Heather planted on Bowden Down

Some of the volunteers

Three hundred native heather plants were planted on Bowden Down by about a dozen volunteers after the village coffee morning on 6 October. The plants were purchased using a grant from Brentor Parish Council.  This planting is part of the project to regenerate the Down and bring it back to its original habitat of lowland heath.  More work will continue this autumn and winter in conjunction with the Tavistock Taskforce, using funding received from the Co-op Good Causes Fund.

What a show! ‘Unearthed’ success

Unearth was organised by Villages in Action and generously supported by a Heritage Lottery Fund award of £58,000. 

Unearth, a community exploration of local history through stories, music, images and happenings, is being run in eight Devon villages.  It was led in our parish by the Brentor Living Archive Group, who  provided stories from the history of our parish and community for the project.

Lucy Bell, who wrote and performed in the show

Brentor’s contribution to this exciting rural heritage project culminated on 7th October with a superb multi-media performance sharing the stories and legends of Brentor’s past from pre-history to this century.  A team from Villages in Action, including a playwright, two professional actors, a sculptor and a folk musician came together in our Village Hall to present the show.

Kirsty Cox

The set, produced by sculptor Peter Margerum, provided the backdrop to the show and included back-projections of historic images of Brentor and a fantastic wooden tree sculpture.  Lucy Bell, who wrote the script, wove the stories discovered into a series of letters and diary entries that presented the lives and loves of people who lived in the parish.  Actors Charlie Coldfield and Kirsty Cox gave performances that really moved the audience – one audience member commented that “it made her proud to be living in Brentor”.

Jim Causley

The well-known folk musician Jim Causley wrote a series of evocative original songs that celebrated Brentor’s history – who would have thought that there would ever be songs about Burn Lane and everything on sale in the village shop (when we had one)!  His sense of humour and musical talent added so much to the evening.

What a shame that less than 50 people came to the performance!  And only 30 or so rom Brentor!  Those of you who weren’t there missed a one-off evening that delighted, moved and excited, and yes, made us proud to live in Brentor!

Click here to see a video of the show

The archive film evening

The first Brentor event in the Unearth Project was an Archive Film Evening at the Village Hall on 29th June.  About 50 people enjoyed seeing a number of short films relating to Brentor and the surrounding area, provided by the South West Film and Television Archive.

Do you have a passion for your Parish?

Brentor Parish Council has three vacancies…….
Could you be a Parish Councillor?
Brentor Parish Council invites members of the public who are registered electors in the parish to apply.
The Parish Council consists of seven Councillors who all live locally and volunteer their time to support their community.  Council usually meets bi-monthly.
You don’t need any special qualifications to be a local Councillor (although there is a qualifying criteria) but you do need to able to commit to a few hours every month for Council matters whether it’s attending Council meetings, reading Council papers on community matters or catching up with local residents.
So if you have a passion and enthusiasm for your community then why not find out more.  The Parish Council does offer a varied and very rewarding opportunity to be a voice of your community, and to see and have a real involvement in how your parish is managed and evolved.
For more information and an application form, please contact the Clerk:
Mrs. Caroline Oxenham, 1 Abbotsfield Crescent, Tavistock, Devon, PL19 8EY
Tel. 01822 481415 or e-mail brentorpc@yahoo.co.uk
Closing date for completed applications:
31st October 2018
The vacancies will be filled by co-option at the next Parish Council meeting on Monday 19th November 2018.

Results of the Playing Field Survey

Last December Brentor village residents were invited to fill in a survey asking for comments and suggestions for the future of the Brentor playing field. 
Disappointingly, only 20 responses were received.    The results of the survey were as follows:

50% asked for the field to have more of a community feel with seating, barbeque and toilets installed
35% suggested relocating the field closer to the village hall (if possible)
5% suggested selling the land for affordable housing
5% suggested leaving it as it is
5% wanting the committee to decide.

Over the last few months this has led to some lengthy deliberations by the committee,  to discuss the way forward based on the results.

What happens next?
Based on the results, the committee has been looking at external shelters, compost toilets and seating to enable it to take things forward.  It will require some fundraising and looking into grants available.

How can you help?
Would you like to get involved in making our playing field a more usable, sociable place?  If you have ideas for fundraising, can help with applying for grants, or have further suggestions/comments or even wish to make a donation, please contact Sheryl, tel 870554, email sheryl_burroughs@hotmail.com or Clare, tel 810322, email mrsclarep@gmail.com .

Do you have memories of the Brentor Inn?

Harvest Festival at the Brentor Inn, 1970

There are many people in Brentor who remember happy times in the Brentor Inn when it was open – a real meeting place for the community.  Do you have any photographs that could be made into a gallery about the pub on this website?  Here’s a good one as a starter…….

The Brentor Inn (named Brentor Hotel) in its heyday
Sale poster of the Herrings Inn, 1838

Did you know that the Brentor Inn used to be called The Herrings Arms – no doubt because for many years the Herring family owned Langstone and local land, including some alongside Burn Lane.

What a shame that Brentor no longer has a pub that is open.  Back in May 2005 Brentor News carried the following article:-

‘ Brentor Inn Update
The new owners of the Brentor Inn – Cynthia and Dudley Smith, daughter Emma Harcourt- Smith and partner Andy Stone – are hoping to open by Christmas.  Since buying The Brentor Inn last June, they have needed several re-thinks on structure, design and layout but now feel they have an achievable scheme and “will be applying for planning permission for the changes within the next two weeks”.
Changes will include a new kitchen, toilets and a cellar. The intention is to open initially as a pub with a range of beers and simple but goodbar food. The function room will open later – hopefully with restaurant facilities.
Sharp-eyed passers-by will have noticed the recent appearance in the car park of a JCB, which has been purchased for the construction. The family has engineering experience in varying forms – which should help.
We are happy to report that they all categorically deny any rumours about applying for change of use! ‘

Don’t just moan about potholes – report them!

A pothole on Brentor Road – it was reported and is now repaired!

A winter approaches potholes seem to appear overnight in our local roads.  It is easy to report them for repair – click here to go to the Devon County Council roads and transport website page to report them.

You’ll need to take a photograph and note where the pothole is, so that you can mark its position on the County Council’s website,  but it’s easy and worthwhile to do and it could prevent an accident.

If you are reporting an emergency that requires immediate attention, please call the County Council on 0345 155 1004.  An emergency on the highway is defined as something that is very likely to present an imminent threat to life or serious injury or serious damage to property.

Where next for Brentor broadband?


The Government is introducing a Universal Service Obligation (USO) for broadband provision and is aiming for this to be in place by 2020 at the latest.  This should apply to Brentor residents who cannot receive an Airband signal and who currently have less than 10mbs broadband download speed.  Below is the House of Commons Library Briefing that details the Government’s plans to introduce a Universal Service Obligation (USO) for broadband.  It was published on June 5, 2018.

What is the broadband USO?

The UK Government is introducing a Universal Service Obligation (USO) for broadband. The new USO is a UK-wide measure to deliver broadband connections to the hardest to reach premises in the UK. It is intended to fill the gap left by the UK Government’s existing broadband roll-out programs.
The USO will provide a legal right to request a broadband connection of at least 10 megabits per second (Mbps) download speed. Eligible consumers and businesses will be able to request a connection under the USO and a Universal Service Provider(s) will be required to fulfil all requests up to a cost threshold of £3,400. The USO will be funded by industry through a cost-sharing fund.
The USO is underpinned by secondary legislation made under the Digital Economy Act 2017, and will be implemented by Ofcom. The Digital Economy Act allows for the Government to review the USO and to increase the minimum speed. There was broad cross-party and consumer support for the introduction of a statutory USO for broadband in general, but there were mixed views from industry stakeholders as to how universal access to broadband should be delivered.

Technical specifications
The minimum technical standards for connections made under the USO will be:

  • Minimum download speed of 10 Mbps.
  • Minimum upload speed of 1 Mbps.
  • Additional quality parameters: medium response times, a minimum data cap of 100 GBs and a contention rate of 50:1 (which means a maximum of 50 users to share one bandwidth).

A mix of technologies that meet the minimum specifications will be used to deliver the service.  In 2016 Ofcom advised that satellite connections will probably be the only option for some consumers (approx. 0.2%) but may not be able to fulfil the additional quality parameters.

When will the USO be implemented?

The Government is aiming for the USO to be in place by 2020 at the latest. Secondary legislation was laid in Parliament in March 2018, and came into force on 23 April 2018. Ofcom has responsibility to implement the USO and that process is expected to take up to two years. Several factors need to be finalised, such as the designation of a universal service provider, and the design of an industry cost-sharing fund. Ofcom’s first document on the USO implementation is expected in summer 2018.

How many premises will be eligible?

Ofcom reported that as of January 2018, 925,000 premises in the UK (3%) would qualify for the USO based on the proposed technical specifications.
The USO will be available only to those consumers that do not have access to broadband connections that fulfil the minimum standards, not those who have such a connection available but choose not to subscribe to it. The number of premises covered by the USO will ultimately depend on the number of consumers that register.

Click here to see the full Government report as a PDF

So that is where those of us without Airband access are at the moment.  If anyone in Brentor has further information please do contact the website Editor, Colin Dawes, at colinvdawes@btinternet.com.  It might well be worth lobbying Geoffrey Cox MP to ensure that the Government’s commitment to the USO (Universal Service Obligation)is actually implemented by 2020 as promised!

For more information about how this issue has evolved click here

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


Colin Dawes, Editor

Brentor Commons update – August 2018

After the virility of spring and early summer, the lassitude of August is somewhat a disappointment.  The energy expended by the nesting birds and flowering plants has been replaced by a period of rest and recovery with our flora and fauna getting ready for the winter to come.  Our wildlife walk around the commons reflected this with birdsong eerily silent and the few flowering plants swamped in a sea of green.  We did however have a most pleasant stroll with sightings varying from a calling raven to an interesting variety of butterflies. Our visit to the pond on Liddaton common gave rise to a useful discussion of ways forward to make this area a more interesting and valuable environment.

The paths have been cut again and the bracken rolled.  Walking around is now much more enjoyable with wide paths no longer crowded in with collapsing wet foliage.  I am sure all of us dog walkers and dogs are feeling liberated with the extra space.

The rowan fruit is very fine this year with the large clusters of orange-red berries strikingly standing out against rather uniform green background.  Blackberries and sloes are also abundant with supplies for all.  I am always surprised that the more blackberries are picked the better they are for the next collector.  To find the best fruit just look to see where the bushes have been recently trampled.  The apples in our gardens are also abundant so it is blackberry and apple pies all round for our Sunday lunch.

It is hard to imagine that our summer visitors will soon be departing.  The swifts have gone already.  Soon the overhead wires will be used by the swallows to gather in preparation for their incredible journeys to come.

Barry Albrighton

Click here to see earlier monthly Commons updates by Barry Albrighton

Cattle can be dangerous!

A Brentor resident was recently injured by one of the highland cattle that graze the moor on Gibbet Hill.  She needed medical treatment.  Another dog walker has also reported his dog being chased by a cow, and then being approached himself by the animal.

Kevin Hilborn, who owns the cattle, has made the following comments in an email to the Editor of this website, in response to an article about the injury incident in the September 2018 edition of Brentor News
‘I own the highland cattle and would like to point out that you have missed the crucial part of why the cow reacted how she did.  The lady had three dogs running and they went between the cow and its young calf.  All cattle with calves are very protective and will react to dogs going too close. There was a reason behind it, not just a random occurrence.  We have seen people walk straight through the middle of them instead of going round, and trying to get photos.
Please ask people to give them space and not to take dogs near them. Please respect the animals on the moor, plenty of room for everyone and everything.’

We should therefore all take extra care when walking near all cattle on the moor, especially when walking dogs.  NEVER WALK BETWEEN COWS AND THEIR CALVES.  It should be noted that nationwide there are on average two deaths per year due to trampling by cows, often involving cows defending their calves and also involving dogs.
It is not just on the moor where such incidents can occur.  If you find you and your dog in a field of suddenly wary cattle, move away as carefully and quietly as possible, and if you feel threatened by cattle then let go of your dog’s lead and let it run free rather than try to protect it and endanger yourself.  The dog will outrun the cows and it will also outrun you.Those without canine companions should follow similar advice – move away calmly, do not panic and make no sudden noises. The chances are the cows will leave you alone once they establish that you pose no threat.
If you walk through a field of cows with calves, think twice – if you can, go another way and avoid crossing the field.

We need your contributions!

A silver-washed fritillary butterfly in West Blackdown, August 2018 – photo by John Drury

Do you have an interesting photo, an informative 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 the Editor at brentorvillage@btinternet.com .

Brentor Commons Association already benefitting from the Co-op Local Community Fund

Brentor Commons Association is benefitting this year from the Co-op Local Community Fund.  The funding started on 12 November 2017 and will  run until the 27 October 2018.

Their first quarterly payment from the Fund amounted to £494, an amazing benefit to the Association, because rule changes by DEFRA mean that the common land owned by the Association no longer receives any funding for conservation work – unlike commercial operations such as farms, private estates etc.  Thank you Co-op!
How the Community Fund 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 coop.co.uk/membership website.
The more you shop at the Co-op, the more the Commons Association will benefit.

Ongoing community issues

This section of the website 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 (part of the Dawlish alternative route)

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 brentorvillage@btinternet.com . 

Click here to go to the Recipe Book page

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 brentorinfo@btinternet.com.
Colin Dawes

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