Biodiversity Group: The Stag Beetle

One in four animals on earth is a beetle and they can be found almost anywhere in the world.  The most spectacular of Britain’s beetles is the Stag beetle.  Males grow to approximately 7cm and females approximately 5 cm in length and are a shiny black with chestnut brown wing cases.  The adult male emerges in May or June flying at dusk

looking for a female.  If he finds one he walks around her with his antlers wide open

showing himself off.  Two males interested in the same female will fight using their antlers in much the same way as a male deer, with the stronger throwing the other onto its back.  Injuries are rare as it is more a display of aggression than a dangerous fight.  In June or July the female lays up to 21 eggs near rotting wood.  Once hatched the larvae spend the next 5 – 6 years underground chewing through the wood, growing and shedding their skin. Eventually they make cocoons in which they transform into a pupa and finally, after just a few weeks into adult beetles.  Although this occurs in autumn the adults stay underground until the following May or June when they emerge and start looking for a mate.  By August most of them are dead.  Scientists are not sure what the adults eat; some think they eat nothing at all, living off fat reserves, whilst others think they use a special tongue to lick the sap from trees. Although southern England has the highest number of Stag beetles, numbers are declining not only here but on the continent as well. Some are killed because people think they are dangerous, many get killed on roads as they are attracted to the warm tarmac surface  and others struggle to find the habitat they need i.e. rotting wood.  They are classed as a ‘protected species’, listed on Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Did You Know?

  • Stag beetles are also known as horse pinchers, thunder beetles and oak ox.
  • Although males have fearsome looking antlers they are quite harmless; it’s the females who can inflict a sharp nip with their smaller antlers if they are handled.
  • Medieval peasants believed Stag beetles summoned thunder and lightning storms, they also thought that they flew around with hot coals in their jaws setting fire to buildings.
  • Stag beetle larvae are really good for the garden eating lots of rotting wood and returning important minerals to the soil. They do not eat living plants or shrubs.

Pavilion Cafe

I will be standing in for Anita at the café on Thursday 9th June.

You don’t have to be in the walking groups to come along.  In the hope of some sun that day, I think I’ll do a Ploughman’s Lunch, Salad Bar and Cream teas.  The Café will be open from 10am until 2pm.  If you are missing the Winter Lunch Club why not come along between 1pm and 2pm for lunch after the walkers have gone when there will be more room for everyone.

You can ring me on 0330 113 6008 (landline) if it would help you to reserve a table.      Kay

Recorded Music Society: May Meeting

Douglas started the last programme with the Overture ‘Magic Flute’ by Mozart.  Two performances by Signals Band, was followed by Bach’s ‘St Mathews Passion’.  An interesting diversion with Pan Pipes was an extraordinary prologue for the sombre tones of Sibelius ‘The Swan of Tuonela’.  Haydn and Cesar Frank with ‘String Quartet’ and ‘Sonata’  preceded  Albinoni’s ‘Oboe Concerto’ and the first half closed with Flanders and Swan attempting a seduction with ‘Have some Madeira m’dear’ .

The second half was a superb DVD of Brahms ‘Violin Concerto in D Major’.      Thank you Douglas for a most enjoyable and imaginative presentation.

The next programme will be given by Bob.                      Contact: Bob Mann 810264

Rector’s Letter June 2016

This month I suspect many will be fed up with the EU vote. We have so much conflicting information with which to try and make our choice.  Where motor manufacturers think it is normal to mislead about the performance of their cars, where leading industrialists can sell companies with large pension deficits,  when  politicians debate the validity of each others’ statements and predictions. The choice is not simple but it is a choice which reflects the growing individualistic ideals of the popular western culture.

In our country, like many others, it took hundreds of years and many lives to become a joined nation.  Yet in so many places we see people seeking independence. Wanting to do what they want and not to be told what they should or shouldn’t do.   As a Star Trek fan I am reminded of Spock’s famous words ‘The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few and of the one’, as he sacrifices his life to save his friends.  The pull between individuals and community has a long history, ever since people started to live in groups.

Our Christian history begins with an individual Abram being singled out by God for a special job. That job was to bring about the knowledge of God to all people.  Abram was to leave his country and homeland and set out to form a new community, he even changed his name to Abraham to mark this.  This new community was to set itself apart from the other communities around.  They were to have their own rules, their own code of dress and conduct. They were to know that they were the chosen of God.  that  on their own they would flourish and become strong.  Over a period of history that is what happened.  They had their ups and downs, they entered into slavery and freedom, they  became oppressed by occupying forces.  Yet they never forgot their national identity and were always looking for freedom to fulfil it.

Yet from a Christian point of view, over history, the purpose for them being called out was misunderstood.  They had been called as a people, to get to know God and trust in Him to develop a special relationship with God.  But this wasn’t initially just to be for them, sure it started with them and they needed their space to develop their relationship with God.  But in the coming of Jesus we discover that God’s message is for all people. For now in Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension, it is the time for the chosen people to go to the rest of the world with their message.  Not to make one geographical nation, but a spiritual family. The early Christians took this to heart as they held all their possessions in common, a very communist way of life in many ways. Yet it was mixed with a belief in a royal kingship and a future king.

There were many debates in the early church about was the good news for them alone or for all people?  A tension if you like between one group or a communion of all people.  Described in scripture as between Jew and Gentile, but it was about a us and them situation. We still face that tension in the church today with our history of the parish system, the local vs the diocese, and we certainly face it still with the EU vote.

So as we as a nation make up our minds and vote, may we as individuals be not selfish or self centred but seek to find in all the confusion the common good.                God Bless – Simon

Aynho Long Walk: 26th May 2016

Ten walkers set out on the path, so well cleared by James Belcher a couple of weeks ago, across to second crossing and up to the Charlton Road. We took the path up to Rainsborough Camp, passed through the camp and on to Camp Farm and the Charlton Road. Once across that we walked through to the lane down to Croughton, and paused to admire the small pony who showed an interest in us. Sadly we had nothing for him (or her). We took the footpath through to Croughton and had to fight our way through the cow parsley and nettles on the final stretch alongside the Memorial Hall grounds. We continued into the village and across to the churchyard before beginning the return through the farm yard and the fields to Mill Lane and then up to Warren Farm meadow and woods. In Upper Aynho Grounds we had permission to pass by the lakes and saw a family of swans, mother and eight goslings with a very protective male hissing at as to keep our distance. From the lakes we climbed up to the Great Barn and out to the B4100 which we crossed safely before joining the Portway path and returning in bright sunshine to sit outside and enjoy our refreshments.

Village Fete: It’s a ‘Right Royal Do’

Aynho’s annual Village Fete will be held in the magnificent grounds of Aynhoe Park, which is right in the centre of the village. And, to celebrate the Fete being back at Aynhoe Park there’s lots of fun, exciting and different things to do for all the family.

Check out the Fete’s web site at – for full details of What’s On, parking and how you could help!

There’s lots to do and enjoy!

Aynho Long Walk: 19th May 2016

Only seven walkers turned up today for our long walk, in spite of the warm and occasionally sunny weather. We took the usual route through the village, down Station Road and along Millers Lane. The rape seed is a vast spread of yellow on all sides at the moment. WE continued along the valley and under the motorway before climbing up to Wharf Lane and continuing down to Souldern Wharf. Very muddy here after yesterday’s storms. The tow path was in good condition and we greeted holiday makers on their long boats in both directions. On the swing bridge carpenters were repairing the hand rail but we crossed easily enough and thence up to the track and under the impressive viaduct. We eventually reached Souldern Village and cut across the fields to the Portway track up to Aynho. After seven miles in two hours five minutes we were really ready for our refreshments. it was good to sit outside and chat over coffee.

Do You Have Car Parking Issues? We Need Your Help!

The Village Survey in 2014 highlighted the community concern regarding the lack of parking, especially in the older parts of the village. Comments highlighted various frustrations of residents, especially those relying on street parking who are sometimes unable to park adjacent to their homes. The issue is further complicated in that the Survey also showed residents wanted the Parish Council to take action to reduce parking on verges and in particular the village green.

As in past years the Parish Council has spoken again with South Northants Council and Northants County Council who can offer no obvious solutions or funds to alleviate this problem.

Being pragmatic, any improvements to parking within the village will need to be identified, funded (if required) and implemented from within the Aynho community.

To better understand the scope of the problem, the Parish Council has decided to run a simple feedback survey across the affected areas of the village; we’d like to gauge the scale of the problem and frustrations it causes and invite your ideas. In tandem, the Parish Council will canvas local businesses and organisations.

Our hope is that we (the residents) might collectively identify one or two ideas that help alleviate some (or all) of the parking frustrations at no (or low) cost.

During the next few days residents in the Conservation area will receive their Survey form – which can be completed online or using the paper-copy – with all Surveys required before or by Friday 27-May.

Aynho Parking Survey. Click Here

If you opt to complete the Survey online – which is easy and simple to use – you’ll need the password to log-on and your security code both of which are on the accompanying letter.

If you opt to complete the paper-copy this will need to be handed into reception at the Cartwright and they’ll pass onto the Parish Council, or we’ll collect it from you before/on Friday 27-May.

Aynho Long Walk: 12th May 2016

On the sunniest, warmest day of the year so far it was good to have seventeen of us including newcomer, Sam, on our walk this week. We set out along the footpath parallel to the Sports Field . thanks to farmer, James Belcher, the path along and through the flowering rape seed was clear through to second crossing. We continued up to the Charlton rad and along to the path signed off towards the Rainsborough Camp. We passed alongside the camp and began the gradual descent to Lower Walton Grounds. The views were spectacular. Great squares of yellow rape seed, spread across the hillsides; Banbury and Edgehill beyond stood out clearly in the bright sunlight until we reached the valley. We walked around the out buildings on to the tarmac track to admire the cherry blossom. Time and heavy rain the previous day had reduced the intensity of the blossom, and the track seemed covered in confetti as the petals spread along the route. We passed into the lay-by on the Banbury Road, crossed onto the bridle way through to Millers Lane, and walked down to the right angled bend. We did not go down to the ford, but followed the path along the wall and emerged opposite Bob Magarry’s house. We walked up to Souldern Village and took the path opposite the Manor. The view over the rape seed to Aynho Park House was wonderful. WE continued across the fields to the Portway route and were soon back enjoying our refreshments outside in the sunshine.
6.5 miles 2hrs.

Photographic Society: May 2016 Report

Click here to see the complete photograph ‘Small Skipper on Cornflower’ by Janet Broadbent.

In May, Jannine Timms gave a presentation on ‘Portrait, Studio and Wedding Photography’. A keen amateur photographer, Jannine turned professional three and a half years ago and, since that time, has developed a local business specialising primarily in portrait and studio work. While undertaking some wedding photography for friends, she finds this type of work can sometimes be difficult commercially, due to the nature of the occasion and the number of people involved. Her preference is therefore to act as a ‘second shooter’ at weddings whenever possible, using natural light for the photographs rather than flash. However, Jannine’s main business derives from portrait work, particularly of children, taken informally in the home environment. Again, she avoids flash for this purpose and typically works at speeds of around 1/60 second at 100 ASA using Canon 5D and Canon 5D Mk 2 cameras, with a Canon 500D as back-up. Portraits often involve a degree of post-production work to remove lighting irregularities, skin blemishes, tattoos, etc., and for this work Jannine uses Lightroom and Photoshop for software processing. For more formal portraiture, however, Jannine prefers to hire a studio as she lacks this facility currently – although it does form part of her future plans.

Jannine is very interested in commercial studio photography and promotes her work in various trade magazines. For this purpose, she uses the studio electronic flash equipment and either hires a recognised model, or forms a relationship with an aspiring model who similarly wishes to promote herself. Overall, this was a most interesting and refreshingly honest account of the transition from being an amateur to a professional photographer, accompanied by a wealth of photographs and details of lessons learnt along the way, that was much appreciated by Jannine’s audience.

The next meetings of the Society are on 1 June when member Randall Miles ARPS AFIAP will give a second presentation on his photographic experiences entitled ‘Tales of Future Excursions to the Wilds’, followed on 6 July by professional photographer Dan Evans, who will present ‘Lens Lore: Using the Lens for Best Creative Effect’. Both meetings will be held at 7.30pm in the Cartwright Hotel, Aynho. In addition, two Outdoor Workshops are planned for 15 June and 20 July, details of which will appear on the Society’s website. Everyone is welcome to attend the Society’s meetings and activities, so do please come along and meet us all.