Re-surfacing work on the Cycle Path

A message has been received from Sustrans concerning work to be carried out on the cycle path near Bishopthorpe:

I am writing to inform you of works which will be occurring from on Trans Pennine Trail/National Cycle Network Route 65 between Sim Balk Lane and the Solar System Way (the Sun!). Working with National Highways, Sustrans are using funding from the Department for Transport to make this section of traffic-free route more accessible to a wider range of users and to create a more comfortable journey for all.

In recent years, roots of nearby trees have damaged the existing track making it particularly uncomfortable for cyclists, wheelchair and mobility scooter users and those with pushchairs and prams. The project will look to resurface the existing path and where possible widen it by cutting back encroaching vegetation. The path will also be realigned around the bend at Sim Balk Lane overbridge to improve sightlines. Preliminary works to remove the trees causing damage to the track took place earlier in the year.  Resurfacing work is scheduled to begin on 25th April and is expected to take around 5 weeks. During this time a closure will be in place and we are currently looking in to signposting a diversion.

We understand that this is a well-used section of the National Cycle Network and apologise for any inconvenience caused but know that this short-term disruption will ensure that the greenway is made more accessible to all legitimate users and that improvements made will benefit users for many years to come.

This work is being carried out as a part of our “Paths for Everyone” vision which looks to create a more inclusive National Cycle Network to make active travel more accessible to people of all ages and abilities.

For updates about route closures and diversions visit:

For information about our Paths for Everyone vision visit:


Local Author Releases Controversial New Book

The new book by local author Phil Blacksmith (Philip Smith) has just been released and, in these Woke times, might be expected to gather a bit of controversy. “Jesus and the Beanstalk and other stories for Atheists” is a mixed-genre collection united by an irreverent attitude towards religious belief.

“Some Christians may take offence at something that sustains them through life being attacked but they should realise religion is offensive to rational people. One lady got as far as the first four words of the title before getting offended and could not believe I questioned the very existence of Jesus Christ, son of God. The Bible is not a History book and the New Testament not a biography: many of the same incidents and motifs occur in the mythologies of other deities in the area, pre-dating the Jesus myth,” he explains.

Phil has lived for the last seven years in the village with second wife, Julie Rayne, who, as a former TV singing star, was also a public Christian and you have to wonder if they see eye-to-eye. “Well, I am 6ft2 and she is 4ft9 so, we don’t often see eye-to-eye,” he jokes.

Before “Jesus and the Beanstalk”, an earlier story collection was called “Through a Judas Window” and a forthcoming collection is “Lead Us Not” – all titles with a religious tone – so you may wonder if he is a sincere non-believer. “You can name something ironically,” he asserts, “After all, I am an Atheist and a republican but my sons are called Kirk and Rex.”

The book is available direct from the online bookshop of York Publishing Services.

Brownies Need Your Help!

1st Bishopthorpe Brownies is looking for new Leaders.

The unit is nearly 100 years old but since Covid it has not been able to meet, and now is looking for new leaders to run the unit.  It meets for one and a quarter hours on a Monday (which can be changed).  Brownies are aged 7-10 years old and we follow a programme to empower our girls to through fun and friendship to gain new skills.

If you think you’d be able to help you can register your interest on the Girlguiding UK website or if you would like more information please ring Alison Tant-Brown on 07730 734756 or email

Photography Talk in Tockwith

The inspirational and engaging speaker, Adrian Ray, is a professional photographer with international experience. Adrian will be giving a talk on 11th March in Tockwith, using examples from his work to reveal the creative, challenging and diverse industry of commercial and advertising photography.  This talk will be particularly informative for young people studying photography or thinking of doing so.

The talk will be given on Friday 11th March from 7.30pm in Tockwith Village Hall (YO26 7PR). Tickets are £3 available online at or by phone on 01423 358 603. All proceeds will be donated to McMillan House Hospice.


The Lost Men of Bishopthorpe: Wilfrid Mervyn Dunnington-Jefferson

Second Lieutenant Wilfrid Mervyn Dunnington-Jefferson

Second Lieutenant, 7 Battalion, attached 3 Battalion, Royal Fusiliers.
Killed in action, aged 23, between 24 and 29 April, 1915, during the Second Battle of Ypres.
He is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres.

I did not include Second Lt. Dunnington-Jefferson in my book, The Lost Men of Bishopthorpe, published in 2017, because I only became aware of his connection with Bishopthorpe in 2018. Prior to 2018, his name was not included on Bishopthorpe’s War Memorial. He and his family had moved away from the parish by the time of the First World War. As a result, there was nobody local to ask for his name to be added to the War Memorial. However, his place of birth was Middlethorpe, which had joined the ecclesiastical parish of Bishopthorpe in 1866. He was thus entitled to be remembered on the Bishopthorpe Parish Memorial.

Wilfrid Mervyn was the youngest son of Captain Mervyn Dunnington-Jefferson and his wife, Louisa Dorothy (formerly Barry). He was born at Middlethorpe Hall on 2 April, 1892. His father was a Justice of the Peace and became the first Chairman of Bishopthorpe Parish Council.
Wilfrid was educated at Radley College and later graduated with Honours from Christ Church, Oxford. He joined the legal profession and entered the Inner Temple in London in 1912. His father, Mervyn, died in the same year.
On the outbreak of the war Wilfrid volunteered immediately and joined 7 Battalion, Royal Fusiliers as a 2nd Lieutenant on 15 August, 1914. A period of training followed, but Wilfrid reached France on 11 April, 1915. He was temporarily attached to 3 Battalion, Royal Fusiliers which was serving in the Ypres Salient in Belgium. He joined them on 20 April just as the German Army launched a massive attack intending to capture the Salient and take Ypres. On 22 April, the Germans launched the first ever poison gas attack on the northern part of the Salient. All the Allied Forces in the area, including Wilfrid’s Battalion, which was in the line in the vicinity of Gravenstafel, were under considerable pressure and forced back in a fighting retreat. Sometime between 24 and 29 April, and just a few days after arriving in Belgium, Wilfrid was killed in action and, apparently buried where he fell. Some reports indicate that he was seriously wounded on 25 April and died the next day.

Wilfrid’s older brother, John, was an officer on the General Staff of the British Expeditionary Force. He managed to pay a visit to Wilfrid’s Battalion H.Q. just a few days after his brother died to find out about his brother’s last hours.

There is still a measure of uncertainty as to when and where Wilfrid died and particularly what happened to his body. Officially, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) records that he died on 27 April and is commemorated on the massive Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres. His name can be found on Panel 8 of the memorial. The Menin Gate Memorial records the names of 54,595 men who died in the Ypres Salient up to and including 15 August, 1917 and who have no known grave.
However, among other details, CWGC also note that a wooden memorial cross to Wilfrid was in place at St. Julien Dressing Station Cemetery at some time during the war. This cemetery was not established until September, 1917, two and a half years after Wilfrid died and is some miles away from Gravenstafel where he fell. It passed into German hands in the Spring of 1918 and was badly damaged by shellfire in that summer.
St. Julien was finally retaken by the Belgian Army on 28 September that year, but there was no sign of Wilfrid’s wooden cross.

Wilfrid was posthumously awarded The British War and Victory Medals as well as the 1915 Star.

In carrying out the research for The Lost Men of Bishopthorpe, I found a number of men who were entitled to be remembered on our local memorial but for unknown reasons, were not commemorated there. Bishopthorpe Parish Council, in the person of their Chairman, Stewart Harrison, stepped up and agreed to have the memorial cleaned and add the names of these men. In October/November, 2018, eight names were added to the Memorial by Stonemasons Messrs. Burrows Davies Ltd. Wilfrid’s name was one of them. He is commemorated on a number of other memorials elsewhere in the country, but in particular, his details and photograph are included in the King’s Book of York Fallen Heroes, which is held in York Minster.

                                                                                         Adding the names to the memorial in 2018.

Remember them.

[For those who have a copy of The Lost Men of Bishopthorpe, I suggest that you may wish to print a copy of this article and insert it in the book.
Copies of the book are still available, price £10 + £2 p&p from:
Ken Haywood, 39 Acaster Lane, Bishopthorpe, YORK, YO23 2SA. Tel. 01904 704584.]

Ken Haywood



The Chocolate Letters: Christmas 1914

On Sunday 5 December at 14.00 (2 pm), Bishopthorpe resident Ken Haywood will be giving a talk at the York Army Museum in Tower Street, next to Clifford’s Tower.
The title of Ken’s talk is ‘The Chocolate Letters’.
At Christmas 1914, the Lord Mayor and the Sheriff of York sent a tin of chocolate to all York men who were serving with the Forces. Many men sent letters of thanks and those letters were retained and are now conserved in Explore at York.
Ken’s illustrated talk explores the writers and their letters which came from all ranks and from all over the world.
Tickets are free, but must be pre-booked – call 01904 461010 to book.

Sustrans: Improvements to the Solar System Way

The following message was received from Sustrans:


Using funding from the Department for Transport Sustrans are making changes to the Solar System Way to make it more accessible to a wider range of users and to create a more comfortable journey for all.


· Resurfacing and where possible widening the path

· Removing or redesigning barriers

· Improving signage along the section.

Due to the nature of the works route closures and diversions are expected to be in place periodically throughout the duration.

In order to ensure the new surface stays in good condition into the future it will be necessary to remove a number of trees to prevent root damage to the path. In addition, we are also managing “ash dieback” on this section which will involve felling a number of diseased ash trees which would otherwise become a danger to route-users. The majority of the tree works will be taking place between the bridge over the River Ouse and the access to the greenway from Vicarage Lane.

As the route is a valued wildlife corridor Sustrans is committed to ensuring that biodiversity is protected on the greenway and will use these works as an opportunity to maintain and enhance habitat through planting at least two trees for every tree felled; planting a variety of suitable native trees to diversify the woodland and where possible retaining felled timber on the site as dead wood habitat. We will also provide opportunities for the community to get involved in practical conservation activities.

We understand that this is a well-used and much-loved greenspace and apologise for any inconvenience caused but know that this short-term disruption will ensure that the greenway is made more accessible to all legitimate users and that improvements made will benefit users for many years to come.

This work is being carried out as a part of our “Paths for  Everyone” vision which looks to create a more inclusive National  Cycle Network to make active travel more accessible to people of all  ages and abilities.

If you would like to view our plans for the woodland on this section please visit:

For updates on route closures visit:,

For information about our Paths for Everyone vision visit:

Bishopthorpe Community Festival

Sunday 19th September – Main Street

Starting at 12 noon, Bishopthorpe Community Festival brings a ‘street party’ vibe to Main Street.

Stalls, street food and drink, music, rides, and entertainment give us a great opportunity to forget about the problems we’ve all had to endure for at least one day, support local businesses, and celebrate life in a great community.

Main Street will be closed to traffic so there’s plenty of room to wander around and explore what’s going on.

Fingers crossed for some good weather!

Meet Jack – Village Hall Performance

Mind Matters for Education and Falling Stars Theatre bring to you an interactive, fun and engaging performance for parents and primary aged children.

This performance follows the story of a boy called Jack and all the emotions that he experiences in a busy week.
Jack’s week ends with an explosion of feelings, the play flashes back to see what happened in Jack’s week to make him feel anxious and withdrawn. Football, school, family, friends have all contributed to Jack’s current state of mind and his refusal to talk about how he feels. Are you okay is a repeated question asked by other characters, to which Jack replies I’m fine!
The post-performance emotion workout will explore strategies for helping young people identify and talk about their feelings and consider ways to manage emotions.


At Mind Matters for Education (Dunnington based) we believe that identifying emotions and developing helpful coping strategies is key to helping children in these unusual times.

We want to let children know that its ok to feel all their emotions and it is also ok to feel overwhelmed. Our message is that ‘You will be ok; you can manage your emotions and build up skills to look after yourself and your mind!’


‘Meet Jack’ is going to be performed with an accompanying mini drama workshop in small York venues. We want children and parent/guardians to access our work and use it as a good starting point for conversations. Come along and see the performance!

The performance is touring in the following York Venues:
Sunday 27th June 4pm Poppleton Road Memorial Hall
Sunday 4th July 10.30am Stockton on forest Village Hall
Sunday 4th July 4pm Bishopthorpe Village Hall
Sunday 11th July 4pm Oaken Grove Community Centre, Haxby
Sunday 11th July 10.30am Copmanthorpe Sports and Recreation Centre

The production will be run in accordance with the current government guidance for performance venues and audience management.

Tickets are available at:

Box Office: 07816 269 690

“The children in school loved the video of ‘Meet Jack’ They were able to relate to the characters and talk about what had happened very coherently.” Year 2 Teacher Mrs.Elliott.

“It was Brilliant! We both really enjoyed it! You touched on everything that a child can feel….. Loved it!”  Year 2 Parent Mrs.Taylor. transport guru stands down

One of the original founders of, Ian Hodson, has decided to retire from editing the Local Travel section of the site.

Ian has performed this role from the very start of, but changing times and the way information is shared have forced him to re-think the value of this part of the site.

I’d like to thank Ian for all the time and effort he’s put into making a success, and hope he’ll continue to feed through snippets of information whenever he has anything to share.

Ian describes his reasoning in his own words in the message below:-

I have contributed local travel information to this site throughout its existence, but nowadays operators have made it very easy to obtain accurate, up-to-date information at source. This is therefore my last contribution.

Local bus information is available via or from individual operators, e.g. who also have various apps indicating next bus arrivals and allowing on-line ticket purchase.

Train information is available on      Again, apps are offered for current info and for booking.

I am very grateful to Ian Keeton who operates  and has tolerated my  ignorance of matters technical through the years. Thank you, Ian.

Good travelling!

Ian Hodson

Bishopthorpe Library Set to Re-open Soon

Great news at last.
Bishopthorpe Library will re-open from Monday 12 April.
The self-isolation rules when using the library will be the same as before the third lockdown, so we won’t have to learn another way to visit.
Unfortunately, this means that we can’t have any events or even story times for little ones n the foreseeable future, although Sonia hopes that they may be able to have a story time in the garden at some point.
When the library reopens, please call in; even if only to say hello.

Bish Library Closed in Lockdown – Details of Services Available in 2021

Lockdown number three means that our village library will remain closed.

Acomb and Tang Hall will offer Click & Collect from Monday–Friday 10am–3pm and Saturday 10am–1pm.

This will also include the option of asking for a Lucky Dip (staff choose books for you based on your preferences).

Computer access will be available at York, Acomb and Tang Hall at the same times as above.

They will also offer Click & Deliver again to people who can’t leave the house.

The cafes will be closed, apart from Rowntree Park, where people can get takeaways 7 days a week from 9am to 4pm.

Of course, there is also still our digital offer – e-books, e-audiobooks, Press Reader, access to Ancestry and Find my Past and events.

The website for all this is: