Report on Annual Parish Council Meeting held on Thursday 13th May 2021

May 17th, 2021

The Annual Sulgrave Parish Council Meeting was held on Thursday 13th May, when Councillor Richard Fonge was re-elected as Chairman and Councillor Will Priestman as Vice-Chairman. Click here for a full report on the proceedings, including a link to the Chairman’s Annual Report.

The meeting included a report on a recent meeting with an HS2 Contractor’s representative in respect of proposed changes in the road layout in the vicinity of Marston St Lawrence Crossroads on B4525. Click here to go to the HS2 page on this website for details of significant proposals for work to be carried out next year. Scan down past the introduction to the item entitled “Proposed revised connection between Sulgrave and the B425 north of Greatworth”.

Invitations to an On Line Seminar at Sulgrave Manor on 10th June 2021

May 15th, 2021

Sulgrave Manor Trust will hold its first on-line seminar on 10th June 2021. Speakers will consider aspects of the Manor’s place in Anglo-American history, and wider questions of the relationship between Britain and the United States.

The Trust would like to offer up to ten places to Sulgrave village residents.

Please email Shanna Wells at [email protected] if you would like to apply for a place.

Click here for further details.

Village Shop Newsletter for May 2021

May 13th, 2021

April on the farm. (2021)

April 22nd, 2021

Blackthorn Flowers

Richard Fonge writes:

This is one of the latest springs for sometime. A true blackthorn winter. When the blackthorn is out you always get some cold wintry weather, and a chill wind even with the sun out, and frosty nights .The hedges are very late in coming out in leaf, grass growth is slow and the spring sown crops are desperate for a rain to get germination and growth going. The blackthorn is just starting to go over, so the end of the month should see some rain. I always see the first swallow around the tenth of the month. This year the 18th.

The fields up the concrete road look a picture now they have been sown. Barley this side of the bridge, wheat the other side. Ewes and lambs surround us, but two flocks I would like to highlight . On The footpath from behind Wemyss farm, in the second field a flock of Romney Marsh have lambed outside, very successfully I should think. The Romney has a relatively small lamb, making it an easy lamber, and with the better weather and longer days it is much more beneficial for all concerned to lamb outside.
The second flock are up the Moreton road on the left as you climb the hill. If you look closely, it can be seen that each sheep has only one lamb. These are first time lambers or ewe lambs, and you will only get the odd set of twins. Sheep terminology is complicated and here are some terms explained: Ewe lamb a one year old. Theave a two year old female. Wether or hogget a castrated male over nine months. Ewe a three year old female. Tup an entire male used for breeding. These terms change from region to region.

It is twenty years ago that the foot and mouth outbreak brought such great carnage and distress to the countryside, with thousands of sheep and cattle slaughtered and many families seriously affected emotionally and financially. But out of it came the traceability of all livestock with micro chipping, and this in turn allows all consumers to trace their meat back to the farm it was reared on.

Finally young steers have today been turned out in the big close for the summer. So good to see cattle in the field again. A reminder to keep dogs on a lead when using the footpath.

PS. Great delight, heard the cuckoo at 8.30 a.m. (20th April), over towards Peter’s Bridge.

Richard Fonge

Village Shop Newsletter. April 2021.

April 5th, 2021

Village Litter Pick. Saturday 20th March 2021.

March 27th, 2021

Parish Councillor Will Priestman writes:

A huge thank you from the Parish Council to all who joined us last Saturday to help spruce up our village by picking up litter. We had a wonderful turnout, and it was lovely to see so many friends, some of whom had not met up for months! We hope to repeat the exercise later in the year, possibly in September. Once again, Richard Fonge (our chairman) and my fellow councillors join me in thanking you all for your sterling efforts.

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

Read the rest of this entry »

March on the Farm (2021)

March 24th, 2021

Spring is here! Hazel Catkins.

Richard Fonge writes:

With spring now with us, the land drying up, we are seeing more activity in the fields. Ewes and lambs arrive daily in the fields up the Moreton Road, where the spoil from the ditching earlier in the year will soon be spread now it is much drier. I said in my October notes that the greenness of the fields up the concrete road was a result of severe shedding of the previous crop of spring wheat and would be sprayed off in the spring. This has happened and I expect to see a crop of barley to be planted. A self sown crop such as that was, would not have yielded, but by leaving it over the winter, it created a cover crop.

Please take note when walking that way, of the sights and sounds. Skylarks are flying high in song. The skylark is a ground nesting bird and not as common as it once was. It likes bare ground to nest on, so please keep dogs on a lead or close to you because if they do disturb a nest it will be abandoned. Roe deer are often seen in this area too. Deer are becoming more and more common. At Stuchbury I have seen seven standing in line. The other quite common sight is the muntjac deer. Like the squirrel it is devastating to young trees if they haven’t been guarded. 

Farmers and countrymen know more than most how important it is to keep a balance of any one species. The health and well being of animals such as rabbits, foxes, deer, squirrels and badgers is to their advantage if the weaker are culled and a sensible sustainable level is maintained. The badger cull is an emotive one, but what is not in doubt is the distress it has caused livestock farmers. To have a reactor to the T.B. test, means the animal is culled and to see as I have, pregnant cows and cows with young calves being separated, causes a great deal of anguish, without the work of re testing every sixty days until clear of the disease. We have bovine T.B. in the area at present, so let us hope that it is an isolated case.

Spring brings re-generation of the natural world, so here’s hoping it is a good one, to bring cheer after this long winter.

Richard Fonge

National Day of Reflection. Tuesday 23rd March 2021.

March 19th, 2021

First Lockdown and Social Distancing. 26th March 2020

There is a nationwide doorstep one minute’s silence at 12.00 noon on Tuesday 23rd March 2021, to mark the anniversary of the UK’s first lockdown. It is to remember all those who passed away and suffered from the Covid pandemic.

Also we are all encouraged to create a Beacon of Remembrance by lighting up our doorsteps at 8 o’clock in the evening.

Richard Fonge. Chairman, Sulgrave Parish Council

Summary of Parish Council Meeting held on Thursday 4th March 2021

March 9th, 2021

A Meeting of the Parish Council was held via remote technology on Thursday 4th March 2021. The following summary has been prepared by the Chairman:

“The Chair, Richard Fonge, welcomed to the meeting Mrs Alison Eastwood from Moreton Pinkney. Alison introduced herself and gave a brief resume of why she is standing as a candidate at the May elections to the new Northamptonshire unitary authority. 

Councillor Faure reported on HS2 (High Speed Rail), in respect of road alterations on A43 north of Brackley. She also reported on the improvement scheme for the Church Hall, being funded by an HS2 grant. Further grants are being applied for, to improve the kitchen and the floor of the hall. There may be other grants available which could be of benefit to the village. Agreed that Councillor Powell will work with Councillor Faure to explore possibilities.

Parish Footpath Warden Graham Roberts reported on a number of matters affecting rights of way. There are to be improvements to Footpath AY3 where it crosses the former Great Central Railway Line en route for Weston and Moreton Pinkney. These will involve the erection of kissing gates on each side of the old railway and surface work to the footpath. See Point A on the attached footpath map. There are to be new way markers on the Stuchbury path. Graham Roberts and the Chairman had made improvements to this path by putting down chippings and constructing steps. See Point B on the attached footpath map.

Councillor Higginson reported on Stocks green. The Council agreed to the raking out of moss and re-seeding.  The grass cutting contractor is to do this work.

The “Pop Up Picnic” on Castle Hill and Green, postponed because of the Pandemic, will now take place on Sunday 11th July, with catering by Websters and bar by the Star. Further details to follow.

The proposed Drovers’ Lane Solar Farm was discussed. There was general agreement on the need for renewables but assurances are to be sought in respect of footpaths. The Clerk is to ask the developer for a copy of the Environment Impact Analysis.

Councillor Priestman is to explore the possibilities for an appropriate solar powered speed restriction sign on the Magpie Road.

The Council agreed to Sarah Brown’s request to use part of the bus shelter for a seed swap.

The annual village litter pick will be held on Saturday 20th March. Details will be posted at the village shop and on the village website.

Andrew Osmond is to be the Village Tree Warden.

The Annual Parish Meeting is to be postponed until May or June.”

Richard Fonge. Chairman, Sulgrave Parish Council.

February on the Farm (2021)

February 20th, 2021

Fine views from a village footpath

Richard Fonge writes:

The weather is getting warmer, after a seasonal cold snap. Our forecasters do seem to like to exaggerate their weather news at times, referring to certain weather situations as an “event”. Whilst it is nice to know what weather is coming our way, please don’t over egg it!!

Support for agriculture and conservation will be changing now we are out of Europe. As the Common Agricultural Policy is phased out, new National schemes will come in. The prime scheme is to be called ELMS. Environmental Land Management Scheme. We will await with interest to how these new plans affect the countryside as Farmers and land managers adapt to the new directives. A healthy balance must be kept between the two. 

Footpaths and their accessibility have never been more important, and over the last year, they have become even more so as an escape from lockdown. As well as a form of recreation, they give the walker a chance to observe and take note of the sights and sounds of the countryside and an understanding of how it works.

Farming in whatever form is about producing high quality food for the consumer, and to do this, an appreciation of your particular land type is paramount. Secondly you must work with nature. Try to beat her and your hand will be bitten sooner or later. To produce what is wanted in today’s competitive market is both demanding and rewarding, none better illustrated than, by those who can sell at their local farmers’ market and getting an instant customer response.

All parishes have their history, and Sulgrave more than most. The Castle mound, and its Saxon past, the Manor with its connection to the Washingtons and the first President of America. The lost village of Stuchbury, which has a fascinating past, researched with great interest many years ago by my late Mother. The old prisoner of war camp, on Helmdon Road, with its bases still visible, which housed I believe mostly Italian prisoners, and for many years after was lived in by displaced families.

The fields around us also have history and a story to tell. Every field has a name, the one nearest to the farm is usually called dairy ground, as that is where the cows grazed, but many have names which refer back to an event or an individual of the past. Some examples: I had a field called Mushroom at Kenilworth. It had one year produced mushrooms in abundance. Along the Welsh Lane, near Greatworth you have Newpiece, it was the last field to be cleared of woodland in the 19th century, and the adjoining field is Washbrook. The sheep used to be washed in the stream. Finally further along towards Helmdon you have the more sinister named Gallows Field, the scene of many a gruesome ending.

Richard Fonge