BOW (Latin: place at the arched bridge), originally a street-village on the old road between Crediton and Okehampton and lying in the undulating countryside between Dartmoor and Exmoor, is the geographical centre of Devon.Bow parish comprises 2,962 acres; a blend of rich red farmland in the north with contrasting environmentally rich grassland and trees stretching south to the boundary. Bow village comprises a blend of traditional cob and thatch properties alongside more modern dwellings. Much residential development has been seen in recent years. With outlying hamlets at Nymet Tracey, Hillerton and (former) Bow Station, population at 2011 census stood around 1,100.
Some farms are recorded in Domesday and Hillerton was granted a Saxon charter. Paddocks Well (holy well or sacred/Celtic spring) is at Nymet Tracey and a 3rd millennium BC woodhenge lies in the west of the parish.
The 12th century parish church ofSt Bartholomew is at Nymet Tracey, whilst the village has a Congregational Chapel and a Gospel Hall. A new primary school was built in 1994, a new medical practice opened in 2010 and a small supermarket serves most daily needs. Bow also boasts a traditional public house and a water garden centre with post office. A good regular bus service runs to Exeter, Barnstaple and Okehampton.
Bow has a wealth of small and not so small businesses, providing local employment. Many active clubs, societies and organisations thrive; some extant for generations, others recently reformed and enjoying a resurgence following a lapse of some years. Together they entertain, exercise and educate.
Uniquely, Bow retains it’s own water supply, with many households and some commercial premises having enjoyed their own Bow Water since 1859. Bow Parish Council is custodian trustee of Bow Waterworks (reg. charity).
Parish councils are at grass roots level; the first tier of local government, representing the views of the parish whilst working towards improving community wellbeing and providing better services at local level, within a defined ambit of powers and responsibility. At the most recent election, held May 2019, seven of the nine seats on Bow Parish Council were filled, with two filled by co-option. The current four year term will expire in 2023.