Transfer of Ownership to the Parish
In 2017, South Hams District Council transferred their ownership of many of our open spaces back to the parish. These include the green, with our playing field and play areas, the car park at the northern end of the green, and Pittens Walk. Timbers car park was also transferred back to the parish, and the foreshore adjacent to the mill leat.
This level area of grassland lies parallel and to the west of Fore St, separated from the back gardens of houses by Parson`s Brook, and contains the playing field and play areas. Historically this was a tidal area of marsh open to the river where villagers kept geese and other livestock, and was the village dump for household rubbish. The brook itself was the final destination of all the drains from most of the surrounding area until the 1930s. After this marshland was filled in and raised with spoil from the widening of AG Hill and the road at the northern end of the village, this area became an important amenity for the village.
In the 1960’s the area was registered as common land and the field has now been granted a Fields in Trust status which will help secure the future preservation of the area for the community. This has been further endorsed by our Neighbourhood Plan which will protect the whole area from development
Since then generations have played football on the football pitch, and school sports days on the green have been a highlight of the end of the summer term for many years. Guy Fawkes day is celebrated annually with a bonfire and fireworks on the green. Over recent years the green has been the venue for the Aveton Gifford Classic Car Show on August Bank Holiday weekend.
Parishioners of all ages use the green to walk their dogs, a quiet area away from the roads. At the southern end of the green, by the Fisherman`s Rest a subway under the bypass gives access to Timber`s carpark, the River Avon and the tidal road.
We are particularly lucky to have three play areas in the village, and all are popular and well used. The community has benefited from the more recent addition of two new Play Parks at the northern end of the green. Both of these are owned and maintained by the parish council.
The fenced area is designed for the use of preschool-aged children and includes swings, a sandpit and a `Wendy house’ and provides a safe secure area where small children can play and parents can relax. The eye catching wooden climbing frame suitable for older children has been possible due to a substantial National Lottery Fund grant in 2011. The central area with its small walls and picnic bench makes a popular picnic area.
A third play park is situated below Icy Park and provides a range of equipment for younger children. This is owned by SHDC, and in 2019 was granted £1500.00 for refurbishment and updating of the equipment
This woodland area is part of our old Glebe lands, and has been planted up in recent years with ornamental and fruit trees. A path from Jubilee St car park winds up the hill to the houses above, and several benches provide good views over the village.
The Rectory Lawn
The Rectory Lawn lies at the northern end of the village behind the village Hall, it is a pleasant gently sloping area of grass, planted with specimen trees. This area is leased by the parish from the Diocese of Exeter and was formerly part of the rectory garden. Parsons Brook runs along the lower border of the lawn separating it from the village Hall. The brook here is easily accessible and children enjoy leaping across it or looking for small fish. The lawn is often used for events including the annual church fete.
A hard tennis court was constructed in 1984 at the southern edge of the lawn.
The Churchill Chestnut, the fine horse chestnut tree on the hall side of the stream was planted by the vicar Rev Cuthbert Shaw in memory of Sir Winston Churchill who died in 1965.
South Efford Marsh
The marsh is situated on the southern bank of the River Avon at Bridge End, and is approached by the lane which leads to South Efford House.
This area of grazing marsh was purchased by the Environment Agency in 2010, and is now designated as a Devon Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve.
Banks were built in the 1780’s to keep out tidal water and increase the acreage of grazing ground. The marsh has now been returned from grassland to a tidal salt marsh by the Environment Agency with the use of a unique tidal gate. This provides an increased area for carbon capture, in an environment to attract wading birds and salt marsh plants. This reserve, which is favoured by local birders, has become an important habitat for estuarine birds, and a stopping off point for migrants. It is a valued amenity for the community and is used as an educational resource.
Parking is limited at the entrance to the marsh, but parking is available at Timbers Car park. Care must be taken when walking across the bridge!
Dog walkers are always very welcome here, but may we please politely ask that you clear up after your dog when necessary. Dog poo is particularly unwelcome in these areas, as they are frequently used by families with small children, and for games and sports, and it’s very unpleasant for those maintaining the grass and our public areas.
There are dog poo bins at either end of the village green, and a green bin by the bridge over the stream on the Rectory Lawn, and emergency dog waste bags are also available in the same places. South Hams District Council now permit dog waste bags to be disposed of in all the ordinary green bins throughout the village, as these are all emptied regularly. Green bins can also be found in the car parks, by the shop, in Fore St and Icy Park, and at Bridge End, so it is always easy to reach somewhere convenient to dump the waste.
With many thanks for your help in keeping our public spaces clear, and pleasant to visit.