DOOMED TO DIE

Dr Colin Ridsdale

Billies on the wrong side of the fence opposite Honeypot Cottage April 2010

Due to many complaints from Lynton residence at the Parish meeting these goats will shortly be killed, due to trespass and invasion into properties in the town.

What was not stated was that the £40,000 fence over Council owned land, from North walk to Poet’s Corner has not been maintained by the Council for some 18 months. A tree fall across the fence above the allotments dating from autumn 2008, reported to the Council in May 2009 and January 2010, still has not been cleared. It forms a major access route to Hollerday hill. In the ENP picnic area the top wires of the fences are slack and goats jump over the lower pig wire and under the strands to enter Cloud Cottage area and onwards towards the cemetery.

Repairing fences is cheaper than killing goats

Why does the Council not pay compensation for the damages ?

The goats were presented to and released by the Council over the Lynton Commons in 1975. At this time the Council was under the illusion that it had grazing rights on the Common Land CL 198 and Village Green. Oh by the way - the sector on the right hand side of the Valley including Castle rock and Rugged Jack is classified as a Village Green and is the only Village Green in Devon covered by grazing rights. This claim on grazing rights was rejected by the Commons Commission in 1982 where it was confirmed that the sole remaining grazing rights, over both areas, are linked to Six Acre Farm.

Hence, the goats released by the Council have been grazing illegally on the Commons ever since. The question remains as to where they are legally grazing. The only area left is the Council owned land on the lower slopes of Hollerday Hill. The boundary of this area is along the walls opposite the ENP toilet block and along the cricket field across to the kissing gate remnants on North Walk. This is private land owned by the Council. The ENP car park is also private land.

So what makes these land owners different from any other, or a farmer, who both have a legal responsibility to maintain their fences. The Council is claiming Commoners rights which it does not have.

So claim damages, the Council does not appear to even have taken legal advise on this matter, but simply denies these claims.

They also seem quite unaware that the Town depends on tourism. For the fourth consecutive year the work force have received no instructions to sanitize Poet’s Corner and North Walk shelters before the start of the holiday season.

This year it was a stinking mess of goat shit.! I heard a rumour that they even refused an offer to pay to fence off the area from goats. This unique and picturesque shelter has become a public disgrace.

So what have they spent the money on which was received from the grazing agreement?

Some £500 per year, over 15 years. It has not gone on fencing, the current stock fence received a £50,000, not even the cemetery has been fenced from these funds. The fence along one side of the cemetery was obligatory and came with the hedging grant. So, where has all this money been spent and why is the cemetery still unfenced?.