2022 Events 

Abbey Hill Steam Rally - 29.04.22 - 02.05.22
 
There were very large crowds at the event on Saturday.
 
A few wonderful engines that I had not seen for many years were on display, one of which was restored in my village, Durrington, Wiltshire by the late Steve Neville.  Earl Haig is now owned by Terry Sleeman of Cornwall.
 
The showman's engine St Bernard, transported the Mayor of Yeovil (Evie Potts-Jones) round the site after she had opened the event.  She shared with me that she was delighted to be there.
 
Steve Neville
 
There are not many people in the steam world even today who do not recognise Steve’s name. He travelled far and wide with his engines, often spending days on the road with “Boadicea”, “Lord Lascelles” and “Duke of Kent”. He was involved with the NTET Society from the earliest days, including editing “Steam Preservation” and writing “The Heavy Gang”, an illustrated history of his one-time employer Hickey’s of Richmond. When he passed away in 1994 he was President of the Society NTET.
 
Earl Haig
 
Another name known far beyond East Anglia is that of Stan Burgess. Stan lived in Haddenham, near Ely, and became fascinated by steam at an early age, following the threshing engines of the Peacock family. A mechanic and blacksmith by trade, Stan restored many engines for Tom Paisley and others over the years. His best known engine was the Burrell 3979 “Earl Haig”, which he purchased in very derelict condition and fully restored.
 
In the early days he drove her all over the region, towing his Mortier organ and living van, often with wife Rosella steering.
 
Old Tim
 
1910 Burrell 7 nhp Road Loco and Crane Engine - Old Tim - Works No. 3197 - Reg. No. AB 8904.
 
This engine was new to Screen Bros of Oldbury, Birmingham. Owned By Dave Allen Somerset.
 
1947 DOT Milk float owned by Alan Hibberd
 
Ken Fox Wall of Death - www.wall-of-death.co.uk/
 
Wording courtesy of Ken's website
 
The Fox family have been touring and entertaining since the 1920's.  With their vintage Indian Scouts and 20ft high vertical wall it is a show that needs to be seen to be believed! All those who see the show will remember it for the rest of their life. The noise, the speed, the smell, the proximity of the bikes ridden to the top of the wall, barely 6 inches from the audience - an experience never to be forgotten!
 
For decades the Family have been defying gravity and amazing crowds by riding their motorbikes up and around vertical walls.  Now Ken Fox and his family, are celebrating more than 40 years riding the wall, which first appeared in the UK way back in the 1920's.
 
Ken leads a very busy life during the shows, but I am always made welcome and we usually manage to have a chat  during the build up of the shows.
 
Ken was instrumental with the Top Gear Wall of Death at Alexandra Palace and taught the Top Gear Guys on their huge Wall of Death.
 
The Family actually now have two Wall of Death outfits going around the country, with Kens eldest son, Luke managing the other.

Wilts Vehicle & Machinery Enthusiasts Easter Tractor Road Run - 17.04.22


This was a tour of the Pewsey Vale organised by the Wilts Vehicle & Machinery Enthusiasts.


The event started and finished at Choppers near Burbage on the A338 and was very well attended.


A little trip along the B3087 into Easton Royal and turning right opposite the village hall took the entrants through the narrow lanes and through Wotton Rivers, turning left at the Royal Oak.


Following the lanes south towards Milton Lilbourne, a right turn was taken near New Mill just past Braw Haft Cottage, Clench Common.


Following the road onto Milton Milbourne and re joining the B3087 and on into Pewsey, where the villagers were out in force to greet the convoy.


A right turn at King Alfred statue and then left  along the road past Frith Copse and onto Woodborough,  passing the Garden Centre and turning right by the railway bridge, running down hill  and over the crossroads  to the halt at Woodborough Social Club.


After a short lunch break, the entrants turned right passing over the railway line, turning right at Manor Farm, through Beechingstoke and turning right, recrossing the railway just outside of Patny.


Following the road north  and through All Cannings  crossing the canal, onto the T junction, turning right, passing just North of Stanton St Bernard towards Alton Barnes, turning left and then right through Alton Priors.


Passing through Stowell and crossing the A345 travelling along the road past Sunny Hill Farm, crossing the canal and turning right at New Mill, passing under the railway line.


Passing through Littleworth and turning left just north of Milton Lilbourne, a left turn at the B3087 and a return trip through Easton Royal and back to Choppers.

The Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race - 15th - 18th April


These photographs, taken on the Kennet & Avon canal at Wilcot, about ten miles from the start, show one of the crews becoming unseated at Wilcot Bridge.  In minutes the situation was self rescued and the crew reinstated themselves and were on their way!


The lady (Ruth) wearing the yellow jacket is a partially sighted lady enjoying her trip.


The photographs also show some of the crews at Kintbury Lock and road crossing, one crew as follows:


Tom Rendell - Royal Marines Kayak Association      
Rob Barker - Royal Marines Kayak Association

 

Their service crews are waiting here to feed and water them, all done on the move, in typical military style, jelly babies, mouthfuls of chocolate brownies and hot cross buns, the order of the day.


Other professional bodies were competing in the experts class that set off Saturday, go through the night to the finish Sunday morning.


The Devizes to Westminster International Canoe race is an ultra marathon that takes place every Easter weekend and is the longest non-stop canoe race in the world.


Starting in Devizes in Wiltshire, the race travels down the Kennet and Avon Canal until it joins the River Thames at Reading, then follows the River Thames to Westminster in the heart of London.


The race is 125 miles long and includes numerous locks, so as well as arduous paddling, there is a considerable amount of running involved too.

 

Please note the course for the 2022 edition of the race was shortened to finish at Thames Young Mariners below Teddington lock, a total distance of 108 miles. This applied to all classes in the race, which finished on Easter Sunday.


This decision was taken because St Thomas’ Hospital is still operating as a major Covid vaccination centre for London. A large area of the hospital gardens was unavailable, where they would normally set up the infrastructure required to support the finish. 

 

Junior crews and single craft can only race in stages over four days but senior doubles crews can opt for the non stop race, paddling and running continuously throughout the day and night until they arrive at Westminster—125 miles later.


There are 5 classes within the event:


1. Senior Doubles: Crews of 2 adults who race non stop from start to finish, starting on Easter Saturday, finishing on Easter Sunday
2. Senior Singles: Adult single paddlers who compete over 4 days starting on Good Friday, finishing on Easter Monday
3. Junior Doubles: Crews of 2 juniors who compete over 4 days, starting on Good Friday, finishing on Easter Monday
4. Veteran/Junior: Crews of 1 adult (over 35) and 1 junior who compete over 4 days starting on Good Friday, finishing on Easter Monday
5. Endeavour: A non-competitive doubles class held over 4 days starting on Good Friday, finishing on Easter Monday

CTP Spring Road Run - 03.04.22


The Spring Road Run started at the Crockerton Shopping Centre car park and followed the Somerset Mendip route.


The route passed by Shearwater Lake and followed the road to Maiden Bradley.  Shearwater Lake a haven for fishing and sailing, lies in the Longleat Estate.  The centerpiece of this luxury area is Longleat House, a splendid stately home, open to the public along with its garden and safari park.


After a trip north along the B3092, then along the A361, it then passed the Quarries at Nunney before turning right and passing south of  Chantry  and Stoke St Michael.


The Cranmore Tower was passed  in the distance to the left.


The Cranmore Tower is a 45 metres (148 ft) tall 19th century folly in the parish of Cranmore, Somerset, England.


 The site is 280 metres (919 ft) above sea level, and is the highest point on the Mendip Way.


The tower was built in 1862-1864, by Thomas Henry Wyatt for John Moore Paget of Cranmore Hall (now part of All Hallows Preparatory School).


There is a viewing area at the top with pair of semi-circular headed openings to each face with a restored iron-railed balcony beneath each pair.


A similar balcony just over halfway up is continued right round the tower. It has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade II listed building.


In World War II it was used as a lookout tower by the Home Guard and the Royal Corps of Signals.


By 1984 the tower had fallen into disrepair and was sold to Donald Beaton who undertook repairs.


During the course of the repairs the remains of a Roman fort with a hoard of coins was discovered adjacent to the tower.


In 1988 it was sold again, this time to Nick Ridge who opened it to the public.   The tower was then acquired by followers of the Baháʼí Faith.


Further restorations were carried out, including the installation of a new timber staircase to allow access to the balconies at the top of the tower at a height of 320 metres (1,050 ft) above sea level.  From early 2008 the tower has been again open to the public, in particular being marketed as a romantic setting for proposals of marriage.


A small fee is usually charged to ascend the tower which is open on weekends, bank and school holidays and by arrangement.


Following the B3135 the route crossed the A37 South of Bineger and Green Ore Farm the venue of the Mendip Plough competitions in the Autumn.


There are several wind turbines and on the south side of the road is the communication tower.


The way West was via the B3134  to  Blagdon, Compton Martin and Chew Valley.


Burrington Combe is a Carboniferous Limestone gorge near the village of Burrington, on the north side of the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in North Somerset, England.


"Combe" or "coombe" is a word of Celtic origin found in several forms on all of the British Isles, denoting a steep-sided valley or hollow. Burrington Combe is a gorge through the limestone hills although there is now no river running through it.


Various cave entrances are exposed which have been occupied by humans for over 10,000 years, with a hillfort being built beside the combe in the Iron Age.  The geology has led to a diversity of plant life.


Blagdon Lake lies in a valley at the northern edge of the Mendip Hills, close to the village of Blagdon and approximately 10 miles (16 km) south of Bristol, England.


The lake was created by Bristol Water (Bristol Waterworks Company as it was known then), when it dammed the River Yeo, starting construction in 1898, to designs by Charles Hawksley, and completing this in 1905.


The Wrington Vale Light Railway was constructed primarily to bring building materials for the lake.


The reservoir was formed by the construction of a dam and provided water to the pumping station which originally contained four Woolf compound rotative beam pumping engines, built by Glenfield & Kennedy of Kilmarnock, which have now been replaced by electric pumps.


Two of the steam engines have been preserved, with one in working order as part of the visitor centre which also includes educational facilities for children.


The pumping station is now a Grade II listed building.


The original suction tanks, which formed the water supply for the steam boilers powering the pumping engines, are now used for trout rearing.


Next  the route passed by  Chew Valley which is well renowned for its scenic beauty and top quality fly fishing.


The size and condition of the trout caught here is second to none and anglers find success using a wide variety of fishing methods and fly patterns making it a popular competition venue.


Opened in 1956 Chew is a relatively shallow reservoir with an average depth of only 14ft at top level and a maximum depth of just 37ft.


The area it covers, once rich farmland, is now fertile ground for the aquatic life necessary for sustaining quality trout fishing.


As the water starts to warm in early season Buzzer hatches can be prolific before giving way to a rich larder of non-hatching aquatic insects later in the season such as corixa, snail, hoglice and shrimp.


The deepest part of the lake is by the Dam and the outlet tower, where the steeply sloping shores of Walley Bank and the North Shore put depths of up to 20ft within the reach of bank anglers.


The return leg from the Mendips was via West Harptree, Litton, Chewton Mendip, through Chilcompton, Charlton and Kilmerston the home of the Jack and Jill Hill.  


The hillside behind the old tollhouse is reputedly the hill referred to in the famous nursery rhyme about Jack and Jill.


The "Jack and Jill Hill", is, in fact a footpath leading from Ames Lane, Kilmersdon up to the Kilmersdon Primary School at the end of School Lane.


Ames Lane leads to Jack and Jill Hill.


There are stone markers on the way up the hill each one depicting a line from the nursery rhyme.


The restored well head is located in the school grounds. This was Kilmersdon's Millennium Project.


Climbing the hill out of Kilmerston the route passed under the old railway bridge , past the entrance to Ammerdown House, the home of the Hylton family, who were the coal field owners in the area and there is a  Monument opposite the house in the field.


Ammerdown House in Kilmersdon, Somerset, England, was built in 1788. It has been designated as Grade I listed building.


A pair of lodges, gate piers and gates, associated with Ammerdown House, which were also built in 1788–94 by James Wyatt, are Grade II* listed buildings and on the English Heritage Heritage at Risk Register. Since 1973 the stables have been significantly altered and converted into a study centre.


The orangery and walled garden were built around 1793.


In 1853 John Twyford Jolliffe & Thomas Robert Jolliffe, the children of the builder of the house, Thomas Samuel Jolliffe, built a 150-foot (46 m) high column, known as the Ammerdown Park Column, Ammerdown Lighthouse or the Jolliffe Column.


It was a near replica of Eddystone Lighthouse with a glass dome or viewing lantern which could be illuminated.

 

It is a Grade II* listed building. In the late 19th century a local quarry owner, John Turner of Faulkland, took out a lawsuit against his neighbour Hedworth Jolliffe, 2nd Baron Hylton who owned Ammerdown House in Kilmersdon.


When Turner lost he erected a tower of around 180 feet (55 m) high to rival the column at Ammerdown, with a dance hall and tea garden at the base.


When Turner died in 1894, Lord Hylton bought the structure to demolish it.


The base and dance hall were converted into workers cottages and eventually demolished in 1969.


The current residents of the house are Andrew and Diana Jolliffe, the son and daughter in law of the 5th Baron Hylton, the current Lord Hylton.


The old Somerset and Dorset railway - the line now closed had a siding to the North Somerset coalfields, a signal box at Writhlington controlling sidings to the adjacent pit.

 

Coal continued to be transported by rail until closure of  the colliery in the 1973.

 

Just before the line was dismantled part of track was used to film the Titfield Thunderbolt film.


At the junction the route vent onto the A362 and headed towards Frome via Buckland Dinham, a trip around Frome  following the A342 past Longleat House entrance and Cley Hill towards the finish at Crockerton.


Cley Hill


An Iron Age hill fort with two Bronze Age bowl barrows situated on the highest point.


At 800 feet high, the climb can be daunting but it is well worth it for the views in all directions, particularly over Warminster.


Cley Hill was formerly owned by the Marquis of Bath, who donated it to the National Trust in the 1950s.

Wilts Vehicle & Machinery Enthusiasts Spring Working Weekend - 26.03.22 - 27.03.22
(By kind permission of the Reed family).

 
I had the pleasure of attending this well supported first annual event on Sunday.  The venue was wonderful, with good weather and it was lovely to see everyone again.

 

AMWA Long Distance Trek - Great Ridge, Chicklade - 12&13.02.22
(By kind permission of Lord Margadale and the Fonthill Estate)


The course offered a choice of between 8 to 25 miles, over varying terrain, mostly woodland trails/firebreaks, and some wide forest tracks.


The trail was relatively level with one or two small hills. 
I had a really enjoyable day, in such a wonderful place with lovely people.

If you have any queries or wish to purchase a photograph, please contact me:

 

+44 7831237759

dcrh@supanet.com

 

If you wish to send a donation to the Alzheimer's Society, you can now click on the link on the Alzheimer's Society page.

Get social with us.

Comments

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  • Eleanor firmstone (Thursday, January 23 20 09:20 am GMT)

    Hi, do you have any information on the steam roller ru7342. We now own the roller and wondered what year this was taken.
    Thanks Eleanor

  • Sarah Mitchell (Wednesday, September 11 19 10:31 pm BST)

    Hi there is a wonderful picture you took of a dear friend of mine on his journey to the gdsf this year. It is in the western daily press dated 22/08/19 Carl Brown roading the Marshall to gdsf. I cannot locate this picture on any website to purchase and was hoping i could purchase through yourself many thanks Sarah

  • John Baines (Friday, April 05 19 03:45 pm BST)

    Have you any photogaphs of James & Crockerills yard in Durrington? Their MD Peter Barber owned the Burrell Scenic Road loco 'Prince of Wales@ and other engines including Burrell roller 'Daffodil'

  • Zoe Read (Saturday, March 02 19 07:08 pm GMT)

    I see you already have dates for this one but I wondered if you would consider adding Purbeck Rally to your event list?
    9th -11th August
    worgret road, wareham, dorset, BH20 6AB
    Raising funds for Forest Holme Hospice Charity & other local causes.

  • Andrew Gray (Wednesday, February 20 19 07:55 pm GMT)

    Is that Mr Dimmer and the train made at Durrington Sec Modern, I started there 1963 and left 1968. Mr Dimmer (Regg) was such a great teacher. Wonderful set of images to treasure. p.s we met today at the Boscombe Down Tornado fly past.

  • Jamie (Saturday, September 01 18 01:39 am BST)

    Hi!

    I am Jamie. One of the coalomen from last weeks steam fair. I know you mentioned taking lots of photos of us and it would be lovely to see them. Please get back to me when you can with prices ect i will most certainly purchase a few! In the meantime i will admire wgat you have on your page here already, hope you enjoyed the show! Speak soon

    Regards
    Jamie

  • Don Russell (Friday, August 17 18 08:51 am BST)

    Hullo, found your site when looking for GDSF info. I was wondering if you had any information regarding engines travelling to the GDSF. I read engines will be raising money for cancer on there journey but I cannot find any info regarding route and timings.Thanks

  • Brian Moore (Saturday, August 04 18 12:40 pm BST)

    Thanks David: Brian

  • Peter Freeman (Thursday, May 10 18 09:56 pm BST)

    Fantastic site, easy to read and great pics! Keep up the good work.

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