New Parliamentary constituency proposed for the Blackmore Vale

Map for the new constituency

Voters in Horsington will become part of a new parliamentary constituency to be called Glastonbury & Wincanton, replacing the existing Somerton & Frome constituency.

The new constituency will have 75,231 voters from the Mendip and South Somerset District Council areas.

The proposals by the Boundary Commission now go into an extensive consultation stage, and the final parliamentary map will be resolved by the end of 2013.

Anyone can comment or make alternative suggestions. See the Boundary Commission’s website.

Perhaps someone from the main political parties can tell us how this will affect the political make up of the area?

Otherwise your long-suffering editor (who hates politics) will have to do it -Ed


Horsington Parish Church for sale

Horsington Church
Horsington Church, painted by Philp Rawlings

Or rather a charming picture, painted by Cucklington artist Philip Rawlings, which will be offered for auction at the Sunday charity quiz and auction at the Half Moon on Sunday 25 September.

Also on sale will be lots of delicious cakes and local produce, including an industrial block of cheese. Mouse farmers please note.

The quiz will be set by Landlord Andrew, and the usual close finish is anticipated.

It’s all in aid of Cancer Research

The full size original is currently on view at the Half Moon -Ed

Your chance to hold SW Trains to account on September 15

Templecombe station
Templecombe station’s statue to the memory of personal contact on the railway (Picture: John Baxter, Wincanton Window)

Key contacts to help you fight proposed Templecombe station ticket office closure

Around a quarter of the country’s railway station ticket offices are listed for closure, and inevitably Templecombe is one of them.

This is a pity, because the Templecombe office is one of the friendliest, most helpful, knowledgeable and pleasant places on the entire rail network. Some excellent people will lose their livelihoods, while the rest of us will struggle with the car park machine and the ticket machine on the platform. Our travelling experienced will be diminished further, as the rail companies try to remove any remaining pleasure from rail travel, charging premium prices for a third world service. There are safety, security and disabled access implications as well.

What can be done? No firm decision has been made. There is nothing on the SW trains or South Somerset District Council Websites about this, so it may not be too late. If enough people write to SW Trains, their MPs, local councilors and the local council itself, it may be possible to apply some pressure and head these proposed changes off. None of our elected representatives seem to be running with this, so give them a jab.

Our MP – David Heath MP -17 Bath Street , Frome,  Somerset , BA11 1DN or via website.

Councillors: Tim Inglefield
William Wallace:
(They could start by asking why Templecombe station does not even appear on the rail map on the SSDC website)

William Wallace is also a county councilor, but it would be unkind to write to him twice.

SW Trains operates the line.  There is a” live web chat” this Thursday 15 September between 2 and 4 pm where you can raise questions and put points to SW Trains management. Just go to the SW trains website and follow the links.

SW Trains managing director is Andy Pitt. Write to him at SW Trains, Friars Bridge Court, 41-45 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8NZ.

Some points to make
• How much do ticket machines cost? We hear £30,000 or more. So where is the cost saving?
• How does the proposed closure fit with the company’s committed aim of  “improving the delivery of our service to our customers, being an even better partner to work with, and making an increasingly positive impact on society and the environment”? And all the other corporate social responsibility guff on their website?
• Automatic machines do not always sell the cheapest ticket
• There are frequent problems with automatic machines
• Train companies frequently change the rules regarding peak times and ticket availability
• Many people will find themselves paying unjustly levied penalty fares
• The lack of a personal touch will seriously diminish the travelling experience
• Current fares are very expensive and are set to rise further –the public would rather pay for staff on the ground than management bonuses.
• Wheelchair users and others with handicaps or difficulties will not be able to cross the line
• Car park users will be seriously inconvenienced if the ticket office closes
• A manned station is a safe station

You can guarantee that the ticket office will close if nobody makes a fuss!

PS: Templecombe  Station volunteers are also looking for recruits to help restore Templecombe station’s famous garden to its former glory, including the now-weathered statue. Contact

“Trains are a rich man’s toy”, says Transport Minister

Mobile Phone reception survey results update

Updated 9 September: Mobile Phone reception can be very poor in Horsington and on the marsh. So which Phone network gives you the best coverage?

The Blog surveyed its readers. 30 people have taken the trouble to respond –thank you. The results are inconclusive, but this is what we found for INDOOR coverage.

Horsington The only networks used by survey respondents  appear to be Vodaphone, Orange and BT Mobile. Vodaphone and Orange reception ranges from “excellent” to “very poor”. The one  respondent on BT mobile describes it as” intermittent”.
Our verdict: Vodaphone has the edge –just, but there is a dead patch where reception is very poor.

Horsington mobile phone coverage
Vodaphone is top, but still with dead patches

Horsington Marsh Some people will be surprised that they  have mobile phones down there, but they do! Only Vodaphone gets a” Quite good” rating for indoor reception. Everyone else is varying degrees of rubbish.
Verdict: Vodaphone,  or go outside to make or receive calls.

Horsington Marsh mobile phone coverage
Vodaphone is "Quite good", but nothing else works indoors

South Cheriton Only 2 responses here. Both rate Orange and Vodaphone with “Excellent” reception.
Verdict: Insifficient data, but Vodaphone and Orange appear to be top.

North Cheriton No responses. Can someone go and wake them up?

In general so-called smartphones (iPhone,Blackberry, Samsung Galaxy etc) have much worse reception than their conventional counterparts – but they can pick up the wi-fi network in the pub.

We can hardly claim that this is a scientific survey, as the data is a bit sparse. The only way to be sure is to test friends’ phones on different networks, and see which works best for you

Click here to see the complete results in real time (For the very curious)

Parish Council Agenda for Thusday 8 September

The Horsington Parish Council monthly meeting is at 7.30 on 8th September in the Village Hall.

The meeting starts with an open forum,  and will then  discuss the latest planning applications, including the solar panels at Horsington Manor.

Other items include  the  play area, the   cemetery / churchyard, footpaths, the
horse pond, the Villager magazine and the apoption of telephone boxes.

All welcome, and there’s nothing much on television, so give it a go.


The latest Blog visitor figures suggest that readership is increasing slowly and steadily month on month, and that the blog is now established as part of village life.
Horsington Blog Visitor statistics
There have been just under 6,000 hits since the blog started. Two thirds of our visitors are regulars, coming back time after time. A third of our regulars have made 10 or more visits.  Some readers have made over 50 visits.

As a news medium for the village it is unrivalled. Readership doubles when we have dramatic events to report.

There have been 95 articles published since we started, and 136 comments on those articles. Most have these have been good natured, and we have only had to remove two which strayed beyond the territory of friendly banter. So for the moment, we will continue to operate a policy of free speech – your comments will be published immediately, without any editorial intervention. So keep them coming, keep it polite, and use your real name unless you have a really compelling reason not to. You have nothing to fear from anyone.

So, dear readers…
Tell us about things which should be reported –
Tell us when you have an event to promote-
Use our free services and “for Sale” pages to promote your business and sell stuff.
Let us have material for the Horsington historic photo and video archive. Old Photographs (including the 1960’s), 8mm cine film, videos. All material will be returned.

Finally… SUBSCRIBE to the Blog. You will get automatic email updates every time a new article appears. Totally confidential. Your email will not be abused in any way.

Happy Blogging!

The Editor

Food gong for the Old Inn

The Old Inn at Holton has won the south west region of the Great Pub Awards dining pub of the year competition, and  has been mentioned in The Indepedent’s list of the top 50 gastropubs in Britain.

As well as the specials and an imaginative “fine dining” a la carte, the Old Inn has plenty of pub favourites and regular affordable choices – steak on Tuesday, simple suppers (two-courses for a set price) on Thursdays), a £5 fish and chips deal always on offer, and a Sunday main-course roast (beef, lamb or chicken) for £7.50.

The 16th century pub had an extensive renovation in 2009. Well worth a visit.

More information

Calling all budding singers and actors….

Milborne Port Opera needs YOU!

If you enjoy singing and acting, why not come along and join our friendly group? Be part of our new magical production, Follow That Girl, a musical by Julian Slade and Dorothy Reynolds (of Salad Days fame).

Rehearsals are every Thursday, at 8 pm from September through to Easter next year, with our performance the week after Easter 2012.

Why not come along to the first rehearsal on Thursday 8th September and give it a
try?  (8pm in the Methodist Church, Milborne Port.)

It’s a great way to meet new people and get involved in a community event, and above all,
it’s a lot of fun!

Experience and/or ability to read music are non-essential. For more information contact
our secretary, Sarah Bignell by e-mail ( or ‘phone 01963 370447.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

MPO Website

Planning applications

In case anyone locally has not realised it, there is a digest of current planning applications and decisions on the South Somerset D.C website

The blog notes the application by Mr Phillip Colebatch for removal of a 90m length of hedgerow between two fields to increase area for arable husbandry (GR: 370182/125458).  Should we encourage the ploughing up of old pasture and removal of habitat for many birds and mammals? It’s a prickly debate: on the one hand the world is increasingly short of staple foods, on the other is the destruction of the environment leading to reduction, and in some cases extinction, of species. In this case it seems the short term gain is heavily outweighed by the long term benefit to the environment of leaving things as they are. (what do you think Ed?)
See earlier post -Ed

This Application has been refused -Ed

We wonder what size of event will be able to be hosted at the Grange with the approval for the orangery, conservatory and verandah?  Presumably this will now negate the need for a marquee for wedding receptions? Anyway as long as it is self-contained and does not cause undue disturbance there can be no complaint: but loud music and fireworks will not go down at all well on a regular basis.  Consideration is needed on all sides.

Parish Council Minutes

Minutes of Horsington Parish Council Meeting held at St Margaret’s Hall on

Thursday 9th  June 2011

Open Forum: Local residents raised concerns about the planning applications at The Grange. They were concerned about increased noise and traffic and felt that there was a lack of control during events. The possible access via land near Horsington House was discussed.

Mr Longman, owner of The Grange, and his representatives gave an update on his planning application and efforts to reduce noise and answered questions.

16        Members present: Mrs J Wood (Chairman), Mrs J Pyne, W Candy, S Hawkins, C James, Mrs B Mann, County / District Councillor T Inglefield, Mr P Longman, S Illingworth & 15 members of the public & Mrs T Chapman (covering for clerk).

Apologies: Mrs A Clayton, County / District Councillor W Wallace & PCSO John Winfield.

17.         Declaration of interest: It was agreed that Mrs B Mann did not need to declare an interest in the planning application at The Grange as her daughter’s horse has not been stabled at the property since March.

18        To approve as a correct record of meeting held on 12th May – Proposed by S Hawkins and seconded by Charles James. Passed unanimously.

19        Matters arising from previous minutes:

1 – Clerk reported that R Thorne will carry out the repairs at the play area next week if there is no rain. This is due to the fact that wet pour does not set during wet weather.

2 – Clerk reported that Hastoe Housing Association has been chased twice this week but there is nothing new to report yet.

3 – Clerk reported that PCSO John Winfield had traced the driver of the car that damaged the fence at the brook in Horsington. These details have been passed on to the Highways Department.

4 – S Dunn has been asked to quote for cutting alongside the road and bank by the play areas.

5 – Richard Cotes – James does not have any Environment Agency letters regarding the Horse Pond that had been sent to him without the Parish Council receiving a copy.  Clerk has passed a copy of all correspondence with the Environment Agency to C James.


1 – 11/01960/FUL & 11/01974/LBC Mr P Longman, Horsingon Grange, Rectory Lane, Horsington – internal and external alterations and the erection of an orangery, kitchen conservatory and verandah to dwelling house (resubmission of 10/04552/FUL & 10/04557/LBC) – The Council took a vote which resulted in two Councillors in favour, three against with one abstention.

2 – 11/02049/FUL Mr P Longman, Horsington Grange, Rectory Lane, Horsington – use of the Grange and siting of marquee for the holding of up to 10 events in any one calendar year. The Council took a vote which resulted in 2 abstentions and 4 Councillors opposed to the application. There was concern about the adverse effect of increased traffic and noise in the centre of the village. The current approach is via a narrow road and the noise and traffic has a big impact on houses along this road. The alternative access is from the A357 where visibility is poor.

Determinations: none

Other: none

21.       Finance:

  1. Cheques authorised:

000791 £35.00 Community Council for Somerset – subscription 2011 – 2012.

000792  £270.00 S Hawkins  – grass cutting.

000793 £197.00 S P Collins – grass cutting.

  1. Money Received: £350.00 for purchase of graves F23 & F24 plus one burial Mrs Lloyd.

22.      Play Area: nothing to report.

23.      Cemetery / Church yard:

1 Clerk reported that the Archdeacon has granted permission to repair the wall so there will be no need to obtain a faculty. Debbie Moseley at SSDC has been informed. She has passed the information on to her colleague Peter Higgenden.

2 – It was reported that SSDC approved the risk assessment and method statement for cutting the grass at the church yard, subject to a few changes. It was agreed that S Hawkins would edit the file to remove the underlining and return to the Clerk.

24.      Footpaths:

1 – Mrs J Pyne reported that she has not heard anything about Hanglands Lane.

25.      Horse Pond:

1 – C James reported that he had started to cut back the grass alongside the stream and was happy to continue. He will also try and remove the weed in the stream to help the water flow.

26. Correspondence:

  1. 1. SSDC – Vacancy for Parish Council representative on SSDC Standards Committee – noted.
  2. 2. Avon & Somerset Police Authority – Consultation – taken by Mrs Wood.
  3. 3. Somerset Crane Chronicle – Newsletter – taken by W Candy.
  4. 4. Somerset County Council – Broadband – noted.
  5. 5. Somerset Community Council – Thatch Newsletter – taken by W Candy.
  6. 6. Somerset County Council – Evacuee Accommodation Centres – noted.
  7. 7. Somerset county Council – Further Electoral Review of Somerset – noted.
  8. 8. SSDC – Dog Control Orders – these have been placed on the Parish notice boards. It was suggested that copies could be posted on lamp post or telegraph posts but it was reported that this is prohibited by regulations regarding ‘fly posting’.

27.       Any other business of importance:

1Clerk confirmed that Mrs B Mann had reported a blocked drain in South Cheriton outside Dale Cottage. This has now been reported to the Highways Department.

2 – Mrs Pyne raised the issue of BT’s offer to sell the telephone box in Horsington for £1. It was reported that newspapers for the village are left in the box. If the Parish Council purchase the box the telephone equipment will be removed and the responsibility for its maintenance would be transferred. C James offered to help maintain the box.

Meeting Closed at 9:15pm

Date of next meeting Thursday 14th July 2011