Spring 2017

Lennys-Den-02


Spring gets under way in Souldrop and once again the colours return to life after the drabness of winter. We take a peek at Lenny’s hidden Eden and find that a Cricket match is in full swing. The shoots of wheat are just popping their heads above the soil in the nearby fields as the colossal new neighbours ‘Tom Dick and Harry’ turbines tower above the trees at Windmill Hill. Situated at Airfield Farm at Santa Pod these guys are as big as they get reaching some 420 foot. The Blackmere turbine also towers above the trees in the Forty Foot hedge line.
The meadows surrounding the village are returning to green and the late Kim’s Tulips bring a splash of colours to the ambience of All Saints graveyard recently recovering from a horrible break in.
It is difficult photographing the village without showing cars and wheely-bins I  had to work hard to keep them to a minimum in the shots.The village is never totally free of clutter so in a way it would be disingenuous to display otherwise, so there will be the odd bin or car lurking on the fringes!
We would like to thank Lenny for letting us get right into his ‘garden of eden’ and the wonderful folk of our village for taking the care to make Souldrop a feast for the eye’s!

All photo’s taken by Steve Andrews on April 10 2017: Copyright Steve Andrews.

Larger Print size available on request.

 

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West Wood 10 year Consultation

We received a notice from the forestry Commission regarding a ten year review of West Woods. They are asking for feedback from locals

To Whom it may concern,

I have enclosed a copy of the new Brampton Ash, Hardwick, Sywell & West Wood Forest Design Plan.

It is our policy to consult interested parties on new Forest Design Plans and I would appreciate any comments you may have on the plan by 15th March 2017. Comments received by this date will be taken into consideration when preparing the final plan that will be submitted to the Forest Authority for approval.

We are however always pleased to receive information and enquiries at any time.

You can find the document and all the relevant information here

Is there a case for opening up a little more public access a few more footpaths maybe? What do you think?

 

SLOW DOWN PLEASE!

Please keep your speed down

Please keep your speed down

Residents are appealing to motorists to slow down on Souldrop High Street following an incident by the green on Saturday 30th July.
“Even though the speed limit is thirty miles per hour, considering the blind bend near the green, that doesn’t give much time to stop if there are kids or pets playing, or horse riders walkers or cyclists using the high street, especially during weekends and summer holidays” one resident commented. “Perhaps it’s time for traffic calming measures, maybe a 20 mile an hour limit or speed ramps” said another resident in discussion.

 

 

“A procession of at least four trial motorbikes tore through the village at a great speed last weekend, I estimate they were doing at least 45 miles per hour, had there have been a horse rider or child in the street coming the other way, they wouldn’t have stood a chance” added the resident (who didn’t wish to be named)

Blind bend near the green

Blind bend near the green

So we at Souldrop.biz appeal to all motorist users of the roads through Souldrop to take that extra care and vigilance when driving through the village, especially throughout the summer holidays. We suggest a maximum of 20 miles an hour and please be mindful to slow down for the bends near the green. Today’s incident is a warning shot across the bow, next time god forbidding, the incident could involve a child, cyclist or horse rider.

So Motorist’s and Motorbikers, Please slow down when driving through the village!

Motorists, please slow down whilst driving through Souldrop Village

Motorists, please slow down whilst driving through Souldrop Village

 

Superfast Broadband on the way!

Superfast broadband is on the way

Superfast Broadband is on the way

Superfast Broadband is on the way – but at a snails pace!

I have received a response to a question I asked Bedford’s Borough Mayor Dave Hodgson on his recent visit to the village on the matter of when Souldrop is due for it’s long overdue upgrade to ‘superfast broadband’
“Souldrop, being in Phase 4, should see a superfast service available, in the second half of 2018, all being well in the 3rd quarter of 2018” quoted Mayor Hodgson.

So we will have to wait up to three more years for a decent deal on our broadband.
However in the meantime there may be “interim options” involving a possible “subsidised satellite option scheme for those who have a sub-2Mbps broadband service”although this is yet to be confirmed.

I will write back to Mayor Hodgson and ask him to clarify how this might work and keep you informed.

Steve Andrews

Forty Foot Turbine is here!

The Forty Foot-Turbine has arrived

The Forty Foot-Turbine has arrived

A new view dominates the Souldrop arena as the 260 foot wind turbine is installed adjacent to the Forty Foot Lane. To some the turbine’s arrival will be contentious but to others it will be welcomed . But in the week the government signed the deal with the French and Chinese to build our future energy needs in the form of Nuclear Power, it seems Renewable Energy has now been put on a back burner.

Whether you are a believer or a non believer in renewable energies, the turbine is here to stay now, so we will have to get used to it, as it has a license to run for thirty years.

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Wartime Memories

I would like to share a wartime memory sent in by a Mr Lawrence Lampert, whom as a child was evacuated from bombed out London to stay with a family in Souldrop.

Perhaps there is someone out there who might remember Lawrence or have their own memories from the Second World War. Please feel free to use our comment box below if you would like to contribute.

During world war two, my sister and I were sent from bombed out London to Souldrop. With a label tag on our coats we arrived by train and bus and the WI ladies line us up and we were put in line for selection by the local folk……. We were chose by Arthur & Katherine who were farmhands for Mr.Haroldon his farm some miles out of the village…….He tended the sheep and did general farm work…….we live din the tied terrace cottage across the road from the farm…..There were Italian POWs working on the farm under the scrutiny of armed soldiers and the Land army girls drove the tractor and shire horses and women drove the local bus… We went to the local village school and our teacher was Miss Bagshawe…… the school seemed a couple of miles away passed a Methodist chapel…….. Harvest festival was in the big church and the evacuees got a parcel each after the service……. I remember the sheep dogs Judy & Tricksey who also rounded up the cattle
I wonder if you can  help trace further details of these folk for me and my Grandchildren who are covering ‘evacuees’ as a school project.
I currently live in Rothbury, Northumberland… but I have many clear memories of Souldrop, and the American Airforce folk one met in Rushden on market days..They had many a kind words for the evacuees and chewing gum, and were genuinely feeling for us fathe evacuees whose fathers were killed fighting in France and Holland and whose Mothers were bombed in the blitz.

I wrote back to Lawrence and told him of the ‘bomb squad’ incident a couple years back and also mentioned we would keep our eyes and ears open for others that may be able to share memories with him.

Dear Steve, Thanks for your speedy response……..if you do find local oldies who remember the ‘evacuees’ let me know… it might be worthwhile asking your local WI as those ladies plus the ‘Lady of the mansion’ seemed to be involved with organising the ‘evacuees’……….I do remember the school shut at harvest time and everyone went into the fields to help… your records may also show the names of the local farm owners too.
regards    Lawrence Lampert

If anyone wishes to correspond with Lawrence, I have his email address if you contact me at…   souldrop.steve@gmail.com I will forward Lawrence’s email contact details.

Alternatively, please feel free to use the below comment box to contribute your memories.You can use your normal Facebook, Yahoo, AOL or Hotmail accounts to do so.

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Bad Deal On Our Broadband?

Dear BT , Mayor of Bedford, or other…..

Our village of Souldrop would dearly love to have a decent Broadband Speed with a reliable connection. We understand that Bedford Borough Council has in place a “Central Superfast Broadband Project” which aims are understood to include eventually rolling out slightly faster broadband to Souldrop maybe if we are lucky in 2018 or 2019. This will make us one of the last rural areas in Bedford to experience a modest minimum of 2.01 mbps. Lets face it folks that speed will be a significant improvement on the speeds many of us get round here at the moment but in the grand scheme of things , it is really not going to be fast enough to enjoy many of the benefits that the real high speed broadband users, elsewhere are used to.

Souldrop's ancient telegraph supply network

Souldrop’s ancient telegraph supply network

Telephone, Broadband and Electricity are delivered to much of the village via a now aging telegraph wired supply network, the basis for this technology is getting on for a hundred years old! God forbid Amazon dot com ever get their way and use drone helicopters to deliver their goods to villagers in Souldrop, I just don’t think drones and our village wiring system would get on together! The problem is that BT who administer the telephony system say that problem is that we are over a couple of miles from the Sharnbrook exchange. They say the problem is that they have old copper wire networks that are in place that were not originally intended for  Broadband signal. They are making the best out of a clearly antiquated system that ideally needs replacing with fiber optics. The village simply doesn’t have the population or businesses to make funding such a rewiring a reliable option. Well there are subsidies and the Mayor is on the case (apparently! – write to him if it concerns you!)
Many of our villagers experience speeds that are not much improved since the dreadful days of dial-up internet, with so much of life online nowadays don’t the villagers deserve better? Our Mayor seems to be championing faster rural broadband but currently his attention is elsewhere in the region. Maybe we as a village are simply not campaigning loud enough!

According to online checkers the village of Souldrop has a 1.5 to 2.0 Mb speed range, we know that this is pretty much bang in the middle of the actual reported speed of some residents.

For instance we have a range speeds reported from 0.250mb to 5.0mb, we also have a high dropout rate reported in the village. If a BT Openreach repair van enters the village, then the rate of ‘curtain-twitchers’ increases tenfold!

Report you speeds right below using your facebook account, if you think we should get a campaign together to prompt our lord mayor into improving our broadband supply then discuss below. I think the village deserves a better connection, what do you think?

Steve Andrews

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Souldrop Bridge returns

Closed for five months! Looking towards the traffic lights on the railway bridge at Sharnbrook Road Souldrop.

Closed for eight months! Looking towards the traffic lights on the railway bridge at Sharnbrook Road Souldrop.

Residents have noted an increase in overnight activity this week as Network Rail fight against time to deliver the promised re-opening of the Sharnbrook/Souldrop railway bridge.
The Souldrop bridge, is re-scheduled to open on the 7th November which is three months late after failing to meet it’s original August 11th deadline. The delay has been attributed to “unforeseen circumstances” by Network Rail which offers little explanation for the apparent lack of activity over the last few months until the recent overnight work.

The following day, Templars Way in Sharnbrook will be closed and for 6 months. Diversion routing is challenging and it is planned to use Souldrop/Sharnbrook Road as one of the options. This will be effective from Saturday 8th November 2014.

At this point it is unclear whether or not the previous Traffic Lights or bridge weight restrictions be retained. There are concerns in the village that the re-opening of the bridge will see the return of Heavy Goods Vehicles and a general increase in traffic using the Sharnbrook/Souldrop road, which one resident describes as a “rat-race”. Certainly the village can expect to see an increase in traffic once the bridge is re-opened and particularly for the following six months or more whilst Templars Way is closed

 

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There is NO bus stop at Souldrop Turn

There is no bus stop at Souldrop Turn

There is no bus stop at Souldrop Turn. The picture above is wishful thinking for some!

Although most Souldroppers use their own transport for accessing the nearby towns such as Bedford, Rushden, Wellingborough etc, the village is not served very well by public transport which is vital for those who for one reason or another don’t drive.

Taxi’s can prove expensive for instance traveling to and from Bedford from Souldrop especially out of normal hours.

Stocking Lane bus stop

Stocking Lane bus stop

So what of the bus service’s to Souldrop?

From the Stocking lane bus stop’s adjacent to the Beacon village green, Grant Palmer offer three buses running towards Bedford via Harold Monday to Friday and two on a Saturday. There is just one return to Souldrop from Bedford (via ~Harold) (further info here)

To Rushden via Yeildon and Wymington there are two outward and two return. ( further info here)

I had a distressed phone call from a ‘stranded’ friend visiting me in Souldrop recently, asking if I would be kind enough to pick them up from Avenue road in Higham Park, Rushden. It turned out they had planned the journey based on information from the popular Routeplanner – Transportdirect website.
The bus service number 50 from Kettering to Bedford has Souldrop Turn on the busy A6 highway marked as a bus stop. Apparently the bus went sailing past Souldrop Turn without stopping, the eventual reason given to my friend by the driver was that “There is no bus stop at Souldrop Turn, it is much too dangerous for the bus driver’s to stop given the nature of the speeding traffic”

We looked on the Routeplanner website and sure enough Souldrop Turn is indeed marked as a bus stop. This left me puzzled so I took a closer look and sure enough there is no physical bus stop in the vicinity of the Souldrop Turn garage and in the area of the Stocking Lane junction. I went into the garage and asked the proprietor and he had no knowledge of there ever being a bus stop in that area of the main road. His response was that to his knowledge there was no bus stop.

Stagecoach the bus company run route 50 so I found their timetable online and checked the route, once again it clearly identified Souldrop Turn as a legitimate bus stop. Next I phoned their Bedford office up and asked the female Stagecoach assistant (Sandra) if the Souldrop Turn bus stop was still in use. After checking she initially confirmed that the bus stop was legitimate, after a little pressing for further information on to the actual whereabouts she put me on hold whilst she called through to the depot. When she came back her story had changed, the bus stop is marked as a bus stop but as the road is so busy, the drivers feel it is much too unsafe to actually stop there – in fact no bus driver can remember actually stopping there for over seven years!

Example timetable for Stagecoach route 50

Example timetable for Stagecoach route 50 showing the entry for ‘Souldrop Turn’

We have no issue with the bus drivers, in the absence of a physical safe harbour for buses to pull into, it is a decision clearly based on common sense given the busy and fast nature of this location, which is well known locally as an accident blackspot.

There are a few good reason’s why the Bus company in this case Stagecoach should officially remove their ‘tag’ for the Souldrop Turn bus stop. A bus stop at that location is not a viable solution for the service of passengers to and from the village of Souldrop, it is a kilometer away along an increasingly busy Stocking Lane with no pavement. It’s tagging on the Bus company and national timetables is misleading to travelers. The tagging as a legitimate bus stop can effect decisions based on the proximity to the village Souldrop by local and national government departments for instance Social Services, Schools etc and finally it can be used by bus companies to argue that they service our village which in this case is clearly untrue.

So I have written to the Bedford office of Stagecoach and I suggested they either kindly, Erect a safe harboured bus stop on either side of the road at the Souldrop Turn or, Take out the bus stop entry for the “SOULDROP TURN” bus stop as soon as possible from all the timetables.

And furthermore I asked for an official comment from Stagecoach as to the response for the above points.

As yet this hasn’t been forthcoming, my letter has been passed on from the Bedford office to the manager of the Kettering office who manage route 50. I am at this time still awaiting a reply. I will print their response when it arrives.

Mr S. Andrews

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Santa seen on the green!

Santa seen on the Green

Santa seen posing  on the Green

We at Souldrop.biz would like to wish everybody a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We would like to thank everybody who attended the recent Christmas Fayre helping to raise funds for the Village Hall. Congratulations to all those who helped make the afternoon a very special Christmastime success.

Please spare a thought for those who are not so fortunate in these times of austerity in the country and the world at large.

Many British families are finding it particularly difficult to make ends meet this year, so perhaps a good way of proving that we are really “all in it together” is to donate any spare food or if you can contribute any spare funds  to the Trussells foodbank trust

Once again “Merry Christmas”

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