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A NUMBER of long-held ambitions of community groups in Blandford began to come to fruition last month and should soon be completed.

Work started at the end of May on the installation of drainage to protect the Langton Meadows flood arches and creation of a staircase to the top with viewing platforms across the meadows and interpretation boards on the history of the railway which the arches carried, and the wildlife to be found on the meadows.

Work also started at the beginning of June on the restoration of the archway which was the entrance to the former Blandford Grammar School and its war memorial and installation of interpretation boards giving information about the school and the neighbouring former burial ground.

Both schemes are funded by the Northern Dorset Location Action Group’s LEADER programme after successful bids were made by the Blandford Railway Arches Trust in association with Blandford Town Council, and by Blandford & District Civic Society.

Together they bring over £60,000 of external funding to the town.

Civic Society secretary Nicci Brown, who can be contacted on 01258 459346 or by email to niccitab15@gmail.com, said: “We’d like to hear from any former pupils of the Grammar School or descendants of those buried in the burial ground so that we can invite them to the celebration of the completion of the work in July.”

Meanwhile enhancements to the North Dorset Trailway to better present its past on the route of the Somerset & Dorset Railway and next to the site of a WWI prisoner of war camp is underway thanks to the Blandford Stour Rotary Club as part of the commemoration of its own 20th anniversary.

The buffers at the end of the Trailway in Station Court were removed at the end of May for refurbishment work which is being carried out by Mark Farwell of Farwell Plant Hire, who is subsidising the cost of the project. The project is supported by the Blandford Railway Club and could not have been done without the help of Graham Stanley of the Dorset Rangers.

The buffers were put in place to ensure a reminder remained at the ‘end of the line’ after the closure of the Somerset & Dorset railway, largely at the instigation of David Jones, the late husband of Mrs Della Jones.

And an interpretation board illustrating the WWI POW camp on the Little Milldown is due to be installed this month.

The first of the interpretation boards in Damory Street giving the history of the former burial ground

A digger shifts the accumulation of soil from the top of the Langton Meadows flood arches prior to installation of drainage