Nick Ayliffe – 40 Years in Racing

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Nick Ayliffe – 40 years in racing

January 31st 2016 saw Nick Ayliffe hang up his saddles after 40 years as a National Hunt trainer based in our beautiful village of Winsford.

Nick is a Cornishman, born in Bude in 1934 who, as a teenager got his first taste of racing in Point to Points following in the footsteps of his father who was a jockey but was sadly killed in battle in Algeria during the Second World War.

However he had to leave any aspirations of riding in more Point to Points behind by leaving school at 15 to work in the stables of the celebrated Gerald Balding in Bishops Cannings,Wilts., Gerald was the father of the famous Ian Balding (Mill Reef) who trained in Kingsclere, and the grandfather of Andrew,who now runs the stable, and Clare Balding,one of our foremost female broadcasters.


2016-11-22 14.10.57Nick was there for a year and during this year the famous three time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Cottage Rake was temporarily stabled at Bishops Cannings before one of his successful victories in the premier NH race.Also stabled there was the favourite for the 1951 Grand National, Arctic Gold, who went off 8-1 favourite but fell at the first fence!

Nick went on to work with Gerald Winzer and the Devon & Somerset Staghounds in Exford before moving on to be Head Lad for the legendary Leslie Scott at Selworthy and after 2 years there joined the Army with the Household Cavalry. During his time Nick met his wife Eileen and married in 1957. While there he looked after a famous eventer, Starlight,who won Badminton and represented GB in the 1952 Olympic Games.

On leaving the Army Nick re-joined Permit Holder Leslie Scott staying with him for 8 years before again re-joining the Devon & Somerset Staghounds as Head Stud Groom again for another 8 year stint.

Nick set up on his own as permit Holder in 1974 for 2 years before taking out a full licence in 1976 and saddled his first winner Joint Account at Devon & Exeter who was bought for a mere £600 and then went on to run a creditable 4th in the NH Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.


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Nick hit the headlines with one of his first horses Waltzer who won races at Taunton and Newton Abbot both times ridden by Nick’s son Martin.Button Boy, Tudor Waltz and Routing were also winners in the early days for Nick and Button Boy provided Brendan Powell Snr. with his first winner.

Nick had 6 winners in 1992 which is good going for a stable of 8 boxes not all of which were always filled.

Famous gambles were pulled off by Midsummer Walk backed in at Hereford from 66-1 to 25- and most recently Nick’s last ever winner Dalrymple at Huntingdon priced at 33-1 on 23rd   November 2013.


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Sara-Lane at Ludlow ridden by Martin Ayliffe

Nick has never had the luxury of expensive horses or many owners but he has managed to train over 50 winners in his career on a shoestring budget, mainly doing all the work around the yard himself with the help of a number of local stable lads and lasses.In the early days it was a real family affair with son Martin riding the majority of the horses. Martin is now Senior Lad at David Pipe’s yard in Wellington.

For his forty years in racing Newton Abbot dedicated a race to him in October where he was interviewed live on At the Races, a worthy tribute to our Winsford legend!

River Exe – Red Alert Flood Warning

The Environment Agency has issued a Red Alert Flood Warning for

River Exe (Upper) from Exford to Exebridge, including Winsford and Bridgetown


Warning no longer in force
Warnings have been removed in the last 24 hours.

River Exe (Upper) from Exford to Exebridge, including Winsford and Bridgetown
Last updated 07:23 on 22 Nov 2016

River levels on Tuesday morning are falling, now that the heavy rain has moved away. Occasional showers may move through the area today, which could affect smaller watercourses. Levels in the larger rivers will gradually fall and the outlook is improving. There may still be water on low-lying floodplain. Flood Alerts will remain in force until the risk has passed. Environment Agency staff have been working through the night again and will continue to watch river levels and where necessary maintain defences.


Latest Information
River levels will remain high and sensitive to any further rainfall overnight and into Tuesday. The persistent rainfall experienced throughout today has cleared the area but further isolated heavy showers are possible overnight and throughout Tuesday. The Environment Agency will continue to monitor the situation and issue further updates as necessary.
20:50 on 21 Nov 2016


Latest Information:
River levels have reached their highest levels and are slowly falling. River levels will remain high and sensitive to any further rainfall. The persistent rainfall experienced throughout Monday has cleared the area but further isolated heavy showers are possible overnight and throughout Tuesday. The Environment Agency will continue to monitor the situation and issue further updates as necessary.
19:40 on 21 Nov 2016


Last updated 14:43 on 21 Nov 2016

Further rainfall is forecast for today (Monday) and rivers are expected to respond to this rainfall. Many areas will see 35mm of rain in 12 hours, with some localised areas experiencing up to 70mm in total. Flooding is possible for riverside properties at: Exford, Winsford, Bridgetown and Chilly Bridge. The A322 will also be affected Additionally, strong south-easterly winds may gust to 30 to 40mph at times, which may increase leaf fall and the potential for blocked drains. The Environment Agency will continue to monitor the situation and issue further updates as necessary.


Go to :

for immediate information





IMPORTANT NEWS Broadband – Connecting Devon & Somerset Voucher Scheme Update




Voucher Scheme Update

The Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) Programme has been running a voucher scheme as part of its commitment to ensuring all premises have access to at least 2 Mbps. The scheme was launched in March 2016 and it offers anyone with a broadband speed of less than 2Mbps a voucher worth up to £500 towards the cost of a new broadband connection.

The scheme will close to applications on the 30th of November 2016, though voucher holders can still use their vouchers up until March 2017. Anybody who applies before this date will have the voucher processed and will be part of the system. We are receiving a large volume of applications at present and we expect this to only increase towards the end of the month; it may take us a few weeks to process all the vouchers after the 30th deadline.

Working with 18 registered suppliers voucher holders can choose between a range of solutions such as fixed wireless, mobile 4G and satellite as well as some fibre operators. These solutions will offer at least 10Mbps though some can deliver superfast speeds of 30 – 80Mbps.

How the scheme works

Residents and businesses who have slower speeds can apply through the Connecting Devon and Somerset website. Those with speeds that are confirmed as below the 2Mbps threshold and have no access to faster networks will be issued with a voucher. In some cases where there is a programme underway to connect an area the applicant will be informed that they may be able to access improved broadband through another scheme. If residents do not have sufficient internet access to apply online, paper copies of the application form can be sent. Alternatively arrangements can be made to take applications over the phone.

Once issued with a voucher code, residents and businesses are able to choose from the range of 18 suppliers registered on the scheme; in some areas, where suppliers can identify sufficient demand a whole community solution can be delivered. CDS are not able to arbitrate or be involved in any of the decisions taken by the voucher holders in their choice of supplier or engagement in a community scheme. CDS will honour the invoiced value of an individual installation up to the value of £500 and this is supplied by the providers on a monthly basis.

All applications must be completed by 30th November 2016. This will allow installations to be carried out and invoices returned and approved before the end of the financial year in March 2017.

How to access the scheme

Further details can be found on the CDS website at:

Residents may also email for information.

An Autumn Day in Winsford






The highlight of the Exmoor year for many is Autumn, with misty mornings, hazy sun rises and when summer colours turn from green to gold.




Winsford is no exception. Everywhere within the village and on the surrounding hills, the colours of the trees changing leaves are vibrant with bright reds, oranges and yellows.




A perfect environment to tend to your garden and in Winsford’s case the village green and surrounds. Creosoting the bus shelter, cutting back the overgrown trees at the entrance to Howe Town Lane, weeding the walls next to the War Memorial and clearing the banks of the Winn was the order of the morning of 2nd November, supported by a happy band of volunteers.




Taking responsibility and a pride in Winsford are key characteristics of the residents of our village and great progress was made during the morning in heavenly weather conditions.















Thanks should go to those that responded to the call for support, namely David & Tamsin Godsal, Colin Wilkins, Gerry & Beverley Flanagan, Dave and Mel Mileham ,Debbie Debney, Wavel Urry, Marilyn Martin and the trusty Robin Lockwood.



There is still some work to do, so please come and give your support and join in the fun. Watch out for the next date to be announced shortly.




A Day at the Races

Friday 16th September heralded the first meeting of The Winsford Racing Club, organised by The Winsford Recreation Association, with a trip to Newton Abbot for an afternoon of jump racing.

A group of 16 excited punters met in the centre of Winsford just before midday to be transported by Upton Coaches the 1 1/4 hr journey in to Devon.On the way there was a Star Punter competition to fill in where everyone had to select the winner of each race and were awarded points for 1st/2nd or 3rd as well as bonuses for winners at bigger prices.




Disembarking at 1.15 pm groups headed off to the bar,restaurant or paddock as required, and began the process of selecting their chosen horses for the first race which was won by Beau Phil at 4/5F so not much of a return but…..a winners a winner! Subsequent winners were Master Dancer at 3/1,Frodon trained by Paul Nicholls (one to follow) at 4/9, Winter Walk at 8/1, Belmount 3/1 and Dun Scaith at 7/1.


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Networking throughout the afternoon proved that winners were hard to come by but the racing was competitive and the weather was fine, sunny and a little windy.


Newton Abbott










We agreed to return to the coach after the 6th race and need to await for one couple who had a good reason to be late….they won a wad on the 6th!

Joint winners of the Star Punter competition with 11 points each were Chris Barber and Dave Wilko.


Arrival back in Winsford was perfect timing for the traditional 18.30 meet-up at the pub for a few pints which we bought with our losings!

A most enjoyable day and there is a plan in place to follow up with a visit to Taunton races in November.
Watch the website!

Winsford Walk

The Winsford Walk, held in conjunction with the ENP Heritage and Conservation Officers Catherine Dove and Shirley Blaylock, took place on the 10th August.
The walk, which was a  2 hour stroll around Winsford looking at places of interest including, Karslake, Church, Royal Oak, Poor Houses, bridges and trackways. The walk was led by Catherine and she is responsible for updating the Heritage website for the Exmoor National Park.
The picture is of the group studying the gravestone of John Webber who was a soldier in the Peninsular War fighting with the Duke of Wellington against Napoleon. The battles that he took part in are listed on his headstone.




The walk was prompted by the ENP who were looking into the Heritage of Winsford and it tied in very well work that is being done to update the Winsford Archives. There is pictorial reference to many of the places that were visited on the walk, all of which look very different today!


Winsford garage C1950's Thorn Cottage Karslake (shop C1920)0003 1920VicarageBr Church and police house Smithy bridge Ball Cottage Royal Oak


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What better way to spend a sunny afternoon, than with friends enjoying tea, cakes and some fun and games!


Winsford Fete 1

A big draw for the day was of course the Family fun Dog which had great support for all its twelve groups and the Dog Agility once again proved to be great fun.

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Winsford Fete 10

The Produce Tent was full with beautiful home grown vegetables and flowers and who could miss the mouthwatering array of cakes. Well done to everyone who entered!

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The sheep racing was once again a popular favourite with the betting hotting up as the afternoon progressed

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There were many side shows with the ‘Smash The Plates’ and Coconut Shy being very popular along with The Tombola and Grand Prize Draw. The Second Hand Clothes, Bric-a-Brac and Plant stalls were also very well supported.

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…..and of course whilst all this was going on the children amongst us were enjoying dancing around the Maypole, Fancy Dress and Races


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Winsford Fete 3

So a great day was had by all, raising over £4,000. So a big thank you to everyone who helped and participated, making the day once again a huge success.

Winsford Fete & Dog Show


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Winsford Dog Show Poster 2016 2

Winsford Fete 2106 Prize Draw


Things we need for the fete are prizes for the raffle and tombola, old chipped china for the china throwing stall, clothes, shoes, hats and jewellery for the clothes tent, teddy bears, soft toys, household items for the “white elephant”, toys and puzzles, produce and preserves, books, cakes. Also old quilts to be made into dog beds. Please bring any of these to Sue Hayes at The Close, Winsford or call me on 01643 851372 to pick them up.
Winsford Church invites you to enter your hometown produce, home cooking crafts, photographs etc into the
Produce and home cooking to be auctioned in aid of the church.
Entry form with all details available from The Oak Shop, Winsford.
(Winsford residents will receive an entry form with Across Exmoor)

The Village Green

You may have noticed activity on the Village Green over the last few weeks as work continued in renovating the bank area opposite the Royal Oak.


Village Green Topsoil 1 Village Green Topsoil 2





Many tonnes of top soil arrived, all of which had to be wheel barrowed from the car park by the War Memorial to the far end of the green and then be offloaded and spread.






Many hands make light work, but it was still hot and heavy work!


Village Green Topsoil 3




A few days later more top soil and turves arrived all of which had to be moved once again by individual barrow, the top soil spread and the turves laid.

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All in all it made for very thirsty work!!

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After all this work and with the additional planting, seeds being sown and with the old Rhododendrons showing some healthy new shoots,  the green is looking in good shape.

The only challenge now is to keep the new grass watered well!! Feel free when you’re passing to use the buckets available for a little watering, all help is gratefully received.

Village Green Topsoil 6

So many thanks to everyone who has contributed with their ideas, plants and manpower to make the Village Green an area we can all be proud of.

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