Biodiversity Group: Community Orchard

The Community Orchard on the Playing Field
In recent years environmentalists have stated that small traditional orchards could vanish from the British landscape by the end of the century. Natural England and the National Trust suggest  60% of England’s orchards have disappeared since the 1950s. This has impacted on local biodiversity, as the traditional orchard is a crucial habitat for flora and fauna, including mammals such as long-eared bats, birds, moths, lichens and fungi.
In Aynho, we have had the opportunity to plant a traditional orchard, the definition of which is: “having at least five trees widely spaced and allowed to grow gnarled, hollowed and eventually fall where they stand. They are not intensively managed and are treated with few or no chemicals.”  We have planted a wide variety of local fruit trees, including eating apples, plums, greengage and pear. We will monitor the biodiversity of the orchard in the coming months and years and, of course, enjoy the fruit with the rest of the village.  Below is information on some of the varieties.  More information on others such as the Aynho Scarlet will follow next month.
Deddington Pippin apple:  Discovered’, named and propagated by Andy Howard (The Heritage Fruit Tree Company based in Adderbury) in 2007.  Excellent cookers and dual purpose apples that can be eaten or cooked.  
Pitmaston Pine Apple apple:  Raised by Mr White, steward to Lord Foley of Stoke Edith, Herefordshire in 1785 and introduced by Mr Williams of Pitmaston near Worcester.   A late dessert russet apple tasting of pineapple and honey.
Beauty of Bath apple:  Propagated by George Cooling of Bath in 1864 and awarded an RHS First class certificate in 1887.  It usually crops in August but is sometimes ready as early as July.  Soft juicy flesh with a fairly sharp flavour.
Conference pear: Cultivated by Thomas Rivers of Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire in about 1884.  It was first exhibited at the British National Pear Conference in 1895 hence its name. Sweet and juicy.
Black Worcester pear:  Probably the oldest English pear still in use and can be traced back to the early 16th century. A cooking rather than an eating pear.
Barnack Beauty:  Raised at Barnack (near Stamford, Lincolnshire) in 1840. Very sweet, juicy, yellow fleshed apple.
Orleans Reinette: First recorded in the 18th century.  Late- season apple very different from modern apples being firm and crisp to the bite.
Aynho Scarlet:  The Aynho Scarlet grew just on the edge of Aynho on the B4100 for quite a few years.  Unfortunately one year the Highways Agency took out the whole tree.  Luckily Andy Howard from the Heritage Fruit Tree Co in Adderbury had taken graft wood by then and propagated it naming it the Aynho Scarlet.  A dark red/scarlet, crisp and crunchy apple reminiscent of a spartan/braeburn.
Blenheim Orange:  Discovered around 1740 in Woodstock, by the local cobbler (some say tailor), George Kempster, growing against a boundary wall at Blenheim Park. He moved it to his garden, where it became famous locally. It was originally named Kempster’s Pippin. The Duke of Marlborough at Blenheim Palace approved of the apple and it was renamed Blenheim Orange in 1804.  A late culinary dessert apple with a sweet, nutty flavour.



Sports & Recreation: March 2016

OPEN for BUSINESS  Thursday 3rd  &  Thursday 10th March 10.0am – 3.0pm                    COFFEE, CAKES, LUNCH, SNACKS, HOT & COLD DRINKS                                                 (I’m covering for Anita while she is away, please come along for a chat and         some food – Kay)

Anyone want to join me on a Friday morning 9am for a walk/jog/run around the track.  I’m aware there are quite a few people using the track for fitness and wonder if we can all support and motivate each other?
Contact me on or 0330 113 6008 if you are interested.  Also…….

I’m planning on a track tidy up sometime in March when we have a dry day. Look out for the sign at the gate and if you use the track please come and help. It will involve sweeping and making the track safe for all users. You’ll need to bring a broom.  Once swept, I can then weed kill the edges.

Thanks everyone for taking part this year.   A cheque for £85 has gone to our first winner for 2016, Jane Lang from The Glebe.


Rector’s Letter March 2016


One of the interesting things about Easter to me, is that it moves about.  To many this is frustrating not least to schools and their holidays.  But to me it is great as it shows that the power of Easter is not tamed.  Christmas has been fixed as one date, 25th December, yet it too slowly moves through the week a day at a time, in a very predictable way.  Such that it has almost be over taken by secular society, people know when it is, if not what it is truly all about. With Easter people neither know when it is, let alone what it is and so it evades the onset of consumerism.

Easter reminds us of a defining moment in world history and understanding.  For many we focus rightly on Easter being the day that Jesus rose from the dead.  Yet this in some ways is only a small physical miracle. If all Easter contained was the story of a body being resuscitated, it would be no great deal.  But Easter is far more than that.   Jesus’ resurrection was a fantastic thing that changed the world.  But he didn’t just come back from death to die again in a physical sense.  His earthly resurrected presence showed the reality of there being life after the end of our physical life here on earth.  Sure, he came and shared some of our world again in a physical way.  He ate and slept and talked with many people, but if that was all then he might have touched a few hundred or thousand of lives before he died again.

Yet Jesus didn’t die again, he is alive as much today as that first Easter day.  Not with us in this physical world, but in the spiritual world, in a place referred to by many as Heaven.  However we are not alone and left behind, for he sent the Holy Spirit to be with us, to be a continuing reminder, if we need it, of this promised new life.  A life that brings light and hope into the dark places; a life that walks beside us and with us through our journey of life.  A life that changed the way the world can see God, a life that cannot be neither tamed nor contained.  There is an advert which says ‘why have velvet when you can have silk,’ I say why have bunnies when you can have the real thing!    Happy Easter      Christ is Risen, he is risen indeed, Halleluiah.

Rev Simon Dommett 01869 810903

This month sees our website having its second anniversary.  We can be found at  Here you will find details of services and events as well as information about Baptisms, Christenings, Thanksgivings, Weddings and Funerals.

The time after Easter is also the time when the church elects its representatives to help run the church.  Two very important roles are played by the Church Wardens who are elected on an annual basis.  The Rector and they are supported by The Parochial Church Council (PCC) who look after the general running of the Church and oversees the finances. The PCC consists of various members; the Rector; the Readers; 2 Churchwardens; Deanery Synod Representatives; and 6 or 9 other Members. Elections for all these offices take place in April by members on the Electoral Roll at the Annual Parochial Church meetings. Now is the time to look around to see who you will elect.  Have you thanked your PCC and wardens and Rector for all they have done this past year?  Have you asked then if they will stand again or are a new pair of hands needed?

It is in your hands.                                       Annual Parochial Church Meeting at Aynho 11th April 7.30pm

Mothering Sunday 6th March. All warmly invited to this Family Service. Come and receive a posy of flowers.

Palm Sunday 20th March  Palm Sunday  marks the start of Holy Week.  This year we start our Palm Sunday procession at 10am from All Saints School in Croughton, with the blessing of our Palm crosses.  We will then process the short distance to All Saints Church, the service will start when the procession arrives. At church, in the context of a Communion Service, we hear again the telling of our Lord Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, remember his last supper and passion, before spending the next 7 days, of Holy Week in our final preparations for Easter

Steane Special Summer Sermon Series

Come along and enjoy the beauty of Steane Park and the parish church of St. Peter, in our Steane Special Summer Sermon Series.  Each month we gather to hear a special invited speaker and enjoy the beauty of traditional prayer book worship. Steane church only has six services a year so this is a wonderful opportunity to visit the church, enjoy worship and hear some excellent speakers.  All services start at 6pm

April 10th,   May 8th   June 12th  July 10th  August 14th  &  September 14th = Canon Peter Gompertz

Recorded Music Society: February 2016 Meeting

An absolutely cascade of musical delight was presented by Lee Symonds our newest member.  The first half comprised items by Purcell, Canteloube, Elgar, Saint-Saens, Rozsa. Carl Davis and Alfred Newman. In addition some very informative comment by Lee.  The send half was a total surprise with songs from Maria Lanza, Al Jolson, Danny Kaye, Vic Damone, Hope, Crosby and Sinatra, and more highly revealing comments – rather saucy!  It was good to welcome visitors from Croughton.

Thank you Lee for a most entertaining evening.

For more information:  Contact: Bob Mann 810264

Aynho Long Walk: 25th February 2016

Twelve walkers set out through the village in cold, overcast weather this morning. We walked down Station Road to Millers Lane and turned right along the valley and under the motorway, but instead of following the path out to the Great Western Arms we turned left on the path up to Wharf Lane and followed the Lane down to Souldern Wharf. The towpath was slippery as the frosty ground thawed, but we were delighted when the sun broke through the clouds and warmed us up. We crossed the Swing Bridge and followed the long winding route up to Souldern village. Once through the village we took Church Lane down to the Church and on to the Sewage Works were a crew were busy with a problem or service. Up through a field of sheep and into the copse on the county border where we heard a very busy woodpecker. We were soon back at the pavilion where we were delighted to congratulate Anita on the upgrade from four to five stars after the surprise visit from the health inspector.

Aynho Long Walk: 18th February 2016

Perhaps because it is half term week, only twelve of us set off on a warm sunny day through the village and down to Millers Lane and the ford, which we skirted round before climbing up to Souldern Village. The ground was muddy underfoot from previous day’s rain but we avoided the worst of it on grassy if squelchy paths. We crossed further fields on our usual route towards Nancy Bowles Wood, and were delighted by the plentiful daffodils and snowdrops. The track up to the wood was still quite firm although some ice remained under the water in puddles and this proved quite slippery. We cut across to the Fritwell road and followed it back into Souldern and continued right through the village. Rather than experience the very marshy ground on the Portway route, we continued and returned the way we had come via Millers Lane. It was good to sit outside in the sunshine for our coffee.

Aynho Long Walk: 11th February 2016

Seventeen walkers set out in bright sunshine on this cold frosty this morning. We took the black path and Butts Close down to the stile by the dad’s Army hut and then crossed the fields to Lower Walton Grounds. The frost had hardened the ground and reduced the problem of mud but the sun was rapidly thawing out the ground where it was free of shadow. We circled round the farm buildings, crossed the footbridge and joined the main track along the valley. The hedge sheltered it from the power of the sun so the track was frozen hard. We continued along the valley all the way to Charlton and climbed the slope to cross the stone pits. After crossing the adjoining field we emerged by the school and walked down through the village in bright sunshine. The path up to Rainsborough Camp was softening in the sunshine as we passed below the camp and came upto the path along the ridge. back at the Pavilion we sat outside in the sunshine to enjoy our well-earned refreshments.

Aynho Long Walk. 4th February 2016

David led fifteen walkers this week. They went acroos to Rainsborough Camp and on into Camp Farm before crossing the Charlton Road on to the permitted path through to the lane down to Croughton. They continued onto the footpath down into the valley and up into Croughton Village by the playing field. From there they took the path through to the Brackley Road and crossed to Church Lane and returned along the path to Mill Lane and on to Warren Farm and Upper Aynho Grounds. In the field on the way up to the Portway path they came across a herd of deer enjoying the sunshine. They all returned for the usual refreshments at the pavilion after a very enjoyable walk

Photographic Society: February 2016 Report

Click here to see the complete photograph – Wine by the Fruit by Simon Lutter

In February, member Martin Chapman ARPS, gave a presentation entitled ‘Wildlife, landscapes and infrared photography’. An enthusiastic photographer who has travelled widely, Martin opened his presentation with some intriguing images of different wildlife species in the UK, including deer, red kites, snakes, dragonflies and other insects. He continued by discussing his approach to landscape photography, guiding his audience on pictorial journeys to the Acadia National Park in Maine, USA, the Lake District and France. Martin then ended the first part of his presentation with a discussion on infrared photography, explaining how an unused digital SLR camera can be converted to infrared operation by the removal of internal colour filters adjacent to the camera’s sensor – work requiring the services of a professional camera workshop. Once done, the unusual monochrome effect characteristic of infrared images can be readily obtained, as Martin demonstrated in a series of photographs and montages.

Martin opened the second part of the presentation by showing his photographs of the landscape and wildlife in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. The landscapes were taken mostly at sunrise, capturing the characteristically rich tapestry of orange/red hues in the early morning sky. He also showed his images of birds, giraffes, antelope, waterbuck and wildebeest, together with predators such as the lion, cheetah, leopard and wild dog. Martin then drew his presentation to a close by revisiting the USA, with photographs of native alligators, manatees and a wide variety of birds in Florida, and concluded by going on to show images of India’s tigers. Overall, this was an extensive and very impressive collection of photographs, supported by a detailed commentary, all of which was much appreciated by Martin’s audience.

John Branton