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Love the Panny! Sunday April 30th,
10.30 - 1.00pm

Both litter picking and for those who love the water (!), getting into the Panny to clear the banks and stream of litter and dumped objects. We will also be removing the early growth of a smothering, invasive weed called Himalayan Balsam, which is so vigorous that it blocks out native plant species. 

This is an  exciting first outing for our wonderful new 'kit - waders, litter pickers, high viz tabards, special long picker and trolley for trundling our litter bags to collection points; (see below for more on our new kit). This will be an enjoyable morning, suitable for anyone to join in, for to join in, for all or just some of the time.

We are meeting outside Swan Bungalow, and will be working our way from there, along the Panny towards the Topsham Road, and if time, then from Swan Bungalow to Ludwell Lane.

Help needed...

Call out for April 29th - mend a kissing gate

We need just 4 volunteers, who would enjoy working with wood, nails and saws, to mend a kissing gate, under the expert supervision of the city council's Chris Moulton. Please email if you can definitely help. Thanks!

Make a muddy mess back into a footpath!

A section of the foot path along the top ridgeway walk is a muddy mess. We need a few volunteers who would enjoy helping to sort this out, with guidance from Chris as usual. The date can be fixed around what suits the volunteers so get in touch if you want to help.

Planning application refused  - again!

Exeter's Planning Committee stood firm and rejected, as it did last summer, the application to build over 100 houses on the field behind the West of England School, within Ludwell Valley Park. We have been told by the planning officer that the developers have now withdrawn the appeal that they had lodged against the last refusal, which is at least one small piece of good news. However, no one is in doubt that the developers will in due course, (it has to be within 6 months) lodge another appeal against this most recent decision, so sadly we all have to be prepared for further effort.

Devon County Council ignored calls from residents and Ludwell Life, to revisit their previous report saying that the development will have no negative transport impacts on the Topsham Road or Countess Wear roundabout, and again submitted a 'no view' response.

A special thanks is due to Jill Barnes, who has worked tirelessly to stop this development, alongside many other local residents.

Ludwell Life is looking at ways to prepare for the appeal, when it comes. If anyone out there has, or knows of anyone who has specialist skills in land use, and/or transport planning and who might be willing to provide a little bit of pro bono advice, please do get in touch.

We may well be looking at fundraising, along with others, to pay for specialist advice in due course. Again, anyone with skills / experience of things like crowdfunding, please get in touch.


Our first grant, buying goodies & big thanks!

As readers of last month's newsletter already know, Ludwell Life is working on setting up a litter picking network.   Offering clear up tasks over the spring and summer will complement our existing conservation task work that has to happen over the autumn and winter, then stop to avoid disturbing wildlife.
We are pleased to say that we have secured two grants to help us with this project - one  from One Stop Shop's Carriers for Causes fund, and another from The Conservation Volunteers. A big thank you to both organisations. And not forgetting our wonderful Ash, volunteering from Yorkshire Building Society, who designed the leaflets that are going to households around the park. And finally, a new friend to Ludwell Life, Brightsea print group,, local printers with a strong environmental policy, who did us a special price for printing our leaflets. It's so good to have this local support from businesses -thanks all.

Our first clean up task is on Sunday April 30th - see above in this newsletter, and we should be resplendent in high viz tabards, with the Ludwell Life logo, 2 pairs of waders for getting right into the Panny to clear out rubbish, litter pickers, proper gloves and handy bag openers - not forgetting a trolley to move the litter bags to where they will be collected by the council...

We will be doing things over the next few weeks to attract in more volunteers, including

  • getting leaflets publicising the scheme printed and delivered
  • organising a public meeting to explain the idea and get people involve

30 Days Wild
Ludwell Valley Celebration, June 18th

A celebratory day of fun in the park, hosted  by Devon Wildlife Trust in partnership with Ludwell Life and other local organisations. We hope to be running guided walks, maybe offering BBQ and/or tea and cakes stall, but we will need helpers.

Please put the date in your diary and let us know if you are willing to be a helper on what promises to be a really lovely day in the Ludwell Valley cherry orchard.

Beautiful - but so damaging

If you want to do something to really help wildlife in and around the Panny, you can do it in just seconds - for the next few weeks.
The pictured Himalayan balsam is an 'invasive species' - meaning a non-native plant that is so vigorous and fast spreading that it crowds out the native plants and thus also the insects and wildlife dependent on those native plants. Once established, it also means bare banks in winter when it dies back, leading to more erosion.

The young balsam plants are just showing now (see picture of young plant below) and it's the perfect time to remove them.  You need to pull them out with their roots, which is very easy to do, then leave them on the ground where they will compost harmlessly.

Also, because many of us who love Ludwell Valley also love the River Valley Park, you might like to know that the Himalayan balsam is already everywhere along both sides of the path that runs along the leat, between the new housing estate, City Glade, and where Salmonpool Lane ends and the valley park begins. Hours of happy pulling to be had there!

Making space for wildflowers

We have now had the great satisfaction of working on the same site for 2 consecutive tasks - first clearing the ground of brambles, and then planting hundred of wildflower plugs - common dog violet, primrose, birdsfoot trefoil and selfheal.  We had a particularly nice time as not only did the sun shine, but we brewed tea with a camping kettle and enjoyed cake, along with several mothers, (and grandmothers and daughters) as it was Mothers Day.
Thanks to all and special welcome to new volunteer, Karina and to three year old Ben who got a fair few primrose plugs in before declaring himself tired!

House, orchard and land for sale.....

This months history snippet from Laurie highlights a sale of land in 1909....

Does anyone know anything of a Heavitree family called Havill?  Or remember the Carpenters Arms?  Or Sydney Cottage?

George Havill owned a fine house, orchard, farm buildings and five cottages in Heavitree, plus a small field in what is now Wonford Playing Fields.  After his death, it was all sold at auction.  The auction was held on 25th May 1909 at the Half Moon Hotel in Heavitree; the auctioneer was Herbert Fulford of 5 Bedford Circus in Exeter, who was selling it on behalf of the Union of London and Smiths Bank.  Was the bank his executor, or were there debts to be paid off?

Mr Havill had only owned the field for 17 years, having bought it from a Frederick William Arundell Sanders in 1892.  The field was small, about one and two thirds acres (1 acre and 12 perches), with a right of way from Ludwell Lane.  You can see it marked as Lot 7 on this map, which also shows the Carpenters Arms, which only closed in 1998, and, on Ludwell Lane, Sydney Cottage.  Both buildings are gone, with modern houses now on their sites.

Wanted: lockable, small, outdoor tool store or bunker
If you have one that you don't need, we would love it to keep our new tools and kit in.

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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