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Scribblers – A Space to Write

Calling all writers; unpublished or published but with something to work on.

Sometimes all you need is that accountability.    Scribblers – A Space to Write gives you the space and time to develop your writing.

We meet at 2 pm on the 2nd Thursday of each month at The Shaftesbury Arts Centre for two hours of writing.

Bring your own projects and ideas.  We’ll bring biscuits and coffee.   Just Write!


for those just starting their writing journey pop along to Scribblers on the 2nd Thursday of the month in Milton to set you on the right path.

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Coronation Discount

Coronation Discount Voucher

To celebrate the rare occasion of a Coronation of our monarch we are offering a special Coronation deal to anyone taking out an ongoing ½ or ¼ page package between May and December issue. Don’t let that one slip past you.

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Fiction for Fun

Fiction for fun

Is a celebration of fiction
for local published and unpublished authors
including creative writing groups
and we would love you to join us.

We will be at the Grosvenor Arms Hotel, Shaftesbury 
March 22-25  2023

enjoying a week of readings, discussions, speakers on all subjects from children’s writing to crime fiction, from historical sagas to  contemporary dramas, from memoir through poetry to scripts.

We are beginning to line up a programme to cater for all;

Morning coffee and cake sessions, learning how to start writing, how to improve, and how to think about publishing. Afternoon themed sessions along with workshops. And interactive and informal

Evening sessions.

In the pipeline already is a speaker from real crime to give a true slant on crime writing, a playwright to speak about the art of

dramatic writing and a look at writing for children.

There will be opportunities to read from your own work or have it read for you. The chance to sell your work or to have a go at putting pen to paper and taking it further.

We wish to invite you to be involved in some way;
Speaking, reading, engaging with the local writing community.
Do contact us further for more details or to suggest a topic

And the cost of this amazing celebration? Absolutely free of charge!What could be better? If you love reading, writing fiction or wish to give it a try this is for you.

register your interest and come along.

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Fundraising Event for Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance – The 5K Twilight Shift

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance is delighted to announce the launch of their latest fundraising event; ‘The 5K Twilight Shift’.

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Crew with Kit for 5K Twilight Shift

Taking place at Henstridge Airfield on Saturday 24th September 2022, this event will involve people running, jogging, or walking 5K around the airfield, which is the home of the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance team.

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Nature: inspiration between the pages

Jeni Bell, for Shaftesbury Book Festival

Nature and landscape have been inspiring writers for centuries. From the ‘rosy-fingered dawn’ that creeps across the skies to the liquid trill of bird song, and the shifting of the seasons, people have always tried to encapsulate their magnificence in words.

For a long time, nature was a thing to be examined, and nature writing was the way to understand it. Field guides and studies, packed with Latin names, sat on bookshelves alongside lyrical odes to the wonders of the countryside. But the natural world is not solely for scientists or philosophical thinkers.

Over the years, as our environment has changed, the way in which it’s written about has also shifted; nature writing has adapted to explore our own relationships with the landscape. Field guides have evolved into personal quests in search of rare flora and fauna, and seasonal studies have morphed into memoirs exploring the healing properties of place.

Today, the emphasis is on finding nature’s inspiration in our everyday lives. Writers such as   Stephen Moss encourage us to look closer to home for our nature fix, Dave Goulson speaks of the importance of the smallest of creatures, and Brigit Strawbridge-Howard champions the act of refamiliarizing ourselves with our native bees and trees.

Everyday encounters

These books help us not just to have a dose of wildness at our fingertips, but also to zoom in on aspects of the environment often overlooked. Through their words, we can begin to understand how the landscape might speak to us on a personal level – whether that’s encouraging us to go for a walk to notice the foliage pushing up through pavements, or to delve our hands deep into the soil in the nurturing act of gardening. They ask us to pay attention to our daily bird encounters and remind us of the simple pleasure of a blackbird singing from the rooftops. Nature writing today works to make all this more accessible to as many people as possible.

It’s no secret that things have changed over the last couple of years. But despite restrictions, our appreciation of these wild things has flourished, encouraging more people to reconnect with their place in the natural world. Today, nature writers offer us a new type of field guide for these times; books on how to become more aware of what’s happening around us. These authors weave together science, magic, and personal experience, capturing the beauty of the natural world between the pages and gifting us the tools we need to read the land for ourselves.

Shaftesbury Book Festival ‘Reading the Land’ runs from 11-13 March 2022, featuring both local and internationally renowned authors. See website for more details:


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Bus Fare – by Rik Londsdale

The old minibus rattled slowly along stopping at every village and hamlet in the valley. It took an interminable two and a half hours to make the journey from the head of the valley to the terminus in the small market town, where the driver would have his lunch before making the return trip.

Phil, the bus driver for over twenty years, lived on his own in a small cottage at the head of the valley. He had enough space to park the bus overnight, a boon to both Phil and the bus company as it meant they could cut the service up and down the valley to a single bus a day, arguing with the local community that an hour in town was sufficient to do any business they had there. Phil was a bit more flexible with the hour, and the timetable he was supposed to adhere to. He often left the terminus half an hour or more later than scheduled. But as nobody complained to the bus company, they did nothing about it. It also meant that Phil had time to visit Betty Scrogler.

Betty had been Phil’s childhood passion at the village school, but since she moved to the metropolis of Goddersdyke, population six thousand and seven, she had become beguiled by the bright lights of high living. Still, she welcomed a visit from Phil every now and again, especially around month-end when Phil got paid.

One morning, Phil was surprised, and a little put out, when Betty boarded his bus at a stop just outside Haltingstone, population eight hundred and sixteen, one of the bigger villages along his route.

‘What are you doing here, Betty?’ said Phil.

‘I hope I’m catching a bus on its way to Goddersdyke,’ said Betty.

‘Alright, no need for sarcasm, but I don’t often see you out this way, except when you used to come up…’

‘That was a long time ago and no need to bring it up now, Phil. Just do the driving will you,’ said Betty.

‘That’ll be four pounds fifty,’ said Phil.

‘Four pounds fifty? Whatever for?’ said Betty.

‘The bus fare, it’s four pounds fifty.’

‘Bus fare! I’ve never paid bus fare in my life and I don’t intend to start now,’ said Betty, her voice beginning to rise.

The other three passengers already on the bus perked up on hearing this and busily looked elsewhere while focusing entirely on the entertainment they suspected was about to begin.

‘It’s the rules, Betty. I have to collect a fare from every passenger who boards.’

‘I bet it just ends up in the Kings Arms, and if you’re not careful they’ll be the only arms you’ll be seeing the way you’re going.’

One of the other passengers converted a quick snigger into exaggerated coughing.

Phil gave him a sidelong look before speaking again. In a barely audible whisper, he said, ‘This lunchtime then?’

‘Give a girl a chance to recover,’ said Betty, ‘how about tomorrow?’

Phil nodded his agreement and Betty took a seat, her purse intact.


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Lockdown Photo Shoot Part 4

May 21  How tranquil does this picture look with the babbling water trickling downstream.  Thanks to Darren Moore for his fabulous shot.


May 20   Carefree and happy we find Rudy running up the downs at Mere.   Thanks to Rob C Elcombe for sending this.


18 May photo comes from Arthur Green who caught this cheeky Pidgeon tucking into the bird food.


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Lockdown Photo Shoot Part 3

May 15   Deer me what did George Roberts find on his daily wanderings?

so who is watching who?



May 13 – today’s pictures come from Gary Cohen.   These alpacas came over to see him in Charlton.

Gary also managed to capture this fine fellow checking out the valley below.

May 12 image has come from Mel Aldridge who found this fella taking the lockdown seriously.

May 11 photo comes from Jackie Monckton who captured this amazing shoot just off Hod Hill.


she also managed to snap this little fellow

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Lockdown Photo Shoot Part 2

10 May today’s photo is from:  Sarah Talbot who caught these cute ducks in the river at Mere.

How cute are they?

and Sarah also sent us this amazing shot.   Look at that blossom we are in for a good harvest this year.

7 May    – Thanks to Johanna Miller we have Tess beagle looking down from Mere Downs.  What a glorious shot.

And not to be outdone.  Biggles joins Tess on Mere Castle.   What a pair

6 May’s photo comes from Karen Janes, whose dog is licking her chops in anticipation.  Doesn’t she look pleased with herself?

 5 May’s photo is a cheeky little bird who joined Lucy Scott Stevens as she tried to leave work.

Let us have your courageous visitor photos.

4 May’s image comes from Lynne Dimmock

Just look at that little bounce from Elsie the 8-month-old bichon puppy.  So cute.

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Lockdown Photo Shoot Part 1

1 May’s image comes from Ann Mallett

What a beauty!

30 April’s image comes from Allan Gates who found these two lambs loving life along Bowbridge Lane.

Anyone come up with a caption?

29 April’s Picture comes from Sandra Trowbridge.  She thought this would make us all smile.

This green lady has her feet in the Stour at Milton on Stour.

28 April’s image comes from local author Della Galton.  Her adorable pup Ella is out for a walk in Bluebell Woods.

Della’s new book ‘Sunshine over Bluebell Cliff’  is out today.  A fabulous read for these days in lockdown.  I wonder where she got that title?

We hope once lockdown is over and we can deliver the Gillingham & Shaftsbury Guide again we will be able to interview Della and ask her about all her novels and her local writing classes.


Gemma Darby sent us this photo looking down from Shaftesbury.   What a great view and what a good dog.

Jane Seymour captured this amazing sunset in Motcombe and who knows what the dog might do next… so tempting!


Our first photo comes from Jeannie Pryce-Davies who found these two sleeping peacefully near Bay Road.  Enjoying the sun with not a care in the world.


Please note all copyright remains with the photo takers and we have permission to post them on here.

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Your August 2023 issue of Gillingham & Shaftesbury Guide is available now!