Only eight of us turned up on a lovely sunny day for this morning’s walk. We set off along the Black Path, continued down Butts Close and over the stone stile by the old observation hut. The footpath was not too muddy or wet here, the views across to Banbury and Bloxham were bright and clear until we reached the buildings at Lower Walton Grounds. We continued up the track and round the back of the farm buildings where the track was quite muddy, and onto the footbridge, being careful to duck under the overhanging branch. The farm track along the valley was a series of elongated lakes as it always is after heavy rain, but once on the next field edge we were in the dry again. We passed through the old stone pits and walked down through the village where serious road works were underway. The road was closed to through traffic and completely blocked by contractors’ vehicles. We passed the time of day with the workmen and continued down through the village and up the footpath to Rainsborough Camp. On the final leg along the ridge we came across a team from College Farm fencing off the gap in the hedge which gives access to the main length of the ridge. They explained that the horse riding through the crops and along the tracks was causing serious problems. The farmer had written polite notes to the local hunt and to stables asking them to refrain but to no avail. They had no alternative but to fence them off. As it is not an official footpath there is no point in complaining and we do have sympathy with their problems. No doubt we will find alternative routes. Nevertheless there was plenty to discuss over refreshments when we got back to the pavilion.
COME AND SEE HOW TO SAVE A LIFE
Saturday 24th October 10.00am-12.00pm. Aynho Village Hall
If you missed the August session please come and join us and see how to use our new defibrillator. The Community Heartbeat Trust trainers will show us how to use a defibrillator and use simulators to go through likely scenarios, demonstrate chest compressions (do not do mouth to mouth any longer), sequence on how to use the defibrillator & putting someone into the recovery position. There will then allow time for any questions. This is not a full blown first aid course but designed to make people aware of what to do.
On a glorious September evening, a band of twenty eager would-be ecologists set off in pursuit of our resident Aynho bats. We had ear-marked three areas to watch: The College Field Lakes, The Market Square and the Church. As we left the Sports Field Pavilion and made our way down Charlton Road, the deep red sun, setting over North Oxfordshire, presented a stunning scene, and most agreed that even if we were not to spot any bats, then the evening would not have been wasted.
On reaching College Field Lakes, our hopes were raised by the quantity of flies on the water. Daubenton’s bats are particularly keen to pick flies off the surface of the water, and there were flies in abundance. However, the bats would have competition, as the large fish in the well-stocked lake were also keenly feeding on the flies and every now and again, a loud splash, or even the sight of a large fish leaping in the air broke the silence.
As the light faded, the bats started to appear. We had set out bat detector to 45khz, which is a frequency used for most of our bat species. The children in the group took it in turns to “spot” the bats using the detector, and they did a sterling job. Pipistrelles were the first to appear: a small, fast-moving bat. Then the larger, chunkier, Long-Eared Brown Bat made an appearance. Finally, we spotted bats feeding off the water. Unfortunately positive identification of bats in flight is extremely difficult, so we can only say that they might have been Daubenton’s bats. There were two groups, or colonies, of bats feeding on the lake. One group were feeding next to the road, the other were gathered at the far end of the lake.
After a while, we made our way to the other areas to be observed, but we only spotted one lone bat flying in extremely satisfied with our evening’s work.
We have erected bat boxes around the Sports Field and in the Small Play Area, as we believe it is crucial that we provide these endearing creatures with all the help we can. Many thanks to Nigel Oakey in granting us access to the lake. A beautiful spot. We will certainly conduct a bat watch again next year.
There was a cold wind and an overcast sky when we arrived at Lord Leycester’s Hospital but the warmth of the greeting from the Master, who led us on a fascinating tour of the Elizabethan building made up for the weather. The garden was a delight as the sun began to warm up the outside. We had a good lunch at the Hospital and then moved down to the river for our second visit.
The Mill Street Gardens, on the banks of the river, overlooked by Warwick Castle were also of great interest. By now the sun was out and we enjoyed browsing around or having a quiet sit surrounded by lovely views. Another great success for the Committee and organiser, Jean Skuce.
Village residents may have noticed that the ‘world wide wait‘ for the completion of the Gigaclear Ultra Fast Broadband network took a step closer this week, with the installation of the village cabinet (shown above) on Charlton Road on 10 September. The cabinet will act as the ‘local exchange’ for the village and will link up with the ‘backhaul’ to connect us to the internet. It should be connected to mains electricity at the start of October.
The important issue for residents will be when can we expect a live network? Gigaclear is dependant on Vodafone providing the backhaul connection to the village. We were informed initially that Vodafone thought that they had sufficient network capacity for the villages of Croughton & Aynho – however this now appears not to be the case, and so they are in the process of upgrading the optic fibre connection to the village. As a result, Gigaclear expect to be able to make the first live connections in early November. Gigaclear are forecasting that the network build will be complete by December.
Road Closure Blacksmith’s Hill
Gigaclear have applied for a formal road closure to complete the works required at the bottom of Blacksmith’s Hill. They have done this following an objection from local residents. As the notice will take some eight weeks to come into effect – mid November – it will mean that if the village has a live connection in October, the residents of College Fields, Banbury & Charlton Roads & The Hill will have to wait for the Blacksmith’s Hill section of the network to be completed before a live connection can be made available.
Boxcom have also now returned to the village – Boxcom is the firm who will make all the individual house connections. In the next few weeks they will be making the connections in the cabinet and will then test the quality of the connection from the cabinet to individual properties. This work can be undertaken before there is a live feed to the village. These tests are important as there are concerns about some of the quality of the work of the previous Gigaclear contractor, which may need to be rectified.
A full coach load of club members and friends arrived at Cliveden on a disappointingly cold and cloudy morning. After a brief explanation, from Peter Cole, of the link between the estate and Friars Well at the time of Lady Ward, we ventured forth. An assistant at the information office gave us a description of what was available and from there we went our separate ways. Some to the Video show, others for coffee but most to explore the gardens. After a short while the sun came out and from then on the day was warm and sunny for the most part. We all enjoyed the Water Gardens. The Maze was a trial for some but they were efficiently rescued. The Long Garden, the Rose Garden and the Parterre were beautifully maintained and full of colour and the descent to the Thames for the fitter members was a very enjoyable extra, although the return climb was a challenge to the fittest. Various viewpoints offered stunning views across the countryside and the Orangery offered very satisfying refreshments, although some members could not resist the delicious ice creams from the nearby van. A big thank you to Jean Skuce for organising such a wonderful day out.
A lovely day for a walk today: warm and sunny but not too hot. Fourteen long walkers set off along the Black Path, through the village and down Millers Lane to the ford. The leading group crossed the footbridge and walked through the fields, under the motorway and out to the Great Western Pub. From there we continued onto the towpath and walked to the swing bridge. The other group did not cross the footbridge but continued up into Souldern village and then down Wharf lane to Souldern Wharf. we all passed a number of long boats cruising the canal. Dragon flies flew along the reeds and gunnera and ducks panicked at our approach and swam noisily across to the far bank. At the swing bridge Marion and her dogs had waited to make sure we unchained it to allow boats to pass safely. We caught the other group as we followed the track past the long viaduct and up into Souldern Village. We all crossed the fields together and came up the Portway path, past the collapsed wall and onto the pavilion where Kay was back for one week only with fabulous cakes and lunches. Seven and a half miles in two and a half hours and still in lovely sunshine.