DESCRIPTION OF HARDINGTON MANDEVILLE

GEOGRAPHY

SignpostHardington Mandeville is an attractive village on the Somerset/Dorset border about 4 miles south west of Yeovil. Access to Yeovil and the surrounding villages is by a network of narrow, winding country lanes. Originally Penn Lane to the south of the village formed part of the main route to Exeter and the South West. Now the A30 fulfils that role less than 1 mile to the north of the parish, and Hardington is a quiet village with mainly local traffic.

Hardington Mandeville is a rich area for wildlife. White Vine and Grove Farm SSSIs to the south are ecologically rich semi-natural farmed and wooded landscapes. Three traditional hay meadows in the north also form an SSSI, and are a blaze of colour in spring and summer. They contain several species of orchid and are managed by English Nature as a National Nature Reserve. The landscape is governed by long ridges, rather like fingers which stretch from east to west across the parish with shallow valleys in between. The result is a generally open area with magnificent extensive views from the higher ground. There are streams in the valleys, where the land is mainly pastoral, and the small to medium sized fields being bounded by hedges. The hedge pattern accentuates the land form by rising up and over each ridge. The narrow lanes are lined by dense hedgerows. Generally, the environment is invigorating and always interesting.

The village has developed in two main Parts - Hardington Mandeville which is situated to the south of the church, and Hardington Moor which nestles in the valley to the north-east of the church. In addition, there are the smaller communities and hamlets of Hardington Marsh, Lyatts, Hill End and Coker Hill, with the total area being part of the Portman Estate until death duties forced it to be sold off between the wars.

VILLAGE FACILITIES AND AMENITIES

The Church of St Mary occupies a beautiful situation on rising ground with views of the village to the south and an extensive panorama St Mary's Church over the Chinnock Brook valley and Coker Ridge to the north. It is bounded by the churchyard on all 4 sides. The Norman tower has a peal of 8 bells which attracts visiting teams of bell ringers. The nave was rebuilt in Victorian times and seats about 130 people. Regular services are held in conjunction with 3 other benefice churches.

Across the road from the Church is the Village Hall,Village Hall built originally as the village school but taken over for its present use when the school closed in the early 1960s. The Hall has been extended and modernised and is used for a wide range of functions and events such as the Annual Flower and Craft Show, Women's Institute, Harvest and Turkey Suppers, Play Group and Village Pantomime.

The village has its own Newsletter, the Messenger, which is distributed on a monthly basis to 250 households in Hardington and Pendomer. There is also a popular carnival which is held every other year. The main village has 2 public houses (one in the Mandeville and one in the Moor, and both with skittle alleys), a Post Office and General Store, 5 working farms, a Nursery and 3 Agricultural Contractors. In common with many rural areas, the local bus service has declined and, apart from school buses in term time, there is only a twice weekly service into Yeovil.

There are many public footpaths and bridleways which help maintain the rural character of the village and provide links both within the village and to the surrounding villages and hamlets. There are about 15 miles of footpaths and 3 miles of bridleway. They are maintained by local volunteers, and with the help of the District Council through the Parish Paths Partnership.

At present, the village is actively seeking land which could be used as a recreation space for children, and which would also be a centre for the outdoor activities that foster village life and community spirit.

CHARACTER OF THE VILLAGE

The village is centred on its church at Hardington Mandeville, with the Moor and the Marsh (plus scattered hamlets such as Lyatts and Hill End) as distinct and separate offshoots. Each part is connected by footpaths and hedge-lined lanes which give excellent views to the surrounding countryside.

Within both parts of the village there are ever changing views as hedges,Penn Lane trees or a bend in the road change the scene. It has been fortunate that recent development has maintained these unique characteristics. Both the Mandeville and the Moor contain a good number of thatched houses, some of whose history goes back to the 15th century, and most of them are now listed buildings. Mixed with these very old buildings are those of a later date - 18th and 19th century - which all blend in well. There are also 20th century houses and bungalows, most of which also blend in with the landscape and the village. There is a diversity of buildings because the village has not been over-planned but has grown gradually without being restricted. This has given the village its character and individuality. Chapel and village pump

The materials used for the houses in the village reflect a similar diversity. The majority of houses are in local natural stone, but there is some rendering (particularly on thatched cottages) and a few houses in red brick. Most houses typically have small front gardens, bounded by a hedge or wall, and larger rear gardens. There are very few houses abutting straight onto the road. Off-road parking is not a problem for most houses, and the village is fortunate in that it is not on a through route. As a result there is mostly only local traffic.

There are a number of unique features in the village: the public well and the village pump in the High Street at Hardington Mandeville; the outside privy over the stream in Hardington Moor; the sheep dip in North Lane; and the spring on Pig Hill. Unfortunately, like most villages locally, Hardington suffers from the usual network of overhead electrical and telephone wiring.