04.2018 newsletter

The River Yealm is a tranquil, unspoilt and increasingly popular harbour and also an important area in terms of conservation. It is a ‘Bass Hatchery’ & oysters and mussels also thrive here. It is a ‘Special Area of Conservation’, and a ’Site of Special Scientific Interest’, and as such harbours many protected species. Much of the surrounding land is owned by the National Trust.

Its waters are managed by the River Yealm Harbour Authority – a statutory non-profit making body which leases the harbour (except for the Kitley Estate area further upstream) from the Crown Estate. The Authority’s function is to regulate the harbour for the benefit of all its users.

However, in the distant past, The Yealm was a haunt for Pirates and Smugglers. This is depicted in a short film made by Wembury Local History Society entitled “On the trail of the smugglers The Coastguard service”. Click on picture to access film, which is published on Facebook.

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Did you know The River Yealm starts at Stall Moor?

Stall Moor lies between the Yealm and Erme rivers of south Dartmoor. The moor is a typical plain of grassland - rather bland and featureless, but giving good views  in good weather. The Yealm valley is obvious and so is finding Yealm steps.

The walk around Stall Moor Has been added to our web site.


You may have noticed that a Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) plaque has been placed on the wall beside the Yealm Road entrance to Holy Cross.  We understand that a similar plaque will be put up shortly at St Peter’s Revelstoke.  The significance of the plaques is that both churchyards each contain 2 graves which have CWGC War Grave Status.  Two of the four graves have been known about for many years and both men are remembered on our War Memorials.  However the other 2 men have somehow slipped through the net and have not been recorded in this way.  The Yealm Branch Royal British Legion is arranging for both names to be added.

The stories of both men are still being researched, but the outline

details are given below.

Leading Stoker Aaron Rowse was born in Newton Ferrers on 6th June 1879.  The family lived at Bridgend.  Aaron enlisted into the Royal Navy in 1900 and served in a number of battleships and shore-based establishments.  At the end of the First World War, he was serving on HMS NEW ZEALAND which was supporting mine-laying operations in the North Sea and north of Orkney.  The precise circumstances of his death are not fully known but he died of pneumonia in December 1918 at the Royal Naval Hospital Edinburgh.

He is buried in Holy Cross Churchyard.  There is no record that he ever married and he lies next to his parents’ graves

Gunner Cyril Mence was born on 28th July 1918 in Limehouse, London.  Little is known of his early life although he gave his trade as Clerk when he enlisted into the Royal Artillery on 15th September 1939.  Something very significant happened to him in 1940 as he was discharged from the Army with a War Disability Pension in December 1940.  The records which provide these personal details are not available until 100 years after his death and so the circumstances remain unknown. 

In June 1947, six months before he died, Cyril married Gladys Rowsell whose family had long been associated with Noss Mayo.  Cyril died in the City Hospital, Plymouth, on 17th December 1947 and is buried at St Peter’s Revelstoke.  There were no children from the marriage and Gladys herself remarried in 1957 and died in 2002.

The other 2 men who have War Grave Status and are already remembered on the War Memorials are:

Clarence Hodge

Clarence ‘Jumbo’ Hodge served in the Merchant Navy and was killed on 7th July 1940 whilst serving on SS AID.  He is buried at St Peter’s.

William Littleton

William Littleton was serving on HMS DUKE OF YORK in Scapa Flow on 13th May 1943 when he died of a neck injury.  He is buried at Holy Cross.

George Henry Wright

George was one of the founding benefactors of the Newton Ferrers Reading Room, he lived at Rosemont on Wrights Lane where he died in 1948.

To complete their records of benefactors a member of the Reading Room has, for some considerable time, been trying to find a photograph of George.

If you have such a photo or are able to help in any way, we and the Reading Room committee would be most grateful.

e mail us at rydamembers@yahoo.co.uk

Planning Issues

As you will know the Newton & Noss Neighbourhood Plan (N3P) is now in force and we enter a period when many of the policies it contains will come under scrutiny. 

One such is that of a Primary Residence requirement for new developments, which is intended to limit the number of second and holiday homes in the Parish.  This policy has recently been upheld by a Planning decision imposing the requirement on some new houses at Briar Hill Farm.

Another test will be that for “Protecting the Waterfront”, part of the relevant N3P Policy says:

“Development that threatens the estuarine coastal margins or would adversely affect the natural banks of the estuary will not be allowed.” 

There was strong support for this provision during the consultation for N3P and we now see the first subsequent Planning Application for a new quay and “boathouse” on the Newton Arm (see link: Boathouse).   This application is for a substantial stone quay, ramp and a rendered, partly glazed, flat roof boathouse with balcony, on what is currently a lightly wooded waterside bank.  Although designated as a “boathouse” there does not appear to be any provision for access for boats apart from a canoe store under the boathouse.  As shown on the photo below, this section of waterfront bank is already extensively developed with a number of large quays, walls and boathouses with few areas of natural bank remaining.  We feel that the Neighbourhood Plan was intended to draw a line under this type of development of the waterside and whilst small timber, natural dry stone quays or gabion protection walls which preserve aspects of the natural banks may be acceptable, this proposal at over 15 metres long, including the ramp, is excessive.  Your thoughts on this type of development are welcome.

And Finally:-

Notification for a new broadband cabinet on Parsonage Road, outside No. 3 (Dillons) .