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West Down Village Forum

A Village Forum Meeting was held on 4th April 2019, attended by members of the community and representatives from 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
West Down Productions

For a full report please click here


Due to recent difficulties with the emptying of the dog poo bins, the District Council advises that it is double bagged, taken home and put in the dustbin.  Please do not simply leave it by the bin.  Dog owners are expected to behave responsibly.  The collection service will be resumed as soon as possible.

West Down Community Shop Newsletter March 2109

We are now stocking Vegan Bread and Cakes from a local bakery

Our Gin selection has grown, we now have Gordons Pink, Wicked Wolf, Bombay Sapphire, Plymouth and Whiteley Neil Pink.

The Square Draw has now been drawn and the results are:
Ticket No’s 18 (1st £12) 1 (2nd £8) 10 (3rd £4).
The winning ticket holders have been notified.

Mothering Sunday is 31st March and Easter is soon after!
We have a lovely selection of Cards for both occasions and some gift possibilities.

Easter opening times will be as follows:
Good Friday 9am – 1pm
Saturday 8am – 4pm
Easter Sunday 9am – 12.30pm
Easter Monday 9am – 1pm

We thank you for your continued support and look forward to your next visit.
From your West Down Community Shop.

Community Notices

St Calixtus Church – Mothering Sunday Service 31st March 2019 at 9.30am.
Annual Parochial Church Meeting – Iron Room 1st April 2109 at 7pm.
Walk of Witness Good Friday 19th April 2019 – meet in the Churchyard at 10am
Easter Sunday Communion 21st April 2019 at 9.30am.

Parish Council – Elections for people to serve on West Down Parish Council will take place on 2nd May 2019.  To ensure the continued existence of West Down Parish Council, residents of the Parish over the age of 18 and not declared bankrupt are sought to volunteer on the Council.  If there are more than 8 candidates an election will take place.  The closing date for nominations is 3rd April 2019 at 4pm.

Village Forum – The West Down Parish Council wishes to invite residents and representatives from all local organisations to a meeting on 4th April 2019 at 7.30pm in the West Down Parish Hall.  This will be an opportunity to discuss future plans and share resources and ideas.  Everyone is welcome.

Jose and the Hotdogs – at West Down Parish Hall on Saturday 20th April 2019.  Doors open 8pm.  Bar and refreshments will be available. Tickets on sale now in the Community Shop £5 each.

West Down Amateur Productions – are delighted to announce that the following donations have been given from the £1400 proceeds of Cinderella.  Thanks to everyone who supported the Panto.  West Down Parish Hall £800.  West Down Community Shop £400.   St Calixtus Church £200.

The services below are under threat of closure. Please use them or we WILL lose them.

Mobile Library – on the Square.  Thursday 11th April 2019 at 10.20am – 10.50am.  It is free to join and you can have as many books as you like.  If they don’t have the particular books you want you can order them online and have them delivered to the village on the mobile unit.

The Post Office – at the Parish Hall, Mondays 1.15pm to 4.15pm, Wednesdays 9.15am to 12.15pm & Fridays 9.15am to 12.15pm.  The system is now connected via a land line ensuring a more reliable service.  It has the same services as a regular Post Office including parcels, banking and cash withdrawal from most banks, Birthday Gift Cards with a value of your choice usable at most stores and Car Tax.  Currency available to order (order Friday/Monday collect on Wednesday, order Wednesday collect Friday).

Dates for your Diary 2019
31st March – Mothering Sunday (visit the shop for a selection of cards).
31st March – Mothering Sunday Service (details above).
1st April – Annual Parochial Church Meeting (details above).
3rd April – Parish Council Nominations close. (details above).
4th April – Village Forum (details above).
11th April – Mobile Library (details above).
19th April – Walk of Witness, Good Friday (details above).
20th April – Jose and the Hotdogs (details above).
21st April – Easter Sunday Communion (details above).
2nd May – Parish Council Elections (details above).

Village Forum

The Parish Council wishes to invite residents and representatives from all local organisations to a meeting on 4th April at 7.30pm in the Parish Hall.  This will be an opportunity to discuss future plans and share resources and ideas.

Everyone is welcome.

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 Amateur Productions

The management committee are delighted to announce that the following donations have been given from the proceeds of Cinderella

West Down Parish Hall – with thanks for use of hall for rehearsals and performances – £800

West Down Community Shop – with thanks for selling tickets …and sourcing Covent Garden ballerinas! – £400

West Down Church – with thanks for being able to use the Iron Room if/as/when needed – £200

Total £1,400

Thanks to everyone who support the Panto

West Down Parish Council

January 2019
County Councillors report

A361 roadworks North Devon Link Road

Major resurfacing work will resume on the A361 North Devon Link Road near Tiverton early in the New Year.

Work on the current phase of the £5 million project ended on Thursday 20th December and all lane closures were removed from the A361 for the Christmas and New Year holidays.

When the scheme resumes on Monday 7 January, the outside lanes of both the eastbound and westbound carriageways will be closed, from east of Gornhay Cross to west of Sampford Peverell, for one week.

There will also be overnight closures from 7pm until 7am each evening during this first week. Overnight on Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 January, the westbound carriageway will be completely closed, between east of Gornhay Cross to Junction 27 of the M5. Then on the evenings of Wednesday 9, Thursday 10 and Friday 11 January the eastbound carriage way will be closed from east of Gornhay Cross to west of Sampford Peverell. On the night of Saturday 12 January, the eastbound carriageway will be closed until 1am, before the closure is switched to the westbound carriageway until 7am. Signed diversions will be in place during all night-time closures.

From Monday 14 January to Sunday 3 February, a contraflow will be in place from east of Gornhay Cross to west of Sampford Peverell while work is carried out on the westbound carriageway.

From Monday 4 February to Sunday 24 February the contraflow will swap to the other carriageway while work is carried out on the eastbound side between west of Sampford Peverell and east of Gornhay Cross.

Andrea Davis
County Councillor Combe Martin Rural

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


War Memorial Ceremony at St Calixtus Church

Once again the children from Oak Class, West Down School joined West Down’s Women’s Institute for a ceremony at the War Memorial at St. Calixtus Church. The Reverend Stephen Painter officiated and the ‘silence’ was marked by the school bell. This is the same bell that would have called to the men and boys on the memorial when they went to the school. Roy Drew (ex RAF) spoke the lines of remembrance at the beginning and end of the ‘silence’. The children then took the poppies knitted by the WI and placed them on the graves and memorials of the fallen and of the veterans who returned. The church gates were decorated with more poppies knitted by the WI.



A Village Forum Meeting was held on 8th August 2018, attended by members of the community and representatives from 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
West Down Productions

The organisations noted that volunteers are needed in a variety of capacities to enable our village to continue to provide the services that make it such a vibrant community. It is not always necessary to make long-term commitments, help with specific tasks is always welcome.

They reported as follows:-

Parish CouncilAir Ambulance It was hoped that the planning application for the landing light mast for the air ambulance would soon be approved. Raising the necessary funds has gone well, with grants from County Councillor Andrea Davies and District Councillor Malcolm Wilkinson as well as an excellent effort by West Down Women’s Institute who raised £600 with a cream tea and a donation of £100 from Pat Williams. This leaves £239.41 outstanding. Andy Lyons has kindly agreed to provide the electricity supply and will be reimbursed by the Parish Council for any electricity used. A meeting will be set up with the contractors; Devon Air Ambulance; West Down Green Field Association and the Parish Council to sign the relevant agreement. The grant from Devon Air Ambulance will be paid up front to the Parish Council. Village Clean up Councillor Richard Watts and Councillor Sue Ayre have worked on this and will be posting pictures of their efforts. Other Councillors are working when weather permits. Defibrillator This has been checked and the batteries and pads need replacing and a meeting will be convened to discuss this. Volunteers – An additional Parish Councillor is needed. It is hoped that everyone will do their bit to maintain the village by clearing up litter and removing debris etc., that could clog drains.

Community Shop. Manager Sam, the volunteers and Vanessa, the weekend worker, are doing a great job, making the shop a welcoming and friendly place with a good stock. The last month was above forecast, thanks to the good weather and tourists. Good feedback is obtained from the caravan sites who record visitor comments. Both of the local camping and caravan sites recommend the shop and these are a useful source of revenue. Volunteers – are always needed, not only to serve in the shop (which is a great way to meet people and make friends) but also to help with lots of routine and one off tasks. Training and support is given where needed. The roles of Secretary and Treasurer on the Committee need to be filled as the present incumbents are anxious to retire.

Gardening Club – is doing very well with 78 members, some of whom have come from Braunton. They had a successful holiday in Wales and next year the holiday will be in the East Midlands. The screen and projector are very useful and it is hoped that the sound system can be updated. It was noted that the West Down planter and sign at Dean Cross is not in good order and ornamental stones are being sourced. The club has an excellent reputation, but there are concerns about the future owing to the resignation of two, key, committee members. Volunteers – More committee members are required, particular help is needed in organising and planning the programmes and sourcing raffle prizes and refreshments.

West Down Green Field Association – It was announced that this Association has agreed to make up the shortfall in the funding for the Air Ambulance, and this generous offer was warmly received. A new Treasurer has been welcomed and praise was given for the way in which the field is maintained by the grass-cutters. The Village Fayre was a success, in spite of the cancellation of the Dog Show due to the heat. In the immediate future the Association is just raising funds for maintenance of the existing facilities, but ideas for improvement have been sought from the community. It was generally felt that the field was a very valuable and well used community resource. Volunteers – are needed to help with the organisation of the Fayre and someone with a strimmer would be extremely useful to put in a few hours work now and then. The grass cutters need someone to help them, even if on an ad hoc basis.

Parish Hall – Bookings have been good, with new customers such as a bridge club using the facilities, this means that the hall is self- sufficient. Fund raising has gone well with the committee working on improving the inside of the hall. The stage is to be retained after consultation with the community and as a result of the feedback it has been decided to upgrade it. The door to the store room has been enlarged to allow easier access. The apron at the front of the stage has been strengthened and improved. A new lighting system is currently being installed and the controls rationalised. Future plans include the redecoration of the hall, followed by the installation of new toilets. Wi-Fi is available free for customers of the Hall. Volunteers – More Committee members are needed and anyone is welcome to attend meetings. Personal expertise is always welcome, and thanks were expressed to Tony George, for his work on the lighting, John Alexander for his help with drawing plans and Sue Bond and Mark O’Halloran for the excellent Big Breakfast.

Future events are:-

6th October Quiz Night
10th November Ferret Race
26th January Quiz Night

West Down Women’s Institute- The Institute will be 70 years old this year and a celebration is planned for December. It has 31 members, many of whom come from outside the village, meaning that it is not always easy to raise funds for West Down causes. The meetings are now in the afternoons, on the second Thursday of every month at 2pm. Visitors are welcome. They were gratified by the support for the cream tea and were happy to share bunting etc., with other causes. Once again, poppies crafted by members will be laid on the memorials to those who served in the first and second World Wars, by the children from West Down School. This event was initiated in 2014 to mark the centenary of the beginning of the First World War.

St Calixtus Church – There is now a Vicar, the Reverend Steve Painting, who is moving into the vicarage at Heanton with his wife Clare. This news was welcomed together with the fact that he attended the recent Village Fayre and West Down School, and is interested in becoming part of the community. Falling numbers of the congregation are a concern and it was hoped that the congregations from the churches in the area will join the services in all the churches. The Church is grateful for the support shown by the community at the recent Gift Aid event and work can now start on the repairs to the roof. There are two weddings coming up and Martin Hodsman and Andy Lyons were praised for their excellent maintenance of the churchyard. The meeting was asked about Christmas celebrations and it was noted that the star on the church roof had been an excellent feature last year and it was hoped that a traditional carol service could be held prior to Christmas. Volunteers – Bellringers and an organist are needed and the current Treasurer is hoping to relinquish the post. Flower arrangers are also needed, the usual Flower Festival has had to be abandoned, due to lack of support. Times of services are listed on the village website, future events are:-

Harvest Supper 16th September in the Parish Hall

West Down Productions – Revue – A Variety Show is under production, with performances on   Friday 31st August and Saturday 1st September. All welcome, tickets will be on sale in the Community Shop. Volunteers – always welcomed!

Mobile Library – 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.

Outreach Post Office – This service has had technical problems. Bickington Outreach has experienced difficulties with the Post Office and it is hoped that these will be overcome. Again, this service will be withdrawn if there is not sufficient support.

West Down Website This supports all local organisations and is happy to publish minutes of meetings, news and forthcoming events.

You will be pleased to know that the West Down WI raised £600 at their Cream Tea on Sunday 29th July to help raise funds for the Air Ambulance Landing Lights that will be located in the Community Field.

Many thanks to all our members who donated goodies and their valuable time (no expenses claimed).

Many thanks to Tony of the Pantry Bakery in Ilfracombe who donated 100 scones.

This event was a resounding success and as such a very special thank you to everyone who came along to support the occasion and to those who gave extra donations.

Catherine Williams
President West Down WI

Volunteers needed for West Down Community Shop

The West Down Community Shop is calling for Volunteers to work Weekdays and Weekends.

All we ask from you is that you can commit a couple of hours a week and enjoy serving customers.

The West Down Community Shop is looking for enthusiastic people to help us create a great atmosphere where people want to come to shop.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer contact us on:

T:        01271 864264



Village Forum

A Village Forum Meeting was held on 12th December, 2017, attended by representatives from the following organisations.

Parish Council

Community Shop

Gardening Club

St Calixtus Church

West Down Green Field Association

West Down Parish Hall Management Committee.

Women’s Institute

They reported as follows:-

Parish Council – Thanked Fay Hookway for retrieving the tiles that had fallen off the West Down Village sign at Dean Cross and Keith Oades and Roy Drew for replacing them.

It was noted that a representative from Devon Air Ambulance had attended the last meeting and had given positive assurances about the viability of using the Green Field as a night landing space with a lighting mast which would be supplied with power by a resident. Money would need to be raised to cover this. It would be just over £3,000, but District Councillor Andrea Davies has already promised to donate £1,000 of this.

Community Shop – had experienced a couple of poor months, but was breaking even. Volunteers for a variety of jobs, long and short term, are always needed. Organisations were reminded that the defibrillator is situated in the shop porch and training in its use has been given to many villagers.

Gardening Club – is doing very well with 79 members, some of whom have come from Braunton. It has an interesting programme of speakers with the additional room at the Parish Hall providing the necessary extra space. The screen and projector are proving to be very useful. Forthcoming speakers include Andy McIndoe of Chelsea Flower show fame coming in February and Chris Beardshaw later in the year. New members are always welcome and guests can attend for two meetings before joining. As well as a varied and interesting programme the members enjoy a number of outings and a holiday. Committee members are needed and the web page on the West Down website needs to be updated.

Green Field is currently holding a Christmas raffle and dates for events will be circulated. The children’s play area had been completed and a seesaw is to be installed shortly. It was noted that the entrance is very muddy due to recent bad weather and this will be discussed at the next committee meeting. Provision for the Air Ambulance will also be on the agenda. In the immediate future they are just raising funds for maintenance of the existing facilities.

Parish Hall Phase 1 of the redevelopment of the hall has been completed and other organisations reported that the extra room was very useful. The redevelopment had come in under budget and the current income is able to cover the basics costs of running the hall. It is hoped that the second phase will begin in June, this will involve the removal of the stage which will be replaced by a movable stage to be kept in the store room. While this is being done, the hall will be out of use for 2 weeks. It was felt that the trollies used to move chairs and tables were a real help. Two long serving members of the committee had retired, Eric Nott, who began working for hall by fund raising to help build the hall and Pete McGahran who, as well as being a committee member has been the booking clerk. Future events are:-

27 January annual quiz night

17 February Dave Edgecombe – fascinating talk illustrated with old and new photos of the North Devon coast.

3 March Rick Tucker – the popular local musician.

West Down Women’s Institute has over 30 members, but over 50% of the members come from outside the village, which means that it is not easy to ask them to do things for the village. However, they usually support all the initiatives and will continue to help when needed. Meetings are now held in the afternoons and although this could make it difficult for younger members to join, the support really comes from the older generation, so their interests have to come first. They have had joint ventures with the school, notably the recent remembrance ceremony when the children of Oak Class placed the poppies made by the WI on the graves and memorials of those who served in both world wars. The WI is offering to do a coffee morning to help raise funds for the Air Ambulance. The West Down WI is celebrating its 70th year in 2018 and the time capsule, which is currently in safe keeping will be opened. Concern was expressed about the Coronation Tree and its metal fence and this will be checked. The meeting to be held on the 8th November 2018 will be celebrating the 1918 Armistice and all are welcome.

St Calixtus Church is currently without a vicar and has been combined with a number of other local churches. Appreciation was expressed for the illuminated star currently on display and details of the carol service were given. It is hoped that attendance at the church will improve as it is an important part of the village. It was noted that the Iron Room will be available when the Parish Hall is out of action.

West Down School was unable to attend, but had recently hosted an excellent Christmas Dinner for older residents and supporters. The school is happy to support local issues and currently circulates the Community Shop Newsletter to all parents. The school also offers the use of its premises when needed.

Mobile Library – 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.

Outreach Post Office – This service has been resumed after the Post Office had technical problems. Again, this service will be withdrawn if there is not sufficient support.

West Down Website This supports all local organisations and is happy to publish minutes of meetings, news and forthcoming events.

Fund Raising – It was suggested that Tesco provides funds for local causes, but it was felt that the application process was too complex.


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.

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.


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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