Aveton Gifford, Devon
Aveton Gifford villagers awoke on Thursday morning to the strange sound of silence - the bypass had been opened the day before and the high street was once more theirs. A great party with trestle tables and large amounts of food thoroughly reclaimed the street. Reinvigorated, the Parish Council approached their District Council to make a leaflet for them, to encourage people to explore the place on foot.
The South Hams Environment Service suggested instead that the residents make a Parish Map for themselves and that the council would help by printing it: "in the process it is hoped that local people will create far more than a map - but shall discover the place for themselves and highlight some of the features they would like to conserve or improve, turning community art into community action".
At a video show of the street party, a core group was formed who encouraged people to gather together their feelings on wild life, history, buildings, trees and more.
"What's special about Aveton Gifford?" asked artist Sally Tarrant faced with a class of 8 to 10 year old pupils from the school. "Tell me what you like, what you don't like and why". With that she and two members of the Environment Service left the classroom each led by a small group of excited and intrigued youngsters.
The story continues: "As we were taken around, we learnt which trees were important. The 'face tree' had a face on its bark, and its low bending limbs were easily climbed. Pampas grass would hide you from invading tribes and, in the middle of the stream, elvers could be found clinging like ribbons around a pebble, yet disappearing at a touch. led by our guides, we found hollow hedgerow trees where you could lose your arm right up to the shoulder, drain covers and paving slabs which made patterns of flowers and diamonds, and a collection of derelict barns which were haunted. Certainly ghostly giggles could be heard as soon as we got near! Quick-sighted and sharply observant, the children could teach many a long-standing resident to see the village with new eyes".
Elsewhere other research parties wandered the parish. Many evening jaunts ended up in the pub, the conversations echoed around the place. They ran a photographic workshop resulting in an exhibition with a slide show of rare archive photos - it prompted lots of memories.
Mike Glanville, a local artist took on the hard work of bringing together the map, which the South Hams District Council printed. They have revived Beating the Bounds. The local baker reinvented Rammalation biscuits, which were customary fare on Rogation Sunday, by making the 'Aveton Gifford Bun' and special ale - Ganging Beer - was brewed.
Since then they have produced illustrated walks leaflets and sales of these and prints of the map are helping to restore buildings of interest in the village for public use. the map, which is acrylic on paper, has been printed as posters, which have sold well, both locally and abroad
Here you can see some details from this map or some OTHER MAPS IN DEVON