Sampford Courtenay Environmental and Sustainable living group

Always aspiring to reduce our carbon footprint

SCEnsUs held its first meeting in June 2020.

The aims were agreed to -

  • increase awareness of the way that our actions and lifestyles impact the world around us
  • adapt aspects of our actions and lifestyles to reduce carbon emissions and other wasteful by-products
  • improve communication between local people, thus facilitating the above and also fostering good community relations generally

It is just to encourage local people to ‘do their bit’ to improve the environment in and around Sampford Courtenay and facilitate sustainable living initiatives for the community. With this in mind, SCEnSus identified some priorities and below are brief summaries of the achievements so far.

Image of seedlings growing

Next meeting.

Tues 2nd Nov  6 30 pm Village Hall or via Zoom 



Climate Change Suggestions for everybody (and every household)

It is vital that we all understand the impact we are having on the environment and the effects of climate change and to change the way we do things to make a real difference at local and global levels.  The group, had identified a set of monthly suggestions to invite a community response which will have a much greater impact on the environment and climate than anything we can do individually. The idea is that each suggestion will build on the one that’s gone before so that the changes become a way of life, not just something you focus on for a month and then forget about!  To try to embed those actions and make them relevant to the time of year SCEnSus are going to pull together a pool of seasonal suggestions that the community can become involved in and make a difference


Some Suggestions for Autumn

  1. See if you can create your own Wildflower and Wildlife area somewhere - garden or verge, it doesn’t matter. This is the right time of year to start if you haven’t done so already. Cut the grass as short as you can and rake off the cuttings. You’re aiming to take as many nutrients off the ground as possible - scarify or ‘rough up’ the turf as much as you can and spread a light covering of sand if you’ve got some. Then scatter the wildflower seeds and water them in to settle the soil – this is your last chance to do it this year (after now and it will be too cold for the seeds to germinate). Roll or tread them in if you can. You’ll need to do something to protect the seeds from birds until they germinate - take care if you use netting that it doesn’t trap them underneath. You can also string old cassette or video tape between bamboo canes or use recycled foil containers tied so that they flap in the wind to discourage birds.
  2. During the Autumn, why not think about food miles again like we did last year? How far does the food on your plate travel before it gets there? Can you have at least one main meal a week where all of the ingredients have been bought (and preferably grown) locally – at least within 15 miles of your home? During the rest of the month, read the labels on packaging and find out where your regular food items come from. We should all do as much as we can to reduce our food air miles. Some family members could get a map of the World and mark on it where important food items come from.
  3. If you want extra food-based activities, do you know which of the foods you eat are organic? Could you eat more organic foods? Could you grow more of your own next year? Use the longer evenings to look through those seed catalogues. Work out your vegetable rotations for next year to help your garden soil structure and to avoid certain pests - reducing the need for both fertiliser and chemicals.
  4. When tidying your garden at the end of the season, try to compost as much as you can. Can you avoid having a bonfire this year? Maybe make a ‘dead hedge’ within your garden rather than burn any woody material? More details and photographs are on the SCEnSus website.
  5. Pumpkins are in season now – carve your own for Halloween and display them for the Sampford Courtenay Pumpkin Trail at the end of the month. Dry and save the seeds to grow on next year or use them in the kitchen in salads, bread or as a healthy snack. Use the Pumpkin flesh to make soup and compost what you don’t use.
  6. Talking of Halloween (and thinking ahead for Christmas), the shops have decorations and masks etc for sale. Do we really need to buy them? Many are cheap, plastic items that might be fun but just add to the unnecessary plastic waste that we create. Can we have as much fun making our own with bits and pieces that we have already? We can save money and do our bit to save the planet at the same time!
  7. This is the ideal time of year to take hardwood cuttings of hedging plants and shrubs. They’ll be slow to develop roots and shoots but it’s a no-cost way to get more plants for yourself or to swap with your friends and neighbours.


SCEnSus Achievements -

Bag of peat free compost

Supporting a horticultural peat-free Sampford Courtenay

The initiative for people to use peat-free compost was a resounding success with the supply selling out super fast.  This initiative was linked to the new class in this years Produce and Flower Show encouraging entrants to use Peat-Free compost in their 'Potato's in a bucket'

Peatlands are critical to the health of the planet.  Some interesting facts:

  • peatland hold 70% of our UK clean drinking water and store huge amounts of carbon dioxide, mitigating flooding and providing habitats for diverse wildlife species.
  • nearly 3 million cubic metres of peat a year are sold for horticultural use (66% is used by amateur gardeners).
  • degraded peatlands in this country leak a million tonnes of carbon a year (2010 figures) the equivalent of 350,000 cars off the road.

With excellent alternatives available residents in this parish can work towards gardening without peat well in time for the Horticultural Peat Ban in 2030.

Members of the community are encouraged to follow the likes of Monty Don, the RHS and DEFRA guidelines and use a peat-free compost. Peat-free compost is available locally and don’t forget creating your own compost bins too.

Link to How to Compost

Link to Monty Article on going Peat Free

Link to Monty Don Video showing how to make Leaf Mould

community hub banner

Community hub

The group created a ‘communication hub’, developing that which was established in the parish at the start of the COVID.  Providing information networks both virtually and through information boards set up at key locations across the Parish.  The aim supports those who live and work locally to be more in touch with each other. To provide support in the form of sharing car trips, shopping collections and various events to encourage swapping or selling items no longer needed continuing the SCEnSus theme to Reduce, Recycle & Reuse.


Help keep our community clean poster.

Waste and litter

Supporting the Keep Britain Tidy volunteers took part in a Cleanup around the Parish

SCEnSus acknowledges that the best and most straightforward way to help our society as a whole to manage waste effectively is to recycle as much as possible via kerbside collections. Food waste should always be put in the appropriate bin rather than in a black sack.

We would also like to engage with all in the community so that we can support a parish-wide effort to keep problems with litter and fly-tipping to a minimum. This can be done in the following ways:

1 Reporting incidents of significant litter or tipping at or by calling 01822 813600. This should result in investigation and/or clearance of the offending items.

2 Organising ‘litter picking’ locally by arranging ‘clear-up’ days once or twice a year. In addition, supporting volunteers in an ongoing programme of litter picking in their area.

3 Local young people could be asked to design a litter poster. This would hopefully raise interest and result in eye-catching designs.

Other SCEnSus Priorities -


Hand drawn plan of the village Green with ideas

To create an outside community space that encourages biodiversity

Your ideas for the Village Green.

  • Wild Flower Area
  • Bulb Planting
  • Bug Hotel
  • Performance Area
  • Central Play Area
  • Fruit Trees

Take a look at the Action Plan below and see how you can get involved.

spider diagram of people who could share a car

Reduction of reliance on regular vehicle use where avoidable

Car use and car sharing/electric vehicle charging points  

The pandemic restrictions did restrict a ‘car sharing’ scheme. However as we come out of lockdown we intend to develop, through community consultation, a sharing scheme and this will need to be a simple (keyboard) click or telephone call away.  We all need to be very mindful of our vehicle use given that the latest Government figures show that transport is by far the highest emitter of carbon into the atmosphere (at nearly 30%). We should therefore all play our part by reducing our vehicle usage, especially short trips under 5 miles, which emit the most greenhouse gases.

As the local use of electric cars (e-v) and electric bicycles (e-bikes) rises we shall find the ways and means to install, around the parish area, charging points for these four- and two-wheeled vehicles

Link to Devon County Council Car Share Scheme

Link to Devon Cycle Routes and Maps

In addition SCEnSus can support the new Dartmoor Line Working Group to ensure that all viable options for the Train Station at Sampford Courtenay to re-open are pursued and that effective public transport networks are in place to maximise the use of the new rail link to Exeter. 

image showing people working together

Local Liaison

Proactive and stimulating dialogue between local communities, including working together to raise awareness and arrange workshops, talks and other initiatives is the most effective way to maximise local awareness of environmental and sustainability issues by working with other local like-minded groups and organisations

Reduce, reuse and recycle poster.

Useful links

DPD - Clean, Green, Delivery - 

Check out how DPD are aiming to reduce their carbon footprint while delivering all the parcels you order online. 

Don't let Devon go to waste -  

Lots of good ideas of how to REDUCE, REUSE AND RECYCLE - take a look at the website and sign up for their Newsletter.

Devon Bus App

Check times of local buses, plan your journey and even find out how "busy" your bus is with this app…  

Renewable Heat Incentive - grants for Hot Water and Central Heating pumps

Green Deal - home insulation grants

Greener Homes Grants

In September, the Government will be launching its new Green Homes Grant aimed at helping us to ensure our houses are as energy efficient as possible.

Vouchers for up to £5,000 (or £10,000 for low-income households) will be available to those eligible.

Follow the link below to find out more:  

Solar Together

The Devon Climate Emergency team has put together a scheme whereby residents can get together to buy solar panels at a lower price than is usually possible.

If you might be interested and would like to find out more, you can register at  There is no obligation to buy as a result of registering.


West Devon Action on Climate Change

SCEnSus aims to link in with the wider area re Action for Climate Change and members of the West Devon Group already attend our meetings. See what else they are doing.

Link to West Devon Action for Climate Change


Food miles Calculator 

Just how many miles has your food Travelled

Circular logo for The Countryside Code - Respect-Protect-Enjoy

Refreshing the Countryside Code


Natural England is embarking on an updating of the Countryside Code, in part in reaction to the increase in numbers of people looking to the countryside for leisure as a result of COVID.


It would like to hear what you think is important to include in the new code and has produced a survey.


Please visit to give your views.


Also available to download below is the Countryside Code Leaflet where you'll find more information and advise when out and about in the countryside.


Thank you.