Burrator Beacon Spring 2023

Burrator Beacon Uploaded on March 10, 2023



Spring 2023



Front page of first Burrator Beacon 1982


Editorial – Karen Batson


As you will see from the front cover of this issue, the Burrator Beacon has reached it’s 40th birthday and although it may look a little different now, it still serves to inform the community of what is going on in the Parish. The title ‘people who care’ caught my eye. Although it was focused on only one of our villages, it got me thinking how throughout our parish, there still are and always will be people who care, the evidence being all those who give of their free time to provide a voice for our communities and help to keep us safe, those who deliver activities and events for us to enjoy and those who offer refuge to others in need. We have a lot to be thankful for in our parish, despite these troubled times.

I am stepping down after 11 years as Editor of the Beacon. I have enjoyed the role and it’s been a privilege to be able to have a hand in producing what I feel is a valuable communication document for Burrator Parish. Hopefully a successor will take on the reins after the next issue.

The summer issue of the Burrator Beacon will be published at the end of May. Deadline for copy will be Tuesday 2nd May, at the latest. That issue will cover the months up until the end of August 2023. Don’t forget, this is your magazine for your parish, so we would like to hear from you! Do consider writing a piece about anything of interest.(Maybe you have a new interest or hobby that you would like to tell us about?) Please send all submissions as Word attachments, as this makes the cut and pasting process much simpler!

Parish Clerk’s Report – Katharine Griffiths


How to mark the Coronation of King Charles III?

With the Coronation of King Charles III on the 6th May 2023 the parish council have been thinking of a way to mark the event.  We would love your suggestions. It is likely that there will be local celebrations, but would you like to see a lasting memorial. Possibly some new benches around the parish, a granite feature with an inscription or perhaps a tree planted. Let us know what you would like.

Snow Warden Scheme – volunteers required.

The icy weather over the winter has highlighted that the parish council need to increase the number of Volunteer Snow Wardens around the parish. The role would involve collecting bagged salt/grit from a central point within the parish and spreading the salt/grit where needed on the highway network in your local area.  Devon County Council no longer provide grit bins, but the parish council are looking at providing some in the most needed areas. If you would like to become a Snow Warden Volunteer and help your local community during icy conditions or would like further information, please get in touch.


Make a change, become a councillor.

Are you passionate about your community? Do you want to help make a long-lasting change? Do you have innovative ideas for the council? Do you have concerns about a specific issue and want to do something about it? If this is you, then we need you. We need people from all backgrounds and experiences who reflect their community to put themselves forward for election. Make a change and become a councillor. Elections are being held in May 2023 please get in touch if you would like more details.


Parking within Walkhampton is always tricky. To try and ease the congestion during school drop off and pick up the village hall carpark is available to be used and it is only a short walk to the school.

Ground maintenance contract

The contract for the ground maintenance around the parish is out for tender.  For further information or if you would like to apply, please get in touch.


The Planning Committee have recently been consulted on the following application with the Parish Council’s comments in bold.  DNPA have upgraded their online planning system, so you will see a different look when searching for planning applications.

506/22       Proposed garage / home office outbuilding , Routrundle, Sampford Spiney, Yelverton, Devon, PL20 6LL  – No Objection

505/22 (LBC) & 504/22 Removal of cement render south and east elevations and repointing of stone work, Meavy Barton, Meavy, Yelverton,Devon, PL20 6PJ No Objection

0335/22 Side extension, rendering of existing bungalow and installation of PV panels to roof at 4 Barons Road, Dousland        No Objection

0404/22 Single storey extensions to the North and West elevations, 8 Leat Close, Dousland, Yelverton, Devon, PL20 6NU No Objection

0446/22 – Erection of timber post and rail fence, including siting of four pallet water tanks, Memorial Hall, Walkhampton, Yelverton, Devon, PL20 6JN – Support



New Editor Needed for the Burrator Beacon


YOUR parish council magazine The Burrator Beacon is 40 years old and still going strong – but we need a new Editor!

The first issue of the BB appeared in the winter of 1982. It brought news from Burrator Parish Council direct to your door, free of charge, and it still does so today.

A large group of volunteers delivers the Beacon to every household and many businesses in the parish four times a year with a new edition for each season.

As well as providing information on the workings of the Parish Council and local Planning Applications, the magazine regularly contains news reports from around our villages.

Societies, Clubs and Groups from Walkhampton, Meavy, Dousland, Sheepstor and beyond are always keen to submit reports of their activities.

The magazine also provides a point of contact and news for our Village Halls and is a platform for local businesses to advertise their services to the community.

Now after 11 years of dedicated service, our current editor Karen Batson has decided to retire from her post and we are looking for a replacement to take over from the end of May.

If you would like to put yourself forward for this interesting freelance position as our next Editor please apply to our Parish Clerk giving details of yourself and any

experience you may have in the world of writing and publishing.

Help will be given to the successful applicant to ease into the role and of course there will be remuneration provided by the parish council for the work undertaken.

Please email the Parish Clerk Katharine Griffiths for further details  at:


Wild/backpack camping: latest news

Dartmoor National Park Authority have agreed key decisions on backpack camping.

Following the High Court judgment in the case of Darwall vs Dartmoor National Park Authority, Members have agreed to:

  • Seek permission to appeal the High Court judgment
  • Endorse the new permissive system, agreed in principle with the Dartmoor Commons’ Owners Association
  • Investigate which areas of common land owned by the Authority could be opened up to backpack camping
  • Pause work on the byelaw review so the implications of High Court judgment can be fully considered.


Backpack camping on Dartmoor commons

Within days of the High Court judgment, a permissive approach to backpack/wild camping has been agreed in principle with the Dartmoor Commons Owners’ Association.

The new system enables people to continue backpack/wild camping on identified common land without needing to secure landowner permission first. It has also provided much-needed reassurance to the schools and young people preparing for Ten Tors/Duke of Edinburgh.

The system involves landowners entering into a legal agreement with DNPA with up to £300 paid annually to landowners who opt-in. The fee acts as a ‘seal’ for the agreement. Landowners are able to retain the fee, but several have already indicated that they may donate it back to the National Park via the Donate for Dartmoor fund, helping to support the vital conservation work that keeps Dartmoor special for everyone.

Areas where people can backpack/wild camp are publicly available on the National Park Authority’s website ( People planning to backpack/wild camp should check the map before they head off and leave no trace of their visit.


Appealing the High Court judgment

Once the High Court has issued a decision there’s limited time to appeal which is why the Authority acted quickly and convened its meeting on 27 January. First, the Authority appealed for permission directly to the Chancellor of the High Court. This application was declined on 13 January 2023.

The next step involves filing an appeal notice to the Court of Appeal. This had to be done by 3 February. The court then decides to grant permission to appeal or refuse permission to appeal.

Because Authority Members were considering information relating to legal proceedings, local government laws allow for certain matters to be discussed privately. For this reason, the item was discussed in the ‘exempt information’ section of the meeting.

In reaching their decision, Members are aware of the resources and costs involved but agreed there was merit in the grounds for filing an appeal notice.


Long-serving DNPA planner takes up new national role with Natural England

A DNPA planning officer with nearly 20 years’ experience of working for Dartmoor has left to accept a new role with Natural England.

Dan Janota, the Head of Forward Planning and Economy, left at the end of December and paid tribute to moorland communities for their ‘energy, enthusiasm and ability to mobilise’ and make Dartmoor an even better place.

Dan, who grew up in Moretonhampstead, had a taste of working for the National Park in 1996 when he did work experience with then Ranger Sally Perryman.

In July 2004, shortly after completing university, he got a job as Community Technician in the Authority’s Forward Planning team. He was appointed to lead the Authority’s Forward Planning and Economy team in 2014 and played a key role in the implementation of Dartmoor Local Plan which guides what development can and cannot happen in the National Park and where.

Dan said: “My favourite times have been sitting down with communities, landowners and affordable housing teams trying to work out how we can bring forward housing which helps Dartmoor people stay in their Dartmoor village.

“Very early on in my career, I learned never to underestimate a Dartmoor community’s energy and enthusiasm or ability to mobilise, understand and respond to whatever tricky issue or challenge was before them. Over the years the challenges of Dartmoor have found me on BBC news, radio; being clipped around the ear by an elderly lady for referring to her town as a village; I’ve received poems about sewage systems and planning objections combined with song lyrics.

“Wherever I go I’ll always be a champion for National Parks – particularly Dartmoor (the best one!)”


Honour for former DNPA director 

DNPA’s former Director of Conservation and Communities Alison Kohler was awarded a British Empire Medal in the 2023 New Year Honours. Ally, who retired in 2021 after 33 years working there, was given the award in recognition of her achievements for the National Park and Devon more widely.

Dr Kevin Bishop, Chief Executive said: “I am delighted that Ally’s dedication to Dartmoor National Park has been recognised in the New Year Honours. Ally has left a legacy of practical achievement that has helped shape lives, improved Dartmoor’s environment and supported local communities. An inspiration for those who worked with her.”



Discover National Parks during school holidays

Join DNPA in celebrating protected landscapes during National Parks Fortnight, from 4 to 17 April.

A number of activities and events will be held over the two weeks, with something for everyone and all ages.

As spring gets closer, more events will be announced. For all the latest information drop into one of the three visitor centres or go to the events page on DNPA’s website ( for more information and visitor centre opening hours.


Village Halls

Please support our local village halls for your meetings, parties and activities, when Covid restrictions are lifted. All the halls have disabled access and they vary in size and facilities so one of them will suit your requirements. All the Halls are run by willing volunteers who strive to keep them in good repair providing vital facilities for our communities.

Meavy Parish Hall                           Alison Stoker                                   853389

Sheepstor Village Hall                    Patrick Drennan                              853186

Walkhampton Memorial Hall          Sheila Glanville                                859215




The Hall Committee invite tenders to cut the grass on the field and surrounding areas.The field is approx. 4 acres.


Please contact Peter Shapcott for details

Tel 01822 855140


They will be able to advise you on availability, hire charges and terms & conditions of hire.



Walkhampton Cottage Garden Society


Walkhampton Cottage Garden Society is urgently seeking a new treasurer for the coming year.

The Society’s account is small, with a turnover of around £1,000 per annum, and there are some half dozen committee meetings during the spring and summer months leading up to the Annual Flower and Produce Show at the end of August.  There is a spreadsheet set up for producing the accounts, so a little knowledge of Excel would be an advantage, but no financial experience is necessary.

The Annual Show has been a village tradition since the 1930s and attracts a large number of entries and visitors.  In common with many rural societies, we now find it difficult to attract committee members to assist in keeping the tradition alive, and we very much hope that someone will be willing to volunteer to help by taking on the treasurership.

If you think you may be interested, or would like to ask for more details, please contact the Chairman, Richard Dixon, on or 01822 853261.



Monday 20th March 2023

Spring Flower Show

Exhibits from 7pm

Show starts being judged at 7.30 pm.

Refreshments, quiz and prizes.


Monday 17th April 2023

“Alpines of All Sizes”

David Carver


Monday 15th May 2023

“Crocosmias and other South African Gems”

Talk by Mark Wash of Trecanna Nursery


All meetings normally start at 7.30pm in Meavy Parish Hall.

Refreshments, time to chat and often plants for sale from 7pm.

Visitors (£3) and new members  always welcome.

All Enquiries  01822 852672 and 01822 852984




 Sunday 9th April 

Car Boot Sale & Easter Egg Hunt


Walkhampton Memorial Hall & Field PL20 6JR

Gates open for car boots from 12noon, bargain hunters from 1pm

Cars £5, Vans £10, Table Tops £5


Easter Egg Hunt ……£2 entry including free drink

Raffle & Refreshments


Wednesday 27th April, 7.30pm

at the Walkhampton Inn

Booking essential, £2 per person entry

Contact Fraser 01822 258697


Sunday 14th May 

                    Car Boot Sale & Plant sale


Walkhampton Memorial Hall & Field PL20 6JR

Gates open for car boots from 12noon, bargain hunters from 1pm

Cars £5, Vans £10, Table Tops £5


Plant sale from 1pm…. Raffle & Refreshments

Ample parking at the hall. Further information contact Linda 01822 852142

Registered Charity no 1003314





Sheepstor Village Hall Bulletin Winter 2022

Patrick Drennan – Chairperson Sheepstor Village Hall committee


We had a very good response from the invitation to all Sheepstor Parish residents, family and friends, St Leonard’s Church PCC and bell ringers to meet up for a pre-christmas get together. Thank you to all who contributed with their food and refreshment donations, raffle prizes., and their help on the night. We had several recent joiners to the parish and all were agreed that it was a lovely evening, and a great way to meet up with everybody again after the long Covid era.

By the time this edition of the BB hits your letter box there will have been a talk by Kate Rushton, Director & Energy Adviser of Tamar Energy Community, to enlighten us about all things renewable energy wise, plus exploring the possibility of developing a community energy hub for Sheepstor. We were ahead of the game by inviting DARE (Dartmoor Association for Renewable Energy) a decade or so ago, but things have moved on apace, not to say that the current energy crisis hasn’t focussed local minds on the subject!

The hope is to repeat the successful and very enjoyable event held to celebrate the late monarch’s platinum jubilee, with a Sunday May 7th show following King Charles’ coronation the previous day. Please put the date in your diary now,  hone your wheelbarrow racing/jockey skills, and consult your oracle on the likelihood of a win in the famous Sheepstor Brook duck race!

Annie Charles’ “Blooming Well” therapeutic horticulture project, based in the hall and the Bull ring field, successfully completed its inaugural year with three groups participating. The research is due to be written up by Plymouth University this year, and the hope is that it might be adopted nationally once that is published. The aim is to run 2-3 more groups in 2023 from the village hall, and to trial it also in Plymouth.  Anybody interested in joining should contact Annie at the Mustard Tree Centre in Derriford Hospital for further info.

That project has confirmed that the hall, in it’s refurbished state, is the ideal intimate space for small group gatherings. Please note that Sheepstor parish residents are entitled to half price booking fees, as the hall is owned by all of us!

Don’t forget that there will be the AGM of the village hall in May. It would be great to see all the Parish folk there to contribute their ideas for future events, and even to put themselves forward to serve on the committee. Although the average age of the parish inhabitants has dramatically fallen, thanks to the welcome influx of some young families, that is not yet reflected on the committee itself! What you lack in experience will be overtaken surely by your enthusiasm?

Because of the unexpected coronation happening this May the biennial Sheepstor Open Garden Event will be moved back to 2024.


Sheepstor Villages in Action – Winter 2022

Patrick Drennan


The September concert with the Haldon Quintet was well attended (68 punters), bringing out a slightly different mix of customers, including some new local


supporters. There is a classical bent out there wishing to be fulfilled! The Sarah McQuaid November gig ticket sales (37) by contrast just covered its costs, although it was hugely enjoyed by those who braved the winter weather. However, thanks again to the generosity of the volunteers who provided and served the refreshments, , and the concert goers for their donations, we made just over £500 for the two events, shared between two Sheepstor charities, the village hall and the Friends of St Leonards Church.

Next up will be the return of Ninebarrow to Sheepstor for a record fourth time on Thursday March 9th. Tickets will be £16 in advance, £18 on the door, available from their ticket office website,, for credit card payments and myself for the time-honoured cash/cheque transactions. Please bear in mind that all their previous concerts have been sell-outs, so please book your tickets now, as it is unlikely that there will be any seats left if you turn up unannounced at the door!

Ninebarrow are a multi-award-winning folk duo, who are inpressing audiences across the country with their innovative and captivating take on the folk tradition. Described by Mark Radcliffe as sounding like ‘two halves of one voice’ and by Mercury Music Prize nominee Kate Rusby as ‘absolutely amazing’, Jon Whitley and Jay LaBouchardiere combine breath-taking vocal harmonies and melodies, delivering original songs that are inspired and rooted in the landscape and history of the British Isles. As well as crafting unique and engaging original material, Ninebarrow also take a wide range of traditional folk songs and rework them in their own distinctive way.  Nominated for the coveted Horizon award (Best Emerging Act) at the 2017 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, the Dorset duo have carved themselves a distinctive niche  on the folk roots scene for their outstanding harmonies, high production values, engaging original songs, poetic lyricism and magical instrumentation.

The Latest…

2020 was not the year Ninebarrow, or anyone, had in mind. But as touring (both as a duo and the first ever tour with their band) went out the window, Jon and jay quickly filled the void by developing some of folk music’s most technically sophisticated streamed gigs and used the time and space to perfect their latest studio album – ‘A Pocket Full of Acorns’, which they released to a raft of four and five star reviews in the folk and mainstream media. Within just a few days of release, the album had already reached No.1 on Amazon’s Folk Best Sellers’ Chart.

For the future, I’m in discussions with the haldon Quintet for a return, the Loveny male voice choir for a possible autumn performance and a return by Claude Bourbon in 2024.

Sheepstor Villages In Action promoter: 01822 853186;



Yelverton & District Local History Society

Nigel Rendle (Chairman)


A Guided Walk at Morwellham


                                Incline Cottage courtesy of Stephen Fryer


Gathered under umbrellas in the misty rain was an unusual experience for those veterans of our outdoor events, but spirits were not dampened and the conditions added to the atmosphere as Rick Stewart guided us around the old historic port.

Once part of Morwell Manor, its name (with the emphasis on Ham) probably means “flat area by the river;” the Tamar, a transport artery since about 1290. An area rich in minerals it was almost certainly used by the Romans, given the proximity of the fort at Calstock. In the early years, tin, lead and silver passed through the port.

Following the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century, the lands passed from Tavistock Abbey ownership to the Dukes of Bedford and later the Gill family proceeded to develop the port. Copper was soon discovered nearby and the ore exported to Swansea for smelting.

By the 19th century the mines around Mary Tavy were in full production followed by the huge Devon Great Consols (DGC) copper and later arsenic mine and the George and Charlotte mine at New Quay. The port during this period was said to be one of the richest in the Empire. Because of the poor roads the Tavistock canal was built over a period of 14 years, opening in 1817, iron barges carrying minerals and goods such as slate and limestone to and from the port. It passed through a 1.5mile long tunnel and the Wheal Crebor mine.

Access to the quays some 250ft below was via an inclined plane and Rick’s walk took us up steeply through the woods to “Incline Cottage”, the canal terminus. He explained how a sophisticated counterbalanced process controlled different weights of materials using a large waterwheel. DGC with its own foundry required a separate railway incline to the quays and other tramways criss-cross the site. Further along

the canal we followed a deep leat built to convey water to the settling pond of the HEP station, opened in the 1930’s. Manganese was another mineral discovered in the area and Rick explained how the large waterwheel on the quay that was used in its processing was supplied by a leat on stilts from the canal. Water usage was fully exploited all over the site including the farm where another waterwheel powered a threshing machine.

At its height in the 19th century there was a big influx of miners and workers and serious overcrowding led to the old malthouse being converted to a barracks and the building of the model cottages in 1856.

However, by the mid-19th century the copper industry was in decline as deeper mines became more expensive to exploit and imports were cheaper. Arsenic and horticulture kept the port going but when DGC finally closed in 1906, its usefulness was ended. Now a living museum, this is still a fascinating area to explore.

Our visit ended with a welcome pint in the port’s very own Ship Inn. A superb evening in the company of Rick Stewart whose knowledge and easy style of presentation was enjoyed by all.


My Wartime Years

On a bright September evening, Joyce Reith spoke about her life during the Second World War. Joyce was seven at the start of the war and her father was still in the navy having been posted to Devonport naval barracks. Her brother had been born prematurely in July 1939, and her grandma took Joyce to Hastings to visit her sister. She enjoyed the sun and sea but one day in August the war had started and she had to go back to Plymouth. Her dad was on HMS Valiant and went back to sea leaving her mum to make black-out curtains at home.

They usually sat under the stairs when the air raid sirens sounded but later on they went into the cellar with camp beds, mattresses, food and drink etc. There were no such items available like oranges, bananas and pink biscuits, which Joyce liked; everything was rationed. Joyce wasn’t allowed to play in the next street with her friend in case the sirens went off. They didn’t get much sleep in the cellar and one day there was a loud bang with the sound of breaking glass in the back bedroom. In those days there was no phone in the house so mum had to go out in the morning to get the local builder to come and help clear up and repair.

Mum decided that it was too dangerous to stay in Plymouth, so the house was shut, and they all moved to Exeter to stay with an aunt and uncle. An old house to rent was found on Par Street behind the city centre and they bathed in an old copper bath. Joyce and her brother went to school in Exeter where there were three girl evacuees; they became Joyce’s friends and played with her toys.

Her father became unwell with fibrositis and went into hospital in Newton Abbot; he came home to convalesce. One night the siren sounded, and they went down into the cellar to wait but a bang on the door from the air raid warden meant they had to leave as the roof was on fire. They had a terrifying journey back to their house through the bombed streets. The next day they went back to the house and it was just a shell; they had lost everything so they went back to Plymouth.

Joyce passed the entrance exam for Plymouth High school but evacuated to Fowey and later to a hotel at Newquay which Joyce enjoyed – she showed us a photo of the schoolgirls outside the building. They listened to the wireless while eating and they had a gym in the ballroom.

When the war was over it was a few months before they could get back to the house in Plymouth and they had to buy new furniture. Her dad was demobbed, and they all had to get used to living as a family again.

Joyce went on to respond to several questions after she finished her fascinating and evocative talk.

Calling all schools in the Parish!

Burrator Beacon would love to hear from you. If you’d like your pupils to write a short article about what they and the school have been doing, then please do get in touch with the editor. Details of how to do this are on the back page of the magazine. Any drawings or photos to accompany their writing will be most welcome. Perhaps this could be a Literacy writing exercise, a School Council newsletter, or any other cross-curricular theme?















Dartmoor Border Morris

Mark Tregaskis


As you read this here in the depth of winter, you might mistakenly think Meavy based Dartmoor Border Morris have just packed up shop for the winter. After a mighty long summer season where we attended 30 events (excluding mid-week dance outs), ranging from appearing at the Royal Cornwall show, Widecombe Fair, Meavy Oak fair, and various summer and Christmas fairs, through to giving talks and demonstrations to several local Women’s Institutions. We attended our first proper pagan wedding and taught over 100 girl guides how to Morris dance!

We attended festivals like the Green Man festival in Bovey Tracey, St Georges day in Plymouth, Sidmouth Folk fest, and we Morris danced at 5.15 AM as the sun rose over a wet Dartmoor at Leeden Tor Carpark on Mayday morning before having a slap-up breakfast in the Fox Tor Café at 6 am. A mummers play, involving Queen Elizabeth 1st, Sir Francis Drake, a “good Doctor” and Chatterley, our Morris beast performed in in Buckland Abbey`s Great Barn to an audience of hundreds.

Then there were the three Wassails, at Cornwood, Buckland Abbey and Bere Ferrers, blessing the apple trees to encourage good growth and scaring away the evil spirits with our pots and pans and kids of all ages in wellies. Did we mention the apple days too, back in October, Morris dancing at the harvest of the apple trees and helping to turn the harvested apples into juice and yummy pies!

We travelled all over Dartmoor National Park and beyond to meet up and dance with our Morris buddies every Wednesday night throughout the summer, and in so doing, we collected £500 for the Dartmoor Rescue group. We even organised an event in Tavistock that involved over 200 Morris performers, 3 kegs of ale and one yellow bear called Pudsey. In a 6-hour period of Morris dancing in and around the pannier market, £1900 was collected and donated to the BBC Children In need appeal.

This time of year, Morris dancing seems to disappear from public view, whereas we are busy in Meavy Parish hall every Wednesday from 7.30 pm learning new dances, practicing our tunes so come the beginning of the new season, we can Morris dance

confidently bringing warmth and happiness to every event we attend. If you would like to book Dartmoor Border Morris for an event, now would be a good time before our diary gets too busy…. again! Check out or like our Facebook and Instagram pages for contact details.




Snowdrop Festival at The Garden House

John Richmond


It’s always tempting to hibernate till spring has truly arrived but for us here at The Garden House it starts in full with our Snowdrop Festival, which continues each Friday to Sunday weekend until 12th March.  With the bulk of the 350 species and varieties in flower during February, whether small clumps of unusual varieties or the massed displays in varied places around this ten acre garden there is always plenty to see for visitors.

To complement the snowdrops we grow many other bulbs; naturalised crocus in the Acer Glade; cyclamen in pink and white; yellow winter aconite; early narcissus and daffodils such as the native Lent lily; dwarf iris and others.  Spread around the lawns, in the bulb meadow and on the banks of the arboretum they complement the many hellebores during their flowering season.

We are open Friday to Sunday from 10:30am to 3:30pm until the 1st March when we switch to our summer opening times (Tuesday to Sunday). Visit to enjoy the displays, followed by refreshments in the café and some shopping in our plant sales area, with snowdrops to take home and naturalise in your own garden.

Gardening on acid soil allowed Lionel and Nancy Fortescue, the garden’s founders, to indulge their passion for rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias.  The very earliest of these can often be in flower before the end of February, complementing the evergreen Skimmias and sweet scented Daphne bholua and heralding the return of spring.

Unlike the summer and autumn months, it’s impossible to predict exactly when a particular plant will be in flower but we’ll be providing our continual updates on our social media feeds.  Facebook: @TGardenHouse , Instagram:, and Twitter: @TGardenHouse





Update from South West Lakes

South West Lakes Trust



South West Lakes is an independent charity dedicated to caring for and enhancing the region’s reservoirs and lakes, including Burrator Reservoir. Tim Burton is the Environment and Engagement Ranger for Dartmoor, based at Burrator.


Invasive and non-native species (INNS) control at Burrator Reservoir

At Burrator Reservoir, we have been actively reducing the amount of invasive species around the site. An invasive species is defined as one that is non-native and negatively impacts our native ecosystem.

Rhododendron looks beautiful when flowering and is valued by gardeners. However, if this plant is left unchecked and escapes in to the wild, it will quickly dominate areas through vigorous growth, shading out ground flora and through a deep rooting system that releases toxins into the soil and acidifies the ground. We have been cutting back rhododendron to stunt its growth and prevent further spreading.

Another invasive plant is montbretia, a species with lovely orange flowers. This plant forms thick mats, spreading through corns in the soil, and outcompetes our native plants reducing floral diversity and in turn, opportunities for invertebrates. We have pulled up large clumps of this plant around Burrator Discovery Centre, being vigilant to remove every corn from the soil.




Surveys of INNS have been carried out around Burrator Reservoir. However, if you spot a species that you believe to be invasive or non-native, please contact us at:

If you would like to get involved with the conservation of Burrator and its habitats, please contact:


Burrator Arboretum path renewal

Throughout December, we worked to renew the path around the east side of the Arboretum at Burrator. The new path is layered with fine gravel to dust making it the most accessible this area has been. Volunteers have widened the paths by cutting back trees which will allow more light on to the ground and increase plant diversity.

Future works will see the reduction of much of the sitka spruce throughout the Arboretum and the installation of interpretation showing the wildlife that can be found in this area.


From Saturday 1st April 2023 – running for at least 2 months…..

Burrator Reservoir 125/100 exhibition

South West Lakes Trust will be celebrating the 125th anniversary of the completion of Burrator Reservoir in 1898, and also 100 years since commencing in 1923 the enlargement of the reservoir by raising the height of the dams.

The free exhibition at Burrator Discovery Centre, Burrator, Yelverton will be available during normal centre opening hours – 11.00am to 4.00pm.  Please check the days the centre is open, tel 01822 855700.

Exploring Burrator Book Launch

Sunday 2nd April 2023

10am  Launch of the book Exploring Around Burrator at Burrator Discovery Centre, with its author Paul Rendell signing copies.  This also provides the opportunity to look at the new exhibition at the centre.  Tea and biscuits will be available. Copies of the book will also be available for purchase at Burrator Discovery Centre (cash sales only) after 2nd April.

11am  Guided walk with the author looking at the building of the dams which started on 9th Aug 1893 and the raising of the two dams in December 1923.  We will visit the site of the suspension bridge and the outcrop of rocks known as Burrator.  This will be a free guided walk lasting about 2 hours.

Booking is required for both the book launch and the guided walk – 01837 54727 /


Granite – a play inspired by John Trevena’s stark depiction of Dartmoor life

MED Theatre’s 2023 community play Granite follows the storyline of John Trevena’s Dartmoor novel, by the same name, whilst integrating anecdotal and true stories from people of the moor over the last two centuries. These stories paint a picture of what life on the moor is really like, from the lows to the highs, and uses Trevena’s narratives to explore themes of loneliness, hard labour, religion, and love of the landscape.

Granite will tour Dartmoor locations in March 2023:

Fri 10th and Sat 11th March at Manaton Parish Hall

Tues 14th March Belstone Village Hall

Wed 15th March Southpark Community Centre, Buckfast Village

Fri 17th and Sat 18th March Moretonhampstead Parish Hall

All performances start at 7.30pm.

For tickets and more information please visit or contact MED Theatre on 01647 441356 /





As we look back on a successful albeit challenging 2022, we at Rotary Club Yelverton would like to thank you all for the contributions we received during our fundraising events over the 2022 festive season. Through your generosity, we will be able to continue supporting many charities and worthy causes in 2023.

Our main fundraising events of the year included our very successful collections at Tesco in Roborough and Tavistock, the shops at Yelverton and the very popular Santa’s sleigh events around the villages. Sadly, the inclement weather and icy roads prohibited Santa from visiting all the streets usually included on his route but we hope we can be forgiven for our desire to keep him, his reindeer, his Rotary ‘elves’ and his sleigh safe and on the road. Again, many thanks to those who gave so generously.

We are also delighted to report that funds raised during our very successful Barn Dance last November (see photo) enabled us to donate £500 to local Ukrainian refugee families just before Christmas.

And now on to our first major event of 2023 …

After the Barn Dance, we were inundated by requests to hold a similar event early in the new year. As a result, we have decided to hold a 60’s & 70’s Nite on Saturday 18 March 2023. Please diarise this event. Costs and booking details will be available on our Facebook page or at the website below. We are looking forward to another fun evening with plenty of music, dancing and merriment.

Should you wish to find out more about Rotary Yelverton and our activities or are perhaps considering joining us please contact us via: or see our website or Facebook page Rotary Club of Yelverton District 1175. We will be delighted to arrange for you to attend one of our dinners in order for you to meet our members.










Moor’s Edge u3a January 2023 news report

Our meetings are now on the second Friday of the month at 2.30pm held at the Woolwell Centre; apart from August when we don’t have a meeting.

Are you retired or semi-retired why don’t you come along and see us? You can visit us at two general meetings before you need to join then it’s just £15 a year for an individual or £28 for a couple. Once you join there are over 20 different groups that you can become part of.

In January Judi; one of our own members; gave us a talk about Dartmoor Border Morris a group she has danced with for several years. She came dressed in her outfit complete ‘with bells on’! It was interesting to learn the origins were from poor people performing mummer’s plays and wassails to earn some extra money. Today there are around 750 groups with 13,000 members a mix of dancers and musicians.

Also this month we had our annual New Year meal at Yelverton Golf club, over 40 members enjoyed the meal.

Our Garden Visits group became very successful and we now have 3 groups. The second group recently went to The Garden House and enjoyed the Snowdrop Festival and early spring flowers.

There are 2 walking groups Short Walks up to 3 miles, the next walk will be at Central Park. The Long Walks group go further up to around 7 miles this group now enables those wishing to do more exercise an outlet.

The Music events group regularly go to the Crownhill Royal British Legion to the Plymouth Jazz Club, and on 19th Feb at 7.30pm The Devon Magnolia Jazz Band will perform. Several members have tickets ready for a future event at the Woolwell Centre to see a Stevie Wonder Tribute act at the end of March. Our musical tastes are eclectic!

Other groups include Canasata, Bridge and Scrabble for those who enjoy games and learning to play the Ukulele for the musically inclined.

At Arty Crafty members enjoy a cuppa and a natter and take along their latest project to do which could be patchwork quilt making, knitting, crochet or another craft skill.

This is just a snapshot of some of the groups and activities. You can see news of events on our web page and see what we have planned in the future. Click on the Groups page to see the range of interest groups we have.  On our Facebook page you can see additional photographs and write ups of what we have been doing.

Join us and you can make friends, and fill your days and enjoy your time in retirement and you will wonder how you ever found time to go to work!

We look forward to seeing new members at our monthly meetings and have a greeter on hand to welcome you.

Diary dates: –

February 10th  David Follett’s  talk is ‘Tragedy to Triumph’ and will let us know how following a road accident with spinal injury at 17 he became an English National Wheelchair Badminton Champion.

March 10th Mike Temple will tell us about the ‘Mercy Ships’ these are hospital ships delivering healthcare and surgery where most needed in the world.

April 14th Brenda Loosemore’s topic is ‘Ladies of Laughter’.

May 12th Will be our AGM and Nick Bateman will give a talk on ‘Guide dogs for the blind’.


Space Available for advertising

If you would like to advertise your business in the Burrator Beacon, we are happy to help you with this.

See page 27 for details and prices.

If you are a not-for-profit organisation, you can advertise your activities here free of charge.

(Priority is given to those in the Burrator Parish)

Contact the Editor – details on page 28






The local tradesman for uPVC, double-glazed windows, doors, porches and replacement double-glazed units. FENSA registered with insurance-backed guarantee.


Sharpitor, Burrator Road, Dousland, Yelverton PL20 6NE Tel: 01822 852275 Mobile: 07977 631776

A tradesman not a salesman’

















   Trustworthy, reliable, experienced garden care


Contact 07514 697583 / 01752 769349













Parish Council Meetings

Full Council Meetings are usually held at 7:30pm on the last Thursday of the month (but not always!). For the dates of the next few meetings, please visit the Parish website: The Planning, Finance and Royal Oak Inn Committees meet on other dates throughout the year – please contact the Clerk: for more details.

How to advertise in the Burrator Beacon

The Beacon is published quarterly at the end of  February, May, August and November and delivered to all homes in Burrator Parish which covers Walkhampton, Dousland, Meavy, Sheepstor, Hoo Meavy and Lovaton. Business are able to advertise in the Beacon at the following rates:

Single Issue Four issues Sixes in mm (approx.) when printed* Size of advert to be submitted (mm)
1/6 page £12.00 £30.00 30 × 130 42 × 180
1/3 page £20.00 £60.00 60 × 130 85 × 180
half page £30.00 £90.00 90 × 130 130 × 180
full page £48.00 £144.00 180 × 130 260 × 180

*The Beacon is printed A5 size i.e. 210mm high by 148mm wide. However, adverts should be submitted A4 size. All prices are subject to VAT. Invoices will be raised by the Parish Clerk upon receipt of your booking and will be payable upon receipt. Adverts should be submitted to the Editor (details on the back page) electronically, i.e. as an attached Word document.


A Very

Happy Easter

to all in Burrator Parish







List of Members and Telephone Numbers (Area Code 01822)


Meavy Dousland                                               Walkhampton Village

Darren Balkwill      07884 418997                      Graham Palmer          852524

Mark Brunsdon      01822 853117                      Andrew Paskins          853377

Richard Radmore                                               Richard Glanville         855914

Debbie Crewe


Meavy Village                                                    Walkhampton Dousland

Brian Wills                 853901                             Frederick Glanville   07876 610177     Richard Ayres                                                    Sarah Milne                  854814                                          Heather Stribley        855348                           Helen France           07500 004523

1 vacancy


Sheepstor                                                        Clerk to Council:

Keith Scrivener           07548 954960               Mrs Katharine Griffiths

1 vacancy                                                            01822 852907

5 Hillside Close

Buckland Monachorum


Devon PL20 7EQ



Published and issued quarterly, free of charge by Burrator Parish Council.  The next edition will be published end of May. Copy deadline Tuesday May 2nd, 2023. Copy to be sent to the Editor, Mrs Karen Batson, 10 Blackbrook Close, Walkhampton PL20 6JF Tel 855030 email: as a Word attachment.

If you require this publication in large text please contact the editor: Karen Batson on 855030

Burrator Parish Council is a body which complies with the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Contact the Clerk, Mrs Katharine Griffiths, for specific details about parish business.

Advertising: Local events are publicised free of charge. Businesses and clubs and societies (which have membership fees) can advertise in the Beacon and should contact the Editor for advertising rates. A note to advertisers: Please check your adverts as they appear in each issue. Every effort is made to include the correct information at the time of going to press, but omissions can result where adverts are sometimes moved around in order to fit new articles in.

Burrator Web Site: The Burrator Parish Website is  You can find details of meetings plus other information.

The opinions expressed in the Burrator Beacon are not necessarily those held by Burrator Parish Council. Every effort is made to ensure that information in these pages is accurate. However, the Council cannot be held responsible for errors or omissions. Including information does not imply recommendation and any subsequent contact is made at readers’ own risk.