The Payhembury playing fields are a valuable asset for the Parish. The land is leased from the Diocese of Exeter but the maintenance of the grounds and play equipment is the responsibility of the Parish Council. The playing fields are split into 3 main areas - the Playground, the Tennis Court and the football pitch:
The Tennis Court: At the moment people who are not members of the Tennis Club are not able to use the court, due to Covid. Please find details of how to join the tennis club on their webpage - http://www.payhembury.org.uk/tennis-club/. Members are given login details to book the court online, which enables track and trace to be used if required, and are provided with a court key to enable them to access the court. Members are also kept up to date with latest guidelines on using the court during the current pandemic. Things are likely to change for next year, but this is the current state of play.
The Playground: Guidelines for the safe use of the playground during the current pandemic are shown on a poster on the gate into the playing fields. This poster is repeated on the gate into the playground itself together with a second poster with further information.The play equipment is inspected annually by a RoSPA accredited inspector and reports for the last 2 years can be viewed by contacting the Parish Clerk.
The football pitch: open for anyone to use.
Playing Fields Improvements - latest update (November 2020) - 'Payhembury Village Playpark' project 2020-2024
In late 2019 the Parish Council started a project to improve the facilities in the playing fields. They gathering ideas and feedback from around the parish (see section below) and consulted with the Diocese about what was possible. The COVID pandemic of 2020 has slowed progress but the Parish Council have now produced a 4 phase plan based on the feedback etc, for improvements to the Playground and football pitch parts of the playing field. A contract has been awarded to T.K.Play and it is hoped that the initial work will start in Spring 2021. The document 'Payhembury Village Playpark' project 2020-2024 gives an overview of the project together with some background information and a breakdown of what is expected to be included in each phase. Funds are currently available for Phase 1, but further fund-raising will be required for the later phases.
Playing Fields Improvements - consultation phase (late 2019 and early 2020)
The Parish Council are about to embark on a major project to update and improve the playing field area for parishioners of all ages. An initial draft diagram of the sort of options that are possible has been produced and was published in the Parish Paper in November 2019 and on this website (see link below). This diagram shows a variety of possible changes and improvements to the site including leveling the football pitch, providing a quiet area and a picnic area and providing wheelchair access to the church. The Parish Council would like:
a) to hear what you think of the design, what other things you might like to include on the site (or not include), any feedback on the options suggested, etc
b) to hear from children of all ages what sort of equipment they would like to see in the playground area - the draft diagram has left this area blank, although the Parish Council have some ideas of the sorts of things that could be included. The playground measures approximately 18.5m by 24m which is roughly the same shape as a piece of A4 paper - the Parish Council would love to receive your diagrams and pictures showing what you would like to see in the playground (either email them to email@example.com or place them in the box in the Shop).
A diagram showing these initial ideas for a possible layout of the playing fields is available as a PDF or a smaller image of the design can be seen below. Thank you to Martin Hazelgrave for producing the designs. Return to top of page
Suggestions, comments and feedback received so far (by early 2020)
Playground and football pitch: Return to top of page
1) a lovely diagram showing a slide, climbing frame, see-saw, swings, baby swings and a zip wire (from a 7 year old).
2) a letter suggesting 'a saucer swing (design for all ages, kids love them), a zip wire, obstacle course (which could include Monkey Bars, stepping stones, something to climb over), swings for all ages and under shelter seating area (for all weathers including hot and rainy)'.
3) an email from some-one with children with a wide range of ages saying their children '... hope that the path up and around the field will be a flat (not shingled) surface, so they can use it for bike riding (when devoid of pedestrians of course!) They also like the idea of the improved football pitch. They would all like to keep the slide, and the spinning stick (which they all fight to get on first!) but would like to see a trampoline, new monkey bars/climbing frame, a sandpit and a big nest swing, if possible. I really like the idea of the seating area with the wooden post screen - anything that provides shelter in the sun and/or rain would be very much appreciated! The raised mounds and stone circle at the top of the area are very original, and I'm sure would be a big hit with small children, when not being used as a quiet area! '.
4) another email from someone with younger children at present saying 'The swings and slide are excellent so would recommend keeping them. Everything else does not get much use as the children are not sure how to use them.'. The email also suggests Queens Drive park on Exmouth Seafront (equipment provided by a company called eibe) and Seaton Jurassic Park as two play areas with good play equipment. The following playground equipment from 'eibe' was suggested - Nest swing, Swing Snake, Aerial cableway, Roundabout, Floor trampoline, safety high rocker . The final comment was 'For the football pitch would recommend nets behind the goals to stop the balls going into the field next door.'
Allotments: Return to top of page
An email (see below) and verbal feedback have been received about the provision of allotments. The Parish Council understands that there may be a number of people keen to take on an allotment if that was possible. The Playing Fields are not a large enough area to accommodate a number of allotments alongside the other facilities so the Parish Council are looking into whether a different suitable site is available. If you are interested in an allotment please let the Parish Council know (via firstname.lastname@example.org) together with an idea of the size of allotment you would be interested in. A traditional allotment is approx the size of a doubles tennis court (around 250 square metres), although many allotments now are smaller than that.
Email - 'I have always understood that when the play area was moved or revamped there would be room for some small allotments. For the use of people in the village who only have very small gardens. Or just keen gardeners who would like a vegetable plot away from the house. On looking at the development in the parish mag there does not seem to be any mention of plots that would be suitable for gardeners. I would like a small piece of ground and I also know of other people in the village who would be quite keen to take on a small plot. I know of some people who have their names down for an allotment at Cadhay, so some people are quite keen, and would even be willing to travel what a shame there can't be any facility in the village. There is someone in the village who actually gardens at Cadhay. Can we try to be a bit greener so we don't have to get into cars to attend a small vegetable plot.'
Tennis Courts: Return to top of page
An email was received expressing some concerns regarding the tennis court having a basketball area. The concerns included past experience of children playing football on the court and some vandalism which resulted in the tennis net being broken. The consequences of this were that the court had to be locked, giving the impression that tennis can be regarded as elitist and you can only play if you can afford it. Whilst understanding that kids need somewhere to play, that options are limited in Payhembury and that it is incredibly important that kids are active, further concerns were raised about how will the court be shared - 'For example, if we want to play tennis will a booking system work? Will the people who book the court to play tennis have precedence over kids playing basketball? This could cause bad feeling. And if there is no booking system it will be frustrating to not be able to play tennis. We are incredibly fortunate to have a tennis court as this is not the norm for small villages'.
Diagram with comments and suggestions by Ash Class