Parents, councillors and a school have joined forces to provide a growing village with a play area.
Lewdown has been without a community play park for about 30 years after the previous one fell into disrepair and had to be cleared. One family even travels all over West Devon to take their youngest child to a safe outdoor play parks in towns and villages.
The village needs to raise £27,000 for a new one with traditional equipment, all made in wood to be sustainable with a soft-fall floor.
Nikki Perkins, Lewdown parish councillor leads the campaign. She said: ‘It’s been much too long for an expanding village with young families and a school not to have an outdoor play area.
‘Villagers have tried for years to have their own play park just like neighbouring villages of the same size. The parish council is 100% behind the project which will serve not just the village, but all four parishes within the group. It will benefit the children and their paretns and grandparents by reducing rural isolation.’
Parent Nicky Hill said: ‘It’s ridiculous that an expanding village doesn’t have anywhere for children to play. There are 50 new houses being built and more planned. That means more young families coming in and they’ll expect a play area. All we want is what other villages have.
‘The last time we had a play park was about 40 years. I remember playing in it, but then it closed and I’m 50 now.’
Nicky, also the owner of the village Blue Bell pub, has four children with her youngest, Alfie, being five and they travel far and wide to take him to play parks: ‘It’s farcical really. We go to Okehampton, to Tavistock and smaller places like our village, such as Lifton, which do have places where he can play.’
Liz Davy, Lew Trenchard Primary head of school with 100 pupils, said: ‘I have every sympathy for parents here. Play parks are more than somewhere to play, it’s about socialising children and re-learning what a lot lost over the pandemic during lockdown and the trend to spending too much time indoors on phones and X-boxes on their own.’
She added: ‘It’s not just for the current children, either it’s for future generations and for parents to meet each other while their children get some fresh air.’
There is no obvious site yet identified for any play park, one of the problems is the centre is on two roads with speed limits too fast for safe access for children.
The Lewdown playground fundraising group is staging a Christmas bazaar from 12noon to 4pm on Saturday, December 3, at Lewdown Victory Village Hall.