Latest News

Important notice regarding the Post Office ‘hosted’ service in the Parish Hall.

The Post Office is in the process of upgrading their internet technology. However, whilst disconnecting their current connection they have now found that the replacement protocol is not compatible with their nominated service provider for West Down and the surrounding area.  Unfortunately this means there will be no Post Office services for the time being. We will update the website as and when further information becomes available.



The National Bee Unit has confirmed a sighting of the Asian hornet at an apiary near Woolacombe in Devon. The Asian hornet is smaller than the UK’s native hornet but poses the risk of destroying honey bee colonies. For more information please read the attached guidance notes.


It is planned that David Ayre (Treasurer of the West Down Parish Hall Management Committee) will be interviewed by BBC Radio North Devon on Monday 2nd October 3.40pm regarding the Parish Hall’s 60th Anniversary Celebrations – you may like to tune in to hear what David has to say.

The Whiddon Valley Fryer advertised times have changed slightly to 5.30pm to 8.15pm

West Down Community Shop Newsletter – August 2017

Sales in July were again lower than expected, and overheads in July were high.  This is the third month in a row that sales have been disappointing.  As we have previously mentioned, we think this is because it appears that there are fewer caravans on Ilfracombe Hill than in previous years.  As you know, we rely on visitors to boost our sales in the summer.  Fortunately Mike and Heather at Pipcott have a lot of guests at the moment and this is helping us.  It is also fortunate that the first 3 months of the year were better than expected.  August should be our best month.  It has been busy, so fingers crossed.

Donations in July were very high at £88.95.  Many thanks to all you generous people and to our gardeners who have given their produce to us.  It is good to have local fresh vegetables and fruit.

Fundraising was good in July as we had a table at the Village Fayre and Dog show.  It was a good day out and the human fruit machine made £87 and splat the rat made £33.50.  A donation of £18.50 was also given to us from the profits made on the bric-a-brac table.  A lot people enjoyed the games and many thanks to all of you who helped on the day.

We also sold a good number of tickets for the Mega Draw.  Tickets for the Mega Draw are still on sale in your shop.  There will be over 100 good prizes and the first prize is £300. Tickets are only £1 each.

Welcome back Sam as our full-time manager You may remember that we told you last month that Sam was going to work for us on 3 days a week.  Sam has changed her mind and is now back working on 5 days a week.  Wendy will work on Saturdays and Sundays and also help us when Sam is away and when we are short of cover.

At the time of writing we are very short staffed.  As it happens, Sam and Wendy had arranged holidays on the same week and therefore volunteers and committee members have had to put in many extra hours in order to keep the shop open and fully stocked.  Wendy is back for the second week and will be working full-time until Sam returns.  A very big thank you to all of you who have given so much time and effort to keep our shop open and functioning well.

Ian’s cider of the month. We have started stocking traditional Devon Cider from Sampford Courtenay.  A clear golden colour, it comes in an attractive stoppered bottle which is ideal for re-use for table water.  The stopper opens with a slight pop and releases a fresh apple scent.  The drink is medium dry with a slight sweet aftertaste and at 5.5% it can be enjoyed without being too strong.

As well as drinking the cider, try baked chop parcels with cider, mushrooms, soured cream and lemon juice.  Delicious!

Book Swap. This is a useful service for the community as well as an important source of donations for your shop.  We welcome donations of books in good condition that can be borrowed or bought.

Children’s books. We are now offering a similar service to help out with those last few weeks of the school holidays.  So please look out for this and perhaps bring along some suitable books.

Village Notices


The 60th anniversary of the opening of the Parish Hall will be celebrated on 7th October 2017.  We are planning a party for everyone to come to.  We still have a lot to finalise but we are working on a family afternoon with a bouncy castle and face painting etc together with tea, coffee and nibbles.  In the evening there will be live music, open mike, dancing, food and bar.  Please put the date in your diary.  More details later.

We are very pleased to say the Keith Oades will be joining our committee as a representative of the Parish Council.  However, very sadly, Pete McGahran has decided that it is time to retire and will leave us at the AGM in November.  Pete has always been a hard-working committee member for over 20 years and has acted as our booking clerk for most of that time.  It will be difficult to replace him.  Now is a good time for a few more people to come and help us manage your Parish Hall.  If you can help us please contact one of the committee members.

The Parish Hall now has a projector and screen which are fixed to the rafters and are operated by remote control.  This equipment is owned by the West Down W I and the Gardening Club and it is available for the use of all hall users.  However, you do need to learn how to use it.  The system is simple to use but there are three options for connecting the SVGA lead, HDMI lead and wireless.  Andy Odell will be pleased to give potential users a learning session.  Please contact Andy on or phone 07940524302.


This is a reminder that the PTFA are holding their Autumn Fayre on Friday 15th September in the West Down School field from 6pm onwards.  There will be a BBQ and a selection of games and stalls.  Everyone is very welcome.  Please come and join in.


There will be an All Age Family Harvest Service in St Calixtus Church at 9.30am on Sunday 17th September.  Any donations of fresh produce or tinned or packaged food brought along to the service will be gratefully received and taken to the Freedom Centre.


West Down Parish Hall. 6pm Sunday 17th September
Tickets available from West Down Community Shop.  £5 adults and £2 children.
Soft drinks provided.  Bring your own alcoholic drinks and glasses!


Keith Sprason is raising funds for the Stroke Association.  Having experienced a stroke, Keith walks frequently for exercise to reduce the risk of further strokes – but only at an average rate of 1.4 miles per day.  For the challenge he aims to walk the marathon distance of 26.2 miles over a period of five consecutive days – that’s 5.25 miles each day, which is well beyond his normal exercise walks.  If you would like to sponsor him, there are forms in your shop and you can find out more on

The village website is








West Down Parish Hall Clean Up and Improvement Works

As you are probably aware, the Parish Hall Committee are in the process of planning building works to improve and up-date the Hall.  Details will be available to view on the West Down website in due course.

We spent a morning cleaning up and removing unwanted items (rather a lot) from the main storage room a couple of weeks ago and Saturday (7th January) spent the morning removing items from under the stage.

Meanwhile, we had a visit from one of the 3 builders who have expressed an interest in the proposed works.

We are hoping for a late Spring completion and plan a “Grand Opening” combined with the celebrations of the 60th Anniversary of the Hall.

Any suggestions/ideas for inclusion in this momentous occasion would be most welcomed.

As is the nature of these types of plans, all works will be subject to the continuing Fund Raising and your support is much appreciated.


Parish Council Clean Up

Once again the Parish Council is going around the village and doing some clearing up.


This has included picking up litter, but Councillor Sue Ayre has really gone beyond the call of duty by tackling the litter bin by Pulland Bridge.  Sadly, this has been used to deposit bags of dog excrement, even though there is a bin specifically for these just 50 yards away on the ‘triangle’.


Sue removed 204 such bags from in and around the bin, cleaned the bin and put in a new bag.  She has put up a notice reminding people that the bin is for litter and not dog excrement and it is hoped that this will do the trick as we cannot expect the staff who empty the litter bin to empty it when it contains waste of this nature.


We live in a lovely village and it is in everyone’s interest to keep it that way so it is important that we all do our bit.


Village Forum (held at the Parish Hall on 20th October 2016)

This was attended by representatives of all the village organisations as well as some local residents. It was decided that the Village Forum would meet quarterly, hosted by the Parish Council.

Women’s Institute has monthly meetings and Craft Mornings. It welcomes new members and is happy to have a stall at local events. It gives active support to the Community Shop and interacts with the school. There will be a shared event on 11th November when once again the children will place poppies that the WI have made on the memorials to fallen servicemen and veterans from both World Wars. The purchase of a projector is under discussion. They ask that users of the Parish Hall store the chairs etc., considerately.

West Down School, expressed their gratitude to the community for the support received when the lead from the roof was stolen. The school is happy to offer facilities to all local organisations and welcomes stall holders to their Christmas Fair. A running group is being formed and the school will use the Community Shop newsletter and the Village Website to advertise events.  A copy of the Community Shop Newsletter will emailed to the school for circulation.

The Community Shop offers an invaluable service to all villagers and would welcome volunteers for a variety of roles. The shop sells tickets for functions that organisations are arranging and will display posters and advertise events in its newsletter.

St. Calixtus Church reported that the clock was being repaired. Unfortunately the Vicar is leaving the Parish, but there will be a curate in attendance.

West Down Village Green Field Association has completed the children’s play area and is currently raising funds to pay for routine maintenance. They welcome input from anyone who wishes to promote a project. They will be holding a Secret Santa on December 17th and are planning a Village Fair for next July.

Gardening Club currently has 60 members and welcomes non-members  to attend meetings. It has a variety of visiting speakers and is happy to support village functions with stalls etc. It organises a holiday in June which is open to non-members if there is insufficient take up from members. Future plans include the possible purchase of a screen which would benefit the whole community.

Ladies Walking Group have been considering an adult outdoor multi gym and the Chair of the WDVGFA was there and made note to investigate.

West Down Parish Hall is currently seeking funds for the planned re-design of the kitchen, re-organisation of the main hall and the replacement of the toilets. This is a long term project and plans are well under way. The Parish Hall is available for hire for both public and private functions and seeks volunteers from all organisations to join its Management Committee. Future events include the Ferret Race on 12th November, the AGM on 23rd November, the Quiz on 28th January and an Evening with Rick Tucker on 11th March.

West Down Website offers up-to-date news and information and is viewed by many people at home and abroad and welcomes contributions. The website has the contact details for all the local organisations

It was suggested that a cinema club might be a good idea and anyone wishing to organise this should contact the Parish Council for the next Village Forum.




The Parish Council comprises of up to 8 Councillors.  Following the resignation of one of the Parish Councillors there is now a vacancy for co-option onto the Parish Council. 

Apply by writing a short letter to the Parish Council Chairman at Osborne House, West Down, giving reasons why you would like to be co-opted onto the Council.

 For more information about becoming a Parish Councillor, please speak to an existing Parish Councillor or the Parish Clerk. 

Thank you. 

Qualifications  for  Candidature 

To be qualified to be elected a member of a parish council a person must be 21 years of age or over, and a British subject or citizen of the Republic of  Ireland, and either:-

(i) be a local government elector of the parish, or

(ii) have during the whole of the twelve months preceding the day on which he is nominated as a candidate occupied as owner or tenant any land or other premises in the parish; or

(iii) his principal or only place of work in the twelve months preceding the day on which he is nominated as a candidate have been in the area of the parish; or

(iv) have resided either in the parish or within 3 miles thereof during the whole of the 12 months preceding the day on which he is nominated as a candidate.

 There are certain disqualifications for election, of which the main are:-  

(a) holding a paid office under the local authority;

(b) bankruptcy;

(c) having been sentenced to a term of imprisonment (whether suspended or not) of not less than three months, without the option of a fine during the five years preceding the election; and

(d) being disqualified under any enactment relating to corrupt or illegal practices.


Parish Councillors: Sue Ayre. Roy Drew, Fay Hookway, Carole King, Keith Oades, Sue Squire and Richard Watts.  

Parish Clerk:  Dave Lewis.__



For many years now, Margaret Thomas has been the ‘Voice of West Down’ as the North Devon Journal correspondent.  This involves editing anything that is going on or has gone on in the village and sending it off to the Journal for publication.  Items may include things occurring with different organisations like the Gardening Club, Parish Council Minutes, WI Meetings, Village Fayre days etc.

Margaret is not able to get involved with village activities as much as she used to and feels it is time for her to hand over the reins to someone else who would be willing to keep West Down in the Journal.

For more details please speak to or send an initial email to Margaret at to find out more about this exciting position.



Dog Fouling2

We are well aware that this notice does not apply to the majority of dog walkers – but unfortunately the minority are spoiling it for the majority.


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