Aynho Garden Colours at Sunset

Perhaps not the best of weather today, but tonight’s stunning sunset and the vibrant colours in the garden – even for mid-summer – made me think it would be great to keep a record of just how good our gardens look at this time of year. So, here’s a few snaps of my garden, the plants and the colours.

Maybe the images aren’t quite as sharp as they could be – they’ve been taken on an iPhone – but the colours are fabulous!

And if you’d like to share your garden pictures let me know and I’ll add them onto the web site along with any comments so that we can all remember summer in the depths of cold, wet and grey winter! Contact me by email by clicking here.

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Where to go this Summer Holiday

Farthinghoe Nature Reserve
Purston Lane 4.5 miles west of  Brackley NN13 5PL
A former landfill site now transformed into an oasis for wildflowers and insects.  This small, amazingly diverse site is now a mosaic of developing woodland, open grassland and ponds. The meadows are improving each year as a result of better management with the return of some of the old meadow flowers such as lady’s bedstraw, meadow vetchling and snake’s-head fritillary.  The ponds and wet areas attract dragonflies and damselflies from the nearby lake and stream and in late July it is possible to find beautiful demoiselle damselflies in good numbers. There is also a colony of marbled white butterflies on the site.  Pipistrelle and noctule bats find an ideal hunting ground here. Among the birds are treecreeper, bullfinch, breeding sparrowhawk, several species of warbler and long-tailed tit.
Information taken from their website: http://www.wildlifebcn.org/reserves/farthinghoe

Otmoor RSPB Reserve
Otmoor Lane, Oxford OX3 9TD
The information below is taken from their website.
Otmoor is a mixture of wet meadows and reedbeds. In summer it is a haven for breeding wading birds while later in the year you can see the spectacular starling murmuration.  The reserve has no postcode, but OX3 9TD will take you into Otmoor Lane then follow this road to the reserve car park at the end.
Top things to do in Summer—taken from their website
1See hobbies hawking over the grassland.
2.  See dragonflies and damselflies patrolling ditches and
3.  Watch butterflies dancing along the footpath rides.
Important Visitor numbers can be high, particularly at weekends. If you are able, please try to visit the reserve during the week to avoid disappointment.
If the car park is full please do not park along Otmoor Lane, as this can block access for emergency vehicles.
Thank you
Website: http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/find-a-reserve/reserves-a-z/reserves-by-name/o/otmoor/index.aspx

Lamb’s Pool 
4 Hook Norton Lane, Sibford Ferris, Banbury OX15 5DJ
The information below is taken from their website.
Lamb’s Pool reserve is a man-made lake with hedges and
pollarded willows. The pool, popular with anglers through the years, is fed by a stream which forms the head of the
River Stour. Reed sweet-grass and common reedmace
flourish at its shallow eastern marshes with occasional bursts of handsome yellow iris, marsh-marigold, ragged-robin, water mint, meadowsweet and fool’s watercress.  White-legged damselflies have also been recorded here. Birds and Bats
A small, scrub-covered island in the middle of the lake is popular with breeding species such as tufted duck and coot. Snipe, barn owl and lapwing have been glimpsed nearby. Heron and kingfisher use the pool for hunting and fishing. The reserve is surrounded by fields and buzzards and song thrush can be seen and heard close by. The pool, one of three open water areas in the valley linked by hedges, is ideal hunting ground for bats.  Pipistrelle, Daubenton’s and noctule bats have all been spotted here.
Website: http://www.bbowt.org.uk/reserves/lambs-pool

Hook Norton Cutting
7.5 miles south-west of Banbury, OX15 5JR (northern section).
The information below is taken from their website.
This former Great Western Railway track was used to transport iron ore from the north Oxfordshire town of Hook Norton to the blast furnaces of the Midlands and south Wales. It is composed of two sections of line separated by an old railway tunnel (which does not belong to BBOWT and is not accessible).
Wildlife Highlights
The southern section has open, sunny banks of limestone grassland studded with a galaxy of wild flowers including
woolly thistle, oxeye daisy, fairy flax and wild carrot. The northern section has areas of woodland and areas of scrub. These ring out with birdsong in spring and summer. Among the many species recorded nesting here are great spotted and green woodpeckers, garden warbler, blackcap, whitethroat and goldcrest. The cutting is also notable for its populations of bees. Butterflies, including marbled white, common blue and red admiral are numerous.
Exposed cliffs:   The cutting is of special geological importance because of its exposed Jurassic oolite limestones which contain many fossils, and are stained red by the presence of iron oxide. Recently, scrub has been cleared to allow better views of these. The retaining walls along the track are a lichen and moss-spotter’s dream.
Website: http://www.bbowt.org.uk/reserves/hook-norton-cutting

More Information on Oolite Limestone
Aynho is built on the edge of an oolitic limestone plateau  approximately 145 metres above sea level.  Oolite limestone was formed about 165 million years ago in the middle of the Jurassic Period.  It is made up of ooliths which are mostly composed of little balls of calcium carbonate that look a little like fish eggs.  If you look closely at the limestone you may also see small fossil seashell fragments.  This limestone  was formed in shallow tropical seas which means Aynho was once under a warm sea like the Caribbean.





Aynho Long Walk 27th July 2017

We welcomed a new walker, Faye to the long walk today so twelve walkers set off down the Portway path. Today both the Park House deer herds were quite close to the fence, although our approach seemed to disturb them. We continued across the fields to Souldern and then down Wharf Lane to the canal. The water was still and calm. Surprisingly no long boats passed the whole time we were walking the towpath. Plenty of ducks and other water birds enjoyed the fishing. At the Great Western we took the road over the canal and the railway and under the next railway and then followed the field edge round to the motorway tunnel. The copses on either side of the tunnel had grown very strongly, making the approaches very dim and dingy. In the field beyond, we saw wild deer rise out of the ripe wheat and go leaping and running away. We continued through the ford, still very low and clear of the track, and walked up Millers Lane back to the village and the refreshments awaiting at the pavilion. 6.2 miles.

Recorded Music Society: June Meeting

Our Spring/Summer session ended with joint contributions from Doris, John, Lee and Douglas and ranged delightfully from “The Love Duet from La Traviata” to “Waltz No. 7” by Chopin, followed by “Al Jolson, Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand with selections from their repertoires.  The second half featured DVD’s presented by Douglas and included music by “Blue Sugar”. This heralded a piano session of Schubert melodies and “Slavonic Dances” by Dvorak.

Contact: Bob Mann 810264

Aynho Long Walk 20th July 2017

The rain had stopped when the twelve of us set off down Portway. Once into the field the grass on the path, weighed down by the rain, leaned over, soaked our legs and filled our boots with water. We continued across the fields and up to the B4100. A dangerous crossing into Upper Aynho Grounds was achieved without difficulty so we continued past the buildings and took the track down to the lakes. The staff had kindly given us permission to walk round the lakes. We saw what we thought were moorhen chicks, tiny fluffy black birds swimming away at great speed, unlike the swan and cygnets further on; they were totally unphased. We crossed the bridges between the ponds observing the huge, abandoned swan’s nest as we passed. We climbed through more soaking wet grass up through the woods into Warren Farm and were pleased to see the Aberdeen Angus herd grazing again. There were no horses in the next field as we continued into Mill Lane and up towards Croughton village. Along the path behind the village we reached a field full of sheep. They immediately set off to escape and rushed through a gate into the next field. We continued up to the main road and crossed towards the Reading Room and along the path next to it, to cross to the back lane and on via Camp Farm to the ridge, Green Lane and the Pavilion. Today we were greeted by Anita and her lovely cakes and light lunches. Great to have her back.

Aynho Long Walk: 13th July 2017

Eleven walkers set out in overcast weather this morning. We followed the newly mowed Green Lane down to Lower Aynho Grounds, walked through the dumping area and crossed the bridge on the path past the cottages. As we turned up the footpath towards Kings Sutton and entered the field edge a rabbit bolted into the hedge row, the first of several on the walk. We took the usual diagonal path through the ripening wheat up to the copse and into the field beyond. More rabbits. Through more wheat and up to the top of the ridge. We paused for a drink and a breather before continuing through the dried and compressed oil-seed r*p*. The field edge we reached was full of tall barley, (self-seeded from last year?) We were soon out of there and on the long curve round to the next field where we met a group of Daventry Ramblers. News of our walks had obviously reached them and they were impressed. We continued through the old stone pits, into Charlton Village and down to the bridge at the bottom of the hill. Up towards the camp were more mature crops and just before we reached the track along the top of the ridge we came to a section of colourful wild flowers. Back at the pavilion we were grateful to Kathy and Norman who had provided drinks and biscuits and to Paula and Ron who brought some cakes. Anita will be back next week.

Aynho Long Walk: 6th July

Only nine of us on the long walk today but it was pleasantly cool as we set off through the village and down to Millers Lane. The stone wall was being repaired near the turn to Lower Aynho Grounds, but the workman was pleased to be shaded by the trees. After crossing the ford we walked up to Souldern. The concrete tracks are being replaced so the path is closed to vehicles. We paused at the top for a cool down and a drink. As we approached the gate and stile for the path behind Souldern Manor a blacksmith was at work preparing to shoe a horse which was standing patiently by. This was not the case with some very lively dogs who were keen to welcome us into the field. We continued on our way and took the usual path between the houses and onto the track up to Nancy Bowles Wood. The path off there to the left towards the alpacas was overgrown with very tall nettles: only with arms above our heads could we get through unstung. It was worth it for all the scabious and knapweed flowering along the next section and the marbled white butterflies that few of us had seen before. By now the sun was very warm and strong, although we had had a few large drops of rain. We came back through Souldern village and across the Portway route to the pavilion, where sadly there were no refreshments today.