Singing Bishop with Stories to Tell Comes to St. Mary’s Devizes

If there’s one venue I’m delighted to pen an event preview for, this new year, it has to be St Mary’s Church in Devizes. The Invitation Theatre Company showed us the potential of this disused church way back when, when Jemma and friends aptly dressed as nuns for Sister Act, if I remember rightly?!

Since it’s been on the cards to convert St Mary’s into arts centre, and must be said, it’s been a rocky road to get this far. Now the venue is ready for singing Bishop of Ramsbury, Andrew Rumsey to showcase his musical and literary talents.

The event is in aid of the church regeneration fund, as Wiltshire Council and Salisbury Diocesan Authorities have given the go ahead for an extension to house additional facilities and the necessary changes to the interior.

On the evening of Saturday 22nd January, Andrew will be sharing songs and readings from his new book English Grounds: A Pastoral Journal in the 12th Century Church.

Appropriate for a Grade 1 listed venue, which has been a place of worship in Devizes for the best part of nine hundred years. Dr Rumsey’s new book is rooted in the Wiltshire landscape, exploring themes of place, spirituality and belonging in a series of short essays and photographs.

As well as being an author, whose writing centres on themes of place and local identity, the bishop is also a musician, with a longstanding interest in song writing and popular music. Former Literary Editor of The Times, Erica Wagner, describes his latest title as “a marvellous book, lit by faith, love and imagination”.

The event will be the first of a number planned at St Mary’s for 2022, as the innovative plans to transform the church as a hub for arts in the community take a step nearer, which is exciting news for Devizes.

Entry is £10, you can book at Devizes Books, or pay on the door.


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The Strange Case of the Bin-Like War Memorial

A Devizes resident, Simon Frankland on a Sunday stroll with his dog, stops to take a snap of an odd concrete rectangle on the grass verge of London Road, opposite the Aster Group building. Posting it to Facebook group, The Devizes Issue caused something of a mysterious stir, because while it rather resembles one of those seventies litter bins, Mr Frankland pointed out it is not, rather it is a YMCA war memorial, dedicating a long-lost garden to the fallen; who knew?

Some did it seems, after publishing this, so please read on to the updated section at the end, where some assumptions I gave are corrected, but the saga continues as more information about it is speculated on social media. The plot thickens, but the one thing we’re certain of it is not a bin, so don’t use it as one!

Begging for some to throw toys from their prams that it is disrespectful to use it as a bin, which by the paper and bottles wedged into it, and doggy poo bags surrounding it, appears it has been for some time, it must be said, you cannot blame folk because, left to the powers of nature, it does look uncannily like a bin, especially if passing by it on a dark winter evening, hurrying on a busy main road. Even those, apparently responsible for its upkeep, Bishop’s Cannings Parish Council, agree it does.

But if it was clearly marked and renovated, yes, of course, it would be disrespectful. There appears to be some markings engraved on the stone, but it is so worn they are near illegible and undefinable. Curiously, despite its rudimentary rectangular design, the reason it has been left to dilapidation, is its very being, and the location of its being.

I’m not here to point the blame at anyone, as it seems it has been understandably overlooked. Though it is based in Devizes, Town Councillor Iain Wallis believes it is the jurisdiction of the Bishop’s Cannings Parish Council, as his area stops at St James Church. Though the parish council admits while it is their responsibility, they appear equally unaware of it as others, and they think the design of it certainly lies with Devizes Town Council.

An antiquated boundary, an unfortunate bad design, premonition of a council litter bin thirty years prior, are likely the reason for it being overlooked and misused; a monument discounted through being on the borderline, near gardens of the barracks long closed down; you can’t stop the hands of time, but we can realise and respond accordingly to correct it.

As a consequence of me bringing the post to the attention of Bishop’s Cannings Parish Council, an email and a photo has been sent to the chair and clerk, and a parish councillor replied, “no doubts it will get sorted, as we have the RBL Seend Secretary as one of our Parish Councillors.”

Seems failproof, but I’m certain if it doesn’t happen through official procedures, our fabulous and trusty CUDS will be on the mission, as someone pointed out, they could just put a flower bed around it. It wouldn’t cost a fortune to make it identifiable, and then if someone still drops a doggie poo bag by it, Facebook police are rightful to have pop!

All’s well that ends well; i figured. We hope it will at least be renovated so it is clear what it is, and hopefully it’s meaning will be restored. Much as some whinge about social media, the power of such a post has to be admired, on a Sunday too; good job Simon!

Important update: contrary to my original assumptions about the monument, I’ve kindly heard from John Merritt, who has opened a Pandora’s box, by explaining it was placed as a result of the efforts of former Mayor of Devizes, Jim Thorpe, and was “unveilled” on 15th of August 2015.

Others have speculated it was merely moved at that point, from Hopton Estate outside the old Kennet Council offices to where it is now, so furthermore, it could actually be the responsibility of Wiltshire Council, or even the defunct Kennet Council, which may explain why it has been left to dilapidate.

Yet John’s revelation explained its existence, it perplexed me even more as to why it was designed to resemble a bin. Asking for it really.

John’s answer was simple and direct, “because nobody cares,” and he shared a letter he personally penned to the Gazette and Herald at the time, expressing dissatisfaction that despite Jim’s sterling efforts to get the stone to prominence, this particular ceremony was not intended to mark VJ Day. Along with traffic in Marlborough not being stopped for the occasion, John added, “contributes to the feelings of those who served in the Far East campaign that they are still the Forgotten Army.” A letter you really need to read to fully comprehend.

I apologise for my assumptions on this issue, and hope it did not offend. I can see this becoming “the war memorial bin saga,” but in light of this update, I’d argue all the more reason to at least renovate it so it is clearly not used for litter.

Personally, you know, I have a tin; that’s my war memorial. I take it out every Remembrance Day and browse through the keepsakes my Nan handed down to me. There’s photos, medels, letters from the war office, a notebook of my grandad’s movements with entries which alarmingly gets vauger as time goes on, and a Christmas dinner flyer 1947, signed on the reverse by all his fellow soldiers. It also interests my children too, who I’ll try my upmost to recite the stories he told me. For me, that’s my stone, and it would never be used as a bin.


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Ravilious’s Downland Man- Immersive Watercolours and Captivating History on Show at Wiltshire Museum

by T.B.D Rose

Stemming from an unfinished book of Eric Ravilious’s illustrations (including that of Westbury White Horse) which resurfaced in 2012 and which museum director David Dawson collected for Wiltshire Museum, the Eric Ravilious: Downland Man exhibition has been put together by guest curator James Russell (creator of a previous Ravilious exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in 2015) and tells the story of the fascinating man’s life and his iconic portraits of English landscapes.

With 9 years in the works and 4 years active planning, it has already attracted around 700 pre-booked visitors from all over the country.

Featuring loans from a number of National Museums, it’s a marvelous and recognisable sight to see for any southwesterner, with Ravilious’s signature realistically vivid, painstakingly gorgeous watercolours of countryside and landmarks right on the doorstep of Devizes locals.

See it while you can. The Exhibit runs from 25th September – 30th January 2022. In memory of Eric Ravilious (1903 – 1942).


Devizes; The Only Thing with Brains Here, is a Pie!

Not as eminent as the Yorkshire pud or the Bakewell tart, Devizes does have its own pie; who knew? Furthermore, what kind of monstrosity could the filling be; a generous helping of 6X, farmer Perkin’s old boot fished from the crammer, perhaps?! How offal could it possibly be (see what I did there?)

I’ll tell you, shall I, as that’s a lot of questions to digest? Though when I do tell you, you might favour digesting them instead. Basically, it’s cold calf’s head, complete with brains, some pickled tongue, sweetbreads, lamb and veal added, with bacon, and hard-boiled eggs; nice.

It might not sound very Devizes, being it’s got brains, but the final couple of questions for today are, can we modernise it, with, I dunno, doner meat and chips? And why all the fuss now about some fifteenth century pie recipe?

While I’m happy to hear many events of The Devizes Food Festival have already sold out, they’re keen to bring back the pie, least with an opportunity to create a new Devizes Pie.

Yes, keen cooks and pie enthusiasts are being invited to create a new recipe for the celebrated Devizes Pie, which will appeal to modern tastes at this year’s Devizes Food and Drink Festival.

There will be two categories – a meat pie and a vegetarian pie – and an entrance fee of £3 per pie.

Sponsored by multi award-winning West Country Devizes based butchers, Walter Rose & Sons, the winner of each category will receive a £100 voucher to spend on Rose’s exceptional locally sourced meat, fresh fish or choose from their extensive delicatessen products.

Entrants will be asked to create a pie containing any assortment of meat, vegetables, and other flavourful ingredients encased in pastry and suitable to be served and eaten cold [as was the original].  Imagination and taste exploration is the order of the day!

Judging will take place at 12 noon on Saturday 25th September, the opening day of the weeklong festival, in the Corn Exchange, Market Place, Devizes. The Walter Rose Devizes Pie competition 2021 will be judged by Lisa Markwell, editor of ‘Dish’, the Sunday Times food magazine, Steve Cook, director Walter Rose & Sons and Chris Gay, Mayor of Devizes, who said, “this is such an excellent competition. I have eaten a Devizes pie made from the original old recipe and it is certainly not a pie that would appeal to many modern pie eaters! A new and delicious Devizes Pie, to add to all our other tasty, local specialties, is a wonderful idea. Well done, Devizes Food Festival.”

Quite; you and Terry Wogan alone, Chris!

TO ENTER: Enter on-line via the festival website or via Devizes Books, tickets will be available from 16th August. Entrants will need to register their interest, complete the entry form and purchase a £3 ticket per pie [link on website]. Each person may enter as many pies as they like, with each pie attracting a £3 entrance fee.

PIES must be served cold, measure about 20cm/8” in diameter and be enveloped in a pastry case. An ingredients list should be provided highlighting any known allergens. Two categories: Meat and Vegetarian.

But away with all this, sounds far too nice for a Devizine article, I want to get the lowdown on exactly why we have a calf’s brain pie in the first place, why we couldn’t be famous for an ice cream sundae or something like that instead!

The cookery book of one Mrs Dalgairns holds the answer, and she’s not even local, God dammit!

She was born in 1788 on Prince Edward Island in Canada, the location of the Anne of Green Gables books. Mrs Dalgairns was of American\Scots heritage and had family in India; she didn’t even know where Derrick’s Deals come from, let alone who Ruth Peirce was!

She produced a prodigious volume of recipes, 1,597 in total, in multiple editions, dating from 1829-1860 and with culinary influences that reflected her origins, but Devizes Food Festival explains, it is not at all obvious how she came by the recipe for Devizes Pie. She just stuck a pin in a map, I’d presume, a pie with brains after all is hardly apt!

Though the Food Festival say, the lack of clear connections can only allude to the fact that our pie was popular and is therefore a good one. You be the judge of that, I’m off down the Rowdey Cow, and would rather look forward to an updated recipe; the original recipe is below:

Cut into very thin slices, after being dressed, cold calf’s head, with some of the brains, pickled tongue, sweetbreads, lamb, veal, a few slices of bacon, and hard-boiled eggs; put them in layers into a pie-dish, with plenty of seasoning between each, of cayenne, white pepper, allspice, and salt; fill up the dish with rich gravy; cover it with a flour-and-water paste; bake it in a slow oven, and when perfectly cold, take off the crust, and turn the pie out upon a dish; garnish it with parsley and pickled eggs cut into slices.


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Wiltshire Museum; A Gem in our Town

Our rambling reporter, T.B.D Rose, hangs up her walking boots for a moment, to enjoy a guided tour of our town gem, The Wiltshire Museum….

Opened in 1873, Wiltshire Museum, on 41 Long Street Devizes, isn’t much to look at from the front but holds a nationally renowned world of wonders in its walls.

Walking me through the basics of the museum’s most famed collections was its director of over 12 years, David Dawson.

David often finds that although the museum is the major attraction for visitors, the reception with locals is a different story: they often take a “oh yeah, I went to the museum 30 years ago, there’s not much there, it’s not for me” attitude, and that it’s as simply “a tiny museum full of cobwebs and it’s stuck in a part of town they don’t go to.”

As the age-old adage goes, it’s easier to look at the outside than it is the inside.

The Assize Court

For these reasons and to save another treasured part of local history, the museum is working with Assize Court Trust in a long-term plan to make the abandoned Devizes Assize Court the new home of Wiltshire Museum.

Following a consultation this time last year, a hundred-page report of what could engage visitors was produced. It doesn’t differ much from the current set up of the museum but will probably make it worth £2,000000 to the local economy, more than twice it’s worth currently.

Although he sees the enormous potential once the museum moves to the Assizes Court, David wants people to visit the museum now and hopes to reach our local readership.

So on to the museum!

Stonehenge and the Bronze Age

Having started our interview in a part of the building that was once a Georgian grammar school, it turns out the museum is in fact five buildings knocked together, including two Georgian town houses and a link building.

We begin on the ground floor covering the Bronze Age which was once a 1980s art gallery extension, the floor having originally been converted into the museum in 1872.

David gives me the rundown.

“What we’re best known for is our prehistory collection, particularly the Bronze Age, so that’s the time from about 2200 BC to 1500 BC, and what everyone thinks of at that time is Stonehenge.” The world-famous monument that needs no introduction.

For people looking for something closer to home, “Stonehenge seems a long way away, we do have objects from a burial on top of Roundway, Roundway down, which has the largest copper dagger ever found in Britain. And that’s a much earlier burial that’s about 2300 BC. And we think he, the chap who was buried there, probably grew up on the continent. But came across and was buried here.”

The objects he was buried with are currently in a traveling exhibition in the US, having been at four venues so far it will eventually be going to New Zealand and Australia.

“At the moment we’re also lending to two exhibitions in Germany, and that’s Stonehenge and the Bronze Age. And come early next year we’ll be lending some of our stuff to the British museum for a major exhibition about prehistoric Europe, because we have the best Bronze Age collection in the country.”

“So other museums have to come to us to cover the Bronze Age.”

As it’s important to note, David eloquently explains away a common misconception about our ancestors: “Most people think people at the time were like Fred Flintstone bashing each other over the head with clubs, no! These guys were really, really sophisticated.”

I won’t spoil it any further for you but this part of the museum is certainly the place for archaeology buffs.

The Kingdom of the Saxons

Here you can learn all about the Saxon people and the coming of Christianity and the branches of the Church, the most often noted one founded by St. Nicholas and brought to our shores by St. Augustine.

In addition to this often-referenced part of our religious development, David points out a less commonly known factor, “what everyone forgets is that the Irish Church survived from the late Roman period and there were missionaries coming across from Ireland, and so in Malmesbury for example there was an Irish monk who founded a monastery, before the St. Augustine type of missionary arrived.”

Among many other colourful characters, you can also learn the life story of a Christian woman of high status, who may have been an Abbes and possibly even the daughter of a King of Wessex.

The Story of Devizes

An aptly named section which, as David put it, “does what it says on the can.”

Beginning from, well, the earliest beginning to prehistory and the Romans (there having been Roman settlements here) through to Medieval town and castle, and a wonderful quirkily constructed model by John Girvan (our local tour guide, history buff and ghost walk host) of what the town may have looked like.

And also on show is a book of charters given to the town and made in the Tudor Period, which you’ll see is beautifully illustrated.

“We also talk about the story of The Battle of Roundway, and we’ve also got some cannon balls found in the town, musket balls found in the battle site,” etc.

There’s also a section on the old Prison (the museum even has one of its thick wooden barred doors) and the Asylum.

“There’s going to be a Channel Four program that’s going to dig up bits of the Prison from people’s back gardens,” says David, that the museum is involved in, which will start essentially in the second week of September.

Then you can see the majestic mayoral robe from the 1880s, we probably had our first mayor around 12000.

Fun fact if you’re a Devizes School Student: you’ll see a mourning ring in the cabinet beside the robe, it contains a lock of hair from the lady in the portrait that hangs in the school entrance.

In the next room David told me the heart-warming story of a boy and his toy submarine (now on display in the cabinet), made by prisoners of war who had befriended him while they were in Swindon building houses.

“This toy submarine was made by guys in the camp and given to a young lad in Swindon. The guys in the camp were being taken to Swindon to help build houses and they made friends with this lad and they gave him that as a present.”

The Library

With over 20,000 books and 20,000 archaeological journals, 30,000 photos and lots of archival material, and working with “over 30 postgraduate researchers every year and over 10 universities,” it’s not only a Library but also a research hub.

For anyone wanting to look through the archive, “pretty much everything we’ve got is searchable through our online database, it’s got images of everything, I think we’ve got about 15-20,000 images.”

The library’s archive of books, some donated by authors and others bought by the museum, covers the entire county.

I bid David adieu and thanked him for the informative tour: Bear in mind this was only a tour of the highlights, there’s far more in store for visitors.

Wiltshire Museum is funded by £12,780 in grant from Wiltshire Council and £4,000 from our Town Council, but they’re worth 3 quarters of a million pounds to the local economy, because as David illustrates, “when people come here, most of our visitors are making a special visit to Devizes to come to the Museum. Then of course they’re staying in B&Bs or hotels and spending money in pubs and shops and restaurants.”

Believe me, it’s not the boring, fuddy-duddy cobwebby museum you may remember. So, I for one reckon it’s time to show our support and appreciation for Wiltshire Museum!

Us locals ought to pay our prized museum a visit now and then, especially families so our kids can engage with the exhibits and have a sense of their history.


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Is Devizes Ready for The Full-Tone Festival?!

Amidst the controversial decision by Emily Eavis to headline Jay-Z at Glastonbury Festival in 2008, in which included Noel Gallagher throwing his toys from his pram, while UK press went on a bender about an imagined ethos of exactly what Glasto is, and what it should be presenting, I read an American article hitting back with the headline “is Glastonbury big enough for Jay Z?”

One has to ponder if the author who penned such piffle in retaliation had ever seen Glastonbury, let alone been, and had any inkling what it means to so many people. On this basis I thought of, but then rejected, this headline to be “is Devizes big enough for the Full-Tone Orchestra?!”

Organiser and better half of the composer, Jemma Brown tells me the capacity of the Green is 3,000 but next weekend’s (28th-29th August) event is restricted to half, “so everyone feels safe.” But, it’s not a question of “is Devizes big enough for the Full-Tone Orchestra,” rather our fortunate premise, the Full-Tone Orchestra is now a part of Devizes, no less than the brewery or canal. They’ve ventured to other local towns, Marlborough College, Swindon’s Wyvern, to present their eclectic genre orchestra, but Devizes is home sweet home, and 95% of shows have been based here.

Here’s the biting point, and something I’ve come to understand better, staging such an event like this is not pocket money. Yes, Full-Tone successfully crowdfunded to put on a free show in the Market Place in 2019, but this is not an avenue any event organiser can slog and expect to come up trumps each time.

For an entertainment package as stupendous as Full-Tone to be in our humble dwelling, it needs and deserves our support, and while a majority will tell you so on the street, ears to the ground unearth some rather inexcusable and inappropriate notions. Firstly, you cannot expect anyone to provide you a free show annually, just because they did once before, and secondly, it’s an “erm,” to the idea Full-Tone is some kind of commercial enterprise gaining only to profit. “It’s just not why we’re doing it,” Jemma pledges, “we’re doing it to bring an orchestra into the centre of Devizes and for the love of all things music!”

At this conjunction, just one weekend away from the show, you have to ask yourself, would the same level of display as 2019’s Market Place not become tiresomely samey after a while? Full-Tone wish to expand on the experience, to progress and make it better. “The sound and lighting will be fabulous and to do that we have to pay good dollar!” Jemma tells me, and to do such, ticket sales is the only option.

Phew, glad I got that off my chest! Can we all be friends again? Anyone putting on any event right now needs our backing and deserves a medal, in my honest opinion. Anyone organising an event must worry it’s either going to go two ways, overloaded with a cabin-fevered raging mob or fail to impress enough to drag apprehensive troops out from their lockdown shelters, as if the hospitality industry isn’t it in enough deep water. My chat with Jemma today went onto me mentioning a time I was juggling the attention of three gigs in Devizes in one night; a time we took live music for granted, and looking back now, well, you go figure.

Least we can be sure, unlike Emily Eavis and her longing to update her father’s institution, Noel Gallagher won’t be on a wobbler because an upcoming US hip hop star is upstaging him! 28th-29th August sees the sixty-piece Full-Tone Orchestra present a very local affair, not only their all-encompassing themes, from big band and film scores to euphoric dance anthems, but Pete Lamb’s Heartbeats, jazz singer Archie Combe and The Red Bandits on Sunday.

It’s been some years since I sat in Rowde School after school hours. No, not like a kid in detention, rather to see the orchestra rehearsing the Star Wars theme. I believe Jemma was encouraging me to direct my satirical rant column from Index;Wiltshire, No Surprises Living in Devizes to more positive pastures, which kind of went totally against the concept of the column. But it was running fast out of ammo, because, underneath it all, Devizes is a great town and I love living here.

Hence, Devizine was born, a sort of counter-strike against all the negativity I once brushed Devizes with. So, if you want to blame someone, Jemma is also an accessory! The icing on that cake will be a Devizes rendezvous on the Green; hope to see you there!

Tickets Here.


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Etchilhampton Hill, The View Above Devizes

Our rambling reporter, T.B.D Rose is roaming once again, eastwards out of Devizes this time…..

Along the A342, you can see the signature Lion Monument at the entrance of an uphill road.


If you follow it you’ll find yourself by the Chalk Pit where you can park up instead of taking the road down into Etchilhampton village itself.
You’re on Etchilhampton Hill.


Walking past the Pit there’s a gate taking you to the Hilltop.


Even on a wet day it’s a wonderful walk for anyone willing to brave the elements and take in the unique view of Devizes and the historic scenic hillsides.


You might even be able to make out the Pewsey White Horse in the distance!
And if you’re ambitious you can walk over the hill onto Etchilhampton Road which leads to Coate and eventually the canal, beside which you can find the reputable pub The Bridge Inn on Horton Road.


The hill has several other paths, one for example which leads out onto Brickley Lane where you can head into Devizes Town, and another through a wooded pathway that comes out opposite Stert Village.


There are countless recommendable shortcuts and walkways you can take in the surrounding area and the fun is in discovering them. Hikers, sightseers and locals looking for a long walk take note.


Stonehenge Saved!

Whether, for you, it was a case of our maintaining our heritage for future generations, Pagan rights, as an economical attraction, saving the tax-payer a cool two-billion-plus, or the devastating environmental damage, no one can deny Stonehenge is our county’s world-renowned historic monument; we cherish it.

Come on, admit it, even Clark Griswold had more idea than Transport Secretary Grant Shapps! Last week I was imagining this article to be rant, major bad news, as the tunnel project risked the future of site, the surroundings and its right to be a World Heritage Site, and for what? The legacy of Boris? To shave a few minutes off commuting times?

But no, I will have to angle my antagonising elsewhere, because the High Court has today held that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps acted unlawfully when granting permission for a dual carriageway and short tunnel through the Stonehenge World Heritage Site; at long last logic presides over power!

The judge found that the Secretary of State unlawfully failed to consider less-damaging ways of relieving the existing A303. UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, and others have repeatedly called for a longer tunnel so as to protect the whole of the WHS. Just days before the judgment UNESCO’s Committee warned that if the shorter tunnel goes ahead, then Stonehenge might be placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger next year.

As part of his judgement, Mr Justice Holgate noted the Transport Secretary’s acceptance that the road scheme would have caused permanent and irreversible harm to the WHS.

The Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site is delighted, “we are enormously grateful to our legal team for their work on the case. We also acknowledge the brilliant work of the Stonehenge Alliance, and the hundreds of thousands of individuals worldwide who have, over many years, passionately supported the campaign to protect our internationally famous WHS. We are especially indebted to over 3,000 individuals who have helped to fund the legal action to date.”

John Adams, OBE, SSWHS Director and Acting Chairman of the Stonehenge Alliance, said, “we could not be more pleased about the outcome of the legal challenge. The Stonehenge Alliance has campaigned from the start for a longer tunnel if a tunnel should be considered necessary. Ideally, such a tunnel would begin and end outside the WHS. But now that we are facing a climate emergency, it is all the more important that this ruling should be a wake-up call for the Government. It should look again at its roads programme and take action to reduce road traffic and eliminate any need to build new and wider roads that threaten the environment as well as our cultural heritage.”

But we’re not clear out of the water yet. SSWHS awaits the Secretary of State’s decision on whether he will appeal against the judgement. Should he do so, the legal battle will continue to save the Stonehenge landscape for future generations to marvel at and enjoy. Continue to support the campaign, more details here: https://stonehengealliance.org.uk/

Please sign the petition and share!

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/save-stonehenge-world-heritage-site


Devizes Medieval Trail: from town centre to Church and from Hanging Grounds to Hillworth Park.

I’m delighted to introduce you to our new writer, T.B.D. Rose, here with details of a nice local walk. I’m hoping this might become something of series, as we all need a little more exercise and there’s such a huge selection of beautiful tracks and trails to choose from! Thank you, TYG.

Beginning past our Town Hall currently adorned with Union Jack’s and through St. John’s Court into St. John’s Church, where once you pass the gate into the church yard you turn right and head over the Bridge leading you to Devizes Medieval Trail.

Standing on the bridge, on the way out of the church yard almost completely untouched by time and leading into suburbia, you can take in the ancient majesty of Devizes Castle from afar.

At the end of the trail, you’ll come into the Hanging Grounds, where you’ll see a plaque detailing the Castle’s fascinating historical significance. A word of warning about the Hanging Grounds though: it’s said little can grow and nothing can be built there due to its haunting history.

From the Hanging Grounds you can turn right to the local Co-op or turn left and walk till you reach the entrance of Hillworth park.

Hillworth park, almost every corner of which holds an exciting activity or notable attraction waiting to be discovered, is an all-round informative and just fun place to explore with its beautifully maintained landscape and small but scrumptious café. Their toasties get a recommendation from me!

So that pretty much sums up our journey, it’s gorgeous, tranquil and altogether convenient for anyone visiting or local who fancies a good stroll through what must be one of our most historical Devizes areas.

T.B.D. Rose


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