A key road in Stoke Fleming has reopened after being closed for months following the collapse of a four-and-a-half metre high wall.

The saga began more than a year ago, when the A379 Dartmouth Hill road leading to Slapton closed to clear debris after the 100 plus-year-old wall fell. The road then opened before closing again in early January so that workmen could rebuild the 26-metre long structure.

The road closure resulted in a 28-mile diversion for motorists, and caused such disruption to the local community that some 50 relieved residents turned out to see the re-opening last week.

Janet McCall, who lives nearby, said: “All I’ve got to say it ‘well done’. It’s the first time I’ve seen it properly - a lot of hard work has gone into it.”

Sean Donoghue from Nomad Constructions, the main firm in charge of rebuilding the wall, said the project had been a major undertaking, adding that the aim had been to get the wall finished by Easter weekend.

“The wall was rebuilt using reclaimed stone – that’s some 100 tonnes. We are pleased with the work and the way that it’s gone, but we’re actually more pleased that we’ve managed to get the road open a week early,” he said.

Cllr David Harris said re-opening the road had meant a lot to the village. “Thanks to Nomad and all the contractors they finished a week early, which I think people appreciate. It’s a through road, which is very important, especially for local businesses.”