May on the Farm (2020)

May 21st, 2020

January 2020


May 2020

During the “lockdown”, the swamp that was Footpath AN6, alongside the double hedge near Stuchbury, has become a desert!

Richard Fonge writes:

With all the concerns of living through a pandemic, what a delight it has been to hear the cuckoo. It’s arrival every year with its distinctive song was once taken for granted, but sadly we haven’t heard him for some four years, but on the 15th and 16th of this month he was in great song. Just like the return of the swallows in April, it is one of those events that always raises the spirits.

The natural world has great powers of recovery and the ability to regenerate. Two examples of this in our parish are the old railway line, where since its closure some fifty plus years ago vegetation has grown up naturally along that old line, a lot of it being the hawthorn or whitethorn now in full blossom and referred to as may blossom. The hawthorn and the blackthorn are members of the rose family. The fruit of the hawthorn are the haws, the Wild Rose the hip and the blackthorn the sloe.

The second example is on the Moreton Road or the gated road as it is more commonly referred to. Here the verges were not cut back to the hedge last winter, and as a consequence the field maple is already thriving and some three feet in height. Hedge maple like the ash grows very quickly and soon re-populates a barren area.

Lanes with grass verges like the Moreton Road were once used to graze cows, when there were smallholding farmers in the villages. It was my privilege to know a very successful farmer who died at the age of 101 in the early 1990s, who had started his farming career just before the First Wold War by milking half a dozen cows. His main source of summer grazing were the lanes around Berkswell village where he lived. Being free, it helped he and his young wife whose task it was to watch over them to get a foothold on the farming ladder. This was not an uncommon practice.

He also recalled to me that his grandmother who had died aged ninety at around the turn of the century, had told him as a young child how she remembered the victory at Waterloo in 1815.

Since the end of the wet weather, we have had a very dry April/May. This has resulted in a spring of slow growth, with a lot of land not being planted and left fallow to be planted this Autumn. Some fields have been sown to linseed as on the path to Stuchbury, others up Barrow Hill to what is called a cover crop. At the top of the Moreton Road can be seen beans on the left, being grown for animal feed, and on the right fallow land which has been sub-soiled. With this very dry spring and so much land not being planted after one of the wettest winters on record the harvest prospects do not look good. As I said in an earlier piece do not be surprised to see some foods cost more. I said earlier that nature soon takes back and thrives again, and after this year I am sure next will repay with a bumper harvest.

Richard Fonge

Sulgrave Village Shop to open on Sunday Mornings

May 18th, 2020

From the 24th May the Village Shop will be be open on Sunday mornings from 9.00 am to 12 noon.  There will be freshly basked croissants, plus the usual ordering, collection and delivery service.

See here for Village Shop Newsletter for May 2020

Report on Sulgrave Parish Council Meeting 7th May 2020

May 12th, 2020

Parish Council notice on the entrance gate to the Castle Hill Ancient Monument Site



ON 7TH JUNE 2020

Councillor Richard Fonge was elected as Chairman and Councillor Will Priestman as Vice Chairman for the forthcoming year.

The Chairman presented his Annual Report (Click here to read the report)

A formal notice is to be put on notice board to advertise the one vacancy on the Council and asking for applicants

Councillor Will Priestman gave an update on the speed signs on the Helmdon Road. The delivery of the Solar Powered Speed Warning Sign is awaited (for erection by the Council). The moving of the 30mph signs back up the Magpie road, is awaiting approval.

Councillor Neil Higginson reported on the grass mowing. Very satisfactory. One complaint, that they had missed a small area in Towrise. He had spoken with the contractor.

Councillor Laura North reported on behalf of the Allotment Committee. Two more plots had been taken and cultivated, with the last two going to be cleared and left ready, making it easier to take on. To be advertised in this months newsletter

The Chairman reported that the Pocket Park was in good order, with the newly planted trees establishing well. It will remained locked until such time as the Government says otherwise

It was noted, what a tremendous job the Village Shop was doing for the whole community .

Footpath Warden Graham Roberts presented his report. All footpaths were in good order apart from AY3 which crosses the old railway line on the way to Moreton Pinkney.

Colin Wootton presented the report of the Castle Green Committee, including the news that the proposed Midsummer Fair has been cancelled. (Click here to read the report)

Councillor Anna Faure is to contact HS2 (High Speed Rail) about a number of matters.

Councillor Richard Fonge (Chairman)

Sulgrave Celebrates VE Day 2020

May 9th, 2020

Apart from a heavy rain shower in the late afternoon, the weather on Friday May 8th was perfect for parties in gardens and on front drives. The quiet atmosphere which we now take for granted and the light wind allowed neighbours to “socialise” without breaking any regulations. The almost total absence of traffic meant that those doing their daily circuit of the village on foot could also stop for a chat at a safe distance. The village looked particularly beautiful in the May sunshine, with the verges and churchyard newly mown and union flags and bunting to be seen everywhere. Here and there, Vera Lynn’s voice was carried on the breeze. There was, without doubt, a collective raising of spirits.

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

Read the rest of this entry »

VE DAY 2020!

May 8th, 2020

8th May 2020. VE Day. Lockdown. Early morning at the corner of School Street and Church Street. Not a breath of wind. Not a sound to be heard other than the dawn chorus. Seventy-five years ago today, excited villagers flocked to an impromptu party in the courtyard of what is now known as The Old Farmhouse. Many of the village menfolk were still away including my father in the army. I was seven years old and my mother decorated my tricycle with so many flags it was difficult to ride. I have yet to find any photographs of that day. I am sure that many photographs will be taken of today’s celebrations, constrained though they are by the Lockdown regulations. These will be interesting to future generations, hopefully in a world that has learned lessons from the pandemic, wondering what we all did “during the Lockdown”! Please feel free to send images to this website for inclusion on the “Village Images by Village Photographers” page.

Colin Wootton

Email: [email protected]

April on the Farm (2020)

April 21st, 2020

Richard Fonge writes:

Whilst we are in lockdown, the land around and all it supports has to be cared for. The hundreds of ewes and lambs in the fields around Sulgrave are testament to many days and nights of dedicated stockmanship before they arrived in the fields, and will still need looking at every day. We as humans immunise our babies against various diseases that afflict us, and this is just the same with animals, but obviously difference diseases. Lambs need protecting from a clostridium group of soil found bacterial diseases, which include Pulpy Kidney and tetanus are fatal. This is done by giving the pregnant ewe an injection six to eight weeks before lambing, which then passes the immunisation onto the lamb through the milk. That first milk soon after birth is absolutely vital to its well being.

I said last month that it would be interesting to see what crops would be sown after the wet winter or indeed if some land would be left unsown. Well the fields up on the concrete road were planted into spring wheat, which is just emerging, and like our gardens are in need of rain. These fields were cultivated, drilled and then rolled. The rolling with ring rolls is done to firm the seeds in the ground to aid germination, and to break down any remaining lumps of soil. (On grass fields a flat roll is used to flatten out the tread marks of the stock.) Up the gated road, Spring barley has been planted on the right and beans at the top on the left before the Weston road. A different method of sowing here. They were drilled direct into the old crop residue. But as you walk from Barrow Hill back to the village these fields will remain unplanted until the Autumn, along with others in the parish.

I finished my notes last month with a reminder to look our for the returning swallows. Two appeared on the 8th April just outside the village for a few days but have now gone as I write on the 17th. I am sure more will appear soon.

In these challenging times, aren’t we so fortunate like all rural dwellers to have footpaths to walk for our recreation. These paths are rights of way, across privately owned land and they give us a great opportunity to observe what goes on in the countryside, and I hope these notes help to enlighten my readers on certain things they see from time to time. To the landowners who maintain these paths we should thank and respect their privacy.

Richard Fonge


April 18th, 2020

Helmdon Road speed restriction signs in their new position

Richard Fonge writes:

The Council met on a Zoom (remote video) meeting to pass a resolution to enable our clerk to carry out her statuary duties until such time as we can meet again and in a proper manner. A two minute meeting!!

The 30m.p.h signs have now been moved back up the Helmdon Rd and we await the arrival of the solar powered warning speed sign to be put where the 30M.P.H sign was.

This may be delayed under present circumstances, but the grant we were successful in getting to cover the cost of the panel is now in our bank account.#

The April meeting should have been The Annual Parish Meeting where all the organisations within the village and the County and district council representatives give their annual reports to the Parish Council. As this was not possible, could I ask that the village organisations that usually report, submit a report to the village website and the next village newsletter, thereby keeping us informed of their progress.

We have at present a very good contractor mowing and strimming the village, who takes pride in his work, so could I please ask that all vehicles are parked off the grass so he can do his work.

Finally the Council would like to thank all those kind volunteers, helping others in our community, and a very special mention to Sulgrave Village Shop for providing such an excellent service in these difficult times. The dedication and organisation of all concerned is much appreciated by all . Thank You.

Richard Fonge. Chairman.

Little Street Applauds the NHS

April 16th, 2020

Click here to listen to the applause.

HS2 construction gets green light despite lockdown

April 15th, 2020

15th April 2020. Work resumes on fencing off the Marston Road near footpath AY12

See here for latest information on 15th April 2020


April 6th, 2020