Coronavirus Community Support – Update 21.09.2020

We have only one item in tonight’s update; we are changing the way in which we send the updates out to make it easier for our local volunteers and make it less likely that things can go wrong.

If you receive this email you are able to subscribe to receive alerts whenever a news item is posted on the village website. Just click here and you will be taken to the homepage. If you scroll down to the bottom right hand corner you can enter your email address and click a button to subscribe.

        The system is secure – note the padlock in front of the website’s address in your browser, meaning that all content entered on the website is protected. Note also the Parish Council’s Privacy Policy on the ‘Governance’ webpage defining how your data may and may not be used –    

Please do this now. It would be really helpful if you could tell your local contact that you have done this (or, if you prefer, that you do not want to receive village updates) It will reduce their workload; and we can be confident that everyone who wants to be kept informed does receive our messages.

Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher (870531)   on behalf of the Parish Council

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 14.09.2020


For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page of the Westbury Website


The Rule of Six

The government has responded to the increase in Covid infections by limiting the numbers who can meet socially to six, whether inside your house or outside.  This will be legally enforceable BUT

  • It does not apply to commercial operations that have implemented Covid secure rules, so for example the pub can stay open and workplaces still operate with distancing and hygiene rules in place.
  • It does not apply to community facilities so for example the arrangements for the church, the playing fields or the village hall are unchanged. Those wishing to use the hall need to check whether they can operate safely within the procedures the hall committee has developed.

This is the latest version of the government guidelines for those wishing to explore the detail (updated 14/09/2020).


One consequence of the new rules is that the traditional cidermaking event at Old Ditch Farm cannot operate as it has done in the past.  The organisers are planning to still make cider and juice but in groups of no more than six people at a time over the weekend of 10th & 11th October. Anyone interested in participating should contact Mick Fletcher or Andrew Buchanan

Message from the Village Shop

An important message about support for Westbury Community Shop is here.  The shop depends on the contributions of volunteers as well as its dedicated staff and more help would be very welcome.

Pebbles and geocaching

A number of people have raised questions about the decorated pebbles that have started to appear around the village.  This is a harmless activity that many children and adults have found helps them occupy themselves and make friendly contact with others in these difficult times. It is not to be confused with geocaching where people can hunt for hidden objects with the aid of GPS on mobile phones.  Recent concerns arising from people searching for an unfortunately located cache have been addressed by removal of the offending item.

School Drop off and pick up times

A reminder that now that the school is back in full operation there will be increased activity on School Hill compounded by ongoing roadworks by the square.  Please try to avoid the area between 8.20 to 9.00 am and 3.00 to 3.30 pm when parents will be collecting / dropping off children and the minibus will be moving pupils between sites.




Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher (870531)   on behalf of the Parish Council

Westbury Hawkmoths for the Week 9th September 2020

The Hawkmoths, Sphingidae are a widespread family of moths with more than a thousand species worldwide.  They are usually large, broad-bodied strong flying moths whose caterpillars have a characteristic tail spike.  Some members of the group have long tongues and feed extensively being able to use long tubular flowers as nectar sources, while others have reduced mouthparts and so do not feed as adults.  In Britain there are 9 species that are resident and a further 8 others that are more or less regular immigrants, but which do not successfully over winter. In the Parish in the last few years 8 species have been seen that I have heard about, though only the Hummingbird and Elephant Hawkmoths are seen every year.  Additionally, the Small Elephant Hawkmoth has been seen but not for a long time.  The Hummingbird Hawkmoth was covered in this series on 5th August.


Elephant Hawkmoth

Elephant Hawkmoth:  This characteristically ‘pink with olive markings’ moth has a long tongue and can feed easily from flowers like honeysuckle.  It can be seen on the wing from May until early August.  The usual caterpillar food plants are various willow-herbs and in gardens Fuchsias.

The large caterpillar, which is seen quite often, has two pairs of large eyespots on the  segments just behind the small head, which, on being disturbed, it waves about, perhaps startling a would-be predator.  The caterpillar forms a pupa in the leaf litter or in the soil below the food plant where it then over winters.




Privet Hawkmoth

Privet Hawkmoth:  This is the largest of our resident hawkmoths with dark chocolate coloured forewings.  It flies in June and July but does not feed.  The caterpillar food plants are wild and garden privet, ash, and lilac.  The caterpillar itself, is bright green with conspicuous purple edged white chevrons.  It can be found from July through to September and overwinters as a pupa sometimes over two winters.



Poplar Hawkmoth

 Poplar Hawkmoth:  This moth flies between May and July and can have a small second generation in August or September.  Its wings are a patchwork of brown and grey and at rest holds its wings such that the hind wing projects beyond the front edge of the forewing.  The eyed hawkmoth.  The food plants of the caterpillars is a variety of poplars and willows.  The caterpillar is green with white diagonal striping also similar to the Eyed Hawkmoth.  Pupae are formed buried in the soil at the bottom of the food plant, and which then overwinters.

Eyed Hawkmoth


Eyed Hawkmoth:  This moth flies from mid-May into July.  Its resting position resembles the poplar hawkmoth but if gently disturbed it reveals big ‘eyes’ on its hind wings and rocks too and fro.  This seems to ward off insectivorous birds.  The caterpillar food plant is predominantly apple but also crab apple and willows.  The caterpillar is green with pale diagonal stripes resembling the poplar hawk moth and can be found from July through to September or October.  It pupates underground near the food plant where it overwinters.





Convolvulus Hawkmoth found dead.

Convolvulus Hawkmoth:  This is the biggest of the hawkmoths mentioned so far.  It is an immigrant with very variable numbers arriving mainly in late August through into November.  It has an exceptionally long tongue and can feed easily on long tubular flowers, white, nocturnally scented ones seem particularly attractive.  The fore wings are mottled in ash greys and there are pink markings along the abdomen resembling those in the Privet Hawkmoth.  The larval food plants are various bindweeds and larvae are regularly found along the south coasts of the UK.  However, they do not survive to over winter.



full grown caterpillar

Death’s Head Hawkmoth: This is the rarest of Westbury’s Hawkmoths being seen only very occasionally. In 2019 11 caterpillars or pupae were found in Westbury and several were kept and emerged in captivity for people to enjoy seeing before release.  This year, at least so far, none have been seen, but they have been seen in Westbury before, as they are shown in a photo of the Village postmaster in what is believed to be 1984.

Westbury Postmaster

As the largest British Hawkmoth, it is quite unmistakeable with dark patterned forewings and yellow underwings with black borders.  The thorax has a very realistic looking skull like marking.  Small numbers arrive in the UK from strongholds in North Africa and southern Europe every year.  They lay eggs usually on potatoes but also on woody nightshade and the huge yellow caterpillars that grow rapidly can be found in August when lifting potatoes, or the large pupae may be found later buried in the soil amongst the potato plants.


The 11 from Westbury and, for that matter, the 5 from Easton might represent eggs laid by a single fertile wandering female who has flown in from North Africa.  She spreads here eggs out between potato patches.   The adults emerge a month of so later in September and are occasionally seen.  They can enter bee-hives without being attacked, where their short tongues are able to feed on honey stores.  If the adult moth is disturbed it squeaks which may be part of its defences against attack by bees when it is in a hive.  The squeak might resemble sounds made by queen bees.  Neither the adults nor the pupae can over-winter in the UK and it is probably entirely wishful thinking to hope that the spectacular, newly emerged moths might fly southwards to return to southern Europe and North Africa.

in hand


Taking flight



Gill Cook

Liza Hobbs

Sylvia Healey

Ian Jones

Mike Jones

Peter Bright

Westbury Inn. Takeaway Menu and update 9th September 2020.

Dear All,  The Eat out to Help out during Monday to Wednesdays in August was completely sold out and the same was true for much of the rest of each week.  Those of you who have been into the Pub for a meal will, I think, agree that the strict limits to numbers, presence of social distancing protocols, easy availability of hand sanitiser, has kept people safe and that the Westbury has continued to be as welcoming as ever.  Andy and Ann-Marie, along with their various staff, deserve a huge thank you for the efforts they have made and are continuing to make to enable the Westbury to thrive into the future.

Notices:  The excellent 3 course meal for £20 is still available for eating in at the Pub though, sadly, it is no longer subsidised by the Chancellor.  Do book a table if you wish to eat in the Pub – 01749 870402

The Takeaway Menu has continued to be available throughout July, August and into September and I have attached a copy of this. Andy is expecting to produce a new version for Monday 14th September.  I will send it out as soon as I get it.

Depending on what is available on any particular day in the kitchen there could be specials available that could become available as Takeaway or as items to eat in.  Do telephone to find out what is available if you would like something in particular.

I hope that lots is going well for all of you.  Do contact me if you have any thoughts or comments..  Take care.  Peter

2020.9.9 Onwards Takeaway Menu PLB version

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 07.09.2020


For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page of the Westbury Website

New Covid 19 cases in Mendip

There seem to have been rather a lot of rumours about new Covid cases in the Mendip area in the past few days.  The best information we can find is that there have been three new cases in Mendip in the last week; they are cases, not deaths and probably a result of increased testing. Although we must all stay alert there is no reason to panic.

There does seem to be an increase in the number of cases reported nationally as shown in this Chart (updated 07/09/2020).  Most of the increase appears to be among younger people and as students return to schools and colleges, we can expect this trend to continue.  There is no change in the official advice for this area although there are local lockdowns in place where there have been flare-ups.  

In order to keep everyone safe it is important that we all adhere to the guidance on social distancing and wearing masks however tedious that may seem.  The huge efforts made by staff and volunteers in the village shop have played an important part in reducing the need to travel to more crowded locations for essentials so it is really important that we don’t compromise staff safety and the availability of our local asset by cutting corners.  Please remember your mask when visiting the shop, however brief your visit.

Readers of the PEW will have seen the report we were asked to provide on what the village has done to keep safe during the pandemic.  The help we have had from so many volunteers and the co-operation of villagers has been so impressive that we thought it worth repeating here for the benefit of those who have not seen it.  It is


Scam alerts.

Sadly it is worth a reminder that the scammers have not given up and if you want to be alerted to recent contacts that have caused concern to neighbours please register for updates from the village website (ask us if you don’t know how) 

Tree Group


Finally, the tree group would like to share a couple of pictures of their initial work party clearing the ground for a tree nursery at Court House Farm.  Anyone wanting to help out by growing trees from seed or cuttings, or in any other way, should contact Buffy Fletcher or Guy Timpson.



Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher (870531)   on behalf of the Parish Council

Test and Trace scams

Scammers are still pretending to be from Test & Trace.

Trading Standards have a useful page of advice about what information a genuine Test & Trace call will ask for, and what details only a scammer would want.

TV Licence scam email

Recently a local resident received an email asking them to renew their TV Licence online. Shortly afterwards they received an almost identical email from a different sender. Fortunately, they realised these were scams, so didn’t click on the link.

TV Licence scam emails are common enough for there to be a specific webpage about them:

There’s useful guidance on what to watch out for (see below) and what a genuine TV Licence email looks like.

If you have received a similar email, or any other scam, please post a comment so others are made aware of it.


Butterfly of the Week 2nd September 2020

Typical form


Clouded Yellow:  This is a ‘white’ and so is closely related to the Large and Small Whites, Orange Tip and Brimstone.  It is another migrant that, while it breeds over the summer in the UK, fails to over-winter except in very small numbers along the UK’s sheltered south coasts – the Isle of Wight and Dorset.  As with the Painted Lady its permanent population is in North Africa and Southern Europe.  Each year very variable numbers head northwards spreading out across Europe and Asia.  They usually arrive in the UK in late May.  The food plants of the caterpillars are members of the Pea family, particularly Clovers and Lucerne.  In good years they can produce three generations but more usually two with adults appearing in August and then again in October.  There is evidence of a return migration but not in the ‘clouds’ in which they can arrive in good years.  The last ‘Clouded Yellow year’ was 2013 but they only appear in Westbury Gardens very occasionally and in most years not at all.  The most likely place to see them in the Parish is on the top of the Mendips nectaring on knapweeds and scabious before flying onwards.  It could be that there is limited growth of the fodder crops, Clover and Lucerne, locally, and so there is little opportunity for numbers to build up nearby, even in years of abundant immigration.

Form ‘helice’

The butterfly is Small White sized but of more sturdy build and is a very strong flier being able to cross long distances over the sea.  The typical form is a very distinctive golden yellow but about 10% of the females are a much paler yellow – called ‘helice’.  These can easily be confused at a distance with brimstones and the other whites but the heavy dark markings around the edges of the wings are diagnostic.  However, when the butterfly settles it almost always settles with wings closed so it is rare to see these distinctive upper surfaces except in flight.

Photos   John Ball

Coronavirus Community Support Update 31.08.2020

For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page of the Westbury Website

Letter from the chair of the Parish Council

The regular letter from the chair of the Parish Council, Sue Isherwood, is here. Once again she focuses on the important issue of local planning and housing development.

Last week of the school holidays

For most pupils this will be the last week of the holidays. Westbury and Priddy children will return to school on Monday so please be aware that there will be extra congestion around the school entrance in the morning and at picking up time.

There has been much discussion about wearing masks in school and this is the latest guidance. In brief, outside lockdown areas it is up to headteachers to decide whether the use of face coverings in communal areas is necessary and it would only apply to those aged 12 or older.

School pupils, like many employees, have had to get used to new ways of working during the pandemic.  This YouTube video shows how members of the Somerset Youth Orchestra, Youth Choir and Youth Concert Band have not let the need for social isolation stop them making music together.

Westbury Tree Group

The Westbury Tree Group will be holding a working party at Court House Farm on Sunday 6th September to start to prepare the ground for a community tree nursery.  Anyone interested in helping with this project is asked to get in touch with Buffy Fletcher ( The group is also looking for keen gardeners who are prepared to rise to the challenge of germinating seeds from native trees; acorns and hazel nuts are not too difficult but some like rowan are a test of skill.

Ash dieback, which is one of the reasons for establishing the group, is increasingly visible in the neighbourhood.  Those interested in learning more about it might like this article.

Village Hall Opening

The village hall will officially reopen on Monday 7th September with Covid safe systems in place.  Potential organisers are urged to get in touch with Peter Bright to discuss how the hall might best accommodate specific activities.  A summary of changes recently introduced in the hall is here.


A reminder that after today’s bank holiday all recycling collections will be one day later.  Also look out for a letter from Mendip advising of changes to a three-weekly collection of non-recyclable waste from October.  Details of the changes as well as a summary of what happens to Mendip’s waste are here

Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher (870531)   on behalf of the Parish Council



How do I find out if it’s a scam?

There are several sources of help if you are not sure whether something is a scam or not.

The Citizens Advice Bureau has a very useful site helping you to check whether something is a scam and what to do if you, or a friend, feels they may have been a victim.

The Online Scams Helper covers emails, social media and websites and takes you through a series of simple questions and then gives advice based on your answers.


There are a number of sites where you can report scams:


You can also sign up with Action Fraud for free email or text alerts about scams of any type happening in your area.