VILLAGERS say they are a forgotten community as they protest at the delay in reopening a vital link road which has been closed after a verge collapsed.

The small village of Sheepstor, near Burrator Reservoir, has been physically divided ever since a road through it was closed in November after the road edge collapsed into the Sheepstor Brook.

The villagers say the huge concrete block put in the centre of the affected road has acted as a ‘Berlin Wall’, splitting the village and forcing long diversionary trips either side of the barrier because of a lack of alternative routes. Any emergency vehicles would be delayed, while farmers are particularly hard hit because although their fields are only a few metres on the wrong side of the barrier, they have to drive two miles through Yelverton and Meavy, for instance, when they take delivery of straw and hay for cattle and sheep from lorries which are too large to use the diverted routes.

The villagers claim Devon County Council highways officers have neglected them. They say the council’s alleged delay in originally responding to advance warning of weakness in the stream bank and subsequent ‘inaction’ makes the damage worse, especialy with the extreme moorland weather and fast flowing stream.

Farmer Corinna Legassick said: “At the end of November part of the stones between the road and stream fell in and the tarmac is breaking off. So, the council has blocked the road and put in a diversion which is down a narrow lane that can’t take any big vehicles and often it’s too icy and dangerous to use. Ths means we have to make two-mile diversion to get to our fields which are only a short distance across the village. Or we have to meet a delivery lorry in Yelverton because they can’t get down the lane. This has been going on for too long and is costing us time and money, while the council does nothing.”

Fellow farmer Betty Palmer said: “We feel like the forgotten village as far as the county council deals with us.”

Burrator parish councillor Graham Palmer said his parish clerk would be writing directly to the county council leader demanding a quick repair.

A Devon County Council spokesperson said: "We have a repair scheme for the collapsed streamside verge in Sheepstor which is ready to go, with funding in place. We are currently trying to schedule the work with contractors to carry out the repair but a date is yet to be fixed."