Village News


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

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.


Village Hall refurbishment project update

I am delighted to report that Wren have approved a grant of £50,000 for Phase 1 of the project and the Doris Field Trust have approved a grant of £1,000.

The recent concert in St Michael’s by Jonathan Lakeland and Claire Barnett-Jones also raised £1,000 towards the project. We are very grateful to everyone involved in securing these contributions. We are now well on the way towards our target of £500,000, having raised or had pledged over £250,000 towards the refurbishment.

We hope to start Phase 1 later this year. There is still, though, much to do and at a quickening pace. Our architects are about to submit an application for Building Regulations consent and are preparing tender documents. Only when builders have responded to these with firm prices will we be clear exactly how much the work will cost. In parallel, fundraising continues, with a number of further grant applications having been submitted and a promotional film being made by Didcot Sixth Form College (thanks to the unsuspecting passers-by who were grabbed for interview last week). We have applied for Gift Aid status from HMRC and, once we have their response, we will let people know the arrangements for personal donations. Thanks again for all the ideas, questions and help. The project won’t succeed without the continuing support and encouragement of everyone in the village.  Steve White

Blewbury events to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday

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.

Sustainable Blewbury


Community Orchard: Our Community Orchard Group (COG) is attracting a lot of interest. Thanks to all the people who made suggestions at the Family Fun day, and welcome to all the enthusiastic new COGGERS who volunteered to help. We’ve sampled the soil at Tickers Folly Field – it looks good and is not rocky. During the next few months we’ll be choosing an interesting variety of trees based on suggestions we’ve collected and designing the layout. And we’re still delighted to talk to people who would like to get involved – if you are interested please contact John Ogden:

Subterranean biodiversity: Groundwater, particularly in chalk aquifers, supports a unique group of animals which are only found in this deep, dark environment. The Hypogean Crustacea Recording Scheme aims to gather information on the distribution of these unusual species, which can often be found in wells. If you have or know of a well that could be sampled for these interesting creatures we would like to hear from you! Please contact to arrange for a biological survey of your well. Further information on the recording scheme can be found at

AONB talk: Rose Somerset’s talk about our Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty landscape at the Manor Barn raised £377 for the Village Hall refurbishment fund. Thanks to everyone who attended this interesting event! NOTE: Rose gave us some packs containing leaflets describing 10 interesting walks in the AONB, though not in our immediate area. They are on sale at the Post Office for £2 per pack (to help cover the AONB’s costs).

Blewbury Garden Market – Saturday mornings until October, 9.30–11.30, Blewbury Garage forecourt: We sell plants and seedlings for your garden, fresh fruit and vegetables, flowers, and home-made bread, cakes and preserves. If you’d like us to sell your surplus items please bring them at 9.15am, with a completed sales form which you can download from our website, or get one at the stall.

Apple juicing: We will be holding fortnightly apple juicing sessions starting on Sunday 28th August at the Manor from 2–4pm and continuing to early November. Watch for posters giving alternative venues on some Sundays!

Willow Workshop: Sustainable Blewbury has the option of organising another Willow Workshop in Blewbury on Saturday August 20th. If anyone is interested in taking part please contact Kathy Edmunds, Wayside Cottage on 01235 850337 or at

Wood and glass two piece corner display cabinet

Jane Buss

To include your item, send short description, email & phone no. to with subject line ‘Freecycle’

We welcome new members. If you would like to become involved in Sustainable Blewbury or to receive our free Newsletter, please contact us at:


The Foundation exists for the benefit of young people resident in Blewbury.

The governing scheme states that, subject to the payment of expenses, the Trustees shall apply the Income as follows:

  • Towards providing benefits of any kind, not provided by the School or LEA, as may be agreed between the Trustees and the Governors of the School.
  • In promoting the education of children and young people (under the age of 25 years) resident in the Parish, who are in need of financial assistance, in particular:
  1. In awarding grants for further education at schools, universities, colleges and educational institutions as approved by the Trustees.
  2. In providing financial assistance, outfits, tolls, instruments, books etc to pursue their education or to prepare for or enter a profession, trade or occupation on leaving school, university or other educational establishment.
  3. In assisting individuals by providing them with outfits or paying fees, travelling or maintenance expenses or, by other means, to allow them to earn their living.

The annual income of the Trust is approximately £9,000 per annum and after making grants to the School and paying the insurance on the Playgroup building, small individual grants are available to students attending places of further education.

The grants are awarded at a Trustees’ Meeting held in early September when the level is assessed by dividing the available Income between the number of applicants.

Applications are now invited from individuals attending Universities and Colleges of Further Education or taking up Apprenticeships. APPLICATION FORMS are available from Mr D Buck at Ridgemount, Church Road, Blewbury.

Completed applications must be returned to the above address ON OR BEFORE 25th AUGUST 2016. It is recommended that applications are hand delivered as they are not acknowledged.

Any application received after the above date will be held over to be considered by the Trustees at their March meeting, when grants are often lower because the financial requirements for the rest of the year are unknown.

Blewbury and Upton Village Produce Association

The VPA – your local village gardening club


On Saturday 4th June we visited Hidcote Manor Garden and Kiftsgate Court Garden, both in Chipping Campden. Ten of us made the trip and had a thoroughly enjoyable day. The Kiftsgate Garden was superb and I bought a dwarf honeysuckle from their plant stall. It grows to only 2m in height, which is ideal for my little garden in Didcot.





Also have a look on the website –

Our next garden visit is on Sunday 4th September and is a trip to Loseley Park near Guildford in Surrey – the makers of Loseley ice cream!! Watch out for the posters and information in Blewbury Post Office or through Maggie Maytham in Upton.

DID YOU KNOW?  According to the Guinness Book of World Records the tallest ever sunflower grew to 7.76m high – about the height of four men standing on each other shoulders. Maybe we could have a competition next year and try and get into the record books. Have a great summer and enjoy your garden and/or allotment.  We’ll catch up again in September.  Happy Gardening Eileen


Notes from the allotment

As usual with British weather, it can’t make up its mind whether to hit us with a heatwave or a monsoon.

It does make it difficult to plan in advance! The most notable effect of all this confusion is that the weeds positively LOVE it, and have grown exponentially. If you leave them for a couple of days, they grow two feet, so it is vital to try and keep on top of them – not easy.

We are well into broad bean season now, with the autumn sown ones ready for cropping and the spring sown ones catching up fast. Don’t forget to nip the tops out to confuse the aphids, although so far I have not seen many. I read recently that a bean is at its best when the pods are swelling so that you can see the shape of the bean inside and when you open it, the scar attaching the bean to the pod should be green or white, not black – if it is then it is past it.

My first sowing of leeks and carrots having completely failed, I tried again in the warmer weather and this time have had good results. In the meantime a friend helped out with some surplus leek seedlings and they are now growing well. The new ones can go into the ground in a few weeks’ time. And in lieu of sowing salad leaves I bought a tray of “growing salad” from a well-known supermarket and planted them all out – a wonderful crop with very little effort or cost.

I’m still not having much luck with brassicas; my first beautiful seedlings were entirely destroyed by slugs, and the replacements are struggling to get going. Still, they are in the ground for a long time so hopefully they get their act together soon. And the onions, I’m obviously not feeding them enough as they are still puny….shame!

On the fruit front, it looks like being a very good year for soft fruits; my tayberry is smothered in fruit already and summer raspberries are forming. I think there are a lot of gooseberries but they are doing their usual hiding trick of under the leaves. And I think I will be having a bumper harvest of strawberries; I have a patch at the allotment and two patches at home, all now tucked up under their bed of straw to protect them from mud, rain and slugs, and netted against the hungry birds! Angela Hoy (

Blewbury WI news

Tea for Two? It was more like tea for 200 as the WI Ladies served tea and their delicious home- made cakes at the Fun Day on June 11th celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday. Everyone will be welcome to join us at the following events, which will cover July and August.

  • Friday 1st July, Crafts meeting at Liz’s. 7pm. Ring Liz on 850098
  • Wednesday 6th July, Local walk. Meet at Village Hall 9.30am. There will be no Walk in August.
  • Thursday 7th July, Flower Demo at Cassington.
  • Thursday 7th July, Coffee at Style Acre with Marilyn. 10.30am.
  • The date for the Scrabble meetings will be posted on the WI website (address below)
  • Wednesday 13th July, Visit to Buscot Park.
  • Wednesday 27th July, WI monthly meeting at the Vale Room 7.30pm: “An Evening of Flowers” June Cassel.
  • Friday 29th July, Crafts meeting at Liz’s 7pm. 850098
  • Wednesday 24th August, Summer Garden Meeting at the Melland Room.

For more details of any of our events, or if you wish to join us, please ring Karen on 850219 or visit our webpage, where you will find more information.  Love from Cilla.

Blewbury Croquet Club

The season is now in full swing and various home and outside tournaments have been played with mixed results.

We lost to Oxford University in the Southern Federation League, this usually happens because the Uni students play well above their handicaps! Unfortunately we were knocked out in the first round of the Longman Cup by Harwell. During the afternoon the Radio Oxford Saturday Sport programme did a live broadcast from the match.

On the plus side half the Berkshire team in the Inter-Counties match was made up of Blewbury club members. (Blewbury was in Berkshire when the Croquet Association was formed, and so is still counted as such). The match is played over four days and the Berkshire team came third and so won promotion to the First Division.

The local round of the All England Golf Croquet Handicap competition was won by David Seed who will go on to play in the Area Final. The Ladies Golf Croquet Doubles tournament was won by Marion Allin and Eileen Taylor.

By the time you read this you may have seen club members playing on the beautiful lawn at Hall Barn during the Open Gardens afternoon. We play a fun version of the game for the Roger Cambray Shield, in memory of Roger, a founder member of the club.

For details about the club, and our club events, please see our website Or contact June Wolff 01235 851567,