Environmental News – Garden Funding Reaches Target

Really excellent news on the funding front this month – we’ve now raised over £7K for the nature garden.
Huge thanks to the Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment which provided half our total with support from Grundon Waste Management Limited.
And a massive thank you to our County Councillor, Sally Povolotsky, who approved an application for £2.5K from her Councillor Priority Fund.
Here’s why Sally selected the project:
‘Supporting Upton Nature Garden is one of the wonderful legacy projects that I am proud to assist with a donation from my Councillor Priority Funding. The great outdoors, nature recovery, ‘green’ therapy as well as biodiversity net gain is at the core of my agenda, and I am over the moon that I could help the team.
Sally Povolotsky – Hendreds & Harwell Division Elected Member
(Oxfordshire County Council)
Thanks also to the generosity and support of local donors, Sherfield Flooring and Strictly Wine, and the many villagers and local organisations who have pledged time, plants, logs or support in kind.
We’re getting cracking later in September. Look for the signs on the garden fence (or visit nature-garden.co.uk) for more details.
Green refills – reduce plastic
We create 2.4 million tonnes of plastic waste in the UK each year. But less than half gets recycled.
The good news is there’s an easy way to cut down on plastic waste – by refilling your own containers with cleaning products.
Better still, you’ll be able to do this in the comfort of your own village hall later this month. Honorary villager Frankie Jacklin has kindly agreed to run a refill station for the village as part of the national Great Big Green Week event – a celebration of nature and efforts to combat climate change.
You can fill up on washing-up liquid, laundry detergent, cleaning products, hand soap and other essential (plastic-free) products. Cash or credit card payments welcome.
All you need to do is bring your empty bottles to the village hall meeting room on Thursday 23rd September, 5.30 to 7.30pm.
Overflow cemetery
We had a great time mowing the hay in the overflow earlier this month.
The next job is to take out the grass thatch and reduce the soil fertility to make it suitable for wildflowers. We had a go at doing this with a reasonably powerful garden rotovator but it’s clearly a job for a bigger machine.
A compact tractor and rotovator would make short work of the area – do you have one or know someone who does? Please get in touch if you’d be willing to lend us your horsepower!

Upton Nature Garden

Exciting finds on the nature garden site next to the village hall last month: a pyramidal orchid, several field voles, and a slow worm!
We’re aiming to prepare the ground in September ahead of planting in October and November.
We haven’t been given the final grant figure for the garden by Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment yet, but we know there’s going to be a shortfall in the amount of funding we receive for shrubs and plants. So we need your help! Could you donate any of the following native species:
Foxgloves (digitalis purpurea); honeysuckle (lonicera periclymen); ivy (hedera helix); sweet briar rose (rosa rubignosa); wild privet (ligustrum vulgare); spurge laurel (daphne laureola); guelder rose (viburnum opulus); spindle (euonymus europaeus); barberry (berberis); juniper (juniperus communis); dogwood (cornus sanguinea); holly (ilex aquifolium).
We’d prefer smaller plants – ones grown from cuttings or seeds of your own stock would be ideal – because these can adapt and establish themselves to the conditions in the nature garden more easily than mature plants.
We’d also like your logs or stumps to provide high-spec homes for insect families. If you’re planning to fell a tree, please call Brian or Kieron, or email us at support@nature-garden.co.uk

Upton Village Fete

The village fete is on! Keep the date free and come along to the village hall and recreation ground at 1:00pm on 4th September to enjoy some old-fashioned fun and frolics just like we used to back in 2019!
Some of the confirmed attractions include:
A fun dog show. No need to pre-book, just turn up with your dog on the day for the chance to win a prize.
Gymnastic display by local children in the ring, from 1:30
A dazzling display of local classic cars and vintage bikes
A barbeque, pizzas, teas and home-made cakes on the village hall terrace
Music from the Wantage Silver Band
Lucky programme prize
A range of stalls including second-hand books, plants, home-made preserves, Fair Trade produce, tombola, wine club and ice cream
A special children’s area with a coconut shy, lucky dip and other fun things to do
We look forward to seeing you on the day. Volunteers are always needed so if you’d like to help, please contact one of the committee members.
Brian and Giulia Rippon, Jessie West, Gloria Hancock, Paul Batho, Jacqui Reid, Ben Shaw.
Cakes Needed
Brian and I will be organising the Cake Stall at this year’s fete. We are seeking cake and biscuit donations – in the past we have had an amazing response and the resulting mouth-watering spread is always popular. We’ll be looking to sell whole cakes as well as slices to be sold alongside the teas/coffee. Cakes, traybakes, muffins, fairy cakes, cookies and biscuits all welcome.
Please bring offerings to the Village Hall from 11.30am onwards on the day, or beforehand you can drop off at Autumn Leaves in the High Street (immediately opposite Church Street).
If you are able to help out on the day, please contact either Giulia (giulia@rippon.net 07789 777381) or Brian Rippon (brian@rippon.net 07768 224467).

‘Drop In’ – Back in Business

Drop In
The village Drop In is up and running again on alternate Thursdays at 3.00pm The aim is to meet at people’s houses, although we are not in the village hall as in the past we very much want this to be open to all villagers. Please come along if you want to have a nice friendly chat over a cup of tea or coffee. Please email me at richmondbinov@gmail.com if you’re interested and to find out the venue for the meetings which this month are on the 1st, 15th and 29th.
Richard Burrow

Progress on Upton Nature Garden

Thanks to everyone who’s shown enthusiasm for the plan to create a wildlife-friendly space beside the village hall. We’re delighted that Upton Parish Council has formally approved the nature garden project.

Continue Reading Progress on Upton Nature Garden

Village Drop In Meetings

The village Drop In is restarting on Thursday May 20th at 3.00pm at Margaret Maytham’s house (Toad Hall at the junction between Church Street and Stream Road). The aim is to meet every Thursday, or possibly alternate Thursdays thereafter at people’s houses.

Although we are not in the village hall as in the past we very much want this to be open to all villagers. Please come along if you want to have a nice friendly chat over a cup of tea or coffee. Please email me at richmondbinov@gmail.com if you’re interested.

Richard Burrow


Volunteers wanted to help with Village Fete

Upton Village Fete, Saturday 4th September

With any luck, and assuming the pandemic continues its retreat, we will once more be able to hold the village fete. As usual, the date will be the first Saturday in September, the venue is the village hall and recreation ground and the time will be 1:00pm to 4:00pm.

In a more normal year, we’d be well advanced with the planning by now but as it is, we’re just starting. The success of the event relies totally on volunteers both in advance and on the day. We’d love more help with the planning, which will involve monthly early evening meetings of no more than one hour between now and the end of August. If you feel inspired to volunteer, you’d be very welcome! Please let me know by calling 851251 or dropping a line to pjsbatho@btinternet.com.

Paul Batho


Junior Play Area

As you many of you will have seen the new Junior Play area is open, other than one activity area still cordoned off.
We anticipate completion within a few weeks when we will have an official opening.
In the interim please use the new area and report any issues to Liz our Parish Clerk (parish.clerk@uptonvillage.co.uk)

VPA Spring Competition

Village Produce Association
After the success of our December competition, we’ve decided to hold another one on Saturday 10th April. Have a go at our Spring Competition which is open to anyone of any age.
Create a Flowered Bonnet, Hat, Crown or Tiara.
The headwear can be any size for a lady or gent, boy or girl.
It can be an existing hat or hand-made and any shape.
Flowers can be fresh or hand-made (NOT artificial bought flowers). Whatever style of headwear it can include accessories.
If you wish to enter, please record your name, address, phone no/email by Wednesday 31st March at either Blewbury Post Office, Maggie Maytham at Toad Hall, Upton (Tel: 850126) or send your details to the VPA email address: vpa.in.bl.up@gmail.com
Place your name and details in an envelope and attach them to your entry.
Bring the entry between 10.00am and 10.30am to Blewbury Village Hall.
Collect at 12 noon.
The winners will be advised of the result on collection of their entry and prizes presented for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places. The result will be announced in the next edition of the Upton News.
Covid-19 restrictions/regulations at the time of the event will be strictly adhered to.
For the safety of the Committee organisers the competition will not be open for members of the public to view the exhibits. We will take photographs. If there is a total Government lockdown again at the time of the event, it will have to be cancelled.
If you have any queries or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact Eileen Bracken at the VPA email address: vpa.in.bl.up@gmail.com or call on 0777 518 5322.

Owl Spotting with HUGS

Our owl project is off to a flying start thanks to help from villagers who’ve been sending in sightings over the winter, and a grant from South Oxfordshire District Council.
Lu Barton, our owl specialist, will be leading the project. The aim is to:
Survey areas in East and West Hagbourne and Upton to find out where owls are active.
Install nest boxes for little owls, tawny owls and barn owls.
Monitor the boxes and share data with the British Trust for Ornithology.
Improving habitat for owls
Owls need a good food supply, so we’ll be surveying the 3 parishes to find areas where we can plant new trees, hedges and wildflowers which will support the food chain.
For example, Upton Parish Council is looking at the idea of sowing wildflowers in the overflow cemetery.
Wildlife-friendly gardening
It’s not just public land that can help support owls; you could create your own wildlife-friendly garden or a wildlife corner. There’s information on how to do this on the HUGS website (www.hugsustainability.org/nature)
We’ll be running a competition to find the best wildlife gardens in the area – details coming soon.
Other ways to help
When you see or hear owls, please send the details to hugsustainability@gmail.com
Include a postcode or use the what3words app on your phone so we can get an accurate location.
Tawny owls will be going quieter for now, while they start nesting. Little owls should start calling from now until late June/July. And from March onwards you might hear the screeching of barn owls until they start nesting too.
You can listen to the different owl calls on the HUGS website: www.hugsustainability.org/owls