Graham Harvey, farming author and agricultural story editor to Radio 4’s The Archers, has kindly offered to put on his new play and appear for a Q and A at the end about the issues raised, farming and all things Archers and Ambridge. 

The play No Finer Life is based on a true story about a young farmer, George Henderson, who took on a small Cotswolds farm and transformed it into one of the most productive farms in the country, which he followed with a best-selling book The Farming Ladder.

Rebecca BaileyThe play tells the story through the eyes of the young girl who visited him and became his wife.

Elizabeth is played by Rebecca Bailey and the show is directed by James Le Lacheur, who has recently spent a year in London’s West End in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

It will be performed on Monday 2nd October, 7.30 pm, at the Digby Memorial Hall in Sherborne. The event is being organised by our Sherborne and District Society CPRE Group.

Tickets are £12 to include a glass of wine and can be purchased from Peter Neal (peter.neal21@outlook.com), the Sherborne Tourist Information Centre or online using this link.

 

Farming Foresight report

Farming Foresight report from CPRE August 2017

Farming Foresight report from CPRE August 2017

On 9 August, CPRE released its new Farming Foresight report, Uncertain harvest: does the loss of small farms matter? The latest paper in CPRE’s Farming Foresight paper looks at the data on farm numbers and sizes and raises questions about the loss of farms and their diversity. Senior rural policy campaigner Graeme Willis at our National Office spoke about the report on BBC Farming Today and in The Times (9 August).

The report was also covered in the regional press and trade press, including Farmers Weekly and Farming UK (10 August).

National Grid’s Visual Impact Provision (VIP) project will reach a major milestone at the end of the year when the team behind it will submit a planning application for the scheme.

The project which seeks to remove over 8km of overhead line and 20 pylons near the villages of Martinstown and Winterbourne Abbas is one of only four under way in England and Wales – it is also the most advanced with Dorset poised for a world first.

National Grid consultation

National Grid consultation at Martinstown 20th July and Winterbourne Abbas on 22nd July

To help inform its plans National Grid is providing an opportunity for local people to see the latest plans for the line removal and replacement with cables buried underground and to comment on the project and the construction plans.

Members of the Visual Impact Provision project team will be on hand at two events to share the latest information and talk about the project in more detail ahead of a detailed planning application being submitted to West Dorset District Council towards the end of the year.

This is an important project and is supported by the Dorset AONB.  Come along, find out more and have your say at two community drop in events.

Date: Thursday 20th July , Time: 2.00pm to 7.00pm

Location: Martinstown Village Hall, St Martinsfield, Martinstown, Dorchester, DT2 9JP

Date: Saturday 22nd July,  Time: 10.00am to 4.00pm

Location: Winterbourne Valley CE VA First School, Winterbourne Abbas, Dorchester, DT2 9LW

You can find more information about National Grid’s Visual Impact Provision project or the events on the website dorset.nationalgrid.co.uk, by emailing visualimpact@nationalgrid.com or calling 0300 134 0051.

Sparkling wine, sizzling beef sirloin and scrumptious cheese were all in evidence at the summer Open Day held for members of the Dorset branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England at Langham Wine Estate earlier this month. Dorset CPRE also launched a new initiative to promote local food and drink producers. This follows on from a campaign to help village shops face the relentless onslaught from supermarkets. It sponsors a class, Best Village Shop, in the Best Dorset Village Competition run by Dorset Community Action. It also organised a retailing seminar for local shopkeepers. Dorset CPRE strongly believes too in supporting farmers, especially the more environmentally responsible ones, at a time when the whole question of farm subsidies is up for debate given Brexit.

Over ninety CPRE members and others attended the Open Day and went on a vineyard and winery tour. They had the chance to sample some of Justin Langham’s delicious award-winning English sparkling wines, as well as the produce from various local Dorset food makers. This included succulent beef and other meat from the Brace of Butchers in Poundbury, marvellous Blue Vinny cheese and chutneys from Dorset Blue, as well as cheese from Ford Farm, the biggest producer of Traditional West Country Farmhouse Cheddar in the UK. All three have won many prizes for their fantastic products too. Members also enjoyed the excellent buffet lunch provided by Helen Furness Catering from Cerne Abbas. Langham Wine Estate welcomes visitors on certain days (see website www.langhamwine.co.uk) for tours and tastings, with a brand new kitchen recently opened.

Justin says: “We want more people to discover and enjoy our wines, and learn how we produce world-class sparkling wine in the heart of Dorset”.

Rupert Hardy from Dorset CPRE writes about local foods and their makers, but he also “wants to highlight some of the problems local quality food and wine producers experience. These mostly concern distribution and include the reluctance of most supermarkets either to stock local products or give them a reasonable profit margin, the slowness of many catering outlets to highlight the provenance of their raw materials on menus, poor promotion of Farmers’ markets, and as always the burden of red tape”. However the cheaper pound should be already benefiting local foods, which are available at Farmers’ markets, independent farm and village shops, and online, as well as some more enlightened supermarkets.

CPRE also developed some years ago the concept of local food webs-the connections between producers, retailers and consumers- which highlights the importance to the local economy, landscape and community of local foods.

 

 

If you are driving down the B3075  Morden road as it enters Sandford, near Wareham, get ready for a wonderful surprise. Either side of the road the verge is covered in a wonderful thick carpet of wildflowers: poppies, cornflowers, yellow rattle and daisies among others. Local residents are certainly pleased and drivers are stopping to take photos of the display. These photos were taken by CPRE volunteer, Rupert Hardy.

Dorset County Council_s Conservation Verge Trials in May 2017Dorset County Council_s Conservation Verge Trials May 2017

This is all the result of Dorset County Council’s Conservation Verge Trials which started in 2015 and are now very visible. The project aims to improve the biodiversity in our verges and reduce the costly need for seasonal cutting. The yellow rattle in particular reduces grass growth, which is important for improving visibility near road junctions. The wildflowers will also attract bees , butterflies and other pollinating insects. There are six other sites in Dorset being trialled too so look out for the displays.

We should also point out that DCC are doing a better job than most solar farm developers in Dorset whose much trumpeted wildflower displays around their solar panels are pretty pathetic. Anyway well done Dorset County Council!”

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