Welcome to Belstone
Welcome to the Community Website for Belstone - a village on the northern edge of Dartmoor in Devon. If you have something to contribute please contact the editors Edwina & Robin Hill editor@belstonevillage.net

Last updated 5-mar-15


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Indian Expedition and Community Work

Three Okehampton College students, who all live in Belstone, are undertaking an expedition to carry out community work in India, in summer 2016.
Three teams of 8 students will each be trekking through the Himalayas to reach a remote village and will work with the villagers and the schools. Each team has had to choose which trek they will take, to carry out the work needed in that village and take on the responsibility of managing and running it. Ellie & Poppy's team will, amongst other things, be building a greenhouse to enable the village to have a longer growing season for their crops. Suzi's team, as well as helping to teach English and sports at the local school, will be working at an apricot farm, helping the Buddhist monks make jam and oils which will be sold to the local community in order to fund the school and the monastery.
A life-changing experience for our intrepid girls and the people they meet and work with but, in order to do this, they have to raise the funds to take them out to India, so will be holding various fundraising events which they hope you will be able to support in some way or another.


MED Theatre Community Play - Tuesday 17th March

MED Theatre will be making a welcome return to Belstone Village Hall on Tuesday 17th March at 7.30pm to perform their play “Badgerland” – a Dartmoor Comedy.
MED Theatre is a community theatre organisation and registered charity, based on Dartmoor, working with people in remote rural areas. All of their work is inspired by the history, ecology and folklore of Dartmoor and surrounding Devon, as well as the pertinent social, scientific and environmental issues which face the residents of a National Park.
In the play “Badgerland”, Dartmoor badgers are taking a stand. Fed up with living under threat from human hands, they have joined forces in the campaign for ‘Badger Independence’. They just need to persuade an unsuspecting human to front the ‘Better Together’ campaign and Dartmoor will be all set for an inter-species referendum. That’s not forgetting the hedgehogs, advocates for a Mother State, who will clamp down on Badger appetites . . .
The performance will begin at 7.30pm. Tickets: £8 adults, £5 children, £7 concessions. Booking recommended – contact 01647 441356 or email info@medtheatre.co.uk

Renewable Energy for Belstone?

With the first flurries of winter snow, many of our minds turn to our heating and energy use. As a community off the mains gas grid and reliant on more expensive energy, it could be time for Belstone residents to examine the alternatives. DARE (Devon Association for Renewable Energy www.devondare.org), has been in discussion with Belstone Church about the possibility of installing a woodfuel heating system (also known as biomass). However, it is possible to roll this scheme out further across the village. In order to decide whether there should an application for a 100% grant to carry out a feasibility study into this possibility, there will be a Public Meeting in the Village Hall on 18th March at 7.30pm.
The meeting will open with a presentation from DARE which will be followed by a general discussion, giving us a chance to understand and decide whether it should be examined in detail. The idea would be to have a single biomass boiler, with hot water pipes ("heat mains") to nearby homes or, possibly, to many homes, with heat mains laid under the roads.
Such a district heating scheme could be owned by the community.  Local people could invest in it (earning a good rate of interest), and become members of the organisation owning the scheme. This community ownership model is being used very successfully by Plymouth Energy Community
(www.plymouthenergycommunity.com/invest). They have used it to finance solar panels on 20 primary schools in the city. The study could also look at other community energy options, such as hydroelectricity generation or PV panels on the Village Hall roof.


Having proved to be so successful in 2014, the Belstone Bazaar is to be repeated in 2015. For those who don’t know already, the Bazaar is a fairly informal Crafts Table Top Sale, featuring work from local craftspeople as well as cakes, produce and charity stalls. This year it will take place on Sundays 12th April, 16th August and 29th November from 11am-3pm with doors opening at 9.30am for setting up.£5 per table (or space if that’s more appropriate). Refreshments on sale, in the form of bacon baps, cake, tea, coffee & squash. If you have handmade crafts or produce to sell or would like to have a table for your personal charity, please contact Edwina on 01837 840332 or email edwinarobinhill@btinternet.com 

Belstone Films


Following a successful premiere in Belstone Village Hall last month, when it was watched by 75 people, the film of this year’s Beating the Bounds is now, as they say, on general release.  In other words, anyone who hasn’t already put their name down for a DVD version of the 48 minute opus is very welcome to contact me and I’ll make them a copy at a cost of £7.  If you were on the walk and I’ve edited some of you out of the final version you can even have the unedited outtakes stuck on the end for your very own personalised copy. 
When the ‘Book of Belstone’ was published in 2002 many of you bought the video that went with it, enabling you to enjoy 2 hours and 40 minutes of films covering over thirty years of life in the village from the mid 1960s.  Video tapes of course went the way of the dodo long ago, so I’m guessing that most of you can no longer watch these films.  So, for anyone who would like a replacement, and for those new to the village who might want to see them for the first time, I can make DVD copies from the original master tapes at the original price of £12.50 a copy.  Subjects covered include the harsh winter of 1978, the Okehampton bypass being built at Fatherford, lots of sheep footage, the Belstone Players pantomime ‘Robin Hood’ featuring Robin Hill being sawn in half, a never-to-be-repeated piece of film showing South Tawton boundary stone being dumped in the river, and my favourite, the remarkably exciting and snappily titled mid 1980s epic ‘Belstone Women’s Institute Sort Tin Foil and Milk Bottle Tops in the Back Room of the Village Hall’.
Please contact me at chris.walpole@mypostoffice.co.uk or on 01837 840498 if you’d like a copy of either of the above.  And there are still copies of the actual book ‘The Book of Belstone’ for sale which, to quote the reviews from 2002, is truly a mine of information about Belstone past and present … each time I have dipped into it I have found a new gem and just about everything you want to know about Belstone can be found in this book.

West Devon Borough Council Dog Control Orders

West Devon Borough Council have introduced new dog control orders across the Borough. There are four Orders as follows:

1. DOG FOULING. It will be an offence for a person in charge of a dog who fails to remove any dog fouling. This applies on all land open to the air in the Borough, to which the public have access with or without payment. There is an exception on Forestry Commission land.
2. DOGS ON LEADS. Dogs will be required to be on a lead across the Borough in all car parks, near retail premises and in cemeteries, churchyards and war memorials. Leads will also be required in all fenced, hedged or walled ponds, areas of water or nature reserves, together with all marked sports fields whilst organised sport is in progress . Other locations have been listed on the Schedules by some Town and Parish Councils. On Open Access Land  (Dartmoor) across the Borough, dogs are required to be on short fixed leads (2 metres or less) as required under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, between 1st March and 31st July and at all times near livestock.
3. DOG EXCLUSIONS. Dogs will be banned from fenced, hedged, walled children’s play areas, bowling greens, tennis courts, skateboard/BMX parks and putting greens. Also dogs will be excluded from sporting or recreational facility pitches when sport is in play.  Other locations have been listed on the Schedules by some Town and Parish Council’s.
4. DOGS ON LEADS BY DIRECTION. Any officer authorised by SHDC (including certain external officers) can request a dog owner place their dog on a lead in any open public land, to prevent a nuisance or behaviour by the dog likely to cause annoyance or disturbance to any other person. This also applies to prevent the worrying or disturbance of any animal or bird.
Full details of these Orders can be found on the West Devon Borough Council website: http://www.westdevon.gov.uk/dogorde

Dartmoor Folk Festival - August 7th - 9th 2015

A RICH crop of local and national artists will headline at the 38th Dartmoor Folk Festival, which will be held at South Zeal, near Okehampton, on August 7, 8 and 9.
Artists booked, to date, are Jez Lowe and The Bad Pennies, Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin, Huw Williams and Maartin Allcock, Alistair Anderson, Jeff Warner (USA), The Dovetail Trio, Liam Robinson Dance Band and Kestor Stringband.
Other artists attending include The Dartmoor Pixie Band (Friday and Sunday night), Tony Beard, Entertainingly Different, Dave Wills, various morris and dance teams, plus more to be confirmed.
The festival will include a packed programme of concerts, a ramble on Dartmoor, a ceilidh, folk service, craft displays, dances, a Children's Festival, a Dartmoor Fayre, music hall, pub sessions and music, song and dance workshops.
Competitions include the Dartmoor Broom Dance championships and Dartmoor Stepdance Championships.
It was 38 years ago that the festival was founded by the late Bob Cann, who lived in the parish of South Zeal.  He had the dream of a folk event on his doorstep that would help to revive and preserve the traditions of Dartmoor.
It was the traditional music, dance, song and crafts of the area that formed the basis for the first festival and they still remain for the association which runs the festival today.
Since it was founded it has grown so that it can invite some of the best folk artists around, whilst maintaining its reputation for being a relaxed, friendly and traditional festival.
For further details, visit the website:www.dartmoorfolkfestival.org.uk .
To enquire about booking tickets, telephone 01837 840102

Belstone Photographic Competition

Results of the Photographic Competition 2014 can be found by clicking here for winners or here for highly commended.


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