Is this the most elegant bus stop in the UK?
- Credit: Archant
“Elegant” is not often a word used to describe a bus stop.
Many are little more than a plastic shelter by the side of the road, if that - and, unless you are waiting for a bus, pass into obscurity.
But one Suffolk bus shelter is setting itself apart from the mundane with a new thatched roof which is winning plaudits from far and wide.
Bramfield, a small village near Halesworth which itself is only served by a bus every three hours, first created the shelter outside the Queen's Head pub in 1951 to celebrate national pride during the Festival of Britain.
It has served the village with distinction for nearly 70 years, giving passengers a dry and comfortable place to pass time as one of the few to boast a traditional thatched roof.
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But in recent years it became clear that the structure needed sprucing up for people travelling onto Darsham, Yoxford, Saxmundham, Leiston, Thorpeness and Aldeburgh on the 521.
Step forward master thatchers Dominic Meek, Luke Green and Christopher Hepworth, who in a labour of love painstakingly rethatched the roof in-between other work last year.
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Villagers then came and gave the shelter a good clean inside, with a community payback scheme giving it a good scrub outside and a full repaint.
The result, first unveiled at the beginning of 2019, has quite literally taken people's breath away - with many taking to social media to share images of its striking new look.
Nicola Clarke, who posted an image on the Halesworth Community Voice Facebook page earlier this year, said: "I think it's great they are getting recognised for it. It looks amazing. A lot of talent in doing that."
And after a ceremony was held to formally open the shelter in July, the plaudits have kept on coming - with people from other parts of the country even praising what Bramfield and Thorington Parish Council calls an "elegantly rethatched bus shelter".
Anne Thomas, chairman of the parish council - which owns the shelter - said: "We were delighted with how Dominic, Chris and Luke have thatched our lovely bus shelter, which continues to give us good service.
"We've had many enthusiastic comments, including one from staff at Leicester City Council who happened to spot our treasure on their travels.
"We are very grateful to our district council and parish council for their funding."
Mrs Thomas thanked East Suffolk councillor Michael Gower for making a donation towards the cost of the new roof from his locality budget, with the parish council contributing the remainder.
"The decorative work is delightful and we've had a big number of 'likes' on Facebook as well as many positive comments from parishioners," Mrs Thomas added.
Local historian June Brereton formally opened the new shelter on July 6, unveiling a commemorative plaque.