Informal tour of village's history

Visitors to Loddon can pick up a brand new guide to the town's history thanks to the hard work of two volunteers. The 32-page booklet has been designed to help walkers find their way around the village - following a historical theme.

Visitors to Loddon can pick up a brand new guide to the town's history thanks to the hard work of two volunteers.

The 32-page booklet has been designed to help walkers find their way around the village - following a historical theme.

But the limited edition pamphlet - full of black and white pictures from as far back as the late 19th century - is not just aimed at tourists.

Its authors hope local people will also pick up one of the 500 copies to get a fresh insight into the Loddon of yesteryear.

Carol Carpenter and her friend Christina Crease have been leading guided walks around the village for several years, having started as stand ins for local historian and author Richmal Ashbee before eventually taking over the walks themselves.

The book is also dedicated to Mrs Ashbee.

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Based around a series of 12 viewpoints, the walk described in the book starts at Holy Trinity Church and takes intrepid enthusiasts of local history around the village, with the illustrations in the book serving as a contrast to the modern view.

Examples include a late 1800s photograph of TW Ellis' chemist in the High Street, a 1916 picture of nurses and soldiers outside the village lecture hall, which had been turned into a hospital, and a 1912 picture of flood damage caused by the overflowing River Chet.

Ms Carpenter said she was pleased to have had a chance to put the booklet out.

“We got dropped in the deep end doing the walks on one occasion when Mrs Ashbee wasn't well and took it on from there,” she said.

“We are involved with a group called Before Your Time and we have written several little local books.

“We have been doing it for about eight years, collecting local information and talking to people.

“Most of our stuff now kept in the library,” she added.

The light, informal tone of the booklet is borne out in its introduction, where the authors acknowledge that it is “not a formally researched work” but Ms Carpenter said it was no less interesting for that.

“I really hope that people who are coming in from outside can pick up the booklet and use the walk to find out about Loddon because it's a lovely place,” she said.

“But it would be great if local people and people who actually live in Loddon could pick it up and find something out as well.”

t The booklet, which costs £2.50, is available from Loddon's information centre, the village library and Rosie Lee's tea room.