Shapwick News Spring 2022

Participation and support by many from within the village Discovering and generating lots of great ideas that can be delivered by the group Great communication Community Group will be We believe that Shapwick News will be our great communication channel. As the first step towards discovering and generating ideas, we want to follow up on the successful 2020 survey by Front Foot Shapwick. You are invited to return the suggestions slip on page 4, completing the statement “I wish Shapwick ……......... ”, by either posting it in the black post box next to the main door of the Village Hall, via a Google form by typing in the link (we will shortly post this link on the Shapwick Residents’ FB page) or by email to If you prefer to remain anonymous, please use slip or link. All responses will be considered. If you wish to help, support, volunteer or contribute in any way, please use any one of the above communication routes to let us know! In this issue: It’s really exciting to introduce Shapwick News to everyone once again. I am sure those familiar with Shapwick News over the past 30 years will recognise many of their old favourites! A team of volunteers helped to produce this first issue. Going forward, Shapwick News will be published quarterly by a revolving group of editors and contributors. To maximise the success of Shapwick News, we will need to welcome new editors and contributors from across the whole of the Shapwick community so please do think how you may be able to help and support us. The revival of Shapwick News is one of the first actions by the newly formed Shapwick Community Group, a group formed by the Shapwick Parish Council. We were inspired by the concept of “Community Led Plans” which many other villages across the UK have adopted. If you search the internet, you can find many examples and sources of inspiration. Plans range from improving village facilities, to protecting red squirrels, to affordable housing projects. So many things are possible! Vital to the success of the Shapwick S P R I N G I S S U E , A P R I L 2 0 2 2 GRAHAM CROUCHER, CHAIR OF SHAPWICK PC Welcome to the all new Shapwick News TOM MI LLS The Bunny Hop's Back! Welcome Page 1 The Bunny Hop's Back! Page 1 & 3 PC Updates Page 2 A Bag Full of Hugs Page 2 From the Horse's Mouth Page 2 Dora's Poetry Corner Page 2 An Update from Dovecote School Page 3 'Shapwick's First Hop!' - History on our Doorstep Page 3 Shapwick Statistics: Rainfall Page 3 Homes for Ukraine Page 4 Shapwick Walks Page 4 Village Jubilee Picnic Page 5 Celebrating Local Wildlife, an Exhibition Page 5 Cricket Club & Fixtures Page 5 What's On (including the Shapwick Jam!) Page 6 Call for Volunteers & Submissions Page 6 1 It was a sell-out return for one of Shapwick’s great community events. The Shapwick Bunny Hop is organised and run by villagers, for villagers and local runners across the county and further afield. 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 Well done to those who spotted 'Thankful Village' in the header, a nod to Shapwick being one of just 53 small parishes throughout England and Wales from which all soldiers returned from the Great War. history/somersets-thankfulvillages The long-awaited return of this gruelling 7.5mile trail race after two hard Covid cancelled years did not disappoint. The sun mainly shone as 133 runners took on the challenge to race the boundaries of Shapwick; through farm and field, footpaths and lanes, gates and stiles, across the Heath and back up into the woodland of Canada Farm. Some elite runners took advantage of the near perfect conditions to record staggering times while/ Continued on page 3

PC Updates Shapwick, the name that means Sheep farm!! So, what better way to start the farming piece than with a bit about lambing? It all starts around September when the tups From the Horse's Mouth TRACEY LOCKYER A Bag Full of Hugs is an initiative set up by Shapwick Starlets WI. The initiative supports women fleeing violence, exploitation and Dora's Poetry Corner ' APRI L GARDEN, SPRING OR WINTER' BY DORA WATKINS April garden awash with colour Freshly painted by nature's own pallet Vibrant tulips red and yellow Vie with other plants for pride of place Pale primroses peep from bright green leaves Shrubs adorned like brides in pink and white Yellow daffodils in many shades Birds are popping everywhere In the bright April sunshine Sun turns to rain, rain into sleet, sleet into snow Sneaky winter's back to have another go But not for long, the April sun has heat Spring has sprung, it will not be beat. LOCAL ELECTIONS: The result of the Election of Parish Councillors for Shapwick has been declared as UNCONTESTED. This means Shapwick’s Parish Councillors will be Lesley Gaskell, Paul Rogers, Moray McGowan, Frank Barnard, Steve Campion and Graham Croucher once the new term starts. After 12 years' service as a Parish Councillor, Laura Anderson decided not to stand this time, we all want to thank Laura for her dedicated service to the community over so many years. This means that we have one remaining vacancy on the Parish Council. If you would like to put yourself forward, please visit the PC website Fans of Channel 4’s Time Team will recognise the late Professor Mick Aston of Bristol University who led a project of exceptional archaeological & historical research into Shapwick in the ‘70s & ‘80s. Remarkable discoveries were made including the Neolithic Sweet Track that made Shapwick the most thoroughly studied parish in Somerset. Many of the findings are to be found in ‘ Drawing Somerset’s Past’ by illustrator Victor Ambrus & Steve Minnitt, copies of which were recently presented to Catcott, Ashcott & Dovecote schools by Shapwick Parish Council. 2 S PR I NG I S SUE | APR I L 2 0 2 2 A Bag Full of Hugs bags were donated to women they were supporting. Covid suspended our activities during lockdown. However, we launched the initiative again this year, on February 14th. Quite quickly after the launch we became aware of the Ukrainian refugee crisis and how our initiative could in a very small way support it. We were amazed at the generosity of the local community and were able to donate 60 bags to the appeal. We continue to run the initiative supporting local charities. Anyone who wishes to support the initiative can find us on Facebook. those in financial hardship. We collect donations of good condition secondhand handbags and unused toiletries. We then pack each handbag with the essentials, some nice to haves and a small gift (scarf etc). A tag is added to each bag; “To an Amazing Woman, we hope in some way this bag makes your day a little easier. Know that this bag is sent with Love and the belief that you can and will Succeed. Remember you are Lovely, Awesome, Brave and Strong. YOU CAN DO THIS! With Love, A Bag Full of Hugs". In 2019, when we first ran this initiative, we packed approx 150 handbags. These were donated to women’s refuges, a hostel and a police led initiative where the (boys) are put in to the ewes for mating. The ewes have a 17 day cycle and rams are normally kept in for 34 days. The rams will wear a harness and mark the ewes to show they have been served. Then 152 days later lambing begins. This year I lambed 132 ewes. Within that there were 23 lots of triplets, 1 set of quads and numerous doubles with only around 10 singles. Thankfully the weather was on my side and they were able to be turned outside quickly. Hopefully you have all enjoyed at some point seeing the lambs gambol in the fields! So as the weather gets hotter it will soon be shearing time and the dairy farmers will be getting ready to forage their crops ready for the winter again! AMANDA ALLDRIDGE

JAN SWAIN' S LEAPS FRANK BARNARD Dovecote School is moving forward! The sports hall and classrooms have all had a makeover. Jan (or John) Swain was a native of Shapwick in Somerset. He was taken in his bed a few nights after the Battle of Sedgemoor by two of Kirke’s dragoons who, on the following morning, were marching him to Bridgwater. His young wife and two children, attended by several of the villagers, followed him and when they arrived at that part of the parish called Loxley Wood he fell on his knees and petitioned that the prayer of a father doomed to death might be heard and that he might be allowed to show how far he could leap, that his children, when grown up, might keep him in remembrance. His prayer was granted, when he ran and took three successive leaps and before the soldiers had recovered from their astonishment, he had entered the adjoining coppice which is thickly wooded and full of swamps as to render it impossible for the horses to follow. He remained in the ditches of the neighbourhood until the time of slaughter was overpassed, when he returned to his happy family. JASON GODDARD, CEO Shapwick Statistics STUART DENNES An Update from Dovecote School History on our Doorstep: Shapwick's First Hop The Bunny Hop's Back! Continued from page 1 / local teenager, Jay Anderson, smashed into a 7th place finish with an incredible time of 52 mins 25 secs, closely followed by fellow Shapwick village boy, Ioan Manning. The next generation of runners has well and truly arrived! Huge congratulations to Jennifer Tweedy (just a few years older than the boys) for achieving a massive course PB on the day and collecting the prize for 1st female local runner. This event could not happen though, were it not for the magnificent local volunteers who provide such brilliant support both before and during the event; from race day organisation, running the junior events, the race marshals, the refreshments and wonderful cake donations at the village hall, the timekeepers, and the support of local landowners. Thanks also to the generous donations that enable this non-profit event to support great village causes, with this Extract from Tait’s Edinburgh Magazine, 1845, a collection of eclectic information akin to a Victorian Google. Rainfall measurements taken in Shapwick for the quarter ended 31 March amount to 120mm (nearly 5 inches), with the wettest day of 2022, 8th January, getting 13mm. During the three months we had rain on 44 days out of 90. This is considerably less than January - March 2021 when the total was 178mm, and we had rain on 52 days. The long-term average for annual rainfall in mid-Somerset is 800mm (31 inches), and we recorded 809mm for 2021. And you will have noticed several animals have started to appear on the school field (these, at the moment, are a local resident’s sheep) but when we open in August there will be a smallholding with different types of animals for our students to work with therapeutically as well as educationally. Understanding where our food comes from is a crucial part of the school. This will then encompass our revamped café for the students to try and understand the process of food production and the sensory barriers that come with food for ASC students. The new website is in place, please have a look: We have been overwhelmed with the welcome from Shapwick residents and we really appreciate all the kind words and support you are giving us. Many thanks! year’s donations going toward the village defibrillator. In the words of one runner, who travelled over 100 miles to make his Bunny Hop return, “It’s still the most beautiful village I know. It’s just a brilliantly organised local trail race that has kept all its original character”. For the full report and gallery of photos, visit 3 S PR I NG I S SUE | APR I L 2 0 2 2

Shapwick Walks – Buscott Loop I wish Shapwick …… What better time of year to explore the footpaths and lanes around Shapwick, whether walking or running. Let’s start with the Buscott classic ‘Bunny Hop’ walking route, a 4 mile rural loop with great views of the Mendips and Glastonbury Tor. This makes a lovely 40 minute run or 90 minute walk. Start from St Mary’s Church and head south up the main road past The Old Bakery and turn left at the Public Footpath sign into Vicarage Lane. At the end of the lane go through the gate between two stone pillars and follow the footpath through 4 fields to Chestnut Lane. With Glastonbury Tor on the horizon ahead, continue straight on along the lane for some 450 hundred metres until you reach a small copse on the left. Here take the green track which bears left alongside the copse. This can be overgrown, muddy and rutted. To the North you have wonderful views of the Mendip Hills including pointed Crook Peak to the North-West, Cheddar Gorge and Wells TV mast. Beerway Farm is nearby on your left. Continue along this track until you reach an open gateway into a field, and head straight on with the hedge on your right. Keep going through the fields, through 2 small metal gates, then at the third gate cross a small footbridge over a ditch and continue East through 2 more fields, now with the hedge on your left, until you reach a large gate and a stone track. Go through the gate and continue straight up the track for some 50m. Where the track bends sharply round to the right at Fullpits lane (house on your right), carry straight on over the old wooden stile. Here turn sharp left in front of a big pile of earth and head straight down the hill, keeping close to the hedge. When you reach the bottom of this field, cross the small footbridge and metal gate then carry straight on through the next field to another small gate and footbridge. After this turn sharp right and follow the path round two sides of the large field until you reach the far diagonal corner in between Fifteen Acre and Buscott Copse. You may be lucky enough to see some of the deer which roam the levels, and there is a lovely view of Wedmore Ridge in the distance and the line of houses at Meare ahead. At the corner of the field continue straight on through an open gateway and along the side of the next two fields and carry straight on until you reach the country lane (tarmacked road). Bear left along the lane and continue for about three quarters of a mile to Coppice Gate Farm (farmhouse and farm buildings on the corner), where you then turn sharp left and head up the hill past Northbrook Farm then Beerway Farm and straight back to the centre of Shapwick. Note that, apparently, in the field on the Shapwick side of Beerway Farm, is the site of the original Parish Church (St Andrews) before it was moved to the centre of the current village in 1331. Please remember - always stick to public footpaths and bridlepaths (as marked on the OS map). Please do not roam elsewhere in farmers’ fields. Also, please keep dogs on a lead where there is livestock and pick up your dog mess - not only is it unpleasant, it is also very dangerous for cattle. WITH THANKS TO KEN WADE FOR HI S PREV IOUSLY PUBL I SHED MATERIAL , WHICH HAS BEEN SL IGHTLY UPDATED Homes for Ukraine MARIA ALLEN to Wellington, Yeovil to Wells and everywhere in between. If you are interested in hosting, or unable to host but keen to offer help, please visit their FB page for more information. their homes with only the possessions they can carry. The Facebook group 'Homes for Ukraine - Taunton Hosts' is doing everything it can to assist refugees to find hosts in the region, from Brean, The devastation caused by the war in Ukraine is well documented. Desperate people are fleeing from 4 S PR I NG I S SUE | APR I L 2 0 2 2

Shapwick is such a lovely place to live – especially if you love wildlife, with amazing nature reserves within a tenminute drive of our front doors. That’s why we’re running a photography exhibition, called “Somerset’s Glorious Wildlife” in the Church, from Wednesday May 18th to Sunday May 22nd. It’s being organised along similar lines to the Village Jubilee Picnic Celebrating Local Wildlife The Parish Council invite you to join a village picnic on Friday 3 June to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The picnic will be held on the village green, starting at 3.00pm. The PC are not able to provide catering but hope that in the spirit of a street party, villagers will bring food and refreshments for themselves and to share. The PC have ordered a commemorative coin for each child, of primary school age or less, residing in Shapwick, and these will be handed out at the picnic. If you have not notified Shapwick & Polden Cricket Club 2022 the PC of your child’s details, can you please contact the parish clerk Sue Williams on so that your child’s name can be added to the list. There will be a treasure hunt in the days before the picnic (details to follow). The winners of the treasure hunt will be announced at the picnic. We do hope that you will be able to join us to mark this very special occasion. Please complete the reverse side of this slip and return by either posting it in the black post box next to the main door of the Village Hall, via a Google form by typing in the link or by email to If you prefer to remain anonymous, please use slip or link. Thank you! RICH TWEEDY EMAI L : V ICAR@POLDENWHEEL .CO.UK The first league matches will start on May 7th. The full fixture programme can be found at Ex Somerset and Kent professional Calum Haggett has returned to the club as Director of Cricket and will captain the 1st XI in the West of England Premier League while Jacques Luckins and Jarrad Cave will skipper the 2nd and 3rd XIs. Anyone interested in joining the senior section should either contact Calum or come along to one of the Wednesday evening training sessions at 6 p.m. The thriving junior section boasted more than 100 boys and girls aged between 5 and 16 in 2021. Registration is open for ages between 5 and 8 for the “All Stars” programme and for girls between 9 and 13 to enrol on the one in June 2018, showcasing some of the best local wildlife photography. Exhibitors include Carl Bovis, Chris Hooper and Andrew Kirby, as well as Shapwick’s own Kim Hemmings, Janet Miles, and yours truly! There’ll also be a café running throughout, being organised by Helen Wade. Do come and enjoy some amazing local wildlife photography! For updates and more details, see “Dynamoes” programme For more information about the juniors, please contact the co-ordinator Pete Ross, We took the first steps into Women’s Cricket last summer with more than fifteen members aged 14. Training is on Tuesday nights. The Women’s section have entered a soft ball league in 2022, playing their matches on Sunday afternoons. Anyone interested in joining should contact Emma Silcox, The Pavilion is always open on match days and all are welcome to come along and watch, enjoying a drink and some refreshments, either in the pavilion or on our extended patio area. 5 S PR I NG I S SUE | APR I L 2 0 2 2

Wed 18th to Sun 22nd May: “Somerset’s Glorious Wildlife”, in the Church. 11-4.30pm (Sun 2-5pm) Friday 3rd June: Village Jubilee Picnic Village Hall Green at 3pm. Bring your own picnic, Jubilee souvenir for children of primary school age or less. Saturday 11th June: Shapwick Jam! Free entry 1pm-6pm / Ticket only 7pm-Midnight. Line up to be announced soon. Tickets £10. Buy in advance via Sid 07834 671322, John 210687 or Steve 07969 854918. For more info Village Hall Events: Yoga exercise classes on Monday evenings from 7.30-8.45pm. Contact: Hire out sessions on the table tennis table! £4 for 1/2hr or £7 for 1hr - contact Nerina on 210329. Cricket Pavilion Events: Bingo: 13th May and then every other week. Music / open mic: 20th May, 17th June, 15th July. Quiz night: 6th May, 3rd of June, 1st of July. These events all start at 8pm. The bar and kitchen are open from 5.30pm. Everyone welcome. If you would like to book a table for bingo please email Every Sunday: Shapwick Runners' Sunday Run! Meet at the cricket field, set off at 9am. All abilities welcome! Call for Volunteers & Submissions We need volunteers! If you're interested in editing future issues of the Shapwick News, please let us know by emailing The more the merrier! Also, if you have any old photos of the village, we'd love to include them in future issues. Shapwick News is a quarterly publication. For the summer issue, due to publish in July 2022, please submit contributions by no later than 30th June, via email to or by posting in the black post box next to the main door of the Village Hall. 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 Edition: Published by Shapwick Parish Council, edited by Kate Anderson. What's On 6 S PR I NG I S SUE | APR I L 2 0 2 2