Highways teams battle to rescue last few cut-off communities

Linda Wright took this picture at Kentisbury. Picture: Linda Wright
Linda Wright took this picture at Kentisbury. Picture: Linda Wright

Highways teams are restoring road links to the final few communities in North Devon still cut off by snow.

While the thaw has set in across much of Devon, the county council said around half a dozen communities near Lynton remain inaccessible.

The communities, in northwestern Exmoor, include Woody Bay, Martinhoe and Slade Lane.

The A39 at Barbrook is blocked and drivers are urged not to attempt the journey.

Over the weekend highways teams cleared a path through a 15ft-high snow drift.

However, over the last 24 hours the thaw has caused the snowdrift to collapse onto the road, again blocking access.

Heavy snow drifts have blocked the roads around Lynton and Lynmouth. Picture: Carl Metcalfe Heavy snow drifts have blocked the roads around Lynton and Lynmouth. Picture: Carl Metcalfe

Teams are using every snowblower, snow plough and digger at their disposal to restore the road link.

Access remains difficult for many main roads in the Exmoor area especially at Brendon Common.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s cabinet member for highways management, said: “We are doing everything we can to restore links to these communities.

“Please do not travel to this part of the county at the moment, as you may get stuck and it will hamper our efforts to clear the snow drifts.”

Working to clear the roads near Lynton. Picture: Carl Metcalfe Working to clear the roads near Lynton. Picture: Carl Metcalfe

Over the weekend county council highways teams battled with heavy snow across its 8,000-mile network.

As temperatures in some parts of the county dropped as low as -9’C, 16 tractor snow ploughs, nine snow blowers, JCBs, tractors and 48 gritters spreading approximately 4,000 tonnes of gritting salt, were deployed around the clock to clear the road network.

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