Exmouth aghast after iconic and popular 'rusty pole' disappears from the Maer

  • Watch Richard Lawrence's report here.

People are dismayed by the removal of Exmouth's iconic "rusty pole", which disappeared earlier this month.

An old sewer relief pipe has stood on the Maer nature reserve since 1909, becoming rusty and seemingly forgotten over time.

Yet it has been catapulted to legendary status in recent years, with people even making special trips to visit it.

Exmouth's Rusty Pole even has its own TripAdvisor and Google review pages, where people share their thoughts on its appearance and purpose.

One visitor, who came to Exmouth a year ago, wrote on Google: "It's good to see that Exmouth has preserved its rusty pole in authentic rusty condition.

"So many rusty poles in other locations have been ruined by gentrification (and paint) but this remains as a rare and traditional seaside attraction. I was impressed, don't miss it if visiting the area."

However, on Thursday 13 April the landmark vanished from the Maer - and people are not happy.

Robyn Trigger-Glover, co-founder of Exmouth Rusty Pole Society: “It’s devastating. I remember turning to my partner and just saying ‘I can’t believe it’s gone’. It’s so innocent, so I don’t really understand."

South West Water confirmed that it had removed the pole.

In a statement, the company explained that it had "agreed to remove it after concerns were raised at a council meeting over the structural integrity of the pole and risk to public safety".

However, locals believe they should have been consulted before the landmark was taken away.

Robyn and Max were 'devastated' to visit the spot where the pole once stood. Credit: ITV News

Mike Menhenitt said: “I remember it from my childhood here in the 1950s, playing here with it.

"Why has it gone? It’s a landmark. Perhaps South West Water was not aware of the importance of this pole to people of the town."

The rusty pole rose to fame partly by accident, Max Damsell explained.

He said: "It started off as a joke to be honest, but then we created some reviews and put some photos up, and honestly we never really expected tourists and locals alike to take photos with the pole - group photos, family photos, engagements."

Two other poles have been identified as possible replacements, however, locals say they may not be rusty enough to keep visitors happy.

In the meantime, they are calling for the original rusty pole to be reinstated.

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