Village News

An invite from Blewbury Bell Ringers

September 27, 2016

Looking for a new hobby this autumn?

Wanting to meet new people in Blewbury and the surrounding villages? Like doing something with gentle physical and mental exercise in a fun and social environment? Enjoy doing something worthwhile for the village community? If any of these apply, then bellringing could be for you! A recent BBC news item highlighted the modern day challenges of attracting people to take up this rewarding pastime (visit Blewbury is no exception to this and although we currently have an enthusiastic team, we really do need to encourage more people to learn to ring and help us to maintain the tradition of village bellringing for the future.

Come to a taster evening on Tuesday 4th October and meet some of the ringers, see up close how a bell works, have an assisted go at ringing a bell and enjoy a chat over a cuppa. Come along anytime between 7.30 – 9.00pm to St Michaels church on 4th October. If you are unable to make it on 4th, you will be welcome to join us on any Friday practice evening. For further information contact Richard Loyd 07767 463285 or Chris Cook 07786 635062

Blewbury Footpaths

One of the joys of living in Blewbury is the ability to navigate the village and its environs through the network of footpaths, bridleways and byways, commonly known as public rights of way.

Gone are the days when the paths were kept clear by flocks of sheep and labourers who worked for local landowners. In these times the maintenance of footpaths has to be planned and paid for.

The Parish Council regularly receives complaints/comments about the state of the footpaths and we act where we can. However we would like to clarify some rights and responsibilities.

The duty to maintain public rights of way rests with the Highway Authority, in our case Oxfordshire County Council through their Countryside Access Team. The Oxfordshire Parish Guide to Countryside Access reads as follows: ‘the County Council has a duty to maintain the surface of rights of way. It must be recognised that they are essentially countryside paths, usually with an earth surface, and so, depending on the type of soil, some mud should be expected, particularly during winter months. The County Council will seek to maintain rights of way in a condition suitable for their use by the public, i.e. a footpath in a condition for use by walkers. In this it is assumed that the user will wear appropriate clothing and footwear (for example walking boots, or wellingtons in the winter’.

Parish Councils have a right to maintain public rights of way and Blewbury, in common with many other villages, has undertaken the maintenance of footpaths within the built area of the village. This work is carried out by our lengthman, with the assistance of volunteers and Council members on some occasions, and paid for through the parish precept element of the council tax. The amount of time and money we have available for this work is finite.

Responsibility for vegetation along the side of footpaths and roads in the village lies with the residents whose boundary lies along the public right of way. Many of our residents keep these boundaries well trimmed back – others are not so conscientious.

At the moment OCC has limited resources as does the PC. Grass cutting by the local authority has been reduced to a minimum and the PC is reviewing how to continue the previous level of maintenance as parishioners have complained about unkempt undergrowth.

It would be most beneficial if all residents would pay attention to the land, paths, pavements and verges outside their homes. Clearing leaves, cutting grass or just clearing litter from a small area would help enormously. Two Village Clear Up days a year are scheduled and organised between Sustainable Blewbury and the Parish Council – more volunteers to clear leaves and occasionally help spread gravel on these days would be very helpful. We are well aware that many parishioners already do their bit to maintain and improve the village and that pressures on people’s time have never been greater. But most of us love what Blewbury is – a charming, vibrant village. It will not stay that way if we don’t collectively make an effort to maintain the features that make our village unique.


August 23, 2016

Well done to all of our Year 6 pupils who responded with amazing resilience to this year’s SATS which were both difficult and controversial; they showed themselves to have extremely good attitudes towards their learning.

They finished off their year with both a challenging residential trip with some activities which really tested their nerve and a splendid musical performance, ‘Aladdin Trouble’. This musical pantomime which they ably abridged and organised themselves was able to showcase individual personalities and talents.

From Interaction to Exploration

During this last year we have focused our themes based on ‘Interaction’ with the summer term having a particular focus on Appreciation. There were many successful activities but here are three different examples. Our new biodome and garden area has caused much interest amongst the children, they have been able to sow, plant out, pick and eat various produce. We have even sold some at the Saturday market and are pleased that we have been able to link with Sustainable Blewbury, including support with watering during the summer. Class 4 had a very successful Garden tour which involved visiting four different gardens to consider design and the range of plants used. Just before the end of term we hosted two women Syrian refugees who had been sponsored by the British Council to be part of a touring play which told their story. Whist they were in Oxford it was arranged that they would visit us for a question and answer session which gave our Key Stage 2 children an opportunity to really find out about the plight of Syrian refugees. Following on and at the request of the children to fundraise we had a Bacon Roll start to our last Thursday morning of term and raised £180 in about 30 minutes.

This year our overriding theme is ‘Exploration’ and we would love you to contact us if you are an explorer or have had some exciting and challenging experiences which you have had to prepare to undertake. We want to start by looking at the skills needed in preparing for an exploration. The school is also pleased to be awarded Global Learning Expert Centre: we will be working both to enhance global learning in our own school and to provide training to other local schools. Again if you have any experiences to share please contact the school office or Marion Mills.

New Adult Volunteers Needed

Quite a few children in our school respond very well to additional one-to-one time with a supportive adult, who might read to them, listen to them read, or just talk with them and/or get them interested in a new activity. For this reason the school greatly appreciates individuals, who can give a small amount of time to come into school occasionally as a volunteer. In the last school year Jane Gibson for example has been doing this and says it is the most rewarding thing she has done in retirement. If you think you might be interested in helping in this way we would love to hear you. Please talk to Becky Costello at the school or Andrew Hewson or Roger Murphy (both governors), who together are going to be promoting a new 1-2-1 volunteers scheme in 2016/17. There will be some briefing meetings for potential new volunteers in Sept/Oct.   Marion Mills and Roger Murphy


We finished our academic year with a wonderful visit to Beale Park, followed by a presentation of books to all our children who are going on to Primary School in September.

The children and staff have worked hard all year and were delighted to win prizes in the Blewbury and Upton VPA show for their ‘Mr Potato Heads’ and a Cup in the Village Scarecrow Competition, which was presented by Pat Mattimore (see picture).

We had great fun at our Sports Day, when children won stars for competing in a number of traditional races; congratulations to the winners of the Mums’ and Dads’ races and to all those who took part! We are looking forward to our next year and are delighted to say that our numbers are thriving and we have planned an exciting and interesting term on ‘All about me’ for the children. Our vegetable garden this year has produced courgettes, green beans, strawberries and tomatoes and we are looking forward to being involved with Sustainable Blewbury’s permaculture site. Best wishes to all our friends and families for the new term.



We will be closed for the Bank Holiday on Monday 29th August, allowances normally paid out on that day, will be available in accounts on the Friday before.

We have some gorgeous Capability Brown commemorative stamps on sale at the moment, and maybe some of the Beatrix Potter ones, if they haven’t all gone by now! There will be some on sale in September commemorating the Great Fire of London, and we hear a rumour of some Agatha Christie ones too!

Kind people have handed in a camera, with pictures of 2 children up at Tickers Folly, and a camera with a broken back screen (we think someone had put it in the rubbish) but was found in the road, with a memory card still left inside! Also handed in, a small teddy comforter and a child’s shape toy, we also have a pair of ladies prescription sunglasses, several sets of keys, one with one of the gas/electic cupboard keys, probably from Dibleys?

Love from Karen & Angela


One blink and the summer is fast disappearing and by the time you read this we will be at the end of August!!

The summer has been an enjoyable one for the bell ringers, with several weddings in Blewbury to ring for and outing arranged by our local branch of the Oxford Guild of bell ringers. We rang at five towers in Berkshire and Hampshire, starting in Goodworth Clatford and ending in Highclere, with a pub lunch and afternoon tea included. The day ended with the annual branch BBQ, enjoyed by all who attended. Outings are always good fun and not only for ringers, often their families come along and enjoy exploring the lovely villages that we visit. It is surprising how much bells can vary in different towers, and ringing elsewhere certainly makes the Blewbury ringers appreciate our very well maintained bells.

It would be great to have more ringers in Blewbury. So if you are looking for a new hobby that has a good mix of physical, mental and social, then please come up the tower and join us for a ‘taster’ evening on Tuesday, 4th October any time between 7.30 and 9.00pm. You will have a chance to see the bells, have a brief go and can ask the ringers what it’s all about over a cup of tea (or coffee!) and a biscuit.

Hope to see you then. If you would like more information please contact Chris Cook on 07786635062


It seems ages since I wrote the last episode and much has happened in that time; I feel we have had a decent bit of summer now, although this has necessitated a lot of hand watering – but I’m not complaining!

I ended up with a decent crop of (prize winning!) onions which was very pleasing, as well as good crops from the broad bean and field bean trial; interestingly the field beans cropped twice as much weight as the broad beans, smaller and a slightly different taste but perfectly edible. I used some of them for pea and bean hummus, delicious! Runner beans are finally getting into their stride and although there are not very many there are plenty enough for me. Also a pleasant surprise was the potatoes, which have produced some decent size tubers, although a few of them have annoying holes in them – I just have to cut them out.

Winter crops are going to be sparse; leeks are coming on slowly, and out of the brassica seedlings I only have three Brussels sprouts left … but that will be enough if they reach maturity. However, my spinach beet has gone to seed and little spinach plants are popping up all over the allotment, so that will help with winter supplies.

On the soft fruit side, I ended up with a good crop of gooseberries thanks to the bird netting, a few strawberries (but lots more at home) and a fair few summer raspberries. Hopefully there will be a good crop of autumn ones, which are just starting. I also had a good quantity of tayberries. The little transplanted pear tree is still looking healthy, although it lost all of its baby pears; only to be expected.

Compost corner: Our Master Composter team was invited by BBOWT to man a stand in their wildlife area at the recent Country File Live event held at Blenheim Palace. It was an amazing event, loads of animals, interesting exhibits and presumably lots of celebs, but I didn’t see any! Our little team had 528 conversations about composting over the four days, so hopefully we have encouraged a few more people to take up this worthy gardening pursuit. Questions ranged from whether rhubarb leaves (poisonous) can be composted (yes) to what sort of animal poo can be composted (only vegetarian animals!).

Autumn is now just around the corner…   Angela Hoy (

Update on the Vale Local Plan

June 9, 2016

The independent  inspector’s report of the Vale’s Local Plan is quite encouraging for Blewbury as it might put a stop to major development in the AONB.

The interim report of his findings has been published and in particular the examiner refers to two sites around Harwell and Didcot (which includes Blewbury) and says

The Plan envisages that housing allocation sites 12 and 13, which are located within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), would be developed for around 550 and 850 dwellings respectively. This would be major development, which the Framework indicates should be refused except in exceptional circumstances and where it can be demonstrated it is in the public interest…….. I conclude that modification of the plan to delete sites 12 and 13 is thus necessary. This would be a reduction of 1400 planned houses but more importantly set a precedent for future incursions into the AONB.

In appendix 1 he states that the Five Year Housing Land Supply Outcome assuming deletion of housing allocation sites 12 and 13 from the plan still exceeds requirement.

His interim results can still be challenged but they are encouraging. They cannot , unfortunately, be applied retrospectively.

The full pdf document can be found here.


Blewbury events to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday

June 25, 2016

Thanks to sponsorship by the Blueberry and a special grant for events directly related to the Queen’s 90th Birthday from VWHDC we were able to produce the colourful insert which listed all the events of the two weekends which you found in your June Bulletin.

The first weekend of our special events was celebrated successfully by a good cross section of the village. It started with a successful peal of Lincolnshire Surprise Major by the bellringers which was dedicated to the Queen and a lovely mellow sound could be heard throughout Blewbury on the morning of Saturday 11th – 5088 changes – quite an achievement and congratulations to the bellringers.

Family Day started at noon and the fun began. The Bar by Blewbury Junior Cricket Club, a barbecue by Blewbury School and a hog roast which sold out by Coopers of Aston Tirrold. Cream teas by the WI, Ice creams by the PTA, Preschool made us all glitter with tattoos. Many societies were represented including the tennis club, badminton club, junior football, the Garden Market. There were lot of stalls with very good quality goods, a fairground roundabout and two bouncy castles. The afternoon started with a Dog Show to rival Crufts which had a record number of entries and people were standing 2 deep around the ringside and it was hugely entertaining. This was followed by Betty Bloom Dance who were beautiful and a display by Cando Martial Arts. The finale was the village Tug of War heats – all encouraged by a very noisy crowd. Ian Bacon complete with megaphone kept the whole thing flowing well with a very amusing commentary. Winners of all events listed separately.

Most people who were still on their feet after a busy afternoon came to the Summer Dance at Hall Barn. The evening stayed (mainly) dry but the Disco was great and at least 120 of us enjoyed our picnics with friends in the garden and then dancing the night away in the Barn.

On Sunday 12th the Boules competition took place and was enjoyed by both competitors and spectators.

Special thanks to:

Steve of Foremost Roofing Services for transporting chairs to the field – and back again.

Simon Barlow’s driver Kevin for transporting all the tables, large gazebos and the barbecues to and from the field. Without help with transport this event could not take place.

Everybody who helped in any way with Family day, the Dance and the Boules Competition.

Deirdre and Malcolm Cochrane for allowing us to hold the Summer Dance at Hall Barn.

Everybody who came along and supported any event


Scarecrows – We had 15 very good and entries and a wide interpretation of the theme ‘Royals’ The Judges worked independently and had a very difficult job to decide but their unanimous decision was as follows. We want to thank everybody who took part this year and hope they had a lot of fun


Category Winners
Adult Category 1st Sally Begley The Royal Dog Watch The Dilley Cup
2nd Sue Huart The Heir and Spare
Family Category 1st Goyder Children The Blueberry Blue Bloods Family Cup
2nd Doherty Family Game of Thrones
Group Category 1st Blewbury Pre-School Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace Group Cup
2nd Blewbury W I Queen’s Winnings

Dog Show – Judge Mrs Ceri McEwan from Hastings.       47 dogs took part with 121 entries

Best in Show      Heather Helmsley with Gabriella

Reserve Best in Show Amelia Dubuisson with Kiffie

Best Oldie           Amelia Dubuisson with Kiffie

Best Child Handler Noah Cameron with Monty

Best Puppy         Izzy Marcham with Rosie

Dog Most like his Owner Monty with Adam Cameron

Tug of War Competition –           Winners of the  Bob Daley Cup — Blewbury Dads ‘B’ Team

Boules Competition                       Winners Matt and Mike Duckett

Congratulations to all winners and special thanks to everybody who took part.

Sorry we couldn’t get the Red Arrows – we did try but they were busy somewhere else with the Queen!

The BVS thanks the Blewbury Bulletin for Sponsoring Family Day.

Reports on Happy & Glorious and the Curry Lunch and all the other Summer Events in the next Bulletin.

Cricket: The scent of victory

June 7, 2016

A scintillating spell of fast bowling from Scott Harris rushed Blew Wallies to a lightning victory over Horley on June 4.

The paceman took 7 for 11, including a hat-trick that turned into a four-wicket maiden (followed up by a wicket maiden), as the home side were blasted out for 43 in only 12.1 overs. Harris has been in top form all season, but this performance was red-hot, with all but one of his victims (who was caught in the slips by Mark Carey) bowled or lbw. His new-ball partner, the county teenager Tom Gould, played Morne Morkel to Harris’s Dale Steyn, taking 3-36. Blewbury & Wallingford 1sts wasted little time in chasing down their target, with Carey (22) the only man to fall as Blew Wallies breezed to a nine-wicket win in the ninth over. The Division 3 game was done and dusted by 2.30pm, as Blew Wallies move up to 2nd in the table.

Several of the 1st XI came back to Boham’s Road to watch the 2nds making a game of a low-scoring encounter with a largely youthful Challow & Childrey 3rds in Division 9(S). Having been put into bat on a sluggish surface, Blew Wallies made 113-6 off 45 overs. Stuart Edwards carried his bat for 45, while Ian Saunders produced two stunning strokes (a lofted off-drive and a clubbing pull) in his 24 before falling as he tried to break the bowlers’ stranglehold. Joe Harris, a left-arm spinner who turned it both ways, was all but impossible to play, and bowled 14 overs for only 15 runs. Blew Wallies’ skipper Mark Cox showed touches of his class with a delicate late cut and a sumptuous backfoot square drive off the pacy teenager Fergus Fishburn, but was run out before he really got going. The final total felt at least 30 runs shy of being competitive.

With Neil Smith as canny as ever and 14-year-old Ollie Mew running in purposefully and hitting the pitch hard, Blew Wallies made life difficult for the opposition’s openers, though. The breakthrough came when the astute Roger Podbery mistimed first-change off-spinner Richard Clayton’s long-hop straight to Jack Vincent at mid-wicket. The 13-year-old made no mistake. As Clayton found his range and Smith plugged away, 28-1 became 45-5 and Blew Wallies could sense the unlikeliest of wins. Yet the experienced pair of Philip Cox and Gary Rees slowly closed the door on this potential great escape, with what became a match-winning partnership of 72. Still, the 2nds deserve plenty of credit for keeping the result in the balance for as long as they did.