Two open barrels of acid, apparently being shipped between local farms, fell off the back of a truck going uphill from Magpie Bridge towards Tavistock on Tuesday and gridlocked the area for two days.

Horrabridge councillors Eric Hemsil and Christine Edmondson turned out, along with other volunteers, to try to help clear the jams at village junctions but Devon Highways were busy repairing the A386 and Devon Police had two or three more bad road accidents on their plate by the end of the day, so people were mostly left to find their way around the Road Closed signs as best they could.

It is probably the  fourth time in two years that problems on the A386 have suddenly diverted the main road through Horrabridge and the village council will be reminding county council and police that they are all supposed to be talking about an emergency plan.

This time the chaos included Tavistock-Plymouth buses diverting through Okehampton and locals unable to walk from the bridge up Jordan Lane, let alone drive it.

Locals involved with the accident said the spilled fluid was Propionic Acid, a cheap acid used a lot by farmers, for sterilising and for mixing in fodder. It smells worse than it burns, apparently, but it was strong enough to be rated an environmental threat, which had to be washed away by fire crews in hazmat suits, and dug out of the road surface.

A car coming down the hill hit one of the rolling barrels and set off airbags and the female driver was taken to hospital for checks, along with one other person who came into contact with the chemical. The whole job was complicated by the risk of leakage into a local farm well, which meant South West Water had to be called in.

Picture below shows the accident scene …


The Leaping Salmon marks a halfway point in village recovery by opening tonight, Thurs September 3, 5.30-10, with the intention of running four days a week, with pub and kitchen both open, trying to find a way forward.

Slightly shorter than usual hours Thursday night to Sunday night, including lunchtimes in between, is the starting plan.

The pop-up pizza nights which have kept the pub ticking over have been popular and will continue as an occasional extra, last Sunday of every month.

The relaunch comes two years after the pub came back from the dead after an out-of-the-blue rescue and refurbishment financed by local businessman Chris Andrews.

His son Fred, the manager, said: “The past five months aside it’s been pretty great. Thanks to everyone who has supported us over the summer. It’s been a tough time but we’ve sold a lot of pizza and hopefully things are going to start looking up.”

Fred getting ready for his 5 pm deadline – snapped by Max Law



Punch Taverns have denied rumours that The Burrator has been sold to Wetherspoons but they are still looking for a co-investor to run the place and it looks like the promised refurb is on ice until a deal has been done.

Operations Director Robin Belither said this week: “The pub remains an important part of the Punch Pubs portfolio and is not on the market for sale. We are currently recruiting for a new Publican to take the pub business forward and are further reviewing our options for investment. Anyone interested in the opportunity to run the pub should contact 01283 501999 or register on our website: “



Our list is diminished by the closure this weekend of Polly Perkins of Pepper Street, Tavistock, where Teresa Luxton and her husband, Philip, took on saddlery work as well as shoe repairs for 25 years. Timpson’s is pretty good for light repairs but where do you go now for a proper leather shop? For a jacket repair, we’ve been recommended to Crafty Cow, a lady who runs a pop-up shop at a biker stop near Liskeard, The Chequered Flag, every other Sunday when times are good. Nobody closer? We’re working on a directory for a new guidebook and looking especially for anybody in Horrabridge without an obvious shopfront – home-based services and repairs and so on. For free mention send your entry to



Max Law continues to set a high standard for photography on his pictorial blog at Maxwell Dailypics Law –

This one was taken this week on Plasterdown at dusk.



Also in preparation, a gazetteer of the world looking out from here. Help out by commenting on these entries or adding your own?


Bere Alston, out on that peninsula of last-ditch Devon that sticks down between Tamar and Tavy, is comparable to Horrabridge in some ways. Still got some of the feel of the mining village it once was but nowadays that’s swamped by new housing.


Country cousin of Bere Alston, down on the Tamar, headquarters of the local sailing and gigging scene and famous for a very muddy sports day and an apple fair where locals sell juice by the gallon every year. Working Men’s Club still has a snooker table.


Prettier than us, more kids with guitars and green politics. But also, bless em, custodians of a restored snooker table in the village hall, available for hire by the hour. Nice pub, The Drake Manor. And Buckland area has two really beautiful properties to visit – Buckland Abbey, medieval manor house and farmstead which was once home to Francis Drake, and The Garden House, one of the great landscape walks of England.


Calstock is a yachtie basin of the Tamar with a couple of decent pub-restaurants and a good venue, Calstock Arts, inclined to jazz and obscure films when they’ve got nothing else, but they also host some interesting live acts from local and touring band and comedy talent. Get on their mailing list.


Chagford is a lovely old Dartmoor town, spoiled a little by too much money, because it’s so handy for Exeter. Had a clothes shop called Fillies & Bounders last time we looked. But then, it’s also got a nicely preserved swimming pool and a decent selection of pubs and shops – and the remains of a great hardware store, somewhat reduced in recent years, tragically, but still better than average.


Clearbrook is a hamlet on the Plymouth side of Yelverton, with a pub and an active village hall – regularly hosts touring theatre and is also home to an inventive programme of outdoor events for kids under the title Clearbrook Wild Child.


Cornish counterweight to Tavistock and in some ways more interesting, but getting quite big now with out-of-town estates and shopping centres. See it for how Tavistock is under pressure to go. The compensation is a few more industrial estates and indie shops.


A lovely pub and green, both owned by the parish council, and a busy village hall, hosting music, cinema, gardening club events. Nice place to stop if you can park, which you can’t on Meavy Oak Day.


Looks idyllic, don’t it, but locally it is famous for its nasty gnats. Beautiful old clapper bridge but walking the river from it is not easy for very far, up or down. Some of the DNPA’s bottomless funds could well be spent on a banks trim.


Used to be a name that made folks shudder a bit but heated cars and gas central heating have made it look a lot more attractive to housebuyers in recent years and most of the time, the roads are not too bad. It has had a lot of grants and still has more retail space than it knows what to do with. Bet on the prison eventually becoming a big chunk of the social housing the DNPA has to deliver. Meanwhile, the prisoners are still there and it would be a hard heart did not bleed a little for them when Princetown is having one of its two-overcoat nights.

The Prison Museum is worth a visit – especially for the amazing stuff the old prisoners of war carved out of scraps. Today’s workshop products look a bit sad and sentimental in comparison. But you can also buy logs and Christmas trees and plants produced by prison labour.


Both sides of the border it’s known as Wakkie. For many hundreds of years, the men of both parishes have busted each other’s noses and stolen each other’s sisters. Nowadays, it’s a bit safer over there than it is over here on the whole. Its only problem until recently was a shut pub. But the latest relaunch of The Walkhampton Inn was going a treat until lockdown – and was fastest back to near normality.

and that’s allfornow …

About the editor 413 Articles
Editor of The Horrabridge Times.

1 Comment

  1. Loved the A-Z of What’s round yer. We are very fortunate to be surrounded by some wonderful villages and hamlets. Let’s hope that DNP doesn’t spoil it with its new housing requirements.

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