Blunsdon is situated on Coral Rag limestone on the southern facing scarp slope of an east-west ridge running across the Borough. Where the abundant tree cover allows, the slope affords views across the wide clay vale towards Swindon, where the land rises once again. The area’s tranquillity, abundant tree cover and other vegetation and use of local materials in buildings and boundaries combine with its still largely pastoral surroundings to give the conservation areas a pleasant rural character that is very different from that of the approaching new residential development at Kingsdown.
Within the rural area of Blunsdon, there are three Conservation Areas protecting the most important heritage buildings which give the Village character and its special environment. Within these areas are located most of the Village’s 37 Listed historic buildings. However, some lie outside of these Conservation Areas. One of the Conservation Areas, includes the Church, Manor House Farm and the Old School (now the Village Hall), this area extends broadly east-west from the Old Rectory to the Millennium Gardens
The second one is roughly a triangle from the Methodist Chapel then along High Street past the Heart in Hand Pub and northwards ending at the junction of Ivy Lane and Front Lane where it touches the third one, the Lower Village Conservation Area.
The special interest that justifies designation of Blunsdon Conservation Areas derives from a number of architectural, historic and environmental factors including:
- the architectural and historic interest of the village’s buildings and other structures including the Church, a number of listed buildings, and the numerous stone boundary walls;
- the use of local rubble stone, particularly in roadside walls;
- the area’s trees, hedges and other vegetation;
- the area’s tranquillity and its sense of separation from the approaching modern development of Swindon’s northern town expansion area;
- views across the clay vale towards Swindon.
A heritage asset is a part of the historic environment that is valued because of its historic, archaeological, architectural or artistic interest. The Neighbourhood Plan area includes a number of such assets which are protected by legislation.
- Castle Hill – an Iron Age hill fort.
- A number of isolated finds across the entire area ranging from Stone Age artefacts, through Roman pottery and metal work and up to Medieval items.
- Ermin Street – a Roman Road with roadside settlement (possibly a travellers’ resting site under or close to the current Cold Harbour Restaurant).
- Saxon strip development along the south side of the B4019 Highworth Road.
- ‘Highworth circles’ – a rare probably Medieval feature found only in the Highworth area. Several exist on farm land in the north east of the plan area.
- Iron Age settlement in the north of the plan area.
- St Leonards Church, in part, dating from the latter part of the 13th century with attached churchyard and cemetery nearby.
- Vestiges of the old manors shown through Holdcroft House, Sams Lane and Sutton Park.
- A Medieval layout still preserved reflecting the old farms that made up Blunsdon.
- The range of listed buildings which have been identified. Most of these fall into Grade II with the exception of St Leonard’s Church and Manor Farm House (opposite St Leonards Church) which is Grade II*. The grading mean:
- Grade II*: particularly important buildings of more than special interest.
- Grade II: buildings that are of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve them.
- A WW2 anti-aircraft position – one of four on high ground surrounding Swindon and designed to protect the Railway Works. This is by far the best preserved of the sites and is just to the north of the Highworth Road within the Burytown Farm boundaries.
- Thames Water Nuclear Fall Out Bunker on the reservoir site.
As Scheduled Monuments or heritage assets often comprise areas of open spaces and are connected through local history, retention of the setting of a historic landscape requires careful town planning in adjoining fields or surrounding land.
To protect existing heritage assets and their surroundings and to preserve their special character and to potentially identify other assets in need of protection, we require your views.
- To put identified heritage sites onto the Swindon area tourist map.
- Light pollution through greater number of street lights? Use of Heritage style street lighting?
- Detrimental effects on the Conservation Areas. To ensure that conservation areas are protected;
- The value of the countryside and rural environment to Village life.
- Good air quality and quiet environment.
- Retain quality of existing Village dwellings by using natural stone and timbers in any new developments?
- Designate any areas as “Village Green” or enhance level of protection of open spaces?
- Blunsdon “Best Kept Village” status under threat from new developments?
- Effect on existing “Village Gateways” garden features by new development?
Please use this questionnaire to comment on Heritage environment and use the ‘sticky dots’ to identify new areas for protection.