NEW RECTOR INTRODUCED with apologies …

Apologies for an error or two in our first report of The Reverend Andrew Thomas’s appointment to the West Dartmoor Mission Community of the Church of England, including St John’s. Starting again here, first of all here he is …


Mr Thomas, 44, earned a degree in nursing and was a children’s nurse for 13 years, working largely in intensive care, before feeling the call to the Church and reading theology at Cambridge. His ministerial training experiences have included a year as a Royal Navy chaplain at Devonport. Lately he has been Rector of a benefice on Exmoor, covering six parishes with a combined population of around 3,000. The West Dartmoor Mission Community is much bigger, about 8,500. Also very different is the age profile – 67 in his Somerset patch compared with 47 round here.

He will take over the Yelverton rectory, left vacant by the previous Rector, now The Venerable Nick Shutt in the Bishop of Plymouth’s central team, and the Horrabridge rectory has been let to a private tenant for the time being. Mr Thomas says he chose Yelverton because he wants to be close to Yelverton Fire Station so he can continue his service as a retained firefighter.

He knows the area quite well already, through various connections, and was introduced at a Church social evening in Yelverton during the interview process. His first fixed date with a congregation is his induction at St Paul’s, Yelverton, on Tuesday March 31 at 7 pm. He will be at St John’s on a Sunday soon after.



Talk of the village this weekend is the Leaping Salmon’s decision to close Tuesdays as well as Mondays from here on.

The pub re-opens next Thursday (Jan 23, 2020) from a New Year closure for rest and re-organisation.

But it will shut again after the following Sunday night and stay closed until the Wednesday night and the same every week for the time being.

Manager Fred Andrews posted as follows on the pub’s Facebook page:

Thank you everyone for your support during 2019. We had a really great time and we hope you did too.

With the festive season behind us, we’ve had a chance to stop and take a hard look at where we’ve got to as a business over the last 18 months. It’s been a huge learning curve and we’re pretty proud of what the pub has become.

It’s been pretty exhausting as well though, and so we’ve decided to make a few changes that will help us have more energy, which will in turn give the pub more energy!

From next week when we re-open, we’ll be changing our opening hours. The pub will be closed on Tuesdays, and will open on Wednesday at 5:30pm. The rest of the week remains unchanged.

We’re sad to be closing on Tuesdays but we’ve made this decision in order to be able to have more time to focus on the menu, spend more time in the garden (to grow food for the menu!) and to plan a better programme of music and other community events.



Ali Mansfield, the Methodist community worker, posted as follows on Horrabridge Noticeboard this week …

I attended a building meeting today and this is the information …

To bring the Methodist Church buildings back into use, the Church needs to obtain 2 separate consents. One is Listed Building Consent; the other is Planning Permission.
The first deals with the overall refurbishment of the Church, which is a Grade II Listed Building. This is dealt with under the provisions of the Ecclesiastical Exemption Order, by the Methodist Church Conservation Office in Manchester, as per the Notice recently posted on site, and published in the Tavistock Times Gazette.
An application for Planning Permission will be made in due course to the Dartmoor National Park Authority. This will be for new works, comprising a new entrance and walkway along the side of the building, and an extension at the rear of the building. The extension will provide new toilets and storage facilities, replacing the existing buildings which are in a poor state of repair.
Arrangements are currently being made to display the plans in the Parish Hall, so that everyone can see what is intended. When these arrangements have been finalised, information will be given about when the plans can be seen.


Nick Martin, an England rugby lock of the 1970s teams, now 73, wrote to the Times to support a previous correspondent’s letter about the long-term risks of marathon running.

He said: “It applies to any excess of exercise. As a former top rugby player I witnessed the savage physical decline of my old buddies, many of whom I see shuffling around today with dodgy hips and bent backs. Pounding on the hard roads may improve the blood flows and the arteries but there’s a whole lot more to it than that.”



The parish council is supposed to consider three quotes for every job but is currently struggling to get them for construction work. Unless anyone else comes forward with a better diagnosis and offer, it is expecting to sign deals soon for –

£20,000 for hall re-roofing – plus more for some interior painting, flooring and fixing;

£5,842 for tarmac repairs to footpath along the Fillace beck;

£8,440 for laying a pathway into the reserve cemetery area;

Whatever it takes to smooth out the access ramp to the village hall, to make it more wheelchair friendly.

However, the bills are mounting and Paul Beard failed to get approval for another tool for the council shed, which he said would be a good investment – a go-anywhere pressure washer for hosing down signs, play equipment, truck and so on. The council also balked at spending £158 and VAT to get the leftover bonfire rubbish in Fillace Park taken away. Plan now is to burn it as soon as it has dried enough and a rota of volunteer supervisors can be organised, which Eric Hemsil has promised to do.  Cllr Beard, speaking as chair of open spaces, said they were clearing up another organisation’s problem and there almost certainly would not be a bonfire allowed next year. Horrabridge Rangers has since asked to make clear that they were not involved this year. An ad hoc committee of volunteers did the job which used to be done by the Recreation Fields Trust.

Council had a quote for £2,162 for a contractor to set up a microphones and speakers system in the village hall, for WI and other use. But local musician Sean Lakeman, who took a look at the specs, said he could get the components for £425. To be further discussed.



Councillor Tracey Lear raised parental concerns about getting kids and bikes across the A368 to Drakes Trail and Roborough Down, especially at Pound Corner. She was told the council lobbied for a crossing before and got turned down. They decided to look into private hire of number-plate recognition cameras, as a deterrent to traffic speed, additional to the flashing warning sign already installed. The police speed cameras do not operate at that point and there are agencies offering to instal private surveillance. Cllr Steve Roche said it was only worth it if the police would act on the evidence. But inquiries are being made.



Applications for grants from the parish council’s £400 annual pot for local causes have been received from the Citizens Advice Bureau and Radio Walkham. But no decision will be made until the February meeting, Friday Feb 11, and further applications can be made until the week before that. Cllr Tim Bolton, local member of West Devon Council, said he also had a few hundred to dispense in the ward. And Dartmoor National Park is offering up to £5,000 for the right schemes. See our previous edition.



Council was invited to comment on a proposal by Barton Park Estates to rename the road known as Magpie Leisure Park to Devon Oaks – in preparation for the redevelopment they hope to get away with, into a retirement village. The council had no comment to make on the simple matter of the road renaming.



Thanks to Rachel Short and The Moorlander for this list of cyclists’ and bikers’ favourite refreshment stops on and around Dartmoor:

The New Inn, Sampford Courtenay

Pump & Pedals, Okehampton Cycles.

Central Cafe, Moretonhampstead.

Church Lane Cafe, Tavistock.

Cafe 360, Bovey Tracey.

Dartmoor Bakery, Yelverton.

Rockets & Rascals, Plymouth Barbican.

Route 2 Cafe, Topsham.

Fox Tor Cafe, Princetown.

Union Moto-Velo Cafe, Crediton.

Hound Of The Basketmeals – catering van at Hound Tor.

The Birdcage, Chagford.

allfornow …

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Editor of The Horrabridge Times.