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Mayor’s Blog 123

Mayor’s Blog 123

Lots of “B”s this week: Bikes, Bins, Bees, Bee Friendly Bridport, Bridport Chamber Orchestra,

Ian Bark kindly helped out this week due to my full diary and he has contributed two items for the Blog at
the end.

The Great Big Green Week Bike Ride

The Great Big Green week was officially opened on Saturday Morning in the Bridport Community Orchard by our Town Crier, putting on a wonderful show as always in his own unique way

The Big Green week is a series of events taking place throughout the week in and around Bridport and is a celebration of community action to tackle climate change and protect nature.

At the start of Bridport’s Big Green Week 2023 our planet is still facing huge environmental challenges.

We have been on a cycle ride around the town today. Why?

The aim of the Cycle Ride is to encourage the residents of Bridport to think about how they come into town, to encourage our fellow citizens to ask themselves, should I walk, should I cycle or should I use my car?

  • By walking you are exercising and taking time to take in the world around you,
  • By cycling you are using the most healthy, efficient and least polluting mode of transport on the planet,
  • By using your car you are doing the complete opposite. And paying for it financially!

As a mode of transport to get around town I know from personal experience that my bike is by far the quickest and least costly financially and environmentally to get around Bridport. Unfortunately we have a way to go to encourage people to get out of their cars for the sake of their personal health and the health of the planet.

On Saturday I joined fellow cyclists of all ages to start the great Big Green week off with the traditional bike ride starting in St. Mary’s field and finishing up at the top of South Street. This meant dusting off my trusty bike and pumping up the tyres and although we have some shared cycleways on the outskirts of town it isn’t easy to get to St. Mary’s sports field without dismounting as I have to cross the A35 which can be very challenging at times.

The sight of our Town Crier approaching across the bridge after opening the proceedings in the Orchard and still wearing his full regalia and pushing a bicycle did bring a smile to my face, surely not…. in full regalia?

The Great Big Green Week Bike Ride
The Great Big Green Week Bike Ride

After fitting signs to our bikes proclaiming a “net zero” carbon journey and following on from the safety briefing we set off towards the Bus Station. With much bell ringing on the way we all managed the trip up West street, through the town, along East Street and into Asker’s meadow then back up South Street to arrive safely at our destination. I did notice a couple of car drivers shaking their heads at the temerity of cyclists demonstrating and causing them to have a few seconds added to their journey but sadly that is the attitude of some motorists-the road belongs to them. Quite frankly, cars should rank third behind
pedestrians and cyclists. That rings a bell (pun, sorry) didn’t the Highway Code come up with that idea recently? The good news was there was some clapping and cheering from the people enjoying a sunny market day so the effort was appreciated by many.

Much as I support cycling and walking I must confess that there is much more to be done to make cyclists and pedestrian feel safe in and around Bridport and it will be interesting to see how cycle route proposals for the new Foundry Lea development will interface with our current cycle routes to offer a “car free” option to safely reach the Town Centre.

Bradpole Church, Bins and Bees

Bins – Before opening the Bee Garden in Holy Trinity Church, Bradpole I was first asked to take part in a brief ceremony that proclaimed their Bin “Twinning” with Masaka in Uganda. They did not actually have reciprocal bins in Masaka but rather the Church had sent a donation to the value of the bins. My role involved applying stickers to two bins, a definite first for me in ceremonial terms!

Bin Twinning
Dave Bolwell - Bin Twinning
Bees – We then gathered around the new Bee Garden which had been newly planted with Bee friendly

plants, most of which were funded by Joe Hacket from Bridport Tree Planting group ( more about this group in my next Blog). I am heartened by the desire shown to protect and encourage our pollinators and I am aware that other churches in the area and indeed nationally are following this example by committing to provide an area to provide a habitat that attracts and safeguards Bees and other vital pollinators.

It is a fact that we simply wouldn’t be able to survive without bees. As well as boosting our mood when we see them in our woods and gardens, they’re crucial to our physical health and the health of the wider environment. For as we know Bees pollinate food crops. I wasn’t aware that in the UK alone, around 70 crops depend on or benefit from bee pollination. While there are other methods of pollination wild bees can pollinate on a much bigger and more efficient scale. When I heard on the news this week that studies have shown a dramatic decrease in the number of pollinators in the UK it made me really concerned that life on our planet is under threat from a direction that is only just beginning to be really appreciated.

On a positive note I am sure that local initiatives like this Bee garden and a worldwide reduction in the use of pesticides coupled with an understanding of how nature and mankind can work together in a sound ecological way will help to reverse this worrying trend.

Dave Bolwell in the Bee Garden
Gathering in the Bee Garden

At the end of the ceremony I was intrigued to hear that, UK wide, the Churches have thousands of acres of land set aside for flower meadows, Bee gardens and wildlife areas. They are in the process of adding these details into a national database. This prompted a quick internet search where I found details of an organisation called NBN atlas which is the National Biodiversity Network, a registered charity that is an online tool to educate and inform people about the natural world. It might be interesting or useful.

For more information: click here:

Bee Friendly Bridport

Bee Friendly Bridport is a new Community Group established by the team at the Dorset Bee and the Symondsbury School Bee Club. The group aims to raise awareness of the importance of all pollinators and the risks to them from habitat loss. This includes the actions that individuals, groups and organisations can take to support pollinators and how these actions can have a positive effect on the natural ecosystem and biodiversity within Bridport and its surrounding area.

For further information click here:

Bridport Chamber Orchestra

On Sunday I was invited to attend a concert at St. Swithun’s Church that was generously sponsored by Alan Williams who will be celebrating his 80 th birthday shortly. I had a wonderful time and the Orchestra were superb under the direction of conductor David Hedges.

The music included a performance of the Keyboard Concerto No.5 by J C Bach with the international soloist Duncan Honeybourne on the Harpsichord and the Concerto for Trumpet in Eb by Joseph Heyden that was brilliantly performed by the soloist Stuart Paul. The concert ended with a very lively and energetic performance of the Jupiter Symphony (No. 41) by Mozart. The whole performance was a treat and I thank Alan for his invitation. I would definitely recommend attending one of their future concerts.
For further information : click here:

Report from the Mayoress

I will be at the Carer Support Dorset  drop-in session at Bridport library on Monday from 11-2.
I am meeting representatives from Age UK next week about the support services they provide and
specifically how they provide help and support to carers.

Future events: There is a Charity Line Dance for Alzheimer's Research UK on Sunday 25th June , 3pm, at Bridport Leisure Centre Sports hall. Suggested donation £5. Contact Debbie Jones (07585356929) or just turn up.

Carer Support Dorset

Reports from the Deputy Mayor

West Bay Vintage Rally 2023

The 49th West Bay Vintage Rally – first held in 1979 – took place over the weekend at the Melplash Showground. The rally is organised by the West Dorset Vintage Tractor and Stationary Engine Club which gives a hint of what you can see when you visit. But the event is so much more than you might imagine.

West Bay Vintage Rally 2023

Anne and I were driven to and from the rally in an open topped vintage white rover which is over 100 years old and certainly turns heads as it travels along.  On arrival at the showground we were greeted by Loric Collins the Club President who kindly took us on a tour of the exhibits and introduced us to some of the exhibitors. There is nothing I like more than listening to someone talk about something they are both passionate and extremely knowledegable about. The vintage vehicles and machines on display, particularly the working ones, are certainly wonderful to look at, but engaging in conversation with the exhibitors, whose pride and joy they are, delivers another level fascinating information.

West Bay Vintage Rally 2023

There is much more to the event than the large vehicles and stationery engines the models on display in the marque are worth going along to wonder at alone. The Meccano fairground rides and clocks had everyone who looked at them captivated.

West Bay Vintage Rally 2023

The event is certainly an opportunity for those of us of a certain age to step back time for a day of nostalgia. For younger visitors it is an opportunity to glimpse into the world of their parents and grandparents youth. Watching a steam driven threshing machine brought back memories of the same set up coming to the farm I grew up on and of the people, all now passed away, who took part in the days hard work.

The WDVTSE club has about 380 members, which meet once a month to socialise, share experiences and arrange club activities. As a result of some very successful rallies in the recent years, thy have been able to donate over £62,500 to local charity and community projects. Click HERE to find out more.

Link in case you need it –

I for one am already looking forward to next years rally when I hope to go along with my grandchildren to share memories and see it through their eyes.

Discover Farming Sunday @ Denhay Farm

Open Farm Sunday at Denhay Farm was a free event hosted by Coppet Hill, the Marshwood Vale Farmers Cluster (a group of neighbouring farmers) and the Melplash Agricultural Society.  It is organised nationally by LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) is farm­ing’s annu­al open day giv­ing vis­i­tors the oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn more about farm­ing and the coun­try­side, and farm­ers the chance to talk about what they’re so proud of: British food and farming!

On the day a full programme of informative and fun activities had been organised, you could:

  • Go on a farm tour, via tractor and trailer
  • Get up close to Jersey cows, Portland and Dorset Horn sheep, saddleback pigs, chickens and pigmy goats, all on display and some to pet
  • Learn about soil health and what crops are grown on the farm
  • Spot the wildlife around the farm
  • Find out about how to keep bees, hedge laying and other rural skills
  • Visit the Discover Farming barn, packed with hands on food to farm activities for children.

Alongside there were displays by Dorset AONB, Dorset Wildlife Trust, Dorset Farming, Wildlife and Advisory Group, Bridport Bird Group, Wessex Water and others.

Denhay Farm is going through a period of transition, what was only a few years ago was a pretty intensive dairy and arable regime is now well on the way to becoming a much more ecological and environmentally friendly one. The the tractor tour of the farm, accompanied by an extremely knowledgeable commentary explained how this is being achieved, Everyone on the tour I took was fascinated by the science behind the transition whilst admiring the beautiful areas of wild flowers that are now present.

Discover Farming Sunday @ Denhay Farm

Once back at the redundant dairy buildings there was much more to see and learn from the range of rural exhibitors present. Another barn was filled with hands on experiences such as butter making that were much enjoyed by children of all ages. But without a doubt the award for the cutest thing to see was a sow and her day old piglets.

Discover Farming Sunday @ Denhay Farm

As we become ever more removed, from the way in which the food we consume is produced, days such as this are a fantastic way in which to learn. There is much misunderstanding and misinformation out there and it is only by taking the opportunity to find out first hand that the real facts can be gained. Keep your eyes open for future Open Farm events and find out for yourself how your food is produced.

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