Plain sailing despite furious paddling

Nathan Bushell

Managing the larder is more complicated than you think it is, but this actually makes it easier to run and give users more choice. Nathan Bushell explains.

I wasn’t sure how to approach this month’s appraisal of the Teign Valley Larder. I’m sure that most people reading this will have a good idea why it was established, and how they can contribute to its ongoing success simply by using it.

However, it has become clear that we’ve done quite a good job of hiding the complex machinery that keeps it running.

So, we thought that needs remedying. Our thinking is that the more that is known about it, the more people will have confidence using it.

On the morning that I wrote this piece, I took my son and the dog on a walk around village, picking up the donations from Christow Stores on the way. Kay had worked hard to open up her shop again, so that customers no longer had to queue outside, but she had still found space on one of her shelves for donated items, including the wonderful banana loaves, apple crumble and eggs from a mystery supplier in Dunsford.

With these stowed in my backpack, I walked through the village to a lock-up where everything is stored before being delivered to the sites in St James’s Church, Ashton, Doddi, Dunsford and Bridford.

I had to wait while someone was already in there (literally) taking stock – she was running through a list that she had made. She kindly let me push in front of her to drop off the items and fill out a delivery sheet.

My son was curious as to why I wasn’t taking the items straight to the church (he likes the larder – he sometimes picks up fruit while he’s walking the dog). I tried explaining the finer points of a hub and spoke distribution network, but he started glazing over.

But it did make me think about the complex nature of the system. Maybe it would be easier if there was just one outlet, but the larder wouldn’t be nearly as successful, as we may not get the delicious cakes from Dunsford. A central distribution point also allows us to efficiently deliver all the donations we get from the local farms (Whippletree Farm, Teign Greens, and Windout Farm), and manage the generous donations from individuals and businesses.

I sit on a board with eight other members, and each of us have different roles to play: accounting, managing food waste, liaising with volunteers, stock control, writing these articles, etc. When we discuss how to improve what we do, we all share the same values of helping those in need, reducing food waste, and putting the community first.

Furthermore, there are well over 20 people involved in the day-to-day running and managing the larder. All volunteers, and all who share those same sentiments.

When you use the larder – for whatever reason – you are investing in those complex procedures and putting your community first. Without you, it wouldn’t work at all.

Teign Valley Community Hall Art Competition Results

Christow & Teign Valley Trusham Doddiscombleigh Bridford Ashton

The results of the Teign Valley Community Hall public art competition are in!

Thank you to the two local artists who spent so much time and thought on their submissions and congratulations to winner Sandy Webb (Christow resident) whose five designs depicting landmarks and life in the five villages of Ashton, Bridford, Christow, Doddiscombsleigh and Trusham were the clear choice of the panel of judges.



Children from Christow School, who were asked for their input to the judging process, said, ‘We all liked that they offered a more personal link to our villages, Valley and enjoyed spotting the landmarks such as the bridge and churches ‘. The panel of judges, which included representatives from all five parishes served by the hall, agreed! Sandy will transfer her designs to the acoustic panels in the hall corridor in the next few weeks where you will be able to enjoy them as soon as the hall re-opens.

Runner-up Lucy Henderson’s designs will also be on display for a period. Lucy, who is from Bridford, explained that ‘These images celebrate the mix of nature and farming in the Teign valley and how they interact so wonderfully in this incredible landscape’.

April 2021: The Larder’s New Home

By Nathan Bushell

The Teign Valley Larder in Christow has got a new home.

Well, almost: it is now located inside the church, rather than the porch.

The benefits are abundantly clear when you visit the larder for yourself: there is more room to move round; there is more room to put the items; the fresh fruit and veg are on display (rather than squashed in the corner); and access to the church is now clear, which is important as lockdown restrictions are starting to ease.

You can see a video of it here:

We are extremely grateful to the Parochial Church Council for allowing this to happen, and we must stress that it is only for a trial period; we will review the project later in the year.

You will notice that we have bought a superb new store cupboard, and we thank Adrian Canvin for all his hard work in making sure that everything fits where it should.

We must point out that the money used to buy the cupboard and work surface was raised specifically for that purpose, and you can be rest assured that any money you donate to the Teign Valley Larder will go into buying food and essentials for those who need it most; we don’t have any other overheads.

While the larder was developed primarily to help families who may be short of food during the extremely difficult year we’ve had, it was also designed to help reduce food waste. So, if you think the larder isn’t for you, think again! There is always fresh fruit, vegetables and eggs donated by some of the lovely farms in the valley: Windout Farm, Teign Greens, and Whippletree Farm. If you like our Facebook page, you will get notified when new stock arrives. (When I last looked, there were red cabbages and purple sprouting up for grabs.) The only rule is to please exchange where you can, but there is no obligation.

Teign Teens Art Contest Winners

Sponsored by


The Cridford Inn, who donated an £80 gift certificate to the grand prize winner. Thank you guys! – Ted

We have the results from the Teign teens art contest. The following is a message from one of our judges, Rev Ruth Frampton.

I met with Marie and Hilary this afternoon to judge the Art Competition. It was brilliant to be able to see most of them “in the flesh” so to speak and we were all very impressed by the high standard of the artworks. Some of them provoked much comment. If a similar competition is organised in the future perhaps the artists could be encouraged to write a short narrative about their work and what inspired them. It would be easy to award prizes to each entrant because each one displayed a special quality. 
Archie’s picture and fascinating video demonstrates a lovely confident drawing skill; Edward shows a strong sense of design with a dramatic use of colour and diagonals on the panel and bat. Isabella’s miniature of the white tower rising up over the trees is a skilful portrayal of a local view; Isabelle’s setting sun and night sky glow with their deep colours and contrast with her delicate drawing of roses around the globe.
We were very impressed by Hannah’s watercolours, particularly the hares silhouetted against the moon, and the compass against the backdrop of rainbow colours. Louis’ red frog is truly original and a bit spooky in the way its head twists round to follow you! Max’s picture shows maturity in the mix of genres, with a Gothic/futuristic fusion contrasting dark and bright colours – is this a depressing present lockdown with a brighter future somewhere ahead? Ruby’s fruit is nicely painted on shadow and we liked her cottage floating on a welcoming cup of tea. 
All these artists deserve prizes but with only three prizes to award we were limited! We so wished we had narratives to give more insight into the works, but we really enjoyed seeing them and were united in our verdict.

The NHS prize goes to Phoebe for her chameleon in rainbow colours; we also liked her pressed flowers and were sorry that wasn’t possible to view them!

The Year 6 prize goes to Emily for her variety and range: the cats on a bat totem is skilfully thought out and executed; the horses’s head is beautifully drawn and painted; the dark wood hints at menacing fairy tales.

The Grand prize goes to Eleanor who displays a real drawing talent: in the movement of the elephant’s trunk as it lifts its head we can almost hear the impending trumpet; and the beautiful swish of the girl’s skirt in the slightly skewed picture. The bleeding heart and the science fiction drawing are both slightly surreal – the uni-directional brush/pen strokes on the heart give it shape as seems to beat even as it drips; is the spaceman real, or is he dressing up? Is there a Ziggy Stardust influence here? 
Thank you for asking us to judge, Ted, and thank you to all the artists who entered.

Well done!

Best wishes


The Rev’d Ruth Frampton
Priest in Charge
Teign Valley & Haldon Hill Mission Community

I’ll be working out some time in the coming days to deliver prizes to participants. Everyone who entered will receive a chocolate bar as well.


New Christow Path Archers’ Way

Archer’s Way path roughly highlighted in yellow

Through the Christow Comunity Land Trust, Tom Archer has worked with the Dartmoor National Park Authority land to create a new permissive footpath through his land. DNPA have funded some of the work while a team of volunteers have done much of the manual clearing of fallen branches and brushwood.

It’s now a beautiful path that’s open to the public, although work to survey the wildlife and put up signs is yet to be completed.

Philip Arthur, who walked the path early one morning recently, shared with us some of his photos.

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