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The Village Websmith - Web Design & Services for Blakeney,, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

Blakeney is a small, thriving village on the eastern edge of the Forest of Dean, on the main A48 road between Gloucester and Chepstow. It was at a house called Hawfield that Thomas Stenhold was born. He was Groom of the Robes to Henry VIII and his son, but is renowned (along with John Hopkins of Awre) for publishing the first metrical version of the Psalms. The house where he was born still exists in the village. Thomas Sternhold died in 1549.

Situated at the confluence of the Blackpool and Soudley Brooks, Blakeney is a busy Forest village that was a natural site for early industry (an iron forge and furnace existed here as early as 1228). The oldest building is the 16th century Swan House, formerly an inn, although there are several 17th and 18th century buildings in the village, the largest being the early 18th century Church of All Saints. Blakeney's industrial past is recalled by several buildings, including two corn-mill; the Upper Mill, by the A48 and Nibley Mill ( a partly half timbered house with adjoining stone mill where the B4431 Parkend road joins the A48). The old Blakeney Goods Station and the imposing six arched railway viaduct were built for the Forest of Dean Central Railway, which was begun in 1856 and was intended to run from Howbeach Colliery (situated about 1mile north east of the village) to a new dock at Brimspill on the Severn, it was never completed and only ran to a junction on the main South Wales line.

During renovations on one of the houses near Blackpool Brook, a large high-status Roman villa was discovered. This building was located next to the Roman military coast road from Newnham and it not only had a heating system, tiled roof and a stone courtyard but also a slip-way on the stream, indicating it was accessible by boat from the Severn. Pottery on the site dated construction to c75AD, making it the earliest villa known in the Dean and it was occupied for around sixty years until being demolished sometime in the middle of the 2nd century. It is thought that it was the residence of a high ranking Roman official, possibly an Army officer from the legionary fortress at Gloucester.

The Church of England church at Blakeney was built in the 1800's. Before this time, the parish was combined with the village of Awre, a little further to the east and closer to the River Severn. The font is what appears to be a 15th century stoup for holy water, believed to have been removed from Awre church during the reformation and buried for safety. It was found near Gatcombe when the railway was built, and used locally as a flower pot for many years before being brought to the church at Blakeney. In the early 1800s there was a considerable non-conformist movement from the established church, and a tabernacle was built at Blakeney in 1823, a mile north of the village. This building is now used as houses. A replacement tabernacle was built in the village in 1849 (before the church of England church was built). For more information, please call us on the number shown, or click in the header of any page to email Blakeney-forest-of-dean@villagewebsmith.co.uk.

Photo from Featured Project near Blakeney
Welcome to Stunning Saturday; Or should that be Strategic Saturday>

The day of Saturn, Roman god of agriculture, a day for growing your business.

Perhaps it should be 'Strategic Saturday'. To continue the analogy with agriculture, success begins with planting the right kind of seeds in the right kind of soil. Today, how about analysing where your new customers and enquiries come from? We all have limited resources in terms of time and money to put into business promotion, so it is vital to make sure that the investment is put into the places that bring the best results.

Once you have that information you can compare the effectiveness of all your promotional channels. If you don't routinely ask new contacts where they found you, today may be a great time to adopt the habit.

The first thing is to list all the places where people may hear about your business it might look like this:

  • Word of mouth
  • Website enquiries
  • Exhibition or show attendance
  • Vehicle signage
  • Local newspaper
  • Charity event sponsorship
  • Mailshot or leaflet drop
  • Outgoing telesales campaign
Once you have a list, you can put them in order of the number of new sales that they have generated. How does that look? Are the results surprising? What do we do with the information?

Well, there are two ways of looking at everything as we mentioned on Thrilling Thursday this week. However, these two ways ars a little different. Promotional channels may take a surprisingly low place in the league table because the message that is being put there is not as effective as it might be. For example, are you still running the same advertisement in your local paper that you were two years ago? Has your website been updated this year? Are your leaflets visually attractive and powerfully worded?

Once you are happy that the message delivered via each medium is as good as it can be, then the under-performing media can be ignored in favour of investing more resources in the better performing media.

To take this one step further, the people that come to you via your website have a wide range of sources available to them from which they can come up with your address. This can modify our view of the first league table. For example, an enquiry may have come through your website because the address was noted from a newspaper advertisement, a business card passed on or seeing your signwritten vehicle somewhere. It is therefore important to analyse website visitor figures in their own right. This will help you get a truer understanding of your enquiry levels and can totally change the conclusions arrived at from the first analysis.

Does your website give you the information that you need to make those value calculations? If not, talk to the Village Websmith. To start accurately evaluating prospect and customer sources, call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send an email.

Web & Internet Services Services Provided in:
  • Blakeney
  • Website
  • Web design
  • Search engine optimisation
  • SEO
  • Webvertising
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Promotion
  • Graphic design
  • Branding
  • Brochures
  • Exhibition graphics