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John Riches our Village Correspondent writes weekly reports about the village for the local media.  We are pleased to place them on our web site in order that those interested in Abthorpe can access the latest village news from anywhere in the world.

This page will keep the latest 3 or 4 reports.

On the Archive page we will store past articles and other pieces of particular interest.

Also, our newsletters can be downloaded on the Newsletters page.



19th May
The best pub in the whole of the Midlands.

“It’s official. You are now drinking in the best pub in the whole of the Midlands. But we all knew that didn’t we?”  That wording on a notice celebrates the news that our pub The New Inn has been designated the Midlands’ winner in this year’s Countryside Alliance’s awards in the pub category.

Rob Smith the owner thanked his wonderful team and all his customers for their support. “We’re all very proud,” commented Lyn the Bar Manager. “It’s all due to team work.” The pub is well known in the area for its locally brewed ales and excellent reasonably priced food. An extension is currently being built to enlarge the dining area and improve the toilet facilities to cater for the increasing number of people who wish to experience a real country pub where “kids, paws and mucky boots are welcome.”

Rob explained that they are now through to the national finals the results of which will be announced at a dinner in the Houses of Parliament later this summer. Rob, who is also a farmer at nearby Slapton, commented that he would have to buy some new overalls and wellies for that event.


13th May
Local Broadband Company Chairman steps down.

At the conclusion of a recent meeting of the Abthorpe Broadband Association Ltd, the not-for-profit company operated entirely by unpaid volunteers, that delivers Tove Valley Broadband; Eric Malcomson the Chairman of our little company made the following statement: -

“I am standing down as Chairman as of now! I feel that the project I started 16 years ago has come through various stages and emerged into clear blue sky. No debts, a robust financial situation and a network and service that makes me proud as I am of the team I have been part of.

There is an exciting new phase developing which, with stable services, will undoubtedly bring advantages – some we cannot yet identify – to our area. I am pleased to continue working with the team but I feel the helm needs a different perspective from now on. Our Company’s Articles say that a Chairman should be voted for by the Directors at the beginning of each meeting, which rule now exists until we, the Directors, find a suitable person to take on the position permanently.”

It seems such a long time ago when back in 2003 a group of local people were enjoying their pints of Hooky in our village pub but bemoaning the fact that the major broadband companies were unable to provide us with a service. Eric mused that we could do it ourselves. He was proved right and today 641 premises are connected to the company’s network. The exciting new phase Eric was alluding to in his statement includes presumably, the company’s plans to provide a fibre optic cable connection that delivers a very high speed service to all members who request it.

Our local community owes Eric a huge vote of thanks for his vision, leadership, tenacity, technical knowledge, experience and enthusiasm. He will be a hard act to follow. Thank you Eric from us all.

6th May
Abthorpe blue tits

On 17th March it was announced that this year's family of Abthorpe blue tits who star in our on-line transmissions had claimed their nest box and were busily building their nest from dried grasses, feathers and other materials. It wasn't long before those watching saw that 7 eggs had been laid and that the parents were busily incubating their eggs.

Sadly within a few days the transmissions ceased and a brief note appeared on the screen saying that the parents seem to have abandoned the nest. The bird box was cleaned out and the seven eggs were left so that voles, or mice or rats could have a treat. Why was the nest abandoned? We simply don't know but it could have been that the parents fell prey to local predators such as hawks, foxes or domestic cats.

Then, again within a few days, transmissions started again and a note was sent round saying that another batch of five eggs had been laid in the box and that they were being incubated. We have no idea whether it's the same pair that laid the first clutch of eggs - but we doubt it.

The second batch of eggs seem to be thriving and it is hoped that the eggs will hatch soon. To watch this wonder of nature go to www.abthorpe.net and click on the blue tit icon.

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