ON THE lower moor, and perhaps seen more regularly by dog walkers than other Hatherleigh residents, is Thomas Roberts' Pond.
Thomas Roberts was born in 1771. He was an extraordinary man whose amazing story has been partially related on a previous Hatherleigh News page.
But this story is primarily concerned with his pond.
Thomas Roberts set up his Hatherleigh School in 1796 in the house which is now an extremely attractive bed and breakfast business, run by Angela and Stephen Caddy.
They very kindly allowed me to visit the school room where Thomas taught more than 1,800 boys between the years 1796 and 1845.
The school room, delightfully large and sunny, is much as it was in Thomas' time and the fireplace may even have carved initials of some of the pupils.
It was from here that Thomas took the boys to learn navigational skills on the lower moor in a pond which he had specially excavated.
They could test the little model boats he had taught them to carve and rig in their schoolroom lessons.
Thomas Roberts' house thrives in the town as a reminder of this extraordinary man, who is buried with his wife in Hatherleigh churchyard.
It's wonderful that visitors can stay in a building with such an interesting history.
But his pond remains too, needing a little of the love and care which has been spent on his old home.
Last week Matt Edworthy, from the North Devon Nature Improvement Project, came to Thomas Roberts' pond.
This was in connection with one of only twelve such projects in the country, aiming to deliver wildlife improvement outside designated areas.
The project has two strands: to help farmers and involve communities.
On Wednesday last week, Matt and his group of helpers from Brandis Corner were fighting parrot feather.
This plant – myriophyllum aquaticum– which completely blanketed Roberts' pond, was shading out and competing with native species, which protect natural varieties of pond life. Removing the parrot feather, which spreads with alarming speed, increases the number and variety of frogs and newts for example.
The pile of weed that had been removed by the end of the day – 150 bags full and a huge pile on plastic sheeting – was impressive. But there was so much parrot feather remaining after all the efforts of the volunteers, who had been wading and dredging the whole day, that the team must have felt a little dispirited.
They will be back and would welcome help in their valuable task. A pity Thomas Roberts' schoolboys weren't around to lend a hand.
Their boats wouldn't have sailed far among the weed today, but Matt and his helpers will continue their efforts until the pond is clear.