Woodlands and Estates
The Conservation of Nature within our Community
Through the generosity of local residents and visitors, and those who remember the SVA through bequests in their Wills, the SVA has been able to build up a Landscape Fund. This has enabled land on both Salcombe Hill and Peak Hill to be purchased and protected against urban development. The same is also true of The Byes where the SVA currently hold 18 acres of trees and meadows, on the banks of the River Sid.
Once the land has been bought it has to be managed and maintained. We have a dedicated team of volunteers (both men and women) who meet for just a few hours on Mondays and on the third Saturday of each month. Armed with secateurs, strimmers, power saws, etc. they are active in the maintenance of what we hold. Their activities may include laying hedges, planting of new trees, caring for the Golden Jubilee copse, removing Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan balsam from the river bank; and providing 'kissing gates' on public footpaths, etc. Dangerous trees are made safe, wild life is encouraged and the wild-flower meadows are very good for semi-acid grassland with lots of different wild flowers and grasses.
Our helpers (some of whom are of retirement age), say they do it for healthy exercise; for the fun and friendship they enjoy, as well as for the sense of conserving and improving our natural reserves for the enjoyment of our community. All our grasslands are open to the public without charge. Dogs must be kept under control, and for the benefit of children and other walkers, dog-owners are asked to clean up after their pets, and use the dog bins provided.
This field was named on July 12, 2003, in memory of Margaret Clark, by Sir Jack Boles, Vice-President of the Sid Vale Association. Margaret was born in Cambridge, and after several holidays in Sidmouth settled here with her husband Bernard, in 1983. She played an active and distinguished role in several voluntary organisations, viz.
Chairman, Sid Vale Association (twice);
Chairman, Sidmouth Town Council 1992-94;
Chairman, Sidmouth Voluntary Services;
Secretary, Britain in Bloom in Sidmouth;
Secretary Sidmouth Cricket Club;
Awarded: Rotary Citizen of the Year 2001
In 1985-86, Margaret persuaded the SVA and the National Trust to launch the Landscape Appeal. Some of this money, augmented by a generous legacy from the late Mrs Emily Madge Carter, enabled the purchase and conservation of Margaret's Meadow in 2002.
It was said: 'Margaret loved and served Sidmouth well'. Margaret's Meadow will be a constant reminder of her generosity of spirit.
Golden Jubilee Copse
In January 2003, to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of the reign of HM Queen Elizabeth II, trees producing golden foliage, were planted by children of Sidmouth, and others, including Bernard Clark, Chairman of Sidmouth Town Council. The cost of this living memorial was largely met through the many gifts received from Members of the SVA, local residents and businesses. A full list of donors is available to view in the Sidmouth Heritage Centre and Museum.
SVA Land Environs
The SVA own the James Cornish Field on Soldiers Hill, where soldiers camped during the Napoleonic Wars. This is a meadow which is let to a local farmer, and a bluebell wood of 2½ acres, managed by our working parties. The entrance to the field is close to the Salcombe Regis War Memorial. At the top of the road down to Salcombe Regis, is an entrance to two additional woods. Combe Head Wood, recently purchased by the SVA, is also a bluebell wood. Over 200 ash, hazel and may trees have been planted to provide a canopy for the bluebells and other wild-flowers. Guided bluebell walks are arranged in spring-time. Allotment Field Wood was acquired by the S.R.Parish Council during the Enclosure Acts of the 1840s. It is owned by Sidmouth Town Council, and rented to the SVA.
A permissive path along the top of Allotment Field Wood has been made safe, with steps and post and rail provided down to the next wood (owned by the NT). This enables walkers from Griggs Lane to reach the coastal path, thus avoiding road traffic.
Close to the Bickwell Valley, the SVA was gifted Highfield Meadow in 1978, by relatives of Anne Leigh Browne, and Thomazine Mary Woolcott Browne who married Sir Norman Lockyer. This land is rented for agricultural use.
For protection or conservation of the Sid Vale, the Association will be pleased to learn of land which may become available, either by gift; or by purchase through our Trust Fund, and welcomes donations to that end.
SVA Woodlands and Estates Executive - Neville Homent e-mail: email@example.com