In 1985-86, Margaret Clark persuaded the SVA and the National Trust to launch the Landscape Appeal, which raised a substantial sum, to buy large areas of land on Peak Hill and on Salcombe Hill, and to preserve them forever from unwanted development. The benefits of this far-sighted approach, we enjoy today.
It was a joint appeal between the Sid Vale Association and The National Trust, to raise money for the purchase of 220 acres of magnificent cliff land on Salcombe and Peak Hills. The purchase price was £225,000. The Appeal was launched by TV personality Angela Rippon, on March 28, 1986, from a gale swept parcel of land on Peak Hill, chosen because it overlooked the three other parcels of land up on Salcombe Hill. Later the same year the Duchess of Kent supported the appeal, and met many local dignitaries and schoolchildren as well as being driven around Sidmouth in the famous 'toast rack'. It was hoped that her presence would boost the appeal fund which was entering the last phase of its target. All four areas of land were eventually purchased thanks to the generosity of local supporters, the National Trust, and an anonymous SVA benefactor.
As a result of the Appeal, and legacies, the target was achieved, and the land passed into the permanent care of The National Trust. This success showed that many people care deeply about the Sid Valley and its landscape. The name of the Appeal was changed to 'The Sidmouth Landscape Fund'. This organisation now raises money through donations, sales of an annual Calendar, social events and legacies to provide a permanent and on-going source of funding, for the purchase of land in the Sid Valley, which is of great scenic quality or forms a vital part of the beautiful surroundings of Sidmouth.
So far, the Fund has contributed to the purchase of an additional area of woodland in Salcombe Regis, and fields in the Byes containing the remains of General Hunt's Pond, and Margaret's Meadow. The woodland is now in the hands of The National Trust, whilst the grassland is with the Sid Vale Association. This is in keeping with the original objectives: that land would be placed under Trust management if it covered a large area or was adjacent to existing Trust land; or placed under SVA responsibility if it was a smaller area.
Relations between the two organisations remain excellent. This joint Fund, which is unique in The National Trust, has continued to grow over the years since it came into existence. Donations and legacies from all who love and enjoy this beautiful area are always welcome and appreciated. Donations should be sent to H.S.B.C., Fore Street, Sidmouth and legacies left to the Sidmouth Landscape Fund, c/o Sidmouth Museum, Hope Cottage, Sidmouth EX10 8LY; or The National Trust, East Devon Estate Office, Killerton House, Broadclyst, Exeter EX5 3LE.
The more money we receive, the more we can do to purchase land and ensure it remains unspoilt to bring pleasure to future generations. Thank you.
A photographic competition is held each year and we publish a calendar to raise money for the Landscape Fund. The wall calendar for 2017 is available from from Sidmouth Museum, several local outlets and from our online shop. To find out more about the competition click here.