Residents of Lewdown are calling on Devon County Council to ensure hedges and undergrowth are regularly maintained and to reduce the speed limit along a stretch of the Old A30 from the village past the local primary school.

Affected residents argue that the lack of maintenance is restricting the width of footpath on the pavement running alongside the 40mph stretch from The Market Place to Lewtrenchard Primary School and is thus preventing safe passage of parents and children along the only route to access the school from the village, who are being forced to walk in single file with pushchairs past motorists — who have been observed speeding by the local speedwatch group.

In a bid to counter the council’s current response to these matters, believed to have been thus far insufficient, a Lewdown grouped parish councillor recently joined two other concerned residents in cutting back these hedges.

Terry Southcott, Bridestowe ward borough councillor and a resident of Lewdown who helped to set up the speedwatch, said: ‘This is an ongoing battle with the highways department with which, unfortunately, we have had very little success Some parents do not have the option to take their children to school by car and must walk this half-mile distance.

‘A child’s perception of danger is considerably less acute that an adult’s; unless the county council is prepared to address the issues which we have raised, then it is they who are putting the safety of those children at risk — a situation which is wholly unacceptable. The 30mph limit through the village needs to be extended to the school as a matter of urgency.’

The speedwatch group have reported observing motorists exceeding the 40mph limit, with the highest speed recorded peaking at 66mph in the area of the school.

A spokesperson for the county council said: ‘It is the landowner’s responsibility to cut this privately-owned hedge and we have written to them asking to do this. If, thanks to Speed Watch volunteers, there is evidence of poor speed compliance, our police partners in Vision Zero South West will help to support these teams with active enforcement.’