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More than 30 wind turbines could be built in ‘War Horse valley’ near Winkleigh

More than 30 wind turbines could be built in the sleepy valleys in which Michael Morpurgo set his hit book, film and stage play War Horse.

A map drawn up by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) shows a dozen already operating or permitted within a six-mile radius of Winkleigh, with 11 more in planning and another nine in the pipeline.

The bestselling author personally objected to plans for a turbine measuring 145ft from base to blade tip at nearby Iddesleigh, home to the War Horse museum.

Developers want to construct at least five turbines in the idyllic Okement valley, which forms the backdrop to the First World War epic.

But campaigners say a rash of projects could “wreck” the nascent tourist industry which has grown up around the book, play and hit Steven Spielberg movie.

Mr Morpurgo described the area in which he lives as an “oasis of peace and wonder, a paradise” which was “still far from the madding crowd”.

The writer, a freeman of West Devon, was an active and vocal campaigner against the turbine at Coombe Farm, which was eventually refused by West Devon Council.

Opponents said the turbine would tower over the famous Tarka Trail near the village hall which sets the scene for the story of a young farm boy and his horse, Joey.

CPRE spokesman in Torridge Penny Mills said there “seems to be no let-up” in the applications.

She said: “What’s worse is the turbines are getting bigger, 255ft now seems the norm.

“That’s the equivalent in height to a 25-storey building and we are being bombarded with these massive noisy industrial machines which should have no place in the open countryside.

“This is just a snapshot but such a number of wind turbines would destroy this beautiful area. – surely no one wants that to happen.”

Steve Phelps, an Iddesleigh parish councillor, said locals had to “draw breath” when they saw the CPRE map.

He said: “This is not just an isolated turbine in an obscure coombe – we are extremely concerned and worried and have reformed our conservation group.”