Fixing the Road

It is tempting to say that both Northbrook and Drove Lane are roads to nowhere. Northbrook starts at the Market Place and makes its way down and over the Northbrook stream and then up on the sandstone. It stops near the Davis (football) Field and various footpaths radiate out from there.

Drove Lane also starts from the main road in the village – roughly at the point where the flowing waters of that Northbrook stream move away from the road. It too makes its way up onto the sands and peters out into a track.

But Drove Lane is home to St Barnabas School and Northbrook is very handy for the back access to the school. Apparently, it was the presence of the school which had these roads marked out for major carriageway repairs.

It was a slightly inconvenient time for residents for both roads became ‘out of bounds’ when the work was in hand at the end of October. But in the usual way of village life, people quite near at hand offered space on their drives for the cars of affectesd residents. Life went on as normal – or as near normal as possible in our car dependant age.

The first step was to find the edges of the roads. Inevitably, the soil had crept down the embankments and onto the road surface. Then huge machines came in to scrape the old surface off. This revealed the tops of former road works, when pipes had been laid.

Then the surface was thoroughly cleaned before more huge machines came to lay the new tarmac.

This was the scene near the top of Northbrook.

Northbrrok - October 2013. A lorry load of tarmac arrives and the men jump to the task of getting a new surface on the road.

Northbrook – October 2013. A lorry load of tarmac arrives and the men jump to the task of getting a new surface on the road.

As we can see, this vehicle blocked the road. Forewarned residents had got cars out already, for there is no alternative route for cars. The huge machine worked slowly down towards the village. It took the better part of two days to get Northbrook done.

The roller, to compact the surface, came behind – a much smaller machine.


A roller compacts the tarmac at the top of Northbrook in Market Lavington

An interesting point here is that Keith Davis at the newsagents remembered the last time the road was surfaced and recalled that the roller, then, had been steam powered.

When the job was done, we had a beautiful smooth surface.

Northbrook has a wonderful new surface

Northbrook has a wonderful new surface

A couple of days ago, on this blog, we were recalling the times of William Saunders, a road mender in the first half of the twentieth century. We wonder what he’d have made of the huge machines in use now. Probably he would have been in absolute awe of them and the amazing work they do.

Let’s hope that the new surface doesn’t encourage people to drive faster. Northbrook is still a narrow road and for much of its length there are no pavements. And it is used by children – both residents and those going to and from school.

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