Neighbourhood Plan
Transport, traffic speed, footpaths, cycleways and communications Focus Group

These pages carry reports of the progress of the individual Focus Groups in the development of a Neighbourhood Plan.

We will keep you informed through these pages of developments and information as the project develops.

Please visit these pages regularly to see how the Piddle Valley Community can have its say in shaping the future of the Valley and how it will affect you.

This group is led by Neil Herbert Tel: 01300 348479


News Letter No 12 - 01/01/15

Most valley residents will have noticed the erection of new BT green cabinets at Wightmans Orchard in Piddletrenthide and The Cross, Piddlehinton, which are for the introduction of Superfast Broadband into most of the Piddle Valley area by Spring 2015, with the Egypt area of Piddletrenthide and Alton Pancras following in Summer 2015.

With regard to the Enterprise Park, we contacted the Superfast Broadband team asking them why the Enterprise Park area of Piddlehinton was excluded, and have now received the following request from the Superfast Team:-

"Following your enquiry I have raised the Enterprise Park with my Superfast Dorset and BT Openreach colleagues. We think it would be valuable to have a meeting with the managing agent or owner of the business park to clarify how the network operates in this area and discuss options for the future. Do you have contact details for someone we could get in touch with to represent you on this matter?"

We have responded, enclosing contact details as requested.

News Letter No 11 - 01/11/14

Latest Superfast broadband update from "dorsetforyou" was issued on Wednesday 21 October 2014; see

It would appear that most of the Piddle Valley area should have "Superfast Broadband" available by Spring 2015, with the Egypt area of Piddletrenthide and Alton Pancras following sometime later in 2015. Sadly the Enterprise Park area of Piddlehinton seems to be on the "back burner", with availability still in the development stage.

Traffic and Safety

During the village fetes in 2013 and 2014 we received lots of suggestions regarding traffic and safety issues, the majority of which were related to speeding traffic - the Piddle Valley Community Speed Watch was initiated as a direct result of the issues raised by residents, and has been operating in the valley since March 2014. Also, the schoolchildrens "KEEP US SAFE" signs have been erected in an attempt to persuade people to drive within the speed limits. Other ideas were to introduce "Traffic Calming" measures, such as "lower speed limits", "speed bumps" and "narrowing of roads" at various locations in the valley.

With the village meetings in late November / December 2014 it is essential that we get a realistic understanding of what you the residents want - for instance do we continue ( or increase) the Community Speed Watch operation? Do we try to instigate the installation of "Traffic Calming" measures? Do we progress with both - these decisions are yours!

It must be noted however that persuading WDDC/DCC to install "Traffic Calming" measures could be difficult, if not almost impossible - the "dorsetforyou" website link sets out the criteria for taking schemes forward.

Rights of Way

As you are probably aware, we are looking at the feasibility of creating an all weather surface suitable for horse riders, cyclists and pedestrians along the existing bridleway from Rectory Road, Piddlehinton to Church Lane, Piddletrenthide. What other issues are there in relation to Rights of Way in our area? For example, what is the current position relating to "BOATS" (Byways Open to All Traffic) on our local bridleways ?

Village Meetings - Please make a note of the Village meeting dates and come along and "have your say" - we really do want your input and views.

News Letter No 9 - 01/08/14

The Neighbourhood Plan will support new ways of managing traffic along the B3143 (the valley road) by :

  • Supporting local and strategic traffic management to reduce HGV vehicles through the Piddle Valley in order to minimise their adverse impact, whilst managing new development so that they do not have an uncceptable traffic impact on local residents.
  • Encouraging pedestrian and cyclist safety through lower traffic speeds and volumes.
  • Creation of an all weather surface to the existing bridleway from Piddlehinton to Piddletrenthide, with possible extension to Alton Pancras for use by cyclists, pedestrians, horse riders and disabled users.
  • Encourage the introduction of faster Broadband speeds to all Valley communities.
Draft policies
  • Initiatives which promote improved traffic management by reducing traffic speeds and volumes; improve safety and access for pedestrians and cyclists in a way which respects the amenities of the neighbourhood.
  • Initiatives which improve local and strategic traffic management through routing of HGV traffic away from the valley roads will be supported.
  • Where appropriate, new initiatives will make provision for pedestrian and cycle access to the proposed all weather bridleway.
  • Pursuing the extension to Alton Pancras of the existing bridleway from Piddlehinton to Piddletrenthide.
  • Encouraging faster Broadband speeds to all communities in the Piddle Valley; all future developments should consider connectivity requirements at an early stage.
Reasons for our policies

Residents expressed concern regarding transport and traffic issues to the NP Working group at 2013 village fetes, in the 2012 Piddle Valley Parish Plan questionnaire and the 2013 Piddle Valley First School Travel Plan. The main issues were speeding traffic, the impact of HGV traffic along the valley road, risks to pedestrians and cyclist safety, so our traffic policies are designed to manage traffic, including that arising from new local development and to improve access to alternative forms of transport.

As the community wishes to encourage cycling and walking as safe options, the NP aims to improve highway safety, minimise conflicts between road traffic, cyclists and pedestrians through the creation of the all weather bridleway.

HGV vehicles pass daily through the Piddle Valley (in connection with farming); we seek to minimise those heavy movements not connected to local businesses.

Good telecommunications is increasingly important in the modern world, so Broadband is even more important in our isolated rural area.

News Letter No 8 - 01/05/14
  • More than 60 completed forms were returned from local residents and businesses in response to our article regarding an alternative superfast broadband Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the March/April edition of PVNV. A meeting was arranged at Piddle Valley First School in Piddletrenthide on Tuesday 8 April 2014 with Wessex Internet, a local Internet Service Provider, to which everyone who responded was invited. Notices advertising the event were also placed in various village locations.
  • Wessex gave an account of their company background, their operating system and the areas of Dorset/Wiltshire they currently operate in. They said it was possible that work to install their system could begin at Piddlehinton Enterprise Park "within weeks" and that they would consider how the other parts of the Piddle Valley could be accommodated. To enable them to progress this, they require certain information, particularly post codes, so please register your interest via their website">
Traffic on the Valley Road (B3143)
  • DCC carried out a traffic survey over a 24 hour/5 day period between Wednesday 9 and Sunday 13 October 2013 at Honeypuddle, Rectory Road, Piddlehinton.
  • Over 6,000 traffic movements were recorded over the 5 day period, with almost 1,400 average weekday movements and over 1,000 at weekends. Traffic travelling north east towards the B3143 constituted 50% of all traffic, with 50% travelling south west towards Charlton Down.
  • Cars and small vans made up 87% of the traffic, larger vans and small lorries 10%, with HGV's, Buses and Agricultural Traffic totalling 3%. 30% of traffic travelled below 30mph, 26% at 30-35mph, 37% over 35 with 7% "anomalies".
  • A weekday average of some 900 motorists exceeded the 30 mph speed limit on this section of Rectory Road, with over 500 drivers exceeding 35 mph.
Rights of Way
  • The extract below regarding the Piddle Valley Treasure Trail is from the "" website - note particularly the final few sentences!
    Piddlehinton and Piddletrenthide are two small English villages in the heart of Thomas Hardy Country in rural Dorset, six miles from the County Town of Dorchester and 13 miles from the coast. The Trail starts in Piddlehinton with a two and a half mile walk to Piddletrenthide, finishing at the Piddle Inn, an ideal end to your Trail. There are a few different walks back to your car or you could just retrace your steps.This Treasure Trail takes you along one of the many bridleways in the beautiful Piddle Valley. The River Piddle or Trent is a fairly small rural Dorset river which rises next to Alton Pancras church, which is about a mile further along the valley. The Trail is about 2.5 miles and takes approximately 3.5 hours. This is a walking Trail but it is possible to drive between the clues. As the walking trail takes the bridle path it is therefore unsuitable for both pushchairs and for wheelchairs. However if driven the trail would be suitable for both. The bridle way can get very muddy in wet weather conditions - you may need your wellies!

News Letter No 7 - 01/03/14
Broadband Speed

As reported in previous editions of PVNV Superfast broadband should be available to the majority of properties in the area by September 2016 and will deliver speeds of at least 24 Mbps.

It is currently understood that the following postcodes will only receive improved broadband, which will be available for those who have a download speed of less than 2Mbps :-

  • DT2 7QZ - Egypt area of Piddletrenthide
  • DT2 7RW - Alton Pancras south of Keepers Cottage
  • DT2 7UA - Enterprise Park, Piddlehinton

A local rural Internet Service Provider (ISP) based in North Dorset has made us aware of their interest in providing an alternative super-fast fibre & wireless Internet service coverage to the Piddle Valley area. We understand that this ISP is fully operational in the Lyons Gate and Glanvilles Wooton area and have recently commenced installations in Ansty and Melcombe Bingham. Their service is based on an installation cost (dependant on the number of users in an area) plus a monthly rental.

We now ask residents to let us know of their possible interest in this alternative service by filling in and returning the form enclosed with this issue of PVNV, to the PVNV Postbag at the Piddletrenthide PO Stores. Depending on the response, we will arrange a meeting with the provider and invite all those interested if they wish to attend.

Traffic on the Valley Road (B3143)

The results of the traffic survey carried out by Dorset County Council at Rectory Road, Piddlehinton have now been received and are currently being analysed.

News Letter No 6 - 01/01/14
Broadband Speed

More checks needed from residents please, by using: So far speeds vary : 2.80 - 3Mbps Piddletrenthide (Egypt); 5.40 - 6.00 Mbps (Piddle/Poachers); 1.80 - 2.00Mbps in Plush; 3.75Mbps Piddlehinton; 3.40 - 4.70Mbps Alton Pancras. The average speed for Dorset is 8.70Mbps with 14% less than 2.00Mbps. Superfast Broadband should deliver 24Mbps by summer 2016 to 97% of properties in Dorset as a whole.

Traffic on the Valley Road (B3143)

The KEEP US SAFE posters from local children have been well received by residents and are moved around to refresh them. The Rectory Road traffic survey is complete and results being collated and added to the draft report on the B3143 Valley Road.


Any useful data depicting routes along the Valley Road would be helpful for our records.

Rights of Way

The all-weather route from Piddlehinton to Piddletrenthide for horse riders, cyclists and pedestrians has been well received by DCC but is not likely to be included in next years allocation for funding but more likely for the 2015/16 programme.

News Letter No 5 - 01/11/13
Broadband Speed

Very limited feedback from residents so please check and send me your broadband download speed to enable us to produce an accurate report by checking :

Traffic on the Valley Road (B3143)

Sixteen 'KEEP US SAFE' boards produced by children from Piddle Valley CEVA First School, and endorsed by Dorset Police, have been erected along the road so we shall hope drivers take notice and drive accordingly. As a result of feedback to the Neighbourhood Plan Group, a separate group is starting a 'Community Speed Watch' to cover the B3143 from Piddlehinton through to Buckland Newton. A traffic survey of Rectory Road, Piddlehinton is currently in operation by DCC and will be added to the B3143 report. See website :


Transport Group members are checking routes in the area to establish preference in routes being taken through the valley.

Rights of Way

Representatives from Dorset County Council and the Transport Group met on 16th September and walked the whole route of the existing bridleway from Rectory Road, Piddlehinton to Church Lane, Piddletrenthide in order to view the route and discuss the feasibility of an all-weather surface suitable for all users, including horse riders, cyclists and pedestrians. DCC officers intend to carry out further surveys and investigations, reverting to the Transport Group when these have been completed.

News Letter No 4 - 01/09/13

We are collecting broadband speeds for comparison so we would be glad if you can check and report your current broadband speed to Neil Herbert at - see the website :

Traffic speed, volume and danger to other road users is of great concern to many using the B3143 valley road. A draft report has been prepared using responses from the Parish Plan, the School Travel Plan and comments from village fetes and other events. It includes results of traffic surveys by Dorset County Council at Piddlehinton and Piddletrenthide at the end of 2011, a recent survey by a resident of Alton Pancras and accident statistics from Dorset Roadsafe for the whole 15 mile length of the road from 2003-2013. A traffic survey for Rectory Road, Piddlehinton is to be carried out shortly by Dorset County Council.

A significant factor in relieving some of this risk will lie in the achievement of an upgraded bridle / cycleway along the Valley. This was one the most popular subjects mentioned in the Parish Plan attracting 74.9% support. It may not be generally realised that a bridleway shares the same designation as a cycleway and can be used by either mode but in its present state, its use is limited to dry periods and mountain bikes. Upgrading will not mean seeing tarmac or any other impervious material but one suited to ordinary bicycles, pedestrians and disabled scooters but not mechanically- propelled vehicles other than mobility units for disabled use - it would not be a BOAT (Byway Open to All Traffic). A meeting is scheduled in late August with Dorset County Council to discuss the feasibility of such a cycleway from Piddlehinton to Piddletrenthide with possible extension to Alton Pancras and beyond.

It appears that the main objectives of the Plan will be :

  • the upgrading of the present bridleway to be more suitable for ordinary bicycles, not just for children but also for adult users, and disabled people
  • Initiate action, with evidence for the Plan, in the mounting of warning speed signs along the road, produced by children living here in the valley, training and initiating other residents in a Speedwatch monitoring cam paign in conjunction with police to encourage observation of the 30 mph speed restriction along the B3143
  • generate financial backing for a traffic management study of the B3143 by the traffic engineers responsible for the recent Roads in Dorset Villages Report; the intention being to produce worked evidence for measures to calm traffic at sensitive locations by environmental enhancement
  • to bring forward improvement of broadband service speeds to all villages so far as it is technically feasible to do so

Much of the means for managing traffic speeds lies outside the control of the Neighbourhood Plan Working Group but it is an issue which many people feel strongly about and we will do whatever we can to see that this is addressed.

News Letter No 3 - 01/07/13
A Walk to School

One morning in May 2013 members of the Transport Focus Group, set out to walk from Piddlehinton to All Saints Church, Piddletrenthide, along the bridleway to look at the feasibility of converting it to an all weather cycleway, with a possible extension to Alton Pancras.

pircture of walkers

En route to Piddlehinton to begin the walk we came across children from the Piddle Valley CE First School walking in the opposite direction along the B3143 on their way to school, having started their walk at the Thimble Inn in Piddlehinton. The children do what they call the "walking bus" on a regular basis as part of advertising healthy life-styles and also to remind road users of the legal speed limits when using our small rural roads. The children were supervised by Mrs Claire Hudson and CPC Vickey Hedges, along with many parental and Governor volunteers. All adults and children wore fluorescent jackets to ensure that they were highly visible and safe at all times.

pircture of lane

In contrast, the bridleway walk back towards Piddletrenthide was incredibly quiet, very few people about and totally different from the amount of traffic that morning on the B3143. These photographs show children adjacent to South House on the B3143 , and the empty bridleway at nerby South Farm Cottage, only 150 metres apart - what a difference!

The January 2013 Piddle Valley School Travel Plan is very interesting; one of the actions is to establish a link with Piddle Valley Parish Council to raise awareness of the condition of the bridle path and investigate the creation of an all-weather surface. It is also noted that many families do walk to school using the off road pathways when the weather is good and would do so more often if a permanent surface was in place. The travel plan also states that many adults and children would prefer to walk or cycle to school but find this difficult due to the volume, speed and type of traffic that uses the local roads during peak times.

The 2012 Piddle Valley Parish Plan showed strong support for an off-road all-weather bridleway running from Piddlehinton to Alton Pancras; 74.9% of respondents to the questionnaire being in favour and 18.2% against. All respondents were agreed that motor vehicles must be excluded and there were some reservations concerning cyclists. By far the most frequently cited concern was the state of the roads - their condition and the problems caused by heavy traffic using them - which contributed to fears concerning road safety. It was felt that an off-road bridleway linking the villages could provide a partial solution.

The Transport Group are looking at the feasibility of converting the bridleway into an all weather cycleway, which would not only give schoolchildren the option of using it to travel to school, but also provide local residents and the general public with a viable alternative to the valley road.

pircture of lane

Piddle Valley First School have recently run a poster competition concerning traffic and safety and the winner is being awarded the privilege of being the first to hold a speed gun on the B3143, adjacent to the school.

Traffic Survey

A visual recording of traffic movements in Alton Pancras was carried out between 7 am and 10 pm during June 2013. The total number of vehicle movements recorded in the 15-hour period was 1,109, of which 750 involved cars and 211 vans. More vehicles travelled south (593) than north (516); a total of 18% of van drivers (39) and 15% of car drivers (110)appeared to exceed the 30mph speed limit.

Traditional commuter and school traffic : 52 vehicle movements between 7 - 8 am and 86 between 8 - 9 am, while the evening period between 5 - 6 pm produced 85 movements, 6 - 7 pm accounted for 61 movements.

Because of the impossibility of safely overtaking moving vehicles on this stretch of road, there were frequent incidences of short vehicle 'convoys', their speed dictated by that of the lead vehicle. Frequently convoys were led by a larger vehicle travelling within the speed limit. Speeding drivers generally were not in a line of traffic but making their own decisions on choices of speed which might suggest that if residents travelled through the villages of the valley - including Buckland Newton - at 30mph or less, thus ensuring following vehicles did the same, this would be a better regulator of traffic speed than a fixed-site speed camera.