'As the weather gets better we can enjoy the countryside even more'

One of the fabulous views near Bulverton Hill, Sidmouth

One of the fabulous views near Bulverton Hill, Sidmouth - Credit: Alex Walton

I was quite surprised last week to receive a telephone call, from a former business colleague, to tell me that my Sidmouth Herald article from the previous week had been quoted in the national estate agency press on The Negotiator website. 
They must have been very short of news! I wrote about how the pandemic might bring around a change of dress code and other changes in how business might be conducted after the pandemic. It appears there is certainly a difference of opinion in business as to whether the suit and tie will continue to be worn or whether we will be getting used to more casual attire. Only time will tell. Someone did point out to me this week that the experts on Sky Sports are not quite as smart as they used to be!
The cases of Covid and the numbers of people hospitalised or on ventilation are dropping slowly, which is good news. We now know that we are likely to be in lockdown until March but at least we have a date that everybody can now plan for. Bearing in mind that a number of the hospitality establishments in Sidmouth have previously closed around this time of year it probably isn’t going to have the major effect that a summer lockdown would have had. Thankfully the bookings for the South West are apparently very high for the rest of the year according to Spotlight TV.
As the weather gets better (you wouldn’t think that this week!) we can enjoy the countryside even more. Over the forthcoming weeks I will try to mention walks that I have enjoyed and which you may not have done before. One such walk that I enjoyed the other day was walking up Convent Road into Bickwell Lane and taking the bridleway on the left towards Bulverton Hill. Follow the path around the edge of the woods and you eventually reach Mutters Moor. Drop back into Sidmouth on your chosen route and enjoy the fantastic views.
I saw dashcam footage on social media of two bullocks on the A3052 this week that had escaped from a field near Sidmouth. One was going down Four Elms Hill and the other one was in Newton Poppleford near the Back Lane junction, heading towards Exeter. Well done to the drivers who slowed down and were very sensible in their actions and managed to avoid them. Apparently no harm came to livestock or traffic.
The recent weather has highlighted the large number of potholes in Sidmouth. A large one on Temple Street has been repaired but there are several along Vicarage Road and Radway that really do need attention. I gather that this road is due to be resurfaced soon. As a victim last Winter (two new tyres required!) I urge caution, especially when they are full of water! I did read Stuart Hughes’ comments in last week’s paper about the machine being used. I think it could be very busy for a while.
Sidmouth CC has featured in the national cricket press with The Cricketer featuring an article on a new local rule for friendly matches. They are trying to prevent big sixes being hit on the south and west sides of the ground. The rule only applies to friendly matches but the club are taking sensible steps to protect passers by. League and county matches will be played higher up the square to lessen the problem.
Finally, on the nature front I have heard that a Merlin (Britain’s smallest bird of prey) was spotted near Peak Hill and a flock of Goldcrest (Britain’s smallest bird) was seen near The Byes. These are both rare sightings. On the other end of the scale are the grey squirrels in Blackmore Gardens. Their population has increased dramatically over the last year. Squirrel contraception might soon be at the top of the council’s to do list (after the potholes have been repaired!).

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