History & Heritage

In 1086, the Domesday Book noted Pinhoe’s 20 acres of meadows, 100 acres of pasture and 100 acres of woodland.

The network of hedgerows and hollow ways mark well travelled walking routes through the village. Oak trees in the tall Devon hedges lining these routes are likely descendants of the original oaks from Saxon times. According to renowned historical ecologist Oliver Rackham, some hedgerows are ‘older than almost any structure in England, apart from Stonehenge, and perhaps a 5th of hedgerows in the South of England have been undisturbed since Saxon times’.

Working with the team from East Devon District Council, we commissioned local illustrator Lucy Phillips to create drawings for our map connecting some of the important parts of Pinhoe’s history in a 3 mile walk from the centre to the top of the village.

Songbird Hedge by Pinhoe Station

On 18th March contractors for Network Rail began taking out the bramble hedge along the Exeter platform of Pinhoe Station. Despite contact from residents concerned about the removal of wildlife habitat during nesting season, Network Rail confirmed they had urgent safety concerns about the site:

“The section is next to a children’s park and the fencing required renewal, as it was felt it was not safe enough to stop children from getting onto the railway. While erecting the fence it was found we would need to do some vegetation clearance to erect the fence. At this present time, there are no plans to re-plant any trees as it is believed that in six to twelve months the site will have grown a substantial amount of vegetation in the area”

Network Rail stated that work completed at the station was a fencing renewal which had been “arranged and approved by Exeter Council” and Pinhoe’s councillors confirmed they had known about the removal ‘a couple of weeks’ before.
Despite substantial impact on both wildlife and the landscape setting of the park, councillors emphasised that there was “nothing they could do” as this land is owned and managed by Network Rail. In response to questions about whether safety concerns could have been addressed when the play park was redeveloped at a cost of £120k, Cllr David Harvey stated that: “Exeter City Council had no safety concerns when the play park was refurbished” and underlined that council officers inspect fencing and equipment ‘on a regular basis’.

Having requested a copy of the site survey undertaken, our Freedom of Information (FOI) request was acknowledged on 5th April and Network Rail have confirmed they will respond by 6th May (at the latest).

No information has been forthcoming regarding the landscape setting of the proposed Community Hub building adjacent to this site and it remains unclear whether Network Rail is coordinating with the group to mitigate concerns about wildlife habitat. In response to local concern, Pinhoe’s councillors posted the following statement:

“ECC can only negotiate terms relating to the reinstatement of damage, and or safety conditions surrounding access or egress…In this case, ECC asked Network Rail to reinstate the fence line that they have taken down and put in place safety provisions enabling residents to continue to use the play area during construction. This however is the extent of the anticipated impact on ECC land and the most we can request of Network Rail”

Meanwhile, what was once a thriving habitat for birds and wildlife alongside the children’s play park has been reduced to an eyesore attracting litter – including waste left behind by the contractors themselves.

Information received regarding Network Rail’s site survey will be shared here as soon as received following our FOI request

Give Three Words

OUR LATEST PROJECT

Thanks to IKEA and the National Lottery Community Fund, we’ve been working on a project to help people speak up about the trees and green spaces that are dear to them.

After several months working with geographers at the University of Exeter, Gill Baker from Exeter Greenspaces Group (EGG) handed the project over to Pinhoe at the beginning of the year. Since then, it’s been incredibly inspiring to work with the brilliant Art and Energy Collective and their creative direction culminated in our recent event at America Hall.

We spent the afternoon chatting with local residents, marking out the new Pinhoe map with special places and precious trees. Using leaf templates, we cut leaves from fabric squares which are being sewn onto a banner by Catherine West at Significant Seams.

Due to the rise in Covid cases, we limited numbers on the day but we were able to serve our famous afternoon teas for everyone who came along – and even delivered some! Huge thanks to Maria and Steve.

To make YOUR leaf, please contact us for a special kit which includes fabric and templates along with a survey to share your THREE WORDS: mail@portfoliofive.co.uk

BMX TRACK for Pinhoe

UPDATE: costs are likely to have increased since these first estimates. Which design do YOU prefer?


In August 2019, local families approached Pinhoe Forum to find out what was happening with the bike bump area in Station Road Playing Fields. It was overgrown and unsafe, but still used by families who were keen to renovate it.

Exeter City Council were concerned to ensure safety and the bike bumps were fenced off and levelled as part of the pitch renovations. The park is having drainage installed to remedy the boggy area – it’s a substantial investment using money from local housing development.

The Forum found out that £45k has been allocated to develop a bike track and Exeter City Council Parks Dept mentioned that we have an award-winning track designer who not only lives in Pinhoe, but Tim Ruck designed one of their most successful facilities in the city: an opportunity not to be missed! The £45k will become available from S106 money which will be released when houses on the Taylor Wimpey development are ready for occupation.

In September 2019, Tim took a look at the site. Fencing for the football pitch drainage usefully showed the size / space available at the end of the field. Because it would be overlooked and have several safe exits, it looks to have real potential. We discussed options to pursue further grant funding to enable an integrated, holistic approach to the site, which would secure access and amenity for the whole community as well as ensuring any bike facility was ambitious, accessible for a range of ages and abilities, and had a sustainable future.

Wider community consultation is the next step and we want to hear from young people who would use this facility, to ensure we bring a vision for the whole community – dog walkers use this part of the field too and could play their part in the safety of the site!

Meanwhile, Tim has suggested a range of designs with rough ideas for budgets so we can gauge the opportunity to apply for funding. We are looking forward to the feedback.

Small basic tarmac track, approx £20-25K
Larger track, compacted aggregate with tarmac turns, approx £35-50K
Hybrid layout, pump track features combined with skatepark obstacles (grind rail, grind block, manny pad and wall-ride) in tarmac, approx £45K +

To join the new People’s Panel please email: mail@portfoliofive.co.uk

Pinhoe’s LIBRARY TRAIL

Jane Fletcher Peters from Pinhoe Community Support, with our first 3 quizzers! Thanks to Jahcoby, Romeo and Alfie

There’s a new trail connecting all the AMAZING libraries in Pinhoe -Hill Barton Vale Little Library, Harrington’s Little Library, Pinhoe Library and Hillside Gardens Little Library (such a beautiful spot in Westclyst).

As you walk around the village, you’ll see all the beautiful trees in Pinhoe. If you feel inspired to take a photo, make a picture or write about it, we’re looking for contributions to our forthcoming book on Pinhoe’s Trees. Please contact Kate: mail@portfoliofive.co.uk