Podcast 18 - The Coffin Trail, linking West Ashton to Steeple Ashton

Updated: Sep 6


It’s been a busy couple of weeks and there is dissent amongst the Hidden Wiltshire staff about pay and conditions. Paul in particular is unhappy with the current working practices that required him to spend two full days this week walking in warm sunshine across the Wiltshire countryside, taking photographs and testing the local hand pumped beers available in a Wiltshire pub after one particular walk. More of that in a future episode.

But in the meantime, somebody had to do it and the Hidden Wiltshire staff are considering joining a union unless conditions are improved.


This week’s podcast follows the coffin trail between West Ashton and Steeple Ashton, a walk that Glyn posted a blog about on the website about on 9 July 2021. This was the route used to ferry coffins from the village of West Ashton, before its church was built in 1846, to the church at Steeple Ashton for burial. The route crosses a little brook over which a stone bridge was built around 200 years ago connecting the path from West Ashton to what is known as Luffenham Field, a delightful mini nature reserve created and maintained by local villagers. The route passes what remains of Rood Ashton Hall, once the family seat of the Long Family.


The halfway point of this 4.5 mile walk is the village of Steeple Ashton where Glyn and Paul spent a delightful and informative 90 minutes with the hugely knowledgeable stonemason and author Andrew Ziminski. Andrew and his colleagues restored the old stone bridge at Luffenham in 2019/20 and they are now carrying out a series of works at St Mary’s Church in Steeple Ashton. This was the perfect opportunity to record a discussion with Andrew which we did on the roof of the church! An absolutely fascinating conversation during which Andrew brought the building to life, sharing its secrets and stories over hundreds of years.


Glyn has done this walk several times and it’s interesting to see and hear how it changes with the seasons. When Paul did the walk after the interview with Andrew Ziminski there were a number of route finding challenges as several of the rights of way were overgrown by the crops or had been ploughed up.



Steve Dixon’s piece leading into the discussion about the walk is entitled “Play Dead”. For obvious reasons! As ever the piece in the introduction and at the end of the podcast is entitled “The Holloway”.


The next Hidden Wiltshire/Wiltshire Museum guided walk will be on Monday 30 August 2021 and will be to Erlestoke Wood and Salisbury Plain. You can get tickets using the link below.


Don’t forget to subscribe to the Hidden Wiltshire Newsletter from the website.


Thanks again to the ever patient Tim Kington at TKC Sales, the UK distributors of Lowa walking boots and shoes, and for the 20% discount on their products to Hidden Wiltshire podcast listeners. Listen to the show for the discount code. It can’t last forever! You’ll find a link to Lowa Boots’ website below. And to complete the Steeple Ashton link, this is where TKC Sales are based so they are a true Wiltshire company.


And finally, help us keep the lights on by heading to the Hidden Wiltshire Online shop. Link below.



Links:


You can follow the walk we discuss in this episode here The Coffin Trail From West Ashton to Steeple Ashton


Andrew Ziminski’s brilliant book can be obtained here if you’d prefer not to use Amazon The Stone Mason: A History of Building Britain


Cheryl Nicol’s book about the Long Family can be obtained here Inheriting The Earth: The Long Family's 500 year reign in Wiltshire


Glyn’s photographs can be seen of course on this website and on his Instagram feed @coy_cloud


Paul’s photography can be found on his website at Paul Timlett Photography and on Instagram at @tragicyclist


Steve Dixon’s sound art can be found on Soundcloud where his username is River and Rail Steve Dixon River and Rail. His photographs can be found on Instagram at @stevedixon_creative and his graphic design business website is at Steve Dixon Creative


Hidden Wiltshire Walks in Conjunction with Wiltshire Museum Erlestoke Wood and Salisbury Plain


You can find Lowa Boots UK at Lowa Boots UK


And finally you’ll find the Hidden Wiltshire online shop here Hidden Wiltshire Shop