There has been some grumbling about the A386 approaching Magpie Bridge from Horrabridge, where hedge cuttings and soil have built up to blur the foot or two of dodgy sanctuary that pedestrians used to have, to the right of the white line at the edge.
There are other areas too, along the stretch between Crapstone Corner and Grenofen, where the verges have eroded the roadway by six inches to a foot on either side.
These narrow strips do not amount to footpaths any authority would wish to be responsible for us using but they help to make life possible for cyclists and pedestrians and walkers are particularly concerned about the few yards before Magpie, which are the remnants of the valley footpath from the village to the bridge.
There has been some puzzlement that the road through Horrabridge has been left out of maintenance edging performed by Devon Highways on the rest of the stretch between Yelverton and Tavistock.
Philip Sanders, the Devon councillor for Yelverton Rural, has been told that the stretch has had second-place priority because it has no surface drains to keep clear and although it was intended to tackle it last year, the money simply ran out and the work was cancelled. It is provisionally on the agenda for later this year, Cllr Sanders is told.
The parish council is trying to raise a volunteer squad for this kind of work but insurance would be an insuperable problem on the highway. Could Devon Highways run a road closure for a few hours one Sunday? To be discussed.
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The Horrabridge Times’s special investigations team recently had a nice weekend in a Derbyshire village where the central exhibit was a water tower at the centre of a first piped supply. When it was completed, a hundred years ago, it was agreed that all resident men could be called on for a day’s labour a year, on civic maintenance, or the equivalent in guineas . Must have seemed fair enough at the time.
On the subject of highways maintenance austerity, the parish council is warning that if you have a hedge intruding on a highway or byway and it has not been cut, it is up to you. If the council thinks it should be cut, it can call in a highways contractor to do the job and bill the landowner or tenant responsible – at least, that is the advice from Devon