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Meetings & Events

Ansty PYO Farm Shop Maize Maze 2020 pays tribute to all NHS Workers

Ansty PYO Farm Shop Maize Maze 2020

Ansty PYO Farm Shop Maize Maze this year is a stunning tribute to all NHS workers during the Coronavirus pandemic. The Money from ticket sales will be donated to the Salisbury District Hospital Stars Appeal supporting the NHS.

What a wonderful gesture from K and her wonderful team whose sterling efforts throughout the lockdown period from March to June this year ensured essential supplies of quality groceries were always available for local folk.  Click here to view a short video from Stonehenge Dronescapes.

Ansty May Day 2020 – a ‘symbolic

occasion’ in keeping with tradition!

Traditional garlands decorating the Ansty Maypole in 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown isolation restrictions meant that Ansty’s big spring event ‘Ansty May’ was cancelled, causing much disappointment to the organisers and their helpers but also to the would-be performers, stallholders and visitors.  This long standing Maypole dancing celebrating the vitality of spring stretches back over centuries – some say the tradition has roots as far back as Ancient Roman times. Certainly back in the 1660s the Lord of the Manor (Arundell) restored the Maypole use after the Puritans demanded the Maypole be removed in 1644.

These annual events usually attract hundreds of people to see the crowning of the May Queen accompanied by Morris dancing, music, along with a raffle, tombola and several stalls. The money raised goes into a Maypole fund which is set aside to pay for a new one about once every 25 years. And these days they are expensive!

Although the event was cancelled for the first time in a long history, some villagers were still keen and able to mark the occasion.

Former Ansty May ‘Master of Ceremonies’ and Ansty’s ‘green man’ Robert and his wife Jaci (representing the Spirits of Spring) were up early and working in isolation decorated the Ansty Maypole with a simple garland of wild flowers and greenery. They then symbolically danced (and were witnessed) around the Maypole to ensure that the long established spring rites of fertility were maintained, thus keeping the long held tradition that the Ansty Maypole dance ceremony must take place every year without a break.

Later, the current Master of Ceremonies (pictured below) added a small posy of spring wild flowers on behalf of the Ansty May Day Committee.

The star dancers of the show would have been the children who all come from local villages and this year’s ‘May Queen’ is Lottie Birch. She goes to Chilmark and Fonthill Bishop School and has been a Maypole dancer since she was 6.  Lottie (pictured) was very much looking forward to being ‘May Queen‘ this year but will be invited to take part in the 2021 celebrations instead.

Lottie Birch -Ansty May Queen elect 2020
John Cluett who plays the traditional music for the Maypole dancers along with his wife Margaret. The couple paid homage to our Ansty May customs this year despite the event being cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. 01-05-2020

Local folk duo Tattie Bogle from Shaftesbury also paid homage (again in isolation) to the important customs associated with our Ansty Maypole this year.  Over recent decades, they have been ever present at this colourful May Day event providing the traditional music for the young Maypole dancers.

John, photographed by Margaret, his wife, is playing his familiar melodeon albeit supporting invisible performers and admiring spectators but keeping the spirit of this ancient Ansty May alive until we can hopefully reconvene next year.  Many thanks Tattie Bogle – you did us proud!

You can find out more about John and Margaret by clicking on this excellent link: Tattie Bogle.

The Wiltshire based White Horse Morris group were also due to be at the event in Ansty and hopefully they will be back here for real next year! In the meantime you can view them here on their Facebook page.

White Horse Morris

The current ‘Master of Ceremonies’

Thanks to all of the Ansty May Committee for their preparatory work and  to all the young dancers, their teachers, helpers and parents for their rehearsal work. Thanks to all of our villagers who passionately believe in keeping the long held traditions alive and of course all those people who support us in any way. We look forward hopefully, to the return of the full event in 2021. See you all then!


Here is a postscript to our ‘virtual Ansty Mayday’ event that took the place of the real occasion which was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Local villager Sue Poulton had been charged with the task of growing and then selling plants via a May Day stall. Well of course after the ‘lock-down’ Sue decided to offer to locals what she had grown in return for donations.  There was a great response and around £150 was raised for the May Day account. Anne Martin, a May Day committee member, stated it was such a generous act all round and much appreciated.

Part of Ansty Community

The Ansty Community at its best! 06-04-2020

It seems ages since our Government announced important measures on 16th March concerning drastic ‘lock down steps’ to keep us all as safe as possible from the unprecedented coronavirus situation that is now a world pandemic.

Even before these announcements were made it seems that the crisis was already bringing the best out of folk in Ansty. There had already been many offers of practical help and ‘good neighbourliness’ throughout the parish and from beyond.

Older folk and those with ‘underlying health conditions’ recognised that they really did have to ‘stay at home’ for the foreseeable future and were worried about shopping for essential items and collecting things like prescriptions. Immediately several kind Ansty people offered practical help to do their shopping and collect prescriptions.

From having no viable ‘pandemic plan’ whatsoever, within a week, most parishes, including Ansty had put in communication networks based on emails, mobile/phone lines; social media and websites – all coordinating a small army of volunteers (or neighbourhood response teams) to help support the community.   

A big ‘thank you’ is due to all those kind villagers (too many to name) who have offered their support in any way to others via emails and telephone calls and being there ‘just in case’; to K and her wonderful team at Ansty PYO & Farm shop who work tirelessly to fulfil orders; to chairman Tim Martin and others for calmly coordinating and ensuring that all the help ‘lines’ in Ansty are working efficiently and to Tisbury Neighbourhood Response who have kindly reached out to their neighbour parishes. It really is much appreciated. Thanks too, to Wiltshire Council for their ‘Wellbeing Hub’ and the ‘Community Groups Directory’ that they have co-ordinated – and yes, Ansty is registered!

When we clap for the NHS, we are also clapping for all the ‘key workers’ and by that I take it to mean all those who are doing their bit to support the community and help us all get through this unprecedented crisis.

If we are going to have to endure a prolonged ‘lock down’ as seems likely for most of us then there isn’t a better place than Ansty to have to do it: indeed it seems practically all of us are following the ‘rules’. This can only help the situation because there is no other plan on the table.

Keep an eye or ear open for those emails and phone calls and offers of help; your website is updated daily and there are a lot of things you can read or look at.  Most of us will need some help at some stage.  Don’t be afraid to ask! People are only too willing to help!

Join the great Ansty Spring Clean! CANCELLED!

Cranborne Chase is now designated as an International Dark Sky Reserve!

Cranborne Chase has become the 14th Reserve across the globe and joins an exclusive club of International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Protected Areas to gain international recognition for our dark skies. The news was announced last year (2019) and represents a stunning achievement! Well done to all of the Cranborne Chase AONB officers who spent years putting the ‘Dark Skies Reserve’ bid together and then successfully campaigning throughout the area to persuade people to pledge their support for the bid. 

Here in Ansty, some villagers along with Parish Council supported the bid after Amanda Scott (one of the Dark Sky advisors) gave an interesting presentation at a Parish meeting that outlined what the bid was about and what we could all do to keep light pollution to the minimum. Thank you Amanda!

“Some people are lucky enough to recognise ‘the Plough’, but for others, seeing stars and their constellations is often impossible because of light pollution. Here in Cranborne Chase we can see the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy, if the clouds allow!” said Linda Nunn, Director of Cranborne Chase AONB.

Bob Mizon, who leads the Commission for Dark Skies in the UK and has played a major supporting role in the application, added: “You can’t fail to be amazed by the show the night sky puts on when you’re in Cranborne Chase AONB on a clear night.”

There are several outstanding localities in and around Ansty where one can gaze skywards and pick out a huge number of stars, constellations and planets of the solar system.

This dark sky status will certainly help to keep it that way for future generations.

Click here for further reading:  Cranborne Dark Skies

Try this free to use link to view the whole sky as seen in our locality in real time. Use the icons at the foot of the screen to explore constellations, various grids, and deep sky objects. This online link is a ‘cut down version’ of the software app which you can find and download for yourself.  Stellarium

Check out this interactive map showing the incredible images of England’s light pollution and dark skies: England’s Light Pollution and Dark Skies  Go to ‘Search Tools’ and type in SP3

Click here for information about Chasing Stars in our Outstanding Night Skies