Welcome to Biddestone Village News


Dear Parish Clerks and Village BKVC Coordinators,

 I am pleased to be able to inform you that your village has been judged first in your district and size category in this year’s Wiltshire Best Kept Village Competition.  The scores for all entrants will shortly be published on our website.  Please note that you should only compare your score with that of other villages in your own district category, as different judges worked in different areas and village sizes, and each judge has a different subjective view on scores: some mark harder than others!

 Judging for the County Round will take place, as previously announced, on days in July but as usual no warning of those dates will be given. I shall endeavour to send your individual report on your first (district) round performance in the next few days.

Best Wishes and Good Luck in the County Round.

Mike Manson









66 – Biddestone

64 – Oaksey

58 – Dauntsey

We were pleased to see an absence of unwarranted advertising and fly-posting in villages. And likewise with fly-tipping; though some of you mentioned it we saw none. We were pleased to see all the efforts made to improve village facilities and to encourage people into participating. Footpaths are contentious because they should be maintained by Wiltshire Council but, with fewer staff and the probable continuation of austerity, with whatever new funding is made available going to “more important areas of our life”, such as NHS and the police, footpaths will continue to be near the bottom of the pile for funding. To what extent villages should take responsibility for their own footpaths is a question that should be asked. Similarly with notice boards. Does the advent of modern technology – websites, tablets, etc – mean that there is no longer a need for a notice board? This is another issue we need to consider. We thank you all for entering – whatever the problems you have had to overcome – and thank you for presenting your villages to us in such a well-kept way.


Hedges, trees, walls, banks, verges were generally well maintained but, though we accepted growing of plants (intentional or not) at the base of garden walls, we were a little less happy about weeds growing at the junction of kerb and road. Residential gardens and outbuildings were also well maintained with many of them a joy to look at. The public playing field was huge and immaculate with several pavilions, including one under construction, and numerous pitches. The (club members only) tennis courts were also immaculate. The whole area is a tribute to the people who keep it in this condition. The village green area, which includes a well-maintained and interesting pond with lots of ducks and good clean seating, was extremely neat and tidy. The allotments were a mixed bag, some very good as your profile states but others less well-tended, a shame as the allotment movement seems to be well-supported in many villages elsewhere in the region. Some footpaths were good and walkable but others, particularly in the Challows area, were difficult or even impossible to walk. Situated in the playing field area, the village hall was neat and tidy with a very good and equally tidy outside seating area. The public toilets were also in a very acceptably clean condition. The church, set in a conservation area, was fine, the cemetery well looked-after and the war memorial immaculate. Of the pubs, one was To Let and the other “closed – flood in the kitchen” but both were being well-maintained. The Stud also was very neat and tidy. The telephone kiosk had some weeds growing into it but was otherwise clean and working. Notice boards were a bit light on information, the one by the cemetery had a dirty glass cover which made it difficult to read the information and that at the village hall was good for Hall activities but not forthcoming about other goings-on in the village. There was some litter in the Challows and also the children’s play area but no fly-posting that we saw. The map was very good – features easy to see. And the overall impression is of a well looked-after village with lots of community spirit. Well done.

Areas to improve (you were good and you won so don’t be offended if we say):

1 Footpaths

2 Notice boards

3 Litter



It is sometime since I gave an update on The Friends of St. Nicholas, but there have been some recent developments which require me to call an Annual General Meeting.

You will recall that The Friends of St. Nicholas was formed as a result of the inspiration of the late Sir Brian Shaw, following the Quinquennial survey in June 2009, which concluded that works totaling £77,000 were required to preserve our much loved church. In the first year of our existence we raised £25,500, due to the generosity of many villagers and friends. Following the sad loss of Brian, I agreed to take over as Chairman, and I have been ably assisted by Nick Davis, as Treasurer, and Richard Madley, as Secretary. The three of us constitute the Committee.

In 2012, £17,900 of the funds raised was spent on repairs to the roof over the Sanctuary and Chancel. However, since then it has not been able to progress further repairs to the church for a variety of reasons, which I do not propose to go into in this letter. In 2014, I announced in the Broadsheet that we were suspending any future fund raising activities, as it did not seem appropriate to ask for further donations, when it had not been possible to allocate the funds already raised to specific projects. I know this caused a degree of consternation to some supporters of our cause, but we could not, in all honesty, ask villagers to contribute without knowing how and when we would be able to utilise your donations. We currently have funds of c. £10,000 awaiting disbursement.

However, I am pleased to report that there is a renewed impetus to the project, with a reformed PCC, and a number of villagers who wish to take on the responsibility for fund raising for The Friends of St. Nicholas. The Committee met with Simon Bruce, Stewart Entwhistle, Paul Sneddon and John Owen on the 25th May, and they have now been appointed trustees. Our constitution does not allow us to appoint new officers without a general meeting, where villagers can vote on the appointments. I am therefore calling an AGM at 7.00pm on Tuesday 1st August in The Village Hall. It is the intention of all existing members of the Committee to resign at this meeting, and for a new Chairman, Treasurer & Secretary to be elected from the newly appointed trustees. The Treasurer will also present the accounts at the meeting.

I hope that many of you will be able to attend this meeting, and show your support for the new team, as they re-launch this important project for the village.

Andrew Stafford

Chairman, The Friends of Saint Nicholas


Website Editor

Linda Lobl-Smith is Broadsheet and website editor.

Please send any notices of News and Events, updates of meetings you wish to be circulated or any new photos of village events to her at;