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Colyton Parish Council

Local information for the people of Colyton, Colyford and the Coly Valley

Colyton Parish Council Community Newsletter – Spring 2021

There is light in the tunnel as we all start to emerge from the massive challenges posed by the pandemic. In this issue we have tried to reflect the resolute way in which the communities of Colyton and Colyford have coped and the positivity with which our different groups are facing the future. We have looked in particular at how young people have responded. As ever, we are open to ideas and are very keen to feature all the different organisations that make this the thriving community that it is. . Our next issue is due at the end of June.

A little jab will do ya!

Picturing some NH staff

High praise goes to the NHS for its successful rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programme so far, not least to our local Seaton and Colyton Medical Practice's smooth operational handling of it at Seaton and District Hospital with its dedicated team of GP practice medical and clerical staff, pharmacists and a willing band of Seaton and District Hospital League of Friends volunteers. A welcoming atmosphere greets the steady stream of patients who are seamlessly directed by car park attendants, receptionists and stewards to the vaccination clinic and follow-on rest area. Arriving just a few minutes before appointments allows for social distancing and minimal waiting time. How good to see our district hospital being used this way. Congratulations all round!

Vaccination programme runs at pace

Latest figures from NHS England show the enormous pace of the vaccination programme in the South West. In the period to 14 March over 98.8% of over 80s had received their first dose, 100% of 75 to 79s and 97.2% of 70 to 74s. In other age groups, first doses had been received by 92.3% of 65 to 69s, 85.4% of 60 to 64s and 53.3% of 55 to 59s. In the period from 14 to 20 March Devon had 123 recorded cases, with 15.3 confirmed cases per 100,000 of the population (national average 55.5). There were two deaths in the same period, making a total through the pandemic of 674.

Devon coronavirus data EDDC coronavirus updates Corona Virus-update

Covid-19 advice

CeramTec site readied for construction

Picture of cleared site

Demolition equipment finally left on 29 January, leaving the former CeramTec site ready for construction. Homes England has announced that it has appointed Wainhomes SW Ltd to undertake the building of the six light industrial units and 72 new homes, but it will be some time until all the planning matters are resolved. 'We are confident that they (Wainhomes) will bring the local flair and passion that we know will be important to the residents and businesses of Colyton,' said Sam Gammon of Homes England. In the meantime, as our picture shows, the herring gulls have invaded the site once again.

Picture of planned dwellings

The news from Wainhomes SW is that they will submit a detailed planning application in June / July and hope to be in a position to start on site in the Spring of 2022. Speaking to the Parish Council's Planning Committee via Zoom on 22 March, the company's Land and Planning Director, Mark Harding, said they were looking at the use of familiar local construction materials – while flint may be restricted by cost, it will be considered along with render, stone and brick. As a regional developer, they will be using trades people from the south west. Timber frame is a likely construction method being favoured for its environmental credentials and capacity to work under cover more quickly. On the energy front, they will look beyond gas given its limited lifetime. The company is open to exploratory discussions with the Colyton and Colyton Community Land Trust about a partnership to handle the 14 affordable homes planned within the site. It has also asked the Parish Council for its views on the possibility of moving the planned public open space from the top of the site to an area nearer the road in order to reduce the need for steps. View Picture of sketch plan

Controlling dogs around livestock

picture of dog danger notice

Dogs have made a valuable contribution to the physical and mental health of their owners through lockdown. Please remember as better weather comes that they need to be controlled on paths that cross fields where livestock is grazing because worrying them can kill or cause a miscarriage. It is also important to remember that a sheep or cow represents an important financial investment for a farmer – as well as a way of life and a passion. If your dog worries livestock you could be fined under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 and sued for compensation. As a last resort, a farmer is legally allowed to shoot a dog that is threatening his animals. Finally, be sure to pick-up after your dog. Do not leave the bag on the ground to be collected later because cattle may swallow it and die. Also, you will be guilty of littering and could be fined up to £2,500. On a lighter note, our resident footpaths guru Hugh Westacott reports that virtually all the parish's public rights of way are in good condition now that farmers have completed their annual hedge-cutting programme. He says there has been a marked increase in footfall on many of the paths during the pandemic with the result that most that were previously invisible on the ground are now easy to follow. But he adds: 'Gates and stiles can only be kept clear by regular cutting back. If every walker carried secateurs in their pocket and snipped the new growth as it appears, the paths would remain usable throughout the year.'

Keep happy and carry on

Picture of school activites

The smiles tell the story of life at Colyton Primary School during lockdown. With only a third of children attending, lessons moved online for many, with pupils, teachers and parents becoming Zoom experts. 'The focus has been on happiness and there have been lots of activities to help us all keep smiling during these difficult times,' says Head of School Aerfen Mills. 'The tenacity and determination of the entire school community has been outstanding.' The children focused on Children's Mental Health Week, held a Zoom 'flash mob', became rock stars for a day, celebrated Chinese New Year and took part in World Book Day. Main curriculum work included Zooming a farmer to learn about animals and making videos about the Ancient Egyptians.

Photos of children at work

Mrs Mills paid tribute to the help the school has received from the community, with many people supporting the 'Give Us a Wave' campaign as well as donating much needed laptops and iPads to help home learners. The Colyton Chamber of Feoffees also rallied behind the cause by donating ten new Chrome books. On their return to school, pupils celebrated International Women's Day and National Science and Engineering Week – all with big smiles on their faces.

picture of happy child

Green light for Stop Line purchase

Picture of Stop Line place

Devon County Council has imposed a compulsory purchase order as a means of completing the missing link on the route that will make it possible to walk or cycle off-road from Popes Lane, Colyford to the Jurassic Centre via Seaton Wetlands. The move has been revealed by county councillor Martin Shaw following unsuccessful negotiations with landowners and will, when complete, bridge an important gap in the wider Sustrans National Cycle Network. The local section follows part of the route of the 70-mile anti-invasion Stop Line built during the last war. Many of the concrete pillboxes and anti-tank gun emplacements remain along the route, which in Devon stretches from Seaton Promenade to the county boundary, passing through Colyford, Colyton, Whitford, Kilmington, and Axminster.

All things bright ... and so beautiful

piture of  church interior

If you haven't attended a service or event at St Andrew's Parish Church for a while, prepare for a surprise because it may look quite different between one visit and another. The completed installation of a new cost-efficient LED lighting system means that when you go as a visitor the church may just have a gentle glow with highlighted altar and font; a very subdued setting for a carol service; or with strong frontal lighting for a concert. Outside, the floodlighting is of a fixed brightness but with new lights on the corners to better light the way for pedestrians. Since Christmas, electricians Pete and Harry have been busy on behind-the-scenes systems and back-stage lighting. Their reward for visiting inaccessible places has included unearthing a packet of Woodbines left in the roof by a workman handling reconstruction after a serious fire in 1933! Says Churchwarden David Fouracre: 'What has been really eye-opening is the difference the lights have made to the roof timbering, with the decorated bosses – previously hidden in deep gloom - now a real feature.'

Souper memories

Children waiting for soup

Picture of Soup bowl

The 1800s had seen heavy rains destroy many harvests and, due to the severe winter of 1895, the Colyton Chamber of Feoffees decided to reopen the Soup Kitchen once again in the centuries old Market House where the Town Hall now stands, to help those who were struggling. Out came the old copper kettle, pictured here, large enough to prepare soup for the entire town and, as Percy Turl recounted, 'The children took their enamel jugs with them to school to collect the soup, singing, 'One penny a pint, tuppence a quart. If it's not worth that, it's not worth nort' as they skipped home with their hobnailed boots sparking on the cobbles.' This last Soup Kitchen continued until c1936.

Brownies stay busy

Picure of posters produced by brownies

They produced posters to support the NHS, conducted science experiments, did astronaut training and made crazy golf courses. The Colyton 1st Brownies have shown a resilient 'carry on' spirit through the thick of three lockdowns. While face-to-face meetings weren't possible they used facebook, email and Zoom and continued working remotely and virtually for their badges. The unit made a top ranking Gold Award to Chloe H, with another on the way for Chloe P. There were also four bronze and three silver section awards. Zoom availability made more joined-up participation possible, with enrolments, badge presentations, cake baking and language learning. With the help of Cats Protection, the unit also learned how to look after a cat. 'We shall continue to meet via Zoom until at least Easter and then look at maybe meeting outside when it's possible,' says Brown Owl Karen Rattew. Adult volunteers are always welcome – info Brownies

Keeping the wheels turning

Picture of our local wheelright nd his staff

Mike Rowland and his wife Doreen established their wheelwrights and coach building business at Road Green in 1964, with son Greg joining them in 1991. Mike and Greg are currently the only father and son Master Wheelwrights in the world and are justly proud of their appointment to Her Majesty the Queen since 2005. Tracing their family trade back to the building of Exeter cathedral in 1331, Mike Rowland and Son produce and restore all kinds of wheels and vehicles and are also specialist military wheel and cannon restorers. 'Last year was our busiest year ever with 220 wheels done, lots of cannon sets and vehicles, along with some TV work on The Repair Shop and Devon and Cornwall,' says Greg. He and Mike are now passing their skills on to new apprentice, Sam Phillips. Mike, Doreen and Greg are shown with Sam (right) and David Foden (left) who has been helping on one of their projects. More info at: Wheels

Save the night rider

Picture of long eared bat

Colyton and Colyford are to help spearhead a campaign to save the rare grey long-eared bat from potential extinction. Well maintained local meadows are ideal for a drive to enhance floral interest and in doing so support a greater diversity of insects loved by the bat. The 'Return of the True Night Rider' project has been launched by the East Devon AONB and the Bat Conservation Trust with £69,000 funding from the Government's 'Green Recovery Challenge Fund'. While farmers and landowners will be encouraged to manage their grassland in appropriate ways, the project will also engage with local groups and schools, and will run twilight meadow walks to spot the bats. The grey long-eared is one of the UK's rarest bats with an estimated UK population of just 1,000 and only eight maternity roosts where females bats come together to give birth. Two such roots exist in East Devon – one in Colyford and one at Musbury. More details here Contact: Ruth Worsley, Project Engagement Officer Bat

Conquering lost horse chestnuts

Picture of Claire and the felled horse chestnut tree

The horse chestnut trees at Road Green have been part of many lives – from conker collecting to shady summer picnics and collapsing against them after bike rides. Like many, Claire Mountjoy was saddened when five had to be removed for safety reasons. The Parish Council asked her to produce a plan to replace them. After local consultation, Claire's plan involves replacing the missing trees around the periphery, infilling missing hedge and adding small flowers such as wild daffodils. 'The new trees will be native species as they support maximum wildlife and survive best,' says Claire. 'Trees are remarkable in that they also soak up water, clean the air and boost our well-being. Sitting under a tree can reduce your stress level by 21% per hour with a noticeable difference after just three to four minutes.' Email if you would like to help with the autumn planting. To view planting proposals click: Trees

Meet your councillor: John Hay

Picture of John Hay

'I have been a Parish Councillor for more than ten years and have lived in Colyton for about 45 years. I worked in agricultural mechanical engineering, here and around my original home in Crewkerne. My late wife was Colyton born and bred – her family have lived in my current home in Ridgeway Lane for more than 120 years. I have a son and two daughters, one of whom lives with me, and two grandchildren. If I have a concern about the town for the future it is that we will have sufficient affordable homes for the young people who grow up here. High property and land prices will always make that a difficult issue to deal with. The potholes that bedevil our roads are a constant concern for me and represent both a management and resource problem. I also remain particularly concerned about the state of the patch of road on the hill towards Whitford known as Lisham's Drain where today's persistent drainage and surface problems stem from a spring that was never properly dealt with when new drains were put in 13 years ago. We are still battling with that one.'

Neighbourhood Plan latest

The Colyton Parish Neighbourhood Plan has been submitted to East Devon District Council for independent examination. Approval for this next key stage was given (on a split vote) at the meeting of the Parish Council on 8 March. Subject to the examination, the Plan then moves to its final stage, a public referendum, when a 50% vote in favour is needed to bring it into action. Once in place, the Plan will help to guide the future development, regeneration and conservation within the Parish. The process, which began in 2015, has been led by a Steering Group consisting of both councillors and members of the community. View the latest documents click  Plan.

Riverside vet for Town Mill

photo of the new Riverside Vet

Colyton is set to have its own veterinary surgery as Sidmouth-based Jurassic Vets takes the first two units at the new Town Mill development. Led by Dr Peter Martin (pictured), the independent practice specialises in cats, dogs and small pets and will offer a full service from its new surgery, including consulting rooms, X-ray facilities and an operating theatre. Peter set up the business in 2014 with the aim of combining a friendly, professional bedside manner with the highest possible standards of clinical care. 'We see Colyton as the ideal location for a second surgery,' he says. 'It is a beautiful town and I know from my own walks locally that there are a lot of people who love their dogs. We are very impressed by the plans for Town Mill, which will give us beautiful consulting rooms right beside the river.' Peter hopes to open in early summer. More about Jurassic Vets here: Vet

Meanwhile, Ian Styles of Axminster Property tells us that he is in active negotiation over letting two more of the eight units and overall interest in the site is strong.

Ideas needed for CeramTec glass

Picture of CeramTec glass block windowThe Parish Council was able to salvage 90 of the notable panes of designer glass from the former CeramTec office windows thanks to the demolition crew from Hughes and Salvidge. Originally manufactured in Germany during the 1960s by the Rosenthal Group, the council hopes these unique panes of glass can be reused to create a fitting memorial to CeramTec's contribution to 50 years of Colyton's social history. As the panes are only about one inch thick and not chunky glass block bricks as hoped, using them as previously suggested for a water feature is no longer practical. What is to be done with them and where can they go? Please send your suggestions to

Memory Cafe fills the gap

Picture of memory cafe items

The volunteers who run the Colyton and Colyford Memory Café have done a magnificent job of maintaining through lockdown the welcome stimuli they provide for members. Having baked, made and devised ingenious Christmas goodie bags, they followed up in recent weeks with a further gift bag full of springtime treats that were delivered in socially distanced fashion. Included were an anthology of poems, rhymes and sayings, a booklet of puzzles and quizzes, a potted plant, crocheted forget-me-not pins, decorative banners and shortbread biscuits. 'It was a delight to witness the expressions of joy and pleasure on our members' faces,' says coordinator Sue Whitell. 'We are hopeful that these small gifts have prompted reminiscences of the fun we enjoy in our group and kindle some anticipation of coming back together this year.' If you know anyone who is living with dementia, worried about short-term memory loss or simply wants a source of company and change of scenery, please contact Sue on 01297 599477 (

A home steeped in history

Picture of scaffolding round old grammar school building

Many of you will have noticed scaffolding around Old Church House located in Market Place, Colyton. The building has been increasingly suffering from damp and rain penetration through the roof and walls but the insertion of new lead trays, slate repairs and guttering will hopefullyhave arrested this. This listed building, dating from C15, was originally used as a church house for secular purposes. Following the reformation by Henry VIII, the building was acquired by the Colyton Feoffees as an administrative centre and meeting hall. In 1612 Colyton Grammar School moved into the building from the room over the church porch, until transferring to Colyford in 1927. Also a Post Office, the property is now a private residence retaining many original features.

Council meetings broadcast live

Picture of live meeting using zoomlFor the first time, a series of Parish Council meetings on 22 February was officially recorded and broadcast. The two-hour Zoom meeting, which involved all three council committees of Finance, Planning and Amenities, was beamed live to the world via YouTube. This brings parish meetings in line with many other councils offering the service as a means of engaging with a wider public. Access to all future meetings is by this link – 'http//'.

Young footballers will bounce back

Pictureof Colyton footballers

Colyton Youth Football Club is aiming to do its bit to help children bounce back from the effects of lockdown. 'We don't yet know when it will be but we will certainly be back in a big way,' says Chairman Ryan Smith, who leads a committed team of coaches looking after the different age groups. In normal times the club runs teams for under 8s, under 10s, under 11s, under 12s, under 14s, under 15s and under 16s. During Friday evening training sessions and on match day Saturdays the Peace Memorial Playing Fields and Chantry Field ring with the excitement of up to 100 youngsters (boys and girls). Each team competes in the Exeter and District Youth League under the guidance of an FA trained coach. 'We teach the kids that it's not all about winning, and that knowing how to conduct themselves is the most important thing,' says Ryan, who would very much like to hear from further parents willing to become coaches. Details Football.

Thank you John

Photo of John Rollings

In our last issue we reported that Parish Council handyman John Rollings would be retiring in April after 12 years service. This tribute comes from Parish Councillor Steve Real.

It quickly became apparent when John joined us that he would be an absolute asset to the Council and to the parishioners of Colyton. He soon made friends and always had time to talk to everyone. John spent many hours cutting the grass in the churchyard and over time became very interested in the church and what it stands for. We are delighted that the church will be such a big part of his journey following retirement. We councillors will miss John's banter and his outstanding work ethic. Thank you John - on behalf of the community you have served, we wish you and your family all the very best for the future. We know you will give it your all.

Why it pays to pick up

Picture of dog waste bin

It costs the Parish over £1,700 a year to empty the seven dog poo bins in Colyton and Colyford. All but one are emptied three times each week. It's a big cost but it makes an important contribution to the environment we all value. If you have a dog please use the bins. In East Devon it is an offence not to clear up in any public place. Anyone reported to the council is likely to be issued with a fine of £80.


Local elections are scheduled across the UK on 6 May 2021. Colyton Parish Council has three vacant seats to fill, while the Seaton and Colyton seat on Devon County Council also comes up for election, as does the post of Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall. Nominations for all close on 8 April. If any election is contested the election will take place on 6 May. Full details here.Elections


Click the buttons on the top menu for Colyton Parish Council Agendas, Minutes and Meeting dates.

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Photo of Sasha Haines the parish clerk

Parish Clerk Sasha Haines is beginning her return from maternity leave and currently working on Mondays. She is otherwise being supported by husband Ian on Tuesdays and Thursdays (10.30 to 12 noon each day). You can also make contact by email or phone as shown at the foot of this newsletter.

This newsletter has been produced by a small group consisting of parish councillor Crispin Denny with volunteers Alison Stenning and Barrie Hedges.