Orcheston, the village
At St Mary’s, Tracy and Sally about to dole out the tea at our ‘Come to Church Sunday’ in April 2014, and Paul Taylor distributes Easter eggs and sandwiches
And a fair few turned out to walk the Cross to Shrewton
Orcheston is one of those villages that many claim to have heard of but comparatively few actually know it. Its relative anonymity is one of its great attractions and is in no small measure due to its location in a secluded valley that leads directly onto Salisbury Plain. Unlike many villages Orcheston sits on a no through road, which terminates at St Mary’s church and the southern limit of the Army’s live firing area of the Plain.
Orcheston’s Long Grasses meadows
The village owes some of its history and growth to a specific variety of grass known as Orcheston Long Grass that flourishes in the acquifer-fed water meadow of the village and proved particularly attractive to shepherds and stockmen in the past, producing enormous yields in comparison with the surrounding downlands. The rarity of the grass has resulted in designation as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (see piece on the Orcheston Long Grasses on this website).
On the left: the three water meadows – St Mary’s, St George’s and Elston’s – the first two were recognised as the ‘Orcheston Long Grass’ meadows. The most northerly is now an SSSI. On the right: detail of a sluice in the Orcheston St Mary water meadow
Our two churches, St Mary’s and St George’s
Small though it is, the village has two churches, St Mary’s and St George’s, although the latter is a redundant church maintained by the Church Conservation Trust – see the page on this website. It is used at least once a year for services, and sometimes several, and those services are always well attended. If you get a chance to visit it you should do so, as it has a lovely atmosphere – see the location map on the main St Mary’s page.
St George’s Church
Every summer the village hosts a Garden Party and a Village Fete, as well as a Bonfire night on 5th November and a whole range of activities including:
- Whist drives
- A quiz night
- Fund raising lunches for the Sudan
- Ladies Pamper Night
- Duck & Raft Race
- Come to Church Sunday & Easter Egg Hunt and Sale
- Easter Sunday Service
- Village Scarecrow Day
- Beating the Bounds
- Garden Party
- St George’s Church Flower Festival Weekend
- The Village Summer Fete
- Harvest Lunch
- Village Quiz Night
- Advent Service of Light
- Christmas Fete
- Children’s Christmas Party
- Christmas Carol Service
- Mature Villagers Christmas Thank-You Lunch
- Christmas Service
For more information on the villages activities see the Orcheston Activities Committee entries on the calendar of events on this website; that THAT probably will be kept up to date, but here’s a taster for September to December – but if, when you see it it is desperately out of date then please contact the website editor!
Orcheston’s local businesses
Orcheston has the look and feel of a working village with residents employed by a range of local activities. There is a veterinary clinic and Appleford School, both in the adjoining hamlet of Elston. There are the farms whose land surround the village with a mixture of livestock and arable cultivation and, of course, there’s the military with their armoured vehicles rumbling around our bit of the Plain, the sound of artillery in the distance, helicopters rattling overhead and the occasional C130 Hercules or jet fighter flying overhead.
Rookery Farm sign SOON TO BE ADDED
Elston Vets sign and surgery
Appleford School main building, formerly Elston House, and sign
The village also has a popular campsite which attracts visitors due to its peaceful location and proximity to Stonehenge and the Plain.
And one famous local lad
The village also has the unique claim to fame of having been the home of Southampton and England centre forward turned race horse trainer, Mick Channon (see his own website, and his entry in Wikipedia).
And it’s all going on in Orcheston’s churches…