Welcome. This is a community web site for the villages of Exbourne and Jacobstowe in Devon, England, along with the nearby villages of Meeth, and town of Hatherleigh. Anything related to these places can find a home here free of charge, thanks to our sponsors. Please take time to read their pages (left, or see home)
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Exbourne Neighbourhood Plan

Writes Adam Hedley: I am leading a group of volunteers in Exbourne that is beginning the process of producing a Neighbourhood Plan.  Neighbourhood Plans provide an opportunity for communities to shape the development and conservation of an area in a form that has statutory weight.  Although a Neighbourhood Plan is community led, the Parish Council needs to take the first formal steps in the process of producing it.  This includes deciding on the area to be covered by the Neighbourhood Plan.  It is currently proposed that the Exbourne Parish boundary will define the appropriate Neighbourhood Area, excluding Jacobstowe principally on the basis that West Devon Borough Council’s current draft of its Strategic Plan (‘Our Plan’) does not allocate any "minimum planned requirement" of new dwellings to it. Your engagement and views are essential for the success of this project and there will be active consultation with the community throughout.  If any members of the communities of Exbourne or Jacobstowe have any comments on the proposed Neighbourhood Area, or would like to volunteer to join the group hoping to co-ordinate the process of producing the Neighbourhood Plan, then please contact the Parish Clerk (clerk@exbounewithjacobstowe.org.uk).

Minutes of the first meeting of the Exbourne Neighbourhood Plan Group held on 21 May 2015 are HERE. Minutes of a subsequent meeting held on 9 July 2015 are HERE. The next meeting will be held at 7.30 p.m. on Thursday 30 July 2015 in the Exbourne Village Hall and is open to the public.

Dotting the Council's I's etc.

Final documents relating to the Council's annual audit can be found HERE and HERE.

Next Council Agenda

Here's what the Council plans to discuss.

Agenda for July Planning Meeting


Protect our Road Verges

Road verges are one of the most important, best loved and frequently viewed habitats in the country, according to the latest Plantlife study. So why are they still being destroyed? The study shows that Britain’s road verges are home to 703 species of wild plants. It adds a flurry of statistics too: 87 threatened with extinction; 88% provide nectar and pollen for bees and other insects; bird’s-foot trefoil is food for 132 species of insect; 21 of the nation's 25 favourite wildflowers grow on road verges. If you're one of the 30 million drivers in the UK, you'll know verges are the most frequently viewed habitat too. Trouble is, road verges are still being needlessly cut down in full flower. greatly reducing one of the most important food banks for our bees and other pollinators. Plantlife has produced new management guidelines and is urging the public to sign a petition asking local councils to adopt them. For more information VISIT THIS SITE or READ THIS DOCUMENT

Help save the bees

Want to BEE INVOLVED during the summer holidays? Plantlife’s hugely successful ‘Bee Scene’ survey has been rescued by family-owned cereal maker Nature’s Path, after its original funding ended. Over 30,000 children have already taken part in the wild flower survey since its launch in 2010. Now thousands more will have the opportunity to explore the nature on their doorstep and learn about the wild flowers growing there. Families  can discover whether their local area is good for bumblebees by looking for bee-friendly wild flowers such as foxgloves, dandelions and clovers in their local green spaces. The results are then uploaded onto a virtual meadow map of the UK.To help with the survey VISIT THIS PAGE

Parish Council Updates, with Accounts

Here are the minutes for March and April and the Draft Annual Parish Meeting 2015 minutes, which are uploaded by specific request of the Council.

More documents of interest are:

All the above are needed to comply with the Transparency Code for Smaller Councils apparently. Enjoy!

Annual Parish Meeting Minutes

HERE are the minutes of the 2015 meeting (Sorry, publication delayed. Try again soon.)

Council Updates

The 27th May Council meeting Agenda is ONLINE HERE

Want to be kept up to date with Council stuff? Here's how to join their email list.

Do you use the North Tawton NHS medical centre? HERE'S a Community Bulleting poster with some new information following the reorganisation. You can help shape how things develop by contacting the addresses in the poster.

Council's response to Our Plan

The Council has considered the ideas put forward and have issued THIS FORMAL RESPONSE. Please take a moment to read it, particularly with regard to car parking and possible road improvements.

Proud to be last!

Exbourne Sampford Courtenay and Jacobstowe Skittle Team (aka the Tarka Tarts) have won a major skittling trophy. At the recent Annual Dinner of the Women's Institute Skittles League, Exbourne, Sampford Courtenay and Jacobstowe WI were pleased to receive the Wooden Spoon Trophy for coming LAST!!

2014/15 was their very first season and after some very hard won matches they were delighted with their success.  They had had fun, laughter and great competition we hear, and they travelled through wind, rain and storm to meet their challengers ... at times even being victorious. The team looks forward to another challenging season in 2015/16 and hopes that fun, laughter and camaraderie prevails: if they win it's a bonus, says our intrepid reporter.

Some members had never played before.  Pili Garvey, Vice Captain for this season added: "We did our best, had fun, learnt a lot and met many other WI members from Devon. It's the taking part that matters, not the winning!" Rosemary Lowe was Captain for 2014/15. For 2015/16, Pili has been promoted to Captain and Liz Hoyle takes over as Vice Captain. Watch this space next May for the results of next season!

Pictured: Liz Hoyle, Jane Stewart, Anne Hollis, Ethel Nancekivell, Margaret Hawkins, Pili Garvey (VC), Doris Piper, Rosemary Lowe (C), Ruth Summers, Hilary Winter.

Agendae, Minutes and a Call for New Councillors

The Parish Council seems to be beefing up its presence, with a flurry of missives arriving here recently to indicate that a fresh approach is being taken to making sure villagers are better informed about the Council's work. There are four new documents available. Firstly, there are the Minutes of the March Parish Council meeting: an interesting item therein is an update to the Our Plan discussions, involving suggestions for developing certain tracts of land and improving the roads. Remember, the planners now have a duty to respond to the considered views of residents and Our Plan is designed to give everyone in the village a chance to have their views taken into account. Minutes HERE.

Next, there are Agendae for, and Invitations to, the Annual Parish Meeting and the Annual Parish Council Meeting. They are on the same evening (though at different times). Annual Parish Meeting HERE. Annual Parish Council Meeting HERE.

There are also two vacancies for Councillors. Interested parties should READ THIS.

Agenda for April 29th Council Meeting

The next Exbourne Parish Council Clerk takes place on April 29th and an agenda has been published! You can find the AGENDA HERE. Note that members of the public are invited to address the Council at the start of the meeting.

Public Meeting on Exbourne Plan

Notes of the meeting are now available online HERE

Council Minutes - Catch up
View the List of Your Councillors too

Time flies! We've just received three sets of meeting minutes from our Parish Clerk to bring our records up to date. See the full list HERE. Marilyn's also sent us a list of current Councillors.

National Plant Monitoring Scheme

Marilyn Weekes, Parish Clerk, asked us to bring the above to your attention. It's a project by a group of charitable organisations to record plant life in a collection of 1km square areas countrywide. Volunteers are sought to undertake counting and recording of plantlife in a square local to them twice a year. The scheme will enable the group to explore how plants in different habitats are responding to changes in the environment. A fuller explanation is HERE.

So that you don't have to, we underwent the task of logging in to www.npms.org.uk to find out what was involved, in particular what squares are available within a 30 mile radius around Exbourne. There are around 20 in Devon and the majority are still up for grabs, so if you're interested in joining this project we recommend you respond immediately. Volunteers may be individuals or small groups so it might suit a school for example. Click the image above to log in or go to www.nmps.org.uk.

Neighbourhood Plan Option puts Planning Decisions into YOUR Hands

Debbie Bird from the Borough Council Planning Team spoke at length last night (Wednesday 18th Feb) in the Village Hall to explain the far-reaching implications of the new West Devon Draft Plan, now officially called "Our Plan". (That's her above with Council leader Mike Luxton, who chaired the meeting). Taking some earlier planning decisions into account, Our Plan makes "localism" a reality by putting many planning decisions into OUR HANDS! Make no mistake - this is a serious proposition and it means YOU as an Exbourne resident have the opportunity to shape Exbourne's future by helping create our own "Neighbourhood Plan." And not just housing would be involved; as one resident asked last night: "does it mean we could seek to build a village green too, just as an example?" Yes, said, Debbie, it really does offer that possibility.

But some major issues need to be addressed first:

  1. An initial Draft Plan for WDBC as a whole will be published next Thursday 26th Feb. It will be online then, and your comments are needed to shape its ongoing progress. You'll have 6 weeks to do this and Debbie really wants your input. "Comments count," she said.
  2. Any resident can take part in creating the Neighbourhood Plan. The Parish Council must endorse the project but does not necessarily have to be directly involved. Notice of intention to produce a Plan must be in by December this year.
  3. Mike Luxton called for volunteers, and several villagers agreed to help. He invited all interested parties to attend the next Parish Meeting (Wednesday 25th) to discuss the implications in more detail. Debbie emphasised that the Plan would carry legal weight. However, it could involve 2-3 years work and it would be subject to a local referendum (simple majority needed) once complete.
  4. There are some centrally-defined requirements based on demographics, heritage, transport, jobs and the like: for example, 20+ new houses are pencilled in for Exbourne (over and above those already in the system) as our contribution to overall county requirements. This could change (in either direction) but the key thing is we could define where and how these would be built (as well as any other ideas we might have). Full support throughout the process will be provided by WDBC, Debbie promised.

She was coy about what might happen if the Plan were to be rejected at referendum and agreed that WDBC might then have to enforce solutions in order for progress to be made. So, this could be a critical moment in Exbourne's history. Don't let it pass if you're serious about contributing. Go to that Council meeting or make your interest known to someone on the Council immediately. And don't forget to read the Draft Plan and comment.

PS: some land has been put forward by local landowners for consideration as housing plots. These were displayed on a map of the village, as partly shown in our picture. Approximately 300 houses COULD be built IF all this land was accepted. BUT, and it's a big BUT, WDBC think the village could not support such numbers (for roads, drains, schools, etc. reasons). Debbie said about 25 additional houses might be accommodated in total on those spaces. In other words, nothing is set in stone; all is to play for.

About Turbines, Turbines and more Turbines

With arrival of the New Year it's time for reality to kick in. One of the issues for 2015 is the fast-growing impact of Wind Turbines hereabouts. JACEX has drawn our attention particularly to the Hawkdown project, turned down last year by TDC but now at appeal. The inspector is visiting the site Monday 5th so a decision for or against is approaching. The poster refers to a newsletter called the Turbine Times - click the pic to download a copy. It's packed with good stuff and it draws further attention to the accelerating rate at which these projects are arriving. A full listing of current projects is given. A wind farm of 9 (yes NINE) turbines is in planning (and being fought strongly) at Den Brook, just 1¼ miles south east of North Tawton. These nine machines will be 120 metres (394ft) high. More about them at www.denbrookvalley.co.uk. Download Turbine Times HERE or click the pic.

Exbourne Carnival History

The advertised speaker for the November 19 meeting, who had been due to talk about Red Ruby Cattle, was unable to come. At short notice Dave Weeks gave an interesting talk on Exbourne Carnivals during the 1950s and 1960s. He spoke about the hard work which went into organising the event, which would start in April for the carnival in November. It involved a large committee which had to advertise for girls to put up for carnival queen. The queen was chosen by how many lucky tickets she could sell at 6d each. Nearer the day there was a lot of secrecy about the building of the floats. Because of the narrow streets, the floats had to be in position early. A torchlight procession, which started at the bottom of the village, included bands and around 30 floats, including local and visiting participants. The History group will be meeting for their Christmas Dinner in the Red Lion in December. The next meeting will be on Tuesday January 20, in the village hall at 7.30pm, when the speaker will be John Smith on Metal Detection. He has a collection of artefacts which will be on view. All welcome – £2 to include tea and biscuits.

Jacobstowe Xmas Fair

Council Minutes for September

Now online HERE

Community Service in Church

St. Mary's Church looked resplendent on Sunday 26th October for its Community Service. The theme was a reflection on the World Wars and how it affected both the local community and the world. The children of the school had made fields of poppies and the church was decorated beautifully. We were very lucky to have had on loan some interesting items from the War Horse Valley Museum at Iddesleigh. By kind permission of Mr. Graham Ward there were helmets, a gas mask, compass and a view finder to name just a few. Our thanks for his generosity in letting us borrow these valuable items. There were poems, bible readings, prayers and hymns, with refreshments at the close. Those children present received a replica copy of the St. John's Gospel which was presented to all Servicemen during the First World War. Thank you Dr. M. Winter for the thoughtful content of the Service.

Visiting the Western Front

The October meeting of the Exbourne Local History Group was addressed by Dennis Bater on 'Our Visit to the Western Front'. He showed slides of many War Grave Cemetaries as well trenches which have been retained, and other interesting artefacts. He also recounted about some of the men who came from this area and fought in the war. There was a small display of the research made by Exbourne Primary School and members of the group, about the Exbourne War Memorial and the war in Exbourne. He was thanked by Rose Williams. The next meeting will be on Tuesday November 18 in the village hall at 7.30. Andrew Lane's talk will be called 'The History of the Red Rubies'. He has been associated with the Devon Cattle Breeders Society and has great knowledge of the breed and its development through the years. Non members always welcome - £2 to include tea and coffee.

Jacobstowe Turbine: Application Imminent?

Opponents of wind turbines be warned! A letter (not the one left) has been sent to many local residents by Holistic, the agent for the proposed Aeolus wind turbine at West Down Farm in Jacobstowe. It 'ticks some boxes' but seems not to have a clear objective. However, it's probably an indication that a formal Planning Application is about to go ahead. The Jacobstowe and Exbourne Wind Turbine Action Group have provided the response (left), from which you can pick up the main points of the Holistic letter. It also raises some other issues, especially the growth in turbine applications in this area. Click the image or read the JACEX letter here.

Separately we learn that if a public meeting is called by Exbourne and Jacobstowe Parish Council to discuss the application (should it go ahead) then that meeting will be held in Hatherleigh Community Centre. This makes sense given that the West Down project would affect people over a much wider area than just Exbourne and Jacobstowe e.g. the views from Hatherleigh Moor, Inwardleigh and elsewhere.

Council Minutes Finally Up to Date

We're delighted to report that our file of Council Minutes is now fully up to date so if you've been wondering what's been going on in political Exbourne here's your chance to catch up with February - August news. The minutes are actually well worth a read, not just to ensure that 'something's being done' but also to catch up on how your chosen councillors are performing. Wind Turbine Public Meetings, Playing Field changes, Boundary Reviews in 2015, Lengthsman news and Planning issues are among the topics. August is here and the rest are indexed here.

To the Manor Born

At the recent meeting of the Exbourne Local History Group, Sue Rose gave an extremely interesting talk on ‘The Manor of Exbourne', to 25 members and visitors. A system of tenure known s a ‘Feudal Estate' was introduced as early as AD 700 and abolished in 1660. Rent paying tenant farmers were known as ‘Freemen' and ‘Villeins' were restricted tenants and a ‘Bordar' occupied a cottage and enough land to feed his family. There were at least 3 manors covering the Exbourne parish – Dornaford, Coxhall and the Manor of Exbourne. The latter is mentioned in Domesday and the settlement dates back to before the Norman Conquest. The then Lord of the Manor – the Roger de Meulle family held the title for the next 300 years. In 1410 the title was owned by Thomas Prous, who was MP for Plympton and who was indicted in Devon for Felony and tried before the King's bench. Sue listed subsequent Lords of the Manor and in some cases, their family tree. The last known Lord of the Manor was Col.Kemball in 1919. Sue had spent a tremendous amount of time researching, but space does not permit me to report much of the history given. She was thanked by Nick Kenealy. The next meeting is on Tuesday October 21 in the village hall at 7.30pm. The speaker will be Dennis Bater. His subject will be ‘Our Visit to the Western Front', an illustrated talk with photographs of places of interest, including many War Grave Cemeteries. All are welcome.

ToB - More Pix

Thanks to Rod Stewart (yes, 'tis he of Exbourne) for the following nice long shots. From top: the Race Controller; the Race Leaders + details; Cars; Peloton

ToB in Exbourne

A very bright day welcomed the Tour of Britain to Exbourne on Thursday. Crowds gathered at the cross roads in advance of the race to watch the action. First came the police bikes, then came more police bikes, and then still more again. Never has Exbourne seen so many police bikes. Some waited, most went on in a well-oiled process that ensured the rolling road closure needed for the race was put into effect. Every single one delighted the growing number of spectators with various beeps, perps and siren sounds. School kids on the verge had cheered every passing vehicle for the 45 minutes or so we waited for the peloton to arrive but the biggest cheer was reserved for the policebike which was engulfed in a flurry of arms as it arrived, it's rider hugged in the middle of the road by a lady who ran from the crowd. "I haven't see her for 10 days" he shouted before riding off towards Crediton! Further dramas erupted minutes before the racers arrived when a tractor and trailer, and a flatbed truck, having managed to evade the police cordon somehow, arrived at the crossroads shortly before the riders did. They were soon seen off by irate policemen! Important looking cars came through soon after, followed by the Race Controller's car itself, singalling the imminent arrival of the racers. A helicopter chopped overhead as the breakaway four came through (second picture). Then came more cars, and motorbikes with cameras, and still more cars and then the peloton itself, some 2 minutes behind the leaders (third and fourth picture). Seemingly hundreds of support vehicles followed, all covered in bikes and wheels and logos. Then, suddenly, it was all over! Phew!



Thanks go to Richard (left) for accomodating so many spectators, and getting all his customers' cars off the road for the day.




Tour of Britain in Exbourne - Proper Job!

Little yellow signs by the roadside confirm that the Friends Life Tour of Britain cycle race is coming to Exbourne next Thursday, 11th September! After leaving Exmouth and traversing south Devon via atmospheric Starcross, massive Hay Tor, dark Princetown, sunny Tavistock, and local Okehampton, the peloton faces its most difficult challenge yet - the Brightley road from Okehampton to Exbourne Cross Garage! Exbourne Garage owner Richard Brock tells us he lobbied hard for the race to come to Exbourne by offering to provide the riders with free coffee, MoTs and puncture repairs. "We are renowned for the excellence of our automotive services, particularly tyre repairs, and this seemed ideal," he said. Proper Job! However, the the race schedule shows the peloton immediately scooting off on the A3072 to Bow and Crediton and thence to the finishing line in Exeter. Never mind Richard, it's the thought that counts! Richard has agreed to let us park our car on his forecourt to take photos. The Tour starts Sunday. Web site HERE. Stage 5 race route and expected timings HERE. From Exmouth to Exeter via Exbourne! Excellent! Expect road closures though!

Maybe they won't let me back now

It was another successful year for Angie Milsom Smith, from Exbourne, at the Iddesleigh Flower and Produce Show. She won a myriad of 1st and 2nd places; she won the entrant with the most wins in Cookery and Floral; and she went on to win the Cup for the most winning entries in the show. Angie Said "Wonderful!! Although they won't let me back here again after winning these trophies last year too!" The show was well attended and Iddesleigh WI provided a wonderful afternoon tea. Organiser David Lloyd thanked them for all their hard work in setting up the show and for providing the tea, and Joan Weeks, President, thanked David for all his hard work. Our photo shows Angie with David Lloyd.

WI Successes at Oke Show

Exbourne Sampford Courtenay and Jacobstowe WI won second place in the Devon Federation of WI competition titled "Across the World". They chose Australia as their theme. The judges comments were very positive; they only missed first place by 1 point! Of Margaret Cleveland's rag rug flag the judges said "A good interpretation of the Australian Flag." Ethel Nancekivell's felt kangaroo was seen as "a skilfully made piece," with the added comment "I love the baby Joey!" Angie Milsom Smiths flower arrangement earned "eucalyptus gives a good Australian interpretation," and Jane Stewart's Lamington Cakes an "excellent exhibit well done." In the "Peoples Choice" vote by visitors to the Show they were voted winners! Ethel Nancekivell and Jane Stewart, who accepted the accolade, said: "we are delighted absolutely and thrilled that the public should feel ours was worthy of winning." There were 6 other entries in the competition Okehampton WI came 1st (France), while Bratton Clovelly (Japan) came 3rd. Click the pic to see larger image.

Seminar on Devon Planning

INVITATION TO PLANNING SEMINARIf you are one of the people who are concerned about the way Devon's countryside is faced with large numbers of wind, solar and housing developments then this half-day Seminar is a 'must attend'. Organised by the Campaign to Protect Rural England and featuring MP Mel Stride as a guest speaker, it aims to "provide more clarity" about the issues and how local people can have their voices heard. The Localism Act, Neighbourhood Plans and the technical side of wind and solar energy are among the topics to be covered. There will be many opportunities for questions and this could be a great opportunity to not only find out more but address your particular concerns to the people who should know. Click the pic to read the poster. Note that places are limited, so book early!

Exbourne's Three Musketeers

Mike Luxton gave an intriguing presentation to the very well attended July meeting of the Exbourne Local History Group. He first talked about the Devonshire Volunteer Rifle Corp, and the competitions took place between various Corps. In 1863 the Exbourne Rifle Range was constructed near Narracott Farm. A helmet badge and spike which had been found in a local garden was displayed at the meeting. Research has shown that three local lads - John Ward, William Thomas Ward and Hugh Jennings Ward, who lived at Hayfield Farm and were wheelwrights - were known as the 'The Three Musketeers', and represented Great Britain on over 30 occasions between them. In 1860 the Queen's Prize was introduced at Bisley and in the 1890's William Thomas Ward won this prize of £250. Our photograph shows Mike Luxton (right) and Vivian Sage (great-grandson of Hugh Jennings Ward) with the Three Musketeers medals.

Recipe Proceeds to go to Defibrillator

Exbourne Sampford Courtenay and Jacobstowe WI have published book of members' favourite recipes, compiled as part of its 80th Anniversary celebrations. Proceeds from the sale of the book will go to fundraising for a defibrillator for Exbourne, a campaign being led by 9 year old Joel Sawyer from the village. Jane Stewart, President of the WI Branch, said: “We decided to donate any proceeds from the book to Joel's project after he came to talk to us about his plans. We think it is a very worthwhile cause and, additionally, a very commendable idea from the very young boy.” Copies of the book are available at £5 from The Burrow Community Shop and The Red Lion Pub in Exbourne, or by calling Jane on 01837 851300. Our picture shows Mrs Kathlyn Neno of Exbourne Sampford Courtney and Jacobstowe WI buying her copy from Lucy Baker at the Burrow.

The Blimp - over 200 visited

Jayne Egan, on behalf of JACEX-WTAG, wrote: "We have been overwhelmed by the amount of publicity and support generated by the flying of the Blimp; many people who had not expected to see the Blimp were shocked to see it from their homes and gardens and rushed straight to the Blimp site to find out more; we even had joggers and walkers who were enjoying the scenery from Hatherleigh Moor beating a path to the Blimp.   

JACEX-WTAG have decided to take no further action to generate any publicity until after 24th June.  This is the date of the public meeting regarding the Heane Farm, Hatherleigh wind turbine; we don't want to detract from the campaign against that turbine which is, after all, adjacent to Hatherleigh Town and also in full view from Hatherleigh Moor.  This is a crucial meeting in their campaign at an important stage of the planning process and we are loathe to detract from the publicity which their campaign should rightly have.

We shall be announcing further details soon but, in the meantime, should like to thank everyone who sent us photographs from their homes, gardens and favourite beauty spots, those who took the time to call out to visit us (we lost count at 187 visitors as the group were inundated with a rush just before the Blimp came down though the actual figure would be in excess of 200), and for all the messages of support which were left with us or have been received subsequently." 

The Heane Farm meeting is on Tuesday June 24th at 7pm in the Community Center. Why not attend and boost the numbers? Working together must be more effective! Full details HERE.

Quarrying Exposed, with Three Musketeers to come

The meeting of Exbourne Local History Group was well attended, the speaker being Jon Lloyd (an Exbourne resident) who was the former area production manager at Meeth Clay Works. Jon gave a presentation on the history of the Meeth Clay Works, which was owned by ECC Ball Clay Ltd until it was sold to the French company, Imerys. In 1895 investigations were carried out, and clay deposits were found and in 1925 work started at Woolladon Farm and clay was transported to Sampford Courtenay station at a charge of 12/6 a load. In 1925 the railway line to Bideford was completed and was used to transport the clay. At this time the managing director earned £400 per annum and the workers about £100. After 1926, Woolladon quarry was abandoned to concentrate on mining at Meeth. There were 5 different grades of clay and by the 1970's, 70,000 plus tons were produced, and 4,000 trees were planted per year to landscape the waste tips. About 40 men were employed. Production ceased in 2004 and in 2013, 370 acres were sold to the Devon Wildlife Trust. The next meeting of the History Group will be held in the village hall on Tuesday 22 July, when Mike Luxton will give a presentation on Exbourne Rifle Range and its ‘Three Musketeers'. A look back to a forgotten piece of parish history and its characters. Visitors always welcome at £2 per person.

Dark Clouds over Jacobstowe

It must have been the most-photographed Blimp in the world on Saturday when it flew over Broomford Manor estate, moored barely 75 metres from the intended site of a 77m high wind turbine on neighbouring West Down Farm. Arranged by the newly-formed Jacobstowe and Exbourne Wind Turbine Action Group (jacex-wtag is a slightly easier mouthful!) the event aimed to demonstrate the scale of the planned turbine and its visual impact. Broomford Manor owners Jim and Jayne Egan allowed the Group to fly the Blimp from a field right next to the proposed site of the turbine and local residents turned out in force to support the anti-turbine cause. The field was open all day and we're trying now to find out how many actually turned up overall. Afterwards, we drove to some of the viewpoint hot-spots in and around Jacobstowe, Hatherleigh and elsewhere to photograph the Blimp from different locations. Some of the results surprised even us. Those pictures will be online shortly along with, we expect, loads more from the many other people who went on the same pilgrimage! This story is also being published HERE with extra info about the Heane Farm project for a similar 77m turbine near Hatherleigh, which is approaching its final decision now. You can find official planning details of that project HERE. To be continued. PS: There's a public meeting on Tuesday June 24th in Hatherleigh Community Centre at 7pm (see story above) to discuss the Heane Farm Turbine, which is close to a final decision. All parishes are being invited, which makes sense because there's a better chance of success working together. SEE POSTER

History Visit

Twenty members of the ELHG visited Torrington for their annual day out on Tuesday 20th May. Their first call was to Torrington 1646 (picture shows members on entering the building) where they toured the exhibition and heard details of how Torrington became involved in the Civil War. Costumes of the 17c were paraded by various members of the group and medical treatments of the time were explained in great detail. The tour ended when the group visited the herb garden, with an explanation of how the herbs were used for medication in that period of history. Following lunch, members visited the Torrington Museum and had a guided tour of the older parts of the town.

Proposed Wind Turbine: All single-frame images, says Holistic

We earlier asked Holistic Ideas, the agent for wind company Aeolus who is behind the Jacobstowe Wind Turbine proposal, for a copy of their 'visual impact' photomontage taken from Hatherleigh Moor.

Holistic has kindly provided this, together with responses to the points in Jim Egan's letter (see below). They said:

  • As requested, we have attached our photomontage from the bench by the gate to the Grade II listed Morris Monument (see left. click to see large image).
  • All images which we have shown so far are single frame images.
  • Note that when standing at our viewpoint locations with our images correctly printed and held, the relative heights of the surrounding trees and the proposed turbine on our images can be seen to give a robust impression of the scale of the turbine and distance to the turbine, as required by the Landscape Institute official guidelines.
  • If, in future, we publish photomontages with images from multiple frames we will label them accordingly.
  • Neither shadow flicker nor unacceptable noise levels will extend to any residences (the nearest is 703m away, from OS data) not financially involved in the project nor impact upon people moving along the passing roads or any public rights of way (the nearest is the A386, 647m away, from OS data).
  • The nearest public bridleway joins the B3216 north of Dunsland Court.

I trust that this information helps your balanced reporting.

Phil Cookson
Managing Director
Holistic Ideas Ltd

Commissioner's Surgery

Tony Hogg, Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner is holding a surgery in Hatherleigh Community Centre on Thursday May 15th. It's a chance to ask questions personally so if you have pressing issues about policing then this might be the ideal opportunity. He's in town from 2pm till 5pm but you need to book a 20 min slot in advance. Click the image for full details.

Proposed Wind Turbine: a Neighbour's Assessment

Following our report on the turbine exhibition and the visual impact images presented by consultants Holistic Ideas, we received this message from Jim Egan, who is owner of the adjacent Broomford Manor Estate. Here's the crux of what he had to say, together with his reference material (click the thumbnails to see larger images):

  1. The photo montages displayed at the consultation meeting were inaccurate and the consultants appear to have intentionally reduced the visual impact of the wind turbine. The presence of the proposed wind turbine, 250ft high (77m), on a hill approx. 480ft above sea level, would have a disastrous visual effect for several miles around the site. Please find attached an article from 'The Times' dated 15.7.12 related to the photo trickery in this matter.
  2. Proven health problems with wind turbines include noise and shadow flicker. The latter is also potentially dangerous to horse riders where an established riding track is located within 150 metres of the proposed wind turbine. The riders include young children with their ponies.
  3. Property prices within sight of a wind turbine are widely known to be devalued.
  4. Renewable energy is a necessity but wind turbines are better suited on obscure mountains or offshore. This form of energy is proven as the most inefficient form of electricity production. They don't function in calm weather conditions and are sometimes turned off in windy conditions, whereon the energy companies are actually paid for doing so! Thus the consumers via their electricity charges finance the energy company and the landowners. I attach two articles ex 'Times' 03/04/14 relating to the latter (see right).


Jim Egan
Broomford Manor

Editor's Note: If you disagree, or indeed agree, with Jim's assessment above then let us know. These are important issues for Exbourne, Jacobstowe and indeed Hatherleigh and surrounding areas so it's essential all arguments are heard. We reserve the right to edit all material received.

History Book

Exbourne Local History Group recently organised a meeting of all its members and researchers to launch its new book.  This is the second book the group has produced and is entitled "The story of some 18th Century buildings in Exbourne".  It is the culmination of 15 months hard work by researchers as the result of a Heritage Lottery Grant "All our Stories" programme.  Four farms and four dwellings in the parish were researched, mostly by their occupants, with an amazing amount of history uncovered.  The book contains many of the facts and photographs which were displayed in the Village Hall at an exhibition in January and was compiled and edited by Gaye Langham and Sue Rose.  The ELGH's chairman, Mike Luxton, expressed thanks to Gaye (right) and Sue (left) for all their hard work and they were each presented with some Dartington Glass in appreciation.  Drinks and nibbles were available at the launch and a very enjoyable evening was had by all who attended.  The book is available at £5 per copy plus postage and packing from Dave Weeks - telephone 01837 851379 or e-mail dmweeks@tiscali.co.uk

Playing Fields - Join the New Commitee

The Playing Field Annual General Meeting will be held on Wednesday 21st May at 7 p.m in the Burrow. It is important to keep our Playing Field for the Village and School and there are several people on the existing Committee who feel it is time to relinquish their role and let younger and more active members of the Community take the lead, so your presence, ideas and enthusiasm would be appreciated. There are outline plans in place for extra parking and improved facilities but these need to be pursued, so all are very welcome to attend and help form a vibrant new Committee to ensure the life of the Playing Field for future generations.

Turbine Campaign Heats Up

Behind the scenes the proposed Jacobstowe Wind Turbine is making waves! As you'd expect there's lots of opposition but also some support, as shown left in a picture captured Saturday at Jacobstowe road junction. There are first indications of a public meeting being called; expect more news shortly. We've reached out to Holistic Ideas, the consultants behind the project, for their latest news and will report back their responses here. Watch this space!



The Winner and his Trophy

Freddy (see story below) finally received his trophy for being a good patient. He's got a medal for his collar too! And a certificate! Here he is, wondering what all the fuss is about.



Wind Turbine: More Images

Click all thumbnails to view larger image

(Supplied by Holistic)
(Supplied by Holistic)
(our photo of Holistic's display)

VIEW FROM A3072 IN VICINITY OF GLEBE HOUSE (approaching Jacobstowe Bridge. Our photo of Holistic's display).

Note: the line shows the ground surface and the relative height of the turbine. The turbine itself would be on the other side of the trees so only the blade tips would show.)

Watch out for our special Turbine page, coming soon

North Devon CAMRA Success for Red Lion

The Red Lion pub in Exbourne has beaten all comers to be voted Pub of the Year in North Devon. Here's a delighted Nick Hamlyn with the special banner that's just today gone up on the front of the pub. So what's the secret of your success Nick? Well, Nick told us, "it took us 5 years to reach this point. We've been in the Good Beer guide all that time and we've managed to build a reputation for quality and consistency. Any CAMRA members - we know the locals but anyone from elsewhere in the country can call in unannounced - can vote for us on the CAMRA web site. This year, that worked so well that we ended up shortlisted along with three other North Devon pubs, among them two previous winners! We were then scrutinised personally by CAMRA judges on all kinds of topics, including our beer of course, and bingo ... we were awarded the top slot." The Red Lion is holding a Beer Festival this weekend, with 10 beers on tap and events every evening from Thursday to Sunday. More details right for the interesting line-up. Nick's award will be presented tomorrow night. We recommend the Jail Ale BTW!

Wind Turbines: An Update

We met with Phil Cookson of Holistic, the company promoting the turbine project, yesterday during their exhibition of the details. He kindly spent time explaining the background and talking us through the various charts, photos and wire frame drawings on show.

First the location. West Down Farm is adjacent to the A386, roughly half way between Bassetts Cross and Lamerton Cross. The turbine would therefore be sited on the away side of Broomford 'hill' to Exbourne. From the Exbourne/Jacobstowe point of view the visual impact can be considered 'slight'. From the village itself it will not be seen. And only from a few positions on the A3072 does it show through the various treelines. Holistic showed mock-up pictures taken from the road outside Glebe House and from roughly the Solland farm entrance. From the former you would see just the top of the blades; from the the latter you would see most of the blades but at a such a distance that the impact is minor. Even from the Exbourne playing field, the view will be generally blocked by trees and hedges, although where there are gaps it will be possible to see some or all of the blades. From Jacobstowe itself, the view is pretty much zero. As you approach Bassett's Cross or Lammerton Cross the view will change of course but, as Holistic pointed out, there are many trees and hedges in the way almost everywhere.

Perhaps the biggest visual impact could be from the A386, approaching from Folly Gate. At the exhibition it was clear that some people are worried about the view from Hatherleigh Moor and recognising that this might be so, Holistic had prepared photographs taken from the Morris Monument looking towards Dartmoor. From that angle, the turbine will be clearly seen but again from such a distance that it will be small in the overall panorama. Does it impact negatively on the view? That of course is a subjective judgement that depends as much on your eyesight as it does on your feelings about wind turbines in general.

Holistic have been kind enough to send us copies of some of their mock-up photos. We'll have them on line here shortly for reference. In the meantime, if you want to express an opinion on any of the above, or the project in general, please email editor@hatherleigh.net. (Please take note of our 'rules of engagement' in the story below).

BTW: we hear that a similar turbine, or a biomas plant, or a solar panel farm, are all being considered for a site on Runnon Moor, just west of Hatherleigh. That project is not as far advanced as at West Down Farm.

Wind Turbines: Get the Facts!


As interest grows in the 77m high wind turbine proposed for a site at West Down in Jacobstowe there's naturally a lot of suspicion and emotion. Our sister site Hatherleigh.net has been covering the story for some time (see HERE or click the signpost link in our header above) and it's worth taking a look at that front page now. Note that there's an exhibition of the project in Hatherleigh Community Centre today, April 10th, from 2:30pm to 7:30pm - (see also EVENTS right), by the company Holistic who are helping promote the scheme. If you are keen to find out more then please visit the exhibition and get the facts. Naturally people expect us to publicise the project here, together with their opinions. We will do that in a balanced way and ask that contributions are measured, honest and accurate. Normal journalistic principles will apply. We are attending the exhibition. Expect a report shortly.

Note: there is a separate turbine proposed for a site just west of Hatherleigh. We understand that turbine to also be 77m.






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