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.

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rudloescene

And so we go on, still 'in the time of Covid'. This walk, on Sunday 12th July 2020, was (as with all the others) unplanned and we ended up at, or close to, Sheldon Corner on the western fringes of Chippenham. The outward route took in No Notion, Collett's Bottom, Weavern Lane, Biddestone and Chippenham Lane (or Biddestone Lane as it is known at the other end) then from Sheldon Corner(ish), we returned via the unnamed road (as far as I know) which ends up at the A4 east of the Cross Keys (passing Starwell and Stowell Farm). Then the boring bit, along the A4 and the Bradford Road to chez nous. The title pictures show: The Larches woodland twixt No Notion and Collett's Bottom, white bryony in a Weavern Lane hedgerow and the western entrance to Biddestone.

A familiar view from the top of Box Hill when undertaking an excursion into the By Brook Valley. Bath lies between the escarpments of Bathampton Down (at left) and Bannerdown
Shifting the view to the right (north), Bath lies beyond the Bannerdown escarpment
Now a view directly down the valley with Bathampton Down at left and Bannerdown at right, and Maidment's Folly Farm in the foreground
Bybrook View is the new 'executive' estate at the northern end of the ex-RAF Rudloe Manor No 1 Site
Lower Rudloe Lane leading to No Notion cottages and the Weavern byway
No Notion cottages lie beyond this green tunnel in Lower Rudloe Lane
Mechanic Sam with father Mark Maidment fixing a problem with a blue, New Holland tractor. Apparently, the blue ones always give problems!
Euridge Manor, once gifted to Walter Raleigh by Queen Elizabeth I, lies across the valley (see Walks in the Time of Covid A for more information)
Descending towards Weavern (or, actually, Collett's Bottom today) we pass The Larches woodland
The view north on the tramp up towards Weavern Lane - maize in the foreground field and Bannerdown beyond
Just coming up to Weavern Lane and what a difference from 17th May (Walk in the Time of Covid E) when, in the first weekend after the release of lockdown, this place was teeming with cars and 'tourists'
Rarely seen chicory in the Weavern Lane hedgerow. According to Flora Britannica, the unblanched leaves of wild chicory are bitter but tolerable in a mixed salad (not sure that's much of a recommendation!).
Yellow rattle and field scabious in the Weavern Lane verge. Yellow rattle is parasitic on grass so suppresses its growth thus enabling greater species diversity (diversity - one of the buzz words of the age).
Weavern Lane and one of the patches of rosebay willowherb with common mallow, field scabious and knapweed in the foreground
Rosebay willowherb in the Weavern Lane verge
Now looking back whence we came; Bannerdown lies beyond the rosebay willowherb
Knapweed and St John's wort in the Weavern Lane verge
The By Brook Valley (with Bath beyond) and the Bathampton Down (left) and Bannerdown escarpments from Weavern Lane
This is just about the extent of rosebay willowherb in the lane, from here its cousin greater willowherb is predominant
This is the same patch of rosebay willowherb but looking back and we now see the 'Village on the Hill' (Colerne) on the far horizon
The view north from Weavern Lane over a field of barley
Another view looking back; the escarpments of Bathampton Down and Bannerdown lie beyond the valley; an ash dominates the foreground
White bryony again in the Weavern Lane verge but this one has passed to the fruit stage (the one photographed earlier was still in flower). The berries are extremely poisonous.
A gruesome find - a fox's head lying in the lane. I wonder what tore it apart and how it got here.
The view east to the Marlborough Downs from Weavern Lane
And Weavern Lane itself with plenty of verge life but very little bird life - I hardly heard a bird along the whole length of the lane (time of year?)
We have now shifted from rosebay willowherb to greater willowherb
A plant that reminds me of childhood (when we lived closer to the ground). This is pineappleweed - rub the flowers/leaves for the smell of pineapple. It may be used in salads or for a herbal tea.
The western reaches of Biddestone
The White Horse at Biddestone - see text below

Against my better judgement I stopped at the White Horse for a much-needed drink (a bottle of zero alcohol beer). Her majesty and myself had 'dined' here about eighteen months ago and were 'displeased' to be served by an ageing waitress with a stinking cold. That same woman was here today (presumably permanent staff) putting out the umbrellas, so I asked about the Covid procedure which turned out to be in the front door and out the side door with two lots of hand sanitizer on the way in (I'm extremely dubious about hand sanitizer - how many people have pressed the pump? - the sanitizer bottles need to be sanitized after each use). Anyway, having enlightened me she followed me into the pub and promptly sneezed. Bloody marvellous (I thought).

 

My chipaholic tendencies overcame me so the beer was accompanied by a portion of chips. I retired to an al fresco table on the roadside. A group of three was sat at the (suitably distanced) adjacent table whereupon the waitress joined them, took out a packet of fags, coughed her guts up (apologies for the vernacular) twice then lit a fag. A worker arrived and started some kind of electronic machinery in the pub. Bloody marvellous (I thought) - why do this work on a Sunday lunchtime with a pub full (relatively) of customers? The chips arrived (see below) and were good but the packeted salt was damp and came out in lumps.

A continental experience it was not - but all will be well when Britain's potential is released (Boris) following Brexit. What an absolute bloody (excuse the French) joke this is.

Good, fluffy chips with damp salt at the White Horse, Biddestone
Off to Sheldon Corner down Chippenham Lane where we find the speed limit, in this quiet lane with tight bands and inclines, is the 'national limit' (see the sign) - 60 mph. This is just 10mph less than the motorway limit - absolutely ridiculouus.
Barley adjacent to Chippenham Lane
Mainly thistle in the Chippenham Lane verge here but with a smidgen of hedge bedstraw (white flowers) which has the oddest common name - false baby's breath; Bushy Barrow (wood) lies beyond
The woods to the north of Chippenham Lane have interesting names: Bushy Barrow, Chapscroft Wood, The Privet, Fagot Heath, Fox Covert, Smith's Plantation, Lanhill Brake and ... Corsham Wood
Twin oaks in Chippenham Lane (their profiles are identical)
One of the woods to the north of Chippenham Lane (probably Chapscroft)
The barn of Starveall Farm which was home, in years gone by, to Starfall Pottery
Unidentified flower, twixt scabious and cornflower, a remnant of the wildflower meadow sown along the margin of Chippenham Lane in 2017 - see https://www.rudloescene.co.uk/localities/weavern-the-by-brook/biddestone-foray-aug-2017/
This is the margin today; the wildflowers were sown on the other side of the lane - see: https://www.rudloescene.co.uk/localities/weavern-the-by-brook/biddestone-foray-aug-2017/. The flowers now grow only at the bases of the saplings.
Here is a hornbeam or beech sapling with survivors from the wildflower margin; Cherrypatch Cottage lies beyond the wheat field
This is one of five 'lots' spied on this walk. I wonder how this works - is the barley harvested then the 'standing straw' harvested later by the highest bidder at auction? We're still in Chippenham Lane (called Biddestone Lane at this end) here.
This is the Allington (Chippenham)/Corsham/Biddestone junction just west of Sheldon Corner and what a bloody useless (excuse my French again) signpost. There used to be an enormous tree here (at the right edge of this picture) - probably an elm.
And now we're off down Corsham Lane preceded by that young couple in the distance. In the verge (opposite) there's a big clump of horseradish (and there's another a few hundred yards further on).
Hedge bedstraw (false baby's breath remember?) and woodruff in the Corsham Lane verge. Woodruff is strongly scented and its leaves (dried) are used in potpourri or as a moth deterrent. In Germany, it is used to flavour May wine and for sherbet.
Red sky at night - get off my land. What lies at the end of this lane (apart from Chiverling's Farm)?
Another four lots of standing straw advertised in Corsham Lane
Here's the answer to the question posed in the picture before last. A bloody great pile of earth (wooded) towering over the farmhouse. Que pasa?
Meadowsweet in the Corsham Lane verge. The sweet-smelling (and tasting) flowers and leaves are used as a herbal tea or herbal medicine. In former times, it was strewn on floors to give rooms a pleasant aroma.
The site of Starwell or Holy Well close to the Corsham/Chippenham/Easton/Biddestone crossroads (and underneath a pylon). In the pool here, tiny five-pointed, star-shaped fossils may be found if you look very hard.
The aforementioned crossroads - Sheldon Corner (Chippenham) ahead, Biddestone left, Easton right and Corsham behind
Yellow rattle in the verge of the aforementioned (and shown) crossroads
Stowell Farm now, apparently, Colham Stowell which is not registered at Companies House. Colham Farm occupies land of the Castle Combe Estate (from colhamfarm.co.uk) and is organic. I wonder, is Stowell now organic?
Here's a better view of Stowell farmhouse
Linseed in a field south of Stowell Farm and to the west of Corsham Lane
I can't imagine why the farmer (presumably) would want to block this layby adjacent to Jubilee Wood
This makes more sense - blocking access (to travellers) to a productive field - this entrance at the junction of the A4 and Sheldon Corner Lane (the lane we have been calling Corsham Lane until now)
The field behind the bale in the previous photo with (maybe) spring-sown barley? Briary Wood lies beyond.
Approaching the remodelled (at a cost of £374,000) Cross Keys junction. An outrageous waste of our money. Nothing of consequence has changed.
Better use of time/resources (including money) would have been to direct efforts at opening up old cross-country routes such as the Bricker's Barn turnpike, the Cross Keys end of which has been blocked by this gate (and barbed wire beyond) for years.
The GreenSquare Housing Association is increasing housing density in well-planned 1950s/60s estates. Here we see three pairs of 'new' semis in Queens Avenue. Another infill may be found in Dickens Avenue behind the garage/Co-op.
Six years on and the fight against Gladman over their 150-home speculative proposal for this field 'North of the A4' at Pickwick goes on. The Planning Inspectorate Inquiry has been put back to October 2020 at the earliest.
The 23-acre fields have been lost to production while the battle over the speculation goes on. This field, following a poisoning of the vegetation in 2015, has reverted to grasses, ragwort and dock. Limes (linden) lie beyond.
The 23-acre field again with meadow grass (probably) in the foreground and rosebay willowherb, dock and ragwort behind
A Walk in the Time of Corona (close to Traveller's Rest)
Discarded PPE in the Bradford Road
Wiltshire Council has been 'at it' again. Just what would be the purpose of cutting back the Bradford Road verge at this time of year when wild plants are in full summer bloom as we have seen in the Chippenham Lane and Corsham Lane verges. I despair.
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© Paul Turner