Mendip Matters - 17th November

Finding time to pause and reflect seems to be a rare luxury these days. We lead busy lives, and have many distractions and demands. But on Armistice Day, and at the service of Remembrance, we still find time to come together as a nation to observe two-minutes' silence, to commemorate those who lost their lives in conflict. 

I had the honour of laying a poppy wreath on behalf of Mendip District Council at Meare, and I thank the community for their welcome. The roll call of 31 men lost during WW1 was read out by the Chair of Meare Parish Council. It was moving, shocking and sad, especially when you realise there were just 1,300 residents (including children) in the village at the time. The loss must have been keenly felt.

Thanks also go to the many residents and businesses for their efforts and expertise in creating reusable woollen poppies and natural wreaths for the Council. I know that it made laying them at services across the district even more special for Members.

It was whilst pausing at the Meare Memorial on what was a peaceful, unseasonably mild morning, that I noticed just how beautiful the trees looked. They are putting on a spectacular final show of colour before the winter winds blast them bare. Some find this a depressing sight, but on the plus side, it makes it much easier to spot our beautiful wild birds! Life is full of light and shade. Celebration and sacrifice. 

There are certainly some sombre headlines at the moment, but there are good stories too – you just have to look a little harder to find them. I’ve been lifted by the news that a 600-metre stretch of multi-user path is now open to the public on the former railway track, The Strawberry Line. This important extension links the end of the existing Wells-to-Dulcote path with Dulcote Quarry (now the Charlie Bigham's Quarry Kitchen site). We are one step closer to joining Wells and Shepton Mallet!

A dedicated group of volunteers had the vision to make this happen and will maintain the new path, which was funded by Mendip and Charlie Bigham’s. Trees and wildflowers have been planted along the route, and benches will be installed there too. In the spring, it will be truly spectacular. But don’t wait until then to explore it. I urge those who can, to take time out to walk or cycle this route which offers safe, accessible, cost effective travel that’s great for the environment and our health and wellbeing. 

Eventually it’s hoped we’ll create an 85-mile, traffic free cycle path called 'The Somerset Circle' linking Bristol, Bath, the Mendip Hills, the Somerset Levels and the coast. We are edging ever closer towards that ambition, but for now our next focus will be to secure the missing link from Shepton to Dulcote. Mendip has just commissioned the services of a land agent. We need patience and persuasion to bring landowners with us on this journey, and leave a legacy for future generations. 

Please get in touch if you have any questions or suggestions, it's always good to hear from you. Send me an email: [email protected].

Picture caption: Huge thanks from Mendip to Street-based 'Luce Loves Flowers' (pictured) and Glastonbury florist 'Abundiflora' who created the eco-wreaths. They were made of wool poppies, knitted or crocheted by local residents.

Written by Cllr Ros Wyke, Leader of Mendip District Council

Please get in touch either on my Facebook page @Ros.Wyke or you can send me an email: [email protected].

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