'A lucky week for nature spotting in Sidmouth...'

A chance encounter with an otter

A chance encounter with an otter - Credit: Paul Clayden

What a lucky chap I was last week with my nature observations. 

Firstly, I am delighted to advise you that I have now seen one of the otters that is often seen in the River Sid. 

My encounter was in the middle of the day, a weekday lunchtime, and I couldn’t believe my eyes to begin with. The otter went down river and I watched it hunting. 

They are magnificent creatures and we are very lucky to have them on our doorstep. 

The sighting convinced me they are doing a lot of their hunting in the sea rather than in the river. The following day I was down by the river, talking to a friend, when a kingfisher flew by. 

I was then lucky enough to see another kingfisher on Sunday and this time I had my camera on me. 

I also saw a group of cormorants on the eastern beach with a few Great Black Backed Gulls. Happy days.

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Last week was an up and down sort of week. After watching my football team get walloped 7-0 on the Tuesday night, I woke up to the news on Wednesday that Jethro, my favourite comedian, had died of Covid in Derriford Hospital, Plymouth.

I was so glad that he performed at The Manor Pavilion a few years ago so a local audience could enjoy his comedy. Jethro divided opinion and there is no doubt that some of his jokes were close to the knuckle. 

However, it always amused me how high a proportion of his audience were, let’s say, mature ladies!

I expect you may have seen that the major roadworks in Sidmouth are due to start on January 10. They will last until April and are bound to cause a lot of disruption. 

Everyone has plenty of time to prepare for it and the authorities have given people plenty of time to make alternative travel arrangements.

A portion of the work will take place overnight. It is the main artery road into town from Temple Street ending at The Esplanade. There is a lot of drainage work and rebuilding as well as the final resurfacing. 

Once the road markings are back down it would be great if people stopped parking on the double yellow lines outside Tesco! This is especially annoying after 6pm and before 10am, as single yellow lines are just a little further down the High Street, where you can park legally.

I was pleased to have a message from this paper's new group editor the other day. His name is Paul Jones and I look forward to him continuing to improve Archant's East Devon news titles. 

I know people also use The Internet to get their local news but supporting your local paper is a big thing as it would be a crying shame if we didn’t have a local newspaper. 

The very fact you are reading this column shows I am preaching to the converted!

This week’s walk is a good one to do over the holiday period. You can do it from home but we parked in the Salcombe Hill car park. 

Take the footpath that goes through the woods in a northerly direction from Salcombe Hill. This is down the hill from the car park. Continue across Salcombe Hill and join Trow Hill near Trow Hall. Then take the lanes and end up near the golf driving range. From here, join the Sid Valley Ring and come out near Dunscombe. 

Turn right and enter Salcombe Regis before leaving the village up the hill as if going back to Sidmouth. At the top before the War Memorial cut back through the woods and return to the car park. It’s just over four miles and mainly level.

Finally a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year to you all. 

We hoped for a return to normality in 2021. Hopefully 2022 delivers.