Villagers in Rode are delighted that a vigorous community campaign has forced a U-turn from a bus company, saving a crucial rural bus route.

A petition by Save Rode’s 267 group managed to get 1,500 signatures of people protesting about the possible closure of the route through Rode from Bath to Frome.

Last month 200 people blocked the village High Street to hold up the bus to protest over the decision. Volunteers also conducted a survey to show the route’s usage.

The survery results were given at a public meeting at Rode Memorial Hall last Monday and First Bus’s general manager in the west of England, Jonathan Barnard, promised to save the route.

Parish council chairman Steve Eyles said it was the strength of the community which helped the campaign triumph.

“Jonathan Barnard opened the meeting, made a few comments and to rapturous applause announced the decision. He has been wonderful to work with; he said a consultation should have taken place, and that lessons had been learned,” said Cllr Eyles.

Speaking at the meeting Mr Barnard said: “We are not only just a commercial bus operator so it is important for us to recognise the communities in the villages, and all the important people who use our buses. We will reinstate the bus service into Rode.”

Cllr Eyles said: “We have just got a great group of people. It’s a fabulous village to live in; everyone seems to pull together for the right reasons.

“We might have learnt some lessons to use it or lose it. Before this I wasn’t a big bus user, but I’ve been into Bath a few times since and it’s a great way to travel.

"I just hope people think about it before they take a trip into Bath by car.”