Devon CPRE

RCN 1175228, Beaworthy

We desperately need your help to save Devon’s countryside from the huge solar array applications that are gobbling up the best livestock-rearing land in the world, one whole farm at a time.

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Total raised so far £9,847

Gift Aid + est. £2026.75





Will you help us campaign against massive solar farms being planted across some of the world’s best agricultural land – land that could and should be making a far bigger contribution to carbon reduction than inefficient solar technology?

Devon CPRE is a small independent charity that urgently needs your help. Across the country, developers are jumping on a bandwagon that makes it easy to persuade local planning committees to grant permission for ‘medium-sized’ solar farms of around 160 acres – each one the size of an average West Country farm.

For instance, last year we tried to overturn permission for a 164-acre solar development in the north Devon district of Torridge; The controversial application had been given the go-ahead by Torridge District Council in November 2021 despite a strong campaign by Devon CPRE and residents of the rural parish of Pyworthy, including actor John Nettles OBE.  Torridge councillors had voted 5:4 to follow their Planning Officer’s recommendation to allow the 164-acre solar farm in Pyworthy, NW Devon. Permission was granted despite extensive local opposition: more than 200 letters of objection were received from a parish of less than 400 households, and only a tiny handful in favour. Sadly, we were not successful, but we would like to thank everybody who made a donation to help towards the costs. We are incredibly grateful.  But this case is only the tip of an ever-expanding iceberg.  The Pyworthy solar farm is an interesting example. There are already five operational solar farms in the area. The deck is stacked against communities like Pyworthy, because solar farms like to share their grid access points: where there is one, more follow. As this one is now going ahead, 28 more fields will now be lost and there will be an acre of solar panels for every household in the tiny parish.

Please read on to find out how your support can help us protect our precious farmland,  landscapes and natural environment.

Developers tell us that covering thousands of acres in glass, metal and concrete is a good, ‘green’ use of our farmland. But these developments are a highly inefficient use of farmland and an ineffective way to produce sustainable power in our cloudy climate. And there is strong evidence that the majority of the solar panels on the market are made using Uyghur forced labour in Chinese factory complexes. 

Across Devon, more than 4300 acres of agricultural land – the equivalent of 25 farms – have already been lost to solar development. Yet still, the applications come thick and fast, not just in Devon but across the whole country. Untold acres of productive land in the UK have been lost at a time when they are badly needed for food security. We should be producing homegrown food instead of relying on importing it from across the world, with all the carbon emissions that entails. We should be supporting our farmers to produce food in a more sustainable way, rather than taking land out of production. Well-farmed land with a mix of arable and livestock is the best form of carbon-capture we’ve yet discovered.

Throughout Devon, more of our precious farmland is under threat from solar farms.

Torridge District is facing another large-scale solar farm application in the planning system at Ashreigney near Chulmleigh.  In Mid Devon District an application for a large solar farm at Langford near Cullompton was permitted at appeal, and another application for a large solar farm at Willand has been submitted.  In Teignbridge, an application at Coffinswell is still pending a decision.  And in East Devon there are planning applications for 3 more solar farms at Marsh Green, Whimple and Aylesbeare.   

Devon CPRE lead the way in opposing these schemes, helping local communities protect their valuable farmland.   But these campaigns cost a lot of money.

An important democratic principle is at stake in this David-versus-Goliath-type-scenario – small rural communities and a local countryside charity, versus councils that should be required to act in the interests of their residents and according to their own policies, and international corporations with deep pockets and big ambitions. 

Can you support us in this vital campaign?

We know there are many other demands on your purse at this time of year. But we have to act and act fast, before it’s too late. Anything you can give will really help us. Please, donate. If you are a UK taxpayer, by pledging Gift Aid to us as a registered charity every pound you give is worth an extra 25p.

We’d love to have you with us for the long haul

Thank you for helping us with this campaign. If you want to support Devon CPRE in our fight to protect the environment and our countryside, why not become a member? It costs just £36 a year for individuals - the price of a takeaway coffee each month - and membership has many benefits. Find out more at

Thank you!


Updates 5

Penny Mills posted an update on 14th February 2022

More Solar Farms...

East Devon.
There are currently two solar farms in planning in East Devon and we are expecting a third, the Horton solar farm near Whimple, any day now. We have submitted comprehensive objections to both currently in planning.

Land at Beavor Grange Farm, Axminster- reference 21/2992/MFUL - comprises 69 acres.

Land adjacent to Peradon Farm, Clyst Hydon. Reference 21/3120/MFUL - a 174 acre proposal. 

Torridge. 2 solar farms are currently still in planning in Torridge

Coldharbour Farm Ashreigney ChulmleighRef. No: 1/0823/2021/FULM (147 acres)

Webbery Barton & Cleave Farm, nr Bideford 1/1057/2021/FULM (156 acres)

Penny Mills posted an update on 14th February 2022

Press coverage...

Recent press coverage this year:  Devon Live and the front page of the Moorlander newspaper showing just how important it is to fight these global giants and protect our precious farmland.

Click the links below to view (or copy and paste into your browser).

Devon Live:

The Moorlander:

Penny Mills posted an update on 3rd March 2022

Thank you for your donations so far

Thank you to everyone who has donated, we’ve had an amazing response so far, but the fight is far from over. Please continue to share our message so we can gain more support either online through social media, or when chatting to friends and family. 

If you would like to learn more about Devon CPRE, you may want to join our mailing list, or even join our membership. 

Membership information:

Join our mailing list by scrolling to the bottom of the page and click the 'Subscribe to our eBulletin' button in the footer:

Devon CPRE.

Penny Mills posted an update on 23rd March 2022

Pyworthy Solar Farm, Torridge

We have been granted permission to apply for Judicial Review on all grounds, which is really good news.  We are awaiting the date for our day in Court - likely to be in May or June. 

Please continue to let others know we are still crowdfunding, all support is gratefully received!

Penny Mills posted an update on 30th January 2023

A New Year update

As we start a new year, we thought we’d provide an update to you as a valued supporter, on our solar farm campaign, Grass not Glass! 

As you know, last summer we won the right to a Judicial Review into the approved application for the giant installation at Pyworthy in north west Devon.  Our solicitors, barrister and ourselves believed we had a strong challenge and it was an important case. It is vital that Local Planning Authorities understand, follow and adhere to national and local planning policy and Government guidance regarding protecting the countryside and landscape and our farmland so vital for food production and food security. But we were unsuccessful. Unfortunately, the judge chose to look only at the broader issues and ignored our specific points about the necessity of following the planning rules and regulations. We were incredibly disappointed that our claim was dismissed against Torridge District Council and solar developer Renewable Energy Systems Ltd.

Taking this case to Court has been expensive for our small charity and we are so grateful for all the support via our crowdfunding campaign or elsewhere.

But this case is only the tip of an ever-expanding iceberg as more solar farms are proposed throughout the county. Current proposals include those in east Devon, mid Devon, Torridge and Teignbridge.

(Our map shows solar farms and applications across Devon above 40 acres. We'll be updating with 20-40 acres sites shortly). 


So we still need your support.  Please help us to spread the word and our crowdfunding page so that we can continue to lead the way in opposing these schemes and help local communities protect their valuable farmland.

Penny Mills, Director, Devon CPRE. 


31st January 2023 at 11:37am

pledged £15 + an est. £3.75 in Gift Aid

Penny Mills
30th January 2023

Posted a new update

Jill Whewell
12th December 2022 at 11:23am

So glad you are doing this. Really can’t understand why local councils ( and the Labour Party) aren’t promoting SOLAR PANELS ON ALL PUBLIC BUILDINGS INCLUDING SCHOOLS,HOSPITALS etc and encouraging all BUILDINGS ON INDUSTRIAL ESTATES to do the same.Maybe return to the support for PRIVATE RESIDENTS too. Such a WASTE OF ROOF SPACE ! Come on councillors…and Labour

12th December 2022 at 11:15am

pledged £20 + an est. £5.00 in Gift Aid

8th August 2022 at 1:31pm

pledged £40

Andrea Todt
17th May 2022 at 4:03pm

pledged £15

25th April 2022 at 5:30pm

pledged £100 + an est. £25.00 in Gift Aid

8th April 2022 at 12:08pm

pledged £20 + an est. £5.00 in Gift Aid

Robert Redman
7th April 2022 at 11:29am

Once again your superbly written and researched magazine has embarked on a really good campaign with which I completely agree. It should be read by every M.P. and Local Councillir Devon.

Robert Redman
7th April 2022 at 11:19am

pledged £40

Michael Caine
26th March 2022 at 7:05pm

pledged £100 + an est. £25.00 in Gift Aid

catherine judkins
24th March 2022 at 2:17pm

pledged £20 + an est. £5.00 in Gift Aid

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