Maintaining roads

Self help and community support

The community support schemes give town and parish councils and community self-help groups the opportunity to take control of small local maintenance tasks; allowing you to manage local volunteers and maintain your own local area.

How you can get involved

  • Snow Warden Scheme – trained volunteers who act as a key contact between the local community and DCC during severe weather.
  • Parish Paths Partnership (P3) – a scheme to help people improve the condition of their local rights of way.
  • Highway Self Help Scheme – trained volunteers who complete minor works at a safe distance from the public highway.
  • Community Road Warden scheme – trained volunteers who complete minor maintenance works in the vicinity of the public highway within their community.

Any parish or town council or community self-help group interested in the Community Self Help or Community Road Warden schemes will need to attend at least one of these courses depending upon the type of work to be undertaken:

  • Highway Safety Awareness Training – Half day workshop aimed at raising the safety awareness and providing information to those persons who would wish to volunteer to undertake minor maintenance works within their community.
  • SWQR Unit 2 – Signing, Lighting & Guarding (City & Guilds) 2 day course – Basic Chapter 8 qualification for those persons who would wish to volunteer to undertake minor maintenance works within the vicinity of the public highway.

This year we are providing the basic funding required for volunteers to undertake this training, which is being delivered in partnership with South West Highways Ltd.

Community Self Help scheme

To be part of this scheme you must do the basic Highway Safety Awareness Training course. Once completed, you can supervise volunteers doing work at a safe distance from the live carriageway or footway, or under a temporary road closure. These are regarded as Level 1 works and include:

  • clearing weeds
  • cleaning signs
  • cleaning gully grating
  • cutting grass
  • repairing finger posts
  • cutting hedges road closures for special events
  • ecological, geological and historical surveys.

Groups involved in the Community Self Help scheme must provide their own insurance.

Contact us
If you’re interested in working with us to more effectively manage your local area call 0345 155 1004 or email

Community support

We are also talking to some parishes about how local farmers can safely contribute towards maintenance on rural minor roads by:

  • cutting verges
  • cleaning ditches – most are the landowners’ responsibility
  • ploughing road edges.

Current examples

Bideford and Holsworthy town councils hold tidy town days where members of the community do works to improve the look of the towns. As a part of the Tidy Town Initiative, volunteers cleaned street signs, carried out litter picks, cleared overgrowth and cleaned, stained and varnished seats, and weeded and raked landscape areas.

Image showing damage to Harcomb road

During the severe weather of the winter 2013/14, the surface of the main road into the hamlet of Harcombe was damaged to such an extent it had to be closed. The alternative access to Harcombe was inconvenient.

Meetings were held with MPs, local elected members and residents. As the necessary skills and machinery were available locally, a Image showing community repairs to Harcomb roadmember of the community offered to do the work to the road if Devon Highways provided the materials. Devon Highways provides 30 tonne of stone which was laid by two local farmers, who also provided Terram sheeting for the base to reduce the ingress of ground water.

Northam Town Council has been very proactive and has employed two trained and accredited lengthsmen for a number of years. The lengthsmen carry out grass cutting and other highway-related works in the Parish and are also trained as Snow Wardens and organise salt bags distribution and spreading salt on the pavements and local roads emergencies.

Following reductions in the frequency of urban grass cutting Northam Town Council bought their own grass cutting equipment and trained their operatives to use it. They now carry out grass cutting in the parish in between the four cuts that we provide. Northam is also actively looking to participate in the Road Warden Scheme and is working closely with us to make this happen.

Image of Willand finger postWilland Parish Council raised concerns about the condition of the finger post in the centre of the village. DCC was not able to prioritise renovating the post when considered against other necessary work. A member of the community and Parish Council recognised the value of the finger post and offered to do the renovation if the cost of the materials could be covered. The signs letters were supplied by South West Highways and Cllr Radford gave a contribution from his locality budget.

The parishes of Uplyme, Combpyne Rousden, Axmouth and Sidmouth successfully applied for funding from the Parishes Together Fund to provide additional Parish Lengthsman resource. DCC also agreed to provide the allocated funding which would have been used to provide the Parish Lengthsman resource for the fourth quarter of the financial year. The parishes intend to raise funds from alternative sources to continue this service in the future.