Tuesday 26 March 2013

Stolen trailer

Do you recognize this trailer? Perhaps it's yours or belongs to one of your neighbours.

PC Steve Rogerson from the Country Watch team is trying to trace the owner as he believes it may have been stolen, but so far he has been unsuccessful.

If you know anything about it please contact the Country Watch team using this form or by calling 101.

Monday 25 March 2013

Shipwrights Way: Liphook to Petersfield

Around 100 walkers, cyclists and a horse-rider braved the weather to experience the beautiful East Hampshire countryside at the opening of the Liphook, Liss and Petersfield sections of the Shipwrights Way on Sunday (24 March).

Damian Hinds MP declared the route open at the picnic area in Liss, and started the walkers and riders on their journeys north to Liphook and south to Petersfield.

The long distance path runs through the heart of East Hampshire, across the South Downs National Park to Hayling Island and finishes at Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard.
An information fayre ran through the morning, with information from the four partner organisations: East Hampshire District Council, Hampshire County Council, The Forestry Commission and South Downs National Park Authority, along with bike registration and crime prevention advice from Hampshire Police and bike health-checks from Quench Cycles.  

Local Walking for Health volunteers ran a sponsored walk/cycle in conjunction with the opening to help raise money for the Buriton Village to Village Charity Group. The fundraising total is not yet known, but the group raised a significant amount towards books for 19 schools in Ghana.

Damian Hinds MP said:

“It was great to see such a large turnout for the opening.

“With the area’s network of bridleways and footpaths, beautiful countryside and welcoming pubs, we have the opportunity to really develop our inbound tourism, and the Shipwright’s Way will play a key role in this. In addition, it will give local residents the chance to get out and explore the local area, and will be of great use to commuters as they travel to work.”

Kingsley Parish Council - Thursday 28th March

Kingsley Parish Council will meet this Thursday, 28th March 2013 in the Kingsley Centre at 7.30pm.


1. Chairman’s Opening Remarks
2. Apologies for Absence
Cllr Tim Scrivener

3. Declarations of Personal/Prejudicial Interest
4. Public Question Time: Public Questions
Consideration of agenda items which will be open to public participation

5. Approval of Minutes of the Meeting held on 28th February 2013
6. Matters Arising
7. Planning
Applications ongoing:
34313/017 Oak Tree Farm, Gibbs Lane, Shortheath Common Bordon GU35 9JS

30633/021 Grooms Farm, Frith End Road, Frith End, Bordon, GU235 0QR
Change of use of building for events associated with existing hotel, agricultural uses and hot air balloon storage with associated works, parking and use of access ….

    50311/005 Land North West of Rose Villa, Sandy Lane, Kingsley, Bordon, GU35 9NH
    Stables and tack room following demolition of existing stables

    21066/026 Bakers Farm Nursery, Main Road, Kingsley, Bordon, GU35 9NJ
    Removal of occupancy condition imposed under S52 agreement to 21066/001

26242/046 Dean Farm Golf Course, Main Road, Kingsley, GU35 9NG
    Creation of vehicular access

24601/040 Country Market Osborne Farms, Main Road, Kingsley, Bordon, GU35 9LW
Variation of condition 1 of planning permission 24601/038 to allow permanent use of the barn

22732/015 Sandyfield Farm, Main Road, Kingsley, Bordon, GU35 9NG

New application:
54448/002 Land at Dean Farm, Main Road, Kingsley, Bordon
Retention of shed, open fronted field shelter, polytunnel and toilet

8. St Nicholas Cemetery & Cemetery Chapel
To receive an update from Cllr Croucher
To accept new plot reservation procedure
To discuss the Coomer’s family request for a grant for right of burial

9. Transport, Highways and Road Safety
To receive an update from Cllr Lazenby
To discuss effectiveness of Speed Limit Reminder Sign
To discuss the matter about boards & signs in Kingsley

10. Commons, Village Greens and Rights of Way

Upper Green & Rights of Way:
To receive an update from Cllr Lazenby
To agree the updated version of the children and vulnerable adults policy

Lower Green:
To receive an update from Cllr McCorkindale

11. Community Resilience
12. Environment and Biodiversity
13. Sports, Recreation and Leisure
14. Kingsley Village Forum   
15. Parish Plan    
To receive an update from Cllr Rigden

16.  Housing, Business & Commerce
17. Communications
To receive a written report from the Clerk detailing correspondence

18. District Councillor
19. Procedures, Finance and Payments
Payments to be made & Accounts to accept

Date of Next Meeting: Thursday 25th April 2013 - 7.30 pm at the Kingsley Centre 
       The Annual General Meeting will be held prior to the Monthly Parish Meeting

50mph A32

You will recall from this article that Hampshire County Council figured that a 10mph reduction in the speed limit of two wide, straight, clear stretches of road near the Meon Huts would be a smart thing to do. Well, as of 12th March 2013, that's exactly what they have done.

This action reflects Department for Transport (DafT) guidance which suggests that "lower speed limits should be considered where the accident rate" exceeds a threshold.

Perhaps someone needs to suggest to DafT that an even more rational response might be to raise driving standards to something approaching competent. Think what it means to reduce the speed limit from 60 down to 50 - does that really make it safer? Does anyone believe that?

According to the decision notice "Traffic speeds surveys also showed that the existing vehicle speeds along the A32 are below the proposed 50mph limit, with mean average speeds being 47.7mph".

This is a pointless waste of time, effort and money and we should all complain about it.

Friday 22 March 2013

Superfast broadband

According to this press release from Hampshire County Council and BT, Kingsley can look forward to joining the 21st century some time over the next two years.

Hampshire County Council has today [21 March 2013] signed a contract with BT to build on the existing commercial footprint in the county so that at least 90% of all premises will have access to super-fast broadband by the end of 2015, and supporting the council's goal of ensuring everyone else will have access to at least 2Mbps (Megabits per second) broadband.

Hampshire County Council together with district and borough partners has invested £5 million in the project and were awarded the same figure from BDUK. BT is contributing an additional £3.8 million towards the cost of installing the new fibre infrastructure bringing the total investment in the project to just over £13.8 million.

The first communities to benefit from this project are expected to have access to the high-speed technology by the end of this year, with the programme due to be completed by the end of 2015. Without the intervention of the Hampshire Broadband Programme around 20% of premises in Hampshire would not have been able to access fibre broadband services.

Thursday 21 March 2013


The common and surrounding areas were and, I suspect still are, the home to a healthy snake population. Grass snakes were common around the edges of the pond and river and could often be seen swimming in the waters, they are good swimmers. For the most part, when seen, snakes were attacked by both men and boys. Often I have heard men speaking of a snake which had been killed in their garden and my grandfather would often talk of snakes which his gang of railway workers had killed along the track as they cut the banks. I suppose the general view was that the only good snake was a dead one. This was not at all unusual within country communities in the days well before reptiles were considered worthy of protection. There was a lot of ignorance regarding these animals as was evidenced by the fact that tales of slain adders would almost always be accompanied by the assertion that the snake had been at least four feet long. Adders don’t actually get to be very long therefore if a dead snake was indeed four feet long it was probably a grass snake and harmless. Equally the legless lizard, the slowworm, would often be claimed as an adder and killed. Only a few days ago in my present village, my neighbour advised me that he had encountered a couple of adders whilst cutting his grass. We do not live in adder country and these creatures would almost certainly have been slowworms as we do have a healthy population in these parts. I often find them in the garden especially when moving logs and such like. I record this merely to demonstrate that much of the old ignorance still goes on today. Happily my neighbour did not kill his "adders".
However back to Kingsley, as boys, as soon as a grass snake appeared in the pond we would blitz it with any missile we could get our hands on, stones, tufts of grass, lumps of wood and even balls of mud made from the edges of the water. The hapless beast would endure this onslaught until it could no longer swim and finally gave up the ghost. Not very nice. It was probably the frogs which attracted the grass snakes to the pond and it was quite pitiful to hear the screams of a frog confronted by a snake and or being swallowed by it. A newly eaten frog could be seen as a large bulge along the body of the snake for quite some time whilst the digestive process took place.
It was claimed that the smooth snake also existed on the commons at Kingsley, Shortheath and around the Frensham ponds. Although I spent much time in all of those areas I never saw one but others did and there is no doubt that they existed in those places.
Adders were common on the common at Kingsley and all around the heathland in the region. Incredibly, given the time spent and activities that I undertook upon the common, I only ever saw an alive one once. How do I know they were so common or plentiful? Well apart from reports from people claiming to have seen them, it was common to find their slothed skins in the heather and grass around the edges of the pond and all over the common. Indeed, for school boys these skins were considerable trophies, particularly so if they were complete and contained the eye covers. When found the skins would be inside out which meant that their colour was somewhat duller than would have been the case if seen upon the animal before shedding takes place. The shedding or slothing begins at the head of the snake and the skin is rubbed back along itself all the way to the tip off the tail until it finally leaves the body completely inside out. The shedding takes place as the snake grows and each skin become too tight, as one skin goes another takes its place and so on. Many of these skins would be found during the summer months and would be displayed at school as a part of our nature studies. For the most part they would be around a foot in length but very occasionally a skin would be found up to about eighteen inches long. So from that one can deduce that the average Kingsley adder is not a very big creature.
During my boyhood in the village it was common place for the army to engage in manoeuvres upon the common some of which would last for a week at a time. During these exercises flares would be fired, shots from blank rounds would be common place and generally there was a lot of noise. Tented camps were erected together with radio masts and all manner of interesting bits and pieces. Best of all there were large numbers of trenches dug and these dug outs provided great playing areas. After an exercise had taken place we would scour the area for the bits and pieces which the soldiers left behind. These prizes included tin openers, packets of hard biscuits, boiled sweets and, sometimes, the powdered orange and lemon drinks which had been included in the military ration packs. There were dozens of brass cases from the blank bullets that been fired and these were considered a particular treasure. Apart from being able to polish them brightly they could also be used as a reasonable whistle if one blew at an angle across the open end. What, you might wonder,has all this got to do with snakes, well, when the army had gone we took over the trenches, we would cover them with sheets of old tin, if we could find some, then cover that with sand and combinations of heather, gorse and grass in order to make an underground and secret camp. Into these we would creep and spend lots of time. It always amazed me that we did not encounter snakes in these little dungeons, it seemed to me that they would provide an ideal hibernating place for the reptiles but never once, thankfully, did I encounter one. We crawled in the heather, crept through the gullies created by years of rainfall in the sandy banks to the left of the Lindford road above Sleaford, and wandered for days on end through the gorse and sandy areas building camps with anything we could unearth but never once were we bitten or indeed even encountered an adder. I can only conclude that adders are the shy creatures that they are claimed to be and that the general noise and disturbance consistent with a group of small boys at play scared them off well in advance of us. The other activity that we engaged in, (and still brings me out in a sweat when I think of it ), was crawling beneath the Cadet Hut. This was located on the left hand side of the track just past Ockham Hall and opposite the row of cottages that were at right angles to the track on the right hand side. The Cadet Hut was constructed of wooden slats and was built upon four walls of brick. These walls were about three feet high and ran the length of the building which was probably about fifty feet in length. Set about four feet apart, the floor of the hut rested across the width of the walls. At the front of the hut were steps up to floor level as you entered the front door.These steps blocked of the front of the center channel. Beneath the hut and between the walls there were three such channel s. The two outer channels could be seen through but the middle one, as a result of the steps, was blocked off. This, of course, meant that small boys crawling into the tunnel or channel were doing so into darkness. The floor of each of the tunnels was sandy but dirty, we always re-emerged from those expeditions covered in dirty dust and in need of a good wash. Once again I often thought,as I crawled within the middle tunnel,that it would have provided a great place for a resting snake or two and expected at any moment to put my hand upon one. I never did.
During our time in Woodfield at Kingsley we had for most of the period a dog called Nikky. It was a cross between a Chow and Collie, he looked rather like a Border Collie but had retained the Chow purple mouth. However, one summers day, having been out on the common with the dog over and upon an area which we called White Hill, the dog came back and collapsed. White Hill was roughly in the middle of the common between the end of Goldhill and Coldharbour and was indeed a hill,getting its name from the white sand upon it. Carrying the dog and arriving at the roadside by the church gates and opposite the school, the boys with the dog encountered Mr. Lucas, the village policeman. He, of course, enquired as to why the dog was being carried and having had a bit of a look quickly discovered two telltale pink prick marks in the dogs nose. Correctly,Mr. Lucas gave the boys the news, the dog had been bitten by an adder. The vet was called, administered an injection and expressed the view that the dog should be ok. His chief worry was that the swelling associated with the bite might cause the dogs throat to expand to a point where it might choke him. Fortunately this did not happen. The dog did lose a tremendous amount of weight becoming almost skeletal for several weeks before quickly regaining his former vigour. This represented the only snake bite that I ever knew to happen in Kingsley during the whole of the time I lived there.
My only other adder encounter was on the Kingsley road just above the river bridge where the New Inn Pub used to be. I was cycling back from Bordon and having crossed the bridge I noticed the snake in the road before me. I did what we always did in those days, I got off my bike and proceeded to batter it with the gravel from the side of the road. Needless to say, the snake didn’t like that very much, having tried to get away from my onslaught and failed, it decided to fight. It was hissing like mad and in its attempts to strike me it actually lifted itself off the road by a few inches each time it struck. We reached a sort of stalemate, I had nothing heavy enough with which to administer the coup de grace and the snake didn’t want to hang around; it therefore slithered into the grass and made good its escape albeit seriously fed up with its human encounter.
So there you have it, a brief account of the snake life in Kingsley as I knew it.

Monday 18 March 2013

King's Blog - self-regulation

Today the "Leveson" Royal Charter is being debated in parliament (having been agreed by all the parties). You can read it here.

Despite assurances to the contrary it does apply to this blog (and probably yours, and the King's World and uncle Tom Cobley and all).  According to schedule 4 of the charter:
a) "Regulator" means an independent body formed by or on behalf of relevant publishers for the purpose of conducting regulatory activities in relation to their publications;
b) "relevant publisher" means a person (other than a broadcaster) who publishes in the United Kingdom:
    i. a newspaper or magazine containing news-related material,
    or ii. a website containing news-related material (whether or not related to a newspaper or magazine);
c) "broadcaster" means:
    i. the holder of a licence under the Broadcasting Act 1990 or 1996;
    ii. the British Broadcasting Corporation;
    or iii. Sianel Pedwar Cymru;
d) a person "publishes in the United Kingdom" if the publication takes place in the United Kingdom or is targeted primarily at an audience in the United Kingdom;
e) "news-related material" means:
    i. news or information about current affairs;
    ii. opinion about matters relating to the news or current affairs;
    or iii. gossip about celebrities, other public figures or other persons in the news
This is, we are told, "opt in" legislation; no-one large or small is obliged to be regulated, that would involve politicians interfering with freedom of speech, wouldn't it?

The King's Blog will not be opting-in. Its "victims" will continue to have the same remedies as have always been available to those more famous "victims" that prompted the Leveson Inquiry in the first place. (Phone hacking was always illegal, don't be fooled)

Freedom of speech matters. Hugh Grant does not have a right to have his sordid public affairs not reported.

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Cradle Lane Report

It is now a year since the repaired Byway known as Cradle Lane was reopened to allow motorcycles to use it, so I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to write this small article about its use from a motorcycle rider’s perspective.
When I first heard that Cradle Lane was to be reopened I walked it to see what work had been done and noticed that it was only the north end that had been resurfaced down to the ford. After attending the open village meeting, and as an interested party, I walked the byway again but this time with a camera and tape measure and plotted and photographed the existing wet and horse hoof printed areas in the Southern part.
I returned about a month later when it was open to motorcycles and, having ridden it, was surprised not to see any tyre tracks, just the usual horse prints and no difference in the lane surface compared to my earlier photographs.
Since then I have ridden it four times and have not seen any evidence of other motorcycle tracks suggesting minimum usage. On my last outing I made a closer inspection and was pleased to see that, in spite of this year’s exceptional seasonal wetness, the southern end of the lane was still in excellent condition.
It was also nice to see that the undergrowth has now softened the hard edge and the ditches of the resurfaced Northern end, making it far most pleasant to use. Hopefully, this softening will be allowed to continue but not to the detriment of the Byway’s surface.
As motorcyclists we enjoy using this Byway, although on one occasion the depth of the ford caught us out and we only just managed to retrieve the leading bike before it was totally immersed. A hasty retreat was in order and we have noted this and informed our TRF group not to use Cradle Lane during periods of heavy rain.

Sunday 3 March 2013

London 2012 legacy

Yesterday I took a little ride down to Cornwall in pursuit of a couple of gold postboxes. You will remember that Royal Mail decided to paint some boxes gold instead of red to mark the gold medal winners in London 2012; well there are 110 of them, scattered all over the country including this one in Alton marking Peter Charles' Equestrian Team Jumping gold medal:
Visiting the gold boxes has become a popular pastime for a variety of people. For us motorcyclists, it's an excellent excuse to ride our bikes to places we wouldn't otherwise visit and as an example I discovered the Pandora Inn at Restronguet (not far from Falmouth), a lovely old pub with excellent dining and wonderfully scenic location.

The particular attraction for me yesterday was that it has a postbox built into its wall painted gold to mark Ben Ainslie's Men's Finn Sailing gold medal.
Later this year I'll be visiting the channel island of Sark which hosts a gold box marking Carl Hester's Equestrian Team Dressage gold medal, the Isle of Man (Peter Kennaugh: Men's Team Pursuit), three in Northern Ireland as well as the rest on the mainland.

So far, I've only visited 44 gold postboxes so I look forward to clocking up many more miles. The mileage yesterday was 550 and I must admit I'd prefer it to be a little warmer in future.