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What links Yorkshire to Ludwell Valley Park?

What can link Yorkshire to Ludwell Valley Park? The answer is the Yorkshire Building Society (YBS) in High Street, Exeter. We owe them a very big thank you because their staff have used used the volunteer time, allocated to each member of staff, to support Ludwell Life.
First, Ollie came along and helped on a conservation task. Then Ash, a talented graphic designer, and charming chap, has used several of his volunteer days to design wonderful new designs for us - a business card, poster template and general information leaflet about Ludwell Life. He is now going to help us design new walks leaflets.
This work is invaluable to us. We will be using the design templates once we have raised enough money - through Friends subscriptions and grant money -   to get them printed, to raise much wider awareness of what Ludwell Valley Park has to offer and how people can get involved in improving it. For example, we hope to deliver leaflets to all homes that are within 15 minutes walk of the park, and use the business-oriented leaflet that Ash has designed, to approach businesses in Pynes Hill Business Park.
This gift of time and skills from an enthusiastic and talented staff member has been a wonderful present. And if that wasn't enough, last time we were there talking to Ash, another staff member offered to help with litter picking!  Thanks so much to all at Exeter YBS.

Next conservation task - February 26th

Come and have fun whilst preparing a meadow to support as many wildflowers as possible.
All welcome, just wear sensible boots, have waterproofs, and bring a drink or snack.
Note that the meeting place for this task is within Pynes Hill business park.  There will be plenty of on street parking as it is a Sunday. Link below

Spring into action! More Ludwell Life conservation sessions

All welcome to the following sessions.....
More details in the next newsletter, or please check our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter as there can be relatively last minute changes announced.

26th March - Footpath maintenance – improving some of our more muddy footpaths.

Early or mid April - date to be confirmed.       Himalayan balsam removal from the Panny's banks

30th April, Sun - Installing new kissing-gate to replace old one.

Early May, date to be confirmed - Himalayan balsam removal from the Panny's banks

21st May - Monitoring of our spring birds.

25th June - Cutting back overgrown footpaths / litter picking of footpaths.

And if you have a group of friends, work colleagues, community, sports, faith or other group, and are looking for an opportunity to do something fun and worthwhile together, talk to us about doing your own Ludwell Valley Park improvement session.

Second bid for 100+ homes within the Valley Park

The developers who wanted to build over 100 houses on a field within Ludwell Valley Park  had their planning application refused some months ago. Sadly, they have now not only appealed against that decision, but submitted a second, almost identical application, together with a new landscape appraisal; (impact on the views from the top fields was one of the grounds for turning down the application).

Please make your views on this heard, either in writing, or via the council's planning objections online system, which is easy to use. The closing date for submitting your comments is 23rd February. 
Just go to It is application 17/0121/01 .
Or you can email Tel: 01392 265117

What money can't buy....

As an independent community group, far and away the most important and valuable thing that we can have is a bit of your time.  Whilst money in the bank is also helpful - be a Friend to Ludwell Life too by all means -  having a bank of people who are willing to do anything from the odd bit of support, through to regular actions, is the single most important thing for looking after Ludwell Valley Park.
We want to build a bank of people who are interested in helping in ways that suit them. What would you enjoy  doing? Litter picking, nature conservation, helping on stalls and with events, raising funds, applying for grants, publicity, working with local businesses, leading walks, creating walks, researching local issues that impact on the park?
Whatever you enjoy doing, we would love to talk to you about doing a bit of it to build our work protecting and enhancing Ludwell Valley Park. Get in touch for a chat on 0797 4414613, or email us.

Neighbourly feeding of wild birds.

Ludwell Valley Park has been and in some cases, still is an important overwintering site for increasingly rare bird species such as skylarks, cirl bunting, thrushes and meadow pipits.  A group of people living on the Southbrook estate, on the south side of Ludwell Valley, approached the RSPB & Exeter City Council to ask how they could help support these birds and encourage them to use the valley park. The result is a new community bird feeding project running this winter, with the aim of supporting existing birds that use the park, but also to encourage the rarer ones to return and to breed.

 The City Council provides the bird feed, (as part of the 'Stewardship Agreement' in place with Natural England) and local residents put it out in agreed places, sharing the work on a rota basis.
One of the project organisers, Jill Barnes said:


"Recently there have been some beautiful early sunny frosty mornings and there cannot be any healthier activity or indeed a more rewarding pastime than wrapping up warm (carrying binoculars-optional-)!!) and having a friendly robin and his missus follow us through the fields as we scatter their favourite meal- worm (not live....!) Surprised at just how the meal- worm attracts so many other species too.


The residents have now increased their cover to  also feed the birds around the perimeter of  the top field that used to be the site for the heavy shire horse ploughing displays.

Ludwell Valley Park - what's going on?

Here is the latest news that we have gleaned about public plans and funding relating to Ludwell Valley Park.

Management of and responsibility for Ludwell Valley Park
Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) and Exeter City Council now have a formal agreement to transfer management of the Ludwell Valley Park to DWT  for the next 30 years.  Work is only just starting on working out the  detailed agreement and transfer lease document - a very complex and lengthy job, so no definite transfer date is promised, but sometime this year is hoped for.

Public money for Ludwell Valley Park improvements?
A modest round of improvement works to paths in Ludwell Valley Park was going to a January meeting of the SE Devon Joint Habitats Mitigation Committee. This meeting was cancelled & Ludwell Life wrote to ask why, and to find out whether local groups and people will have any opportunity to comment on the detail of what is being proposed. We have been told that:
  • the January meeting was cancelled because of the need to gather more information
  • the next meeting of the Habitats Mitigation Committee, on March 29th, will receive proposals for Ludwell Valley Park, but this is still all at an 'in principle' stage ie there are so many uncertainties that no one can yet say when final decisions on who gets what money, to spend where, on what - will actually be made!
  • however, we have been reassured that between broad agreement on any improvements proposals and actual delivery, there will be an opportunity for local stakeholders to input their views - but as above, no timetable for this as yet.
  • We are waiting to hear whether or not members of the public can attend the March meeting, and what papers, if any, will be publically available in advance of that meeting.

Pynes Hill business park connection

We are delighted to have made a start on our goal of getting people and businesses at Pynes Hill business park more engaged with the wonderful open space that is right on their doorstep. An organisation based there got in touch with us after the last newsletter, and we offered them a guided lunch hour walk. They have asked for another one in the spring. We would like to build more relationships with Pynes Hill people, so if you are interested , please get in touch at

Local history snippets

We will be bringing you regular local history snippets. If you have stories, photos or knowledge about Ludwell Valley's past - from pre-history to more recent events, do share them with us...

Two questions     

 Our valley park is of course called Ludwell Valley Park.  Why Ludwell?  Why is it not named after the Northbrook?  Could there have been an old watercourse which Ludwell Lane now follows, flowing down from Pynes Hill to join the Northbrook?  Our most famous local historian, W G Hoskins, suggested the name Ludwell means “loud spring”.  That would fit with this theory.  Any ideas?

 We know the local name for the Northbrook as it flows through Wonford playing fields is the “Panny”.  People say it got this name when Indian troops were camped on the playing fields and that it comes from an Indian word.  Why Panny?  What did the word mean? “Pani” is a name for a spicy sauce used in Indian cookery.  It is also the Sanskrit word for “hand”.  And it is the name for a type of demon in one of the classical Indian myths.  And a surname.  Or is it just that it is a word for water?

Hedge laid by keen team

We asked for a maximum of 10 people to do a hedge-laying task and the places were taken in record time, which was fantastic. 

The hardy volunteers assisted the Valley park Warden Chris, in a very successful, if wet, day laying part of a hedge. Those who participated said they found the day interesting and enjoyed learning a new and practical skill. In particular they enjoyed making a meaningful contribution towards enhancing the local environment. A big thank you to all and especially Chris for passing on his extensive knowledge on the subject.

It's Rubbish!

Keep Britain Tidy have a really useful app to help you report litter and fly tipping whilst you are out and about. This can be tricky in Ludwell Valley Park because of the problem of describing quite where the problem is. This app does it all for you, locating your position using your phone, then with you inputting the minimum of information, automatically sending the information to Exeter City Council. It's free at

We will have more on litter in the next newsletter - we are doing some research on the current cleansing timetables and service for Ludwell Valley Park, so we can share that information and perhaps start a conservation with Exeter City Council and some of you, about ways in which we can help the council keep on top of the serious litter and dumping problems, particularly in Wonford Playing Fields.

Ludwell Life is an independent community group, set up to protect and enhance Ludwell Valley Park
Our mailing address is:

50 Well Oak Park, EX2 5BB

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Ludwell Life · 50 Well Oak Park · Exeter, Devon EX2 5BB · United Kingdom

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