Magpie Mill, the old sausage casing factory in the woods on the trail to the sewage works below Bedford Bridge, is likely to become a nest of cottages, possibly for long-term rental but probably for holiday lets – with fishing access included.

The owner is fairly confident of getting a go-ahead and might start building work next year.

He is a Birmingham area accountant, Ian Kingett of Kingetts of Halesowen, who bought the abandoned building and surrounding woodland himself while shopping around auction sites for clients looking for speculative invesments.

He says he has since established that his rights include fishing access along 150 yards of bank on that side of the Walkham, which is not generally accessible to the public – although it is better for access to the likely fish lies than the Tavy Walkham & Plym Club beat rented from Maristow Estate on the left bank going downstream.

He got permission in 2012 to turn the derelict buildings into offices and did some clearing out and roof work. But the sticks and carrots of Devon planning policy changed the calculations and now he wants to build up to three two-bedroom accommodation units instead – with one eye on American tourists wanting to visit Plymouth for the Mayflower anniversary events and another on City types looking to entertain clients with a bit of salmon fishing and golf.

Application number 0273/20, for change of permitted use from light industrial to residential, is currently under consideration by Dartmoor National Park Authority.

Mr Kingett says the DNPA will have to consider new planning guidelines to be published this autumn which will favour the change, in line with the Prime Minister’s promise to “build build build” for housing need.

He says the smell from the sewage works is not usually a problem. And traffic movements would be less of a problem at peak hours than they would be with 9-5 office workers. South West Water already has cars, vans and trucks, using the same access trail, through a gate and over a cattle grid on the left of the A386, going uphill from Bedford Bridge towards Grenofen.

It is a pretty rough track at the moment but he says SW Water is obliged to maintain it, as a condition of the permission to cross his land, and he is pressing them to improve it.

He said this week: “We have pointed out that if you are going to allow car parking down there, it would be best if people were staying there, rather than leaving it unattended at night. “

The Horrabridge boundary passes through the site and Horrabridge Parish Council has been asked for an opinion by the DNPA but has not expressed one yet. Planning chairman Steve Roche is waiting to hear if anyone is much bothered. Comment here or by email to

The old factory washed sheep’s intestines for the sausage industry for many years, by drawing water from the river and discharging it at a turn known as Stinky Pool, which was famous for fat trout. In the old days, when Horrabridge had an abattoir, washing sausage casings in the river by hand was a local cottage industry.

Stinky Pool is now a clean pool with a shingle beach, where children and dogs often swim. The likely fish lies are under the far bank, opposite the beach. Below it is another anglers’ mark known as Black Pool, which would also be easier fished from the private side.

The factory closed in 1996. Anyone got any memories of it?

Rough map of site, with land area outlined in red …



London Inn and Walkie both still managing some sort of daily service and after running a beer garden and pizza takeaway last Saturday, Fred at The Salmon told us:

“Went pretty well, all things considered. Not sure what would have happened if it had rained, which is an ongoing concern, but we’ll do the same again this week, and then look to open more days in August.”



For anyone who doesn’t follow Horrabridge Noticeboard, event of the summer looks like being a boot sale in Fillace Park on Sunday August 2, to help everyone clear their house clearances and raise money for the new pavilion – now a definitely on project. Can’t download the poster for some reason but you can find it HERE



In between his travels, village-based photographer Max Law continues to build his album of Horrabridgers carrying on in a stopped world. Nice one follows of Jinks Fitzsimmons, 83 this year.

See what else Max has been up to HERE

More of his album later. But that’s allfornow …

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Editor of The Horrabridge Times.