Lapford

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Lapford parish had a population of 987 in the 2011 census. It hosts the Lapford Yeo tributary and its confluence with the Taw, below which the Taw valley is clearly a flood plain for a real river. The northern two thirds of the parish lies in the Devon Character Area (DCA) of Witheridge and Rackenford Moor. Devon County Council notes that it offers,

an elevated, open landscape with long views to Dartmoor and/or to Exmoor. Within the patchwork of pastoral fields are extensive areas of rough Culm grassland and heathland. These Culm ‘moors’ have a strong sense of remoteness, even wildness, which is accentuated by the relative lack of settlement and the wind-sculpted trees and hedgerows; they give an impression of how large areas of Devon might have looked before agricultural improvements such as drainage, ploughing and fertilizers. The presence in the landscape of numerous clusters of prehistoric barrows adds to this sense of history and changelessness. The strong textures of plantations, beech hedgerows, heathland and grasses contrast with the smooth improved agricultural land which surrounds them. Patches of colour in the landscape change with the seasons – golden, brown and green grasses, purple heather and bright yellow gorse.

After traversing tiny slivers of the Taw Valley and Crediton Rolling Farmland DCAs (where they meet), the southern third of the parish rises up onto the DCA known as High Taw Farmland. The Devon County Council (DCC) notes that this is,

centred on a watershed in the very heart of Devon at the junction of numerous character areas, this typical Devon farmed landscape comprises lush green pastoral farmland, visually dominated by the brooding mass of Dartmoor to the south. Rounded hills covered in hedged fields are separated by secretive valleys where rivers meander along their tree-lined courses. There is a strong perception of time-depth, with the landscape reflecting thousands of years of human history from the Neolithic to the present day. The landscape presents a rich tapestry of medieval features, including churches, villages, farms, field boundaries and narrow lanes with ancient wayside crosses.

Lapford Parish

Copyright © Ditch Townsend and Devon Lanes, 2016-2017

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