Melksham Without Parish Council
Brief History of Berryfield
Some of the older cottages in Berryfield have an interesting history. No. 592 was once a Wool Shed where wool was combed and carded and traces of a serious wool fire can still be seen on its timbers. It still boasts an original Fire Mark to reassure the Fire Brigades that fire expenses would be met by insurers if they attended a fire. In time it became the Old Inn. The nearby shop was then a farriers. John Marti, a renowned local historian until the Second World War, occupied No. 592.
With the construction of the Wilts and Berks Canal, the Old Inn could not cater for the many navvy workers and thus the “New Inn” was built. The cottages opposite the New Inn were built during the Napoleonic Wars and were earmarked to be demolished by the County Council in the 1930s so that the road could be straightened. However with the outbreak of war, this scheme was postponed and when the Council came to revive it at the end of the war it was found that the cottages had all been done up and were occupied. Plans to link Melksham to the national waterways have moved dramatically forward at the beginning of 2010 with the Wilts & Berks Canal prioritising the Melksham Link. Full consultation is to take place in the Berryfeld area about plans to include a junction being created on the canal at Seminton, and the link which would make its way through to Berryfield, taking a course behind the Waney Edge Cafe and the New Inn, and across the green space by the Village Hall.
One can still see traces of the hedges, which delineated the boundaries of Semington Road as the Toll Road. The tollgate was at the entrance to Shails Lane and the keeper lived next to No. 592.
Like Beanacre, this community suffered from being on the A350 route to the M4. A few years ago, residents campaigned for a pedestrian crossing which has now been installed. Thankfully, now that the Melksham-Semington Diversion is open Berryfields is now a place of peace and tranquillity once again.