April 25th 2011, Bank Holiday Monday, North Devon

A walk from the bus stop at Heddon Cross (between Knowle and West Down) past the turn to Halsinger and on to Beara Cross, up Burland Road, back past Patsford, through Middle Marwood, Whitehall, and then back to Barnstaple by the track through Lower Blakewell.

First view
The first sight of the turbines came on the way out of the valley, past Stoneyards Wood. This photograph was taken somewhere near the turn to Halsinger.  It was hazy, and so not very easy to take photographs.

near Halsinger turn
This photograph was taken higher up, between the turn to Halsinger, and Beara Cross. It was very quiet and the construction workers were having a day off. As on earlier walks, I could hear skylarks singing above me much of the time.
Burland Road entrance

This photograph was taken at the entrance to Burland Road, the track that leads to Burland Cross and the northern entrance to the windfarm site.  You can see the massive crane that lifts the turbine blades into position.  Despite the dry conditions, there were many hoofprints on the lane.  This lane is often used by horses and riders as well as walkers. Further up the lane I met the two riders in the photograph on the right, and someone with dogs as well.

horses and riders
  While it is possible that some horses may get used to wind turbines, the sudden blade movements are likely to be a cause of worry for horse riders, especially when coming on the turbines unexpectedly, such as when there is a gap in a high hedge, for example.  Here is a link to the latest advice by the British Horse Society about the siting of wind turbines.
Turbine 14
After walking for about another ten minutes up the track, I came level with Turbine 14, one of the two turbines seen from the distance.  This is a view of it from a gap in the trees by the lane.
Turbine 15
Turbine 15 was further away to the north, and visible behind the anenometer. I photographed it through this opening in the lane, and then turned, and found turbine 14 looming up ahead of me, a dark shape against the sun.  For a moment or two, it had been concealed by the branches of the tree in the front of me, then suddenly it was there ahead of me, and although I should have expected to see it, it gave me a shock.  It was so big, so tall.

Turbine 14
Another view of Turbine 14, from the lane. The photographs don't really show how big these turbines are.

Gateway view
On the way back, I took more photographs of the construction work nearer the entrance to Burland Lane..

This is the massive crane that is used to erect the turbines. You can just see the blades behind it.
From gate
Another view, showing a blade.  After taking this photograph I met a reporter from Radio Devon. He interviewed several people, but I do not know if he came across anyone who was in favour of the turbines.

As the day progressed, the haze cleared, and on my way home I was able to take better photographs.  Here is a view looking back towards Burland Lane, taken from the road between Patsford and the turn to Middle Marwood

from the road

close up
This is a close up of the same view. Imagine living in a house nearby, knowing that in the case of an accident where a blade broke off, it could be thrown towards you. Pieces of blade have been thrown as far as 1300m.  What will happen if ice forms on these blades next winter? Will the turbines be shut down, for safety reasons? I hope so, I wouldn't like to walk or be driven along these roads, otherwise.

Middle Marwood
Here is somewhere where - at least for now - you cannot see any turbines. These hills have wonderful valleys, often wooded. This is the road between Middle Marwood and Whitehall.  Everywhere on these hills, the banks were like wild flower gardens.
Towards Whitehall
This is the view looking back from a lay-by near the top of the hill above Whitehall. I wanted to take a photograph of this view, it may be the last time I could do so without needing to photoshop out any turbines. In fact, I could just see the top of the crane at Beara Cross from here, on the horizon, between the two main woods (but it doesn't show up in the photograph)

Lee House
Looking across the valley, towards Lee House and Lee Wood, rather than down towards Whitehall, the first two turbines are visible above the trees on the skyline.
close up
A close up section of the same photograph, showing the turbines more clearly. The famous and beautiful Marwood Gardens are in the valley just behind and to the right of these buildings.
Looking across the valley
From the top of the hill, looking back, turbines straight ahead.
Another close up
A close up of the same view.

Codden Hill

The last photograph (taken from near Springfield Cottages) shows Codden Hill in the distance ahead, beyond Barnstaple.  I will be going up there again soon, to take more photographs.  So far you can only see two turbines from Codden Hill, but by the end of the summer, if not before, you will see twenty two.  What is worse, they will all be waggling their "arms" in different directions, like monstrous Triffids trying to catch your attention.

Here is a link to photographs taken last week (when it was hazy, unfortunately, but you can still see the turbines)

Here is a link to photographs of the views from Codden Hill, before any wind farms were built.

To view the site plan, and all the turbine locations, go to the Developer's website:
You can also see more images of the construction work, etc. on their website.