Forthcoming events ..... Amanda's Diary


Tuesday 10th January – 7.00 p.m.  Symondsbury School - Symondsbury Parish Council Meeting with our democratic Half Hour between 7.00 and 7.30 when everyone is most welcome to come and air their views or raise particular subjects

Saturday 14th January -  7.30 p.m. the Tithe Barn, Symondsbury – Fund raising evening with music and dancing to Jess Upton and Guilty Pleasures. Tickets cost £10 and are on sale now from Creeds. Contact the office on 01308 423411 or email to get your hands on some.

Sunday 15th January – 12.00 p.m. Loders Village Hall – Plough Sunday.  This is the first time we have celebrated this in the Benefice and is a traditional marker in the agricultural calendar when the plough is blessed before cultivation work starts in the spring.   There will be a service, followed by a lunch

and a chance to meet up and chat.  Anyone wanting to stay for the lunch after the service can let us know, but all will be welcome anyway.

Sunday 15th January – 6.30 p.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak – Holy Communion with hymns.

Sunday 22nd January – 9.00 – 12.00 – St. Mary’s Church Hall, Bridport - Bridport’s inaugural “Best Breakfast”.  On offer will be a delicious selection of breakfast goodies all sourced locally and lovingly prepared and served by members of the Bridport Local Food Group. Tickets:  £5 in advance from Bridport TIC and £6 on the door.  Children £3


Farmer George’s Diary – January 2017

For some of us, our cup is half full, for others it is half empty.  For me – my cup is always half full; I am an incorrigible optimist.  The turn of the year fills me with hope that things can only improve.  Those of you who have read my jottings over the last year will appreciate that milk price has dominated my thinking.  You might be pleased to know we are seeing an uplift.  Milk price is affected by both global and local issues.  Nationally, McDonalds now use some milk constituents rather than imported oils in their burgers and globally the Chinese are back in the market place buying dairy products. Allied to that, globally, milk production is down. So it is with some optimism that we start the New Year looking to at least achieve a price which matches are cost of production (by July).

Back in the real world of farming I am pleased to say that all years toil of growing and conserving good fodder is starting to pay off, with the winter calving cows starting to milk really well.  Getting dairy cows to perform is a long term business.  You cannot just turn a tap on or off; changes in cow feed or management can have a 2 year turn implication and it is the small little attentions to detail which make such a difference.

We had one huge negative just before Christmas; we have one doubtful reactor to TB in the herd at Wootton Fitzpaine.  The immediate result is that our entire herd is ‘locked up’.  Whilst we can move cows, youngstock and calves around between our herds, we cannot sell any unless to slaughter; the next few weeks will be quite trying whilst we wait to retest.

A new year means I add up last year’s rainfall – by my calculations we had 30 inches of which almost 7 were last January and nearly 4 in November in 2 days.  This compares to 33 inches in 2015 and 44 in 2014 (no wonder our slurry pits were all full then!)  The ground is quite dry, once you get past the top slime so we will need a ‘February fill-dyke’.  However the mainly mild weather does mean that our grass fields, especially the reseeded ones, look better than I have ever seen them (even from when I was in charge!) and the oats and beans sown into the maize stubbles are fantastic and will ensure good soils structure and fertility for this year’s maize crops– what a great start to the year.  We just need the ‘white slugs’ (sheep) off the farm; they have done a good job but need to be away as the grass starts to grow again.

Amanda and I continue to buy lottery tickets (without any great personal success!) not to win but to recognise the huge effect the lottery has on our lives.  Locally in supporting the LSI and Bridport Museum, but nationally in our sporting endeavours.  The concept of marginal gains has revolutionised some sports; what can we learn on the farm?

Meanwhile, let us start the year in good fettle: join us at the our Plough Sunday service in Loders Village Hall on Sunday 15th  January .  This is the traditional occasion when we bless the plough prior to a new year’s work on the farm.  


A very Happy and Prosperous New Year to everyone.



I am sorry that this is late this month, and sadly there are a couple of things you might have missed.   However, I hope you will all have a wonderful December and we hope to see you at one event or another.  Welcome to new Broadoak inhabitants, Graham and Jenny Sutton.  We hope they will be very happy here in our small corner of West Dorset! 

Friday 2nd December – 6.00 – 8.00 p.m. Washingpool Farm Shop – Christmas Shopping and carols from the Broadoak Choir 

Sunday 4th December – 9.30 a.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak – Christingle Service 

Monday 5th December – 8.30 p.m. BBC1 –“ Lawful Killing” – producer – Simon Ford – catch-up if you haven’t seen it. 

Sunday 11th December – 12.00 – 4.00 p.m. New House Pottery – it's an open afternoon with the Pottery and Made in the Vale workshops full of beautiful crafts and serving festive mulled cider and wine and carols from the Broadoak Choir 

Sunday 11th December – 6.30 p.m. St. John’s Symondsbury – Carol Service 

Tuesday 13th December – 7.00 p.m.  Symondsbury School - Symondsbury Parish Council Meeting with our democratic Half Hour between 7.00 and 7.30 when everyone is most welcome to come and air their views or raise particular subjects 

Sunday 18th December – 11.00 a.m. Powerstock Church – United Benefice Service  - a chance to meet our new bishop, the Bishop of Sherborne, the Rt. Rev Karen Gorham 

Wednesday 21st December – 6.30 p.m. – St. Paul’s Broadoak – Carol Service with the Broadoak Choir – mince pies and refreshments afterwards in the church 

Sunday 25th December – 9.30 a.m. – St. John’s Symondsbury – a short service for all the family – come and sing all your favourite carols and work up an appetite for Christmas dinner! 


Farmer George’s Diary – December  2016 

Well, with two dramatic exceptional days, the dry weather continues.  It is so nice to walk out in frosty weather to enjoy the countryside.  I like to think the colder weather kills off unwanted bugs – but that is wishful thinking. 

We have sheep all over the farm at present eating out the ‘old spine’ and leaving the fields eaten down tight so that the new growth comes on for the cows in the spring.  After all, we might be turning the cows out in 8 weeks! 

It has been quite a struggle to get the cows to milk well over the summer and early autumn but I am pleased to report that with plenty of excellent quality maize silage, the more recent calved cows are really starting to milk well. Getting the feed right for the cows just before they calve is also critical; the fact we have few milk fevers (see November’s diary) is testimony to that.  The next three months are when all the focus is on keeping the milk flowing; we don’t need distractions of snow, heavy rain/floods or even it being so cold all the pipes freeze up.  Let us pray of a good winter.

Out on the farm the beans and oats I reported about last month are doing well – unlike the beans in my garden; I had 4 beautiful rows and the mice have eaten the lot!  Apart from holding the soil, providing green manure in the spring, it is good to look out over green fields rather than brown ones.

You would not expect me to end this without referring to the milk price – well, it hasn’t moved yet.  It must do soon as I know other dairy farmers have had increases. Let’s hope for a good Christmas present!


Happy Christmas to everyone.



A quiet month after the hectic October, which had some excellent events:  the ArtsReach Shearwater evening was truly fascinating and stimulating, and the children’s event well attended.  Thanks to the choir for the Harvest Thanksgiving and to the Hall committee for the excellent supper.   

Sunday 6th November - 9.30 a.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak – our all-age worship – short service, but plenty of chat afterwards and the excellent cakes.   There should be the wonderful local Advent Calendar on sale then or at our Holy Communion Service later in the month.   George did not take them this time, so it might (or might not) be easier. 

Tuesday 8th November – 7.00 p.m.  Symondsbury School -  Symondsbury Parish Council Meeting with our democratic Half Hour between 7.00 and 7.30 when everyone is most welcome to come and air their views or raise particular subjects 

Sunday 13th November – 10.50 a.m. St. John’s Symondsbury – Act of Remembrance by the War Memorial, followed by a service of Remembrance.

Sunday 20th November – 6.30 p.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak – Holy Communion.

A sad farewell to Mike and Angie Wicken at the end of Denhay Lane who, all being well with others in their chain, will be leaving around the middle of November.  We wish them well in the future.


Farmer George’s Diary – November  2016

To those of you who have suffered in the past from cows on their lawns – I have good news; it happened to us the other night!  Luckily, after the driest October on record, they did not do much damage, except eat the new ornamental grasses we had just planted.  The more interesting bit is why it happened. This autumn has produced lots of good quality grass and if you feed too much of that to the Dry Cows (those in-calf, waiting to calve but not in milk) they will get fat and then have difficult calvings and also are prone to Milk Fever (see below).  To avoid that, they are put on a strict diet by restricting the amount of grass they get; this means they get fed up and hungry after a while and that is when the trouble starts ….     Milk Fever affects some cows that are freshly calved.  The sudden onset of milk production at calving draws calcium from the body into the milk, there is then a calcium deficit which results in the cows’ muscles not working and they are unable to stand. Usually a litre of calcined magnesite under the skin does the trick.


This is the time of year when there is always a peak in the number of cows calving – I counted about 70 at Denhay in ‘the maternity wing’.  Calving a cow is the most rewarding part of dairy farming; although they don’t let me loose on cows any more, it was always the best bit for me - the challenge, the struggle and then the new life.


Last month I reported on the plan to grow beans and oats after maize to hold the soil and its nutrients over the winter before growing maize again next year.  I was amused to see the Environment Agency pushing the idea last week – a bit late!  Our plants are just starting to show through.  I shall be really interested to see how they perform in the winter.  We have also sown grass after maize.  One would not normally dream of doing this almost into November but it has been so warm and dry; the young seeds are just coming up already.


We have yet to see any move in the milk price; this is starting to build quite a bit of pressure on all of us.  It does not seem fair (good English characteristic) when the processors have had the equivalent of up to a 10p per litre rise in their market price.  I remain ever-optimistic we will see a move shortly.  Meanwhile all we can do is keep costs down to a bare minimum.  Again the weather is helping; we still have most of the young heifers out on the hill grazing the grass as it continues to grow.  Being dry, they don’t mark (damage) the ground and it saves us feeding valuable forage stocks.  Long may it stay like this.



Lots going on in October, so do please make a note of anything in which you might be interested.   Someone said to me that they had missed the excellent ‘Navigating the Royals’ talk last week – they had meant to go but had not written it down anywhere.  It was a fascinating talk, and was raising much needed funds for the Literary and Scientific Institute and we would have loved a few more there.  The Village Hall is set up on Facebook, thanks to Ellen, so do check events there too.  I am aware that I do promote things not quite in the village, but in which villagers are involved, so once again, I do ask that if there is something local you would like mentioned, let me know a few days before the end of the month


Sunday 2nd October  -  9.30 a.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak – our all-age worship – short service, but plenty of chat afterwards and the excellent cakes.  We had a wonderful service last month with the Rev’d Philip Ringer who came wearing a selection of interesting hats – but the talk was very thought-provoking.


Saturday 8th October – 7.30 p.m. British Legion hall – Quiz Night in aid of the Friends of Bridport Museum raising funds for the museum restoration.


Monday 10th October – 6.00 p.m. Town Hall -  Annual General Meeting of the Bridport Area Development Trust – the organisation restoring both the ‘Chapel on the Beach’ at West Bay and the Literary and Scientific Institute.  A chance to learn about future plans.


Tuesday 11th October – 7.00 p.m.  Symondsbury School -  Symondsbury Parish Council Meeting with our democratic Half Hour between 7.00 and 7.30 when everyone is most welcome to come and air their views or raise particular subjects


Friday 14th October – 7.30 p.m. Broadoak Hall – Shearwater; an ArtsReach production celebrating in words and music life on an Icelandic island, surrounded by huge colonies of seabirds.  We are so lucky to have the opportunity to see and hear live artists so close to home – please come along.


Sunday 16th October – 6.30 p.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak – our wonderful celebration of harvest thanksgiving, followed by a sausage and mash supper in the Hall.    Please do contact me if you’d like to come, as it helps to have an idea of numbers.


Monday 17th October – 7.30 p.m. Broadoak Hall – Village Hall AGM – all welcome.  Bring ideas for the newly painted phone box and for our exciting revamp of the kitchen in the Hall.


Tuesday 18th October – 7.00 for 7.30 p.m. Town Hall – an LSI fund raising event by Nigel Hughes, a celebrated local artist and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society who will be talking about his study of New World Vultures and their survival.  See attached.


Thursday 27th October – 4.00 p.m. Broadoak Hall – ArtsReach ‘Puppetcraft’ The Tin Forest, with a workshop for children aged 7+ starting at 2.00 p.m.


Every Wednesday – 7.45 p.m. Broadoak Hall – the Broadoak Choir meets most Wednesdays and Chris Reynolds, the Choirherd, would love to hear from anyone who would like to come along and join us, or know someone who might, particularly those of the alto and soprano persuasion.   Some ability to read music is required but do contact me if you might be interested and I will pass your name on.   We are getting geared up for Christmas now and will be singing old favourites, but also new pieces, and you will also need the ability to laugh – it is almost the most important thing!




Farmer George’s Diary


In the days when we only grew grass in the Vale, by 1st October we were pretty well shut up for the year.  Harvest Festival at the end of September really signified  “all is safely gathered in”.   The advent of maize changed all this and many is the time we have sung “We plough the fields   …” while the forager is still hard at work.  This year I think we will have gathered everything in before Broadoak’s Harvest Festival on 16th October.


I appreciate that maize brings horrors to many people – large tractors, mud on the roads and general congestion.  We are trying quite hard to avoid the worst excesses.  Denhay has coordinated with the other maize growing farmers so that we are not all hauling the crop on the same day.  A good dry spell of weather makes it easier to achieve that. Meanwhile, thank you for your tolerance whilst we harvest.

Why do we grow it?  Maize is very high in starch and therefore energy.  Cows milk well on it and it enables us to produce more milk from what we grow rather than buying in expensive, and often imported, feed stuffs. There are down sides; we have to be careful to balance the cows’ mineral intakes to avoid infertility.


Another bonus of growing it is that there is a six week window in which to harvest it and achieve the best feed value, unlike grass which has a one or two day window of opportunity.  But, the window only opens once the cobs are ripe; so we sit in September when it is warm and dry waiting to get maturity and ripeness in the crop.  That is why harvesting starts only at the end of September.  Every year we grow earlier ripening varieties to help us.  Of course, the earlier one harvests, the better chance of achieving a successful next crop, be it grass or wheat.  At Denhay this year, the fields which are planned to go back into maize next year will be sown with a mix of oats and beans which will be ploughed in next spring.  This is mainly for environmental benefits; it will hold the soil and prevent erosion.  There is an agricultural gain from retaining soil nutrients in place.


Back in the herds, many cows are calving.  Helping a successful calving has to be the most rewarding part of being a farmer.  I never cease to marvel at nature!  However, the other ongoing work is TB testing.  While it is essential, the cost in terms of time and stress on everyone is enormous.  This week we tested all the Denhay youngstock and the cows in the Denhay herd. It took about 10 people all day on Tuesday to do the first part and then about 6 on Friday to read the results.  Luckily for us, we were all clear. If you have a reactor (one that fails the test,)  the whole process has to be repeated every six weeks until the whole herd  is clear.  Sometimes there is an ‘inconclusive’, in which case only that one has to be retested in six weeks.  If either of these latter events happens, no stock may be sold off the farm except to slaughter.  At a main calving time, that can result in system gridlock with calves and young animals in every nook and cranny and the resultant stress on everyone for the considerable extra work.


So when it comes to 16th October, please join us in Broadoak Church at 6.30 p.m. to truly celebrate our harvest home and then join us in the Hall afterwards for a Harvest Supper.


Sunday 4th September -  9.30 a.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak – our all-age worship – short service, but plenty of chat afterwards and of course the excellent cakes.  This month, in celebration of the Hat Festival, Philip Ringer, who is taking our service on Sunday, has asked that we bring our favourite hat.   It would be great to have a good congregation for Philip, who has been very helpful in taking extra services whilst Jan is on sick leave.


Saturday 10th September – Ride and Stride for Churches.   Philip Davies has organised this wonderfully for many years, and we miss him.  Sadly no-one has come forward to help with our parish, but George and I will be ‘striding’ from Eype to Broadoak, and would much appreciate some sponsorship, though I shall be pleased to pay something for the time to take a nice walk!  Do take a walk or ride (or drive) around other churches to raise money for Dorset Historic Churches, a percentage of which comes back to our churches.


Tuesday 13th September – 7.00 p.m.  Symondsbury School.   Symondsbury Parish Council meeting with our democratic Half Hour between 7.00 and 7.30 when everyone is most welcome to come and air their views or raise particular subjects.  We will be discussing possible traffic calming measures along the Dottery/Shave Cross road, so please come along if you have a view.


Sunday 18th September – 6.30 p.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak – Holy Communion.


Friday 23rd September – 7 for 7.45 p.m. The Bull Ballroom  ‘ Navigating the Royals’-  A talk by Captain Peter Chapman-Andrews, past commander of both the RY Britannia and HMS Ark Royal.   This is in aid of the Literary and Scientific Institute, and we are most grateful to Peter for giving his time for us, and returning to Bridport where his mother, Peggy Chapman Andrews, founder of the Bridport Prize, played such an important part.  Tickets from The Bull or the TIC - £15.00.   This will include a glass of wine and the opportunity to take part in a fantastic Silent Auction of maritime art and memorabilia.    All money to the Bridport Area Development Trust and the LSI.  Please call me for more details.


Farmer George’s diary seems to be getting longer and longer but here is the September version.  Do contact me if you have anything you’d like to promote around the area.

 Best wishes, Amanda

So in the end the summer turned out well!  The grass grew through July and rather petered out in August – which it always does.  Writing this on September 1st, it is picking up again to give that great autumn flush for the cows.  It is like a fillip before the long winter days ahead!

The Denhay ‘harvest’ of grain in completed.  Yields were about average but the grain quality was poor with a mixture of good berries and some shrivelled ones.  This appears to be common around here and we think is due to the very wet June when the plants were in flower.  This variable quality is not a huge issue for us but it would be if we were selling the grain.  Everything we grow is used to feed the cows.  The wheat is either cut early and ensiled like the grass or combined then ‘crimped’ (rolled to break the outer skin) before having bacteria added and it too is ensiled.

For dairy farmers, a dry August means good quality straw coming onto the farm for the winter bedding.  The straw we have bought this year is some of the best I have ever seen – clean, dry and very absorbent which is excellent for both bedding and feeding

As soon as the grain is off, it is back onto the land to prepare the next crop; in our case, grass for a plentiful early bite next February.  We use this opportunity to gain the maximum benefit from the solid muck by ploughing it in before we work the soil down to a fine and level ‘tilth’.


Farming is never without its ‘issues’ and we have two burning away – one local and one national.  The local one concerns the amount of traffic in the Vale, especially Agricultural.  Having debated this at length, the increase in cars I would put down to 3 things – households have more cars than 30 years ago,  more people have to go out to work away from their farms than before and we have more holiday accommodation and therefore more visitors.  As far as Agricultural machinery is concerned, it gets larger every year.  But also many farms also have more machines than they had before.  Some farmers use specialised contractors to augment their team, as timeliness with harvesting is crucial.  It is important that both farmers and contractors work together in their particular patch to ensure vehicles move carefully and efficiently.  If I get cross and frustrated when stuck behind a tractor, it is quite reasonable for non-farmers to be even more so.

 The second issue facing us this month is the launch of the badger cull in the South West including parts of Dorset.  TB in the nation’s herds is horrendous.  At this stage, the cull is one trial, amongst a number of others going on, but the urgency to resolve the TB issue is enormous – the stress to farmers is incalculable as well as the suffering to sick animals.   I have one friend who lost his entire herd in Somerset and another found a group of 24 heifers at grass sniffing a dead badger – and all 24 went down with TB.  This is neither the time nor place to go into the details, but suffice it to say, this is a problem which must be sorted.  

 To end on a happier note, I hope you all enjoyed the Melplash Show. We were blessed with perfect weather and huge crowds.  Steve entered the Denhay maize confident we would win – his stalks were 2 feet longer than anyone else’s.  However, length is not everything and we were not even placed.    For the second year, Discover Farming worked wonders on the children and had them making pizzas, apple juice and butter as well as milking goats and holding new born chicks.  All–in-all a great day out for all and an outstanding showcase for farming.




A really quiet month as hopefully we are all out and about with friends and family enjoying the wonderful sunny weather of August! 

Sunday 7th August  -  9.30 a.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak – our all-age worship – short service, but plenty of chat afterwards and of course the excellent cakes.  Ellen Kingston is taking the service this month, as Jan is on sick leave. 

Sunday 7th August – 2.00 p.m. The Ilchester Arms – Symondsbury Flower and Produce Show – schedules from Balsons and the church 

Sunday 21st August  – 6.30 p.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak – our regular evening prayer with hymns – if you come a little early, you can choose the hymns! 

Thursday 25th August – Melplash Show –

Best wishes, Amanda

Farmer George’s Diary 

We are now well stuck into the summer – despite what you may think about the weather.  July was a very dry month for us with only 16mm rain in total.  Compare that to 30mm on August 1st!   At Denhay second cuts of silage are all made and on some fields, we are looking to take a third cut shortly.  We are very pleased because, with improved use of slurry, most of that grass have been grown with no artificial fertilizer – only muck.  We are using our pump and long pipes attached to a dribble bar to ensure an even application over all the fields on which we spread.  To see the effect and accuracy just take a walk to the top of Denhay Hill and look down, it is most impressive.

Away from Denhay, other farmers are now well into their barley harvest.  Getting this crop off early is really important as it allows the next to go in quickly or a ‘catch crop’ such as turnips to be grown for winter grazing by sheep.  Barley straw is a vital requirement at Denhay as it is the best for bedding cows – more water absorbent than wheat straw and softer.  Please forgive the endless line of straw trailers coming into the Vale at the moment.

Milking cows remains a challenge with grass growth slowing.  We have been mowing the fields after they are grazed by the cows to ensure a good fresh growth 21 days later.  This has worked well but total volume of grass is down so we have to feed silage as well to provide sufficient fodder for the cows.  The rain of 2 days ago will help a great deal.   August is the start of the dairy year – lots of cows calve.  The Denhay dairy has its calving pen right by the road and I love driving by seeing the new-borns suckling their mothers.  It is also the time to plough up less good grass fields and reseed them with new leys, ready for the September rains.  It also gives us a chance to empty all the solid muck pits on to the land and plough it in.

The end of August is our chance, as farmers, to get together and celebrate our life, our achievements and our community at the Melplash Show. Do come and join us; there will be lots to see and do. Not least it will be the second year of Discover Farming, our work to inspire young people to enter our industry and to educate others as to from where food comes and how it is produced.  We have a second marquee under the banner “Farmers for the Future” which will feature the latest technology and the future of farming; everyone is welcome.


Good afternoon everyone

 Sunday 3rd July  -  9.30 a.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak – our all-age worship – short service, but plenty of chat afterwards and of course the excellent cakes. 

 Tuesday 5th July – 2.30 – 4.00 p.m. Delapre Gardens, Bridport.  ‘Cake’ – a chance to share tea and conversation with a short time of prayer.   The first session was written up very eloquently by Carol Alner and Wendy Stevens in the July Eggardon and Colmers’ View magazine.

 Tuesday 12th July  – 7.00 p.m.  Symondsbury School.   Symondsbury Parish Council Annual General Meeting with our democratic Half Hour between 7.00 and 7.30 when everyone is most welcome to come and air their views or raise particular subjects.  We hope that the Symondsbury Estate will be coming to give us an idea of their plans for the future during the Democratic Half Hour.  No meeting in August, so do bring any issues along in July.

 Sunday 17th July  – 3.30 p.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak – no usual service this month, but a celebration of Countryside Sunday at Denhay Farm for the whole Benefice.   See Farmer George’s Diary below.

 Sunday 24th July –9.30 a.m. – 2.30 p.m.  Broadoak Hall – the ever popular Broadoak Pony Show with refreshment provided by the Village Hall Committee

 Sunday 31st July – St Paul’s Broadoak – there are possible plans for an evening choir event and supper, details still to be confirmed.   More information will be circulated. 

Best wishes, Amanda 

Farmer George’s Diary  

Flaming June should see us all flat out hay making, taking a second cut of silage and shearing sheep.  Most of this is on hold right now!  Sheep need to be dry when shorn, so that operation is at best catchy right now.  As for cutting grass, we can only watch the progress of the jet stream across the Atlantic and hope it moves north.    
The weather trends suggest a better spell mid-July – see you on the beach! 

On the upside, this is proving a good grass year – after the slow start.  Summer rain makes a huge difference to feeding cows. 

at Denhay we have a regular programme of mowing the paddocks after the cows have eaten them off to ensure new fresh growth of high quality feed.  We may not be able to influence the price we get for our milk, but we can work jolly hard to reduce the cost of producing it.  Lots of fresh lush grass is a great start.

I will avoid political statements but the immediate drop in the value of the pound this week will make importing both dairy products and pork more expensive – so in the short term, farmers should benefit from all that is going on.  On the other hand energy (oil) will get more costly. 

Finally, Denhay is hosting a Countryside Sunday event at the Denhay Dairy on Sunday 17th. July.   It will be a chance for us to celebrate our life in West Dorset, to give thanks for our community and to understand a little the issues facing rural life and in particular the role of agriculture and farming in sustaining a vibrant rural society and economy. It is also a chance for us to proudly show off our farm, which is looking really well right now.  It will run from 3.30 and end around 6pm and will include tea and cakes. There will be things for children to do as well – such as milking a cow (not real!).

I do hope you can make it.


 Sunday 5th June  -  9.30 a.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak – our all-age worship – short service, but plenty of chat afterwards and of course the excellent cakes. 

 Sunday 5th June – 10.00 a.m.  – 4.00 p.m. Open Farm Sunday at Washingpool Farm, North Allington.

 Saturday 11th Jun – 9.30 a.m. – 4.30 p.m. Musicathon fundraising event in the United Church, Bridport – Broadoak Choir will be performing at 11.30 for fifteen minutes, but do pop in at any time during the day to listen to some great local talent.

 Saturday 11th June – 6.30 p.m. - St. Mary’s Beaminster – a performance of Matt Kingston’s Requiem, and also Faure’s Requiem.   Matt’s CD is now released and copies are available from or from me – cost £10.

 Sunday 12th June – 11.00 a.m. – 2.00 p.m. approx.  The Broadoak Birthday Brunch.   We do hope you will call in and join us for a right royal brunch of pancakes, Bucks Fizz and other delights.  There will be children’s games and a relaxing atmosphere (do those two go together?!).  Please let me know if you’d like to come or call Christine on 01308 422874.    Then wend your way down to Symondsbury around 3.00 p.m. to carry on the celebrations with tea and song and good company.  Look in the Parish Magazine for more details, or contact Pauline Bale 01308 424321.

 Tuesday 14th June  – 7.00 p.m.  Symondsbury School.   Symondsbury Parish Council Annual General Meeting with our democratic Half Hour between 7.00 and 7.30 when everyone is most welcome to come and air their views or raise particular subjects. 

 Wednesday 15th June – 7.30 p.m. Broadoak Village Hall – an amazing opportunity to take part in the 300th anniversary of Capability Brown’s birth by attending the one-man show on the life and works of Britain’s great gardener – call Georgina on 424922 for tickets.

 Saturday 18th June – 9.30 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. – Askers Meadow Bridport Food Festival.  This is the main day of the Festival, but of course the famous Beer Festival is also happening on Friday and Saturday nights, and there are lots of activities going on during the week too.   Check for more information.

 Sunday 19th June  – 6.30 p.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak –Evening Prayer with hymns.  

 28th May – 12th June - Dorset Arts Weeks -  New House Pottery for more information

Best wishes Amanda

Please call ASAP if you want publicity for something or know people who might like to go on the circulation list.

Farmer George’s Diary


I have a creed which I know drives others mad “don’t leave until tomorrow what you can do today”.  Nowhere is that more important than silage making.  Over the last month we have been able to grab opportunities to make our silage in between horrendous amounts of rain: we had 58mm in 2 days at one point.  Despite that, we were able to cut, wilt and harvest (what we hope will be) really good silage for the coming winter’s cow feed.   Why wilt the grass?  When cut, especially if after rain or heavy dew, the grass is really wet.  If it is harvested immediately after mowing, the feed quality is diluted by too much water and also it can be hard to achieve a good fermentation.   Silage is pickled grass and to get the best result it is made in an anaerobic (no air) condition but slightly dry.  So after mowing we spread it out over the field for two days if the weather is good before rowing up and harvesting.


At the same time as silage making we had to get the maize planted.  If we do it too soon and the ground is not warm enough, the seed will just rot in the ground; if we sow too late, we lose crop growth.  Because of the late year, drilling was slightly later than usual but it is now all planted and poking up through the ground.  It is an amazing crop – it has to be knee high by 1st July; so in about 1 months’ time – just watch it.


With the maize sown and a first cut of silage made, we are now into the summer routine of fertilizing the fields, getting muck onto them after a cut and making more silage. By 23rd May we have had exactly 50% of the year’s total grass growth – so it is now downhill all the way to the winter.

Meanwhile, the cows are happily grazing what is still good quality grass.  The milk quantity has not been brilliant as the weather has been very variable and we have had quite a number of cold nights; cows love consistency and stability. 

Sadly the Rolling Stones concert was cancelled due to lack of support.   However, Farmer George’s Diary seemed popular, so the next instalment follows. 

Sunday 1st May -  9.30 a.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak – our all-age worship – short service, but plenty of chat afterwards and of course the excellent cakes.   

Thursday 5th May – 11.30 a.m. Weymouth Crematorium – Service for Anne Wragg, wife of David – Clerk to Symondsbury Parish council for many years, and long-time resident of Broadoak.  Anne sadly died on Friday 15th, and David would welcome support on Thursday. 

Tuesday 10th May – 7.00 p.m.  Symondsbury School.   Symondsbury Parish Council Annual General Meeting with our democratic Half Hour between 7.00 and 7.30 when everyone is most welcome to come and air their views or raise particular subjects.  This will be preceded by the meeting of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group at 5.30.   The NP is our opportunity as a community to really influence development in our parish and the Bridport Area, and the Steering Group would really welcome people at their meeting.   It would be good if a few more were able to attend following the low numbers at our Annual Parish Meeting (two and a dog!) where everyone missed a brilliant presentation on the work of the School by Emma Roberts, Headteacher.

Sunday 15th May  – 6.30 p.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak –Holy Communcion with hymns.  

Tuesday 24th May – 7.00 for 7.30 p.m.  Town Hall, Bridport.   ‘An Evening with Paul Atterbury’ in aid of the Literary and Scientific Institute.  Tickets £6 from the TIC or Amanda until Friday.  If you were interested, it would be great if you could buy tickets in advance, as we have had to cancel some events due to low ticket sales.  Paul is a wonderful speaker, and I am sure there will be anecdotes about ‘The Antiques Roadshow’ to which he is a regular contributor.

Wednesday 25th May – 6.30 for 7.00 p.m.  Town Hall, Bridport.   Bridport Local Area Partnership Annual Assembly.   BLAP is the community organisation which brings together over 100 local organisations and surrounding parish councils with Bridport Town Council to create a lobbying group the envy of most other towns in West Dorset.

Sunday 12th June - Celebrating the Queen’s 90th Birthday in Broadoak.   We think a lunch-time event is more in keeping with the national plans, and will be sending out details shortly about what we have planned.  Please do keep that day free, and then move on to Symondsbury for an afternoon of tea and entertainment along the same theme.   The 90th birthday of a sovereign will never happen again in our lifetimes, so do please come and celebrate it with us.

Best wishes Amanda

Please call ASAP if you want publicity for something or know people who might like to go on the circulation list.  

Farmer George’s Diary (2) 

Farmers always talk about the weather – even more than everyone else!  I suppose it is because we are so reliant on good weather and adversely affected by bad.   The last month (April) was quite unusual.  Although not that wet, it has been very cold with the result that the grass has not grown.  This may be good news or those of us that mow lawns, but for dairy farmer desperate to gets cows out to grass, very poor news.   Turning cows out to grass eases the daily routine of feeding, bedding and scraping out muck but more importantly reduces the cost of feeding the animals – really important when we are still seeing a downward trend in milk prices.  May sees another 1p fall in our milk price.  There is some more optimistic talk for September but that seems a long way away.

The cold spring has also delayed maize drilling.  The ground must be over 10C in order to have a good germination and with daytime temperatures hardly up to that, drilling has been delayed. The ground has been ploughed in good time and one good thing of the cold spell has been the frosts we have had, have helped break up the soil and make cultivations better.

Have complained about poor grass growth, I am sure you will notice one or two fields which look much better grown than others.  There are two main types of rye grass grown for cow feed – Perennial Rye Grass which is slower to start in the spring but which keep going well all summer and ‘Italians’ (Italian Rye Grass) which are very vigorous at lower temperatures.  They produce a heavy first cut but then become thin and spindly as the summer wears on.  They also do not last and will have to be reseeded after 2 or 3 years. 

I am writing this on Bank Holiday Monday and the forecast is good; so in the coming week it is going to be really frantic on the farm.  The maize drill is booked to come to us as the soils are warming.  As well we plan to mow our Italians this week to make our first cut of silage. Many of these fields will then be quickly ploughed up and sown with maize.

Away from just farming, Denhay, like many farms, has lots of small areas of woodland and well tree-ed wide hedgerows.  Sadly this winter has seen a fair amount of damage; only today I saw a huge chestnut had broken off 10 feet above ground in one of our woods.  We have been busy clearing up the limbs that have come down across the fences.  These have to be sorted before we can turn the cows out.  Hedgerow management is one of my passions; we changed policy when I came home to Denhay.  We leave many of the north/south hedges to grow up whilst still trimming the west/east ones.  The reason was to still retain a weather shelter for the stock but keep a variety of habitats for the wildlife and good corridors along which they can safely pass.  By having tall north/south hedges we do not reduce the sunlight onto the crops.  The down side of all of this is that as they get taller, we get more limbs blowing over in the winter – the upside being a good crop of firewood for next winter!



Happy April 1st.     It was suggested that a short update on farming activities might be of interest – a couple of lines I thought.  However George has got the bit between his teeth so do look at his commentary at the end.

Lots of things happening in and around the village this month.

 Sunday 3rd April -  9.30 a.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak – our all-age worship – short service, but plenty of chat afterwards and of course the excellent cakes.  Possibly the new addition to the Kingston family will be in the congregation.   Beatrice made it to church at 36 hours old on Easter Even, so hopefully she can keep up her church attendance rate.

Sunday 10th April – 11.00 a.m. Broadoak Village Hall – our Annual Spring Walk, set up by Georgina and Anthea, ending in a delicious lunch at the Village Hall.   Do come along for the walk, or just for the lunch (around 1 p.m.).   Tickets £7.50 – please contact Georgina or myself if you’d like a ticket.   We’d really like an idea of numbers before the day, but if you want to come at the last minute, you will be most welcome.

Monday 11th April – 2.30 p.m. Symondsbury Barn.   A talk by our famous local author – Anna Pavord (author of the best-selling ‘The Tulip’) on her new book “ Landskipping” about landscapes and what an important part they are to our history.   Tickets £12.00 to include tea, from the Tourist Information Centre, and in aid of the Literary and Scientific Institute.

Tuesday 12th April  – 7.00 p.m.  Symondsbury School.   Symondsbury Parish Council meeting with our democratic Half Hour between 7.00 and 7.30 when everyone is most welcome to come and air their views or raise particular subjects.

Sunday 17th April – 10.00 a.m. Broadoak Hall – a spring clean session – tea and cakes available.  Do come along if you can spare an hour.

 Sunday 17th April – 6.30 p.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak – our Rogation Service.   This is an ancient tradition going back hundreds of years; the congregation walk around the village, visiting farms and gardens and asking for blessing for the coming growing season.  It’s a lovely way to celebrate the spring and ends with light refreshments.

Tuesday 19th April – 7.00 p.m. Symondsbury School  - Symondsbury Parish Council Annual Parish Meeting – Emma Roberts, Headteacher at Symondsbury School will talk about the school and its work, and it’s a chance to suggest to the PC ideas for the coming year.

Saturday 23rd April – 9.00 p.m. Broadoak Village Hall – concert by the Rolling Stones, fresh from their Cuba trip.   Apologies to anyone for excess noise that evening.   Tickets to be released shortly, if confirmed.  Look out for more details.

Sunday 28th April – 9.30 p.m. St. John the Baptist, Symondsbury – Parochial Church Council Annual Meeting 

A forward date:

12th June – Celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday with a village barbecue and beacon lighting at Denhay Farm.  Symondsbury will be holding a tea party prior to that event – check for details.



Welcome to the February diary of Broadoak and local events.  I may add to this, as the Parish Magazine hasn’t come out yet, but I was keen to promote the Sunday service as soon as possible.

Friday 29th January – 7.30 p.m. Symondsbury School – Quiz, raffle and Silent Auction  in aid of the Library refurbishment.

Sunday 31st January – 9.30 a.m. Loders Village Hall.   A very special event to which all the benefice church goers (and others of course) are most welcome.  The Archdeacon, Paul Taylor, will be taking a service, followed by coffee and the opportunity to really shape the parishes and the way we all work together.   All those who care about the future of our churches in this very special area will be most welcome to come and contribute their thoughts.   This will end at mid-day and then those who can, do please stay and share some food together (everyone encouraged to bring a plate – it may turn out to be a loaves and fishes event!).

Monday 1st February – 7.30 p.m. Broadoak Village Hall – our hall meeting to plan events for the coming year.

Friday 5th February – 7.30 Broadoak Village Hall – ArtsReach - The Forbidden Door  With their visceral combination of live music and dynamic storytelling, The Devil's Violin weave an enchantment of melody and mystery. Expect love, loss, drama, danger, horror, humour, twists and trials.

                                                                                                                            Contact Georgina Burnham on 01308 424922 Tickets £8.00

Sunday 7th February -  9.30 a.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak – our all-age worship – short service, but plenty of chat afterwards and of course the excellent cakes.

Tuesday 9th February – 7.00 p.m. Symondsbury School.   Symondsbury Parish Council meeting with our democratic Half Hour between 7.00 and 7.30 when everyone is most welcome to come and air their views or raise particular subjects.

Sunday 21st February  -6.30 p.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak.   Evening Prayer with hymns.

Best wishes


 Sunday 3rd January – 9.30 a.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak.   Sadly you have missed our Epiphany Service.   There were more than three kings present, with some excellent crowns, and this year Herod made an appearance with his sword.

 Wednesday 6th January – closing date for the Eggardon and Colmers View Parish Magazine Advent Calendar quiz.   If you had the calendar, I am sure you will have spent your Christmas pondering over the different photos.   If you would like to see the photos properly, they can be seen in all their glory on the ECV website:  

 Tuesday 12th January – 7.00 p.m. Symondsbury School.   Symondsbury Parish Council meeting with our democratic Half Hour between 7.00 and 7.30 when everyone is most welcome to come and air their views or raise particular subjects.

 Sunday 17th January -6.30 p.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak.   Old fashioned Holy Communion – you can choose the hymns!

 Saturday 30th January – 7.00 p.m. Symondsbury Tithe Barn.  Girt Big Barn Dance. 
This will be the great social event of the year, so do please come along and do some dancing, enjoy some ‘light entertainment’ and raise funds for the Literary and Scientific Institute. Tickets £10 from Creeds – 01308 423411 or  We still have some way to go to finish fundraising for the building, so this will be an important occasion and the Bridport Area Development Trust is most grateful to Creeds for organising this.

 Best wishes,Amanda


Welcome to the last diary of the year – many thanks to all those have supported local events, and we hope to see more of you coming to things next year.  This month’s is a little ecclesiastically inclined, but it is Christmas after all!

Friday 4th December –6.00 – 8.00  p.m., Washingpool Farm Shop – late night shopping with joyous carols from the Broadoak Choir! 

Sunday 6th December – 9.30 a.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak – Christingle Service.  This is aimed at youngsters, but everyone can enjoy this start of the Christmas period with thoughts about the world church.   Please do come. 

Tuesday 8th December – 7.00 p.m. Symondsbury School -  Symondsbury Parish Council meeting – items on the agenda include updating the finger posts around the parish, and the setting of our budget for the coming year. 

Wednesday 16th December – 6.30 p.m. St. John’s Symondsbury – Blue Christmas;  this is a quiet service for those who may find Christmas not as happy a time as others do. 

Thursday 17th December –11.00 a.m.  Matt Kingston’s Crowdfunding project closes.  Visit if you’d like to support our local composer’s scheme to professionally record his brilliant Requiem.   Bridport is the crowdfunding capital of the country (I am reliably informed) so it is doubly exciting to see Matt’s project out there.  If you missed the performance, there is a little clip you can listen to on the website. 

Sunday 20th December – 6.30 p.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak – no service as we are summoning up our energy for Tuesday (see below) 

Tuesday 22nd December – 6.30 p.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak – our epic Carol Service with the Broadoak Choir and festive refreshments afterwards.  It gets full, but we always fit everyone in 

Thursday 24th December – 11.30 p.m. St. John’s Symondsbury -  Midnight Mass  

Friday 25th December – 9.30 a.m. St. John’s Symondsbury – Family Service


Once again, do let me have any comments or information you’d like included, and best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.





Good afternoon all ..... 30th Oct

I understand that ‘Amanda’s Diary’ now appears on Google – thanks to its listing on the Broadoak Hall website – no excuse for not knowing what is going on.   And do please remember to let me know if there is something that you need including or if there are new people to add on.

Sunday 1st November – 9.30 a.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak – our relaxed service taken by Ellen Kingston with excellent cakes and refreshments afterwards.   Do come if you can spare 45 minutes on a Sunday morning.

Friday 6th  (5 p.m. – 7 p.m.) and Saturday 7th November (10 a.m. – 3 p.m.)  Town Hall Bridport - Vision 2030 exhibition on the Neighbourhood Plan and your chance to join a working group to help shape the future of Bridport.

Sunday 8th November – start of Bridport Literary Festival  Some great events and tickets still available – do check it out.   There will be a fascinating talk on Saturday 14th November at 2.30 p.m. by Lewis Dartnell on his book ‘The Knowledge’.  With my parish council resilience hat on, I am most intrigued by this as Lewis has written the handbook to beat all handbooks on how to survive the apocalypse – or the way to reboot the world.   It is quite fascinating and should be in your emergency pack by the door – which I am sure you all have.   More on this when the Symene Voice comes out.  This event is partly in aid of the Literary and Scientific Institute, of which I am a Trustee.    And on Friday 13th November – Fergus Byrne has the 6.30 session on his biography of Felix Dennis. Do check if there are any tickets left.

Monday 9th November – 7.00 p.m. Town Hall – Bridport Town Council will be discussing the plans for Vearse Farm.

Tuesday 10th November – 6.00 p.m. Symondsbury School – Symondsbury Parish Council’s look at Vearse Farm – do come and look at the maps and make any comments.   The full parish council meeting will follow on afterwards.

Sunday 15th November – 6.30 p.m. St Paul’s Broadoak – our old fashioned Communion with hymns.

Thursday 19th November – 6.00 p.m. The Salt House, West Bay – the AGM of the Bridport Local Food Group.  Always jollier than a normal AGM, and we will also be presenting our annual Front of House awards.  The meeting is open to anyone interested in local food, and always includes some excellent local refreshment.  We would love to have new people as part of the steering group.

Tuesday 24th November – 7.30 p.m. Symondsbury School – the AGM of the Symene Community Land Trust.  Please do come along to this if you have any interest at all in providing affordable rental accommodation, or low-cost/self-build housing, locally.   We have a tremendous opportunity with the development of Vearse Farm to provide this sort of accommodation for our parish and locally.   The West Allington Edwards Close development has shown that we can move metaphorical mountains to achieve this end.

Sunday 29th November – 9.30 – 12.00  Broadoak Hall – our legendary breakfast, sourced as locally as possible.   Do come and relax over a leisurely breakfast, cooked and served by the redoubtable Broadoak Hall committee team.  The excellence that can be produced out of our tiny kitchen is … words fail me here!

Best wishes


This is a bit early this month, but I have a couple of personal things to push, which I hope will be of interest.

Monday 28th September – Friday 2nd October

I am organising a Half Pint Pub Crawl round 14 pubs in Bridport and West Bay in aid of the Literary and Scientific Institute.  It is very restrained as you have all week to get round the pubs!   Please look at the attached press release if it is of any interest.   We have many historic pubs in the town, so t is a great opportunity to have a look at them – for cultural reasons of course!!   We would really appreciate any support, even if it is just purchasing a £5 card and visiting a couple of pubs.   

Saturday 3rd October – 7.30 p.m. St. Mary’s Church, Bridport.   Premier of  Matt Kingston’s Requiem (tickets still available) 

Sunday 4th October – 9.30 a.m. – St Paul’s Broadoak – Service with a Smile.  A little different this month, as it will be taken by our local community whilst  the Rev’d Jan Delaney is on sick leave.   We wish her well for her recovery. 

Tuesday 6th October – 11.00 a.m. – Electric Palace.   Alexander MCall Smith in conversation in aid of the Literary and Scientific Institute.  Not a very convenient time, but a wonderful opportunity to hear a literary giant (The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency) who is a great conversationalist.  The Bridport Literary Festival are kindly sharing the ticket money with the LSI so would really appreciate your support.  Tickets from the TIC. 

Tuesday 13th October – 7.00 p.m. – Symondsbury School - Symondsbury Parish Council.   

Thursday 15th October – 7.30 p.m. Broadoak Village Hall.   Broadoak Hall AGM – do come and hear our plans and make some suggestions.  There may even be light refreshments. 

Saturday 17th October – Comments close on the Shave Cross Change of use of pub and restaurant to a dwelling .   west Dorset No WD/D/15/001933 

Sunday 18th October – 6.30 p.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak.   Harvest Festival with the Broadoak Choir followed by

                                             7.30 p.m. Broadoak Village Hall – Harvest Supper.   A wonderful home cooked supper and soft drinks (tickets £5.00);  bring something more invigorating to drink if you’d like to. 

Tuesday 27th October – 4.00 p.m. Broadoak Village Hall.  ArtsReach - Freya the Viking Saga, puppet show.   A fantastic event for children with a workshop beforehand.  Please call 427418 for bookings and more information.

Happy Harvest time!


Ancient (and not so ancient) History

This Helicopter was in emergency landing on Dunster Farm, after a mid-air collision with bird.


The crew had to wait for rescue by the repair team,
as the bird had been ingested by the engine!

heli a second helicopter arrived later to keep it company, and to replace the rubber band.

Saturday 5th Sepember -New House Pottery played host to 40+ civic dignitaries from across Dorset, who had been invited by Sandra Brown - Mayor of Bridport - to come along and enjoy the Hat Festival. After a lengthy lunch they all climbed into minibuses and came out to the Pottery where Miles Bell, one of the New House potters, gave a talk and demonstration on making pots. After tea and quantities of cake (supplied by Sandra and Daphne Munday) and much chat, the group departed to all corners of Dorset, leaving the potters breathing a large sigh of relief!"

Sunday 6th September – 9.30 p.m. Service with a Smile – retrospective I know, but Jan preached a very relevant sermon which reminded us, as we sat in a small country church with the sun streaming in through the open door, that we have so much to be grateful for in West Dorset, and that our thoughts and actions need to be elsewhere at times.  Whether you are a churchgoer or not, the chance to come together for a song or two, some thoughtful words and some excellent cake, is something you might like to consider for the future.

Tuesday 8th September – 7.00 p.m. in Symondsbury School – Parish Council.   Come and hear about local events, and how our Neighbourhood Plan is progressing.

Saturday 12th September – all day.  Ride+ Stride.   Loyal and energetic people will be walking, cycling or riding around Dorset, visiting churches, and raising funds for the Dorset Historic Churches Trust.  We hope they will have a fine day.  St. Paul’s, Broadoak, will be open for liquid refreshment.

Monday 14th September – 7.30 p.m. Village Hall meeting in the Hall

Tuesday 15th September – 6.00 p.m. Highlands End, Eype.  The Parish Council and others will be meeting to update our Resilience Plan.  This Plan looks at possible problems that might cause communication problems for the parish, e.g. flood, snow, power blackout, and how we might deal with them.  The Parish Council will keep you all updated.

Sunday 20th September – 9.30 a.m. till 2.30 p.m. beside the Village Hall – The Broadoak Horse and Pony Show.  This is reinstated (we hope) and there will be refreshments in the village hall during the event.  Do call in.

Sunday 27th September – 10.00 a.m.  – 3.00 p.m. Bilshay Farm, North Allington – the Melplash Show Hedging and Ploughing Match.   Come and see all manner of tractors ploughing, both modern and vintage, and watch both amateurs and professionals laying a hedge in the traditional fashion.   ‘Discover Farming’, the new education initiative, will also be at the event, offering simulated and real tractor driving sessions, a great scarecrow competition (do pick up an entry form from the local schools or Melplash Show office), and some other activities for all ages.

Saturday 3rd October – 7.30 p.m. St. Mary’s Church, Bridport.   World Premier of local composer Matt Kingston’s Requiem.  Tickets available from The Music Shop in South Street, or on line at, or from Matt and Ellen or me.

 Good afternoon all

You can take it easy this month and save up for all the activities of the autumn.

Sunday 2nd August – 9.30 a.m. Service with a Smile – St. Paul’s Broadoak – MISSED IT!

Sunday 9th August – 2.00 p.m. –. – Symondsbury Flower and Produce Fair at The Ilchester Arms.  Your chance either to enter, or just enjoy.  Schedules in the church or pub.

Tuesday 11th August  –.7.00 p.m. – Parish Council – on our summer break, just in case you were longing to come!

Sunday 16th August - 6.30 p.m.  Evening Prayer in St. Paul’s.

Saturday 22nd – Monday 31st August – Bridport Open Studios.  I don’t think our local cultural spots are taking part, but it is a great event, and the catalogue is always worth picking up and holding onto for reference.

Thursday 27th August – The Melplash Show – the local institution and Agricultural Show.  A proper old fashioned farming and countryside event.

Sunday 30th August – 12.00 p.m – 6.00 p.m. Symene Cricket Field.  Grand Fete and Car Boot Sale.

Saturday 29th – Monday 31st August – 10.30 a.m. – 4.00 p.m. St. Peter’s Eype Flower Festival – ‘Our Marine Heritage’ – part of the 150th Anniversary celebrations.

Sunday 30th August – 6.30 p.m. St. Peter’s Eype – A Celebration Choral Evensong

The postponed Horse and Pony Show,  rained off on 26th July, will now be happening at Broadoak on 20th September.

Best wishes


PS  Welcome to new subscriber – Charlotte Daniel and lots of luck to Alex and John O’Dwyer (and tribe) in their new home in Loders – not too far fortunately for us in Broadoak.






Recent Events, June and July 2015

Monday 29th June7.30 p.m. Concert in Broadoak Church to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the founding of St. Paul’s and St. Peter’s churches.   Do come along to support the Broadoak Choir who will be presenting a selection of eclectic music with light refreshments in the interval – there will be a Retiring collection in aid of new hymn books for the church.  A relaxed evening for a rather dramatic occasion (both St. Peter and St. Paul were thought to have been martyred around the time of 29th June sometime between 7 and 10 AD – more dramatic details to be revealed!).

Sunday 5th July – 3.00 p.m. – 6.00 p.m. a relaxing afternoon of Fun and Games and Food for villagers and their friends and family in Broadoak Hall.    Barbecue, Obstacle Race, Scavenger Hunt, Rounders ;  Tickets - £2.50 to include a burger or something and a raffle in aid of Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance. 

Tuesday 14th July  7.00 p.m. Symondsbury Parish Council meeting in the School.    Come for the Democratic Half Hour, which is your chance to raise any local issues – no need to stay for the whole meeting though you would be most welcome.

Wednesday 15th July  11.45 a.m. Bothenhampton Church – Thanksgiving Service for Dorothy Knight.   Some of you may remember Ben and Dorothy Knight when Ben was Rector of Symondsbury.   Dorothy died a month or so ago in Winchester and her service is in Bothenhampton where she lived for many years after they retired.

Sunday 19th July   6.30 p.m.  St. Paul’s Broadoak - Holy Communion with hymns.

Wednesday 22nd July  7.30 p.m. at Higher Denhay, Broadoak, DT6 5NP.   The Broadoak Choir’s Summer Party for Broadoak village and friends (I said it was party time).   We held our first one last year and it seemed to go quite well, so we thought we’d do it again.   We would love to welcome you all to some supper and singing.  Bring whatever you’d like to drink, and we’ll provide the food, and once again, let us know if you’d like to come.   We would also love it if anyone would like to do a reading, or play something, so do contact Chris Reynolds if you’d like a slot.
We had a great rendition of Wisden’s Cricketing Almanac  in the style of Psalm 119 last year!

Sunday 26th July  9.30 a.m. Field next to Broadoak Hall – by kind permission of Tim and Paul Dare.   A wonderful old-fashioned pony show if you’d like to come along.   The Hall Committee will be doing their usual refreshments – coffee, cakes and bacon rolls from 9.30 on.

Look out for my correction email which may follow shortly, when someone spots at error!

Keep cool and happy and best wishes

01308 422770



Welcome to winter!  I think I will rename this as ‘diary’ rather than ‘newsletter’, as updates on events are in the Parish Magazine.

Sunday 3rd May – 9.30 a.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak – Service with a Smile – do come for our short service with coffee and cake afterwards.   All over by 10.15 if you have other things to do.

Thursday 7th May – Election Day with polling in the Symene Sports Club.

Sunday 10th May – 11.00 – 4.00 Millennium Green, Bridport - The Ropewalk Fair.   This raises funds for both the Literary and Scientific Institute and the Museum in which both George and I are involved.  A great opportunity to learn about the history of the rope and net making industry as well as taking part in lots of fun events.

Monday 11th May – 7.30 p.m.   Broadoak Hall meeting in the Hall.   We will be thinking about the uses for the phone box in the village which has now been decommissioned (and tidied up) by BT.  John and Audrey Creed, on whose land it is, are happy for us to have it for community use so do come to our meeting if you have some ideas.  A leaflet will also be coming round shortly to ask for your suggestions.

Tuesday 12th May – 7.00 p.m.  Symondsbury School - First meeting of new parish council (we have five councillors and hopefully two co-options, so room for one more if anyone is interested).  We will be looking at the Watton Park application with representation from the agents.

Sunday 17th May – 6.30 p.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak – Rogation Service.   We meet at the church at 6.30 and then walk in a southerly direction, blessing crops, animals and homesteads along the way and ending at Higher Moorbath for light refreshments.   Transport back to church provided if necessary.   We use a traditional service which has been used in rural parishes for generations.

Friday 22nd May – 2.00 p.m. Official opening of the Symene Community Land Trust housing scheme in West Allington.

Best wishes


Saturday 4th April – 6.30 p.m. Easter Eve service in St. Paul’s Broadoak with the Broadoak Choir  – this is the one where we can have exciting pyrotechnics, though that was about ten years ago.  But you never can tell what might happen.  Break your Lenten fast afterward with a glass of something and some refreshment.

Sunday 5th April – 9.30 a.m. Easter Sunday Family Service in St. John’s Symondsbury.

Tuesday 7th April – 7.30 p.m. Annual Parish Meeting of the Parish Council at 7.30 in the School.   We have a great speaker – Sam Scriven, Earth Science Adviser to the Jurassic Coast Trust.   Don’t think geology is dry as old bones – Sam is a dynamic speaker and you really should know more about this amazing World Heritage Site you live on.   You will also learn a little more about the activities of the Parish Council during the year, and it’s your chance to ask questions or suggest projects for the future.  Enjoy a glass of wine and chat afterwards.

And it is still not too late to stand for the parish council – we will have several vacancies, so it is unlikely that there will be an election, if that was deterring  you.  Do please talk to me about it.  Last date is 26th April.

Wednesday 8th – Sunday 12th April – From Page to Screen in Bridport.   If you haven’t already seen the programme, check up on the website and see the amazing events Ines and her committee have got together.

Tuesday 14th April – 7.00 p.m. Last Parish Council meeting before elections on 7th May.  In Symondsbury School as usual, with the Democratic Half Hour at the start for anyone to have their say about anything.

Sunday 19th April – 11.00 a.m.   Bluebell Walk around Broadoak, followed by lunch in the village hall.   If the walk doesn’t appeal, just come to lunch (tickets £7.50)  – call Georgina on 424922 for more information.

Sunday 19th April – 6.30 p.m.  Evening Prayer in St. Paul’s.


Recent History


Sorry, belated and short newsletter this month.  I have put in a couple of things locally which are not exactly Broadoak based, but I feel might be of interest.

13th March – 7.30 p.m. Arts Reach in Broadoak Hall – Himalayan Journey by Ben Osborne – a really stimulating evening – contact Georgina on 424922

15th March – 6.30 p.m. Evening communion at St. Paul’s Broadoak

18th March – 7.00 p.m. in the Council office Mountfield, Bridport – a chance to learn about becoming a Parish councillor.  It would be wonderful if someone would like to become a Symondsbury Parish Councillor, as I am very happy to retire.  Do come along to this hour long event, or talk to me – I have information leaflets if anyone is at all interested.

19th March – 6.15 p.m. Colfox School (refreshments from 5.30 provided by the Bridport Local Food Group) – annual Assembly for the Bridport Local Area Partnership.   A truly non-political evening (just in case the election was getting you down), but an opportunity to hear from Lord Robin Teverson, Chairman of the Rural Coalition – a group of non-political organisations such as the NFU, CPRE, RSPB, Town and Country Planning Association, etc. who are fighting for the rights of those living in rural areas.   Everyone welcome.


29th March

A very special event in the Parish –

the 150th Anniversary of the building of both St. Peter’s Eype and St. Paul’s Broadoak. 

Breakfast in St Peter’s Eype, Lunch in St. John’s Symondsbury and Tea and Sung Evensong (with the Broadoak Choir) at St. Paul’s, Broadoak.  

Come and walk all the way, or just call in at any of the churches


Best wishes



We start off the new year with our annual village hall Christmas party.  This tradition goes back many, many years when Father Christmas used to bring presents and Granny Huxter always had a box of oranges for all the children.  We used to raise the money for this party by holding a Christmas bingo, but now we are happy to welcome all children for free, funded from our hall funds. 

2nd January – 6.30 p.m. Broadoak Hall Reindeer Drive.  This is our version of the traditional Beetle Drive (you throw a dice to build up a picture of a beetle – it is fast and furious and great fun for all ages) and tickets are £3.00 (children free) and includes a sausage and mash supper.   Bring a bottle if you wish (it doesn’t improve your game, but can make the atmosphere more festive) and soft drinks will be provided.  It would be great to have an indication of numbers, but the committee always manages to cope with whatever numbers turn up – we hope!  Antlers are optional.

4th January – 9.30 p.m. St Paul’s Broadoak – Service with a Smile celebrating Epiphany – if you’d like to come with some sort of kingly attire, that would be wonderful, but no obligation!  There are always excellent cakes afterwards. 

13th January – 7.00 p.m. Symondsbury School -  Symondsbury Parish Council meeting – we are still anxious to find representatives for the Neighbourhood Plan steering group from the Symondsbury parish.  Please contact me if you are at all interested.  It is an opportunity to shape the future of the Bridport area, which includes Vearse Farm and Symondsbury parish.

18th January -  6.30 p.m. St Paul’s Broadoak – Holy Communion with hymns

Dustbin collections will be on Wednesdays for the next couple of weeks, rather than the usual Tuesday.


My advent message!  And I am happy to welcome a couple of new people onto my mailing list.

But also my first HomeWatch message; police are looking out for a Maroon Freelander which was stolen from Broadwindsor, and which has been seen over the weekend ‘casing the joint’ in the Vale.   The registration the officer gave me was W508 PBN – he had it written on his hand (I like that touch in the modern day police force) and I think it should probably have been WF08 or WS08 as I don’t think they had Freelanders back in the day of W508 registrations.   Please dial 999 if you see it and keep an extra eye on your outhouses and diesel tanks.

7th December – 9.30 a.m. Our first Christingle Service in St. Paul’s, Broadoak. 
Not just for children, but they, and their parents, are especially welcome.  

This then leads on to our first Create Club in Broadoak Hall from 10.30 to 12.30
(or whenever the sticky-back plastic and paint runs out).  
Please contact Camilla ( for any more information,
refreshments will be available and there will be a £1.00 charge for each child. 
It would be great if this becomes a regular event.

.9th December ..... 7.00 p.m. December Parish Council meeting in Symondsbury School.

14th December......6.30 p.m. St. John the Baptist, Symondsbury Carol Service
a very traditional service with all the appropriate readings and lots of carols.

15th December..... 7.00 p.m.  Broadoak Hall meeting to plan forthcoming events.

21st December.......6.30 p.m. The Choir sing with the Pilsdon Community Carol Service

23rd December .....6.30 p.m. St. Paul’s Broadoak Carol Service with the Broadoak Choir
followed by lots of mince pies, cheesey biscuits (possibly the last bit of Denhay Cheddar) and mulled wine. 
It will be great to have the service so near to Christmas, as we don’t have another until the New Year
(and not on 21st December as in the Parish Magazine).

24th December....11.30 p.m. Midnight Eucharist in Symondsbury

25th December .....9.30 a.m. Family Crib Service in Symondsbury.

28th December .....6.30 p.m. The Choir sing at th3e Mapperton Epiphany Carol Service

2nd January .........6.30 p.m. Reindeer Drive (the winter version of the Beetle Drive) in Broadoak Hall – supper and the hard fought game;  the perfect way to limber up after Christmas excesses.

4th January ..........9.30 a.m. St Paul’s Broadoak Epiphany Service with a Smile
all most welcome to track the Three Kings.come in costume!


Harvest is always a good time in Broadoak, though possibly not if you are stuck behind silage trailers!

  • 3rd October – Denhay is sponsoring one of the ScreenBites evenings in Wootton Fitzpaine Village Hall – the film is Jadoo, a comedy involving family rivals cooking for an Indian wedding in Leicester.   Doors open at 7.00 p.m.
  • 5th October – Service with a Smile at 9.30 in St. Paul’s Broadoak
  • 14th October – Parish Council Meeting at 7.00 p.m. in the school.  We are working on plans to rejuvenate the phone box in Broadoak (it has not been working probably over a year) – any ideas would be much appreciated by Alex and me.  Do come to the meeting, even if just for the first half hour, when you can comment on anything happening in the parish.  We are also getting together our Resilience Plan – a structure to ensure that everyone in the community is taken care of during any periods of extreme cold, loss of power, etc.   Look out for a newsletter soon.
  • 20th October –Village Hall AGM 7.00 p.m.   Do come and join the stalwart committee if you’d like to.
  • 26th October – Harvest Festival at 6.30 p.m. in St. Paul’s with help from the Broadoak Choir and followed by a Chicken Supper in the Village Hall.  It would be really helpful if you could let me know if you’d like to come to that (Tickets £5.00, children £2.50).
  • 27th October – not quite in the village, but the AGM of the Bridport Local Food Group will be taking place in the Town Hall between 6.00 p.m. and 8.00 p.m. and all are most welcome to come along and enjoy good food and drink and or join the steering group to bring new ideas for the Festival.
  • 2nd November – Dorset Village Breakfast in the Hall.   We will be part of Dorset Food Week (
    and will, as usual, try to make the ingredients as Dorset as possible.  Timing is 9.30 to last sitting at 11.30.  Always a great occasion!
  • Monday evenings (if you’ve not had Ines’s message already) sees the screening on Channel 4 of Simon Ford’s police documentary – more gripping than any TV drama, and for the next four weeks.  It received a five star review in the Times – not one given very often.
If you have any news of forthcoming events etc. you can send them to amanda
  Amanda Streatfeild  
For futhur information,contact us on 01308 424 922
or email us at

  An archive of magazine items can be found below