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Last updated: 17th March 2017

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Welcome to the site of the North Wiltshire & Gloucestershire Area of the British Driving Society


Welcome to the North Wiltshire and Gloucestershire Area website. This dedicated to this Area – YOUR Area,  please feel free to send in news, contributions and photos. Remember our web address changed and is now But his can also be accessed off the main BDS website. Please remember your membership was due on January 1st and non renewal will mean that you cannot take part in any BDS organised event neither do you have Third party Cover to drive unless you have this with a separate company ( though this still will not entitle you to attend BDS events)

The programme for 2017 is now available, there will be familiar drives and activities but new ideas are always welcome. For those of you who are not keen on shows then the Joint Area BDS Trec with Oxfordshire Area will be on Sunday April 30th. This is unbelievably our twelfth year that we have been at Eynsham. If you have not been before then you have missed a treat as usually the bluebells are out in the woods. Most of the 7 mile drive is off road, on tracks and private road and with driven with written instructions just in case you are not good at map reading. Karen sets the half dozen ‘skills’ which reflect many of the tasks that we encounter when out on a normal drive- opening and shutting a gate, and going through road works minus the pneumatic drill! We split it into two heights of up to 11.3 and 12 hands and above. There are lots of lovely rosettes and also some cones to drive which is a separate competition. We also hope to have a new date on the calendar soon for the Sponsored Drive which we have held annually in aid of our local RDA Driving Group – Kennett Valley. Nigel and Penny Bunter have sold Barbury Estate but we hope to return there or somewhere near, hopefully in June, but this is still being organised. Penny and Nigel gave us huge support over the years and we wish them every happiness in their new home, which I am pleased to say, is still in Wiltshire.


Over the years there have been many local Horse shows lost, probably due to the fact that jumps are so expensive to hire and many livery and training yards hold their own events on prepared surfaces. This is basically how our Area Shows have come to pass as we have kept the driving element going as they have closed, as a separate show dedicated to driving. There are of course some Traditional classes like the Private Driving which are perhaps more formal and have a prescribed way of doing things, but in support of these classes there are also the less formal which allow ponies and horses to display their particular talents. Carriage Driving Magazine has very kindly sponsored special rosettes and awards again for the Pleasure Driving competition. The requirement for this year is that you must take part in 3 events. All the Six Area Shows have a Pleasure Driving Class- this not a showing class but one where everyone does a series of simple tasks which in our case reflects everyday ‘pleasure ‘driving. It is open to everyone, and from experience it has often been the complete novice who wins. As usual there will be a drive at every show plus also a drive at the Beaufort Hunt Supporters Show which has a road drive through the Badminton Estate. This year the requirement to qualify for your Red Rover award is only 8 drives.


If you have someone near you who drives please encourage them to join and  come to events it’s all so much more fun when there are more people.  I know for some that membership will provide you with Insurance etc , but there is so much more available as participating members, we are a Carriage Driving Society but the number of people actually driving is minuscule which is such a shame when so much more can be achieved by being involved. We are not just about showing or competing, just as we just don’t go for social drives; it is a mixture of a whole lot of things and in recent times I have been to a Carriage Dog Training Day and have helped with providing training for budding Donkey Drivers. Having fun and enjoying the activity doesn’t mean it isn’t serious as well, but generally gives more satisfaction all round. If you are feeling isolated then please don’t, but you need to tell us - there are contact details for everyone the AAC’s and myself on this web page, in the BDS Year Book and the Newsletters.

Later in the year on Sunday October 1st we have been kindly invited by Lord and Lady Vestey  to again hold a special Drive at their home Stowell Park in the Heart of the Cotswolds. We had a wonderful time last year and it resurrected a tradition of holding drives there up to the early 1990’s. The best turnout in each of three categories were chosen by Lady Vestey and awarded with a special rosette, and the drives offered either off road or on road only that was suitable for traditional carriages.  So why not earmark the date in your diaries now.



If you are currently without a turnout to drive perhaps you might consider offering to act as Groom for a fellow member or help out at events. If you think you can help please get in touch. Don’t forget if you have any new ideas or venues please get in touch with any of us, if you provide the information we will do the rest!

FInally ,  a bit of sad news that will not necessarily be new to some, Sue Johnson who has been one of my Assistant Area Commissioners for many years lost her lovely cob Toby very suddenly. Sue has decided to have a break for a bit and has stepped down from her AAC role.  Thanks you Sue for your support and that beaming smile that brightened up everyone’s day.  Please come back soon. Now for the good news Joyce White, who is one of my AAC’s has had her hip replacement done and her cataract and is now well on the way to recovery from both.

Happy driving, be seen and be safe.



Hazel Woodbridge BEM

Area Commissioner