Village of Dunsford, Devon

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Best Kept Village 2009

In the year 2009 Dunsford won the Large Village section of the Best Kept Village Competition with 96 points.


The Competition is run by Campaign to protect Rural England and Mole Valley Farmers (CPRE & MVF).

There were 55 villages that entered in four categories, with 22 villages in our category of Large Village.

On Saturday October 17th we held a presentation morning, with tea and cake, in the village hall, which was attended by a good number of villagers from all age ranges and representatives from CPRE and MVF, and Two Judges.
We were presented with a shield to keep for one year, a traditional green road sign, a framed certificate and £100 of MVF tokens.

The following is the judges Reporting Sheet

Dunsford is set in the Beautiful context of the Dartmoor National Park so from every side the views of the rolling steep forest laden hills abound.
The houses are pretty and very well maintained with glorious displays of flowers throughout the village whether it be on the main road or in the relative backwater lane. It is obvious that without exception villagers take great pride in their own houses and gardens. One wall looked rather precarious as the rendering was breaking away from the underlying cob but this was the exception and the house was up for sale.
The school is a delight and at the time of our visit there was after-school swimming and sports practice in the playing field. The voice of the children mingled with the beauty of the scene which include close neighbouring llamas and donkeys and we wondered if these belonged to the school. There were vegetables growing and a feel of "being in tune" with the environment.

Towards the church road, the road was quite busy and the sun was hot so the open church gave welcome relief. Inside the church we found the Dunsford and Doddiscombsleigh magazine which was full of useful advertisements and was brimming with things to do and events to visit e.g. Dunsford Summer Show, the garden club, Bell-ringing. The post Office also listed many of these events and services on their busy notice board. Here the shopkeeper was friendly and full of a variety of produce. We did not have a chance to visit the tea rooms but noted they were open seven days a week and resolved to visit when there was more time. The feel of the village was busy with many healthy pursuits for everyone: Pilates, badminton,table tennis, dancing. The cricket club on the outskirts of Dunsford was deserted but the field is in such a lovely setting that we daydreamed the magical scene of cricketers playing.

We walked around the entire village and for this the map was useful. In the very hot weather the lamination of the map was a great bonus as it was constantly fingered by sweaty hands. The visual aid especially the pictures of the seats were very handy and gave hope for rest from the hot sun. It would have been useful if the scale of the map had been included as some represented a long distance although they looked quite small on the map. We sampled the footpaths and found them well signposted with details of end points especially useful. To know we were going to end up by the mill House on the B3212 was very useful. The way marking was quite good although there was some confusion across fields but the footpaths were generally easy to access. There was one exception at the beginning of the path near the allotments. With my risky hip I struggled to clamber over the stile onto the jaunty angled stone below. The next gate was easier in spite of the very large ants running across the path and the stream in the gateway.

We saw no litter whatsoever. The phone box and bus shelter were completely free of rubbish and weed at the roadsides had been controlled without making the edges bare. The church yard was well mown, perhaps too much because there was an absence of wild flowers except along the stepped access. The allotments were mostly well tended with beautiful Sweet Williams, masses of blackcurrants, very healthy potatoes and very promising apple harvest. No one was attending the allotments at the time of our visit but there were forks poised expectantly in the ground. One allotment was a mass of weeds but this was the exception.

The Moor Park Garage looked busy and the Royal Oak Hotel was centrally placed for tourists. We did not venture in and neither did we view the craft workshops although their existence bodes well for community productivity. The website is mainly to be constructed but the web menu looks promising. It would be lovely if it could capture the delights and activities of this glorious part of Devon.

Overall our impression was a very well cared for village with a good sense of business and purpose alongside a strong sense of community.