Skip menu. Go to main content

Colyton Parish Council

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

Colyton Parish Council Community Newsletter - Summer 2021

No part of the Colyton and Colyford community has been more severely affected by the pandemic than our traders, especially those in the hospitality business. As the wheels of our local economy start to turn again, it is good to see those who have been closed for long periods now able to resume. Meanwhile, the parish has seen some new businesses emerge in our midst in recent months and we are delighted to feature a few of them in this issue. If your business hasn't thus far been featured and you would like to do so, please email us at the newsletter address shown at the foot. Our next issue appears at the end of September.


chart showing spike in corona virus cases

Latest available data from NHS England shows five new cases of coronavirus in Colyton, Kilmington and Uplyme in the seven days to 21 June. The data for Devon as a whole (excluding Plymouth and Torbay) shows 489 new cases over the same period, taking the total since the outbreak began in March last year to 21,805. The graph above shows the trend in Devon in recent weeks. There have been no deaths in Devon in the period to 21 June (681 overall). More than 1.3 million doses of coronavirus vaccine have been given in Devon. The county's Primary Care Medical Director, Alex Degan, has encouraged local residents to come forward for their first jab and to remember to get their second vital dose. People aged 40 and over are now able to book their second jab on the national booking system from eight weeks after their first dose.

Meanwhile, with added pressure from tourism, East Devon District Council says it is experiencing very high demand for services with its teams stretched to keep up with street cleansing, litter bin emptying and grass cutting. The authority asks for understanding at a difficult time and urges residents to help by reporting issues through its app or website.


Picture of Colyton Banners

Behind most Colyton and Colyford initiatives you will usually find small teams of committed volunteers who give their time and enthusiasm. The heraldic banners that deck the business premies around town are a fine example of that. Stored over winter at the St John Ambulance Hall, the colourful banners are brought back into circulation each summer by Jacquie McCullogh and Mike Ilsley who first instigated, researched and created them seven years ago as a means of promoting the town to its many visitors. Jackie and Mike are pictured with the banner for Colyton's famous rebel leader Duke of Monmouth.

They in turn call on Tish Wells of Needlesharp for repairs (she also stitched the original fabric). Pole and finial creation and repairs are down to wheelwright Greg Rowland, while the ladder role in putting them up is appropriately handled by retained fireman Gareth Richardson (pictured left). The banner Gareth is fixing into place shows the coat of arms of Henry VIII. If you fancy volunteering to help with any aspect of the banners project for the future (paintings, repairs, erection) please drop Jacquie a line.


Key details on how the new housing development planned on the CeramTec site will look and be landscaped will emerge in the next few weeks. Site owner Homes England is working with developer Wainhomes South West, which will shortly submit a 'reserved matters' application to East Devon District Council. Key aspects of that application include the architecture, materials, site layout and the relationship to the surroundings. Sam Gammon of Homes England says that Wainhomes South West will continue to engage with the community ahead of the application.


Picture of four businesses by the bridge

The vibrant little business community clustered around Umborne Bridge has recently been joined by three very welcome newcomers whose doors open onto a pleasant courtyard overlooking the river.

What better place to sit and enjoy a cappuccino or latte with a slice of cake or croissant courtesy of Finn Studio & Cafe run by George Chesterton (top left) who recently returned home from his world travels and London? A small, independent photography studio, gallery and agency offering photography and video services, the addition of a takeaway hatch offering a fine blend of coffee has proved an instant success and opened up a hitherto understated corner of Colyton.

Oil and acrylic artist, Hesta Singlewood (bottom left), is planning an open studio from September 11th - 26th, which will also include some of her textile creations and cards. A trained horticulturalist, all of Hesta's work is inspired by nature. People can drop in whenever Hesta's painting in the studio.

Wagg'n'Purr's Pet Services & Natural Pet Pantry makes up the trio, offering natural food and treats for pets plus professional pet care services. Ex military dog handler Pete Cole (bottom right) and his wife Ana, who are fully insured and DBS/CRB checked, offer dog walking services, free local delivery of pet supplies, microchipping, pet home visits and transport, with the pantry open by the bridge on Saturdays and Sundays.


Picture of the Blue bridge

Referred to locally as green bridge, even though it's been blue for decades, the old centre-pillar cast iron Umborne Bridge was replaced by a wider one in May 1992. A temporary Bailey bridge spanned the River Coly from the small area of grass by the commercial units to where the Colyton Town Plan is sited, as David Fouracre recalls, for use whilst the old bridge was dismantled and sold for scrap and its wider, blue replacement installed. So, if you've ever wondered why it's called green bridge, it's because it was once painted green a long time ago and the name just stuck.


Picture of rubbish overspill at the blue bridge

At a major gateway into Colyton and with some 90,000+ Seaton Tramway passengers walking across Umborne Bridge each year, it's rather sad to be greeted by the sight of rubbish bags piled around the nearby clothing bank, especially with the emergence of new businesses close by. There's a locally-monitored clothing bank outside the Fire Station plus the Lantern Charity Shop accepts goods for recycling, so there's no need to leave items on the ground and in the rain for days and weeks when an unmonitored bank is full. The Parish Council has recognised the value of the facility but has asked that it be moved to the narrow end of the parking area in which it is situated.


Picture of the mill site

All but four of 11 units now planned at the revamped Town Mill development have now been taken or are under active discussion. The total units available at the site has increased from seven to 11 as a result of sub-division to meet demand from smaller businesses. With the Lyme Bay Seafood Company already trading from the individual unit to the left of our photo, Jurassic Vets now hopes to open its new Colyton surgery in the two riverside units early in August. Lyme Bay Holidays is also set to operate a private laundry there. Ian Styles, Managing Director of Axminster Property, says that interest in the remaining units remains strong. “We are now hoping to have the whole development complete by November,” he says. “Our focus is currently on the main house beside Rosemary Lane. The fabric has proved to be quite challenging but we are making good progress and it should provide ideal premises for smaller businesses.” He added that fibre broadband had been laid on to the development.


Picture of Simon Baker the new fish monger

Simon Baker has achieved a long-held ambition by opening his own fishmonger at the Town Mill development in Colyton. The Lyme Bay Seafood Company is operating from its new unit there on Wednesdays (10am - 5pm) and Thursdays (11am to 5pm). You can also pre-order and collect there on Fridays between 4pm and 6pm. Simon and wife Monica (who also works at the Premier Store and volunteers at the Lantern Charity Shop) first came to Colyton to live in 2007 and recognised the town's growing potential for a dedicated fish business. While their original plan was to operate a fish processing unit at The Town Mill, a change in planning laws made it possible to retail there while also preparing fish for their stall at a farm shop near Taunton on Fridays and Saturdays. “We will be buying as much of our fish as possible locally to ensure maximum freshness and will support that from the markets at Brixham and Plymouth,” says Simon. His current hot tip is scallops from Lyme Regis, with local mackerel also now coming into season.


Picture of the volunteers who are takling food wate

The drive to save good food from landfill has found solid support in Colyton. A volunteer-led scheme that started in Seaton last summer is now offering an opportunity to collect free food gathered from Tesco and Co-op stores in nearby towns. The Colyton Save Food Hub currently operates from a temporary summer home at Finn's Cafe near Umborne Bridge on Thursdays between 8.45pm and 9.15pm and, as Colyton Community Larder, at the same location on Fridays between 8.30am and 10.30am and Sundays between 4pm and 4.30pm. The groups are coordinated by Yvonne Taylor and operated by a band of volunteers who collect and sort the food. Yvonne (on the left of our picture with volunteer Jo Wright) stresses: “You are depriving no-one by helping yourself to this food because we have already given priority to the local food banks; what you are doing is simply making good use of nutritious food that will otherwise go to waste.” More info. Can you help? In order to continue and extend its work the group needs longer term premises close to the town centre where it can locate a fridge freezer and operate collections for about two hours a week. To discuss please email


Colyton Theatre Group has announced its plans to resume business as usual under the guidance of a new committee. The plans ' subject to no further Covid regulations ' include: Fri 23 July – 'That's Entertainment' Quiz at the Peace Memorial Hall, Colyton, starting 7.30pm; Mon, Tues, Wed 23 -25 August - Junior Workshop with Theatre Kidz at Reece Strawbridge Youth Centre ' 'Indiana Bones and the Raiders of the Lost Skate Park' 9.30am to 3.00pm each day; Sat 4 September - Community afternoon Picnic and open mic event 'CTeaG'; Thurs, Fri, Sat 11 ' 13 November - Café Theatre at the Town Hall: One-Act Play 'Hidden Meanings', licensed bar and complimentary nibbles. For more information about the group, contact Sue Whittell on 01297 599477.


Picture of Holly Sweeney

Teenager Holly Sweeney provides the first in what we hope will be a series of views from young people about their feelings for Colyton.

'Colyton is a nice place to live, 's a lovely community, people always seem to look out for other people even if they don't know them. However, young people who don't live in Colyton view it as a ‘boring place' - that it's for ‘older people' because there isn't really a lot to do for young people. I usually meet friends where there are cafes and more places to socialise. It would be nice to have a cafe or somewhere where young people can sit with friends and chat, do school work/revision and just catch up. I really like having a theatre group, but it would be nice to have dance classes/groups for young people and maybe a young people's choir so that if people don't like acting they can still get involved in other things. I really enjoyed youth club and I don't know why it stopped but I think it would be really good for it to start up again!'


Colyton and Colyford Memory Café has announced its plans for reopening. It is also appealing for new volunteers to join its team, providing lively and interesting twice-monthly social sessions for people living with dementia, or worried about their memory. The essential qualities listed are energy, ‘joie de vivre' and a good sense of humour, plus a bit of time to spare. If you are interested in joining the group or would like more information, please contact Sue Whittell or 07767 127685.


Picture of Arthur

After a lifetime in Colyton, Arthur Parsons jumped at the chance of becoming the Parish Council's new handyman. 'I love the place and see it as a way of giving something back to the town,' he says. Arthur was born and brought up locally and has two daughters living in Colyton. He spent 45 years milking cows for local farms before moving into sub-contracted groundwork in the construction industry. His new parish role keeps him busy on a part-time basis, with grass cutting as a prime responsibility alongside a wide range of maintenance and waste bin emptying tasks. During recent weeks he has been working on repairs to benches and aims to treat play equipment to a coat of paint through the summer.


The drive to provide much needed affordable homes for local young people and families in Colyton and Colyford is being held back by a serious shortage of suitable sites. The Colyton and Colyford Community Land Trust (CCCLT) has set out a plan to enable the town to move forward on one of its most difficult challenges. It has suggested a new Local Needs Housing Survey as a basis for the project, and a small working group made up of members of the Trust and Parish Council to specifically address the issue of suitable sites. The Trust would then like to see a wider community debate to consider the conclusions from that group. The CCCLT board has already considered some 20 sites and is still evaluating one of them. Known as Lewis Haye, it adjoins the existing Seaway Head affordable homes development. Suggestions for sites will be welcomed by the CCCLT, which can be contacted via its website.


Picture of people in the allotments

Allotment gardening is an increasingly popular activity in Colyton and has become all the more so during the restrictions on other activities over recent months. At present, all the Mount Hill site's three full-plots,15 half-plots and 33 quarter-plots are let and there is a waiting list of 13. The Parish Council is currently considering laying on water to the site to replace the frequently topped-up storage tank system. Plans are also under consideration for the future of the area of unused land adjoining the allotment car park. The Mount Hill Allotments Association has expressed interest in creating raised allotment beds for people unable to manage the main plots and would also like to see further car parking and an area devoted to wildlife.


Picture of an otter

How to see an otter on the Coly? Fiona Mathews lives in Colyton but is also a professor of environmental biology and chair of the UK's Mammal Society. She has kindly agreed to contribute a regular column for us on local wildlife issues. In this issue she looks at what chance you might have of seeing an otter on the Coly or on one of the other local rivers. She guides you on the best places to see them and gives you some tell-tale signs on what to look for and what they mean to a species that has been under threat nationally for many years. View Fiona's Column

Saving local species East Devon AONB's species recovery project 'Saving Special Species' is currently focusing on recovery of eight endangered species. Already, volunteers have helped with a county wide survey of eggs of the Brown Hairstreak butterfly, with the Coly valley proving to be quite a hot spot. Their distinctive brilliant white eggs overwinter on blackthorn in hedgerows. Many have been recorded in the hedges of the sheltered valleys of the rivers Axe, Coly and Umborne. Currently, local volunteers are undertaking a violet survey to assess possible distribution of the two other endangered butterflies in East Devon ' the pearl bordered and small pearl bordered fritillary. Here is the full survey. Meanwhile, the AONB's grey long-eared bat project (featured in our last issue) is away to a flying start with nearly 30 landowners in the area signing up for advice on meadow creation or restoration to provide the vital feeding habitat for the species. 'Bats about Bats' - a series of free nocturnal bat detecting walks are planned with local bat experts including two in the Colyton area on 4 and 10 September. Booking is essential - contact Ruth Worsley. (Our photos shows John Walker's SSSI meadow at Bolshayne Farm on the Southleigh Road, Colyton.)


Picture of volunteers bashing the balsam

Himalayan balsam bashing season is upon us once more as local volunteers set about controlling its spread by pulling it up and snapping the stems above the roots. Colonies of the invasive plant can be seen along the River Coly and Umborne Brook as well as in fields, hedgerows and ditches throughout the Coly Valley, all spreading downstream to Seaton Wetlands when the seedpods explode in late July. Considered the UK's tallest growing annual (2-3m), native plants die in its shade leaving soil bare in wintertime and subject to erosion. Entering a watercourse, the soil suffocates oxygenating river plants and subsequently depletes the fish stock which are the food source of many birds. The Parish Council has written to parish councils upstream to ask if they have similar control initiatives in place in the hope that the current problem downstream can be addressed at source. Pictured are volunteers Patricia Slade (centre), Ceri Richards and her children, Izzy and Ethan, bashing at the Peace Memorial Playing Fields.


Picture of 100 year old Joan receiving her greetings

Many happy returns to Joan Kathleen Baxter who turned 100 years of age on June 8th. Mrs Baxter, a resident of Doveridge Care Home in South Street, Colyton, celebrated her centenary with her family and members of the Doveridge staff surrounded by over 120 birthday cards sent to her by local residents including Colyton Primary School students and the pre-school children at Colyton Caterpillars. Care home manager Ramune Juciene said: “It will possibly take a few days to look at them all.” Apart from so many well wishes from within the parish, one card in particular from someone not so local caused Joan's face to light up with joy - that from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. Congratulations Joan!


Picture of a flower garden

Colyton and District Garden Society is looking forward to its long delayed AGM, planned at Colyford Memorial Hall on 21 July with whatever COVID caution measures are appropriate at that time. Members will elect a committee, approve accounts and discuss thoughts for moving forward, upcoming talks and subscriptions. Talks planned for the remainder of the year include: Maggie Haworth, a medical herbalist, on the pharmacy in your garden; Dr Todd Gray on The Art of the Devon Garden; Peter Cantrill from Dayspring Plants on Plants that Excite; and Nick Trimmer from the National Trust on plant conservation. Please watch for posters and more detail in the July issue of the Coly Times. Contact Chairman Sue Price for further info (01297 552362).


Picture of girl on skate board and girl on horse

Having spent most of the national 'Walk to School Week' arriving on foot, pupils at Colyton Primary Academy showed true originality for the campaign's final day. Travel modes included a tractor, skip lorry, horse, go-cart, hover board, broomstick and roller skates. They had been inspired by the example set by Lucy Voysey who had taken advantage of quieter streets during lockdown to ride her horse to school. Two children also took the opportunity to walk from their home to raise awareness for an orphanage in Africa where children walk 10 miles a day to attend a school. Ebi and Neri walked 5 ½ miles from their home one morning ' a super achievement. “This was such a great way to bring our school community together, have fun and raise awareness of walking to school too,” said Head of School Mrs Aerfen Mills. “We have missed our whole-school events this year and this really brought a smile to everyone's faces.'


Picture of the re-elected counc-iors

Alison Stenning Three members have joined the Parish Council following the 6 May election. Alison Stenning (top left) has lived in Colyton for 30 years and raised her family here. She is Chair of the CeramTec site liaison committee, an admin for he Heart of Colyton facebook group and campaigned extensively to help save Colyton Fire Station. Rodney Turner (top right) has lived in Colyton nearly all his life and is married with three sons. He works as a teaching assistant at the Axe Vale Academy and has previously served as a parish councillor for 21 years while also giving long service to Colyton FC and to the primary school as a governor. Andrew Jarman (bottom left) is another councillor who has lived here all his life and is married with four children and six grandchildren. He works locally and is a member of the Nunsford Nutters Carnival Club. Meanwhile Andrew Parr (bottom right) has been re-elected as Chairman. Andrew has been a parish councillor for 25 years and Chairman for the past 13 years. He runs Colyton Tannery which has been his family's business since 1862. Two further vacancies have arisen since the election with the resignations of Eddie Jones and Howard West. The Council is hoping to fill them by co-opting candidates who were not successful in the election.


Regulations that allowed local authorities to hold their meetings remotely were brought to an end by a High Court ruling on May 7. While the broadcast of subsequent Colyton PC meetings has enjoyed limited success due to the necessity for distancing and poor acoustics in the hall, efforts are continuing to find a technical solution. In the meantime, there are a limited number of seats in the public gallery for those who wish to attend. Please contact the Clerk beforehand by emailing or by phoning 01297 552460 as attendance cannot otherwise be permitted. Masks must be worn until seated.


Use the menu at the top of this page to access Agendas and Minutes for Colyton Parish Council and Meeting dates

East Devon District Council planning portaL

Recycling and waste collections

Report a pothole


Photo of Sasha Haines the parish clerkParish 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.