The impact of the major roadworks in Sidmouth has certainly divided opinion.

I’m sure most people accept that they have to be done and that the current time is a good time of the year to do them. The problem is, apparently a number of businesses are having a worse January than usual.

My impression is that the town is quieter because of the lack of cars but there still appears to be a good number of pedestrians around.

Last Sunday, I was among a crowd of interested passers-by down by the river mouth watching an otter hunt for fish off the coast.

It was out there for a long time before coming back with a fish. Another video appeared on social media last week of an otter further up the river.
I have never heard of so many otter sightings in Sidmouth. Or have they always been around but we haven’t been able to film them before?

On Thursday we had the loosening of the Covid regulations. Whatever your thoughts on the government, it would appear that they got Plan B right in England when you look at the recent figures in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The limiting of spectators in those countries in outdoor arenas was a difficult one to understand.

This week’s suggested walk starts in Sidmouth and continues on the coast path towards Ladram Bay.

After Ladram Bay, turn right into Otterton and then follow the River Otter northwards towards Colaton Raleigh. At the second footbridge proceed towards Northmostown and then take the lane up the hill back towards Sidmouth.

You come out near the top of the golf course from where you wind down into Sidmouth. The walk is just over 10 miles but can be shortened at various points.

This week’s Countryfile programme on Sunday comes from East Devon and Otterton Mill is one of the locations featured.

Matt Baker and the team were in the area a few weeks ago filming. In the trailer to the programme Clinton Devon Estate land is prominent.

On the sports front there were wins for Sidmouth rugby against Old Patesians and for Exeter City at Walsall. Old Patesians were from Cheltenham and it was very tempting to say that Sidmouth provided one hurdle too many for them!

Unfortunately, Exeter Chiefs lost at Montpellier in a cracking game but still qualified for the European last 16 where they will play Munster.

In football Billy Rouse had left his position at Ottery St Mary to take over as manager of Sidmouth Town. Apparently a number of players have moved with him. Obviously this is something that can happen when players aren’t contracted to their clubs!

It will be interesting to see how this changes the dynamics in the dressing room. An ever present in the first team could soon be in the reserves but I guess that is sport for you.

I see that the former parking spaces in Church Street and outside Fields have now been converted to loading bays, church permit parking bays and disabled parking bays.

This obviously reduces the number of spaces for people to park in the town centre.

At the moment the parking spaces at the triangle and in Coburg Road are still available for shoppers.

With more pedestrianisation in town I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing but time will tell.

Finally a number of people I have spoken to this week know nothing about the Highway Code changes that take effect from January 29.

Someone driving will have more responsibility to watch out for people cycling, walking or riding a horse. Cyclists will have more responsibility to be aware of pedestrians.

Other key amendments include clearer guidance for drivers to leave a distance of at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists. And instructing drivers turning into a road to give way to pedestrians waiting to cross.
Hopefully no shunts will follow but I somehow doubt it.