They say beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. Anyone walking the ridges of the rolling fields of Wolborough would be hard pressed to deny the beauty of the site or the wonderful vista between moor and sea.  Read more to learn why the area is so important to the local ecology. 

Wolborough View2 Feb18


Wolborough lies to the SW of Newton Abbot and the Teignbridge Local Plan allocates 120 hectares of these rolling fields for at least 1500 homes, a link road, industrial estate, schools and other infrastructure. These fields and woodland are the last green lung for the town, separating Newton Abbot from the village of Abbotskerswell.

To the untrained eye the beauty stops with the iconic views and the treasured image of the church of St Mary nestling beneath Wolborough Hill. Closer study reveals this area to be the vital catchment for SSSI Wolborough Fen, a site containing rare plant species found only at this location in Devon.

By night this site is a ‘dark skies’ area forming part of the strategic flyway for the South Hams Special Area of Conservation (SHSAC). The SHSAC has European protected status and comprises of five interconnected SSSI sites spread across South Devon. These five sites contain maternity roosts for the greater horseshoe bat (GHB), one of Britain’s rarest and largest bat ( see http://devonbatproject.org/videos/ ). The major proportion of the UK population is found here.

GHBs avoid light brighter than moonlight, they fly low using the strategic flyways and established hedgerows to move between the roosts and foraging areas. Any loss of dark sky status or flyway area could have a devastating effect on their ability to commute, feed and maintain population levels.

Common sense and UK and European law dictates that no construction can commence until the complex ecology of this site is completely understood via agreed rigorous surveying methods and results analyses, then audited and signed off by established independent bodies. This will enable informed decision making about where construction can take place, not endanger the biodiversity or of the rural setting of the church.

For further information see Parish-Town Council Comments here: https://www.teignbridge.gov.uk/planning/planning-applications-and-appeals/view-and-comment-on-planning-applications-and-appeals/ and click start and then type reference 17/01452/MAJ

Kevin Eales (Abbotskerswell Parish Council)

Paul Evemy (Wolborough Residents’ Association)

Wolborough View3 Feb18

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