The main road through my village

I live in a village which was once a market town. It is still a larger than normal village and with better shops and facilities than might be expected, but markets ceased 150 or so years ago.

The main reason for the decline in status (although not in beauty and interest) was transport links.

By the time the market ceased, my village had missed out on both the canal age and the railway age. Transport was on the unsatisfactory roads of the era going no faster than the speed of a horse.

This is the main north south road through the village.

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The old road to Salisbury continued over the crossroads and up and across Salisbury Plain. We can see part of that in the background. The road was always too narrow for a main route and even back in the early 19th century ways had been found to make things one way, at any rate on market days.

But then, in the early years of the 20th century the military took over Salisbury Plain as a live firing range. The road was closed and having missed out on canal and rail, the village then lost its main road.

It is hard, now, to imagine past life, but in times past there were at least six pubs, a department store, several grocers, a gas works – in fact shops of all descriptions. And of course there were also tradespeople of all kinds. Imagine, if you can, an agricultural engineer who manufactured portable steam engines for use in farming and exported them world-wide whilst inventing new types of farm machinery at the same time. Yes, that went on here.

We still have several shops and, on a day to day basis you can get your needs here.

It’s a great place to live with a lovely community spirit.

Oh! We did get a railway at the start of the 20th century. The station was closed in the 1960s but trains between London and Exeter still rush through.

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