Manning's Pit in Barnstaple saved 'not just for now but for always'

The Friends of Manning's Pit celebrate with a new banner

The Friends of Manning's Pit celebrate with a new banner - Credit: Friends of Manning's Pit

Manning's Pit in Barnstaple has been saved, not just for now but for always.

The area has been used for rest and recreation by generations of Pilton people and campaigners feared it could be lost to a housing development.

Nearly six years after the Friends of Manning's Pit were founded, the group are thrilled to announce that the fields have been purchased for the benefit of the local community.

“Our aim from the beginning was to save the land for future generations, both for the protection of the wildlife and for community access. It was never enough just to stop the initial planning proposal,” said Christine Lovelock, chair of the group.

“We have faced many obstacles but we never gave up, and neither did the wonderful local people who supported our campaign through all the difficult times and never lost hope.”

“We want to thank all those who so generously donated towards our fundraising campaign,” added Treasurer Tim Saunders.

“We appreciate every donation, and would also like to thank the Garfield Weston Foundation, North Devon District Council and Barnstaple Town Council for providing grant money for the purchase.”

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As the Friends of Manning's Pit started as a campaign group and not a charity, it was decided at the start of fundraising that all funds received would go to the Pilton Green Man CIO, a Pilton based charity (No. 1170742) run by local people for local people.

The charity is now the legal owner of the land and has appointed the Friends of Manning's Pit committee to take on the day-to-day management of the land with members of the Friends’ committee having also been appointed as trustees of the charity.

Chris Bulpett, the group secretary. is now retiring from that job, in order to take over his new role as Head of Maintenance, he said: “It has taken a while to arrive at this point but the team are ready to start work in the coming weeks. Access will be improved but very little else will change.

“Local people will be able to walk freely in this beautiful place in the knowledge that it will remain as it is for always. It was certainly well worth the fight for, not just by us the committee members but by all our supporters with their billboards, signs and donations.”

Manning's Pit provides a ‘green lung’ for the side of Barnstaple nearest the hospital, and has been an invaluable asset for local people during the pandemic.

It can never be built on now, and will always remain as a piece of Devon countryside and a part of Pilton and Bradiford's rural heritage.

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