News: February 2017

Below are selected items from our recent newsetters. Members of the society receive the full newsletter and other regular updates by email ahead of them appearing on this website.

Annual Wine Tasting Quiz

Don't be an April fool - book early for our annual fun Wine Tasting on Saturday 1st April!

For those that have never been, the tasting quiz takes the form of "Call my bluff" with three 'expert judges' offering their differing opinions on the details of each wine. You taste the wine and guess by table who is right. A prize will go to the highest scoring table. It is a challenge for wine buffs and good fun for the rest of us.

After tasting four whites and four reds we all have a Ploughman's supper with the chance to taste some more of the wines. All for the price of £12 a ticket. The profits go to Newbury Samaritans, our charity for this year.

Initial bookings are limited to members only as space is limited to 70 and it is difficult to judge demand. If we still have space nearer the date it will then be open to guests. Either book a table of any size, although six is good, or book individually and we will make up tables. Please be in place ready to start by 8pm sharp.

To book - please send an email naming all members. We do not issue tickets so please say if you require a confirmation email. It is only booked once paid, so at the same time, please make the payment of £12 per ticket by bank transfer (details from Patrick) or by a cheque made payable to Highclere Society delivered to September Cottage Tubbs Lane RG20 9RB.

Report on Westridge Information Day

On Sunday 29th January The Westridge Trust held an information day at Highclere Village Hall to share the proposed plans for Westridge Studio and ask for suggestions and feedback. We were delighted that so many Highclere residents were able to make it, especially on such a wet day. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and we had some great suggestions. All the feedback forms have been entered into our system and we will try and include as many suggestions as possible going forward.

The current status is that The Westridge Trust has been formed as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (Charity No. 1169481) with three Trustees: Mike York, Sally Izett and Mike Jenkins all of whom are Parish Councillors and can be contacted via the Parish Council. Architect's plans have been drawn up and were submitted in mid-February.

We are in the process of applying for grants to assist with the necessary building work to bring the studio and the paddock up to modern standards and to create a safe and welcoming environment which will benefit the people in the village and the surrounding area for years to come.

If you would like more information, please email westridgestudio*AT* and we will add you to our list of interested parties who receive regular updates.

Broadband Summit Report

The Broadband summit on Friday 3rd February was very interesting and reasonably well attended, with five representatives from Highclere. Mr Malthouse welcomed the attendees and introduced the panel of speakers.

The speakers consisted of:

  1. A representative from Hampshire County Council to advise about the Hampshire programme, the levels of coverage people can expect and future plans.
  2. Representatives from BT to discuss the national rollout and new technology that may help with servicing the final 5%.
  3. A representative from BDUK (Broadband UK), the government agency doling out £530 million in public investment in broadband, to give news on national technology trials.

One of our residents gave us this brief summary of events:

"As you are aware my main concern for attending was a personal one, due to my address getting poor broadband service. There are approximately 50 houses in Highclere - Mount Close, Mount Rd and part of Pantings Lane which used to be connected directly to the exchange, via 'Exchange Only' lines in Woolton Hill but are now connected to a fibre-enabled roadside cabinet opposite the exchange (cabinet 8, I believe). Unfortunately BT and Openreach's systems have not been updated to reflect the new routing thus we are unable to receive the faster broadband that is enjoyed by the rest of Highclere.

A local resident who lives in Pantings Lane, is very much affected and has been relentlessly trying to get answers from both BT and Openreach for several months and has found the whole process very exhausting and totally frustrating. He has gained an enormous amount of knowledge but simply cannot get these people to commit to resolving this problem. They briefly explained this to Mr Malthouse, who certainly encouraged those in attendance to seek his help for specific situations. It would have been impossible to receive a definitive answer from the BT representative (Grant Munn) due to the number of questions and indeed the nature of our question.

The resident has now contacted Mr Malthouse via email with the full facts of the plight of the 50 houses in Highclere. I feel quietly confident that Mr Malthouse will ensure we receive answers and indeed action very soon. I must say that I was very impressed with Mr Malthouse's concern, which appeared extremely genuine. I'm sure our resident will keep us informed regarding a reply from Mr Malthouse and I will of course advise you accordingly. Seems so simple, but alas, not so when nobody from BT communicates."

Update 17th February

"Just to let you know that our line status within BT's systems changed yesterday and I have now been able to order a BT Infinity 2 service. It is planned to be operational on 27th February. Hooray!!

I am guessing that, as an engineer updated our individual routing information more than a month ago (as part of the correction of the line / exchange faults), the details have now filtered through to both BT's DSL Checker and sales systems. I am hoping that many of the remaining 90 "EO" lines in Highclere will be similarly re-designated following the batch update in a week's time or I will be severely embarrassed within the community, if the changes only worked for us!!!

32nd Village Christmas Walk

(In association with the East Woodhay and Highclere Societies)

Many thanks to the over 350 people who took part in the Village Christmas Walk this year, a record. And thanks of course to those who marshalled or who contributed help in other ways.

Through your support a superb total of £1,100 was donated towards the Ark Cancer Centre Fund. The £1,100 will be match-funded by the Greenham Common Trust thus raising from the walk a total donation of £2,200.

Thank you to everyone for their generosity. We hope you enjoyed the morning and will join us again at 10.30 am on Wednesday 27th December 2017.

John Angle, Ian Briggs and Clive Sanders

Highclere Christmas Carol Singers

In fair weather on Wednesday 14th December 2016 around 24 Highclere Carol Singers including many new faces set off round the village singing carols and collecting donations for Cancer Research. After a brief stop for refreshment on the way round we arrived at the Red House where we continued singing carols but now to the accompaniment of the East Woodhay Silver Band, and three wonderful solos by Amy.

Cancer Research has asked me to pass on their thanks to those who sang, those who provided refreshments and the band who give their time on a voluntary basis and of course all those who gave so generously helping us to raise a record £400. We look forward to seeing you all next year.

Photo Enthusiasts

Get snapping and your photo could be part of the 2018 Highclere Parish Calendar. We are looking for Seasonal country scenes including: Local Buildings - Parish Activites/Events - Country Lanes and Footpaths, Flora/Fauna to Animals and Insects.

For more information please go to

Patrick Hedgeland

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