Monday, August 20, 2012

Rural Remnants

In 1966 Wiltshire County Planning Department conducted a survey of rural settlements in the Swindon countryside.  The area of Shaw and Washpool had one general store, a pub and a doctor's surgery.  There was a daily bus service into Swindon, roughly 5 miles away, and the settlement was on mains water and electricity, but had no gas.  The council had granted planning permission for two dwellings, which would increase the population by approximately six people.

In the 1970s boundary changes extended the Swindon western limits to include the surrounding farmland up as far as Lydiard Park and the villages of Shaw and Nine Elms.  Factories, schools, shopping centres and thousands of homes were planned for this rural backwater.

Shaw resident Mr Bill Selby 75, whose family history in the village stretched back 300 years, was pictured leaning on the village sign.

"I think I shall buy a caravan and move away," he told the local press.  "All the green fields which have been here for hundreds of years will soon be gone."

Ancient field names such as Middleleaze and Ramleaze were adopted for the new streets and Shaw received a brand new village centre with a church, a supermarket, chemist and pub - The Village Inn. Brook Farmhouse morphed into a pub and restaurant while three acres of Lower Shaw Farm survived and today is a centre for weekend breaks, events and courses for adults and families.

So does anything remain of the rural landscape Bill Selby knew and loved?  No, you might say, ah - but are you really looking?

Bill Selby

On the right George Tweed Gardens, a sheltered housing complex.

Holy Trinity Church hall and the Village Inn

Shaw Village Centre

Shaw Ridge surgery

Cartwright Drive

Primitive Methodist Chapel, Old Shaw Lane

Local children call this area Salt Way Hills named after the primary school that closed in 2006 - more likely artificial mound disguising building waste

 Looking towards Rye Close

Looking towards Yeoman Close

Castleton Road

Bus stop on Middleleaze Drive

The Brook

Castleton Road

Castleton Road

Where Roughmoor Way bisects Old Shaw Lane

Salt Way Hills

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