Brenstock 2019 success

Brenstock, Brentor’s very own music festival, returned after a year’s break on Saturday 29th June

The musical lineup was headed by the Kingstons and Fireblockers, ably backed up by local bands such as Dad Dancing, Rufus Stoned, The Strange & the Beautiful, Hannah & Trefoil , FoXXy & The Sinners, All Bar One, Morzim  and The Briars.

Tickets sold out and the day was warm, mainly dry and occasionally sunny.  Over 500 people visited the site during the festival, which ran from noon to 11.30pm. As well as great music there was an array of food from vegan to a hog roast!  The bar, ran by the Village Hall, managed to empty 10 barrels of beer as well as sundry other drinks.

What a wonderful day!

Click here to see what happened at  previous festivals

Brentor’s Community Housing project gets Borough Council support

West Devon Borough Council issued the following news release on 4th June 2019, signalling their strong support for the construction of 12 new community houses in Brentor, at the Hammer Park site.  This is part of a £4.3 million project, the other part being 17 new community houses in Lamerton.

Two community housing schemes have today been agreed by West Devon Borough Council’s Hub Committee.

The Community Housing Strategy was put in place to support the development of homes available to those people who have a local connection, but the homes are beyond their reach.
The lack of such housing is having a huge impact on the vitality and sustainability of local communities, with many locals having to relocate due to increasing housing costs.
Councillors have agreed to create a fund of £4.3 million by borrowing from the Public Works Loan Board with some internal funding,  to build the first two community housing schemes which will deliver 29 residential homes.
Cllr Debo Sellis, West Devon Borough Council’s Lead Member for Homes, said: “I am delighted that the Council is taking direct action to help reduce the housing affordability challenges that the Borough faces.”
This represents the first direct delivery of new homes by the Council in a generation and will lead to the reintroduction of some Council-held housing stock.
The construction of the first two community housing projects will start with 12 homes in Brentor and a further 17 in Lamerton, subject to Parish Council Support.
These projects benefit from reduced land value by using exception site planning policy and are being delivered where the community has shown that there is a need for affordable housing and therefore they have the support of the community, Parish Council and Neighbourhood Plan. 
The properties will be available as a mix of different affordable options, to ensure that housing is truly affordable to rent or buy for local people. Some will be available  to buy at a discount, some as affordable rented, and some available on the open market to make the projects financially viable. 
Design and planning work is being met through a Government grant of £250,000 paid to West Devon in 2017 to help with the delivery of community housing schemes across the Borough.

More Brentor Parish Councillors needed!

At the Brentor Parish Council AGM held on 13th May 2019 Councillor Bob Lemon resigned from the Parish Council, due to what he considers to be a misinterpretation of comments he made regarding the way ahead for the Brentor Village Hall and Playing Field.
The remaining Parish Councillors are now Terry Pearce, David Percival and Lin Bristow.  This is the minimum number of councillors required for the Parish Council to be quorate.

The Parish Clerk is asking for volunteers for co-option to the Parish Council – she writes:-

The Parish Council is down to three members and is in need of four more!  There are some very important issues in the pipeline affecting your parish where you could really make a difference.
Now is the time for you to get involved!
Please contact the Parish Clerk for more information
Mrs Caroline Oxenham
1 Abbotsfield Crescent, Tavistock, Devon, PL19 8EY
Tel: 01822 481415 or 07846 573678 (Monday to Friday)
Next Parish Council – meeting Monday 17th June

Beautiful Bowden Down

The old Drovers route on Bowden Down was cleared by The Tavistock Taskforce  back in November 2018.  It is looking great now and being used regularly by walkers.

The work was completed using some of the Co-op Good Causes Grant won by the Brentor Commons Association.

War Memorial repairs

The War Memorial name plaque has been safely removed at the Parish Council’s request because some of the fittings were missing and it was in danger of falling off.  It is currently being restored and will be returned as soon as possible.

Traffic speeding in Brentor

The Parish Council is trying to organise a meeting with the County Council Highways department about local concerns regarding the speeding of traffic through our village.

The current speed limit throughout the village is 60mph, which is clearly too fast for many of our roads.  If you have witnessed traffic obviously travelling too fast through Brentor please contact Caroline Oxenham, Parish Clerk, by emailing her at .

Brentor People in 1911 and beyond

Irene Cradick has carried out a very detailed study of the people who lived in our parish a century ago, using the 1911 census and other sources.  It has been painstaking work and our thanks must go to her for the enormous effort that she has made to correlate all this information.  If you live in our parish you should be able to find out details of the people who lived in your house or nearby in the early part of the 20th century.  Enjoy your search!

Brentor in the 1911 census differed substantially from now.  Many households that would consider themselves part of Lydford, were in the Brentor enumeration district and West Black Down was part of Mary Tavy.  For the purposes of the study all the houses in Brentor and West Blackdown are included. You can discover who was the head of each household and the names of their family, including children living elsewhere.  People in the household with another surname, for example lodgers, visitors etc,  are also listed, along with fascinating details of their work, origins and lives.

Click here to find out more and to see the survey

Local housing presentation – view the plans

Update March 2019
Written by Colin Dawes, Editor of the website, who attended the Local Needs Housing presentation at Brentor Village Hall on 2nd March 2019.

The Local Needs Housing presentation and discussion session held after the Brentor coffee morning  on 2nd March 2019 was attended by about 30 residentsMembers of the Parish Council were joined by Alex Rehaag and Tom Morris (from the West Devon Borough Council housing team) and Mike Hope (an Architect and Managing Partner from Roderick James Architects of Totnes, who are designing the scheme).

It was explained that there has been an identified need for local housing in Brentor, so West Devon BC must provide it, otherwise private developers will attempt to build it, possibly with less affordable content.  It is also clear that DNPA will not allow speculative building.  Currently there are eight people with the required attachment to Brentor who are interested in the houses, and more are coming forward as the scheme becomes more widely publicised.   There could be a waiting list by the time the scheme is built.  In response to a question from the audience, Brentor PC agreed to publish the results of the housing survey as soon as possible on the Village Website.

The Hammer Park Local Needs Housing Scheme is now at the design stage, and alterations to the scheme can still be made referencing the views of local people.

In response to questions, Alex Rehaag said that profit from the three open market houses will avoid having to obtain a grant from Homes England, (the government’s ‘housing accelerator’).   The planning and design costs were being covered from existing funds and grants, but grants would be sought for infrastructure costs.  It was possible that funding would be needed for sewage works improvements, although SW Water has an obligation to upgrade local sewage works as this becomes necessary.  The reason for planning refusal last time included that it was for 12 not 10 houses, which was the identified need at that time. Tom Morris explained that the Hammer Park site is only one that is viable due to services being nearby. Therefore the scheme can be built with less open market houses than on other sites. The two other sites are not suitable due to the high price asked for the land or high building costs due to springs etc. The owner of the Hammer Park site is willing to sell the land at a very low price. The other sites owners have not come forward with any alternative proposals since the last scheme for Hammer Park was shelved.

A member of the audience asked whether it could be said that the building would be detrimental to the National Park. It was explained that the Hammer Park site has been listed on the Land Availability Assessment survey by DNPA for some years.  Previous reasons for the failure to obtain planning permission at this site were unlikely to be relevant now, since rules have been relaxed.  For example, a ‘sustainable location’ could now be up to one mile from a village centre.

Mike Hope, the scheme architect, made a presentation on the overall scheme and the design of individual houses. The plans and illustrations from this presentation are available below.

The new layout has been designed to have as low an impact on adjacent houses as possible. The new housing will be high quality sustainable houses, using natural materials. The project is at early design stage, so he welcomed comments and provided forms where they could be written.  The opportunity to make formal comments to the architects closed on 22nd March 2019.

The key things about the plan were that:
1) It should not look like a mini housing estate (the last design was simply a row).
2) It should be sensitively designed, respect the location, and provide a sense of place.
3) The houses should be efficient to build but be generous and practical houses.
4) The scheme should minimise impact on trees and hedgerows.
5) There should be only one access from the road.

The scheme would use high quality materials and keep views from the road to the moor. There would be two parking spaces per house, extra visitor parking and a children’s play area.

The houses would have rooms upstairs under the roof, since this is efficient to build and reduces heat loss and hence running costs. All are one storey to the rear, so from the moor we will just see slate roofs behind Devon banks. From a distance we will not be presented with just a row of houses, and the site will look more like a group of farm buildings. The exterior finish will be rendered, with some stone walls and some hung slate on gable ends. There will be no timber cladding but they will be of timber framed construction, fabricated offsite.

Each of the four terraces and the houses within them will be subtly different, some with garages in addition to their parking spaces . They will have two and three bedrooms, some for up to five people. Bedrooms will be big enough to be shared by two occupants.

The scheme will try to create good housing, all with halls for the staircase, with kitchen, utility room, large doors to exterior, built-in storage and wardrobes. Externally there will be bin storage, electric car charge points etc.  Where houses have no garages, there will be external stores provided, to prevent a proliferation of sheds.

Solar panels or ground source heat pump will be used to keep down running costs.  There will be a need for a maintenance plan for the public areas of the site, but who would pay for this is not clear.  A report will be done on the need for better broadband coverage for the new site.

The audience expressed a concern about where the residents will come from. It was explained that in first instance the occupants will be from Brentor. Later, if a house becomes vacant and no one from Brentor requires it, then the new occupant could come from the surrounding parishes, then the DNPA area. This ‘occupancy cascade’ will be set out in a document that is tailored to Brentor. All this is subject to a Section 106 agreement. For changes to me made to this the proposals would have to be countersigned by WDBC, Devon CC, Brentor PC and DNPA. It was thought that it would be very unlikely that abandonment of this policy could happen.

No more houses could be built at the Hammer Park site since the remaining part of the field is poorly drained and subject to waterlogging.  Elsewhere in Brentor it is possible that more houses could eventually be built, since the DNPA plan sets the maximum number of new homes for Brentor at 30.

Colin Dawes, Editor

Click on the illustrations below to view in more detail

Click here to see further information about Local Needs housing on this website

Why not try for some funding?

The Calor Rural Community Fund has returned for 2019, bigger and better than before!  Home energy provider, Calor, is offering deserving community projects the chance to win a total of 21 grants, with prize pots ranging from £1,000 to £5,000.

Brentor is eligible, since it is for rural communities off the mains gas grid.  Previous winners including playground and village hall refurbishments, instruments for music banks and equipment for sports clubs.  Calor is encouraging anyone who thinks their project may be eligible to come forward and submit an application for consideration to this year’s fund.

Click here to see a leaflet about the Fund
Click here to go to the Fund website

Conservation work for Brentor Commons

The Tavistock Taskforce put in two solid days work on Bowden and Liddaton Down for the Brentor Commons Association.
On Bowden Common they have virtually opened up the full length of the ancient drovers route, once the main route from the north towards Tavistock before the roads went in.  We call it the ‘hollow way’ as it was eroded by hundreds of years of use by packhorses etc.  It is a lovely walk with fantastic views over towards Dartmoor.  There will be more work along here in coming months, such as hedge laying and coppicing of hazel to let more light in.
The Taskforce spent a very messy and muddy day removing and reducing invasive willow from the quarry pond on Liddaton Down.  The pond is a much-neglected feature that had been used in the past as an illegal dump and place for the dreaded fly tippers to dump rubbish over the years.  Incredibly it is home to a wide variety of invertebrates and molluscs, including our very rare mud snail.  In spring it is covered in a mass of frog spawn, deer go there to graze and drink and now hopefully more birds will come in to the open water.  Again more work will be done in the coming months to make the access easier and hopefully we will make some ‘rustic’ benches from the felled willow.
The work has been carried out by the Tavistock Taskforce who undertake restoration, renovation and environmental projects.  They have a wide range of volunteers including people with additional needs who are gaining work experience and qualifications.  I cannot express how amazed I was at their commitment , energy and positivity while working in pretty difficult conditions.
All of this work has been made possible by the amazing amount of money, £5501, that we have received from the Co-Op Good Causes Fund.  It’s great to recycle the money we have received back into another local organisation.
Will Walker-Smith

Keeping our roads clear of water

A cleared gulley in Burn Lane

Walking around Brentor you may have noticed that many of our roadside ditches and watercourses have been cleared of debris that has been building up during the summer and autumn. 
Water can now drain off the roads onto adjacent land and into ditches more easily, avoiding the formation of puddles that can be a danger to traffic and pedestrians. This is thanks to the work of the local Parish lengthsman, whose recent work has been funded by a grant obtained by the Parish Council.  Occasionally landowners have been known to block drains created by the lengthsman, but if you own open land next to the highway you are required by law to allow drainage from the road onto your land.

A cleared ditch in Burn Lane

Devon County Council also employs their own lengthsmen who are scheduled to work for four days a year in Brentor.  In addition if there is flooding or large puddles on a road the County Council will, 24 hours after the rain has stopped, take action if:

    • the road is impassable
    • the water is forcing vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians away from the nearside of the road by more than one metre
    • vehicles have to cross the centreline marking

They undertake to attempt to clear the standing water if appropriate. If unable to clear the water, they will set up a flood sign, guard the area or close the road to make the location safe and then investigate a permanent solution.
To find out more click here to visit the County Council’s highways website.

You can notify the County Council of flooding, potholes and other road problems by clicking here and following the links.

The parish lengthsman can only do a limited amount of clearing in the time he has, so it’s worth watching out for blocked gullies and drains and helping by keeping them clear of debris!

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  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

We need your contributions!

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 .

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 Local Needs 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 . 

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
Colin Dawes

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