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Colyton Parish Council

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



Welcome to our summer issue, which we have had to delay by a month to cope with other challenges facing members of our little production team. It does, however, give us the opportunity to bring you several items that weren't on the horizon until very recently, not least the Monmouth Rebellion Day. We also, of course, have a round-up from Colyton and Colyford's epic series of events to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee and a look forward towards Colyton Carnival, which returns to our streets in September after a two-year Covid-19 absence. How good it is to see the community functioning at its enthusiastic best again.


Moves to create a separate parish council for Colyford have progressed with East Devon District Council's decision to publish formal proposals with a three-month period for representations. The decision follows a consultation exercise earlier this year that attracted 787 responses (351 were from Colyford and 436 were from Colyton.) Overall, some 56 % were in favour of the change, while 44 % were opposed. In Colyford itself, 76 % were in favour and 25 % opposed. Colyton Parish Council opposed the change becaused it feels that Colyton and Colyford are stronger together. The proposal now going forward for comment envisages seven councillors on the new Colyford Village Council, while Colyton Parish Council would reduce from 13 to 11 councillors. If the plan is ultimately approved, elections to both councils would take place in May 2023. The new boundaries between the two new parishes are under discussion.


people in red and yellow uniforms re enacting the Monmouth rebellion
	   in Colyton Market Place

The story that gave Colyton it's reputation for taking a stand against authority is nearly 340 years old, but it was re-told with plenty of enthusiasm at the town's Monmouth Rebellion Day. People flocked into the Market Place and the churchyard to celebrate the memory of 105 brave local men who fought for their beliefs in an uprising against the army of King James II. Planned in Holland by the Duke of Monmouth to assert his own right to the throne, the insurrection spilled from a landing in Lyme Regis onto the streets of Colyton as locals joined a growing army of nonconformists, artisans and farm workers fighting a series of skirmishes with local militias and regular soldiers. Ultimately defeated, the rebels were tried by the dastardly Judge Jefferies at what become known as the Bloody Assizes and were either hanged or deported. The story was re-created courtesy of The Taunton Garrison Living History Group with a feast of supporting displays and local stalls brought together by 'Visit Colyton.'

Monmouth rebellion actor dressed in red and yellow uniform pointing a rifle Actor taking part in Monmouth rebellion renactment reads from a scroll man dressed in cream robes takes part in Monmouth rebellion re enactment woman dressed in white claps in the street during Monmouth rebellion day re told by actors


Colyton Theatre Group (CTG) is back with a bang, after an enforced absence from the stage for a couple of years due to the pandemic, with a production of not one but three Alan Ayckbourn short comedies at the Feoffees Town Hall, Colyton. Gosforth's Fete, Mother Figure and A Talk in the Park can be enjoyed when you 'bring your own supper' to the performances (licensed bar supplied) to be held 28 - 30 July. Doors open at 7pm; plays commence 8pm. Tickets available from The Little Shop or on the door.

CTG is also hosting an annual Summer School with Theatre Kidz for children aged 7-16yrs (Act Dance Sing) at the Reece Strawbridge Youth Centre 23-25 August 10:00-15:00 when they will work on a production of 2022: A Space Oddity. For details or to book, call Marie 07870 296670. The annual Panto is also back (oh yes it is!) to be staged 30 Nov - 3 Dec 2022. Keep your eyes peeled for auditions coming up August/September for this year's production of Peter Pan.


Greg Rowland pictured next to traditional wooden wheels received MBE for services to heritage crafts

Already in proud possession of a Royal Warrant, Colyton's famous wheelwrights business has now notched up further top level recognition with an MBE for Greg Rowland in the Queen's Birthday Honours. Greg is today's lead for Mike Rowland & Son, which was started by his Dad (now 85) back in 1964. Using traditional methods to make and mend wooden wheels, the firm is one of only two firms that look after carriages for the Queen. Greg, who receives the MBE for services to heritage crafts, says he was 'gobsmacked' to receive the letter advising him of the award. "I feel very honoured and privileged," he says. "I'm proud of my heritage and all that my Dad has instilled in me. The award really isn't for me, its for the business." But it is also a reward for sheer hard work for Greg who somehow combines a 60-hour week in the business with working as a full-time fireman based at Exmouth.


photo showing road leading into Seaway head affordable housing estate

Can YOU help solve one of the most pressing local problems - finding sites for affordable homes? The annual general meeting of the Colyton & Colyford Community Land Trust (CCCLT) was told that the challenge was being frustrated by a dearth of suitable sites like the one at Seaway Head pictured above. Over the past two years, the volunteers who make up the CCCLT board have considered around 20 sites but have so far been unable to identify any that can be progressed. Even small sites offering five or six houses would be considered. Neither the Parish Council nor the Feoffees have been able to come up with suggestions. The problem is further compounded by the current moratorium on construction in the River Axe catchment and a lack of government financial support.

With a new housing needs survey expected to show an increased need and no immediate progress on the CeramTec site, CCCLT Chairman Dr Charles Hill said the state of play was disappointing. "We will continue to welcome suggestions and explore even slender opportunities as we seek to meet a need which is unlikely to diminish," he said. "If unmet, even by the smallest amount, it is likely to be detrimental to the social cohesion and sustainability of a community which we love and are determined to serve."


street scene of the staged exercise by Colyton fire crew

It was a dramatic scene as smoke billowed through the Colcombe Castle while firefighters searched for missing persons. The apparent crisis at the end of March was, however, no more than a staged exercise as the Colyton fire crew brought in colleagues from Seaton, Axminster, Honiton and Sidmouth to test their combined skills. With valued support from Colcombe owner Eddie Dayment, dummies were placed through the building and a special generator used to generate cosmetic smoke. The stations were mobilised by central control in stages. Breathing apparatus crews located and removed the casualties to breathable air using techniques for moving them on stairways. Meanwhile, crews outside set up casualty handling areas while others found a water supply and set up hoses. "Searching and rescuing people from smoke logged buildings is one of our primary roles, so we're always on the lookout for properties due for demolition or renovation where we can practice our techniques while not damaging the property," says Crew Manager Tracy Trelease.


Ian Styles pictured with new Colyton Town Mill development in background

Long term dereliction has given way to a vibrant community at Colyton's Town Mill as builders leave and business takes over. A series of complexities mean that the development took longer than Axminster Property had planned but Managing Director Ian Styles (pictured) is very happy with the outcome. "There were a lot of demands that go with restoring an historic building plus a few unforeseen issues, but the final development has a very nice feel to it," he says. "People have said to me that Colyton lost a beating heart with the closure of CeramTec's premises and I hope Town Mill puts back at least a part of that." He adds: "Our remit has previously been to work in the Axe Valley and it has been a pleasure to step out a bit further to Colyton while still pursuing our policy of investing local money in local infrastructure and using local materials and labour for the benefit of the community." The development still has office space available - a suite in the main mill building and bespoke offices above the other business units. An open day is planned for 10am to 12 noon on 30 July.


Juliette McElligott in her studio space within new Town Mill complex

For Juliette McElligott, the chance to take attractive studio space at Town Mill has brought the opportunity to relocate both her Jewellery School and sewing businesses from home. "It is building nicely after just a few months of trading here," she says. "I am being really well supported by the community and can't thank people enough." A typical three-hour taster session opens up a host of opportunities to create your own jewellery using 100 % recyclable sheet and wire sterling silver. You can develop your own ideas or work from Juliette's portfolio, drawing as much input as you need from her. "I am focusing on people having fun and doing something creative that they never thought they would be able to do," adds Juliette who has recruited two assistants to help her drive the next stage.


picture of the old carved Town Mill door before the renovation

There was little to love about the Old Mill site while it lay derelict - except perhaps the carved door that fronted onto Rosemary Lane. Partly covered with undergrowth, it was the one attractive feature in a frontage that was in serious decline. The good news is that it was salvaged by Axminster Property's building team and is safely stored within Juliette's Jewellery School where she has plans to display it to best effect. While many consider it to be ancient, the reality is that it is more like 30 to 35 years old.


photo showing Gary and Suzi Blackett in their shop Ciclo a bike business

Tucked away in one of the rear units at Town Mill, Gary and Suzi Blackett's Ciclo is a bike business with a difference. Most of its customers come by appointment to have middle to high end cycles built, fitted to their own specifications, upgraded and serviced. The bikes they work with are typically of Italian manufacture in steel, aluminium or carbon fibre. "We aim to offer a very personalised service that involves spending quite a lot of time with our customers," says Gary. "We are styling it as a cycle studio rather than a retail shop." Gary and Suzi chose Town Mill for the quality of the development and the convenience of being able to work close to their home in Colyton.


One in 25 people in Devon currently have COVID-19 according to latest statistics (26 July). The figures also show that there were 166 patients in Devon hospitals with the virus last week and that ten deaths were registered in which COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate. Meanwhile, 72.4 % of people aged 12 and over in the county have had three doses of vaccination. Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon says: "We are seeing a gradual climb again in the number of people in Devon reporting a positive coronavirus test. However, with fewer people testing, the actual numbers of people with the virus is likely to be higher than is reported."


a photo showing two people enjoying the food available for the Jubilee celebrations an

The Queen's Platinum Jubilee was quite a celebration and (as you would expect) Colyton and Colyford did it well. In Colyton, a picnic table stretched right along the length of Church Street, and in Colyford the village hall was packed. From schoolchildren dancing round a maypole and paper boat racing on the Coly to a 'Party in the Park' with a beacon glowing in the distance and much more - it was an unforgettable long weekend. Very well done to all those who made it happen.

mother and child enjoying the Platinum Jubilee celebrations a Colyton resident waving a flag for the Platinum Jubilee a man cooking burgers for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations the long table set up along Church street for Jubilee party a decorated shop window in red and blue to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee a line of people along the bridge over the Coly river celebrating the Platinum Jubilee view inside the Colyton Town hall which was decorated for the Jubilee festivities on the Peace Memorial playing fields for the Platinum Jubilee bouncing castles the hills around Colyton with a beacon in the distance to celebrate the Jubilee people at a long table celebrating the Queens Platinum jubilee


one of Mike Ilsley's paintings of some old farm  buildings

We love to use the newsletter to focus on local people and their passions. For this issue, we invited Mike Ilsley - well known to many of us as a creative mastermind behind Colyton's street banners - to write us a column about his wider artistic work. As he explains in his column, Mike has fitted a 30-year art journey around a career as a primary headteacher and latterly an advisor to schools facing inspections. Specialising in lino prints, Mike's creations flow from his garden shed in Queen Street.


photo showing Mike Ilsley's poster

Some of Mike's work will be on sale at an upcoming Seaton & District Arts Society exhibition at the Gateway, Seaton from 6 to 14 August, for which he also designed the poster shown here. The society attracts members from all along the coast from Lyme Regis to Sidmouth, including several from Colyton.


photo of the new landlords of Gerrards Arms pub Austen Finch. Katja Lock and daughter Penny

On Sunday 17 July the new landlords of The Gerrard Arms, Austen Finch and Katja Lock, were given quite the welcome. With a fresh lick of deep green paint on the bar walls and a collection of mugs now hanging from the ceiling, the pub positively heaved. It's a new venture for Austen and Katja who arrived with their 12-year-old daughter Penny, Jack Russell Burt, chocolate Lab Coco and Flash the cat from the village of Netley Abbey, just outside Southhampton.

"We're looking forward to becoming part of the community" said Katja, "So far, we've been enjoying every minute of it." The Colyton Rebel Ukulele Strummers will still be serenading in the bar on Tuesday evenings and there's boules as usual in the garden. Come the winter, skittles and crib night will resume.

We wish outgoing landlords, Dave and Kaz Randall, all the very best on their travels and being able to spend more time with their grandchildren, and every future success to Austen and Katja. Welcome .... and cheers.


photo of Colyton tennis courts

The Wimbledon Championships are now over and enthusiasm for tennis is as great as ever, so the planned refurbishment of the Colyton courts will come as good news to many. The courts are to have new nets and posts plus the concrete footpath is to be extended so they can be accessed by wheelchair. Court hire: Colyton Stores (Premier), Market Place, Colyton EX24 6JR
tel: 01297 551043
£5 per hour for adults and £1 for children (under 12s to be accompanied by an adult).


photo showing a view of 4 trams on the tracks waiting to collect passengers

What a day for the tramway! A 'Tramathon' at the beginning of July saw all 12 operational trams out in service with up to nine on display at Colyton Station at one time. With sunshine by the end of a variable day, the event was live streamed to over 50,000 people. Never short of innovation and community benefit, the tramway's upcoming schedule includes a Colyton Heritage Walk on 13 September - tickets are £14.95, which includes all day travel on the tramway plus historic tours of Colyton. There's also 'The Quiet Tram' from 6pm on 18 August, 15 September and 13 October for adults and children with additional needs who find noise and crowds challenging. It operates after hours with reduced lighting, minimal announcements and no queues.

Meanwhile, the tramway has announced the opening of two new halts along the 52-year-old line. Seaton Wetlands Halt and Riverside Halt at Seaton will be officially open for passengers from August 1 bringing the total number of stops from three to five along the three-mile line. The Riverside Depot will now be accessible via a new deck constructed above the tidal River Axe Estuary. This will allow not only a view inside the tramway's depot, and a chance to see shunting of trams and engineering but is a vantage point to view the wildlife of the estuary. The Seaton Wetlands Halt will allow visitors access to the nature reserve, its 4km of trails and the wildlife that inhabits them.


Colyton school children dancing around a May Pole


'This has been a very busy term for the children at Colyton Primary Academy. Some of our highlights have been walk to school week culminating in children coming in a crazy way, trip to the Mosque in Exeter, Sport's Day, Maypole dancing on the Church Green, taking part in Jubilee and Monmouth Rebellion activities within the town, year 5 & 6 children had a live zoom with a real Lord from the House of Lords and our Hopes and Dreams week. This was a week to inspire our children about their future. We invited parents in to talk about their jobs and we welcomed nurses, vets, web designers, artists, musicians, a motor racing organiser, animal psychologists and farmers. It was a great way for children to see how their learning now will prepare them for their own aspirations. We finish the term with the year 6 play; A Midsummer Night's Dream, cream tea for our helpers and the traditional leavers assembly. What a super end to a super year!'


picture of the Holyford Woods leaflet

There's loads to appreciate in Holyford Woods, and this new leaflet from the Holyford Woods Trust and the East Devon District Council Countryside Service will help you to appreciate it all. An ancient woodland that has existed since at least AD1600, Holyford Woods has quite a story to tell. There are signs all over the woodland that man has been using it for hundreds of years including banks that were dug to mark historic management boundaries. The trees also tell a story - oak and ash for exceptional strength, alder for coppicing and clog making and hazel for hurdles and wattles. The woods have provided food, shelter, fuel and materials for people and wildlife for centuries.


The scale of this quarterly newsletter has grown way beyond what was anticipated by our volunteer team. We would now love some help to maintain it at this level. If you like the idea of researching and writing some short news items please email and we will call you to chat it through. It would also be a great help to find someone who either knows MailChimp - the system we use to build and distribute the newsletter - or would be interested to learn it. It's very straightforward.


You may have noticed Colyton's cheerful new look Salvation Army clothing bank at Umborne Bridge (Green Bridge). But did you know there are two other clothing banks in Colyton? There's a large yellow one outside the Fire Station on South Street by the junction with Govers Meadow in aid of The Fire Fighters Charity which supports injured firefighters, and also a green Planet Aid UK one in The Garden Shop car park which collects in aid of the poorest people in the world. All three are very worthy charities, so if your chosen bank is full please make use of another one to deposit your used clothes and shoes as anything left outside the clothing banks is generally discarded and will go to landfill.

a photo showing the recycling bin next to the Umborne Bridge photo showing the yellow clothing recycling bin near the Fire station green recycling bin located in Garden shop car park
Top left: Umborne Bridge
Top right: Fire Station
Second Row Left: Garden Shop


with Crispin Denny


We are all grateful that the WCs in Dolphin Street are fully open again and will remain so until March 2023. After that time the future is not so rosy and may result in the facility being lost as EDDC cannot afford to maintain and service the building. The Parish Council is considering various options to maintain it as an important town asset. You may not be aware that between 9am and 9pm there is an accessible WC open to the public at the Colyford end of the Sports Pavilion. That facility is currently being considered for refurbishment to bring it up to contemporary standards including new sanitary ware and automatic lighting.


The Parish Council is aware of the present pothole situation and although some works were carried out recently around the library area, there remain plenty in need of urgent attention. The council has regular meetings with county councillor Marcus Hartnell who is our link to the Highways Department of Devon County Council. However, if you wish to report a pothole, please use this website.


There is currently a nationwide drive to make 20 mph speed limits a much more common feature in urban areas. The strategy is outlined here. At its July meeting, the Parish Council was updated by Cllr Hartnell who said that only around twenty such speed reduction proposals would be taken forward in Devon. Unfortunately, this does not include Colyton and Colyford.


Above the allotments is an area of land known as Millfield that belongs to the Parish Council. The site has recently been cleared of brambles and is now the subject of a planning application to create a wild flower meadow with new tree planting, raised allotment beds and seating. In addition, the existing allotment holders parking area will be increased from six to 12 spaces. Meanwhile, the newly installed South West Water mains supply is working well, ensuring that there is enough water for all the allotment holders, particularly in the recent hot weather. The Parish Council would however, urge that sheds and greenhouses are fitted with collecting butts and that all water is used wisely.


photo showing Tom's Tacos food truck which is located by river

Tom's Tacos has been a welcome addition to Umborne Bridge and will now serve breakfast from 9am till noon and lunch until 2.30pm from Wednesday to Sunday throughout the summer. Tess Howard, owner of the little food truck parked opposite Finn Studio and coffee house, caters for everyone, including those on gluten-free and vegetarian diets, using authentic Mexican soft corn tacos, all-day sourdough toasties, local fish and meat. Says Tess: "It's been really nice to be part of the Colyton artisan quarter and we all look forward to summer by the river and to seeing you down here with us. So do we, Tess, so do we!


photo showing recently cleared area of foot paths

with Hugh Westacott

Now that Midsummer Day is but a memory, it's not only the crops that are ripening in the fields surrounding Colyton. Several of the enclosed paths (those that have hedges or fences on both sides) have become choked with tall weeds and have become difficult to use. It's easy to keep stiles and footbridges clear of vegetation using hand tools, but enclosed paths require strimmers which is what Michael Hackman used when cleared the concrete path at Heathayne Bridge. This path is a section of the East Devon Way that runs through the parish from Purlbridge to the Musbury boundary and brings a lot of business to the cafes and pubs of Colyton. It's good to know that all the gates, stiles and footbridges on the Colyton section of this long-distance path are in good condtion and are clear of encroaching vegetation.

The enclosed track, which is actually a public road, that runs from Nunford Dairy to the parish boundary near the river Axe had the drainage improved and was resurfaced with crushed stone in July last year. But when I checked exactly a year later, the noxious weeds had returned so that only a narrow path remains (see attached photo). Even this was blocked in places, until I managed to clear a narrow path through it. When I returned a couple of days later to complete the job I discovered that someone had used machinery to clear the full width of the track. Thanks are due to this public sprited person.


picture of Anne Swithinbank gardening expert at the Colyford Memory Cafes garden party

Gardening expert and broadcaster Anne Swithinbank was amongst the guests at Colyton and Colyford Memory Cafe's garden party at Springfield House. Entertainment was provided by 'Afterglow' who are members of the Budleigh Salterton Mail Voice Choir and there were stalls, amusements, teas and cakes. The Colyton Memory Cafe meets 2pm - 4pm on the second Wednesday of each month at the Reece Strawbridge Centre and on the fourth Wednesday of each month at Colyford Memorial Hall. A member of the Devon Memory Cafe Consortium, it offers an informal and friendly environment for those experiencing memory loss or have been diagnosed with the early stages of dementia plus their carers. For further details call 07517 054 166 or contact


street scene from Colyton carnival as it makes its way through Colyton

Colyton Carnival is back after a two-year gap - and it could do with some help to make it the community spectacle we all love. The carnival procession on the evening of Saturday 10 September will bring a week of activities to a climax. Volunteers are, however, needed not just as procession marshals but also for the Petticoat Lane Market in particular. If you would like to play your part please email Julie Hay.

Here is the provisional line-up subject to confirmation:

  • Sat 3 Sept - Coffee morning (Town Hall). Crowning of Carnival Princess & Prince
  • Sun 4 Sept - Nunsford Nutter's Car Treasure Hunt
  • Mon 5 Sept - Colyton Theatre Group Singalong (Town Hall)
  • Tues 6 Sept - Colyton Football Club Quiz Night (Town Hall)
  • Thurs 8 Sept - Carnival Bingo (Town Hall);
    Herbert's Funfair (Shiphay Farm - runs until Saturday)
  • Sat 10 Sept - Lunches served (Town Hall 12:30 on);
    Petticoat Lane Market (Dolphin Street Car Park);
    Silent Auction (Reece Strawbridge Youth Centre);
    Carnival Procession - (8pm).
  • Sun 11 Sept - Church Service of Thanksgiving (St Andrew's);
    Big Carnival Draw and Shop Window Display Competition results announced (Town Hall - 4pm,
    tea and cakes provided by the Southleigh Fayre Committee)


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 Sasha Haines the Colyton Parish clerk

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. 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.