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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 2022

This ninth issue issue marks two years since we launched the newsletter. We have covered much over that period and have tried to assist the flow of information about key local issues from within the Parish Council and beyond. But are we covering what YOU want to read? If you have ideas for news items or even for longer features (we can run some items as an attachment) do please let us know. And if we haven't yet covered your community organisation or written about your business tell us that too. Do also please encourage friends and neighbours to join our subscription list so that they get their copy direct via email. Contact details for the newsletter team (as well as for the Parish Council) are at the foot of each issue.


a picture of donated goods for Ukraine

picture of donations collection basket in grocery store picture of the Ukrainian flag with a dove imposed in the background

It is no surprise to see big-hearted Colyton and Colyford doing their bit for Ukraine, not least in signing up for the Government's Homes for Ukraine scheme. Donations of essentials - from blankets to medical supplies - have been heading out to the stricken country via a variety of initiatives. Anton's Butchers has been a collecting point for a friend delivering to Ukraine. Premier / Colyton Stores has a simple drop off tray for customers (see photro). The Friends of St Michael's Chapel of Ease, Colyford (a member of the Holyford Mission Community) held a successful fundraising coffee morning at Colyford Memorial Hall where they raised £1,451 serving homemade cakes and refreshments, with a silent auction for a bottle of fine wine and selling raffle tickets with prizes donated by local businesses. The Wheelwright Inn ran a sell-out benefit gig featuring three live acts and raised a further £2,625 for the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal where the Government will match the funds raised. Well done everyone, whether mentioned her or not. Our community is never short on kindness.


Every household in the parish should have received a questionnaire from East Devon District Council asking for views on the proposal that Colyford forms an independent Colyford Village Council (CVC). Following a special meeting of Colyton Parish Council (CPC) in February (and by the time this Newsletter is published) CPC will have sent every household a statement giving reasons highlighting the considerable implications for the overall parish. Meanwhile, the Colyford Governance Review Steering Group has produced two flyers, which were distributed to Colyford Residents in mid-January and early February 22. The second flyer is available below. The views of all residents across the parish are important and all are encouraged to return the questionnaire to EDDC by 4 May 2022. For answers to any queries or comments, please contact the Clerk or any Councillor. The Colyford Governance Review Steering Group can be contacted by emailing Julian Thompson or John Vieth.


  • Stage 1: (current) - initial submissions. Closes on 4 May 2022
  • Stage 2: Consideration of submissions / drafting of proposals - May 2022
  • Stage 3: Draft proposals published for consultation - June to Aug 2022
  • Stage 4: Submissions considered / final proposals - Sept / Oct 2022
  • Publication of recommendation and approval by cabinet - Nov / Dec 2022
  • Parish Council elections - May 2023




On Saturday 26th March, the Friends of Colyton Library were delighted to welcome Simon Armitage, Poet Laureate, to Colyton as one of only eight participants in the C-D leg of a ten-year alphabetical tour of British libraries. Joining Simon in the library were three prize-winning poets from local secondary schools who read their winning entries on the theme of 'Our Future, Our Planet' The winner of an art competition on the same theme had his artwork displayed as a backdrop. The event was live streamed to St Andrew's Church. All winning entries in the poetry and art competitions were on display and refreshments were enjoyed by all. The event could also be viewed live online. More details here.

picture showing Poet Laureate Simon Armitage and several winners of poetry competition

Above (left to right): Poetry and Art Winners - Scarlett Timlett-Sheehan, Ethel Short, Simon Armitage, Faith Boxer and Alex Gibbons.


picture in purple depicting the Queens Platinum Jubilee

Preparations are well underway in the Parish to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee this year, with a focus on the four day Bank Holiday, 2nd - 5th June.

Colyford kicks things off with a Cream Tea at the Memorial Hall to raise funds for its celebrations on Saturday, 23 April, 3pm - 5pm.

The Axe Vale Orchestra has been invited by the Feoffees to play well known patriotic numbers at Colyton Town Hall on Sunday, 22 May, 3:30pm - 5pm, followed by tea and cakes.

Colyton Primary schoolchildren will dance around the Maypole and hold a Tea Party on the Church Green on Thursday, 26th May.

1st Colyton Brownies are planning a Castle Door Trail, 27th May to 29th August, around the windows of Colyton and Colyford with 70 painted doors and clues, one for each year of the Queen's reign.

Get the bunting out as there are to be Best Dressed Window and Best Dressed House competitions! New bunting, supplied by the 100 Club, will be draped across the town by our firefighters.

Archive footage of past royal events is to be shown in the Town Hall on Friday, 3 June, by Tea & Memories along with the Colyton Parish History Society, and there will also be displays from the Primary School.

Church Street is to be closed to traffic for a street party on Saturday, 4 June, 12 - 2:30pm, and tables will be set out for everyone to share their picnics and Jubilee cakes. Then we are all invited to the Peace Memorial Playing Fields for a 'Party in the Park', 6 - 10pm, to listen to local bands and enjoy a BBQ. At 9pm, the beacons will be lit to mark the Queen's 70 years upon the throne. The Pavilion bar will be open but don't forget church in the morning!

A church service takes place at St Andrew's on Sunday, 5 June, 9:30am, and on Friday, 24 June, 6 - 9:30pm, the Feoffees invite us to bring a midsummer picnic to the Peace Memorial Playing Fields for an evening with the Arcadia Jazz band. Again, the Pavilion bar will be open.

We have all been asked to create Scarecrows featuring celebrities or famous people from Her Majesty's reign. What fun! Other plans include the possibility of a Royal Quiz at the Colyton Memorial Social Club, a 'Duck Race' from Chantry to Umborne Bridges, a Big Breakfast and Street Party in Colyford, face painting, entertainers and much more besides, so look out for a programme once all events have been confirmed.

If you would like to volunteer help or to sponsor an event, please contact Sasha Haines: or 01297 552460. Thank you!




picture of young Colyton school pupil picture of 2 school girls practising the piano accordion
picture showing school childrens drawings on small cards photo of some decorated pebbles painted by school children

It has been a busy term at Colyton Primary Academy. The focus has continued to be on the children's mental health by embracing Children's Mental Health week as well as spending time keeping safe with the NSPCC and learning about Stranger Danger in our 'Clever Never Goes' campaign. Some of our older children took part in Bikeability to be safe on the roads and we all had great fun dressing up for World Book Day. We held our Science Fair as part of National Science and Engineering week in the town hall and it was super to see so many children exhibit their experiments and get the chance to share them with the town - thank you for popping in to see their hard work. Some of our year 3 & 4 children also spent the day at Axe Valley improving their music skills; they were highly praised for their listening skills and beautiful singing.

As well as our learning about the Anglo Saxons, Ancient Greeks and Romans, looking at hot and cold places and the learning about all of the home nations we have been busy 'flourishing'. The children on our Ethos Committee wanted to give something back to the people of the town so they decorated pebbles of positivity, made pom poms of hope, took part in a litter pick and read to the pre-school children. This was their way of saying 'thank you'. They were also hugely involved in planting some trees as part of preparations for the Queen's Jubilee in the summer.


photo showing Colyton school children planting trees as part of Queens Green Canopy Platinum Jubiliee celebration

Pupils from Colyton Primary School dug in for the town's future when they accepted a Parish Council invitation to plant 18 trees along a hedge bank belonging to Mr and Mrs James Buckley near Heathayne crossroads. The trees are native species given by the Devon Wildlife Trust under the Devon Treescapes scheme and include oak, rowan, birch, hazel and wild cherry. The trees have been provided with guards and will be watered monthly through the summer. The council wishes to thank the school, handyman Arthur Parsons and all those who helped. It aims to dedicate the planting to the Queen's Green Canopy Platinum Jubilee celebration.

photo showing the Queens Platinum Jubilee oak tree

The Queen's Platinum Jubilee Oak was planted at the Picnic Site on 11th March as a gift to the Parish from East Devon District Council watched on by both the Chair and Leader of EDDC, Councillors Ian Thomas (right) and Paul Arnott (second right) respectively. Parish Councillors Crispin Denny and Alison Stenning also attended the planting of the fine Oak sapling. A commemorative plaque is to follow.


photo showing a view of the River Coly and fields beyond

How the Coly looks after the clearance work - and (below) before the work

photo showing how fallen trees had rerooted themselves in river Coly another photo which shows branches clogging Coly river flow

It came as a shock to most of us when the banks of the River Coly were cleared at the lower end of the Peace Memorial Playing Fields towards the end of January. However, this necessary work was undertaken after many years of neglect which had allowed some fallen willows to reroot themselves midstream, clogging the flow of the river and creating the perfect environment for the colonisation of invasive Himalayan balsam which can now be accessed more easily in order to eradicate. Concerns were raised by some residents about the possible loss of wildlife habitat. But with the root systems left intact, the trees will soon regrow and provide a much healthier environment for creatures of the riverbank. There were also concerns about the burning of wood on site. However, they were controlled fires aimed at reducing the amount of fuel burnt in transporting it elsewhere and is the normal practise in good countryside management.

Now that the river has been unplugged and we can see its curve once more, it is hoped the severity of the inevitable annual flooding of the playing fields will be reduced as the water is free to make its way downstream.


photo showing Lydia Deacon surveying the river water

Would you like to do your bit to help ensure the quality of the River Coly and the state of its wildlife habitats? The Westcountry Rivers Trust is actively looking for local volunteers willing to do simple surveys as part of a wider campaign to ensure the resilience of rivers right across the region. The Trust's Westcountry Citizen Science Investigations (CSI) team of volunteers carries out water monitoring surveys right across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and West Dorset. As a CSI volunteer, you would contribute to the resilience of our region's rivers, their habitats and wildlife, by carrying out regular river monitoring. You will start by taking observational surveys, using the Westcountry CSI form. You'll be able to record information on plants, wildlife, river condition and visible pollution. You can find out how to join the CSI team here. Pictured is the Trust's Evidence and Engagement Officer, Lydia Deacon, who helps to run the CSI scheme.



picture showing plan for houses on the former CeramTec site

Colyton Parish Council has raised several key points with WainHomes SouthWest over its preliminary plans for the former CeramTec site. The comments, made in a letter to the company, relate to a preliminary plan shown to the council in December in advance of a full 'reserved matters' planning application.

The council has queried:

  • The play park proposed in the lower area of the site next to Sidmouth Road. It points out that there are three existing play parks in Colyton and one in Colyford. The area could, says the council, be left in its current tarmaced state as much needed parking for residents of the site, the primary school and the town.
  • A proposed pond, which would fill with water during the winter but dry out in the summer. While welcoming the biodiversity, the council worries that it could become boggy and a breeding ground for mosquitoes. If adopted it should be fenced for safety.
  • The failure to provide three-bed affordable homes which it says are much needed.
  • The intention to fit properties with air sourced heat pumps could, says the council, produce a constant hum which would need to be attenuated.


photo showing a pothole in the street

With the winter having done its worst, now is the season for potholes. Insurer Admiral says that claims for damage caused by potholes went up almost 40% over the past five years, and the RAC says the number of callouts due to the pesky holes had reached 'ridiculous' levels. Meanwhile, Devon County Council says it has increased the number of gangs tackling potholes on the highway network. To qualify for repair, a Devon pothole has to meet criteria that class it as a safety defect and the teams will do a temporary or permanent repair depending on the road category. It says it will repair potholes that have a 40mm (4cm) vertical edge and are 300 mm (30cm) wide.



photo showing the members of Memory Cafe team who have received the Quality Assurance Mark award

Colyton & Colyford Memory Cafe has been awarded a Quality Assurance Mark by Devon Memory Cafe Consortium. The award recognises its role in providing health and well-being services and activities, and confirms that provision is of the highest standard, conforming to all health and safety guidance. The group has worked closely as a team to achieve the award, which represents many volunteer hours of meetings, discussions and workshops to bring together the evidence required. "It is a truly great feeling for us all to be positively recognised for all we strive to do in our community, and we feel sure that the community will share our delight," says the Memory Cafe team.


The local police team has warned of an increase in thefts from motor vehicles over recent months with a particular trend in stealing catalytic converters and tools from vans. The advice provided to us by PC Beth Salter and Police Community Support Officer Mike McGauley is to ensure that tools are marked so that they are easily identifiable, ideally by engraving your name or post-code or by using forensic marking. "Fit additional locks on your van and consider fitting a monitoring system in your van to alert you of intruders," they say. "Try to park in a well-lit area and if it's covered by CCTV, that's even better!" Another popular solution to safeguard catalytic converters involves special padlocks which strap the converter to the chassis, and also etching the number plate into the converter. The Seaton-based police team are also receiving regular complaints about speeding in both Colyton and Colyford. Drivers have been reported in Colyford and more checks are planned in Colyton.


diagram showing how coronavirus cases have increased in Devon

COVID-19 cases have been soaring across Devon in recent weeks. Latest figures show a further upward spike to 10,450 cases in the week to 20 March with 13 deaths. In the defined local area of Kilmington, Colyton and Uplyme there had been 92 cases over the previous seven days which was a 50 per cent increase on the previous week. That put the cases per 100,000 people locally at 1,095 compared to a national average of just over 800. Some 92.4 per cent of people had had their first vaccine dose, 89.5 per cent had had two doses and 80.3 per cent three doses. Devon's Director of Public Health, Steve Brown, is still urging people to stay at home if they feel ill with coronavirus or symptoms of other illnesses that could be infectious.


photo showing Colyton firefighters using their rope skills photo showing Colyton firefighters using their skills to rescue a young boy who was stuck in mud

The security of a fire station that is close to home is a valuable one whatever emergency you are facing. But you might not know that the local team has a special capability when it comes to rescues that require skilled use of ropes. As Crew Manager Tracy Trelease explains, the close familiarity with rope work is an historic one that arose from the enthusiasm shown by the local firefighters. "When it comes to line working most stations are classified as level 1 and carry equipment to keep their crew safe when working near embankments and other high points. We are level 2 which means that we carry extra equipment so we can lower a team member down to a casualty, administer first aid if necessary, and then lower the person to safety." Our photos shows a training situation and a real rescue over the border in Dorset involving a boy who became stuck in mud.


photo showing a view of several plots on the Colyton allotments

Many of you will unfortunately have been inconvenienced by the closure of the Lishams Drain road leading to Shute and Whitford. This was necessary to install a new water main for the allotments, which is now complete. New allotment contracts are to be issued shortly giving details of plot and water charges for the 44 existing allotment holders covering the 75 quarter plots. In addition, proposals are under consideration for the Millfield site, just above the allotments. This could include additional parking, raised allotment beds, a wild area and additional drainage to divert spring water which currently crosses the access track. Final details are expected shortly.


photo of Sue Brown from Colyton Garden Shop donating fertiliser to Mike Ilsley and other allotment gardeners

Colyton's allotment gardeners have said a big thank you to Sue Brown of Colyton Garden Shop for a big lift off to the new season. Finding herself with stock that she hadn't ordered, Sue offered a large helping of organic fertiliser pellets and foliar feeds via Mike Ilsley who shipped it all to the allotments with a helping hand from Phil Bayliss. "We couldn't believe our good fortune," says Mike. "We have been able to share sufficient fertiliser to keep many allotment holders going through the 2022 growing season. Better still, it's all organic, which is the route many of us try to stick to." Always a ready supporter of the community, Sue says she was also delighted to free up some space for new stock.


photo of Roger and Emma Laughton standing outside their Dolphin House Gallery shop

It is 32 years since Roger and Emma Laughton moved to Colyton from London to set up Dolphin House Gallery. Their family connection with Hawkchurch meant they already had roots in this beautiful area. Roger's etchings of landscapes, wildflowers and butterflies are now in collections all over the world, and many other southwest artists have had shows at the gallery. During this time Roger also provided framing for all kinds of work. While raising their family here, Emma became a reader (licensed lay minister) in the local churches and also worked as administrator. After living above the shop they are now happy to be moving to a lovely new home, still in Colyton. They look forward to more time for painting, patchwork, gardening and other interests, and they wish to thank everybody for all their goodwill and custom over the years.


photo showing a close up view of a  bee on a flower

In our last issue we introduced you to an amazing set of dragonfly photos by Phil Hutt who lives in Colyton and is Chief Executive of the Dartmoor Preservation Association, one of the oldest environmental and amenity bodies in the UK. For this issue, Phil has kindly given us some equally stunning macro photos of hoverflies, the majority of them taken in his own garden during lockdown. As he explains in our nature column, only wild bees are more important as pollinators.



photo of councillor Andrew Mills

I have lived in Colyford for four years after living in Seaton since 2010. I moved here with my partner while based at RNAS Yeovilton having spent over ten years in the Royal Navy, predominantly serving on 846 Naval Air Squadron, Commando Helicopter Force. I currently work as a self-employed gardener. My voluntary roles include sitting on the governing board of Seaton Primary School as health and safety lead and vice chair of safeguarding. As a family, we are often to be found enjoying the beautiful area we live in, either bike rides in the Seaton Wetlands or paddleboarding from the Yacht Club and enjoying a barbecue on the beach in summer. I have been a member of the parish council since September and thoroughly enjoy being involved in the processes of improving the parish, be it improvements of communal areas in Colyton or the introduction of traffic calming measures to reduce the excessive speeding on our roads, especially the A3052 through Colyford.


photo of Colyton public toilets in Dolphin Street that are to be closed

At the February meeting of the Parish Council, EDDC Councillor Helen Parr reported that the council's cabinet had recommended that the public toilets in Dolphin Street, Colyton be closed, though they will be funded for a further 12 months. EDDC is having 'cash flow' difficulties and, we are told, the Colyton WCs are amongst the least used when compared to other public WCs in the area.The closure plan comes despite strong objections to the proposals, which also involve similar closures to WCs in six other towns and villages. A potential alternative is the for the Parish Council to take over the building and funding, possibly with a grant from EDDC. Details have yet to be finalised.


photo showing fruit vegetables and food items that have been donated to the Colyton SAVE food hub

The Colyton SAVE food hub, known to many as the Community Larder, is now well established at the Reece Strawbridge centre on Thursdays (8.30 pm) and Sundays (4 pm) as well as outside Finns Studio on Fridays (9am). The local effort is part of a larger network offering food across five communities, jointly collecting food from Tesco and the Coop each night. Says local coordinator Yvonne Taylor: "Many of the people coming to us say they feel bad about taking free food but it will otherwise be thrown away so we are literally saving the food. When we get it the first sort is for food suitable to go to the Food Banks and other community groups and then anything that is left is available free to anyone else."


photo of local walking group in countryside

If you're looking for some exercise in a beautiful landscape then read on; we are the Meanderers of Colyton, a local walking group. We are a mixed group of singles and couples that meet each Tuesday morning, walk for four to six miles and very much enjoy an optional pub lunch when safe to do so. We offer a leisurely walk, wonderful views and good friendship. We can often be found walking the footpaths and lanes around Colyton but sometimes stray as far as Abbotsbury in the East to Exmouth to the West. Our walks vary considerably, from taking the spectacular coastal path to exploring hidden treasures further inland. The group is very Covid respectful and enjoy fresh air and moderate exercise. If you're a local person and interested in coming along then please contact John.


with Hugh Westacott

photo of Hugh Westacott

Flooding on the right of way that runs from Nunford Dairy to the Musbury parish boundary has still not been resolved. The crushed stone surface is a great improvement providing a firm and flood-free surface, but the new footbridge was swept away in the winter storms and has been replaced by a stepping stone. An inspection revealed that there is increased flooding at the Musbury parish boundary with water 7 cm deep across the width of the path.

There has been some friction between the landholders who farm along the north and east banks of the Coly and those walkers who fail to keep to the well-used and waymarked public paths. On a recent walk between Heathayne Bridge and Chantry Bridge a group of 15 walkers was spotted ignoring the signpost and waymarks and trespassing along the river bank. Walkers can also be seen trespassing in the fields between the Umborne Bridge and Colyford. These fields are privately owned and trespassers damage the pasture that farmers rely on to feed their animals.

Farmers have trimmed their hedges in preparation for spring so gates and stiles should be clear of encroaching vegetation. But it won't be long before briars, brambles and nettles start invading the path furniture, so I urge walkers to carry secateurs to snip off the new growth, and a stout stick to beat back nettles and cow parsley. Himalayan Balsam is shallow rooted and can be pulled out. Alternatively, break off the stem below the first joint which will prevent it seeding.


As a Parish Council, we receive what are known as 'Section 106 monies' back from EDDC related to new building developments. EDDC has provided around £19,000 with the stipulation that it is spent on sport and recreation. CPC has approved a new trim trail to be placed at the Peace Memorial Playing Fields between the play park and the Sport Centre. It will consist of a series of climbing activities connected by ropes forming a horizontal climbing wall, all supported from timber posts. Meanwhile, the Parish Council has recently improved the skate park at the playing fields by adding concrete strips to the base of the skate ramps which were starting to separate from the tarmac. We hope this has improved things for all budding Sky Browns.


photo of Charlie Maddox next to Parish Petals window display

Now that Chandos Books has sadly closed in Market Place, The Lantern Charity Shop has taken it over to sort out and store your donations so the Sunday School Building can be used once more for its original purpose. But keep your eyes peeled for some lovely floral displays from Parish Petals in the shop windows along Vicarage Street in the near future! Charlie Maddox became a freelance events florist, growing and selling British seasonal flowers here in the heart of Colyton, shortly after landing her role as the St Andrew's Church 'flower lady'. Now in its second year, Parish Petals cultivates many of the beautiful flowers Charlie uses for weddings, events and even the odd market stall. "My first year was a whirl", says Charlie, "and I finished the year doing Christmas wreath workshops. Now I'm hoping to bring something more raw and natural to the florist world as I heavily promote grown-not-flown blooms!" Contact Charlie here.


photo of street view in Colyton with carnival procession

After a hiatus of three years due to the pandemic, the Carnival is set to roll through the streets of Colyton once more this September, but it needs your help. From admin to procession marshals and helping sort donations for the Carnival Market, practical jobs need to be done if the carnival is to continue. If you think you would like to help put the show on the road, meetings of the Carnival Committee take place every 4th Tuesday of the month @ 7:45pm in St John Hall or you can contact the Chair, Phillip Hartnell, on 07780 516808.


A new list of groups, clubs and societies in the parish is being compiled. If you would like to add yours, please send the details to Kaz Rhodes including when and where you meet plus who to contact. The last list was created in 2017 by Coly Link and a copy is kept in The Little Shop, but much has changed in the past five years and it's very helpful for everyone to know how they can pursue their hobbies and interests locally.


Colyton Parish Council

Allotments ... Cemetery ... Benches ... Footpath maintenance ... Gardens ... War Memorial (grass cutting) ... Local Grants ... Neighbourhood Plan ... Picnic Site ... Community Woodland ... Peace Memorial Playing Fields & Pavilion ... Tennis Courts ... Reece Strawbridge Youth Centre... Road Green & Playground ... Colyford Play Park ... Churchyard (grass cutting)


Benefits & council tax ... Car parking ... Community safety ... Elections and electoral registration ... Environmental maintenance and dangerous structures ... Flyposting ... Food hygiene & safety ... Parks & recreation, countryside, trees ... Housing & homeless ... Licensing ... Litter, graffiti & fouling clearance, street cleaning ... Pest control ... Public toilets ... Waste collections & recycling.


Fallen trees ... Flooding / drainage ... Highways inc drains, potholes ... Libraries & archives ... Parking on road, parking enforcement ... Public transport ... Recycling centres ... Registration (births, marriages, deaths) ... Rights of ways ... Social services ... Trading standards ... Traffic management ... Wildlife guidelines.


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 Parish Clerk Sasha Haines

Parish Clerk Sasha Haines can be contacted at the Town Hall from 10.30 to 12.00 on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. She can also be contacted by email or phone as shown at the foot of this newsletter.

This newsletter has been produced by a small group made up of parish councillors Crispin Denny and Alison Stenning plus volunteers Barrie Hedges, Hugh Westacott, and Kaz Rhodes. To subscribe to future issues or to submit ideas please email us at Your personal details will be confined to this use and will not be shared.