Shapwick News Spring 2023

Coronation Time! Shapwick Village Green PC/Community Group Shapwick Starlets WI Thoughts for Easter Dora's Poetry Corner Bunny Hop! Global Shapwick? From the Horse's Mouth Dovecote School Village Hall News Affordable Housing Shapwick Jam(s) Verges, Ditches & Trees History Group Broadband Survey Cricket Club Avalon Marshes I wish Shapwick had... What's On One year on from the Platinum Jubilee celebrations we have another opportunity to join together as a village, to celebrate the Coronation of King Charles III. To this end Shapwick Community Group is organising: A CORONATION BIG LUNCH ON SUNDAY 7TH MAY STARTING AT 2:00PM AT THE VILLAGE AND ON “THE VILLAGE GREEN” SO PLEASE SAVE THE DATE Volunteer to help on the day Donate food for the Buffet Lunch Are you a qualified First Aider prepared to be available for the games? Do you have access to any equipment we will require for the “Sports Day Events”: sacks, bean bags and the like. King Charles has also designated Monday 8th May as “The Big Help Out”. We are considering organising a Village Litter Pick, footpath maintenance work, and possibly a communal seed planting. Do you have any other ideas, big and small, that would benefit the community? We would love to hear about them: please email Or text / call Graham on 07484160913 How else can everyone help? A “Coronation Big Lunch” organised by the Shapwick Starlets, with food donations from the community. The Starlets will be co-ordinating your food donations so that we do not end with a mountain of sausage rolls, so please watch out for more information A fancy dress competition for “The Best Dressed Coronation Guest” in different age groups Sports Day events for all the family: egg & spoon, sack race, bean bag race etc. A Table Tennis tournament on our new Outside Table Tennis Table. So far the plans include: S PR I NG I S SUE | APR I L 2 0 2 3 Call for Volunteers & Contributions In this issue: S P R I N G I S S U E , A P R I L 2 0 2 3 B R O U G H T T O Y O U B Y T H E S H A P W I C K C O M M U N I T Y G R O U P 1 1 2 2 2 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 5 6 7 7 7 8 8 8 8 IT’S CORONATION TIME! It's been a long time...but We're almost there! As this issue of Shapwick News goes to the printers, this historic opportunity to acquire the Village Green for perpetuity and for the people of Shapwick is very close to becoming reality. See p.2. Shapwick Village Green

2 S PR I NG I S SUE | APR I L 2 0 2 3 Parish Council and Community Group: Highlights Shapwick Starlets WI SUE SELLICK GRAHAM CROUCHER CHAIR OF SHAPWICK PC Shapwick Village Green update It is so exciting to be able to report that the purchase of “The Village Green” is now in its final stages, with sufficient finance available through local charitable grants and the use of Parish Council reserves. The legal teams are now preparing contracts ready for approval and signature. By the time this Shapwick News appears we will have held two Celebration and Consultation events to help plan the future development of The Village Green, driven by the wishes and ideas of Shapwick residents. We will have also launched our Justgiving campaign (try the QR code below!) and started to seek additional grants to drive the chosen developments forward. Time really does seem to have flown by since the last Shapwick News but much has been achieved, most of which is reflected elsewhere in this issue. The Parish Council has been focussed on the purchase of the Village Green but looking to the future, has also found time to engage with Somerset Highways (see p. 6), and kick-off an exciting IT project to evaluate the potential for a new Parish Council website and a possible wider IT solution across the various Shapwick community groups. We agreed to increase the village precept by approx £5.00 per month per household. This is the first increase for 5 years and aside from inflation reflects the increased activity of the Parish Council and anticipated additional costs from the ownership of the Village Green. The main focus of the last Community Group meeting was to start planning for the Coronation Big Lunch on Sunday 7th May (see p.1). All agendas and full minutes are available on We would love to see more villagers at our bi-monthly meetings. See also "I wish Shapwick..." on p. 8! I would like to to thank everyone for making this historic purchase possible: the part played by past Parish Councillors, the hard working current Councillors, those villagers who have already made generous financial pledges and above all the residents of Shapwick for your support. So many interesting speakers booked this year, and lots of things planned for the forthcoming months! We were entertained in February by Kay, a living history presenter who volunteers at Glastonbury Abbey. In front of our eyes she transformed from Kay into Alice. Her talk has inspired us so much that we are planning a visit to the Abbey. In April, we will be busy crafting in readiness for the Coronation party on 8 May. Royal bunting is the theme to decorate the hall/village green...hoping to try out some découpage. We will be helping out with refreshments and as the competition for April is the best homemade crown, we may well be wearing them when serving tea! Can you hear distant drums? Well in May you might be able to as we are going to be having a Fabdrumming workshop with Marion, so excited about this, such a fun night. For June Rob is coming to tell us tales of Mayhem in Shapwick including a link to the Titanic! Our walking group is well and truly up and running, well more of a leisurely stroll to be honest. We have had fun recreating the scene at Jan Swaine’s Leap and tried out some tree hugging too! You can follow us on Facebook – Shapwick Starlets WI. Also see what has been going on behind the scenes on our Bag Full of Hugs Page and how we are supporting women who are fleeing domestic violence. We meet the second Tuesday of each month apart from August, at 7.30pm in the Village Hall.

Dora's Poetry Corner 3 S PR I NG I S SUE | APR I L 2 0 2 3 RICH TWEEDY Thoughts for Easter For details call Teresa on 07866 751 593. Shapwick Bunny Hop TERESA KING If you prefer a more gentle pace but want to explore our beautiful countryside that morning, why not join the Village Easter Walk, starting at the Village Hall at 10am. The walk (led by Steve Dunster) follows the first section of the run route, from the Vicarage Lane footpath, down through the fields to Buscott Farm then back to Shapwick along the lane. It is about 4 miles and you get to cheer on runners along the way. All welcome - just wear shoes to suit the conditions (muddy if wet). If you would like to donate a cake to refresh those runners and walkers and raise some money for the hall, please bring something along on the morning (ingredients listed please). DORA WATKINS Newborn Lamb A sudden breath of indrawn cold Silver grass beneath my feet I snuggle up to mum and bleat: “It’s too cold for a minute old!” I wander round to explore The hard unyielding earthen floor The ground vibrates beneath my feet I run quickly back to mum Look up to see a giant come Now human and lamb must meet He’s come from a place called farm With bright red coat to keep me warm Now I can run and jump and bleat Find my feet in lots of ways Happy carefree fun-filled days Bleat to others when we meet It’s really good to be alive So I must eat and grow and thrive Hi folks, Where do we turn for hope in a world full of crisis? We’re coming to the Easter season, when Christians celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus. This is the centrepoint of Christianity, the fulcrum around which everything turns. But what if it’s all just a myth? There’s very little doubt that Jesus was an actual figure in history: the evidence, even outside the Bible is far too strong. But we need to know why we can trust the stories of Jesus’s death and resurrection. Two quick points: He was really dead – In John’s gospel, the Jewish leaders wanted no dead bodies remaining on the crosses before Passover, so the soldiers were sent to break the legs of those crucified. But as Jesus was already dead, “one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.” We now know scientifically how the separation of blood is an immediate sign of death, which shows that Jesus was really dead. He really rose again – When Thomas doubted that Jesus had really risen, he insisted that he touch the nail marks in Jesus hands and feet to be sure it really was Jesus. A few days later, Jesus appeared and told Thomas to do exactly that, to know that he had bodily risen from the dead. Through the events of Good Friday and Easter, we see that God is sovereign even over life and death itself. Faith in Jesus, the risen son of God, provides an anchor when the world around us seems so uncertain, and gives us hope for the future. Every blessing, Rich Tweedy Don't forget to cheer on the participants of the Annual Shapwick Bunny Hop as they bound through the fields and lanes of Shapwick on Easter Monday morning. In the past we've had floods, hurricanes, icy rain and hot sunshine - but this has never deterred those hardy runners, spurred on by the thought of the village hall refreshments and donated cakes, and of course our famous race memento - Bunny Hop cider from Hecks to take home. Race proceeds go to a local foodbank.

For the first time ever I kidded two goats. I had two of Dovecote School’s pygmy girl goats that were due around the same time as the lambs. I was more nervous about the 2 goats than 60 sheep! Thankfully Blossom kidded by herself, and while Pickles needed a hand, I'm pleased to say it was just like lambing a sheep!! Baby goats appear into the world with full beautiful hair and once dry look absolutely perfect!! With the 60 ewes finished I have been on the lookout for animals for the school. We have now got two female baby guinea pigs called Eccles and Rhubarb, named of course by the children! And two Ryland ewes to breed from. We are on the lookout for Ouessant sheep females, which are the world's smallest breed and originate from the tiny French island of Ushant. I currently have a ram called Jack so we just need some women for him! So on to March and what a soggy one! But thankfully it's mild, with the grass beginning to grow. Let's hope it stops raining soon. Easter sees the last 60 of my flock to lamb, so fingers crossed for not too many sleepless nights. As soon as the weather dries up we will let you know about some open weekends to see the baby animals at the school, and of course we have some lambs there too!! Happy Easter everyone. Here's hoping for a successful farming year! Where is the year going? Spring is upon us. February brought us nice frosty sunny days and the first 60 of my ewes to lamb. The weather was perfect for putting them outside. Sheep do not mind the cold as long as their tummies are full! My dog Dino was put to sleep at the age of 14yrs and 8 months due to illness, so no more barking as I drove by you on my rounds. Dogs are the most loyal faithful friends. FRANK BARNARD 4 S PR I NG I S SUE | APR I L 2 0 2 3 For the two Shapwick metal detectorists it was the stuff of dreams. Within minutes of starting their search in a ploughed field they discovered a Roman coin. Half an hour later they unearthed thousands more. And quickly the Shapwick Hoard was international news. It happened in 1998 when cousins Kevin and Martin Elliott decided to try out their new metal detectors on the family’s Northbrook Farm. Altogether they uncovered more than nine thousand silver denarii, the largest number ever found in Britain. The Elliotts were swift to disclose their find to the authorities and the hoard, valued at £265,000, was declared a Treasure by an inquest. It was ultimately purchased by the Somerset Heritage Service for display in the county’s museum in Taunton where it can be seen today. The Shapwick Roman villa Overall the coins ranged in date from 31 BC to 224 AD and experts estimated their contemporary value equated to ten years pay for a Roman legionary. When Shapwick made Global News! Some were extremely rare, including two from the reign of the emperor Didius Julianus who only ruled for a few weeks in 193 AD. Later, when archaeologists carried out excavations, they identified the site of a previously unknown courtyard villa and established that the coins had been buried in the corner of a small room. But why were they placed there in the first place? There are many theories, from keeping valuables safe during periods of unrest, through hiding ill-gotten gains, to depositing them deliberately for ritual reasons. From the Horse's Mouth TRACEY LOCKYER Dovecote School The outdoor area for our Forest school area and the climbing frame are nearly complete. These will help the students learn about the natural environment, develop problemsolving and communication skills and strengthen positive relationships. Dovecote Farm has seen new arrivals born at the farm over the last couple of months: 3 baby goats, 2 guinea pigs, and several of Tracey’s sheep and their lambs which everyone has enjoyed bottle feeding! More in a future issue of Shapwick News on other new developments at Dovecote School! MEL MORGAN

Shapwick Community Land Trust As notified in the last Shapwick News, a public meeting was held at the Cricket Pavilion on 11 January, attended by 24 residents. Alison Ward of Middlemarch Community Led Housing gave an informative presentation about the possibilities for us to create some homes for an affordable rent within Shapwick; homes which would be for rent in perpetuity. People were invited to leave their names if they wished to be involved with such a project. A small group has emerged to form a steering group, which has held two further meetings, and is moving through the process of formal registration as a Charitable Community Benefit Society. Tim Cann has volunteered to be our Chairman through this stage, and I have volunteered to be Secretary. Once we have formal registration we will hold an open meeting with a view to explaining what we hope to achieve in more detail, and invite people to become members of the society for a nominal amount. As soon as is practicable after that, we will hold our first AGM for all members to attend and vote for a Board of Directors. In 2011 there were 18 homes in Shapwick being occupied for an affordable rent. In 2023 there are only seven; we are trying to do something about that. If anyone would like to know about the project please ring me on 210119, or email To stave off the winter blues the “Shapwick Jam” Team conceived the idea of holding a “Chilli Jam” in the village hall. Tickets for this more intimate venue quickly sold out and all was set for a good night. On the evening of 28th January the hall was full and eagerly awaiting the performers. First up were “Turner” (Molly Dibble and Fin Dawes) for an Indie Rock session playing their own material. It was then Chilli Jam.............................................................Shapwick Jam! Thanks to everyone who supported the evening and for the compliments and encouragement received on the night and since. We hope to see you at the main event, The 2023 Shapwick Jam on Saturday 13th May. S TUA R T DENNE S Affordable Housing for Shapwick? 5 S PR I NG I S SUE | APR I L 2 0 2 3 BR I DGE T DAWE S , NE R I NA S COT T Village Hall events and news The Village Hall hosted the Chilli Jam in January, a great event and good to see the hall full of people (See p. 8). In February we had our second breakfast morning which was a great success, with lots of people enjoying the atmosphere and a chat and relaxing over a Full English Breakfast with time to read the newspaper, a new addition thanks to Michael Motum. This month also saw the first draw of the 100 Club. Congratulations to winners Jenny Dennes and Charles Rayment. The 100 club is an easy way to support the Hall and have a chance of winning in the monthly draw. It is £12 per number for the year. If you’d like to join please email In March the Curry Night saw the hall decorated and with authentic music and a bar a good crowd enjoyed a variety of Indian food. Thank you to all that have supported our activities and helped raise much needed funds to keep the hall going. The Village Hall committee would welcome new members who would like to be involved and lend a hand running this village asset. If this is of interest to you please get in touch on the above email. We would love to hear from you. THE JAM TEAM time for food, which had to be Chilli Con Carne didn’t it! The second act of the night were “Feels Like July” (Jodie Mellor and Charlie Tyrrell-Smith) down from Bristol, a singer-songwriter acoustic duo playing a mixture of originals and covers. They recently featured on BBC Introducing for the West so it was great to have them to play for us.

the adopted highways, footpaths and verges. Verges are maintained; but the height and width of verges is not the Council’s responsibility provided it does not impact on safety of the highway. ditches, but only where the ditch or channel has been dug as a specific project to protect the highway (normally in large-scale modern projects). safety of the highway, including flooding, damage to the surface. culverts, if the water course was in existence before the road was created. Somerset Highways are responsible for Culvert under High Lane Highways are going to jet the culvert, now that the silt in the ditch flowing into the culvert has been cleared. Northbrook Road Culvert (Near Sunflower Cottage) When the ends of the culvert have been repaired, Highways will repair the damage caused by heavy traffic. Meanwhile they plan to install high visibility marker posts. Northbrook Road (dip in road) When the budgets allow (after April 2023), Highways will install a concrete channel in the verge, along with other channels throughout the embankments to improve the flow of the surface water. Northbrook Road, (corner by Coppice Gate Farm) The verge has been damaged significantly by traffic. Once the ditch has been cleared to improve the water flow and when the weather is drier, Highways will re-visit and will look to install hi-visibility posts on the bend to encourage traffic to move out into the road. Kent Lane (area near Kent Farm) The culvert is sufficient to take the large volume of water but will need to be checked by neighbouring properties to avoid it getting blocked by large debris. The flow rate is high enough to ensure the culvert is self-cleansing of small material. Additional channels will be dug, by Highways, in the embankments throughout Kent Lane to ensure surface water can drain through the verges. The height of the embankments is not the responsibility of Highways and therefore they will remain high unless the Parish council wishes to fund the work. 6 S PR I NG I S SUE | APR I L 2 0 2 3 Finding it hard because the photos a bFlack and white? Find a flourition of Shapwick News at: https://www.shapwickparishcounci Remember! Full colour issues of Shapwick News at Verges and ditches - the work goes on PAUL ROGERS Recently, on a suitably wet and windy day Parish Councillors met Liam Gill, Assistant Highways Manager, SCC, to discuss a number of highways issue within the village, particularly those related to verges and ditches. Liam Gill outlined the responsibilities of the various interested parties as follows: - Landowners are responsible for Any ditch or water course running through the property, including those alongside public highways. A landowner must take all reasonable and practical steps to maintain the ditch/waterway to prevent flooding onto nearby highways, including the removal of silt and debris to prevent any culverts from getting blocked. Culverts which are not maintained by the Council are the responsibility of the adjoining landowners who own the subsoil beneath the highway to the midpoint of the road. Heavy rain, a sloping site, drainage systems from another age: silt blocking culverts is a common problem in Shapwick Parish Council responsibilities The PC must assist the Highways Department in reporting issues as and when they are discovered. We then visited a number of sites around the village and where possible a plan of action was agreed: Recently, Shapwick News reported on Ash Dieback (SN, October 2022, p. 3). Tree fellings can be dismaying but are sometimes necessary. If you feel strongly about protecting a healthy tree though, it is possible to apply for a Tree Protection Order (TPO). The process is described at: To find out which trees already have TPOs, and much else, go to the Sedgemoor Interactive Map at: click on the Map Legend icon top right and choose filters such as Planning Applications, Planning Restrictions, Conservation etc.

Broadband Survey Members also plan to record personal recollections with Shapwick’s longer term residents, and undertake other projects to share with the group, for example using census data to conduct ‘Shapwick house through time’ investigations – fascinating stuff! We’re also on the lookout for old photos or memorabilia from the past village times, and can record, preserve and return any documents you might have. Please get in touch at if you can help, or would like to join us for future events – all welcome! Shapwick and Polden Cricket Club JON BA L L Spring is here! Our first interclub game is Saturday 15th April. Then our 3 senior teams’ league campaigns start first weekend of May. Our growing Ladies section have started training at Dovecote School; they start their league campaign on Sunday 14th May. Our Juniors from ages 5-16 start training on Friday nights after Easter: we will be running an “All Stars” programme for boys and girls aged 5-8; Dynamo girls only 9-11 year olds; and enter 4 age-group leagues where we play many local teams. Solar Panels to reduce our outgoings to ensure we are sustainable and keep prices low. Follow us on Facebook for updates! It’s been great to see so much support for the group, set up as somewhere for villagers to share their interest in the rich history of Shapwick and the local area. After an illuminating inaugural talk by Mark Lidster, Sedgemoor Conservation Officer, the group went on to discuss their individual historical interests, and plan future events. S PR I NG I S SUE | APR I L 2 0 2 3 7 Old News Corner... with Shapwick History Group JOHN ANDERSON STEVE MCAULIFFE, TERESA KING, GRAHAM CROUCHER We toured Bridgwater’s Blake Museum in March, followed by a pub visit for, er, educational purposes. In April we plan to visit Avalon Archaeology’s Discovery Tour. Future speakers over the year will include one from the Somerset Vernacular Building Research team (who conducted an amazingly detailed study into Shapwick’s traditional buildings). With only 32 responses it is hard to reach firm conclusions and the results should not be used to make purchasing decisions. Of the suppliers listed, BT had the highest count with 19 out of 32 of the responses, and no other supplier had more than 3 records. So we have consolidated all other suppliers into a non BT category in the table and comments below. Readers must make their own judgements, but here are few observations: - Several months ago Shapwick Community Group organised a Broadband Survey to try and establish some facts about the often mentioned issue of internet performance in Shapwick. 22 out of 32 reported Excellent, Good or Satisfactory performance. BT users report a higher percentage of Excellent, Good or Satisfactory Results on performance by location support some of the anecdotal comments villagers have made, but again the response numbers were too small for firm conclusions. The survey did indicate that there is a notable proportion of households in Shapwick that use the internet at least sometimes to work from home. Of the 32 that responded, 20 said they use the internet constantly, regularly or sometimes to work from home. This is certainly something to keep in mind when thinking about the future of Shapwick. performance, although there are numerous other possible reasons for this. Thank you to all who took part in the survey. We hope that that the results are of interest. If you think the survey is worth repeating to try and gain a greater number of responses please put a comment on “I wish Shapwick……” at (See p. 8). How would you rate the performance of your internet? (by supplier groupings) When Cricket is on the Bar will be open, so why not pop along to the best beer garden around! All are welcome to enjoy food and drink from our Pavilion. It is open every Friday from 5pm and Saturday during match days during the season. We will continue to run Friday night events throughout the summer and your support over the winter is very much appreciated. With the huge cost increases, running our club has become financially difficult and we are seeking funding for

Call for Volunteers & Contributions We need volunteers! Like to help edit future issues? Please email: Shapwick News is a quarterly publication. For the spring issue, due to publish in July, please submit contributions by no later than 10th June, preferably via email above or post in the black post box next to the Village Hall's main door. Thank you! There is no guarantee that all material submitted will be used - publication is at the Editor's discretion and articles may be amended or condensed. We do not print anonymous contributions but are prepared to include items under a pen name, if so desired, on condition that we are given the name and address of the author(s). Opinions expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of the Editor nor Parish Council. Spring Issue: Published by Shapwick Parish Council, edited by Moray McGowan. Cricket Pavilion Events Please watch for announcements of our Bingo, Open Mic/Music and Quiz nights on facebook or contact: Yoga exercise classes on Monday evenings from 7.30-8.45pm, at the Village Hall. Contact: Shapwick Community Café Village Hall, 20 April, 2-4 pm Cricket Pavilion, 25 May, 2-4 pm Saint Mary's Church, 22 June, 2-4 pm Village Hall, 20 July, 2-4 pm Shapwick Starlets WI meet the second Tuesday of the month, 7.30pm in Shapwick Village Hall. Contact us via Shapwick Starlets Facebook page or email April: Crafting for the Coronation Party May: FabDrumming Workshop June: Tales of "Mayhem in Shapwick" (See p. 2) S PR I NG I S SUE | APR I L 2 0 2 3 8 Every Sunday: Shapwick Runners' Sunday Run! Meet at the cricket field, set off at 9am. All abilities welcome! Bunny Hop, 10 April. See p. 3! Sustainable Shapwick group: for information contact Steve at: Shapwick History group (see p. 7): 19 April, Village Hall, 7pm: Looking at the old Shapwick Vicarage through time. All welcome. Contact John at: What's On Village Hall events For Village Hall events contact Nerina, 210329 or Bridget, 210185 Somerset Wildlife Trust is excited to announce two very special new developments at its two flagship reserves on the Avalon Marshes - Westhay Moor National Nature Reserve and Catcott Nature Reserve: EMILY WEATHERBURN Avalon Marshes: A New Digital Dimension A new wheelchair-friendly boardwalk has been constructed at Westhay Moor, leading to an amazing new ‘island’ viewing hide, which the Trust believes will improve accessibility on site and provide visitors with further opportunities to connect with nature in a new and immersive way. These projects have been funded by the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund and tie in with the Trust’s ambition to enable more people to access nature easily, and to break down perceived barriers to visiting nature reserves that might otherwise deter those new to nature from visiting. You can read more on the Somerset Wildlife Trust website: New digital visitor interpretation technology at the sites enables visitors, particularly those new to nature or to the Trust’s reserves, to make the most of their visit and learn about the site and local wildlife from their smartphones, without needing 4G coverage. Coronation Big Lunch, Sunday 7 May, on the Village Green! See p. 1 Thanks to everyone who has provided suggestions for enhancing our village and community via our 'I wish Shapwick....' link, now at: Many of your great ideas have already been implemented (and reported in Shapwick News): a regular Community Cafe, a new dog poo bin in High Lane, History and Sustainability groups, a survey on broadband problems, I wish Shapwick had... TERESA KING, GRAHAM CROUCHER and events taking place at the hall and pavilion for all ages (breakfasts, curry nights, music events, quizzes). Please keep those good ideas coming, and if you'd like to join the Village Community Group to help make things happen, please leave your contact details at the end of the survey or contact