Pitstone: the facts & a personal perspective
by Anil Mitra, Pitstone Parish Councillor
Having lived in another tranquil and picturesque Buckinghamshire village for over 20 years, my wife and I moved to Pitstone in the summer of 2015 to be closer to our grandchildren.
As soon as we moved, the warmth and tranquil nature of the village was clear. There is a real sense of community which is the main reason I felt encouraged to get involved in the Parish Council. Whether having a leisurely walk, popping to the shop, visiting the pharmacy or doctors or taking children to the pre-school or school, there is always a sense of friendliness with plenty of hellos from passing villagers or people stopping for conversation. This is the atmosphere my wife and I were looking during our retired years.
The pretty location of Pitstone and Ivinghoe on edge of the Chiltern Hills with Ivinghoe Beacon, the Windmill on our doorstep makes our little village attractive to so many different types of people and as the community expands, people seem to be coming far and wide to re-locate or move here. The village has a long history and the book, Pitstone 2000: The Village from the earliest times to the present captures the entire story and makes a very interesting read.
The facts about our village (the following text is taken from the book Pitstone 2000 from the earliest times to the present) .
Situated in Buckinghamshire on the border of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, Pitstone is located on the edge of Chiltern Hills along the east of the vale of Aylesbury with the eastern end marked 3 miles away by Tring railway station and located seven miles from the market town of Leighton Buzzard and 9 miles east of Aylesbury.
The neighbouring villages of Pitstone and Ivinghoe operate separately yet are closely linked in daily life. The population of Pitstone is growing at a rapid rate: by 1971, the population hit 1147 (Pitstone) and 949 (Ivinghoe) yet in 2001, Pitstone grew to approximately 2500.
In terms of topography and transport, chalk is the predominant sub surface layer and the chalk hills’ drainage is affected by the Thames Basin. Chalk helped to create a cement factory of three quarries with clear visibility of College Lake. The road network is formed mainly by Icknield Way, running along the Pitstone Hills and is one of the earliest roads used as a trading route. Marsworth Road is the main village road connecting to Ivinghoe High Street and the village of Marsworth. Whilst Cheddington Road connects us to Cooks Wharf and Cheddington. In 1894, Pitstone Parish took over the work of flooding and in 1940, Pitstone was connected to mains sewers. In 1950, 24 post-war houses were completed in The Crescent and the Memorial Hall was built in Pitstone.
Pitstone Windmill is an important landmark and forms the logo for Pitstone Parish Council. In 1627, the framework was carved yet damage left the mill financially unfeasible to repair. In 1970, restoration was completed thanks to funds and awards and since has continued to be a symbol of the village’s historic past.
In 1974, Pitstone became one of 108 Parishes in Aylesbury Vale District. After the 1991 closure of Cement Works, the new estate, Castlemead, began to take shape in 1999, expanding over the following 20 years and increasing the population of Pitstone by 35%. With this increase, travel and communication continues to be an area of concern. It has often raised the discussion about Pitstone having its own railway station with the first attempt made in 1910 for its introduction. With the village expanding, this discussion is looming again.
What needs to be improved?
As Pitstone and Ivinghoe continue to expand, the village will need to adapt to manage the new pressures on resources and local facilities. However, there are two key areas that residents have raised with the parish council:
- Road safety: traffic has already become a major problem in our village with speeding cars and HGVs using Marsworth Road and Westfield Road as through ways. The volume of traffic from the business park and the school area can cause further congestion. This can make it dangerous for all those using our roads, whether on foot, bicycle or car. Improving the situation would mean introducing pelican crossings, such as near the roundabout across to Marsworth Road and across Vicarage Road to allow school children to cross traffic heavy roads safely, working with the council to stop so many HGVs coming through the village, better road humps to control excessive speeds and introducing measures around the school to prevent the morning and mid-afternoon congestion. An increase of traffic calming measures across the village is definitely needed.
- Sports and Leisure Activity: We already have a lot going on in our village in terms of entertainment and sports etc but improving our parks and leisure facilities for the younger generation will be a definite step forward
The Parish Council are working hard to listen and address all the requests from residents. With so many plans for further expansion in the village, it is important that the facilities and roads are reviewed and adapted to meet the needs of our residents. This is all in hand and we always welcome feedback about anything that can improve Pitstone. There is a warm, caring and friendly atmosphere in the village. It is an area steeped in history which is embracing all the plans for the future with enthusiasm and pride. With all this and the dedication of those that live here, Pitstone is truly lovely place to live and has an exciting future ahead.