsor Horse Show they won the private coach section, the Championship and the best turned out. Bob Elliot, who won the horn playing competition, was grooming on the coach.
The victorious team also attended the coaching meet at Royal Ascot and took the reserve coaching champion award at Suffolk Show. 
Click for Somerset County Gazette report 
Fenix carriages website

Artists on show at open garden 
Jeremy and Saranna Cogswell raised  £390 for the Blackdown Support Group with an open garden at Graddage Farm on Saturday, July 9.
Jeremy reports that the weather was "quite kind". The day included refreshments with scones, biscuits, quiche at lunchtime and teas and coffees. There was also a painting exhibition by members of Clayhidon Art Group and several were sold.
Saranna Is one of the Blackdown Support Group's volunteer drivers and the Cogswells also host an annual outdoor lunch for the organisation.        

Wind turbines approved
Permission for two 12-metre high wind turbines at Great Garlandhayes, Clayhidon has been granted by Mid Devon District Council Planning Committee.
Despite objections, the committee unanimously passed the application by Anne and Graham Langford.
The decision notice says the committee was satisfied no harm would be caused to the landscape, wildlife or near neighbours. 
After the meeting the Langfords said the conditions attached on noise were the standard set for all small turbines. “Every statutory consultee, such as the AONB, Natural England, RSPB, the MOD and local airfields, responded positively without any objection.”
The parish council, for whom Richard Drew spoke, and the district councillor were in support, as were over 50 individual parishioners.  One objector attended and spoke at the meeting about  concern for the welfare of horses.

Archdeacon visits St Andrew's
Archdeacon Penny Driver visited St Andrew’s Church, Clayhidon to take the 11 am Communion Service on Sunday June 12.  She had had an early start, taking a service at another parish before setting off for St Andrew’s.  The text for the first lesson, set for Pentecost, was read by Helen Williams (Acts 2 v 5 – 21), and Penny Driver read the second lesson (John 20 v 19 – 23) herself.  She preached an interesting  sermon on the subject of Pentecost and its implications. 
After the Service, all were invited to lunch in the Church Room, provided by some of the ladies of the parish.  Penny had to leave just before 2 pm as she had some distance to travel before taking Evensong at the Cathedral.

Visit to haunted house
Clayhidon Local History Group visited
 two fascinating country houses - one with a haunted bedroom and the other with an unusual museum.Click for full report

Volunteer decorators needed

Can you help paint the kitchen and ladies loo at Clayhidon Parish Hall? Volunteers are needed for the next stage of the hall's refurbishment in mid-July.Click for details

Planners give green light for major increase in Smeatharpe bangers
Many more banger driving events are to be permitted at Smeatharpe, following a decision by Mid Devon District Council planners.
After taking legal advice for six months, the council has decided that the July 24 “drifting demonstrations” can go ahead.
Planning Enforcement Officer John Clarke says this 18th event would not infringe the stadium’s limit which restricts banger racing to 17 days per year.
The council also believes the July 24 drifting demonstration to "fall within the 28 day rule".
Graham Long, of the protest group ANNB (Action on Noise and Nuisance in the Blackdowns), writes: “
This means that in addition to the 17 days of banger racing, the stadium will be allowed 28 days of drifting ‘demonstrations’  - provided they are not ‘races’.
The website for the July 24 event is already advertising that this will become a two day event in 2012 (see
This website also makes reference to a "main stage", and Graham Long says it can be anticipated that a stage sound system will also be in operation.
MDDC Environmental Health will however still be monitoring noise levels on July 24 and could take action should they decide the event constitutes a Statutory Noise Nuisance. 
Sixty nine people plus Churchstanton and Dunkeswell Parish Councils have now signed the petition on the MDDC website calling on the district council to place a Noise Abatement Order on the stadium for any events held there in excess of the 17 permitted banger race days. Click for Clayhidon Parish Council comment
Council statement in full:
"It is this Local Planning Authority's (LPA) opinion that the proposed event at the above stadium on 24th July 2011 (Modified Mania) to include a demonstration of ‘drifting’ will ‘not’ count towards the permitted period of 17 days motor racing events permitted by way of the planning permission and certificate of lawful use.

"As a result the stadium can operate to the published timetable of 17 events without a breach of planning legislation taking place after the 17th event.

T"he modified mania event can proceed as advertised with regard to planning legislation, and will be considered as an event which would fall within the 28 day rule.

"This opinion is based upon the information to hand at present and may need to be re-considered should any additional events take place that this LPA is not currently aware of."

Artisans on display

Bolham potter Nicola Werner was one of 20 artisans who opened the doors of their workshops and studios to scores of visitors taking part in the Blackdown Hills Artisans' Trail on May 7 and 8. Click for picture gallery

Your Blackdown memories wanted

The Blackdown Archives project is opening its doors for 10 days to capture people's memories and display its collection of more than 2,300 local family photographs.

During the second weekend of every month, from April to August, locals and visitors alike will be welcomed by members of the Hemyock History and Archiving Association – voluntary keepers of the historic records.

One by one, the fragile photographs have been scanned and added to the collection. Many have been digitally enhanced to capture interesting detail, often missed until now.

Now, these images are being added to the Blackdown Archives website. Click for full details

Royal wedding street party success

The Friends of St Andrew’s held a hugely successful Royal Wedding street party on Saturday, April 30 with heaps of cream teas, sandwiches and cakes for everyone.

Held the day after the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the party for the whole community was held in Clayhidon village hall, and included a royal quiz and raffle.
People of all ages took the chance to meet neighbours and chat and all children of the parish were presented with special royal commemoration mugs organised by Clayhidon Parish Council. These were distributed by the chairman, Michael Hudson, and parish clerk, Michael Osmond.
The organising committee was led by Nicola Bendle, Susie Essenhigh, Caroline Bendle, Margaret Blackmore, Sarannah Cogswell and Doreen Pike. Scrumptious cakes were made by the whole community.

The event made a profit of £328.

Click for picture gallery

May 2011:Tories win overall control
The Conservatives have won overall control of Mid Devon District Council. In the May 5 2011 election the number of Tory councillors increased from 20 to 24.
The number of Independents decreased from 14 to 10. The Liberal Democrats lost two seats and the Liberal Party gained one.
In the Upper Culm ward two councillors were elected: Glanmor Hughes, Conservative, and Frank Rosamond, Independent.
The political make-up of the council is now as follows:
Conservative 24
Independent 10
Liberal Democrat 6
The Liberal Party 1
Other 1

May 2011: Referendum result 
Voters in Mid-Devon threw out the proposal to change the electoral system by more than two to one. The voting figures in the district were: in favour of Yes to the Alternative Vote 8,737, against 19,349.

Birthday buffet
Pam and Mike Reynolds of Hidon Mill celebrated their birthdays at the village hall on Monday May 2 with a lunch buffet for friends, family and neighbours. The event started with a singing round in French, and of course a refrain of ‘Happy Birthday’ when they cut the cake.

Appeal for footpath volunteers

Could you help care for Clayhidon's large network of footpaths? Volunteers are needed to help with work such as strimming or replacing missing way markers. Contact details

Do you care about local planning?

Have your say on how Mid Devon manages future development in special consultation meetings. Full story

Tribe of Doris Returns to Clayhidon

Up to 1,000 people are expected when the Tribe of Doris Intercultural Summer School returns to Clayhidon from August 9 - 14.

The Parish Council has decided not to object this year because the authorities have ignored its complaints about noise in previous years.

The organisers, who have applied for permission from Mid Devon District Council, promise workshops in drum, dance, song and ceremony with experienced and award winning teachers from all around the world.

Permission sought for festival - see thisisDevon

Doris on You Tube

Intercultural Summer School

On the trail of local artisans
Twenty Blackdown Hills artisans - including several based in or close to Clayhidon - are opening their doors to the public this weekend, May 7 and 8. You can quiz potters, saddlers, bakers, furniture restorers and many others while they work. Try your hand at some of their activities and even sample their produce. (May 2011) Click for details of the Blackdown Hills Artisans Trail.
News around Clayhidon
Margaret Blackmore's bi-monthly round-up for The Pump. Click here 
Council elects new chairman
Richard Kallaway was elected chairman of the newly elected Clayhidon Parish Council at its first meeting on May 16 in the Church Room. Click for full report of May meeting

Congratulations to the following seven candidates, who were all successful at the election on May 5:
Maurice Bendle
Richard Drew
Susan Hay
Alexander Hill
Richard Kallaway
Robert Pike
Alan Redwood

Tories win overall control
The Conservatives have won overall control of Mid Devon District Council. In the May 5 election the number of Tory councillors increased from 20 to 24.
The number of Independents decreased from 14 to 10. The Liberal Democrats lost two seats and the Liberal Party gained one.
In the Upper Culm ward two councillors were elected: Glanmor Hughes, Conservative, and Frank Rosamond, Independent.
The political make-up of the council is now as follows:
Conservative 24
Independent 10
Liberal Democrat 6
The Liberal Party 1
Other 1
Referendum result 
Voters in Mid-Devon threw out the proposal to change the electoral system by more than two to one. The voting figures in the district were: in favour of Yes to the Alternative Vote 8,737, against 19,349.
Shaun Blackmore
Clayhidon has been saddened by the tragic death of Shaun Blackmore on April 11. A service of thanksgiving for his life was conducted at Taunton Deane Crematorium by the Rev Ron White. 
Two new parish councillors
Clayhidon electors have chosen two new parish councillors - Richard Drew, of Callers Farm, and Alex Hill, of Bollhayes Park.
Plaque unveiled

A plaque has been unveiled in Rosemary Lane Chapel in memory of Leslie Burston, who had served the Lord there for over 40 years. Albert Lampey shared in the service for this occasion.

Mr Alec George Levett died peacefully at Bridge Cottage, Clayhidon on March 16, aged 94 .  More than 60 family and friends joined a service of celebration on March 28 at St. Andrew's Church, Clayhidon. This was conducted by his friend the Rev Steven Reed, Baptist Minister at Hemyock, and was followed  by a reception in the Half Moon Inn before a private cremation. Tribute



Oh Mary - you were brilliant

The astonishingly talented Bec Applebee gave an unforgettable performance of her one-woman show in a packed Parish Hall. Full story.
Big Breakfast record
The Big Breakfast on March 6 was organised by Pam Reynolds in aid of Cancer Research UK and delivered by her team of enthusiastic and hard-working volunteers. More than 100 breakfasts were served at the Village Hall in the course of the morning and an amazing £1,160 was raised for the charity – a Clayhidon record.  Thank you from Cancer Research UK 


Unknown father was a D-Day hero 

When Margaret Brotheridge researched what had happened to her father she found he had been a war hero, killed leading his men in the battle for Pegasus Bridge. History Group reports

Cider Drinkers are quiz victors
Clayhidon Parish Hall held another successful quiz night on March 18 with entries from as far afield as Churchstanton and Hemyock.
With devilishly difficult questions set by quiz master Peter Walter competition was good naturedly fast and furious.
Teams of four took part and the winners for the second consecutive time were The Cider Drinkers, led by Margaret Blackmore with Alex and Bee Hill and Julian Day, pictured here with Peter Walter.
Questions ranged from the name of the Canadian Prime Minister to the number of staircases at Hogwarts. Scoring was by Sandra Aldworth and the event was organised by the hall committee, led by Caroline Bendle. A total of £222 was raised for hall funds. (March 2011)
Theatre group fights for survival
The group that brings shows to Clayhidon and other isolated communities is battling to survive.    See thisisDevon
Pub of the year
The Merry Harriers in Clayhidon has been named in The Good Pub Guide 2011 awards as Devon's County Dining Pub of the Year. See thisisDevon