Spotted this morning!

Thanks to Tim Williamson for snapping this mother and her two fawns grazing between Calton Road and Alexandra Road this morning. Amazing considering we are just yards from a bustling city. Aren’t we lucky?



Sun shines on second widcombewest Open Gardens evening

We could not have been luckier with the weather at our second widcombewest Open Gardens evening on Thursday May 12th. Four local residents had offered to open up their gardens for the evening.

Chewing the fat in Ruth's garden in Calton Walk

Chewing the fat in Ruth’s garden in Calton Walk

The evening wasn’t about winning awards or showing off prize dahlias, but really to provide new ideas about just what works and what can be done in our small urban outdoor spaces. There’s plenty that can be achieved to encourage wildlife and pollinators by giving some thought to bee-friendly planting.


Brian and Andrew's bijou garden in Calton Walk

Brian and Andrew’s bijou garden in Calton Walk


Upwards of 35 visitors came out to enjoy an evening stroll around the locality, glass of Prosecco in hand, chat to neighbours about all things horticultural and put the world to rights generally. The last few hard core visitors lingered on in one of the gardens well after dark to continue the conversation by candlelight.



Community celeidh 2016 goes with a swing

A great evening was had by all on April 23rd as dancers lined up to strip the willow and thread the needle at the St. Mark’s Community Centre Celeidh. The Student Volunteering V Team organised the event as in previous years, and came up trumps with a great band and caller, a pay bar and raffle. It was wonderful to see the mix of age groups lining up to join in the fun.

The future of our community groups

We recently sent out a mail to gauge opinion among residents as to the future organisation of our neighbourhood groups. Many thanks to all those of you who have taken the trouble to reply so far – more opinions welcome! We are posting this proposal on the website in case you missed the email.

As you know, we currently have two main neighbourhood groups in this part of Widcombe:

  1.  ARCH (Action for Calton & Holloway), which was set up in 2010 with a formal constitution and accounts
  2. An informal group in St Mark’s Road, including many of the residents who co-ordinated the Jubilee Street Party for the road.

In practice these two groups have worked increasingly closely together.We’ve jointly organised social events like the annual Community Christmas Lunch and summer barbeques, as well as occasional local history talks, walks, film nights and the like, donating proceeds from many of these events to charities. We’ve also provided joint community input to the running of the St Mark’s Community Centre and have worked together on some local issues. And recently we have even joined together our communications under the banner of “widcombewest” with a joint website at, which also includes the Lower Wells Road Group.

As a result of this closer working we’re now considering whether in constitutional terms it would make sense to make “widcombewest” the single representative resident group for the area. This would mean:

  • having the ability to offer a combined, legitimately representative voice on event planning and issues for the whole of the area under the widcombewest title
  • one set of elected officers – Chair, Secretary and Treasurer – drawn from all the participating areas (which, amongst other things, would hopefully make it easier to find sufficient people willing to take on these duties)
  • holding a single set of meetings for local people to share their views and ideas
  • maximising the time available to focus on events and issues by only needing to maintain one set of accounts etc.

In practice, therefore, we would have a joined-up group where all residents are able to represent their views and to work together for the greater good of the local community. At the same time none of this would prevent us still being able to have local reps looking after day-to-day matters in each of the Calton/Holloway, St Mark’s Road and Lower Wells Road areas when that is most appropriate.

We want to know what you think about this proposal. It’s your neighbourhood, so please have your say either by replying to this email or by speaking to Ruth (483106) or Keith (284598). Please also let us know if you have any thoughts and ideas on things that our local community could do in the future.

RHS ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ Award 2015

On the evening of Thursday October 22nd ARCH Chairs Sylvia and Stewart attended the award ceremony of the RHS Britain in Bloom ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ (IYN) scheme. This national campaign is an inclusive, non-competitive scheme that promotes volunteer groups making their neighbourhoods cleaner, greener and safer to live in, all working with the local community for the benefit of the community.

IYN 2015 certificate

IYN 2015 certificate

The activities of ARCH supporters during 2014-15 were assessed by Barry Cruse, the retiring chairman of the ‘Bath in Bloom’ Committee, in terms of Community Participation, Environmental Responsibility and Gardening Achievement (see Assessment Form).

Last year, the first year of our entering the scheme under the ‘Beechen Bees’ banner, we were delighted to gain a level 4 award of ‘Thriving’.

This year, our range of activities and community involvement surpassed all our expectations and resulted in ‘More Beechen Bees’ being awarded the highest level score of ‘Outstanding’.

Our award was presented by the Mayor of Bath, Cllr. Will Sandry, in the relaxed atmosphere of the Restaurant in the Park, where all the Bath participating groups had assembled.

The residents of Bath owe a huge debt of gratitude to Barry Cruse and his wife Carol for their work over the years improving and promoting the beauty and attractiveness of Bath.

For details of the judging criteria and information about other groups and their achievements in this year’s competition, click here: IYN assessment criteria for 2015


RHS “It’s your neighbourhood” award for ARCH

bath_in_bloom-logoHello everyone,
We’ve just heard that our ARCH activities during 2015, under the ‘Beechen Bees’ banner, have earned us the top award of ‘Outstanding’ in the Royal Horticultural Society’s ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ campaign, the aims of which are to make our area safer, cleaner, greener and an all-round better place to live. Congratulations and thanks to everyone who has helped or taken part in ARCH community and gardening activities over the past year.

Full details of our award will be posted on the website in the near future.

Safari Supper 2015

Come and be a part of the ARCH and St. Mark’s Road Safari Supper this autumn. This has become an annual event and is a great chance to socialise with neighbours.

The general idea is for each participant (can be couples or singles) to host one course – either a starter, main course or dessert – for six, and then move on to another house for the next course. We all finish the evening under one roof for coffee and liqueurs. A great way to meet your neighbours. What can possibly go wrong as long as the wine is flowing? Best of all, nobody needs to drive home!

This takes a little bit of organizing, so please get in touch with Ruth Herrlinger by email or phone 01225 483106 as soon as possible to sign up.  Details and times to follow!

Beechen Bees

Unstacking the hive

Unstacking the hive

By now most of you will know about our exciting new residents in the ARCH/St. Marks Road area. The hives are owned and managed by Andy Hepburn who recently moved to the area. Take a look at the “Beechen Bees” section of our widcombewest website to read Andy’s illustrated article introducing his bee colonies and describing how he manages them. It’s fascinating stuff!

 Bee Visits

Here are the dates on which Bee Visits with Andy Hepburn can be booked:

August: Sat 8th, Sat 15th, Fri 21st
September: Sat 5th, Sat 12th, Sat 19th, Sat 26th

Go to to book your place! It’s really simple – just tick the date you can do and enter your email address so that you can receive confirmation. The “Beechen Bees” section of the site (link above) also includes detailed information about what the visits entail and a list of do’s and dont’s.

Bees 16 Do take up this unique opportunity to take a close look at what the bees get up to – Andy has purchased all the protective kit. If you have any questions, simply email to

Open gardens despite the rain

Umbrellas all round

Umbrellas all round

Persistent rain was not enough to dampen the spirits of the determined ‘Open Garden’ visitors who came to see how three residents have recently made their back gardens look so attractive and provide a real welcome for wildlife. Successes and failures, pests and problems were all discussed, yet the over-riding response to having created the gardens was one of immense enjoyment, whether it was weeding, pruning or simply relaxing with a glass or two.

Luckily there was a sizeable awning!

Luckily there was a sizeable awning!

A further Open Garden event may well be organised for later this summer and a ‘plant swap’ event in the autumn and/or next spring is being discussed. If you think you might like to open your garden – remember this is about exchanging ideas and information, not a competition – please get in touch at

Keep an eye on the website and your email inbox for news!

Mini open gardens 13th July

Mini Open Gardens Invitation

On Monday evening July 13th from 6.30 p.m. onwards, some ARCH members will be opening up three gardens backing onto the walkway between Calton Walk (no. 17 as featured in the Ruth’s Garden blog) and Calton Gardens (no 24 and 26). The idea is to give everyone a chance to take a look at what a handful of local residents have done to maximize the use of these small urban gardens. Come and glean some ideas and at the same time enjoy a glass of something bubbly and a nibble with friends and neighbours. For details phone Ruth on 483106.

Simply stroll down and take a look – even if only for half an hour!