Ben’s Den now a living memorial.

May 21st, 2019

The willow saplings used in Ben’s Den in the Pocket Park have now taken root and are in full leaf, creating a wonderful living memorial.

Click here for details of the project.

High Speed Rail (HS2) Construction Works. Notice of Abnormal Load Movement during May and June 2019

May 8th, 2019

Eiffage Kier is the contractor carrying out the civil engineering works for the new HS2 line. As part of the early construction works they will be carrying out earthworks excavations using large construction machinery comprising excavators, bulldozers and dump trucks. These vehicles will be delivered to site under escort during mid-May and June 2019.

The delivery route for these vehicles will be from M40 Junction 11 at Banbury to the HS2 site near Boddington, as shown dotted in blue on the map below:

In total around twenty construction vehicles loaded on the back of low loaders will be transported slowly along the route under the control of an escort vehicle. The vehicles will be delivered in stages over a number of days.  No roads will be closed.

As reported on this website’s HS2 Information Page, the formal “notice to proceed” on the major construction works for the first phase of the project has been put back six months until December. The delivery of the construction vehicles is therefore part of the “enabling work”. As soon as information is available in respect of the commencement of construction works in the Sulgrave area it will be posted on this website.

In the meantime, villagers are reminded that construction vehicles in the vicinity of the village are to be restricted to the roads shown in blue dots on the map below.

If construction traffic is seen passing through the village please contact 24/7 Freephone 08081 434 434

 

 

Sulgrave Village Shop – Vacancy for Shop Supervisor

May 2nd, 2019

SULGRAVE VILLAGE SHOP – JOB VACANCY

Shop Supervisor Part Time up to 30 hours per week We are a highly successful village shop and Post Office serving our community and run by our community for over 15 years. We are looking to increase the supervisory role(s) from June onwards and you would take a shared responsibility for the day to day running of the shop. Your primary role will be to provide a welcoming, well stocked, efficiently run shop which continues to be financially sustainable. Retail experience could be a benefit but training would be provided regarding operation of the till and Post Office requirements. You must be a team player as you will be interacting with joint supervisors, a bank of volunteers, the management committee and most of all our customers.

If this is of interest to you, please email your CV and covering letter to: [email protected] or drop it in/post it to the shop for the attention of Andrew Elliott Sulgrave Village Shop, Magpie Road, Sulgrave, OX17 2RT

Closing date May 31st 2019

See here for more about Sulgrave Village Shop

Village Shop Newsletter for May 2019

April 30th, 2019

April on the Farm (2019)

April 22nd, 2019

“….many different shades of green…”

Richard Fonge writes:

True to form as the blackthorn blossom dies away the temperature warms up. We are in serious need of rain for the crops and ourselves. After a pretty dry winter we could be in for a shortage by the Summer’s end if our reservoir stocks aren’t soon replenished.

Whilst we can’t control the weather, those that farm the land and manage it have a huge impact on how our landscape is shaped. The views around our parish and the crops and woods within it are there because of the way it is farmed and managed for country sports. Government also plays its part with its agriculture and environmental policies.

Whilst we have grass margins around fields for environmental reasons and wildlife bird mixtures on the Stuchbury to Greatworth footpath and up Barrow hill, the biggest wildlife corridor is of course the disused railway line. The trains once visible from the village before its closure in the mix-sixties have been replaced by the natural re-generation of the banks, soon to be a mass of May blossom, the flower of the white thorn.

The lambs are growing a pace with the dry weather to their advantage. Lamb is a meat produced from grass and their mothers milk with some added supplementary feed in some management systems. 40% of all lamb produced in this country is exported in carcass form, most of it to the Paris wholesale market. As I have mentioned before sheep are so vital to the countryside both as a grazer of our less favoured areas and the keeping of old pastures. The Oilseed Rape is now in full flower, but this year the crop is very variable due to the withdrawal of a pesticide that controlled the cabbage stem flea beetle, and the lack of a suitable alternative to combat this voracious insect, making the viability of this crop a possible doubt for the future.

One of the delights of this time of year are the many different shades of green as the crops grow and the hedges and trees come into leaf. Just stand on Castle Green to appreciate the village and countryside around you. It is a privilege to live in such a place.

Richard Fonge

Castle Hill Public Open Space – Progress Report

April 7th, 2019

Castle Hill Preliminary Archaeological Excavations in 1961 as seen from the Church Tower  Photo: Colin Wootton

Chairman of the Castle Green Management Committee, Martin Sirot-Smith, reported to the Annual Parish Meeting on 4th April 2019 as follows:

As you may have read, the Parish Council has purchased the Castle Hill site, thus bringing the whole of the Scheduled Ancient Monument into public ownership. It has been included into the Committee’s remit to manage it alongside Castle Green itself.

Our first task is to secure the fencing around the site. We will be getting in touch with all those whose properties border Castle Hill to ask for their co-operation. We will need to cut back all overhanging trees and branches, and then repair, or indeed, replace the post and rail fencing as necessary.

We will be looking at the trees on Castle Hill itself, removing all the elder and the small sycamore saplings, as well as raising the crown of the mature specimens.

We propose to continue the present system of grazing the pasture in season. We will have notices in place to inform visitors of their responsibilities when animals are present.

Once all the work has been completed we intend to hold a Celebratory Fair. This will probably take place in mid-Summer 2020. This will again, like the Michaelmas Fair did last year, involve many of the village organisations, and will enable us to showcase the value and importance of this historically important site.

May I take this opportunity to thank again those organisations and individuals who contributed to and supported our fund raising appeal last year. It is great credit to one and all that target was achieved so quickly.

We now have an amenity that not only enhances our village immensely, but ensures the proper management of this most important historical site.”

Martin Sirot-Smith, Chairman, Castle Green Management Committee

Ben’s Den at the Pocket Park

March 27th, 2019

Sara Brown writes:

A memorial to Sulgrave resident Ben Brown, who sadly died in a car accident in 2018, has been erected in the pocket park. ‘Ben’s Den’ is a living willow structure designed and created by an internationally recognised willow weaving artist Tom Hare.  Tom has created exhibits all over the world and has designs in the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew and in a RHS gold medal winning garden, to name but a few.  Ben’s family hope that the children of the village will enjoy the den for years to come and would like to thank the villagers for their kind and generous help and support over the last 12 months.

Kind regards, Sara

Click here to visit Tom Hare’s website.

More pictures on the next page (Click on “Read the rest of this entry”)

Read the rest of this entry »

March on the Farm (2019)

March 23rd, 2019

Richard Fonge writes:

March has so far given us its usual mix of weather. So having come in like a lion, let us hope it goes out like a lamb. This is an old country adage that is normally right, as is the saying that when the blackthorn is out, we will have a blackthorn winter. And as long as the blackthorn remains in flower, you will find that there is always a chill in the air. One saying that I have never known to come true, is “The oak before the ash and we will have a splash. The ash before the oak and we will have a soak.” Because the oak always precedes the Ash in coming into leaf, whether we have a dry or wet summer.

Many of us walk the footpaths regularly and now we have a walking group who will be walking each footpath on a weekly basis. By doing this they can see the development of each crop they walk through. So on the Barrow hill lookout for the emergence of beans planted after the green crop. Up the gated road the flowering of the oil seed rape. The field called the big green off Little Street with the path down the centre will have cattle in it from late April, and the ewes and lambs are already in the fields up to the railway line.

Note the difference in the breeds of sheep behind Wemyss Farm when they arrive and those that are in the field by the Helmdon Road.

On the road to Halse from Greatworth there are two very large heaps of a white material (See photo above). What are they? They are piles of gypsum, which will be spread onto the land after harvest, as a fertiliser and conditioner. We normally associate gypsum as a building product, in the manufacture of plasterboard, but it is mined for agriculture purposes. By applying quite a large quantity per acre, it becomes beneficial to the heavy clay soils, as it sticks to the clay particles, making the soil more friable and helping in better infiltration of water, and helps to break up compaction, thereby making the soil easier to cultivate and the establishment of a crop. A natural product being put to good use.

Finally, I farmed for twenty years on the urban fringe which had some interesting challenges, but the great contrast to Sulgrave was the night sky. We had light pollution to such an extent that I had forgotten what a star lit night was like. I now appreciate those stars, and have on occasion been drawn to a particular Star!

Richard Fonge

Village Shop Newsletter for February 2019

March 7th, 2019

Apologies for the delay in posting this newsletter on the website – Ed.

February on the Farm (2019)

February 26th, 2019

Great Spotted Woodpecker
Photograph: John Sheppard

Richard Fonge writes:

It certainly feels very springlike as I write these notes. One of the first sounds of Spring is the noise of the woodpecker tapping away at his tree trunk. I first heard him this year on the 12th of February up the gated road to Weston. Farming wise all is still very quiet, but with this mild spell and dry ground to travel on tractors will soon be seen apply nitrogen to the oil seed rape up the concrete road, where considerable damage has been done to the crop in certain areas by pigeons. This will enable the crop to grow away from them. When they descend in their hundreds onto the oil seed rape they can soon do irreparable damage, resulting in substantial loss of yield.

You may have noticed the hedge along Little Street has had its gaps planted with new thorn plants. These are replacing the elderberry bushes which have been sprayed out. Elder is not a plant you want in a field hedge, as it dominates and is in no way a deterrent to stock. Whilst you need a field hedge made up of a variety of species, elder is not one of them. A hedge is a wildlife corridor as well as a boundary.

The lambing season will soon be in full swing, and ewes and their lambs will be re-stocking the grass fields around the village. A true sign of Spring, so make sure all dogs are on leads and under control when walking through them. These permanent pasture fields in our parish are so important for lamb production and keeping the balance between livestock and corn. 

These are interesting and challenging times for us all with a great deal of uncertainty, none more so than the Farmer with pressure from many lobbying groups. But one thing is definite and that is we all have to be fed, and that food is produced from the land.

Richard Fonge.


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