News: The Parish Council have been in contact with the Rural Policing Team regarding the issue of large volumes of visitors at Shear Water and Heavens Gate. See below the reply: The Rural Policing Team go through Shearwater a few times each shift so they are aware of the issues at Shearwater and Heaven’s Gate with traffic and visitors to the area.   The Rural Policing Team  have spoken to Wiltshire Council Highways to discuss the Clearway that is in place that starts in the village and runs for a mile way past the end of the lake itself.    The clearway was decriminalised in the year 2000 making it a civil offence to park on the Clearway and as such Wiltshire Police cannot enforce it for this reason.  If a vehicle is completely off the road then this is not considered an offence, but if they are half on the carriageway and half off, then this is an infringement and an Enforcement Officer (what was a traffic warden) can write them out a ticket. The clearway must be marked by a start and an end sign and DOES NOT require any white lines being painted on the road and as such is correctly marked in situe at present.  It seems that Enforcement Officers have not been in operation during Covid 19 but are now restarting on Monday 1st June 2020.  The Rural Policing Team have asked that they attend the Shearwater Lake so enforcement can be started.    Since Lockdown has been eased slightly, it was always inevitable that once people were allowed to go out with less restriction they would visit in greater numbers due to the close proximity to Warminster, but also people maybe not wanting to visit beaches on the south coast with all the crowding we have seen on social media.  Warminster Officers have been engaging and educating members of the public at Shearwater and removed a number of groups from the lake during the day and car park in the evening. With current Covid restrictions, members of the public are able to visit the lake freely as many times as they wish to exercise, have a picnic as a family, or just sit by the lake.  Wiltshire Police will still engaging with members of the public about Covid 19, but they are not able to enforce Social Distancing as they do in Scotland and Wales.

Maiden Bradley with Yarnfield Parish Council
Maiden Bradley with Yarnfield Parish Council

Community Emergacny Plan and Road Salt

The Parish Councils Community Emergency Plan will be activated as a result of a call from the emergency services, or the community. The Plan is activated if the emergency services are unavailable.


1. FLOOD - When we get a flood warning from Environment Agency

2. SNOW – When we receive alert from Wiltshire Council

3. PANDEMIC FLU – When we receive a health warning from Wiltshire Council

4. LOSS OF UTILITIES – When electricity, gas, water is lost in the Community.

5. ANIMAL HEALTH – When disease is declared.


Councillor Angus Neish is the Lead Councillor for Community Emergencies.


Road Salt - the myths and the facts


What is road or rock salt and how does it work?


When cold weather arrives you may see in stores big bags of road or rock salt and you may see it sprinkled on pavements and roads to melt ice and snow.

Road salt is a halite, which is the natural mined mineral form of table salt or sodium chloride (NaCl).
While table salt has been purified, rock salt contains mineral impurities, so road salt typically is brownish or gray in colour.

Machines mine the salt, which is crushed and packaged for delivery.
Additives may be mixed with the road salt to prevent caking and ease delivery using gritting machines. Examples of additives include sodium hexacyanoferrate(II) and sugar.


How Road Salt Works

Road salt works by lowering the freezing point of water via a process termed freezing point depression. In a nutshell, the salt breaks into its component ions in a small amount of liquid water. The added particles make it more difficult for the water to freeze into ice, lowering the freezing point of the water. So, for road salt to work, there needs to be a tiny bit of liquid water. This is part of the reason why road salt is not effective in extremely cold weather when water would freeze too easily. Usually, there is enough liquid water present, either coating the hygroscopic salt pieces or produced by friction from traffic, that an extra source of water is not necessary. The salt will work down to -10C if there is a high enough concentration of it.

In Maiden Bradley with Yarnfield we have salt bins at

  • The Somerset Arms
  • The Village Hall Car Park

The hard crust that sometime forms is where the salt has absorbed water and created a "saltwater liquor" and the layer dried and reformed as a crust.


Myth: Salting a road prevents the formation of ice

Salt lowers the freezing temperature of water, which prevents ice or frost forming on the carriageway as it would otherwise, once the temperature of the road or the air falls to zero degrees centigrade.  The higher the concentration of salt, the lower the temperature at which freezing will occur. Generally, on the roads, salt loses its effectiveness once the temperature falls below -10 degrees centigrade.

Pre-salting the road forms a debonding layer so if snow falls, it doesn't freeze onto the road surface and can be ploughed off or churned off by vehicular movements.

Myth: Spreading salt on to ice or snow will melt and remove it quickly without any other actions

Salt comes in grain sizes of 6mm or 10mm and is spread at rates between 10 and 40 grams per square metre depending upon the forecast road surface temperatures and if snow is forecast or is falling.  When spread on top of ice or snow, each grain will begin to melt the surrounding ice working its way outwards. As it melts the ice, it forms a pool of salty water, which in turn helps to melt the surrounding ice and so on. Without any traffic to move the salt and salty water around and mix it into the thawing ice, the melting process can take some considerable time.

Where snow falls on top of salt then it begins to melt the snow from beneath. Again, vehicular movements will speed up this process. However, the first vehicles over the snow will actually compress the snow into ice in much the same way as a snowball is created. If there is little traffic, or very slow moving traffic, then a layer of ice may form on top of the road until the salt works its way up from below.

Myth: It’s too cold for snow

There is a relationship between the temperature and the amount of moisture the air can hold. However, it is only once the temperature gets below -40 degrees centigrade that the air has so little moisture content that snow can rarely occur.

In this country, most rainfall begins as snow in the upper atmosphere throughout the year. As the snow falls through the lower atmosphere the air is warmer and it turns to rain.

In the winter, the air in the lower atmosphere is also cold, and, if it is at or below zero then the snow can make it to the ground. However very slight temperature changes at ground level due to factors like wind and altitude can change the type of precipitation over short distances. This is why weather forecasters are often very cautious and say it could hail, sleet or snow.

Myth: All water freezes at zero degrees centigrade

Except in the case of freezing rain! This phenomenon thankfully occurs rarely and is often associated with the approach of warm air after a prolonged cold spell. Here the precipitation once again starts off as snow in the upper atmosphere, then it passes through a region of warm air which turns it to rain before finally passing through a thin layer of cold air just above the surface. The moisture cools to a temperature below freezing point, but the water droplets do not freeze themselves, and become supercooled.

When the droplets strike the ground or any surface, they instantly freeze and coat everything in a film of ice. This coating will cover the grains of salt rendering them almost ineffective until the air temperature rises, and the ice begins to melt. Road travel during a period of freezing rain will be severely disrupted and it is unsafe to send heavy gritting vehicles on to the network as they too will have little, if any, traction.

The salt in the bins is for use on public roads, pedestrian areas and footways only. It is not there to be used on private properties.
We rely on volunteers to spread the salt as we hope the bins are located in the most needed locations.

We try to check and refill the bins at the start of the winter season. Usage is not monitored, and we rely on you to let the Clerk know they are empty.
The Parish Council do not automatically refill them, but we will if we can. Each bin holds about 200kg.

We have a small stock available to us provided by Wiltshire Council. Councillor Angus Neish stores the excess Salt the Parish Council holds in the area, it is limited, and we will fill the bins if we have been notified.

Where salt from the bins is seen to be being misused then this can be reported in confidence to the Council.
If it is seen being stolen, then this should be reported directly to the Police along with the make, model and registration number of any vehicle involved.


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© Maiden Bradley with Yarnfield Parish Council