Chudleigh is a small town in Central Devon, England between Newton Abbot and Exeter. The electoral ward with the same name had a population of 6,125 at the 2011 census.
Chudleigh is very close to the edge of Dartmoor and in the Teign Valley. Nearby Castle Dyke is an Iron Age Hill Fort which demonstrates far earlier settlement in the area. It is also near Haldon Forest, a Forestry Commission property.
The town has been bypassed by the A38 road since 1972. It has expanded a good deal in recent years as commuter houses have been built around its edges, but still retains a fairly traditional village centre.
Local amenities include an outdoor swimming pool, cricket field, football pitches, allotments, a skate park, two doctors' surgeries, a dentist and a library. There is a primary school located in the town.
Chudleigh is bypassed by the A38 which is linked to Chudleigh. this connects the town between Newton Abbot, Plymouth and Exeter when it turns into the M5. The A380 is nearby where it connects to Torquay and Newton Abbot.
The nearest railway station is Newton Abbot Railway Station which is 5 miles away. This station links to the rest of the UK
The nearest airport is Exeter International Airport.
The earliest written record we have of a Carnival in Chudleigh is in the Council Minutes is an entry of the 7th November 1910, asking for free use of the town hall but offering to pay for gas used. Monies raised were to go to local hospitals. However in The South Devon Weekly Express of 8 September 1950, Arthur Holcombe states the First Carnival was held in 1908 on Thursday 16 November. We are unsure of when it was moved to the Summer. Twenty tableaux entered and the lrngth procession exceeded 400 yards. The Tiverton town band and the Chudleigh Brass Band marched and played in the parade.
No carnival was held during the First or Second World Wars. Following the procession of 1961 the buildup of traffic, due to the road closure whilst the parade took place, was so bad that the police and local authorities decided that such a situation could not be tolerated again as at that time the A38 still ran through Chudleigh town centre and holiday traffic was reckoned to tail back 15 miles to Honiton when stopped for the procession. So the carnival was suspended. The Bypass was built 1971 and the carnival committee for celebrations on the opening of the bypass and started again on July 21, 1973 .
Carnival weeks and processions continued annually and during the 1970s the carnival association was formed. It comprises other towns and villages in the area which hold similar weeks and each have their own Carnival Queen and Royalty/tableau. These floats attend the Carnival processions and at each are judged by different representatives. During the latter half of the 1990s Chudleigh Carnival committee created floats which won the shield one year and completed consistently in other years.
Carnival Committees whilst strong at times, struggle to attract a sufficient number of members in other years. Although financially secure, such has been the case in Chudleigh of late with difficulty attracting fresh committee members have seen other towns give up on carnivals, and in 2006 no carnival week or procession was held for this very reason. 2007 witnessed a change of fortune and, although unable to attend other processions in the region, and carnival week and parade were held which overall was quite successful. In 2007 new members joined and 2008 saw a new carnival float once again attending other processions and won the South Devon shield for 2008.
The church of St Martin and St Mary was consecrated in 1259. The structure is medieval but was heavily restored in 1868. The rood screen has paintings of saints and prophets and the Courtenay coat of arms.
The heated outdoor community swimming pool is in the grounds of Chudleigh Primary School and is open to the public all summer.
Great Fire of Chudleigh
The weather conditions in Devon in the year 1807 have been described as a drought. Weeks without rain left many people short of water and had farmers worrying about their crops. At around noon on May 22, a small fire broke out in pile of furze stacked near the ovens at a bakery in Culver Street (now New Exeter Street). According to later reports,the staff in the bakery seemed unaware of the danger this posed, but the fire, fed by the exceptionally dry fuel, exploded. In the shortest time imaginable, the fire had spread to the roof of the bakery (thatched, as were 90% of the houses in Chudleigh at the time) and huge hunks of burning reed and straw were swept aloft by a rapidly growing north-easterly wind.
After the fire, only the church and seven houses were left standing.
Use in popular culture
The village's name is spoofed as "Chudley" in the Harry Potter books. The Chudley Cannons are one of only thirteen Quidditch teams that have been playing in the professional Quidditch League of Britain and Ireland that was established in 1674. The team players wear bright orange robes emblazoned with a speeding cannonball and a double âCâ in black. The last time they won the League was 1892.
- Chudleigh railway station
- Stokelake (a former school)
- Whiteway House
- Chudleigh Pool
- East Dartmoor Baptist Church in Chudleigh
- Chudleigh Information web site, provided by The Chudleigh Business Guild
- The Chudleigh History Group website
- Chudleigh Phoenix Community Newsletter