Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advice

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is going to be a major feature of our lives for some time ahead.  The situation is evolving rapidly and anything we write is likely to be out of date within a matter of days, if not hours.  Consequently, the best source of advice for villagers is that which is being provided by the Government.

This advice can be found here on the UK Government website.

The site carries links to such things as:

NHS advice to patients;

FCO Travel advice;

Stay-at-home/Self-isolation/Lockdown Guidance

NHS Advice for health professionals;

Number of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Cases and Risk in the UK.

No doubt this information will evolve over the coming weeks and months


Comings and Goings

The village is going to see quite a few comings and goings over the next few months with quite a few properties changing hands.  Inevitably, we are saying good-bye to some old friends, but we are also welcoming new villagers who will hopefully wish to contribute to village life.  To help them get up to speed, members of the Village Preservation Society have helped us put together some basic information for new villagers which can be found here on the website.

Please take a look and if you can think of any other information that can be added to the two documents, or the Village Directory section of the website, please let us know.

Children’s Play Park To Reopen

We are pleased to announce that the play park will re-open from around mid-day, tomorrow, Friday 10th July 2020.  Please note that the Parish Council has still not received a response from its insurers in respect of COVID-19 issues raised with them.  There is still the possibility that they may yet respond and put a spanner in the works, but we feel that we do need to go ahead and will deal with that eventuality should it arise.

Inevitably, there are a few strings attached and warnings.  A copy of the following notice will be placed on the gates to the park and on the Parish Council noticeboard.  It will also be poset on the village Facebook Group.

Winterbourne Stoke Parish Council

The play park is to open as of midday on 10 Jul 2020.

Please be aware that the Parish Council cannot make the park COVID-19 secure. Consequently, all parents/guardians deciding to let their children use the play park accept this and assume any and all liabilities arising from use of the play park in respect of COVID-19.

No specific COVID-19 cleaning measures will be undertaken by, or on behalf of, the Parish Council. The normal, regular safety checks will be undertaken.

Entering the play park signals your assent to the above and the following conditions:

  • If anyone in your household/bubble is displaying COVID-19 symptoms, or is awaiting the result of a COVID-19 test, then go home, DO NOT enter the play park;
  • All the usual play-park rules on the adjacent signage applies;
  • Everyone and anyone using the play park is responsible for cleaning/sanitising the equipment they use BEFORE USE, to their own satisfaction;
  • Parents/guardians and children should sanitise their hands before leaving the play park and wash hands with soap and hot water for 20 seconds on return home;
  • Keep at least 1 metre social distancing (or at the current distance advised by the government);
  • No queuing outside the park for entry, or in the park for equipment;
  • No eating, drinking or smoking;
  • Please try to only have one parent, guardian or carer with each child to limit the possible spread of infection;
  • Consider using face coverings;
  • All rubbish, including disposable face coverings or gloves, should be taken home to dispose of rather than being left in the litter bin.

The areas of particular risk assessed by the PC are:

  •  The Southern Park Entrance: Due to the narrow approach to the park and restricted view both in and out, the Southern gate to the park will remain locked.
  • The North gate allows a better view in for those arriving and out for those leaving;
  • The Double Swing: Rather than removing one of the swings, only one swing should be used at any one time unless 2 children from the same household/bubble wish to use them;
  • The Climbing Frame: The Parish Council does not believe it is credibly possible to disinfect the climbing net, or the tunnel, on this apparatus. However, there are other components that are easier to clean and could be reasonably used. Rather than attempt to seal off the two elements, or close the entire Climbing Frame, the Parish Council intends to leave the apparatus open, but strongly advises parents/guardians to prevent their children from using the climbing net or tunnel.

If it comes to the Parish Council’s attention that social distancing, or other mandatory requirements, are not being observed, the play park will be closed with immediate effect.


75th Anniversary of VE Day

“My dear friends, this is your hour. This is not victory of a party or of any class. It’s a victory of the great British nation as a whole.”

So began Winston Churchill’s speech on the 8th May 1945 from the balcony of the Ministry of Health.  You can listen to part of the speech on the pages of the International Churchill Society.

On the 75th anniversary of VE Day we remember with gratitude and respect the brave men and women who fought for our freedoms. To those who gave so much, we thank you.
It’s with sadness that we cannot share that sense of national gratitude in a village celebration today, but we can still remember privately.  You might want to read the words of Edmund Blunden, writing about the end of the war in Europe in his poem, “V Day”, published for the first time today.  There are sentiments in the poem that still ring very true today in the face of our current challenge.

Don’t Delay Seeking Medical Help Because Of Coronavirus

People living in Wiltshire are being advised not to let worries about coronavirus stop them asking for medical help for themselves or their children if they become ill, have a serious accident or have a concern about their health.
They are also being warned that not seeking medical help for symptoms that could be the early warning signs of serious conditions such as cancer could be putting lives at risk.
The warning comes as new data shows a considerable drop in the number of people coming forward to ask their GP for help and advice during the coronavirus outbreak.
Recent statistics show that, in Bath alone, the total number of weekly referrals from GPs to the Royal United Hospital have fallen from around 2,000 at the beginning of March to 300 at the end of April.
In Swindon, the average number of patients being sent by their GP to the Great Western Hospital for further investigations into symptoms that suggest cancer each week has dropped by more than 200 to 80.
Dr Ruth Grabham, Medical Director at BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG, said the statistics made for worrying reading because the drop in numbers “is not because people are not experiencing symptoms.”
“While it may seem that coronavirus has put a stop to most aspects of everyday life, the one thing it hasn’t stopped is what’s going on inside our bodies,” she says. “Now more than ever, we need to pay attention to anything that isn’t normal and seek help early on.
“For example, if you notice blood when going to the toilet, or if you’ve found a lump that wasn’t there previously, or if you’ve just noticed something odd that is causing you to worry, you need to speak to your GP.
“Should the symptom be the early warning sign of something serious like cancer, that delay in seeking help could have serious implications for how successful possible treatments may be.”
Although GP practices across the region have adopted new ways of working, such as establishing isolated clinics for potential coronavirus patients, the practices themselves are still open to offer care, treatment, advice and peace-of-mind.
The same also goes for emergency departments at the three hospitals in Bath, Swindon and Salisbury, all of which continue to be open 24 hours a day for people with a genuine and life-threatening health concern.
Additionally, all healthcare facilities in the region, as well as those elsewhere in the country, have put in place stringent infection control measures to ensure that the risk of contracting coronavirus while visiting a hospital or GP surgery remains low.
• Details of which services continue to open, as well as how to get in contact, can be found online by visiting
• For information about local hospital services visit, or
• Further information on how to stay well throughout the coronavirus outbreak can be found at

An Easter Message from the Rector

Dear Friends,

We are celebrating a very different Easter this year. Instead of sharing the joy as a community we are forced to share it with those we live with or on our own isolated behind our front doors. This is tough!

It has been a joy to see all the villages of the Benefice respond to this time of trial in such a positive way. Jesus asked, “who is my neighbour?” Well, in supporting each other, in the teams of volunteers collecting prescriptions or buying food and in the text messages, Facebook and WhatsApp groups this question has been answered. The Easter message is one of hope and expectation. In these difficult days we can take the hope and expectation of the empty tomb to support us through these difficult days and weeks. The light always shines after the dark. That is also the Easter message.

May I and the whole Benefice wish you, your families, friends and neighbours near and far a very happy Easter.

Blessings and stay safe


Flood Warning: Environment Agency Update

The Environment Agency has just (Noon 19th February 2020) updated the Flood Warning for the River Till.

Flooding is expected – immediate action required

The groundwater levels in the Tilshead borehole are currently at 99.5 mAOD and slowly rising following the recent rainfall. We believe there is a possibility of flooding for Tilshead, Orcheston, Shrewton, Winterborne Stoke, Berwick St James and Stapleford. Residents are continued to be advised to prepare property flood resilience measures and ensure that pumps are working where they have been installed. Flooding of roads and fields is possible. Residents may experience inundation of septic tanks and sewer systems. The Met Office forecast over the next few days is for more rainfall, so we can expect groundwater levels to continue to rise.

Onboard and Online: Flood Warning Now in Force – Groundwater Flooding For The River Till

Whilst not wishing to cause unnecessary alarm, please be aware that the Environment Agency has now issued a Flood Warning for the River Till.  This is the level above the Flood Alert that we have been under since late December 2019.  Please check with your neighbours that they are aware of this Flood Warning.

The Environment Agency have said:

Flooding is expected – immediate action required.

The groundwater levels in the Tilshead borehole are currently at 98.7 mAOD and rising, due to the persistent heavy rainfall from Storm Dennis. Residents are advised to prepare property resilience measures and ensure that pumps are working where they have been installed. Flooding of roads and fields is possible. Residents may experience inundation of septic tanks and sewer systems. The Met Office forecast over the next few days is for brighter spells with some showers. We are closely monitoring the groundwater situation.”

Please note that since this warning was issued, the water level in the Tilshead Borehole has risen to 98.99m AOD.  That’s back to the level it was on 1st February 2020 overnight.