West Parley enters the Dorset Best Kept Village awards for 2017. Can 2016 success be repeated?

26 April 2017
West Parley Residents Association has entered the village in the Dorset Best Kept Village awards for 2017. After coming second in the Large Village category at the first entry in 2016 it is hoped that a first place will be within reach this year.

Volunteers showing the 2016 awards
Volunteers showing the 2016 awards

Village volunteers do a huge amount of work throughout the year to keep the village tidy by trimming verge edges, maintaining 25 roadside planters and public gardens as well as frequently litter picking the verges of the main roads. Many residents keep the outside of their property tidy to support the competition entry.

The competition looks at almost all areas of the village including shops, business premises, public recreation areas and public buildings, churches and the state of main roads. Judging is between 1st May and 31st July.

After also winning the Environmental Champions award in 2016, the village has entered the Peoples Project category of this year’s awards for the work being led by the Girl Guides as landowners of part of the Dudsbury Iron Age hill fort. The Guides have teamed up with Bournemouth University and volunteers from West Parley Residents Association to help guides uncover some of the sites secrets and raise awareness of the site.

A team from Bournemouth University has started to undertake a geophysical ground survey of the interior of the circular hill fort to determine some of the archaeology under the subsoil and on the surface. To assist this work the West Parley Volunteers have cleared a large area of bracken, brambles and rhododendrons to allow the survey to be done. It is hoped that modern research techniques will uncover much more about the history of the site.

It is planned that a replica Iron Age Round House be constructed on the site and a new heritage footpath be created closer to the southern edge with interpretation panels explaining about the heritage of this unique site being installed. Some trees have been cut to open up the extensive views to the south.

As part of the work to gather more heritage information on the recent use of the site, Guides will be trained on how to collect oral histories and they will interview 12 former Guides and collect their memories relating to Girlguiding at Dudsbury Camp and the involvement of the Guide movement since 1931.

Guides will also work with Bournemouth University to develop and produce a 3D virtual environment visualisation of the Dudsbury site in the Iron Age aimed at all ages to be available on the project web site and on YouTube.

A final project Open Day and a re-enactment of the historical pageant that was held when the Guide camp was opened will be held at the beginning of July.