The upgraded footpath.

Footpath between two villages upgraded thanks to funding

Brampford Speke and Upton Pyne are now properly reconnected by the Exe Valley Way footpath thanks to Brampford Speke Parish Council applying on their behalf for Parishes Together Funding from East Devon District Council and Devon County Council.

Part of the Exe Valley Way between the two villages included some very wet and marshy areas. This made it unsafe and discouraged the local community from using it. The funding has helped pay for the laying of wooden railway sleepers along a significant part of the footpath and building a bridge across a particularly marshy area.

To fund the £787 of materials needed, £666 was granted by the Parishes Together Fund, and the remaining money came from the town and parish councils themselves. The laying of the sleepers was carried out by a local parish councillor in his own time.

Designed to provide financial solutions to local issues, the Parishes Together Fund is a joint East Devon District Council and Devon County Council initiative where £1.10 per elector per parish – with £1 of the funding coming from Devon County Council and 10p from East Devon District Council - is put into a central pot. Parish and town councils can then work together to apply to for funding towards community projects.

In East Devon the funding is known as the Parishes Together Fund and Devon County Council more generally call it the Town and Parish (TAP) Fund.

Chairman of the Parishes Together Fund decision making panel Councillor Phil Twiss said: “It’s great to see that the Parishes Together Fund is being used to literally bridge the gap between our more rural communities, helping to encourage healthy outdoor activities. It’s always a pleasure to be involved in this funding and hear about the useful projects it helps to happen. I urge all of our town and parish councils to make use of their available funding.”

The parish council said that the project has proved a very useful upgrade to the path and clearly benefits the residents of both parishes.

Leader of Devon County Council, Councillor John Hart said: “The Town and Parish Fund encourages local communities to identify projects that will make a real and positive difference to their town or village. We’re particularly keen to see applications that support new projects that will benefit whole communities, and I’m delighted that this application will positively affect two parishes.”

Only three of East Devon’s town and parish councils have so far applied to the Parishes Together Fund this financial year. Applications have to come from town and parish councils, but voluntary and community groups, schools and other organisations can put their ideas forward to their town or parish council. You can find out more about the fund online.