This week, I’m going to depart slightly from my usual style and deliver a message with an actual point. Calm down, it’ll be over and done with before you know it. Persevere.
If there are any young people out there who know anything at all about local history (unlikely, but one must always live in hope), you may know that the green and pleasant countryside of Somerset was once criss-crossed by railways. There was one in particular that ran south from Bath through Radstock, Midsomer Norton, Shepton Mallet and Wincanton, all the way down to the coast at Bournemouth, and it also had a branch that ran east from Evercreech to Glastonbury, Street, Bridgwater and Burnham-on-Sea. Wouldn’t that be terribly convenient to get to college, I hear you ponder? You’re so right. It would. Shame it’s all gone. I’m not going to into the precise details of why that happened, but suffice to say that the same sort of thing happened at roughly the same time all over Britain and Ireland. There are plenty of books about it in the library, give them a read.
Beats a crowded bus, doesn’t it? But even this is gone now.
This isn’t just a rant, there really is a point. See, I live in Evercreech. If you do too, you might know that walking to either of the nearby towns (Castle Cary or Shepton Mallet, depending on your personal standards) is a very difficult thing to do without dying a very painful and humiliating death. In other words, the only road out of the village (and it’s a big village, too, over a thousand people live there) in both directions is a busy thoroughfare with no pavements and high hedges on either side. So if you walk down it and a car comes at you…well, you best make peace with whatever gods the media haven’t killed yet.
The alternatives are almost as expensive. Either buy a car or catch the bus WHICH COSTS ALMOST A POUND A MILE AND RUNS ABOUT SEVEN TIMES A DAY, neither of which are particularly attractive prospects for the bright young things of Somerset.
There is, however, a faint glimmer of hope on the horizon. And this is where the “point” I mentioned earlier shall be revealed. There is a proposal before the district council to re-use the route of the old railway between Evercreech and Shepton Mallet as a pedestrian footpath. This will provide a safe waking route between these two places for the first time in…oh, ages and ages. That’s not important.
What is important is that if you live in Evercreech, or know someone who does, or just generally enjoy rallying behind political causes, write to the council and let them know what a jolly good idea this would be. And if they write back saying that they don’t have to listen to you because you aren’t old enough to vote, tell them you’ll move to Wiltshire if they don’t get it built. Works every time.