Welcome to the Rudloe and environs website.


Here you will find news, articles and photos of an area that straddles the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in north-west Wiltshire.


Contributions in the form of articles or photos are welcome. Even those with completely contrary views to mine!


Thanks to the website builder 1&1 and Rob Brown for the original idea.


Rudloescene now, in January 2014, has a sister, academic rather than anarchic, website about Box history here: http://www.boxpeopleandplaces.co.uk/

It contains thoroughly professional, well-researched articles about Box and its people.


Contact rudloescene through the 'Contact' page.


7th February 2021 and spring is sprung at the brow of Box Hill. Well not actually, it's perishing cold and due to remain cold all week. The garden received a dusting of snow last night (writing on Monday, 8th Feb). The report of this 'Covid walk' replaces the February 2021 Litter article as Wiltshire Council has advised that all organised litter picks be cancelled until ... who knows. Instead of an organised litter pick, team members will be picking up litter on their own walks and placing it in street bins or in their household bins or even sorting it (carefully) for recycling.  There were quite a few fast-food polystyrene containers and a beer bottle or two on the verge opposite the entrance to Rudloe Firs which were duly despatched to a bin. As indicated, the snowdrops in the title picture are at the brow of Box Hill (with the litter about 50 metres away); the trees are sycamores (typical sycamore bark).

More snowdrops in Leafy Lane
Here is the essential view of the By Brook Valley with the expired sycamore (see last Covid walk) providing a partial frame
Cubist, psychedelic Fiat on the old Bath Road at the brow of Box Hill. Zoom to see that the rear window sticker says 'GIVE PEAS A CHANCE', a slogan that I used in the caption of a 'Walks in the Time of Covid d' photo - also see below.

As far as I know, the 'original' GIVE PEAS A CHANCE slogan appeared, writ large, as graffiti on a railway bridge across the M25 near Rickmansworth. You may still see it, now weather-worn, when travelling clockwise around the M25 northern section between the M4 junction and destinations to the east (Stansted for example). Just recalled (May 2021) that there's a photo (third photo) of the bridge here: photo of Rickmansworth bridge

Here's the landscape version of the title photograph with Rudloe Firs woodland beyond
Someone's been busy cutting back ivy on the dry stone wall at Rudloe Firs. Ivy berries provide winter food for birds - see below.
Ivy in a Springfield Close garden with a plethora of berries for the birds
This Pickwick Lodge Farm Bed & Breakfast sign has seen better days. The Staffords should be able to renew it using some of their posited £11 million windfall if and when their field opposite St Patrick's is developed (see News, Pickwick).
Guyers Lane still has the appearance of a country lane at the moment but if the Stafford/Gladman development proposal is given the green light, a substantial, steel-clad, commercial building will, outrageously, dominate the view
The Hare & Hounds in the Time of Covid. This formerly vibrant pub is, Covid apart, a shadow of its former self.
The Two Pigs in the Time of Covid. After the best part of 250 years, the Two Pigs (formerly the Spread Eagle) bit the dust on our watch.
Bamboo at the entrance to the Charles Street alleyway in Pickwick - the description of this alleyway below (*) is taken from the draft Pickwick Conservation Area Appraisal of February 2021

* The footpath from the then end of Priory Street still emerges at Fig Tree Cottage on to what was then called ‘Pickwick Street’. The footpath is colloquially known as ’Slug Alley’, previously it was called ’the Drung’ and, before that ’the Thrung’.

Another meadow in Pickwick to be lost to a proposed development - this time an 80-bed care home (see below *). But why lose another meadow when a care home was proposed (and still is) as part of the brownfield Copenacre development.

* This planning application is made by an entity called Care UK on land owned by William Henry Hillier Taylor of Hartham Farm. However, you will not find farmer Taylor's name on the application form - the space for 'Name of Owner' is left blank. One wonders why. Is Farmer Taylor ashamed of the fact that like other local farmers and landowners, he has relinquished his primary occupation (farming) in order to take advantage of his position as a landowner and make the best part of £1 million out of this deal. I repeat Winston Churchill's view of landowners:

'Land is by far the greatest of monopolies. Consider the enrichment which comes to the landlord who happens to own a plot of land on the outskirts or at the centre of one of our great cities. The landowner need only wait while other people work and pay taxes to make the city grow more prosperous: building businesses, installing roads and railways, paying for schools and hospitals and public amenities. All the while the land monopolist has only to sit still and watch complacently his property multiplying in value, sometimes manifold, without either effort or contribution on his part; and that is justice!'

No apostrophe in MOTs!

Those of a certain age will remember that a 1930s MG sat in the window of Pickwick Motor Works for many years (decades actually). The story of that MG may be found at Sotheby's website here: https://rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/LF11/London/lots/r154-1935-mg-sa-tourer-by-charlesworth/648452


The substance of the story is repeated below:

This splendid MG SA left the Abingdon Motor Works as a Charlesworth sports tourer and is thought to be one of very few original Charlesworth tourers in existence today. Chassis number 1771 was delivered new, in English Cream over red leather, to its first owner, Mr. Alfred Nencini, on 29 May, 1937. In November 1939 he was involved in an accident, after which his beloved MG was sent to Pickwick Motor and Engineering Works in Corsham where the car was repaired and subsequently painted black.

When work on the car was finished, Pickwick Motors and Engineering Works attempted to reach Mr. Nencini to settle the invoice. Their letters were returned unopened. Mr. Nencini’s insurance company finally explained to Mr. Sperring, proprietor of Pickwick Motor Company, that Mr. Nencini had tragically taken his own life. In lieu of a settlement, Mr. Sperring chose to inherit this fantastic sports tourer. During his ownership, the MG saw infrequent use and was ultimately laid up for many years.

It wasn’t until 2002 that the car was sold to its current owner. That same year it was sent to world-renowned TT Workshops for a total restoration where it was returned to its original colour. It has since covered less than 5,000 miles including a trip to Le Mans in 2004 where it won an award for the best MG. It has been described as a very usable tourer as the owner has taken it on several long runs through Europe, including journeys to France and to the Le Mans Classic.

From Hartham Lane, we see the Scots pines and deciduous trees flanking the eastern section of of Brickers Barn Turnpike on Farmer Taylor's land. This old lane could provide a cross-country route twixt the Cross Keys and Rudloe.
The A4 and an ash in the Time of Covid
The A4 beyond the Cross Keys. The road will be closed for three days later this month for 'tree work' but I cannot find, on Wiltshire Council's planning pages, any current application along the Bath Road (Methuen land on both sides here).
It looks like the trees along this stretch (from this and other photos) have already been pruned/felled in recent times
The adjacent field to the north of the A4 is owned by the Methuen Estate but farmed by Stowell Farm (as a tenant farmer presumably). The copse surrounds a pond and the old landmark tree is an oak.

The following gallery indicates that nothing has changed in the ditches on the road to Sheldon Corner, once clean and full of 'pond' life, in the period between my visit of February 2018 (see: Localities, Corsham, trees and ponds - Feb 2018) and the present day

Here's the third of our trio of pubs/former pubs. The Cross Keys had a long history stretching back at least to the 18th century until lost, like the Two Pigs, on our watch.
Over the dry stone wall in Cross Keys Road, we find the area of the Corsham Estate called Withy Bed
Gigaclear ultrafast (apparently) fibre broadband cable being installed in the Bradford Road
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© Paul Turner