Manning's Pit photo by Christine Lovelock

What is Manning's Pit?

Manning's Pit is the name given to the field shown above, at the edge of Pilton, a village that is now joined to Barnstaple in North Devon. The name is also used to describe the area made up of Manning's Pit and the adjoining fields that are part of the Bradiford Valley. 

When the Pilton Estate was sold in 1849, the field we now know as Manning's Pit was a part of a larger field, or collection of fields, called Northfields, or North Field, but by the beginning of the twentieth century, if not well before, it was called Manning's Pit by locals. These fields have been loved by generations of local people, and they are part of what Saki's sister, Ethel Munro, called "the countryside we loved."   They are also a haven for wildlife, including otters, kingfishers, dormice and Horseshoe bats, as the Ecological report that we commissioned makes clear.

Where is Manning's Pit?

Manning's Pit is on the north west side of Pilton, and the field that bears this name is bordered by Windsor Road and Lynbro Road. A footpath runs through it, down from Lynbro Road to the Manning's Pit bridge, and across Clothesline Meadow, the field beyond, to Anchor Mill.  This footpath was used in Victorian times by those who worked or had business at the Mill.

Map of Barnstaple showing location of Manning's Pit
(source- openstreetmap)
You can enter it though a kissing gate at the bottom
of a short footpath from Lynbro Road.

Manning's Pit- map showing Lynbro Road
Map of Pilton showing location of Manning's Pit
(source- openstreetmap)

Map showing the land that is the subject of the Planning Application

Map of the land that is for sale at Manning's
Map showing the land that was purchased by the speculators who wish to gain Planning Permission for building on Manning's Pit.   Click for link to larger map and information about the way Manning's Pit has been used over the years by the  local community.

Map showing the Manning's Pit area in Historical Times

Historical map
Historical map showing where Saki, Lee, the Hibberts and Benjamin Manning lived, also Turner's uncle and Sarah Hibbert's last home, where Henry Wiliamson visited her.
(OpenStreetMap used as source)

Map of Bellaire
Bellaire, Pilton, in Saki's time, the red cross shows Broadgate Villa where Saki lived, (the Broadgate Estate where F R Lee and the Hibberts lived  is coloured brown. ) The blue arrow points to Manning's Pit Bridge. The Map comes from the Pilton Story website.

hy is it called Manning's Pit?

It seems virtually certain that the field became known as Manning's Pit for two reasons. The first is its association with Benjamin Manning and his family business (they leased it) the second the fact that there was a quarry - a Pit - at the bottom of the field.

Who was Benjamin Manning?