Set in rural countryside but less than a mile from the main road that runs through Devon and Cornwall, the parish of Broadwoodwidger is rich in history – from its 13th century church to more recent additions such as Roadford Lake, one of the largest in the South West of England.
Reported to be the second largest in Devon, Broadwoodwidger is made up of many Hamlets developed originally from the need to house the workers on the larger farms of the area. The Parish is roughly pear shaped, the distance around the boundary being twenty three miles, the length five and a half miles, the widest part across is four and a half miles and the narrowest part one and a half miles. In 1967 it is recorded that “the acreage of the Parish to be 10,655 acres.”
Broadwoodwidger Parish spans some 10,655 acres.
The Parish Church of St Nicholas in Broadwoodwidger
Behind our Church
First dated to 1257 with the appointment of the first Rector (Elyas) as recorded in the Diocese Registers. The font and chancel arch are thought to date from that period. In 1288 the Manor was owned in fief by the Wyger family and Sir John Wyger was patron of the church. He sold the Manor to Richard de Stapleton in 1319. In 1332 the Priory of Frithlestock was given the manor of Brodewodewyger by Thomas de Stapleton. The basic structure of the church is little changed from 1531 when the South Aisle was added and the arcade of granite columns and arches erected.
Behind Roadford Lake
Roadford was selected as a site for a Reservoir in July 1975. A public inquiry was held in March and April 1978, when local residents, the District Councils and the National Farmers’ Union were among the objectors. The inquiry was briefly re-opened in September of the same year to hear evidence about seismic activity, but the Inspector was subsequently satisfied that it posed no danger to Roadford. The story took another turn in April 1982 when a third reopening of the public inquiry was ordered – this time into the size of the reservoir. SWW argued its case for the original proposal – a larger reservoir of 8,120 million gallons.