Image of seedlings growing

To join the SCEnSus meeting on Wednesday 24th February at 7.30pm via Zoom follow the link below.


Marion Pratt is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.


Topic: SCEnSus Meeting

Time: This is a recurring meeting Meet anytime


Join Zoom Meeting…


Meeting ID: 865 7814 6516

Passcode: 860948

Peat Free Compost

Great news for the health of peat lands as there has been a good deal of local interest in the Dalefoot Peat Free compost made of bracken and Herdwick wool.

If you are interested in trying out this compost please contact Jill and Robin soon as we have only a few bags left from the 55 that were bought. The 12L seed compost bags have sold out. tel: 07730512306

Here are some guidelines from the RHS about purchasing peat free compost.

• If the bag doesn't say peat-free then it most likely isn't.

• Wording such as 'environmentally friendly', 'compost' and 'organic' do not always mean it is peat free. Always check the bag to see if it says 'peat free'.

• A good quality peat-free growing media is usually a little more expensive. The price does tend to reflect quality.

Here is a link to the RHS web-site.

This picture is from the RSPB website and shows a healthy peatland. 'Peatlands are some of the UK's most valuable habitats. They're damp, colourful wetlands supporting an array of bog mosses and carnivorous plants, rare and unusual insects and birds.' By buying only peat free compost for your garden you will be helping to ensure these precious lands are not lost .... forever




Go Green there is no planet B

So, the March SCEnSus Challenge is to ‘Grow your own’

  • Make sure you purchase only peat free compost this year – buy some through the SCEnSus compost scheme by contacting Jill and Robin Bevis on 07803037828 or 07730512306, or come to the Village Square on Wednesday 24th March at 6pm to buy some when you collect your potato bucket
  • Compost your own kitchen and garden waste – use the West Devon garden waste services if you can’t do this at home
  • Reduce, if not stop, the use of artificial garden fertilisers and chemical pesticides. Are the fruits and vegetables you grow technically ‘organic’? If not, what could you change to make them so?
  • Don’t buy or use slug pellets this year to protect wildlife, particularly hedgehogs and birds
  • Install water butts and water diverters to save rainwater for watering plants
  • We are hoping to do even more ‘plant swap’ events this year. What can you grow to help someone else… or to sell to raise funds for the Village Hall … or to swap for something else?

Will what you grow this year reduce your family’s ‘food miles’? Is there anything you can do with family, friends and neighbours that will make an even bigger difference to the environment?

Spring is the time to start to think about Gardening.

Proper Job at Chagford have got lots of short informational videos on You Tube that might give you that nudge to get out in your garden

Check them out on the link above


Moisture Detector


Logs, open fires and woodburners- change of regulations as from now


The Government has instituted new regulations effective from this month, February 2021, to reduce the danger to health and the environment from logs and wood that is not sufficiently dry *.


Extracts from this Government (DEFRA ) website   "..... sales of wet wood in units of under 2m3* will be restricted from sale from February 2021, allowing for existing stocks to be used up. Wet wood sold in volumes greater than 2m3 will need to be sold with advice on how to dry it before burning from this date."   

(*with a moisture content of less than  20%)    

Under 2m3 is the typical quantity of wood that the majority of households purchase. 

Moisture detectors  For a small outlay you may want to consider buying a moisture checker such as the Brennenstuhl (photo attached). This costs about £14.00 and is worth using on logs at the point of purchase and when loading onto an open fire or woodburner. This model has three grades of checking, all under 20% moisture content. Of course other makes are available.

Picture of black notice board in a park

New Notice Board Locations for Community News


As part of the SCEnSus 'Communication Hub' initiative it is hoped to establish notice boards at suitable places around the parish.


These will be available not just for local groups, but also for individuals to post messages and/or news.


The intention is to enhance community communication throughout the parish - whether it's details of an upcoming event or items for sale, to swap/give away or wanted and so on.


One site will be at the Plant and Book Stall in the Village Square, but ideas for other places in the parish that would offer a safe and accessible location for a notice board would be very welcome.


Please contact Joy Tucker with your thoughts at or on 07749 522996.


Thank you.



Picture of Moor Meadows wild flower meadow

Moor Meadows


How about developing a wildflower rich habitat in your garden this year?


It may feel chilly right now but if like us you have already begun to think about your garden in 2021 you may be interested in the 'Moor Meadows' website.

There are many ideas about how best to create a rich habitat for pollinators, case studies from individuals who live on or near Dartmoor and a map of those keen wildlife gardeners celebrating the wonderful diversity of native plants who have registered their wildlife meadows. 


Picture of Buttercup Garden Meadow at Bank Cottage 3.5.2020

The picture to the left is the Buttercup Garden Meadow at Bank Cottage  - 3.5.2020 


We only sewed a few yellow rattle seeds in Autumn 2019 and waited to see what would happen!


Left to its own devices we had a month of gold followed by a tapestry of different flowers to enjoy along with butterflies, bees and a wide range of other pollinators through the warmer sunnier months.


In the Autumn 2020 we cut and raked up and later this year 2021 we plan to introduce a few more 'wild flowers'. We found that ragged robin was successful in our soil so will increase our stock.



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.

Image of wild flowers growing on a road side verge

A new approach to verges and other areas


At the SCEnSus meeting in early December the possibility of creating 'wildflower rich habitats' in some open spaces in the parish was discussed. It was acknowledged that this needed careful thought and planning to ensure that areas are well managed.


The link below offers some very interesting information. Please tell SCEnSus what you think by emailing or phoning 07749522996. Thank you.

Blue circle on a white background with image of person putting litter in a bin

Design a Litter Poster


Could you design an eye-catching poster asking people not to drop litter?

The SCEnSus group hopes to produce a selection of posters to display on parish noticeboards, litter 'blackspots' and local fast food outlets asking people to take their litter home rather than dropping it.

Open to all ages - young and less young

Please send your poster to Joy Tucker at: or Bridgelea, Wellsprings Lane, Sampford Courtenay EX20 2TD.

Closing date the 31st January 2021.


Thank you.


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!

The challenge for January is in the form of a New Year’s Resolution checklist which will help everyone in your household identify the areas that are your particular priorities. The other months have topics that we all need to work on to reduce our carbon footprint. The aim is to make us think about the issues and how we can make that much-needed difference!

The Government is bringing in legislation to stimulate change.  Did you know that from February 2021 you won’t be allowed by law to buy ‘wet’ wood (more than 20% moisture) or bagged household coal? Wood for domestic burning either has to be dry and seasoned or bought wet and stored on your property until it is dry and seasoned – up to 2 years! Other legislation is already in place for diesel and petrol cars, carbon offsetting requirements and, from 2021 until 2024, the new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) will come into effect for Farmers. These changes will each affect the majority of us in the Parish in some way or another.

January Challenge - New Year's Resolution Check list - see download below.

Woodburner or open fire - If you have one of these, make sure you have adequate supplies of dry, seasoned wood to burn from February onwards when the new legislation comes into effect and, even better, start before then. Also reduce your use of firelighters to light fires and sweep chimneys regularly to reduce chemicals and particles in the atmosphere.


people in a community garden

Community garden

We would like to create a wildflower border on the part of the Village Green along the church wall, including ‘mini beast hotel’/wildlife haven to encourage interest –particularly for the growing number of children in the parish. It has also been suggested that an area of the green could be fenced off (with access) for use by dogs.

We would also like to establish a community orchard, possibly in the grounds of the Village Hall. This would create interest, support biodiversity and heritage varieties, as well as offering added beauty to a space where the community can gather (when allowed!).

Link to video of Monty Don showing how to plant wildflower seeds

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

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