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Next conservation task - Sunday March  26th

Spend the morning of Mothers Day planting wildflowers and a few trees in a copse. An enjoyable task, suitable for all. As it's Mothers Day, why not bring a mother, a flask of tea and some cake?!
We will be planting common dog violet, primrose, birdsfoot trefoil and selfheal,
All welcome, just wear sensible boots, stout trousers, possibly a kneeling pad if you don't want to get wet knees,  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

More diary dates

Note that our website now has an events page where you can see everything happening in Ludwell Valley Park - conservation sessions, walks, celebrations and more.  The list is growing, and we are always open to new ideas and offers -  could you help take a group of walkers around the valley park? Is there an event that you would like to see happen?

Here are a couple of special call outs and advance diary dates for you though...

Call out for people to help make a muddy mess back into a footpath!

A section of footpath along the top ridgeway of the park has become a muddy, unsafe mess. We are looking for volunteers who would enjoy sorting this out with a simple deck and rubble construction project. The work will be ably directed by Chris Moulton, our super competent and patient Valley Park officer.  The date can be fixed around you. So, if you enjoy working with wood and creating something practical, email us,,  to be put on the volunteer list for this job.

Ludwell Valley Celebration Event: June 18th

This is being organised by Devon Wildlife Trust in partnership with Ludwell Life and other local organisations. We hope to be running guided walks, maybe offering tea and cakes stall, but we will need lots of 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.

Group fun/team work opportunities

If you are part of a work or other group that is looking for something to do together that is fun, builds team spirit, provides a social opportunity, then why not carry out a work session together in Ludwell Valley Park? We can help you plan and carry out an activity suited to your needs and the people coming along, and you will have a great time, whilst knowing that you have helped do a good deed too :).  Get in touch at

Still time to object to 100+ homes within the Valley Park

It is expected that the planning application to build over 100 houses on a field within Ludwell Valley Park will be heard at Exeter Planning Committee on March 20th, 5.30pm at the Civic Centre; (any changes to this will be shared on our Facebook page and Twitter account).
The council is still taking objections, and hundreds have already been received. So still time to take a few minutes to make your views on this heard, either in writing, or via the council's planning objections online system, which is easy to use. It is application 17/0121/01 .
Or you can email Tel: 01392 265117.

Devon County Council have 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 so the City Council has to reach a view without any useful input from the County Council. Councillor Leadbetter has worked hard to make the County Council review it's decision but was ignored.
Devon Wildlife Trust  have commented on the buffer zone between the new housing and the fields that are a designated County Wildlife Site being too narrow.

And just to cap it all, the developers - headed up by the multi-millionaire father of multi-squillionaire Chris Martin of Coldplay (born and brought up playing on these fields), are also lodging an appeal against the refusal of their application last summer.

Love Ludwell, hate litter?

Ludwell Life is now working on setting up a litter picking network. We hope to do this alongside local organisations and involve as many local people as possible. The network will cover all of Ludwell Valley Park and Wonford Playing Fields.  We are pleased to say that we have secured a grant from One Stop Shop's Carriers for Causes fund and this will used to help set up the network. We have lots of ideas and would now love to hear from anyone who is interested in helping with this new project.  We will be doing things over the next few weeks to start getting this project set up including:

  • getting leaflets publicising the scheme printed and delivered
  • organising a public meeting to explain the idea and get people involved
  • buying useful 'kit' including waders (to get into the Panny to pick out rubbish), litter pickers, high viz tabards and insurance cover
  • working out the best way to get this done!

We would particularly welcome, at this early stage, any offers of help from people who would like to help get this project going.  We are also of course happy to have offers from people who want to be part of the network, but we don't anticipate actual litter picks starting for at least a couple of months.

In the meantime, remember that for anyone with a smart mobile phone,  there is a great Keep Britain Tidy app which you can use to report dumping ie larger or dangerous things that the council need to come and pick up. The app knows where you are and makes it really simple to report in what you have seen as you don't to have to go through many steps at all - the phone knows it all already!

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.

Public money for Ludwell Valley Park improvements?
On March 29th, the SE Devon Joint Habitats Mitigation Committee, which has the final say over which green spaces in Exeter, East Devon and Teignbridge get what Community Infrastructure Levy public money, meets in Sidmouth. Members of the public can attend and the committee papers are available to see on line, from March 21st, here

Transfer of Ludwell Valley Park to Devon Wildlife Trust
This process is going along fairly well it seems, so fingers crossed we might have the transfer in place by early summer.

Local history snippets

Here's the latest from Laurie, our local history buff...We couldn't upload the photos of the pottery, but they are on our Facebook page here

Back in about 1990, walkers up on Pynes Hill made a number of very interesting finds.  Amongst them were fragments of four hundred year old pottery.  There were two types.

 The first was Westerwald pottery, which came from Germany and was owned by high status individuals.  Now, although the pottery looks as if it was very attractive, you might think a few broken bits of someone’s old vase aren't really that interesting.  But what intrigues me is how it got there.  No-one lived up on the top  of Pynes Hill, so who dumped it there and why?         

The second type of pottery was called Courseware, which was made locally, possibly from Ludwell Valley clay, and used by lower status people.  This has an echo of even older times - Ludwell clay was used by the Romans to make tiles for their mosaics and it may have been used even before that by the Iron Age people who had two local settlements: one where Millbrook Village is now, the other now buried under Tesco.

Our thanks to the curator at RAMM who showed me these fragment and allowed me to photograph them. If you’d like to see more complete examples of both types of pottery found elsewhere around Exeter, it is on display at the museum.



Space for wildflowers

A small but keen team worked hard to clear two large patches (one in the picture) of brambles and sickly elm trees, to make space for planting wildflowers - common dog violet, primrose, birdsfoot trefoil and selfheal.  This will be done on Sunday March 26th - see elsewhere in this newsletter.
It was particularly nice to have a small gang of youngsters along, who worked hard and also found time for some creative play (rolling down the big hillside!). Thanks to all who came.

Bear dogs in the park?!

The picture shows 'bear dogs', common in Eurasia during the Pleistocene  - and possibly once a common sight in Ludwell Valley!
We have just found out that parts of Ludwell Valley Park are designated as a RIG - Regionally Important Geological and Geomorphological Sites. These are earth science sites that are of regional or local importance.  Who knew? The features in question are "Asymmetric valley and steep headed dry valleys of probably Pleistocene age".
So next time you are out strolling in the valley park, just imagine the creatures that have roamed here in the past, using and seeing the same steep, dry valleys we see today....

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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