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Full report: Saving our country pubs

by Bob Cruwys

Pubs can be crucial to community life but over the past few years, as people have changed their habits and are spending less on going out, many have shut.

But now, more community pubs have started opening, where locals have clubbed together to buy their local and save it from closure.

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Repairs to Grand Western Canal start today

Grand Western Canal - this section has been dry since the breach Credit: ITV News West Country

Repair work starts today on the Grand Western Canal near Tiverton, with a turf cutting ceremony to mark the beginning of the 6 month project.

Part of the canal wall collapsed during torrential rain last November. Twenty homes had to be evacuated, and thousands of fish spilled into the fields.

The repairs are expected to cost around three million pounds and Devon Council wants to finish them in time for the canal's two hundredth anniversary next year.

This section of the canal has remained open Credit: ITV News West Country

More than 15 cases of Ash Dieback in the West Country

Woodland owners are being urged not to panic this evening as a disease that has badly affected Ash trees across Europe, has now spread to the West Country.

There have been more than 15 cases of Ash Dieback identified here, but this is the first time an infected tree from a nursery has passed it on to an existing ash tree.

Efforts are now being made to try to stop the infection spreading further.

Seth Conway reports:

Infected trees to be felled in Devon

Leaves wilting in the wrong season is a sign of Ash dieback infection according to the Forestry Commission. Credit: ITV News West Country

There have been more than 15 cases of Ash dieback in the region in recent years.

But this outbreak at Bickleigh near Tiverton is the first time the disease has spread from an infected tree to previously healthy indigenous trees.

Repairs begin on flood-damaged road in Devon

Devon was hit badly by floods last year Credit: ITV Westcountry

Work starts today to repair a road in Devon that was damaged in the floods last winter.

The area around Tiverton was badly affected by floodwater and Burn Valley Road in Bickleigh has been unable to support the weight of traffic since being damaged last November.

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Car thief flees with baby on board

A thief in Devon stole a car with a baby still in the rear seat before returning a few minutes later with the child.

The baby's mother had left three children in her unlocked Renault Scenic while she made a delivery in Tiverton at 11.55am on Saturday.

Her daughter stood outside the vehicle and the woman's five-year-old nephew and 14-month-old son remained in the back.

But as they waited for the mother to return, a thief opened the rear door of the car and pulled the nephew out.

The man, in his 40s, then drove the vehicle through a series of one-way streets before returning to the original location, Kings Street.

He removed the child seat with the boy, dumped it on the pavement and drove off.

A 47-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the theft.

Visitor Centre opens on Devon's Grand Western Canal

Grand Western Canal visitor centre Credit: Devon County Council

A new visitor centre for the Grand Western Canal has opened its doors today in Tiverton. Visitors to the 11 mile attraction, which stretches from Mid Devon to Lowdwells near the Somerset border, will be able to learn about the canal's heritage and wildlife.

The opening comes as repairs are underway to fix part of the historic canal wall, which gave way under flooding in November. The force of the water carved a gorge into the hillside and swamped local fields.

Devon County Council has pledged £3 million to restore it. It's hoped the repairs will be finished in time for the 200th anniversary of the canal next year.

Parts of canal were destroyed in winter floods Credit: ITV Westcountry
Devon County Council has pledged £3 million to repair canal Credit: ITV Westcountry
Embankment near Tiverton burst after torrential rains in November Credit: ITV Westcountry
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