work party 23rd May

There were four of us for today’s work party – Dean, Sally, Rob and me (Kevin). In between the rain showers we set to work tidying some of the flower borders. After several months of not being able to hold work parties, nature has started to reclaim the station site again. But, to be honest, I really like the slightly wild look and it is nice to see the colourful wild flowers taking hold in some areas. We will continue to keep the grass trimmed around the picnic areas and on the platforms, but for now it’s actually good to just let nature take its course. And of course it’s ‘No Mow May’ when grass should be left uncut to encourage wild flowers (which sounds like a good excuse to use)! What do you think?

a welcome donation

We have recently received a generous donation towards the Spetisbury Station Project from Ashley Babbs of the local Blandford Estate Agent. Ashley spent the majority of his childhood living in Spetisbury, and has many happy memories playing on the old railway line, Spetisbury Rings and the water meadows. In more recent years Ashley has visited the old station many times with his children. In recognition of our hard work at the station he wanted to make a donation to help the project, so kindly got in touch.

If you are looking for a local agent with real knowledge of the area, do get in touch with Ashley and his colleagues!

Thank you Ashley for your donation, we are always pleased to support local businesses.

work party 9th May, we need your help!

We’re back! We held out first work party of the year today now that lockdown restrictions have been eased, and it was great to be back at the station. We were joined by Frances, one of our gardening ladies, who did a good job of tidying her flower bed. Unfortunately, the heavy rain of yesterday and the steady drizzle this morning meant that we couldn’t accomplish much today, but we did manage to clear the steps up to the platform of weeds. Our little wildlife pond was also looking very attractive now that the plants have matured a bit more.

Four months of no work parties has meant that the station site isn’t looking as neat and tidy as we would normally like, with much grass cutting, weeding and hedge cutting now needed. To be honest, the small team of volunteers do struggle to keep on top of things and we would welcome new members to help out in any capacity. None of the team actually live in Spetisbury, and we would be particularly pleased to see local residents join us to help look after their outdoor space. Details about how to join us can be found here.

wildlife pond

a ‘might have been’ railway scheme from the 1890s….

A follower has kindly contacted us about a fascinating proposed railway scheme which would have greatly changed Blandford as a railway town, and provided increased train connections from surrounding villages including Spetisbury.

In the 1890s the Wilts, Dorset & East Devon Railway was an ambitious plan to construct a new route from Salisbury to Exeter via Blandford. The first 21 mile section would have left the Salisbury to Yeovil line at Wilton and pass through new stations at Broadchalke, Sixpenny Handley and Pimperne before joining the Somerset & Dorset railway at Blandford, where a new junction would have been built. The line would have then run for 11 miles through Blandford St Mary, Winterbourne Whitechurch and Bere Regis to join the London & South Western Railway’s Poole to Dorchester line at Moreton. The line would have then continued 50 miles through Shipton Gorge, Bridport, Charmouth, Lyme Regis, Seaton and Sidmouth and connect with the L&SWR line at Topsham, just a few miles from Exeter.

Plans drawn up by J.F. Errington Barnes of Dorchester sought to ‘connect the watering-places of Devonshire and Dorsetshire and develop the resources of the district.’ The Western Gazette of 23rd November 1894 reported: ‘The country through which the proposed line will pass is certain to be benefitted, a large quantity of agricultural and dairy produce, at present to be conveyed by road for long distances. The local population amounts to 90,000, and if this is to be added to Salisbury and Exeter, the total reaches about 140,000. The advantages possessed by the project railway are obvious and its construction would be welcomed by the large number of landowners, mill owners, farmers and other traders as well as residents in the localities affected.’ The Wilts, Dorset & East Devon railway would have provided faster journey times between London, Dorchester and Exeter, but in the end the line was never built.

The information above is taken from an article published in the Blandford Express .