£5 swim offer for Upton residents age 60 plus

If you are age 60 and over, living outside a market town, then make use of this great Spring swim offer to try out a leisure pool near you.

Most residents living in South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse can reach a pool within about 20 minute drive time, but taking that first step to try out swimming can be hard. To make it easier, GO Active Gold, in partnership with Better Leisure Centres, are offering unlimited swimming for £5 during April 2017 to residents age 60 plus living in rural villages.

GO Active Gold is a Sport England funded project, encouraging people living in rural areas age 60 and over to become more active by setting up activities local to them.

Research shows that as you get older, you’re far more likely to become inactive: 42 per cent of people aged 55 and over are inactive compared to 29 per cent of the population as a whole.

Swimming is an ideal workout for the elderly, mainly because it presents little risk of injury and is low impact. Swimming also develops strong and stable core muscles, which are necessary for good balance control — a major protective factor against falls.

Make sure you don’t miss out on this offer by registering your place before Saturday 1 April 2017, just call 01235 422226 or complete the online registration form on our website:www.getoxfordshireactive.org/go-active-gold.

Once you have registered, visit your local leisure pool during April.  Your one month swim offer will start from the date of your first swim.

South Oxfordshire District – Participating pools include

•           Thame Leisure Centre

•           Henley Leisure Centre

•           Abbey Sports Centre

•           Didcot Wave

Vale of White Horse District – Participating pools includ

•           Wantage Leisure Centre

•           Faringdon Leisure Centre

•           White Horse Leisure Centre

Village Litter Pick

Volunteers are needed for the annual Village Litter Pick which will take place on Saturday 25th March, meeting at the Village Hall at 9.30.

Hi viz vests, litter-sticks and refuse sacks will be made available but we cannot manage this task without volunteers and the more we have the more litter we can clean up.

It is amazing just how much litter accumulates around our roads and footpaths and how much better the village looks when it has been removed.

Thank you

Rob Traynor

Friends of St Mary’s Good Friday Walk

Following the success of last year, the Friends of St Mary’s are planning another walk for Good Friday afternoon. The first time we organised this, we arranged a circular walk via Blewbury and Hagbourne, then last year we trekked across the downs from East Ilsley, in fabulous weather, on both occasions finishing at the church for tea and cakes.

This year, the idea is to start at the top of Kingstanding Hill on the A417 between Aston Tirrold and Streatley which will offer two alternative routes back to Upton. The ‘low road’ will skirt Lollingdon Hill and drop down into Aston Tirrold, continuing on via Blewbury to Upton – this is about 4.75 miles, the same distance as the walk from East Ilsley last year. For the more energetic, the ‘High Road’ goes up into the downs along the Fair Mile as far as the Ridgeway then runs gently back down to Upton via Saltbox – about 6.5 miles in total. As usual, tea and cakes will greet the weary walkers in the church.

We’ll aim to start about 2.00 and reach the finish at 4.00 – 4.30. At the end there will be transport arranged back to the cars left at the start.

It would be great to see a good number of Uptonians out and about on Good Friday – everyone’s welcome, children, dogs and all! If you have any questions at this stage please call Paul Batho on 851251 – more details will be published in next month’s Upton News.

Paul Batho

Whats On in January at Earth Trust

Winter Fruit Tree Pruning – Saturday 7th January, 9.30am-4pm.

Give your trees some TLC and get a bumper crop this year. Learn all aspects of pruning with Andy Howard  Cost £50; booking essential.

Sunday Drop-in: Forest School Fun – Sunday 8th January, 10am-2pm.

Whatever your age, you’re welcome to come and have fun at this woodland adventure!

£4 suggested donation per child, accompanying adult(s) free. No need to book.

Wildlife Photography Walk – Saturday 14th January, 8am-10am.

Learn how to capture images of wildlife with guidance from professional photographer Andrew Walmsley. Cost £20; booking essential.

Hedgelaying – Saturday 14th- Sunday 15th January, 9.30am-4pm.

A very practical, hands-on two days learning to lay a Midland style hedge with expert Clive Leeke. All tools provided. Cost £75; booking essential.

Spinning and Weaving – Sunday 15th January, 10am-4pm.

Discover the world of spinning and weaving and try out different methods of spinning. Cost £30; booking essential.

Botanical Illustration – Sunday 22nd January, 10am-4pm.

Learn some invaluable tips and techniques from RHS Gold Award winner Romilly Swann. Cost £30; booking essential.

All events take place at the Earth Trust, Little Wittenham, OX14 4QZ. For booking courses call  01865 407792 or online at www.earthtrust.org.uk/whatson (incurs a booking fee).

Post Office News for Christmas

We are now getting really busy with Christmas post! We will have extra collections from early December to help clear our tiny Post Office, otherwise we can’t get to the kettle! We do not have time to stick your stamps on, and  All AIRMAIL post must have an airmail sticker on it, and if “NON EU” must also have a customs label BEFORE you get to the counter, the people behind really appreciate it! We are not being difficult in asking for all post to be in by half an hour before closing, we don’t get paid for overtime, and we have to cash up and dispatch the paperwork before the postie comes in (approx. 15 minutes before closing) At this time of year we do at least an extra hour every day!

Last date for UK Christmas posting is 2nd class Tuesday 20th December and 1st class Wednesday 21st, Special Delivery Thursday 22nd.

Other last dates:

Mon 28th November; Int. standard to operational HM forces

Sat 3rd December; Africa & Middle East

Weds 7th; Cyprus, Asia, Far East & Japan, Eastern Europe

Thurs 8th; Caribbean, Central & South America

Sat 10th; Greece, Australia, New Zealand,

Mon 12th; Int. Standard to static HM Forces

Weds 14th; Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Poland

Thurs 15th; Canada, Finland, Sweden, USA

Fri 16th; Austria, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland,

Sat 17th; Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg

Please also remember that anything flammable or explosive have restrictions on them, phones, batteries, perfumes, nail varnish & aerosols have to have special labels on, be securely packed, and have the senders address on!

Santa’s address is “Santa’s Grotto, Reindeerland, XM45HQ”, for Christmas letters etc, post early & remember to put a return name & address for a reply! The latest he can reply is usually the first weekend in December, so write in early!

I expect we are having the Scout post again, I haven’t heard yet! It covers Didcot, Harwell, Upton, Hagbournes and Blewbury, it gives the Scouts some much needed funds.

Love from Karen & Angela

December Events at Earth Trust

Natural Christmas – Sunday 4th December, 11am-3pm.

Get into the festive spirit by making decorations and gifts from natural and recycled materials. Plus, meet Father Christmas at the Earth Trust, Little Wittenham,. Price by activity, no need to book.

Winter Wetland Birds – Sunday 11th December, 9.30am-11am.

Come and explore Thrupp Lake in Radley (OX14 3NG) and find out about some of the wetland birds that call it home over the winter. With Ben Carpenter. £5 adult, £2 child; booking essential: 01865 407792 or online at www.earthtrust.org.uk/whatson (incurs a booking fee).

More information can be found on our website www.earthtrust.org.uk.

 

October Events at the Earth Trust

Listed below are our events for October.  All events take place at the Earth Trust, Little Wittenham, OX14 4QZ unless otherwise stated.

Autumn Water Festival – Sunday 2nd October, 11am-4pm

Join us for our annual autumnal celebration of water and wetlands! See web for full details. £6 adult, £3 child, £15 family. Book online (incurs a booking fee) at www.earthtrust.org.uk/whatson or pay on the gate.

Blacksmithing – Sunday 9th October, 10am-5.15pm

Make your own ironwork object using a forge and anvil. 45min sessions with Cobalt Blacksmiths; participants must be over 18yrs. £20; booking essential: 01865 407792 or online at www.earthtrust.org.uk/whatson (incurs a booking fee).

Mud Pie Monday! – Monday 24th October, 10am-11.30am

Come and get messy in the Earth Trust mud kitchen – buckets of mud and buckets of fun! Wellies and waterproofs advisable. £4 suggested donation per child, accompanying adult(s) free. No need to book.

Tree Climbing – Monday 24th October, 10am-5pm

Use ropes and harnesses to access the treetops in Little Wittenham Wood! 1hr sessions with The Great Big Tree Climbing Company; minimum age 6yrs (no maximum!). £20 per participant; booking essential: 01865 407792 or online at www.earthtrust.org.uk/whatson.

Build a Bat Box – Tuesday 25th October, 10.30am-3pm

Help bats prepare for hibernation by making a shelter to put in your garden. Two sessions available: 10.30am-12pm and 1.30pm-3pm. £15 per box; booking essential: 01865 407792 or online at www.earthtrust.org.uk/whatson (incurs a booking fee).

Woodland Adventure – Wednesday 26th October, 10am-12pm

An expedition for 5-8 year olds. Use your detective skills to discover the Earth Trust’s woodland, where we’ll explore, build and play. £4 suggested donation per child, accompanying adult(s) free. No need to book.

Wildlife Wednesday at Wallingford Castle Meadows – Wednesday 26th October, 2pm-4pm

Our roving Wildlife Wednesday visits a different Earth Trust community nature reserve during each school holiday. This half term, come out and play at Abbey Fishponds (OX14 3UB); learn about local wildlife and have lots of outdoor fun! £2 suggested donation per child, accompanying adult(s) free; no need to book.

Family Bushcraft – Thursday 27th October, 10am-4pm

Bring the whole family and go wild in the great outdoors! Explore the woods, make shelters and learn how to light a fire and use a knife safely. £20 adult, £15 child; booking essential: 01865 407792 407792 or online at www.earthtrust.org.uk/whatson (incurs a booking fee).

Discover and Play – Friday 28th October, 10am-12pm

Forest School for the under-5s. Join the Earth Trust for a morning of play and discovery in our woodlands. Forest School offers hands on learning experiences in a natural environment. £4 suggested donation per child, accompanying adult(s) free. No need to book.

Spooky Dusk Discovery Walk – Sunday 30th October, 5.30pm-7.30pm

If you go down to the woods tonight, you’re sure of a big surprise! Come and explore Little Wittenham Wood at twilight. Don’t forget your torch. £5 adult, £2 child; booking essential: 01865 407792.

As always, more information about all the evets can be found on our website www.earthtrust.org.uk

September Events at Earth Trust

Please find below some information about our events in September. As always, more information can be found on our website www.earthtrust.org.uk.  All events take place at the Earth Trust, Little Wittenham, OX14 4QZ unless otherwise stated.

Discover and Play – Friday 2nd September, 10am-12pm

Forest School for the under-5s. Join the Earth Trust for a morning of play and discovery in our woodlands. Forest School offers hands on learning experiences in a natural environment. £4 suggested donation per child, accompanying adult(s) free. No need to book.

Scything for Improvers – Sunday 4th September, 9.30am-4pm

Scything is the traditional way to tackle long grass and tall weeds. Develop your technique during this one-day workshop with Clive Leeke. £50; booking essential: 01865 407792.

Fantastic Foraging – Sunday 4th September, 10am-2pm

This month’s Sunday drop-in is all about foraging for food. Find out what’s growing around the Earth Trust Centre and learn what yummy things you can cook with it. £4 suggested donation per child, accompanying adult(s) free. No need to book.

Wetland Wildlife Walk – Sunday 25th September, 9.30am-11am

Enjoy a guided walk around Thrupp Lake (OX10 3NG) with local ecologist Ben Carpenter and find out about some of the wetland wildlife that lives there. £5 adult, £2 child; booking essential: 01865 407792.

Foraging Walk – Sunday 25th September, 11am-3pm

Discover the autumn bounty around the Earth Trust Centre and nature reserve and use what you find to create something delicious. £15; booking essential: 01865 407792.

August Adventures at Earth Trust

All events listed below take place at the Earth Trust, Little Wittenham, OX14 4QZ unless otherwise stated. More information is available by visiting our website www.earthtrust.org.uk

Sling Walk – Monday 1st August, 10am-11.30am

Bring your baby for a ramble around our nature reserve. A great opportunity for you both to get our in the fresh air and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the countryside with other local parents. £4 suggested donation per child, accompanying adult(s) free. No need to book.

Wildlife Wednesday at Mowbray Fields – Wednesday 3rd August, 2pm-4pm

Our roving Wildlife Wednesday visits a different Earth Trust community nature reserve during each school holiday. This summer, come out and play at Mowbray Fields, Didcot (OX11 8SS); learn about local wildlife and have lots of outdoor fun! £2 suggested donation per child, accompanying adult(s) free; no need to book.

Clumps Club – Thursday 4th and Friday 5th August, 9am-5pm

School holiday club for 12-14yr olds. Join us on Thursday for a Survival and Bushcraft adventure and/or be a Wildlife Warden for the day on Friday. £30 per child per day; booking essential: 01865 407792.

Pond Dipping – Sunday 7th August, 10am-2pm

Join us to discover what’s living in our pond during this month’s Earth Trust Sunday Drop-in. Use a net to get a closer look and then be inspired to create a clay creature. £4 suggested donation per child, accompanying adult(s) free. No need to book.

Woodland Adventure – Wednesday 10th August, 10am-12pm

An expedition for 5-8 year olds. Use your detective skills to discover the Earth Trust’s woodland, where we’ll explore, build and play. £4 suggested donation per child, accompanying adult(s) free. No need to book.

Discover and Play – Friday 12th August, 10am-12pm

Forest School for the under-5s. Join the Earth Trust for a morning of play and discovery in our woodlands. Forest School offers hands on learning experiences in a natural environment. £4 suggested donation per child, accompanying adult(s) free. No need to book.

Meteor Shower Walk – Friday 12th August, 9pm-11pm

Enjoy a starlit walk on the Wittenham Clumps before settling down to watch the Perseid meteor shower. Bring a flask of hot chocolate! Suitable for adults and older children. £5 adult, £2 child; booking essential: 01865 407792.

Sling Walk – Monday 15th August, 10am-11.30am

Bring your baby for a ramble around our nature reserve. A great opportunity for you both to get our in the fresh air and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the countryside with other local parents. £4 suggested donation per child, accompanying adult(s) free. No need to book.

Wildlife Wednesday at Wallingford Castle Meadows – Wednesday 17th August, 2pm-4pm

Our roving Wildlife Wednesday visits a different Earth Trust community nature reserve during each school holiday. This summer, come out and play at Wallingford Castle Meadows (OX10 8DL); learn about local wildlife and have lots of outdoor fun! £2 suggested donation per child, accompanying adult(s) free; no need to book.

Woodland Adventure – Wednesday 24th August, 10am-12pm

An expedition for 5-8 year olds. Use your detective skills to discover the Earth Trust’s woodland, where we’ll explore, build and play. £4 suggested donation per child, accompanying adult(s) free. No need to book.

Family Bushcraft – Friday 26th August, 10am-4pm

Bring the whole family and go wild in the great outdoors! Explore the woods, make shelters and learn how to light a fire and use a knife safely. £20 adult, £15 child; booking essential: 01865 407792.

 

 

Welcome News for Our Bus Service

Following the withdrawal of bus subsidies by Oxfordshire County Council, representatives of the local villages have joined together to form the Downland Villages Transport Group to work with the bus companies to retain as much service as possible. We are pleased to announce that Thames Travel will continue a Monday to Friday service on the 94 route and that there will be a twice daily service also serving the Astons and the Mortons, made possible by the transfer of the school run to the scheduled bus. There will be some increase in fares and the bus service will operate on a trial basis for one year starting on 24th July.

Thames travel has released the new 94/94A timetable, please click on this link Bus Timetable

The 94 will serve the Hagbournes, Blewbury and Upton and will run roughly hourly from early morning until the evening from Monday to Friday. During term time a 94A service will run once in the morning and once in the afternoon; in addition to serving the 94 villages. It will also serve the Astons and the Mortons. The longer term future depends on the economic viability of the service, so more users are needed!

The Downland Villages Transport Group is grateful to everyone who has provided input on bus services over the past few months and for the support of our County Councillors. You’ve said clearly that keeping bus services is important for the life of our villages. Your input has helped us to argue for our transport needs and to begin to work out some new options where services have been cut, while the new timetable will not be perfect for everyone. Thames Travel have listened to our suggestions and responded where they can. It is a trial- we need to ensure adequate use, as it’s fairly close –cut thing for them on a commercial basis.

*A key factor that made Thames Travel feel it was “worth giving it a go” on the 94/94A was that “you (our villages) were really passionate about keeping the service”

* The key financial replacements for the lost subsidies were, as we knew, school funding and some development funding.

A real effort has been made to try and serve our commuters. If it fits in with your schedule please give it a try.

As and when more information becomes available, we’ll keep you informed.

Jesse West