TOLLARD ROYAL ARE WINNERS –
Best Kept Village Competition 2017 Category – South Wiltshire Small
WHAT THE JUDGES SAID……
Tollard Royal – Judges Comments – visit date 26/5 (dry and sunny)
Tollard Royal is a delightful village, with a splendid history, situated in a wooded valley in the Cranbourne Chase AONB. It suffers from its position on the B3081 through route, from the A354 to Shaftesbury (suffering eased just a little by the recent welcome 20 mph speed limit). The narrowness of the main street adds to its charm, if not to the safety of village pedestrians (and CPRE Judges!).
The well bound and carefully crafted document supporting the village’s entry was excellent in every way. It was light, bright, up-beat and clear, with a simple format and lots of useful information and pictures. We thought at first that you might have over-burdened us, because too much information is not always helpful, but on reflection we found the document refreshingly easy to use and appropriately comprehensive.
Hedges, fences, trees and verges were generally very well kept, although we were surprised to note that The Grunfos Well and the area immediately around it looked a little unkempt. On the other hand we like to see areas left natural for wildlife, so we took a balanced view. Gardens were mainly excellent, as was the war memorial, splendid village green and small pond, which was beautifully maintained and, obviously, much treasured. The Community Orchard and Hedge were thought to be a splendid idea and all kept properly too. Signs for each fruit variety showed good attention to detail and added to our interest. Footpaths we saw and used were well maintained, as was the magnificently weathered exterior of the Village Church (a gem), although the edges of the church car park looked a bit overgrown and untidy. Not relevant to the judging, but the TR Churchyard view of King John’s House is one to gladden the heart of anyone with any feeling for English vernacular architecture.
The King John’s Inn – much changed from the Real Ale hostelry one of the judges remembered from forty-five years ago – is clearly an ornament to the village. It appeared popular, welcoming and busy and serves as a reminder of how important such assets are in putting heart and life into our village communities. The inventive and innovative use of the former Gilbert Scott Telephone Kiosk, “The Tollard Tardis”, was very highly thought of – both useful (defibrillator, emergency phone, information and books etc.) – and a welcome, traditional part of the village street scene. Small point – the maps offered for walkers in TT were not in evidence on our visit. The Old Cart Shed also provided an attractive alternative to the conventional Village Hall seen in larger settlements.
Notice boards were well kept and most notices were in date – we spotted only one that wasn’t – and the OS Map attached to the back of the Tollard Tardis was thought to be a very helpful resource for visitors. There were a few pieces of litter but we know how hard it is to keep a village completely free of this when there is through traffic.
The map submitted with the entry was very good – clear and easy to use – but the boundary for judging, a stated requirement on the entry form, was not marked as we would wish, although the parish boundary was shown on a second map.
We assess the Community Spirit of Tollard Royal very positively, judged by the quality of the application, the fresh, modern and accessible website, Newsletter and Emergency Plan, by the range of activities on offer in this small village, by the self-evident care for and interest in the maintenance and upkeep of community assets. It was a real pleasure to visit this village and our positive impression is reflected in an entirely justified high mark. Tollard Royal “punches above its weight”, or to put it another way, “good villages can often come in small packages”. Excellent. Well done.
SPONSORED BY HILLS GROUP
FIRST ROUND RESULTS
|NORTH WILTSHIRE AND SWINDON|
|Upper & Lower Seagry||76||1st|