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July 2022

22 Wildlife Trust

26 If Opera

30 Thomas Hardy

32 Open Gardens

Staff Editor-in-Chief/Publisher: Mark Allen Editor: Georgie Green 01722 717025 Publishing Director: Jane Kennedy 01722 717018 Circulation Director: Sally Boettcher Subscription Manager: Bethany Foy Page Design: Mary Holmes Advert Design: Dan Bevan Production Manager: Carolyn Allen Production Director: Richard Hamshere Managing Director: Paul Geoghegan Chief Executive Officer: Ben Allen Contributors Martyn Beardsley, Grant Berry, Sophie Butcher, Jane Dismore, Clare Durham, Simon Heptinstall, Anne Holland, Conor Mark Jameson, Gary Lawrence, Mary-Vere Parr

Part of Wiltshire Life is published by MA Music Leisure & Travel Ltd, Unit A Buildings 1-5, Dinton Business Park, Catherine Ford Rd, Dinton, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP3 5HZ

ISSN: 1358-0582 Printed by: Pensord Press Ltd, Blackwood, NP12 2YA

36 Top Picnic Spots

FEATURES My Wiltshire: Dave Roberts


The head of communications at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust shares his love for the county In conversation with Louise Hunt and Chris Skelley 14 Gary Lawrence talks to the county’s inspirational Paralympian athletes Art: Magdalena Gordon 18 The young artist whose creative style goes against the grain Wiltshire Wildlife Trust anniversary 22 The Trust celebrates 60 years of protecting our natural heritage If Opera at Belcombe Court 26 The UK’s most exciting emerging singers perform in Belcombe’s stunning gardens Middlewick Open Gardens 28 The annual charity event with the chance to see Nick Mason’s classic cars Thomas Hardy: Major exhibition opens 30 How the county’s landscape influenced this much loved writer National Garden Scheme 32 Discover inspirational private gardens to visit this month Top 10 Picnic spots 36 Perfect places to dine al fresco with friends and family Issues that Matter 38 Scaling new heights at Chippenham’s Arc Climbing Centre The Ramsbury Estate 42 Discovering how farms and estates have evolved through the generations Mere Trout Farm 46 A thriving business with an emphasis on its caring for its environment History: The Ranee of Sarawak 50 Margaret Brooke who was the toast of British society – from Blunsdon to Borneo History: The Victorian Souls of Wilton 54 Author Jane Dismore uncovers a world of love and scandal History: Edmund Dolling 58 Martyn Beardsley reveals the fate of Mere’s early pioneer of vaccination

July 2022

38 Climbing Wall

REGULARS Moonraker

Around the County

Wiltshire Scene


Food and drink

Gardening for bees









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© MA Music Leisure & Travel Ltd, 2022. All rights reserved. No part of Wiltshire Life may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without prior written permission of the Publishing Director. The views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the editor or Wiltshire Life. Advertisements in the journal do not imply endorsement of the products or services advertised. Please read our privacy policy, by visiting This will explain how we process, use & safeguard your data

Cover: View from grotto, Stourhead Photo: AdobeStock/Nick



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