Latest News

West Down Parish Council (WDPC) – Small Grant Fund.

Each year West Down Parish Council allocates an expenditure budget from the annual precept in order to support local groups and organisations.

The Council’s guidelines for grant applications are now available.

This process will ensure access, openness and fairness to the groups and organisations we aim to support.

WDPC grants run within a financial year April – March.

Application forms and our Grant Fund Policy can be obtained by contacting the Clerk, Val Ford, at .

Alternatively, everything can also be downloaded from the Parish Council website at .

Completed forms for the 2023/2024 financial year must be received by the Parish Clerk by Friday 21st October 2022.

Grant Application Form 2023/24

Grant Fund Policy 2022


West Down Parish Council

*20 MPH Speed Limit in West Down*

In order for West Down Parish Council to progress to  Express an Interest with Devon County Council to have the speed limit reduced in the village, one of the criteria we have to meet is to have a Community Speed Watch Group.

Many parishioners have requested that the speed limit is reduced and have raised concerns about speeding in the village and on Ilfracombe Hill.  The Parish Council have been happy to facilitate the start of this process.  The Chair of the Parish Council, Councillor Sue Ayre, has set up the West Down Community Speed Watch Group with Devon and Cornwall Police.  Currently there are two members.  There is a registration process and some online training to complete.

Councillor Ayre has circulated information to members of the community that had previously expressed an interest.

Please contact the Clerk or Councillor Sue Ayre (sue.ayre@westdown if you would like to become involved.

Without the speed watch group and the support of the community the criteria will not be met and the Parish Council can not express an interest for the reduction of the speed limit.

West Down Community Shop Newsletter July 2022

Opening Times
Mon:  Fri 8am – 6pm
Sat:  8am – 4pm
Sun:  9am – 2pm

Reasons to use your Community Shop:

  • It is an asset that is good for the community, that helps to keep our village desirable.
  • Has friendly and helpful Staff & Volunteers (more volunteers always needed).
  • Run by a Committee that need your support to see it through this economic climate.
  • User friendly opening hours, 7 days a week (subject to staffing availability).
  • Buy from us and save on fuel.
  • Monthly Credit Accounts available.
  • Advance orders taken.
  • We support and purchase from other local businesses and suppliers.
  • A good variety of Fresh & Frozen produce.
  • Fresh bread from a local bakery.
  • A good variety of Vegetarian and Vegan options.
  • Cold and Hot Drinks.
  • Ice Cream, individual and tubs.
  • Postage Stamps – 1st and 2nd Class.
  • Greetings Cards and Wrapping for all occasions.
  • Daily and Weekly Newspapers. Pre-orders taken and Vouchers accepted.
  • Household cleaning and Toiletries.
  • Pet and Wild Bird Feed.
  • Large selection of Wines and Spirits at competitive prices.
  • Tobacco and Cigarettes.
  • A variety of Chocolate and Confectionery.
  • Batteries and a range of Stationery and DIY items.


We began visiting West Down just over eight years ago and three years ago we moved into a cottage here. Apart from having family in the village there were three other factors that enticed us to move here.  One was the Church; one was the Pub and the other was the village having a SHOP!

The first visit to the shop was a lovely experience and visiting it has remained so ever since.  The cheerful and helpful personnel serving the customers make shopping there a very pleasant experience.

Sue, the manager, is always searching for new Local items and ones suggested by customers which keeps the variety interesting in the shop.

During Covid 19 we found the shop invaluable being in lock down and unable to go out for ourselves. Sue and some volunteers delivered to our front door for which we were so grateful.

In these days when fuel prices are increasing rapidly, we find it is sensible to ‘shop local’. We place a weekly order and when we collect it there is always a helpful hand to assist us.

The shop is a hive of industry – not only for shopping but for local village news, notices and for all sorts of information that local residents and visitors could require!

Please ‘Shop Local’! Use it or lose it!

West Down Parish Council
Co-option onto Parish Council

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 via the Clerk at 10 Berrynarbor Park, Sterridge Valley, Berrynarbor, Devon, EX34 9TA giving the reasons why you would like to be co-opted onto the Council.  Closing date for applications is the 31st August 2022.

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

Qualifications for Candidates

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: –

  • be a local government elector of the parish, or
  • have during the whole of the twelve months preceding the day on which he/she is nominated as a candidate occupied as owner or tenant any land or
    other premises in the parish, or
  • his/her principal or only place of work in the twelve months preceding the day on which he/she is nominated as a candidate have been in the area of the parish; or
  • have resided either in the parish or within 3 miles thereof during the whole of the 12 months preceding the day on which he/she is nominated as a candidate.

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

  • holding a paid office under the local authority.
  • Bankruptcy.
  • 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
  • Being disqualified under any enactment relating to corrupt or illegal practices.

Parish Councillors
Chair: Sue Ayre, Vice-Chair: Mike Reeves, Cllrs. Richard Kensole, Keith Oades, John Robinson, Sue Squire and Tony Verney.

Parish Clerk: Mrs Val Ford 10 Berrynarbor Park, Sterridge Valley, Devon, EX34 9TA.
Email@ Telephone: 07852 627967

West Down Parish Council

Notice of Public Rights 2021-22

Publication of Unaudited Annual Governance & Accountability Return

Accounts for the Year Ended 31 March 2022

Bell Ringing

If anyone is interested in learning bell ringing, please come along to West Down Church Tower on Thursday evenings at 7.30pm.

West Down Community Shop Newsletter April 2022

Your shop is having a difficult time and needs your help to enable it to continue in its current format.

As time goes by people’s lives change and they cannot always continue to help in the same way and others need to step up to take their place.  We are now very short of volunteers and the pressure on Sue and our helpers is unacceptable and not sustainable.  Our volunteers are rising to the occasion and do a great job but without help there will be times when the shop has to close due to lack of staff.  This is not good for the village and it will result in lower sales which in turn will lead to more problems.  If this led to the closure of our shop we would lose this very valuable asset and devalue our properties.  We need you to join in and help us all.  The shop is not a commercial enterprise and is entirely dependent on us all playing a part.  This is urgent particularly as summer holidays are not far away which is a busy time and some volunteers are away.

Similarly, we need more committee members.  Following our last request, we are very pleased that Jo Bailey and Pete Worthington have been attending our committee meetings and helping us with a view to being elected at the AMM in June.  We need a few more of you as some of us are retiring at that time.

We all know that inflation is high at the moment and everything costs more.  Sue is doing her best to buy well but there is little that she can do.  We have no option but to pass these increases on and indeed we need a higher margin to pay our own increases in overheads.  Sales were low in January and February but better in March.  Please do all that you can to continue your support your shop.

To make matters worse one of our freezers has broken down yet again and the cost of repair is estimated at £550!  Enough is enough and we have decided to buy a new display freezer instead.  They are a lot of money and Pete is investigating the options for us.  We will apply for funding but we will need to find a significant amount ourselves.  Donations would be very helpful.

Why not try some of our wine to cheer us up.  This month’s wine is a Cabernet Sauvignon from South East Australia.  It is one of a range of different wines marketed under the brand name 19 Crimes inspired by those who, as a punishment for their crimes were transported to Australia.  It is a bright red wine with a pleasing nose suggestive of red berries, in particular cherry.  It is smooth, fairly dry with soft tannins and lingers on the palate to give a satisfying finish.  It is rich and full bodied with a fruity flavour and while it could certainly be quaffed without food it would be best enjoyed as a dinner wine with red meat or casseroles for which it would be an excellent choice.

Our Easter opening hours are – Good Friday 9 am to Midday, Saturday 8 am to 4 pm, Easter Sunday and Monday 10 am to Midday.

There is an Easter Raffle for two large Easter eggs.  Tickets are for sale in the shop and we are planning a Curry and Quiz night in June to raise some money for the freezer.

Village News

Good Friday.  Open air service by the cross in the churchyard at 10.00 am, followed by Hot Cross buns in the Iron Room to which everyone is welcome.  Easter Sunday. After the 9.30 a.m. Communion Service in the church there will be a children’s Easter Egg hunt in the churchyard at 10.30 am.

Stay and Play
New to the village is a “Stay and Play” group for children aged 0-4 years.  Held in term time every Tuesday in the Parish Hall, from 9am to 11am.  We ask for £1 per family to help cover ongoing costs such as hall hire and insurance.  Offering a range of entertainment for the little ones and a chat and cuppa for the grown-ups!  We are also looking into holiday sessions on the community field to allow older siblings to attend in the school holidays.  This is yet to be confirmed – please keep an eye on the West Down Facebook page for updates.

Meetings have now re-commenced with the main meeting on the second Thursday afternoon of the month and Craft Sessions on the fourth morning of the month in the Parish Hall.  For further information please contact Catherine Williams on 01271 867859 or e-mail

Gardening Club
Meetings are now taking place again in the Parish Hall on the third Thursday evening of the month.  Our April meeting is Growing Cut Flowers and Sustainability and May’s meeting is A French Garden.  There is an outing to The Garden House and Wildside in May with a few spare seats left on the coach.  For more information contact Jan Oades on 01271 865554.

Parish Hall
The extension to the Parish Hall has now been completed and we are very pleased with the outcome.  The new toilets are a huge improvement and this completes the updating and renovations that have taken place over a couple of years or so.  We now have a really nice up to date hall for you all to use.  A huge thank you to all of you who have played a part in this very big undertaking.

High Chairs and Wheel Chair
We have high chairs and a push along wheel chair which have been donated for people to use in return for a donation to a village organisation.  This may be useful when you have family visiting.  If you would like to use any of these contact Terry King 01271 867549 or e-mail

Opening Times Mon – Fri: 8 am – 6 pm Saturday: 8 am – 4 pm Sunday: 9 am – 2 pm
Tel: 01271 864264

Post Office – Parish Hall

As from 18th March 2022 the Post Office hours for Fridays will be from 9.00am to 11.00am.

West Down Village Forum held on Monday 7th February 2022

A meeting was held to investigate ways of marking the Platinum Jubilee and the following organisations were represented:-

Gardening Club
St Calixtus Church
West Down Community Shop
West Down Community Green Field
West Down Parish Council
West Down Parish Hall
West Down School
West Down Women’ s Institute

The following ideas were in the process of being approved by the various organisations:-

Women’s Institute – possible donation of bulbs and plants for the grounds of the Parish Hall and the Community Field.  Members could offer help to other initiatives if needed.

St Calixtus Church – organising a Flower Festival, with a theme such as ‘Majesty’ using suitable colours.  Parishioners might also be offered a Tour of the Tower, perhaps with a teddy bear abseil.  There will also be a service on Sunday June 5th.

Gardening Club – organising a competition for containers, pots and hanging baskets, with a white, purple and silver theme.

Parish Council – Councillor Mike Reeves hopes to have secured a Climate and Energy grant to enable the Green Field to develop an orchard with over forty fruit trees and a wetland area.  An application has also been submitted for a plaque marking the occasion and the planting of an oak tree and organisations were reminded that funding is available from North Devon Council for the celebrations.

Village Green Field – work is currently being undertaken to provide the planting area for the orchard and space for the wetland area has already been cleared.  A 9ft English oak tree has been purchased and will be planted at the far end of the field and marked by the plaque.  Resources that are available for the celebrations include picnic benches and marquees providing 120 square metres of space.

West Down School – will encourage participation by the children, perhaps including a Prince and Princess from each class and a fancy dress event.

Suggestions and proposals – it was noted that bunting and other resources are becoming expensive and scarce.  However, the WI can help with bunting.

It was felt that Saturday June 4th would be the best day to hold the main celebration, to take the form of a Party in the Park.  It would be similar to the usual Village Fair, with stalls and the participation of the children from the school.  People could bring their own refreshments but a bar and barbeque would be available later.  The celebrations could continue into the evening if suitable entertainment was available.

A working party was formed and they met briefly to plan the way forward.

Further suggestions and volunteers are very welcome and should contact John Stainer or Carole King.  News and updates will be posted on the village Facebook page and on the village website.

Other Matters

The Parish Council reported that complaints about speeding cars  and school time parking had been received.  There was the potential for applying for a 20mph speed restriction, but the pre-requisite for this is the formation of a ‘speeding team’ to monitor incidents.  Anyone interested should contact the Parish Council.  It was stressed that it was important to report dangerous parking in order to improve road markings and prevent this bad practice.

Emergency Planning – The compilation of a local emergency plan had been initiated prior to the outbreak of Covid and it was intended that this should be resumed.  Please contact the Parish Council if you wish to contribute to this.

Defibrillator – Those wishing to have training in the use of the defibrillator that is situated in the porch of the shop, should contact Sue Ayre at the Parish Council.

 Max within tent – attendees were informed that Max from Braunton is asking for a mass sleep out on 29th March, supporting him would help the hospice!

Church bells – The ringers of St Calixtus were thanked for ringing the bells on the day of the ascension to the throne.

Want to see your business grow?

Made in Devon is a new ‘buy-local’ business support scheme from Devon County Council and is looking to help 125 businesses a year with free scheme membership.  Benefits include Trading Standards advice and being part of major promotional campaigns that will make the most of new consumer trends to support local, independent businesses and artisans.

To qualify you need to be a Devon-based business who takes pride in supporting other local companies and goes out of your way to use materials and ingredients produced in Devon.  To find out more visit  Made in Devon is part of the well-established Trading Standards Buy with Confidence scheme.

A Public Announcement from Heart of the South West Trading Standard
on Avian Influenza

It is that time of year again and Avian Influenza infection has been spreading across Europe and now it is in the UK.  Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service have advised us that as of 5pm on the 3 November 2021 an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) was declared across Great Britain.  This means that all bird keepers in Great Britain (whether they have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard are required by law to take a range of bio-security precautions: 

Schedule 1 – Minimum biosecurity measures applying to all keepers

  • Keep domestic ducks and geese separate from other poultry.
  • Ensure the areas where birds are kept are unattractive to wild birds, for example by netting ponds, and by removing wild bird food sources.
  • Feed and water their birds in enclosed areas to discourage wild birds.
  • Minimise movement into and out of bird enclosures.
  • Cleanse and disinfect footwear and keep areas where birds live clean and tidy.
  • Reduce any existing contamination by cleansing and disinfecting concrete areas and fencing off wet or boggy areas.
  • Keep free ranging birds within fenced areas, and ponds, watercourses and permanent standing water must be fenced off (except in specific circumstances, e.g., zoo birds).

Schedule 2 – Enhanced biosecurity measures for premises with over 500 poultry or other captive birds

Keepers with more than 500 birds will need to restrict access for non-essential people on their sites, workers will need to change clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures and site vehicles will need to be cleaned and disinfected regularly to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

Full details of what is required can be found on the government website:

To assist all bird keepers in complying with the new rules, the biosecurity guidance and self-assessment checklists   have been updated and all the latest information can be found at

Remember that if you have poultry it is your responsibility to keep updated on any outbreaks and an easy way to do this is to sign up for text notifications – register with the APHA alerts service.

West Down Village Forum

A Village Forum Meeting was held on 2nd September 2021, attended by members of the community and representatives from local organisations.  Newcomers to the village were welcomed as well as the following organisations:

Parish Council
Community Shop
Gardening Club
St Calixtus Church
West Down Green Field Association
West Down Parish Hall Management Committee
West Down Women’s Institute

They reported as follows:-

West Down Women’s Institute
The President reported that the first meeting would be held on 9th September and will be for existing members only.  It was felt that after the difficult time that they have faced, a chance to informally re-group and come together would be beneficial.  New members will be welcomed at the October meeting and it was hoped that there would be more local members because at present, 50% of the existing members come from outside the village.  The meetings are on the second Thursday of every month at 2pm.  There is also a craft group that meets on the fourth Thursday of the month.  All meetings are in the Parish Hall.

West Down Community Shop
Everyone expressed their thanks to the Community Shop for their support during the pandemic, when for many people it was a lifeline supplying goods in a safe environment and delivering to those unable to get out.  The service was always friendly and helpful.  The Manageress explained that the shop had been very busy during that time and because many of the volunteers were vulnerable and not able to help, there had been considerable pressure on existing staff and volunteers.  The increased profitability had been passed on to customers by reducing prices and it was hoped that the support would still continue when the pandemic eased.  Like other village services it was an issue of use it or lose it.  More volunteers are needed, not just to serve in the shop but to help with a wide variety of tasks involved in its safe running.  A big commitment is not needed, just an hour or two here and there would be helpful.  Training and support is given where necessary and it is a good way to meet people and make friends.

St Calixtus Church
The Vicar said that it had been a dreadful year in which people had been unable to get together and the church had to be closed.  Some online services had been held and it was now available for christenings, weddings etc.  He very much wanted to know what the people of the village wanted from the church and how the building could be utilised in other ways.
It was explained that the clock had not been striking as it had not been possible to wind it due to repair work.
Bellringers are wanted and anyone wishing to join the team should get in touch.  Contact details can be obtained from and the Parish Magazine is on the church notice board.  The ongoing upkeep of the fabric of the church building was a constant problem.
Forthcoming Events – 12th September at 10.30 a Service commemorating the dedication of the War Memorial will be held at the memorial and it is suggested that participants bring their own lunch for an after service get together.  The Harvest Service will be on 3rd October.

Parish Council
The Chair reported that there was currently a vacancy for a Parish Councillor being advertised and that a new Parish Clerk had been appointed.  It was explained that the Parish Council covers a wide range of duties, including the maintenance of footpaths and trying to eradicate the problem of dog mess.
Currently a Parish Council website is being designed.
The Council works closely with Malcolm Wilkinson, District Councillor and Andrea Davis, County Councillor and they meet on the first Wednesday of every month in the Parish Hall.  The Chair said that it was an excellent team that works very well together.
Applications for the community grant scheme should be submitted for local projects.
A community award scheme had been instigated and a presentation plate made and will be awarded soon.  It is hoped that this scheme will be expanded this year.
‘Zoom’ meetings had been held throughout the epidemic and it was gratifying that these had been attended by members of the public and it was hoped that this would continue now that meetings are being held in the Parish Hall.
Huge amounts of work had been done in order to get the affordable homes and the s106 grant that had been part of the agreement between North Devon District Council and Acorn Developments SW Ltd.  Despite all the efforts that had been made, no affordable houses had been made available for rent and only one had been available to buy.  None of the promised S106 grant had been paid, this included funds earmarked for an additional class room for the school, funding for the projected improvement work on the Parish Hall and improvements to the Community Field.  The Parish Council is continuing its efforts to obtain closure on this, with constant pressure being exerted on the District Council to rectify the situation that had allowed the community to be denied its rightful benefits.  A meeting has been arranged with the Community Land Trust which helps communities to build affordable housing.
The Chair also explained that she does Devon wide work with the St John Ambulance to improve the lives of young people and has worked on the vaccination programme. The Vice Chair said that planning applications were also part of the work of the Parish Council and said that any issues that parishioners wanted to raise should be submitted to the Parish Council in writing and these would be dealt with.
The President of West Down WI wished to record the community’s thanks to the Parish Council for their tireless work in trying to obtain the affordable housing and the S106 grants.
Forthcoming Events – Meeting with the Community Land Trust on 13th October in the Parish Hall so that the parishioners can decide if they wish to go ahead with a scheme to build affordable houses.

West Down Green Field Association
The Chair of the Trustees explained how the Community Field had been bought in perpetuity for the village and was available for all to enjoy.  It is run by Trustees and volunteers to join in the running of this were always welcomed.  As well as maintaining the field, a play area for children was provided, also allotments and a landing area for the Devon Air Ambulance.  Recently a water supply for the allotments had been provided.  Those in attendance recorded their gratitude for the availability of the field for recreation and an escape during the pandemic.  Planned developments are on hold due to the ongoing problems between the District Council and Acorn Developments, the withheld funding had been earmarked for important changes and was desperately needed.  Allotments are currently available.  Once again, thanks were expressed for the work of the committee responsible for this important asset to the community.

Gardening Club
The Gardening Club reported they had their first post Covid meeting last month and had an attendance of 26.  They also had a brief holiday and garden visit.  Several local gardening and horticultural clubs had closed but the West Down club had new members joining.  They meet on the third Thursday of every month and have visiting speakers as well as visits to gardens and holidays.  New members are welcome.

Parish Hall
It was noted that it is a very important part of the community, having been developed bit by bit over many years by local initiatives.  Recent improvements have included a new kitchen and the Eric Nott Room.  Due to the pandemic, functions have not been held for some time but the Outreach Post Office has been in operation throughout.
When the s106 grant from Acorn Development (now Acorn Homes) was announced, plans were drawn up for an extension which would include modern toilets and a disabled toilet and planning permission was obtained.  Lots of hard work has gone into fund raising to provide the additional finance and £70,000 has been raised.  Because the need for improved toilets is so great, it has been decided to go ahead with this project so the fulfilment of the s106 agreement is vitally important.  Work will start in the autumn on the necessary groundwork and it is intended that the hall will remain open during this time.  The existing toilets will remain in place until the very last phase.  The chosen builder has been very helpful and fortnightly builder’s meetings are being held to manage the project.  The Post Office will not be affected by the development work.
The hall is currently open for events and bookings are welcomed but users are expected to take reasonable precautions to prevent the spread of disease.  It was noted that organisations can ask members to take covid tests before attending.  The Management Committee responded to requests from the community for a skittle alley and it is now available.  It has been strengthened and can be assembled by participants, there is a £10 charge for its use in addition to the normal booking fee.  Other important facilities include a projector and screen wired to the internet and wi-fi is also available.  Booking details are on the West Down web page.  Volunteers are always welcome to join the Management Committee.
Forthcoming Events – Ferret Race on November 13th – entry is free – ferrets are supplied! A fun family evening!

Other Matters

‘Person Shed’ – Following the popularity of TV programmes such as ‘The Repair Shop’ etc., it was suggested that a meeting place to repair/renovate items could be a useful antidote to social isolation and loneliness.  ‘Man Sheds’ were being provided in a number of areas and it was hoped that a non-gender specific venue could be organised.  It would be an opportunity to learn/share skills and prevent useable items going into landfill.  Concerns were raised about the location and the cost of insurance and some positive suggestions were made.  Ideas/information/expressions of interest should be sent to Carole King at or Keith Oades at

Mobile Library – Visits the village once a month where books can be reserved (without charge).  It was noted that this service will be withdrawn if it is not supported.  Details of its timetable can be found on the West Down website.

Men’s Walking Group and Ladies Walking Group – both of these meet regularly and details are on the West Down website.

Outreach Post Office – Again, this service will be withdrawn if there is not sufficient support.  Opening times are on the noticeboard.

Parish Lunch – This is an informal get-together in the Crown Inn once a month with a set menu.  It is hoped that this can be revived and details will be on the West Down website.

Newsletter – The Community Shop will be producing a Newsletter shortly.

Christmas – It is hoped that a function will be provided for the children as it has been in the past.

West Down Website ( – This supports all local organisations and is happy to publish minutes of meetings, news and has up to date information on forthcoming events.

Scam calls with matching numbers

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) is warning the public to be vigilant of scam calls that appear to be coming from numbers similar to their own. Commonly, the first seven digits (07nnnnn) match the victim’s own number.  The calls impersonate well-known government organisations, or law enforcement agencies, and will ask the recipient of the call to “press 1” in order to speak with an advisor, or police officer, about unpaid fines or police warrants.
In May 2021, Action Fraud received 2,110 scam call reports where the caller’s number matched the first seven digits of the victim’s own phone number.  Of these, 1,426 (68%) referred to HMRC or National Insurance.  Victims have also reported receiving these types of calls, and messaging, via widely-used messaging apps, such as WhatsApp.

What you need to do: 

  1. Government and law enforcement agencies will not notify you about unpaid fines or outstanding police warrants by calling or texting you. Do not respond to any calls or texts you receive about these.
  2. Always take a moment to stop and think before parting with money or your personal information, it could prevent you from falling victim to fraud. Remember, it’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests.  Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  3. If you receive a suspicious text message, you can report it by forwarding the message to 7726. It’s free of charge.
  4. Suspicious telephone/mobile calls can be reported to Action Fraud via their website:

For more information about how to protect yourself online, visit and and follow @DC_CyberProtect on Twitter.

West Down Community Shop

Dear Villager,

I am writing on behalf of West Down Community Shop Ltd.  We are aware that many new people have moved in to the village over the last year and we hope that this will be of interest to them as well as being an update for more established residents.

The community shop that we are lucky enough to have in our village today was taken on by a small group of villagers in 2012 as a means of serving the people of West Down, who would otherwise be reliant on public transport or their cars for day-to-day groceries – not very convenient or environmentally friendly if all you need is a pint of milk or loaf of bread.

The business side of the shop is run by a small committee of local people who take on the roles of treasurer and vice-treasurer, secretary and vice-secretary, chair and vice-chair, with other tasks including publicity, minute taking and DIY expert being equally important.  The shop cannot run without these people but at least four of these roles will become vacant in the near future.

Do you have any skills that could help us?  Have you any experience in running a business large or small, book-keeping, or could you perhaps develop a web page for us? We really need to hear from you and nominations for places on the committee are now available ahead of our AMM in June.  The closing date for nominations at the AMM is 10 May.  Please consider anything that you might be able to contribute, either for a regular slot in the shop or on our (honestly very friendly!) committee by contacting Wendy Neligan at, or just pop in to the shop for a chat.  We’d love to hear from you and frankly, we can’t carry on without you.

The shop is run entirely for the good of the village and does not aim to make a profit above what is needed to cover our costs.  To keep our overheads to a minimum, only our manager and weekend assistant earn a salary, with all other staff being volunteers.  As a volunteer myself, I have found this to be a very rewarding experience, allowing me to get to know far more people in the village, learn new skills, and I really feel that I am contributing to my local community.  Over the last year, this has been particularly important as we have been able to support vulnerable and shielding villagers with grocery deliveries and to allow many people to be able to ‘stay local’ – and we never ran out of loo rolls!  We are also a hub of local knowledge, look after the village defibrillator and will always, always be happy to chat.

On a less altruistic note, having a village shop has a very positive impact on our house prices.  Watch a couple of episodes of Escape to the Country and it becomes obvious that a pub and local shop are the absolute musts for the perfect village to move to.  Add to that our excellent school and pretty church and we would seem to have it all. However – times are tough for the shop at present.  Many of our volunteers have not been able to help us due to the pandemic and some will not be coming back, it has recently been very difficult for us to maintain our usual hours.  We desperately need a few new people to step up and don the WDCS apron.  Full training is given and most people commit to just a two-hour weekly shift, which is a small amount of time but would make such a big difference.

Finally – there is no point in having a shop unless we use it.  Consider perhaps ordering your regular milk, bread, newspaper, yogurt or eggs from us, put in a weekly grocery order or buy your wine and beer from us, or maybe just make sure that you pop in for the odd ice-cream or tin of beans, it all helps.  We try to buy locally grown and produced items as far as possible, so we may be a couple of pence more expensive than Tesco but we try and be competitive and many items are identical in price and after all, you don’t have to get your car out.  Our stock is constantly changing and if we don’t stock something that you would like to buy from us let us know, we’ll do our best to get it for you.

Please, please, don’t let this precious service to our village and visitors disappear.  Once it’s gone it’s gone and we’ll all be the poorer for it.  Give us a little bit of time, custom or expertise and we will thrive and so will our community.

With our very kindest regards
Wendy Neligan
Vice Chair
On behalf of WDCS Ltd.

Devon Libraries

Devon has been placed in National Lockdown, Libraries Unlimited has decided to temporarily close our buildings.  Our Choose & Collect, mobile library and computer services have been suspended until further notice.  Learn more on our Covid-19 updates page.

Devon Domestic Abuse Service

(See poster)

Notice from West Down Parish Council

We have received a great many complaints about


Please watch where your dog ‘goes’ and pick up after it.
If you have more than one dog off lead you can’t expect to watch them all.
All dog owners have an idea of when their dog needs to go. We are just asking you to be responsible for the mess and remove it.

There are 4 dog waste bins around the village –
Parish Hall, School, Community Field and Coronation Triangle


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.

Urgent appeal for community equipment

If you’ve got any community equipment you no longer need, please can you return it?

We urgently need commodes, walking frames, shower stools, and raised toilet seats, as increased demand during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak means these items are in danger of being in short supply.

Please contact Millbrook Care on 0330 124 4491 to arrange a free contactless collection

Selaine Saxby MP Contact Details

Dear Clerk,
I hope you are keeping safe and well at this challenging time.
I write on behalf of Selaine Saxby, MP for North Devon to share her contact details and ask if you would mind adding these details to your website and/or community newsletters.
At this time of uncertainty communities are coming together and relying on parish councils and each other more than ever, and Selaine wanted to ensure that if anyone wished to contact her for help, they were able to find the information easily. Parish websites and newsletters are a great source of information and I know are widely distributed, particularly in our villages. In particular, newsletters are important for those who may not be able to access the internet or send emails, much like the posters you were recently sent.
Selaine’s website, which is updated constantly with new information, is:
Her social media channels are:
• Twitter: @SelaineSaxby
• Instagram: @selaine_saxby_mp
• Facebook:
She can also be contacted via email at and at her office in Barnstaple for urgent cases at 01271 327990.
If you could pass these details on to the editors or administrators of your parish website and/or newsletter I would be very grateful, and if I could be copied in on that email I would also be grateful, so I might have the contact for them as well.
Please excuse the generic nature of this email, I have sent it to every clerk in North Devon.
If you or the editors should have any questions, or want more information, please do not hesitate to get back in touch with me.
Thank you for all your efforts in supporting our communities at this difficult time.
Kind regards,
Oliver John Kerr
Communications & Engagement Manager to Selaine Saxby MP
Member of Parliament for North Devon

Church House, Church Lane, Barnstaple, North Devon, EX31 1DE
01271 327990 | 07514 158914

Parish Council – Ash dieback

Ash die-back is becoming increasingly prevalent and landowners are reminded that it is their responsibility to ensure public safety. Dead or diseased trees need to be removed or made safe where they could fall across roads or pathways. Advice and information can be found on

Air Ambulance

West Down has become one of the latest villages to provide a safe landing space for the North Devon Air Ambulance.  Having already experienced the need for casualties to be evacuation using the Air Ambulance, the community came together to ensure that the helicopter could land safely by day and night.

The success of this initiative is a real tribute to the community spirit that exists, with all sections of the community coming together to provide the necessary facilities.

The Trustees of the West Down Village Green Field Association offered the landing site and the Parish Council obtained the necessary planning permission.  Fund raising for the lighting mast was aided by County and District Councillors.  West Down Women’s Institute held a cream tea which raised a substantial amount as well as being a most enjoyable event.  A grateful parishioner, who benefitted from the services of the air ambulance, was among the donors.  A local resident is providing the electricity for the mast and the air ambulance has already completed a test run.

The general Feeling is a hope that it will not be necessary to use the landing site, but it is reassuring for villages in remote locations to know that they are accessible and that aid is within easy reach.

West Down Parish Council

West Down Parish Council wish to make everyone aware that we have a fully operational AED in the village.  This is a Zoll machine and it is sited in the porch at the West Down Community Shop.  It is stored in a plastic box with an alarm on it, but there is no code to access the box and the alarm is for noise purpose only.


This machine is simple to operate and once open you follow the instructions provided by the machine – with good quality CPR the best possible care is provided to a casualty and chances of survival in a life threatening situation are raised considerably.

If anyone would like further information regarding the machine or you wanted to consider some training, please do not hesitate to contact:

Sue Ayre – 07980 182317