Mr needlebars dating
Until 1811 the Otter was navigable when due to the enclosing of the estuary land the mouth became blocked at ‘Salterton’ as late as 1854.
A condition in a Lease stated “When any ship or vessel shall be stranded or wrecked on the said coast of Harpford (the Lessee) must use his utmost endeavours to preserve the same and the lives of the persons belonging thereto." Up until the 16 century wool was very important, until the demand for the coarse serge material lost favour.
Employment in the factory brought migrants to the village, and by the 1871 census 31% of the working population was employed there.
By 1891 the factory had closed and the census shows a 34% drop in population.
In 1851 the working population of the village was 235 of which 92 were lace makers and 39 labourers.
Also the weight and volume of traffic that passes over them could not have been foreseen.
When the river was low the coaches preferred to use the ford, which suggests that the river was wider and shallower than today.
In 1960 the remains of the “Nyton Bridge" were seen when a drainpipe was laid across the river, and 17 century coins were found.
There are several suggestions as to where it went through the village, it is probable it went near the Brook, and joined up with today’s road near Woodley’s Joinery and I believe the boundary between the two Parishes (Newton Poppleford and Harpford) followed the road.
Until the coming of Coach and Wagons in the 1750’s people either walked or travelled on horseback, and goods were carried on pack animals, so the roads must have been narrow tracks.