Brentor Summer Fayre – 28th July 2018

Brentor is hosting its first summer fayre this July.  It is hoped that this will become a regular event, held on alternate years with Brenstock.
There will be a variety of craft stalls,food and refreshments, tombola,  plant and cake stall to name but a few!

There will also be  a  produce competition with five categories:

  • Best Victoria sponge (using 3 eggs)
  • Best marmalade
  • Best 5 vegetables on a tray
  • Best floral arrangement in a teacup
  • Best garden on a plate (for under 16 years of age)

There will also be a photography competition with the theme of  ‘Village Life’ – so get snapping!

More information will follow over the next few months, so start sowing those seeds, dig out your camera and put the date in your diary!
Contact Clare 810322 for more details
Click here to go to the ‘Brentor Village Fayre’ page on this website

Brentor Wine Evening

Brentor Wine Evening
Friday 23rd February at 8.00pm

at Brentor Village Hall

Tickets are on sale for the 2018 vintage of the famous Brentor Wine Evening, that important early event in the local calendar.
This year in addition to our usual mix of tastings and not-very-serious competitions, we are delighted to welcome a local winery, Alder Vineyard (, who will be presenting three of their own English wines.
We will also be tasting some interesting reds and….did someone mention the word “cocktails”….??
Water and biscuits will be on the tables – please bring anything more substantial if needed. Don’t bring wine….
As usual, places will be limited.

Tickets are £8 and will be on sale from Monday 5th February – call Helen de Carles on 810412

More residents can now receive Airband but many still have no access to superfast broadband


Where does Brentor go next for its Superfast Broadband?  There is no question that those residents who have a line of sight to one of Airband’s transmitters have access to superfast broadband,  although there is evidently little choice of providers and no access to the major internet service providers as originally promised by Connecting Devon and Somerset and Airband.  For the rest of the village there is only a prospect of continuing with the current poor internet speeds via the Openreach copper cable system until we all have a right to demand a minimum of 10mbs in 2020 through the Governement’s proposed ‘Universal Service Obligation’ for broadband provision.  But how will even this modest increase in internet speed be achieved?  More Airband?  Openreach fibre to the village via a fibre cable across the moor from Mary Tavy – with us paying through a Community Fibre Partnership?  Or even some new technology such as ‘white space’ that uses the television transmitters?

The website Editor, Colin Dawes, wrote to Geoffrey Cox MP to bring these matters to his attention.  Mr Cox in turn contacted Openreach and received the following letter:

Dear Mr Cox
Thank you for your email of 1 December about Geoffrey’s constituent Colin Dawes of The Old School, West Blackdown, Brentor, Tavistock, Devon, PL19 0NB.  I’m sorry for the delay in getting back to you. 
I understand the frustration felt by Mr Dawes and other residents of Brentor over the slow broadband speeds to the village.  I appreciate their need for a faster connection and the benefits that this would bring to the area.  I have looked into the matter and I am now in a position to respond.
Current ADSL Copper broadband service
As Mr Dawes mentions, many residents of Brentor are unable to receive a faster ADSL broadband service.  The reason for this is the distance of the premises from Mary Tavy exchange that serves the area, rather than any inherent defects with the local network.
Our records show that Mr Dawes should currently be receiving speeds of up to 4Mbps.  This is the speeds that we would expect to see on his line due to the distance of his premises from the exchange.  It may help if I explain that for ADSL broadband to work effectively, the ideal cable distance of the line from the exchange to the user’s premises is up to 6km.  Unfortunately, broadband speeds are slower across Brentor as you move further away from the exchange.
We have investigated the condition of the local cable network.   Our local engineering manager has confirmed that there are no underlying issues that are impacting on broadband performance.  Also, the fault volumes for the area are below the national average.  All this confirms is that the local network is up to the required standard.  Moreover, our records show that there’s ample capacity in the local network to cope with any requests for new telephone service.
If any residents are experiencing problems with their telephone or broadband service, they need to raise with their Service Provider (SP), with whom they have a contract and pay their bill to.  All SPs have dedicated contact points within Openreach if they need to request an engineering visit or escalate an issue. 
Fibre broadband availability
Mary Tavy exchange is one of our smaller exchanges, with around 700 premises connected to it.  However, the good news is that it was upgraded in November 2016 to deliver fibre broadband with support from the Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) project.
The technology CDS deployed in this exchange area is largely Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC).  The cabinet serving Brentor has been upgraded, but like ADSL Copper broadband, FTTC is also a distance-related service.
For FTTC to work reliably, the cable length of the copper line from the fibre cabinet to the premises needs to be up to 1.5km. Anything over this limit, there’s a degradation in speed before the service fails altogether.  Unfortunately, Brentor is too far from the fibre cabinet and so sadly, out of range to receive FTTC services.  Mr Dawes’ premises are some 3km away – simply too long benefit from a FTTC product. 
We’re very much aware that premises in this situation present us with a specific set of engineering challenges, but the issue affects a relatively small number of lines. Technical solutions such as Fibre to the Premises (FTTP), extending the fibre cable route to bring it closer to the area/community or deploying alternative technology are being implemented in many areas right now.  However, they are economically challenging and as such they are usually only deployed via the public funding route.
Having looked into Mr Dawes’s concerns, it’s largely about a wireless solution that has been provided by Airband to deliver high-speed connectivity with support from CDS.  This is not a service Openreach has provided so we can’t offer any comment about its quality, cost or performance.  This issue is best raised with CDS or Airband directly. 
Community Fibre Partnership (CFP)
We’re having great success with a new initiative called CFP – specifically intended to help communities – that are unlikely to be covered by private commercial plans or publicly funded projects.  This will be the remaining few percent of UK premises.
Across the UK we have worked with over 400 communities directly and delivered fibre broadband sooner than otherwise would have been possible.
A CFP involves a local group working directly with us.  Mr Dawes mentions being quoted £50k to run a fibre service across the moor to serve Brentor, but our CFP team cannot find any record of providing any such quote for this area.  
If Mr Dawes is interested in this in this option, then more details on CFP can be found on our website.   He can have a discussion with other residents who are in a similar situation to him and would also like to enjoy the benefits of fibre broadband.  There are a lot of details on CFP on our website below:
We’ll be happy to engage with the local community and meet with them to discuss their options and advise of the sum they need to pay.  We try to do everything we can to provide support and make it affordable as possible, such as looking for alternative solutions such as overhead cabling.  The more residents participate in the scheme the better it is as this will help to bring down the cost for each householder.
I’m really sorry that I am unable to provide a positive response for Mr Dawes at this time, but I hope it helps to explain our position.  
Please get back to me if there’s anything else you need relating to this matter. If you have any other Openreach related constituency enquiries, please continue to contact Michael Salter-Church or Denise at If you have constituency issues relating to BT Group (including EE and BT Consumer) please contact Clova Fyfe at
Best wishes,
Graeme Hughes
Customer Resolutions – Openreach High Level Complaints


The website Editor replied to Geoffrey Cox MP in response to this information.  In turn Mr Cox wrote again to Openreach and received a further letter in reply:

Dear Mr Cox
Thank you for your further email regarding your constituent, Colin Dawes.  I’m very sorry for the delay in getting back to you.
I’m sorry to hear that Mr Dawes has received conflicting information regarding fibre availability to his area.  As mentioned previously, his area is fibre enabled, however the it is unlikely to work to a satisfactory level due to the distance his property is from the cabinet. 
I have spoken with our Community Fibre Partnership (CFP) team regarding the matter and they would be happy to discuss the matter with him and provide a quote for a CFP.  If Mr Dawes is interested, he can contact our CFP team direct.  More information and contact details are available at the following link:
Mr Dawes also refers to receiving 10Mbps in 2020.  BT had made a voluntary offer to the Government to help achieve its goal of delivering a universal minimum 10Mbps broadband service across the UK. BT’s proposed Universal Broadband Commitment (UBC) did not rely on public subsidy and was an alternative to a broadband USO which would also require legislation. It will also ensure that the majority of connections will be well in excess of 10Mbps.
After weighing up the benefits of both options the government has opted to go with the USO model which aims to give people the legal right to access a broadband connection of at least 10Mbps by 2020. We respect the government’s decision and Openreach want to get on with the job of making decent broadband available to everyone in the UK. We’ll continue to explore the commercial options for bringing faster speeds to those parts of the country which are hardest-to-reach.
Alongside this, we’ll work closely with Government, Ofcom and industry to help deliver the regulatory USO. We look forward to receiving more details from the Government outlining its approach to defining the regulatory USO, including the proposed funding mechanism.
I hope this helps to confirm he situation for Mr Dawes, but I’m sorry I don’t have any positive news for him at this time.
Best wishes,
Graeme Hughes
Customer Resolutions – Openreach High Level Complaints


So that is where those of us without Airband access are at the moment – ‘No positive news’.  If anyone in Brentor has further information please do contact the website Editor, Colin Dawes, at  It might well be worth lobbying Geoffrey Cox MP to ensure that the Government’s commitment to the USO (Universal Service Obligation) as mentioned in the above letter actually becomes law!

In October 2017, 18 months late, the Airband transmitter on Christchurch tower became active, fed from a temporary mobile relay transmitter in the car park of the Brentor Inn.   A wooden pole with transmitters has now been erected on the on this site,  providing a permanent relay to the church tower.  There is also a planning application in progress for changes to the transmitter at Bearwood Farm.

The Airband transmitter and relay dish on Christchurch tower before it was adjusted to provide better coverage

Initially some properties very near to the church tower could not receive an Airband signal, but now that the transmitter on Christchurch has been adjusted more  villagers in the centre of North Brentor should be able to enjoy superfast broadband.  Residents in the village centre who do not have a line of sight due to tall trees or the position of the transmitter in relation to the four corner finials of the church tower still cannot receive Airband.  The many other properties in outlying parts of Brentor which cannot see the Christchurch transmitter, or any of the other Airband transmitters, also cannot receive Airband and there seems little hope of this situation changing in the near future now that the contract period with Connecting Devon and Somerset has expired.  A number of residents who have received advertising mailings from Airband stating that they can receive the service have later been disappointed when an engineer’s visit has shown that this is not in fact the case.  This is dismaying after a delay of 18 months and the huge amount of public money spent by Connecting Devon and Somerset on the Airband contract.  

Use of Airband is, of course, subject to taking out a contract with an Internet Service Provider using the Airband system (your choice is very limited, with no large national ISPs on board).

Parish Councillor Bob Lemon has written to the Editor:

“In order to ensure more accuracy and less bias on the village website, following comments regarding Airband:
1. The antenna on the church has been adjusted and most properties in village centre are now covered.
2. Take up in Brentor has been higher than most other villages, with over 40 properties now being supplied.
3. There was a minor speed reduction during roll out, but now corrected and 30MB is the norm.
4. The planning application for the feeder dish is proceeding and is looking as though it should go through. This is higher than existing so may enable some cover into valley.
5. The customer service has been excellent to date.

Bob Lemon”

The Parish Clerk has received an apologetic letter from the Managing Director concerning the delay to activating the Airband transmitter on the Christchurch tower.  

Click here to read the full letter from Airband

 You can still check your broadband speed by clicking here. (Just click the button marked ‘Start Speed Test’ below the two dials).

For more information about how this issue has evolved click here

Colin Dawes, Editor

Duo Villanesca at Brentor Village Hall

Duo Villanesca, the London-based flute and guitar duo comprising Spanish flautist Ana Estefania Rodriguez and ex-Brentor resident the English guitarist Peter Joe Bennett, gave a superb performance at the Village Hall on 10th February.

The sell-out audience enjoyed discovering their flute and guitar repertoire from all periods.  Both Ana and PJ demonstrated  their virtuosity and it was easy to see why they have won so many prizes  for their playing.
Together and separately they have performed regularly in concerts around the UK and Spain at venues including Cadogan Hall, St Martin in the Fields, Cheltenham Town Hall, Ateneo de Madrid, Blackheath Halls, Kings Place, Royal Greenwich Guitar Festival, Greenwich University and Madrid Royal Theatre.  Let’s hope that they will find time to return to Brentor Village Hall!

The evening raised almost £200 towards the funds of the Brentor Community Trust.

Beating the Bounds – 6th May

Brentor parish has announced a plan to hold a Beating of the Bounds this year.  Planning is currently in the early stages but appropriate permissions have been gained from the relevant land owners and, in keeping with tradition, the perambulation will be held on Rogation Sunday, 6th May, 2018.
Many of the parish’s boundaries date from Saxon times and incorporate parts of what were known as Liddaton and Lamerton to become Brentor in the 1800s. In 1987 land was gained from Mary Tavy along West Blackdown but lost to Lydford on the north-east side.  The parish boasts five old inscribed boundstones on the current boundary, to which a further nine ‘millennium’ boundstones were added in 2000, notably along the newly defined border with Mary Tavy.
The current boundary measures some 14 miles (22 km) and was last beaten in 1989.  The proposed perambulation is thus long overdue and we hope to revive interest in this traditional feature of parish life.  Watch out for more details in the coming months, either here on the village website or in the Brentor News.
For more information, contact
Steve Mason –
or Helen de Carles –

New Housing needs survey to be carried out

Although there has been no obvious movement for some time, the subject of Affordable Housing is still very much an ongoing matter.

Parish Councillors are aware however that the information collected from the Housing Needs Survey conducted some time ago may now be out of date.  In view of this, Councillors are intending to establish current need by means of a new survey.  Once this information has been collected, a meeting will be arranged to discuss the findings. The survey will be accessible to all and Councillors hope to circulate details of it and how to respond within the next few weeks.
Caroline Oxenham,  Parish Clerk

Brentor Commons Association to benefit from the Co-op Local Community Fund

Brentor Commons Association has been chosen to benefit from the next year of the Co-op Local Community Fund.  The funding started on 12 November 2017 and will  run until the 27 October 2018.
How it works
Every time Co-op members shop at the Co-op, 1% of what they spend on selected own-brand products and services goes to the Co-op Local Community Fund.  The Co-op will also give the Brentor Commons Association (shared with two other local causes) a share of the money they raise from sales of carrier bags.  Co-op shoppers who are Co-op members (ie  have a membership card) must first choose the Commons Association as their cause for their 1% to go to them and not the other causes – to do this click here to go to the website.
The more you shop at the Co-op, the more the Commons Association will benefit.
This is very welcome news for the Commons Association – as Government funding for conservation work becomes more difficult to win this grant will fill some of the funding gap that they are experiencing for the maintenance of our local commons.

Brentor Commons Update – December 2017

As the year turns around, signs of change are becoming apparent.  The moles are starting to get busy with rich dark soil heaped up at several sites.  While the blackthorn appears still resolutely lifeless, there are catkins on the hazel and birch with small buds on the oaks, ash and willow.
The oak trees still retain their last few golden brown leaves, but the gales of the past weeks have stripped all other trees.
This time of year shows how the oak tree becomes dominant if the woodland is not managed. Around the base of each tree is an area that gradually loses the variety of plants, such as brambles, growing there.   As the young trees grow eventually there is an inviting, perhaps secretive, grassy clearing under each one.
It was a surprise to see a party of fourteen well equipped and colourful hikers striding, with serious intent, along the bridle path and on down into the Lyd valley. This was rather a grim, January, Sunday morning with a strong Northwest wind.
The south wind always brings wet weather,
The North wind wet and cold together.
The West wind always brings the rain,
And the East wind blows it back again.
Listen out for the distinctive sound of the great tit as it is very vocal at this time of year. It is a clear two note repeated tea-cher— tea-cher.  This is the usual call but it can be quite varied. Bird watchers will often say “if you are not sure what it is it’s a great tit.”
I would like to encourage any walkers along the paths to bring secateurs to snip off the blackthorn suckers that will soon grow to be impassable bushes.  Overhanging brambles and gorse can also be kept in check with regular pruning.  We must have had some help from escaped sheep judging by the amount of wool at the path edges.

Barry Albrighton
Click here to see earlier monthly Commons updates by Barry Albrighton

We want your recipes!

This website now has a recipes page, but there’s only a few recipes on it! 
As we all know, lot of Brentor’s social life revolves around cooking and eating with family and friends.  The recipes on the new page have been provided by Brentor residents past and present.  No doubt some have been adapted and improved as the years pass – and they are reminders of residents past and present and of many good times around the table, as well as being household favourites. 
WE NEED LOTS MORE RECIPES!  So please email your contributions – a recipe with a small introductory text – to the editor, Colin Dawes, at . 

Click here to go to the Recipe Book page

Ongoing community issues

A new section has been added to this website – ‘Ongoing Community Issues’

This sets out to provide a source of information about issues which are of ongoing concern to our village.  Often these issues first appear on this home page, but require additional space to do them justice.
Click here for information about Broadband provision for Brentor
Click here for information about Affordable Housing provision in Brentor
Click here for information about the possible new railway line through Brentor

We need your contributions!


Mistle thrush in West Blackdown – photo by John Drury

Do you have an interesting photo, an item about the village or an event that you need to promote?

We want to keep this website topical, local and up-to-date, so please send your potential contributions to .

Sign up to receive Brentor event reminders by email!

How often do you think ‘I wish I had remembered to go to that!’?
If you sign up for the free village event reminder service that won’t happen again.
For many special village events or activities you will receive an email reminder during the week before the event. Occasionally events are put on at short notice and may only be advertised by this service.
So why not join over 80 households who have already signed up!
To take advantage of this free service just send your email to
Colin Dawes

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