November 2020 newsletter

It is a few months since I updated you on our Emergency Fund which is very much still going and supporting local people.

Since we started in March we have helped 22 people locally, both with food vouchers and financial support. We are still assisting a couple of families who are struggling although most of those we helped originally have regained financial stability. Additionally, we offered to help those children at the village school who get free school meals during the summer and Xmas holidays and, although the government, prompted by Marcus Rashford, has taken this over in both cases, we are still providing food vouchers during half terms, both the one just gone and the February one to come.

In fact we expect the 2nd Wave of Covid-19 to bring in new problems for our community which may require our support both financially and with employment assistance. Furlough and self employment support are being extended by the government to March 2021 but again we expect people not to qualify for this support and many people to become unemployed perhaps without means of making ends meet. Of the £20,000 we have raised over the last 7 months, we will still have about £2300 at the end of the year so we don’t need to ask for more money at the moment.

Thank you again all those who donated most generously and in particular those who collected outside their houses by selling home produce or masks, Laurie Wilson, Buff Whiteley, the Oldmans and George Buckland.

Andrew Beveridge 11th November 2020

RYDA Newsletter        12/2020

Brookings Down Wood & Eastern Hill Wood

Autumn Update

We managed to complete some of our winter work plan before the new Covid 19 Restrictions started in November but unfortunately we don’t foresee any more scheduled Working Parties until the New Year now.


We have completed our nest box surveys of both woods with Brookings Down Wood being more successful than Eastern Hill Wood this year, about 50% of the boxes in Eastern Hill Wood were used this year and in Brookings Down Wood it was about 75%.

We have 20 bird nest boxes in Brookings Down Wood and about 11 in Eastern Hill Wood most of which are used by Blue Tits and Great Tits.

We have 2 Tawny owl boxes one in each wood but unfortunately neither were used this year.


The bird nesting material is mostly moss, grass and sheep’s wool and we had a few nests lined with feathers this year as well. We often get fluorescent tennis ball fluff in the make-up of the nest in the boxes near to the tennis courts and this year we also had some string being used !

A couple of nests had been abandoned with 7 or 8 eggs in and we are hoping that these were just a second brood.


In Eastern Hill Wood we have had damage by the Great Spotted Woodpecker where they have tried to enlarge the entrance hole to the bird boxes and we will be fixing these with metal plates. One box is missing, presumably fallen from the tree.

One box in Brookings Down Wood needed a roof repair and one box needed re-fixing as it fell off the tree fortunately after the nest had been used but generally the boxes are looking in pretty good shape this year. Many thanks to all those who sponsor our bird boxes.


If you would like to know more about becoming a “Friend” of the woods, sponsoring a nest box or would like more information on working parties please contact:


Paul Francombe ( or

Val Lomax (


Brookings Down and Eastern Hill Woods Management Committee


It will not be a surprise when we tell you that the plans we had for this year did not last beyond March.  However that does not mean that we have been doing nothing.

The most important progress has been the opening up of the path on our western boundary with Menryn and Heron’s Reach as well as some other connecting paths.  This has given much easier access through the Woodland to Newton Wood instead of having to struggle up the steep diagonal path. 


One of the few benefits of lockdown and the encouragement to take more local exercise was that there have been many more people walking through the Woodland.  That has been a pleasure to see as it was one of the main reasons for buying the Woodland in the first place. 

Probably the major casualty from lockdown and the need for social distancing has been that we have not been able to make the improvements to the steep path such as a few steps and maybe a handrail on particularly tricky stretches.  That remains at the top of our To Do list.

Because of Covid, we have also had to put on hold our discussions with the Woodland Trust to pursue matters of mutual interest and good neighbourliness between Court Woodland and Newton Wood.

The other most noticeable change has been the installation of a beautiful bench, courtesy of Vicky and Jonny Turnbull. 

The bench was donated by Vicky and her brother and sister in memory of their parents, and installed by Jonny

If you have not yet seen the bench or enjoyed a brief rest on it, we encourage you to do so as the view is rather good, particularly once all the leaves are down.

Other things we have completed are an environmental/ecological survey that will feed into our management plan and a safety review of all the trees.  Those trees that have been identified as potentially a danger will be felled or pollarded over the next few weeks.


We must also thank Duncan Macpherson for making 11 rustic bird boxes which will be installed once we have carried out a bird survey that will indicate the best places to put them.  Also on our To Do list is to design and install some basic signage within the Woodland, particularly an informative Welcome Board at the entrance off the end of Lower Court Road.


It has been very unfortunate that we have not been able to organise any working parties since March but maybe they can start again in the New Year, Covid permitting.

Court Woodland Management Committee



Did you know ..

  • Trees emit phytoncides, wood essential oils, which have a positive effect on our immune and nervous systems.
  • Soil contains harmless bacterium, Mycobacterium vaccae, that releases serotonin and dopamine, our brains natural anti-depressants, so gardening throughout winter can be beneficial to our wellbeing
  • Shinrin-yoko, or forest bathing, is the simple act of spending time outdoor, surrounded by trees.2hours spent in amongst trees could lower blood pressure and cortisol stress levels, improve concentration and .memory. To “forest bathe”, take deep long breaths while walking slowly, or sit still to feel calm and connected to your natural environment,

    Listen to bird song, smell the damp earth and moss. Look up and watch tree tops and leaves sway in the the canopy. – You have 3 local woodlands to choose from

  • Trees are our most powerful weapon to fight climate change. The entire woodland ecosystem plays a huge role in locking up carbon, including the living wood, roots, leaves, deadwood, surrounding soils and its associated vegetation. Like great carbon sinks, woods and forests absorb atmospheric carbon and lock it up for centuries. They do this through photosynthesis.
  • The views of the river and the autumn tinges from The woodlands at this time of year are stunning

Things to do during Lockdown

Make a habitat ball constructed from combining two hanging baskets makes a wonderful back garden project.


Finding bits of nature to help the wee things "make do" is a treasure hunt for adults and children alike; meanwhile, we must learn to make do with less consumerism, less plastic, less waste.


More beneficial please, give wildlife a home and a meal.


It is surprisingly easy to do something to help garden wildlife in the lean and cold months of winter. Even if you carry out just a few of the following tasks, it can make a difference.

  • Help birds in winter by placing fat blocks in wire cages. Balls in plastic nets are not recommended as birds such as woodpeckers can get their tongues caught

Helping birds


  • Create your own fat blocks by melting suet into moulds such as coconut shells or logs with holes drilled in
  • Alternate different recipes to entice a range of birds; peanut cakes for starlings, insect cakes for tits and berry cakes for finches
  • Put out finely chopped bacon rind and grated cheese for small birds such as wrens
  • Although fat is important, do also provide a grain mix or nuts to maintain a balanced diet
  • Sparrows, finches and nuthatches will enjoy prising the seeds out of sunflower heads
  • No-mess mixes are more expensive but the inclusion of de-husked sunflower hearts means there is less waste. Inferior mixes are often padded out with lentils
  • Use wire mesh feeders for peanuts and seed feeders for other seed. Specially designed feeders are needed for the tiny niger seed, loved by goldfinches
  • Feed placed on a wire mesh held just off the ground will entice ground-feeding birds such as robins and dunnocks
  • Thrushes and blackbirds favour fruit. Scatter over-ripe apples, raisins and song-bird mixes on the ground for them
  • Consider planting berry bearing and fruiting trees and shrubs

Looking after other creatures

  • Check bonfires before they are lit for sheltering and hibernating animals, such as hedgehogs, toads and frogs
  • Melt a hole in the ice on ponds to allow the wildlife to drink, and enter and exit the water. Fill a sauce pan with hot water and sit it on the ice until a hole has been melted. Do not hit or crack ice as this can send shockwaves through the water that harms wildlife
  • Be careful when you turn compost heaps. As these are often warm, they can be the winter resort of frogs, toads and other animals
  • Provide a shallow dish or container of water at ground level. This will benefit other garden wildlife that needs to drink, as well as birds
  • Make an insect or bug hotel and put up in a sheltered position. Overwintering ladybirds and lacewings will find this useful
  • In late winter, clean out bird boxes so they are ready for new nests in spring
  • Leave healthy herbaceous and hollow-stemmed plants unpruned until early spring. These can provide homes for overwintering insects

Because of restrictions imposed by the Covid pandemic, the traditional Remembrance Sunday service could not take place this year. 

Instead, two simultaneous brief but dignified services were held at Holy Cross and St Peter Revelstoke on 11th November. 

Each service comprised prayers, the Exhortation, the Laying of Wreaths and the Kohima Epitaph.


The Holy Cross service was taken by the Rev Alan Ryan with about 20 attending. 

The service at St Peter was taken by the churchwardens, Christopher Bradley and Jane Barnett, with about 15 present. 

It is hoped that everything will be back to normal next year with the service at St Peter Revelstoke.


Holy Cross. Newton Ferrers

St Peter Revelstoke

  • There are many free or reduced price on line concerts, ballets, virtual tours etc which we have listed on our Facebook page.
  • Start a journal or a blog. Writing helps improve mood by prioritizing problems, fears and concerns.
  • Get crafty! Creative hobbies like painting, card making, wood working, knitting, etc. keep the mind strong and improve overall quality of life. They provide stress relief and expand creative growth.
  • Learn something new: Teach yourself a foreign language Take part in an on line photography, cookery or drawing course.
  • Gardening, Fresh air and exercise are proven mood boosters. Rearing new plants is rewarding work.
  • I don’t mean the lotus position and chanting – just look out of your window and let yourself day dream. Direct your thoughts to something pleasant. Listen to music and let yourself become immersed.
  • Play a board game How long ago was it that you sat down with your family and played a board game? Utilize these moments to reconnect with each other over Monopoly or maybe UNO!

Lock down Activities to keep you sane

The N & N Coronavirus Emergency Fund – Notice no 8




Following the Government’s Coronavirus directions effective Thursday 5 November 2020, the  outdoor gym will be closed until further notice.  

Government direction permits the childrens’ play parks at Butts Park and Noss Mayo  to remain open

“If you are a leisure motorboater in and around Plymouth or the Yealm Estuary areas, we’d like your views as we explore the relationship between boating practices and seagrass.

Estuaries- South Devon AONBDid

Opinions of Motorboaters sought

An environmental psychologist at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory is working with Collingwood Environmental Planning and Natural England on the LIFE ReMEDIES project.

Please CLICK HERE and register to join our online conversation, which will take place from 6.30pm to 8.30pm on Monday 23rd November (please register by Friday 20th November).


The meeting is being organised as part of LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES, a four-year marine conservation project to improve the condition of sensitive seabed habitats within five Special Areas of Conservation along England’s south coast. The project is led by Natural England in partnership with Ocean Conservation Trust, Marine Conservation Society, Plymouth City Council/Tamar Estuaries Consultative Forum and Royal Yachting Association. [& South Devon AONB Estuaries Partnership]


Independent research consultancy Collingwood Environmental Planning (CEP) will run the meeting. If you have any queries, please contact All discussions will be anonymised and will follow CEP’s GDPR and ethics protocol. You can also view the LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES privacy notice on the Natural England website.”

Help Libraries Unlimited Get This Mobile Library On The Road

Libraries Unlimited launches a crowdfunder to get a mobile library on the road – bringing books and a lifeline to 80 rural communities in South Hams and West Devon.

The current mobile library, affectionately known as Gertie, is going into retirement. This van has given 14 years’ service to rural communities, but sadly is becoming more and more difficult to keep on the road.

It travels 806 miles every month, stopping at 80 different places across the South Hams, skirts around Plymouth, travels across Dartmoor into West Devon and goes North into parts of Teignbridge too.

It travels 806 miles every month, stopping at 80 different places across the South Hams, skirts around Plymouth, travels across Dartmoor into West Devon and goes North into parts of Teignbridge too.

“The mobile library is really important, because a lot of the areas we go to are very rural. It keeps people in touch with the outside world and they can do something that they love, reading the books. I’ve got 80 different places that I go to and there’s people at everyone single one.” Heidi McCoy, Mobile Library Assistant (Ivybridge), Libraries Unlimited

This mobile library carries 2,000 books to rural communities every week and just last year, 11,368 books were borrowed by people, young and old. It is much more than a book delivery van though. The mobile library is an educational, social, wellbeing, and cultural service.

“It’s a good service, even if you don’t think you’ll use it yourself, you may have an elderly relative that has no access to a big public library. Seeing as we’re so rural, it isn’t easy, there’s no public transport to speak of for most of the villages, so it’s a really useful service and well worth supporting”.

Libraries Unlimited has found a second-hand van to replace Gertie. This second-hand van has been purchased thanks to a Devon County Council £15,000 grant.  It’s only done 29,000 miles, so will give years of service to our communities. However, it’s currently geared for under-fives inside and out and we need help to get it back on the road to serve all the community.

To find out more click below


Ivybridge Mobile Library Service

Monday Oct 7;   Nov 4; Dec 9;   No visit New Year Week

Newton Ferrers Yealm Road                      10:30 12:30

Noss Mayo Tennis Courts                           13:30 15:00

Battisborough Cross Old Post Office        15:10 15:40

Holbeton Village Hall                                   15:50 16:35

For more information or copies of this timetable in large print 0345 155 1001  or

And finally something to think about…….

  • Candyfloss was invented by a dentist - do you think he was making sure he had work!!
  • The Vikings ate frozen food!
  • Aphids are born pregnant.
  • Mango skin contains the same allergen as poison ivy!
  • As much prosecco is drunk each year in England as the annual rainfall on Wembley Stadium!
  • 90% of Lobsters escape from the lobster traps!  Hooray ....

An application for a conservatory and balcony with steps to garden level on a prominent position in Noss Mayo at the rear of Yonder Coombe, Hillhead.  The Application reference is 3338/20/HHO.

Viewed from the rear this house appears as a prominent three-storey property, the proposed conservatory and balcony will be situated on the mid storey with galvanised steel steps descending to the garden.  Visually the balcony will offer relief to the existing plain structure.  However, it is close to the Part II listed Village Hall and may be considered to overlook the Hall and properties on Foundry Lane.


The Appeal, for a new dwelling on land south of Lochalsh, Lower Court Road, has been dismissed.

The Inspector stated that “the proposed development would not be in an appropriate location and would harm the character and appearance of the surrounding area, the South Devon AONB and undeveloped coast. I therefore find that it fails to accord with NNNP Policies N3P-1 and N3P-9”.