Delight at seeing an ancient hidden bridge in Arlesford

Travelling on the B3046 between Old Arlesford and New Alresford the road crosses a bridge you’d never know was there. It’s on a small stretch of road called The Soke that connects to Broad Street in Old Arlesford.

So what, you might reasonably say. To which I will say that this is, perhaps, the oldest bridge in Hampshire, and among such in England too, The bridge, known as The Soke Bridge, is a late 12th century stone single arched bridge, and is a scheduled ancient monument – see details in Historic England.

It was built around 1190 to span the overflow channel from Arlesford Pond leading into the River Arle. The gothic stone arch is 12th century. It’s parapet i1 17th century, and the brick arch is a later Victorian addition from when the road was widened in the 1800’s.

The bridge and pond were created by Godfrey de Lucy, Bishop of Winchester (1189-1204), as part of a scheme to make the River Itchen navigable from its source at Bramdean through Winchester and Southampton. Alresford Pond acted as a reservoir, in which the water of several local streams was collected to be channelled through the River Alre to the River Itchen.

The downstream face bridge, the Norman stone arch, is hidden and is only viewable from a private garden, and then on certain days in the year. We visited the bridge on a Heritage Open Day. Here are my photos of the bridge and a short video of it.

Ploughing match on previously unploughed ground

The annual ploughing match of the West End, Windlesham and District Agricultural and Horticultural Society [Ag & Hort from here on] on Sunday, 8th September, was held on new ground for the competition, which presented a challenge to the competitors, as the ground had not been previously ploughed, and some parts of the field, close to the A3, were heavily compacted.

We’ve attended the ploughing match for a number of years, seeing it held on land adjacent to Longacres in Bagshot, Manor Farm at Stoke D’Abernon, and this year on ground in Grove Heath Road in Ripley.

There’s always a goodly number of competitors, with tractors and ploughs old and new. The Ag and Hort organisers provide refreshments and a BBQ – the bacon rolls were particularly good.

At past matches we’ve attended I’ve interviewed some of the competitors and the judges, and have also taken a video or two. This year there’s no interviews, just a few photos and a short video.

Stonehenge: images of straightening, re-erection, excavation and renovation

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire that is estimated to be over 5,000 years old.

What visitors see today is the product of archaelogical work to stabilise and re-erect the stones in the early part of the 20th Century, where for example in 1901 one of the sarsen stones and its lintel had fallen down, leading to the straightening of a large leaning trilithon.

Between 1919 and 1926 the south-eastern half of the monument was excavated and further work carried out to re-erect some of the stones, In the 1950’s further extensive excavation and renovation was carried out.

Thought you might like to see some images of these works. See these English Heritage document for more information on: the World War I Aerodrome, and Historic England reports, including one on Restoring Stonehenge.

Sun, fun, flowers, produce, and crafts at West End Ag & Hort Show

Last Saturday, 15th September, it was sun, fun, flowers, produce, and crafts at West End, Windlesham and District Agricultural & Horticulture Annual Show.

From here on in it’s simply the Ag & Hort. My report on this year’s smashing show is sadly short as I spent most of my time in amongst the show entries in Tringham Hall and the Marquee. Why, well, my dear wife and I submitted numerous entries. We both had successes in our respective categories. Me, I couldn’t help telling everyone I met that I’d won first prize and a cup.

I was successful in Cacti and Succulents, winning first prize and a third prize, and to my astonishment the first prize came with a Silver Perpetual Cup – see photo below. Dear wife was successful with cheese straws [the straws weren’t the most attractive, but I guess won on taste. Use of very strong Cheddar Cheese the probable reason], and in handmade card in the crafts, although her artisan bread failed to be placed.

Oh, wasn’t the show lucky with the weather – lovely warm sunshine which brought out the crowds. The show ran out of draught beer, an indication of the warmth and crowds.

The show is beautifully organised, and is a highlight of the West End cultural activity. I’ve posted a few photos, and a short video [PS The cup is proudly on display in our lounge].

Don’t miss visting the Royal Logistic Corps Museum before it closes on October 31st 2019

For 25 years the Royal Logistic Corps Museum has had its home in Deepcut. Along with the closure of Princess Royal Barracks, the museum is heading for a new home at Worthy Down Barracks near Winchester.

The Museum will close to the public on October 31st 2019, after which its contents will be progressively transferred to its new home, which is expected to open in spring of 2021.

If you haven’t previously visited the museum in Deepcut now is a good time to go. Here are a few photos I took of the museum last week.

Camberley town centre improvements – September 2019 update

Surrey Heath Borough Council announcedon 3rd September 2019 an update on Camberley town centre improvements. This full press release can be seen HERE. This is the main part of the press release.

The High Street, Princess Way and Knoll Walk have received £3.5million in funding from Enterprise M3 LEP, which has been increased with £900k of funding from Surrey Heath Borough Council, to improve the roads and pavements in these historic areas.

Once completed The High Street, Knoll Walk and Princess Way will be transformed into attractive, bright areas with new paving, road surfaces, lighting, planting – including trees, bicycle racks and public art.

The areas will have improved accessibility for everyone including those with disabilities. Vehicles will still have access to the High Street, but traffic calming will ensure the road is safer for pedestrians.  Parking on this road will also be reduced so pavement size can be increased.

The new materials used for the road and pavement surfaces will greatly improve the pedestrian experience.  New street lighting and public art will enhance the character of this road and give a feeling of place and Camberley’s heritage. You can read more about what will be happening here.

It is anticipated the works will start in October 2019 and will complete in 2020. The works will be phased and we will share regular updates as the project progresses.

In preparation for the works the remaining tree on Knoll Walk will be removed the week commencing 23 September.  Knoll Walk will be closed whilst this work takes place. This tree was not removed earlier this year as a Magpie nest was located on the tree.  New trees will be planted in Knoll Walk and also along The High Street as part of the new scheme.