THE TARMACCED VILLAGE PATHS
photo Width of village path by Rectory to Manor Cottage 1980 Photo: Homes and Buildings: aerial view of village 1938
Whilst a Parish Councillor, many people approached me about the narrowness of parts of the village path. Where once they were able to walk along this tarmacced path easily, some of them pushing a pram (the wide and deep ones that were used in the 1940's) many parts of the village path had now been taken over by either hedges or grass verges. In some places, the path was so narrow, it was safer to walk on the road instead, especially if there had been a rain-storm drenching hedges, which soaked the pedestrians if they walked along the path.
Sometime after her arrival at The Manor, Mrs. Rees-Mogg (though she might have been Mrs. Douty at the time) paid for the village path to be tarmacced and the aerial view photo shows just how neatly the path looked then – and the hedges beside the path.
Photo: Homes and Buildings; aerial view of village 1938
I have also placed on this site a photo of the path near to the Rectory leading down to the Manor Cottages. This was taken in 1980, with my oldest child Sara on a chopper bike, James behind her on a wide and sturdy tricycle, and William on a smaller tricycle with no peddles and a smaller width – just to show how wide the path was then.
Old village Photos; Width of village path by Rectory to Manor Cottage 1980
As my job as Councillor was to act on behalf of the Parish, I asked permission of the |Parish Council to take measurements of various sections of the path to attempt to find the original wooden edges which first held the tarmac. They agreed provided I asked permission of the owners of the cottages who were looking after the grass verges of the path, and keeping the grass well clipped, and those with hedges alongside the path.
I had the help of Julian Crang to help, and with him plunging a sharp-edged tool into the grass verge by the path, we were able to discern where the tarmac was under the grass roots, and where there was just soil. With a deep cut in the soil made by Julian both sides of the path, I was then able to take measurements and write them down.
And this is what I found:- Village Paths
road side full measurement house side covered by grass of exposed tarmac covered by grass
Outside 6 Orchard Place 8”/.20m 5'3”/1.60m
Angled Narrow side path in grass bank7”/.18m 3'8”/1.118m 7”/.18m
Outside 4 Orchard Place 12”/.305m 4'6”/1.372m 15”/.382m
Entrance to 3 Orchard Place ) 7”/.18m 3'9”/1.092m 7”/18m
One side of drive 1 Orchard Place 5”/.128m 3'/.915m 4”/.102m
Churchside of drive 1 Orchard Place 6”/.152m 3'2”/.965m 5”/.128m
Hedge of Red Walls 14”/.355m 3'9”/1.092m 11”/.278
Entrance to Barn Close (Main Road side 17”/.431m 4'6”/1.37m 19”/.482
Entrance to Barn Flats 4”/.102m 4'/1.22m
Result of finding edge of village path near to Manor Cottage boundary
3.4”/3'8” 1'3”/1'5 Here, I was able to find under the hedge, the original wooden edging laid down when the path was first tarmacced. Unfortunately I was unable to find the edging on the grass edging opposite, because the soil was too wet, and I could not shake the grass away from the soil – so the measurement 3'4”/3'8” is an estimate.
Problem revealed when attempting to remove grass verge to edge of the tarmac of the village path:-
DRASTIC BREAKING UP OF TARMAC!
The following are possible investigation sites of about 6” in width along the various areas of path:-
along the path running alongside the slip road near to the house 'Roimond' the section of path by No. 5 Orchard Place, as it leaves the village path and crosses over the grass section to the path running alongside the slip road.
the section of path by Barn Flats
the section of path by the brick wall of the recreation ground
the section of path outside No. 38
the section of path at the boundary of Manor Cottage