Image of seedlings growing

Next meeting.

Monday 24th May, 7.00 - Village Green site meeting combined with SCEnSus (Sampford Courtenay Environment and Sustainability group) meeting - this will be the first time that we can meet on site to discuss the details of the plan for the Village Green. It’s also a chance for anyone who has shown an interest in volunteering to join us and hear what is planned. Bring a seat and make yourself comfortable! If the weather isn’t what we’d want it to be in the Village Hall instead.

Wednesday 26th May, 7.30 - Zoom talk by David Ramsden MBE (of Barn Owl Trust fame) ‘Climate and Ecological Crisis - What’s the fuss about?’ Those in the know say that this is an opportunity not to be missed and that it’s an easy to follow introduction to the subject and the solutions that some people are proposing. Numbers are limited so sign up as soon as you can if you are interested. This is the first SCEnSus event held jointly with other environmental groups from North Tawton and Bondleigh and other events are in the pipeline.

Book your ticket here



Go Green there is no planet B

This month's CHALLENGE

 May’s Monthly Challenge - Wildlife: Bees, bugs and plants

The challenge this month is to do more than you would usually do to help insects, particularly bees, and wildlife. Remember that insects are useful and they pollinate plants to produce flowers and fruits. We need them – and they need us to look after them!

  • Could you make a bug hotel? There are lots of instructions for different styles available on the internet. Can you put a log pile in your garden or yard for bugs to hide and nest in?
  • Do you have plants that attract and provide food for bees, butterflies and other insects? Look out for plant swap plants that they particularly like. Remember that bees like single flowers more than double – they can easily reach the central part of the flower where the nectar and pollen is stored. If you’ve got a crowded bunch of leafy bluebell plants then split them now after flowering and whilst you still know where they are to get even more flowers next Spring – if you forget you can still do this in the Autumn if you remember where they are. Check, though, that they are the native English bluebells, not the invasive Spanish ones which will hybridise (cross pollinate with) the English ones!
  • Take photos of bugs, bees and butterflies on flowers and plants ready to enter into the Parish competition later in the year, either at the Produce Show …. or wherever we hold as an alternative event.
  • Could you take cuttings of plants that they like (eg buddleia, sedum) and, when rooted, give them to other people in the Parish to attract even more bugs to Sampford Courtenay? We will try to organise a Parish ‘bee and bug count’ for children (and adults) sometime after lockdown ends.
  • Do you need to mow all of your grass regularly or could you leave some of it to grow? Can you let any wild flowers go to seed before you cut it? This would save fuel/ power as well as being good for bugs and wildlife, particularly if it is next to hedges and links to anything that your neighbours can leave uncut as well

Sampford Courtenay SCEnSus June Monthly Challenge - Enjoy and reflect

By now, you should have done quite a bit to change what you do within your household that will make things better. Hopefully, you can enjoy the Summer and feel good about this … as well as reviewing your New Year’s resolutions from January to see how you’re doing. If you didn’t see these or can’t remember them then please look on the SC Website where you’ll find them together with a lot of other information about wildlife and climate issues.

How much and how often are you using your lawnmower this year? Remember that using your lawnmower for an hour produces the same emissions as driving a car for a hundred miles. Worth leaving that wildflower strip uncut for lots of reasons – save time, money and the planet … all at the same time!

If you see wildlife in your garden or in meadows and other habitats within Devon during the month you could record it on the Devon Wildlife Trust website. Here you will find the ‘Devon Biodiversity Record Centre’ and they’re carrying out a census-type survey of wildlife in the County (just like we did for ourselves in March!). Interestingly, people are more likely to use their system to record less usual wildlife so the current records, for example, suggests that there are more hedgehogs in Devon than brown rats… maybe we just don’t like owning up to having rats. Anyway, it would be good if more of us could support them by recording what we see throughout the year.

Use natural heat – the final part of this month’s challenge is to ban the use of the tumble drier! Get organised with your laundry situation and watch the weather forecast to make best use of the fine, dry weather to dry most/ all of your washing … and to continue this from now on whenever you can!

old bread

Robin & Jill's Topical Tips

Can you use up your ageing bread?

Did you know that household food waste amounts 7.1 million tons (mt) annually compared to 1 mt from cafes/restaurants/pubs and 0.3 mt from shops and supermarkets? (These are pre-covid 2018 figures from DCC Resource and Waste Management Strategy)

Bread, potatoes and chicken are the foods households throw away the most.

As Jamie Oliver says: "There might not be anything particularly sexy about a bit of stale bread, but some of the best recipes in the world are based around this store-cupboard hero. Blitz into breadcrumbs to use in puddings, meatloaf or stuffing, flavour with garlic and herbs to sprinkle over pasta or risotto, or use it to coat chicken or fish. You could also tear it into chunks and bake for rustic croutons to top soup and salads, or use it to make a beautiful panzanella salad.

" Have a look at Jamie Oliver's website (and those links) for some recipes to use up stale bread.

Here's some further information and see the websites below.

• The average family of four can save just over £60 per month by reducing their food waste

• Every day in UK homes we throw away approximately: 20 million whole slices of bread (equivalent to 1,000,000 loaves at 20 slices per loaf)

Do you have a recipe to you would like to share that uses up food left overs?

If you do please email it to and we will post it on the SCEnSus page and maybe even build up a Sampford Courtenay Recipe book of "Great Use-Up Recipes"! Some tips for using leftover foods


Sampford Courtenay Environmental and Sustainable living group

Always aspiring to reduce our carbon footprint

SCEnsUs held its first meeting in June. Its members do not claim to be experts – just local people hoping 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 has identified some priorities and would like to hear your thoughts. Below are brief summaries of the first projects we have embarked on.

Climate Change Challenges 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. If you didn’t see it, try to watch David Attenborough’s Extinction programme – BBC1 13 September 2020. As a group, we have identified a set of monthly challenges to create 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 challenge 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!




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.

Bag of peat free compost

A horticultural peat-free Sampford Courtenay

Peatlands are critical to the health of the planet.

Some 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.

We would like to encourage members of the community 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.

One day soon we plan to create some village compost bins!

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 hope is to create a ‘communication hub’, built on that established in the parish at the start of the COVID crisis, so that those who live and work locally can be more in touch with each other. This could take the form of sharing car trips, shopping collections and various events to encourage swapping or selling items no longer needed.


spider diagram of people who could share a car

Car use and car sharing/electric vehicle charging points  

At present the pandemic restrictions make a ‘car sharing’ scheme untenable. We intend to develop, through community consultation, a sharing scheme and this will need to be a simple (keyboard) click or telephone call away when fully operational. In the meantime 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

Help keep our community clean poster.

Waste and litter

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.



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

Your ideas for the Village Green.

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

Download Action Plan below and come along and see how you can get involved.