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

Silas Silage’s Gardening Diary

Silas Silage, our learned (and exclusive) gardening columnist is back from a long summer sojourn. But let him explain…
I had a bit of bother earlier in the summer, and decided to lie low for a bit. In fact I was advised to take up secluded employment, and a place was found for me at a home for the elderly mentally challenged in the next county. Not that I’m mentally challenged. As the owner, a very fit and businesslike lady with piercing blue eyes told me, “We have all sorts here, and if you can fix the garden, then you can stay”.

And what a garden! Rolling lawns down to a lilac fringed rowing lake adorned with lilies; avenues of ancient oak and chestnut; close cropped yew hedges, walled kitchen gardens and orchards, and an orangery. A camomile lawn, giving onto an ancient meadow, cut with a ha-ha fence to keep the grazing cattle at bay.

It was the yew hedge that got me going. I’ve always fancied trying my hand at hedge sculpture, or topiary, as it is known. This ancient craft, known to the Phonecians… (Get on with it –Ed).

So, armed with my trusty Banzai Hedgiboshi trimming tool and a ladder, plus a couple of nips of turnip calvados, I set about an unruly  set of untrimmed branches with gusto. What better than a nice tall lighthouse to look over the lake, and guide the rowers home to their tea?

With the distant memory of a trip to Portland in my head, I began to fashion that structure out of the verdant branches. With living wood, you have to work with the natural contours and angles as they occur, and I took advantage of this to give my lovely tall lighthouse two  nice large round rocks, one each side, which to my way of thinking finished it off very nicely with perfect symmetry.

I was working away and I didn’t realise I had attracted quite a crowd, who seemed very appreciative of my efforts, particularly the ladies, who were all pointing excitedly at it, nudging each other, and giving little exclamations. Some of the male residents too, showed quite an interest.

Just then men in  white tunics came down and shooed them all inside with little electric prodders, which I thought was rather unnecessary. “Bath time”, explained one of them, adding “The Boss would like a word….now!”

Silas Silage
"What better than a nice tall lighthouse to look over the lake, and guide the rowers home to their tea?"

He rather brusquely ushered me into her office. To my surprise, my bag was on her desk, packed. She said some very hurtful things and accused me of all sorts, and before I could begin to assert my innocence, I was outside, trudging up the long drive to the main road and the bus home. Looking behind me, I saw white coated figures cutting down my beautiful lighthouse.

People are strange, and it will be good to be home again with normal folk.
(To be continued –Ed)
New Reader?  Catch up on previous episodes by clicking on “Silas Silage” in the”Categories” list on the right.
Think  we made this up? See the BBC video on yew hedge trimming at Montacute House

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.

Learn how to make award-winning cider Saturday 24 September 2- 5pm

Blackmore vale ciderAward-winning cider maker Alan Berry from Templecombe will be taking a cider-making workshop on Saturday 24  September. Alan is a regular at the local agricultural shows where he has beaten stiff competition to take some of the top prizes for cider-making.

Alan has turned his hobby into a successful business. His small brewery, Blackmore Vale Cider, was set up a few years ago.  He makes a range of traditional ciders including sweet, medium and dry, plus an apple juice, all of which are sold locally. All of his apples come from unsprayed orchards within few miles of Templecombe. One of the keys to his success is the careful selection of apples. They have to be fully ripe, so he never uses apples picked from the tree, instead waiting for them to fall to the ground.

Alan’s workshop takes place at Empire Farm, Templecombe, which is hosting the event, and at his own workshop in the village, where participants will see the whole process of cider making and the equipment involved. The cost is £30.00 per person.

Contacts: Sally Morgan, Empire Farm, Templecombe, Somerset BA80HR
01963 371 6812 /

Alan Berry 01963 370716


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