Town & Manor of Hungerford News: June/July 2020

Hungerford Town & Manor

Slowly, life is returning to normal and let’s hope it lasts. The last few months have been very disruptive for the Town and Manor (as they have for every other business on the planet) but many of our traditional activities, being governed by the seasons, have continued. The rivers, the trees, the common, the marsh, the cows – all these have demanded, and have received, their necessary attention. 

We’re delighted that the Wednesday market has continued to grow and thrive. We’re equally delighted that events are slowly starting to return to the Town Hall. We’re also delighted that the businesses are starting to re-open. We are, however, less delighted with some of the instances of littering which have been reported on the Common. More on all these points below. 

 

Littering on the Common

Hungerford Common is a stunning natural beauty spot that is enjoyed by hundreds of visitors every day.  Yet, this is in danger of being spoiled for everyone by the careless and thoughtless behaviour of a few.

A volunteer who looks after the cattle on the Common) is having to collect the waste left behind by visitors every day, for fear that, if he doesn’t, the cattle will eat it.

On 29 June he gathered two full bin bags, including items with sharp edges, glass and a high proportion of single-use containers. On 30 June the collection was three full bags and two boxes, including the remains of two campfires and over a dozen broken bottles. He also found an area of broken glass that appears to have been smashed deliberately, we have already had two cows with cuts or abscesses on their hooves, which leads to costly treatment.

The Constable, Nicholas Lumley, said, “It is troubling to see the mess that is being left on the Common, and I can’t understand how anybody can visit and enjoy such a beautiful place then decide to leave their waste for somebody else to clean up.”

We know that many local inhabitants help us by picking up litter on their own visits – so this is just an indication of the problem.

Is it too much to ask those who make use of this beautiful place to leave it as they find it?

The Wednesday market continues

We would like to thank all the customers who have supported the market over the past 16 weeks. We will no longer be active marshalling it and would ask people to follow the usual guidelines to keep everyone safe. Also a huge thank you to the stall holders who have kept it going with such good grace and cheerfulness!

Last week we had a record 17 stalls selling thousands of items and the haphazard weather didn’t prevent a very good attendance.

A reminder that this event happens every Wednesday from 8am until about 1pm. Our regular stallholders provide plants, fruit, vegetables, bread, cakes, cheese, eggs, apple juice, cooking oil, meat (including goat), olives and (before 11.30am) fish. (Note that on some occasions not all stallholders will be present but in general they’re all there every week.) 

Parking on in the High Street

Please observe the ‘No Parking after midnight’ signs put up on Tuesday afternoons in some bays on the Town Hall side of the High Street.

Some traders set up very early in the morning but can’t do this if vehicles are parked there. 

The Town Hall

We reopened the Town Hall last weekend for the Flea and Antiques market which was brilliantly organised by Kathy Stevens with a mass of security measures in place. It was well attended and a lot of the traders reported back favourably. There are more events coming up in July and all our staff our now back to work.  Please see our website for further details of upcoming events.  We are also taking bookings for small weddings, many of which had been postponed.

For more information about events in the Town Hall, please get in touch with the Constable, Nick Lumley, on nicholas.lumley@townandmanor.onmicrosoft.com or 07734 837 921.

Local Businesses

We are looking forward to seeing even more High Street enterprises reopening and wish them all the best in what must be very worrying and stressful times. One of the ways we have been able to assist them is by making The Croft available for outside seating and doing the same for The Downgate pub with some seating on the Common. We are also looking forward to seeing Mr Genders pulling some pints at our leased pub, The John O’Gaunt.

Hocktobertide

Plans are being investigated to hold a Hoctobertide, to replace the one cancelled earlier. Watch this space…

Family Tree

Mr Patrick Hungerford has kindly offered us a very detailed Hungerford Family, with associations with John of Gaunt and the very ancient Hungerford family. More news about this to come.

Cycling on the Common

A reminder that we’ve posted notices on the Common asking people not to cycle (this applies only to the footpaths on the grassed areas – the roads are normal public highways open to all traffic). We’ve done this for several main reasons:

• To protect the cattle from disturbance (from groups and faster cyclists);
• To apply the legal requirements of the Countryside & Rights of Way Act (which forbids cycling, amongst many other activities, on Common land). 

We can appreciate the strong feeling that this post has generated, as we love and enjoy being on the Common as much as everyone else in Hungerford. We’re not looking to prevent families from taking toddlers out on their bikes during family trips. The problem is caused by those who use the footpaths as if they are roads (which as with most problems, are a very small minority of users). The paths across the Common are only footpaths, not cycleways: we are just asking people to behave with common sense and respect the Common.

You can see a summary of the guidance we have to work to here.

The responsibilities of the Town and Manor

The Town and Manor of Hungerford is a unique institution, the only such body in England to have survived (in other places, the functions and assets of these organisations have been assumed by local councils). Some reflections on its past, and its present, role can be found here.

Many aspects of the Town and Manor, including its ownership of the Town Hall, make it look like another tier of local government (which it is not) and as a result many people are unsure of what aspects of local life it is responsible for. These are some of the main things that the Town and Manor does, all at no cost to the local residents:

• Hungerford Common (including maintenance, the cows,  the paths, the trees and event licences).
• Freeman’s Marsh (including maintenance, the cows, the paths and the trees).
• The trees in the High Street from the Canal Bridge to junction of Atherton Road (maintenance).
• The Croft (including grass cutting, trees, posts and event licences).
• The Town Hall (including bookings and maintenance).
• River Kennet and River Dun (including weed cutting, debris clearance and bank maintenance).
• Hocktide (all aspects of the festival).

For any problems, issues or enquiries relating to any of these matters, please contact Jed Ramsay on admin@townandmanor.co.uk.

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One Response

  1. It’s sick and disgusting how these sick and disgusting moronic sociopaths are allowed to get away with scattering their litter, and indulging in glass-smashing, particularly in beautiful places like the Common and the Marsh!

    Oh how I wish there was a way of banning this low-life from setting foot in our beautiful places (or in anywhere, actually).

    It is unfair on us more civilized beings who treat places with respect, and unfair on the Town & Manor who have to suffer seeing this despoilage, and to clearing up the mess!

    Sadly though, these low-lifers will carry on getting away with it, as it’s not worth the repercussions should anyone dare to challenge them!

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