The next meetings will be at 8pm on Monday 8th July and 'provisionally' Tuesday 6th August at the Stonewater Common Room. All residents welcome (but please let us know ahead of the date if you're coming)!!

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Neighbourhood Watch - Christmas Theft

The Neighbourhood Watch reported that there had sadly been a theft of some exterior decorations from Medlicott Drive over Christmas - sometime between Monday evening 28th December and Tuesday morning 29th December.

He said that residents of the road had been suspicious of a large white transit-type van parked in the road on several occasions before the theft, although they don't know if the two events are linked.  He asks that if other residents see a van of this type, driving slowly or stopped in this area, that they note the registration number and let him know and he will pass it on to the local police.

Neighbourhood Watch number is 07753915437.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Update on the Drayton Road resurfacing

Following our blog post about the resurfacing of the Drayton Road back in September, here's the latest from Fix My Street website:

It has been reported that the Mill Road/Drayton Road roundabout leading into Abingdon is in a poor state with potholes and damaged road surface and that the KEEP CLEAR sign on the road has virtually gone causing difficulty for Tithe Farm residents turning right from the estate which is often blocked by cars queueing.  The roundabout markings have now been added to the OCC Lining Maintenance list for the year beginning April 2016.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Councillors News - New Recycling Services by Chris Palmer

Some new recycling services have been introduced by Vale of White Horse District Council.  From this week you can now recycle:

•  broken or unusable small electrical goods in grey bin week
•  tatty, torn and unusable old clothes and textiles in green bin week

Just put them in a tied carrier bag next to your bin on your normal collection day.

Small electrical items - taken to a specialist site in Newbury for sorting, storing and processing into new gadgets.

Textiles - taken to a sorting warehouse in East London - any cotton and polyester gets cut into industrial rags, and any wool is shredded and made into felt or new yarn.

Also for those of you who have brown bins:

Extra, extra! Extra-large garden waste collections this autumn

Garden waste customers in the Vale of White Horse can put an extra-large collection out during the week of 19th October 2015.  You can put out one extra bins’ worth of garden waste in sacks or reusable bags (but not trade bags) on your usual collection day - you just need to make sure they’re open so the crew can see what’s in there.

See also:

Gardening - The Garden in late Winter - 2015

Not a lot to do at this time of year really, except keep any weeds in check.  These can proliferate in mild wet weather.  If we get snow, it can lay on and break branches, so although it looks lovely, it's a good idea to brush heavy snow off any delicate branches.

Planning is a good thing - there are new seed packets in the garden centres now, so buy now while stocks last.  Also now is a good time to check any garden structures - supports for climbing plants, sheds, fences and greenhouses.  Repair them before new growth starts covering them. 

In late February, you can cut back buddleia hard, to a few inches from the ground, as it flowers on this year's new branches.  This also applies to dogwoods, to produce wonderful red stems.

Trim winter flowering heathers after they have flowered.  As snowdrops start to fade, lift them, split up the bunches, and replant them at the same depth.

Hellebores will start flowering soon - cut back old leaves to allow the new flowers to be seen.

Not a lot to do at this time of year really??  So I was wrong!!

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Phone Scams - be Aware

Phone scams seem to be a modern day scourge, affecting most of us.  A new one came to light recently when I was phoned by someone with an Indian accent called 'Alex', claiming to be from Claims Advisory Group, working for the UK Government.  I was informed I was due a cheque for £3,000 for overpaid bank or building society fees and asked me to confirm my name, date of birth and my bank as they wanted to write out a cheque for me, so I gave a false name, birth date and bank name.  He said his Manager would phone me the next day.

True to form, the next day the 'Manager' phoned me, though I'm sure it was 'Alex' who'd spoken to me the day before.  He again asked me to confirm my details, and again I confirmed the false ones.  He said their representative, 'Mr Robinson', was in my area and would call round with my cheque, and though they don't charge for their services, the representative did as he was independent.  His charge would be 10% and as my cheque was now £3600 then I'd need to pay him £360 when he called.

It was then I said I thought it very strange as I'd never had to pay for money that was owing to me, but if they'd kindly like to take the fee off my monies owing to me to save time, they could then post my cheque for £3240 through my letterbox.

'Alex' said 'forget it' ..... and hung up.

People - please be aware of phone calls like this.  Always be aware and never give personal details over the phone.  Genuine callers would never ask for personal details.

Stay safe.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Street Corner Parking

When parking vehicles on road, do make sure you don't park on, or too near street corners (Highway Code does say not to park opposite or within 10 metres of a junction).  It makes crossing difficult for pedestrians, including our school children, plus it makes sight-lines very difficult for cars and cyclists when pulling out at junctions.  Let's keep all our folk safe.


We held a brief AGM - report below:
  • Chair - Anita
  • Vice-Chair - Maureen
  • Treasurer Val
  • Newsletter Editor - Kay
  • Val reported that we currently have £911.79 in 2 accounts and some cash.
  • When reviewing our year, we agreed that we were fortunate that Councillor Palmer was now joining us on a regular basis as both Councillor and resident.

River Path

Last time we said that the Vale Property team were inspecting the state of the footpath from Ladygrove to Tesco's.  Afterwards, they said that they thought it wasn't in too bad a sate and that a few dips and ruts were to be expected.  We disputed this!  Since then we have had some information from a non Council / Environment Agency source that there is possible work planned for the Ock path and Sanford Brook areas but we have no details or confirmation at the time of writing.  Watch this space!

An Orpwood Road Resident Remembers........

Long before our houses were built, when the main road south out of Abingdon was the Drayton Road, a little girl called Eileen and her brother played in the south Abingdon fields of Tithe Farm and Ladygrove.

Mill Road was only a farm lane then, leading to the Mill itself and the small row of cottages.  Twice a day the cows would be taken out of the fields either side of the lane and moved down to the milking barns and sheds - these were on the other side of the Drayton Road, roughly where Lady Eleanor Court has been built.  The farmhouse was where the low 'odd' numbers of Mill Road are now and Eileen would be sent by her mother to knock at the back door of the farmhouse to buy a jug of milk.  Along with the milk, she was often given a pear or apple for being a helpful girl.  The apples and pears would have come from the orchard on the other side of the lane, now covered by the 'even' numbers of Mill Road and Burton Close.  Best of all in the orchard was the old walnut tree, where Eileen was allowed to pick up the fallen nuts.

Farmer Cox's hens were kept behind the farmhouse - probably now Wordsworth Road area - but were often seen strolling across the lane to peck in the orchard.  We don't see many hens crossing our road now!!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015


... not the burger kind (or the gin)! (by Paul Abbot)

I have lived on Masefield Crescent for the last 16 years, however have lived in Abingdon since 1981 as it was my first posting after joining the RAF in 1980.  I served on 99 Squadron at RAF Brize Norton until March of this year when I heard of an opening at The Tower of London as a Yeoman Warder, commonly known as Beefeater.  The criteria is very strict for applicants, you must have held the rank of Warrant Officer in either of the three services, you must have completed at least 22 years service, I had done 35, and you need to have been awarded the Long Service & Good Conduct medal.

34 potential applicants applied which was short listed to 14 for interview, which included your partner as you were joining a village community within The Tower of London and it is important that your wife will embrace the obvious constraints that go with living within a walled community that gets locked up nightly at 10.00pm.

The 14 were reduced to 4 candidates for a second interview resulting in an offer for me to take up the post as of 1st May of this year.  I am now coming to the end of my probation period where I have had to learn the 'Tour' which is a one hour presentation from 1066 to present day, and having dropped History at school, a decision I now regret, I can safely say it has been a very steep learning curve.

We are now looking forward to life together in The Tower while our son Luke will have the run of our 'country Oxfordshire retreat'.

Christmas and New Year Refuse Collection

Fri 25th Dec       Tue 29th Dec     Grey Bin and Food Bin
Fri 1st Jan          Tue 5th Jan        Green Bin and Food Bin (no Garden Waste)
Fri 8th Jan          Mon 11th Jan     Grey Bin and Food Bin
Fri 15th Jan        Sat 16th Jan      Green Bin, Brown Bin and Food Bin

Burton Close / Drayton Road Footpath

In our last newsletter we mentioned that the Residents' Association was contacting Oxfordshire County Council Highways Section about the overgrown state of this short, but much used footpath.  We were pleased to see that the ivy that was badly obstructing the footpath was soon cut back and the cuttings later removed from the adjacent verge.  The other problem was the obstruction of the exit railings by a hedge next to the warehouse.  People have said it is increasingly difficult to get buggies through the gap.  It has taken the Residents' Association nearly three months to get an answer from the County Council about this problem but we have just heard that they have now instructed the warehouse to cut back the hedge.

By the time you read this, the barriers should be clear again - if they aren't, we certainly will be back in touch once more with the Highways Department!

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Neighbourhood Watch - Be on Your Guard!!!!!

A message from the Neighbourhood Watch - a resident has been informed that a group of people are targeting customers in local stores / car parks.  They are distracting couples / individuals by asking questions ie 'I am lost, can you give me directions', or 'have you seen my son'.  While you are trying to help them, an accomplice steals a handbag or part of your shopping.

Please take care and inform your friends.

Abingdon Extravaganza

This year's Christmas Extravaganza will be happening on Saturday 28th November.  There'll be dancers, singers, musicians, a fire performer, the Mayor's parade, Punch & Judy and many others with lot's of stalls selling goodies, followed by the big finale with the turning on of the Christmas lights complete with fireworks!!!

For more information click on the link below:

Friday, 16 October 2015

Councillors News - Reporting Problems to OCC by Monica Lovatt

Did you know you can report potholes, blocked drains, overgrowth of vegetation and anything to do with roads and pavements online on the Oxfordshire County Council website at  On the Home page you’ll find the link Report a Road Problem, where you’ll be taken through a process, and there’s even a map for you to pin point the exact location of the problem.  You will be given a number and most things should be responded to in 10 working days.  You can remain anonymous.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Abingdon Community Hospital League of Friends

Following fund raising events for the hospital, equipment purchased this year are Pressure Relief Mattresses, Boiler for Coffee Shop, Items for Sensory Garden, Christmas Trees and Presents for Wards, Sack Truck and Drill for Porter, Microwave, Stryker X-Ray Bed (£5,000), Roll Cage Containers for Porters, Camera, Patient Slings, Trays, Oximeters and Sphygmomanometers, Push Sweeper for Porters.

More ideas for fund raising are needed!

The Abingdon Community Hospital League of Friends (ACHLOF) are currently looking to increase their membership (this does not include working in the hospital) - the annual subscription is only £5.  If any friends are interested in joining, please send subscriptions to The Treasurer, 1 Willow Court, Abingdon OX14 1ZB telephone 01235-533171.  Cheques payable to ACHLOF - please include your name name and address and email address if applicable.  Email us on or log onto our website for updates

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Abingdon Fair

Abingdon fair comes to town from Sunday 4th October to Tuesday 6th October - the Town Council website states 'to avoid danger to the public, the following temporary restrictions will apply from 08.30hrs on Sunday 4th October until 09.00hrs on Wednesday 7th October'.

Full details here:

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

It's all h-armless ....

Two residents of Masefield Crescent met each other this week in the Trauma Clinic of the John Radcliffe hospital, both nursing broken arms.  All you others out there in Masefield Crescent - take care, in case things really do go in threes!!!!

Friday, 25 September 2015


Don't forget to check out our new page Councillors News for details of our local Town and District Councillors, plus their news of what's happening in your area.

Also our Gardening page is very useful, helping you prepare for each season - written by Martin Gulliver, plus other pages that can all be found above in the links.

Neighbourhood Watch

A Neighbourhood Watch scheme has been started in Medlicott Drive. Residents will remember that there was a piece in the Spring newsletter saying that a scheme can be started by calling Carol Rudd, the Watch Scheme Co-ordinator at Abingdon Police Station, on 01235-556937 or

The volunteer coordinator for Medlicott Drive says that the scheme was very easy to establish and he feels that it is very beneficial for residents. He is happy to guide other volunteer coordinators through the process - please contact Martin through the TFLRA at or phone 07732251334 to leave a message.

Update - Drayton Road

Following the resurfacing of the road, it was noticed that the stretch from Mill Road to the pedestrian crossing wasn’t included. We raised this point with the County Council and their reply was ‘with regards to the additional section of carriageway up to the Mill Road junction, we can appreciate that this road is not in good condition and that this causes concern. When the authority first considered Drayton Road for maintenance, the most deteriorated section of carriageway was put forward for treatment. The scope of the scheme was later reviewed and increased to include an additional deteriorated area. Unfortunately with a limited budget for maintenance treatments across the county we were not able to increase the scope any further without taking funds away from other, potentially more deteriorated sections of the network. We recognise that this is far from ideal, however we will consider the additional section for a future maintenance/resurfacing scheme’.

Update - Bus Subsidy Cuts

The cuts to bus service 41 will have been in place for a couple of months now. The committee has been told that ceasing to go to Tesco’s is causing people the most problems. Unless the County Council can increase their bus subsidies or Thames Travel change their mind about the route of the 41, there seems little prospect of this situation changing. We can only suggest that people affected, write to their County Councillor or possibly their MP.

A Walk on the Wildside

by Max the Wildlife Watcher - Being new to this area I was quickly amazed by the range of habitats on our doorstep. Whether it was the farmland off Mill Road, the meandering River Ock with its reed beds, to the tree lined River Ock Valley Walk. I soon got to wondering what hidden wildlife secrets would be revealed. Some of my nature highlights spotted so far are hedgerows brimming with butterflies and moths, a quick blue flash of a kingfisher skimming the River Ock on the valley walk and spotting a family of four fallow deer between the ‘pooh stick’ bridge on Mill Road and the superstore. Not forgetting the iconic call of the red kite as it patrols our estates on a daily basis. Please let the Newsletter Editor know if anything new catches your eye on or on 07732251334.

Wishing you a wild Autumn.

Overgrown Footpaths

We talked to our local Councillors about the state of the footpath between Chaunterell Way and Tescos. We were pleased to see that the Vale Council has now cleared the path of overgrown vegetation. Thank you to our Councillors for their help. We have also contacted the Vale Council about the very poor surface of the path, which is deeply rutted and becoming difficult to walk on. The Vale Property Team are inspecting the path and will let us know what remediation work can be done. We will put an update on the blog when we get this information. Residents have also pointed out that the footpath between Burton Close and Drayton Road is also getting obstructed with vegetation now. We are taking this up with the County Council as they own and manage this footpath.

The Wilts & Berks Canal

The Wilts & Berks Canal was opened in 1810 and ran about 52 miles from Semington to the Thames in Abingdon carrying mostly coal from the Somerset coalfields. The canal declined towards the end of the 19th century due to competition from the railways and was finally abandoned by an Act of Parliament in 1914. Much of the historic route has survived and was rediscovered by Jack Dalby whose book about the canal inspired others to consider restoration, leading eventually to the formation of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust.
In South Abingdon remnants of the old canal can be seen by those who know where to look. Wharf Cottage in Wilsham Road is a former canal building and the iron bridge in Caldecott Road, erected by the Canal Company in 1824, spans the River Ock linking St Helen's Wharf and the Wilts & Berks Wharf.
We can only imagine the busy scenes when the canal traffic was at its height with boats moored and others disgorging their loads of coal. The canal terminal basin was in Caldecott Road between the Recreation Ground and the road itself. It is now possible to walk on the grass where once narrowboats were moored and the line of trees marks the line of the towpath. The canal route (under the wide grassy verge next to the road) is filled in all along Caldecott Road and the slight rise at the junction with Drayton Road is where a bridge used to carry the Drayton Road over the canal. In Byron Close they have the canal route in their back gardens and at the slightly elevated point in Mill Lane, the route of the canal can be seen to the right marked by overgrown twin hedges. Walking further along Mill Lane we come to New Cut Mill (also known as Bugg's Mill) which has the historic canal route to its left and the River Ock to its right. The canal route continues to a low bridge under the A34.

Anyone interested in the Canal and the work of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust will find their website very informative.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Garden in Autumn - 2015

As the weather turns colder, plants will slow down. Take out any tender bedding and replace with winter bedding. Other hardy bedding should last until the first frosts. Clear fallen leaves from beds and lawns and compost. Put them in a plastic bag, pierce a few holes in it and by next you should have valuable leaf mould. Raise permanent containers off the ground to aid drainage, and wrap tender ones in bubble wrap or fleece. Perennials can be cut back and split up now. Discard the older central part and plant out the fresher outside growths. Some light pruning can be carried out - mainly just to keep larger shrubs in shape. Those that you normally prune in spring, eg roses and buddleia, can be cut back by a third to prevent them loosening their roots in the wind, before the main pruning next year. You can also prune late-summer flowering clematis - cut back to about 1m high to remove long, old growth and encourage strong flowering shoots. Bare rooted plants - normally cheaper than container grown - can be planted now. Finally, while its quiet and not much growth about, check all fences, supports, tools etc and clean/sharpen/paint them.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Children's Corner - Winner of Sunflower Competition - Autumn 2015

The winner of the tallest sunflower competition goes to Ellie from Mill Road. Her sunflower grew to 2m 10cm when last measured!! A small prize to the winner!

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Councillors News - Councillor Matthew Barber

100 days on... Today marks 100 days since the local and general elections. Here is the latest update on what's happening in the Vale... 

Green flag award for another year
For the 7th year running the Abbey Gardens in Abingdon, owned and maintained by the Vale District Council has been awarded Green Flag status by Keep Britain Tidy.  In addition to the fantastic gardens the neighbouring Abbey Meadows area is set for a major revamp including improvements to the outdoor swimming pool. 

Summer festivals
We're at the height of festival season, large and small, and many are supported by the Vale. Community groups can apply for grants of up to £1,000 to help support festivals and events in the district.  So far this year grants have been awarded to the Friends of Abingdon Heritage Weekend; Faringdon's Folly Fest; BBO Wildlife Trust One Day Festival and the Wantage Betjeman Festival. The Council can also assist with licencing and permissions. Click here for more details on how to apply.

Community Alcohol Partnership launched in Grove and Wantage
Organisations including King Alfred’s School, Vale District Council, Sweatbox, Thames Valley Police, and Wantage and Grove Street Pastors have joined forces to reduce teen drinking and associated anti-social behaviour.

A priority for the campaign is reducing the opportunities young people have to purchase alcohol. To assist with this, Waitrose have agreed to facilitate free training for independent retailers on responsible selling practises, including the ‘Challenge 25′ age-verification policy and how to spot fake ID.

Pressure from Oxford for even more housing
In last month's newsletter I reported on how the Vale is responding to the pressure to accommodate more housing in the Vale, this time because Oxford City is unable to deliver it's own housing target. Since then I have written to the Secretary of State asking him to compel the City Council to review their own Local Plan.  You can view my letter here.  I await a response from Government.  In addition the Vale's Cabinet is considering a report on how best to deal with this additional pressure.  The report will also be considered by the Council's Scrutiny Committee.

What does devolution mean for Oxfordshire?
There has been much talk recently about devolution, be it in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, or to local government. Oxfordshire County Council is proposing forming a 'strategic alliance' with Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire to seek additional funding from Government for strategic transport.  This falls short of a full devolution deal that the Government are encouraging. Councils within Oxfordshire, including the Vale, are looking at the potential benefits of such a devolution deal and are talking to Government about the options.  No doubt there will be more news on this in due course.

Celebrating The Queen's Birthday
In just a months time on 9th September Her Majesty The Queen will become Britain's longest-reigning monarch. This will undoubtedly be an event worth noting, but next year Her Majesty will also be celebrating her 90th birthday.  Grand national celebrations are planned and the Vale of White Horse will encourage and support community events across the district to celebrate these great occasions.  After the huge success of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations we are talking to the Town councils to help them organise events for everyone to enjoy.

The Vale's Corporate Plan
The Vale is beginning the process of reviewing it's Corporate Plan.  This rather dry subject sets out the strategic direction of the Council for the next few years. Residents will have the chance to contribute to the process when we launch a consultation later this year (expected to be October-November). 

Recycling Centres
Oxfordshire County Council is again considering the closure of recycling centres across the County. Whilst I recognise the financial challenges faced by the County Council and that improved kerb-side collections in recent years have changed the way we use recycling centres they remain valued community facilities.  Whilst this is a matter for the County Council the Vale restates it's support for the retention of recycling centres in the district for the benefit of all residents.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Subsidies on Buses and Flood Alleviation Scheme - consultations

Abingdon and area residents are being asked for their opinions on 2 local issues.  The County Council is asking for our views on their subsidies for the buses and the Environment Agency wants to know what we think about the plans for the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme.

You can find details of the bus consultation at:
This is a very long document but at the end you'll find a questionnaire asking for feedback on the County Council's plans for the future of subsidised buses and the Dial a Ride service. The closing date for consultation is 14 September.

The Environment Agency, the County Council, Oxford City Council, Vale of White Horse District Council, Thames Water and the Oxford Flood Alliance are working on a scheme to reduce flood risk in Oxford. The idea is that a channel would be made to carry floodwater through western Oxford, one section between Botley Road and Redbridge and the other between Kennington and Sandford-on-Thames. There is some concern that this would mean transferring flood risk from Oxford to another area - that is, our area. Our local Councillors are pressing for a full independent assessment of the proposals. There is still a long way to go before the scheme is approved or funding found. In the meantime, local people are being asked for their views - you can find feedback forms at

Monday, 3 August 2015

More updates on the Drayton Road night closure

Further update from Mike Badcock via Facebook:

RESULT - listening to local councillors at last!!  Hope this will help everyone in South Abingdon - loads of credit to Alice.

Temporary suspension of One-Way Order - St Helens Wharf Bridge, Abingdon.

A request has been received from Andrew Madigan, Oxfordshire County Council for a temporary EMERGENCY SUSPENSION OF ONE-WAY TRAFFIC to facilitate TWO WAY TRAFFIC ON ST HELENS WHARF BRIDGE, ABINGDON to mitigate traffic congestion during Drayton Rd night works.

A Temporary Traffic Regulation Notice is being made to implement the temporary suspension and will operate from:

Monday 3rd August 2015 to Friday 7th August 2015 and will operate from 8pm to 6am each day.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Update on the Drayton Road closure

Following many questions from residents, the TFLRA committee asked the County Council about why people were asked to travel via Milton home.  Their reply:

Generally when we undertake road closures we ensure that traffic is diverted on the same class of road or better than the road that we are closing.  As Drayton Road is a 'B' class road, the decision was made to send the diversion route via the A34.  Making the 'iron bridge' two-way was never really considered on this basis but also because of the disruption that this would have caused to residents of Caldecott Road, St Helen's Wharf and West St Helen Street due to the increased traffic flows.

I appreciate that the closures will cause some disruption to local residents, but the decision was made to carry out this work at night in order to keep this disruption to a minimum.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Closure of Drayton Road for road repair

Signs have recently appeared along the Drayton Road indicating the road will be closed.  The Residents Association have contacted Oxfordshire County Council for more details, and their answers are shown below:
  • These signs have been erected to inform motorists and road users of the upcoming road closure. Adjacent footways will remain open for pedestrians - cyclists will be required to dismount and use the footway.  The works will be carried out in the following phases:
  • Phase 1 - Monday 27th July to Friday 31st July - off-peak temporary two-way traffic signals will be in operation from 9.30am to 3.30pm to enable advance kerbing works to be undertaken.
  • Phase 2 - Friday 31st July to Friday 7th August - 6 night-time road closures will be in operation to enable the road resurfacing to be completed.  The B4017 Drayton Road will be closed from 8pm to 6am during this phase at the junctions with the A415 Marcham Road/Ock Street and Mill Road.  No works will be undertaken at weekends.
  • The iron bridge / St Helens Wharf at the bottom of Caldecott Road will be unaffected.  There will be no reverse flow or 2 way flow here.
  • Emergency services will be allowed un-obstructed access as necessary along the Drayton Road during closure - this will be controlled by the OCC gatemen.
  • Alternative routes to and from the South of Abingdon will be via the B4017 Southbound (towards Steventon) / A4130 Eastbound / Milton Interchange / A34 Northbound / A415 Marcham Road (towards Abingdon) and vice versa.

Click on map to enlarge

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Gardening - The Garden in Summer - 2015

Summer is not as busy as some people think, with garden tasks more maintenance than anything else. 

As always, keep weeds under control, lawns trimmed (little and often is best) and pots and food crops watered.  Non-container plants in the garden rarely need watering unless they are new. Established shrubs can be left. When watering new plants, water in the evening so it won't evaporate so quickly, and water the roots/ground rather than the leaves.

Continue to feed containers, as well as food crops, and continue sowing the latter.  It is also worth sowing a few more annuals now to provide fillers for gaps that might appear later in the year.
As perennials flower and fade, cut them back hard and you should get a second flush of growth. Herbs can also be trimmed to keep them tidy, and the trimmings can be dried or frozen for future use.

Saturday, 11 July 2015


The next TFLRA meeting in Tuesday 14th July at 8pm in the Common Room, Stonewater flats, Bridges Close, (formerely known at Jephson).

All welcome!!

Friday, 10 July 2015

Street Name Plates

The street name plate for Byron Close, which has been missing for a long time, should appear again shortly, together with a matching replacement for the sign on the other side of the turning.  The Vale of the White Horse District Council is responsible for maintaining these signs.  Missing or damaged street name plates can be reported to them on 01235-520202 or by going to their website

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Councillors News - New Contacts Details for our Local Councillors

We said we would give residents contact details for our new local Councillors.

Town Councillors are:
Jeanette Halliday - phone 01235-522642 email
David Pope - phone 07774242436 email

District Councillors are:
Monica Lovatt - phone 01235-530538 email
Chris Palmer - phone 07801062624 email

Introducing our District Councillors:

Monica Lovatt - I met my husband in Abingdon in 1970.  We spent 15 years as an Army family with our three children leaving in 1988 to settle in Abingdon.  I worked as a Theatre Nurse in Oxford and have served on the Vale Council for eight years and the Town Council for 12 years.  I was Mayor of Abingdon in 2012/13.  My main interests on the Vale are health, housing and planning and on the Town Council as Chairman of the Museum Management Committee and a member of the Finance and General Purposes Committee.

I have been a Governor of Fitzharrys and Carswell Schools and was involved with the Abbeyfield Society for 16 years as a volunteer on the Executive Committee at Oxenford House in Cumnor rising to a place on the national board. I am a volunteer Divisional Secretary with SSAFA-FH, a military charity.

I enjoy reading, travel and history.

Chris Palmer - I am a chemist by training and work on Milton Park for a CRO involved in medicinal chemistry research.  I have lived in Abingdon since January 2003.  In my spare time I enjoy photography and walking and am a member of the National Trust.  I am also a member of and deacon at Abingdon Baptist Church and for several years have coordinated our part in the nationwide shoebox appeal working with local schools and voluntary organizations.  In November 2011 I was appointed a Governor at John Mason School, where I serve on the Finance and Audit committees.  In May this year I was elected to the District Council to represent the Abingdon Fitzharris Ward which includes the area represented by TFLRA.  Already Monica and I have secured a vote on flood prevention on council.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Plant Swap reminder

A reminder that there will be a Plant Swap on Saturday 16th May 3pm - 5pm on the driveway of 39 Masefield Crescent.  Bring your extra plants, surplus seedlings and spare cuttings and 'swap'.  But do come along and have a look even if you haven't got any spares!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Annual Accounts

The TFLRA annual accounts have been done, and should anyone wish to see them, please contact the Treasure - email at or phone 07732251334 to leave a message.

Monday, 11 May 2015


The next meeting will be held in Stonewater flats common room, Bridges Close (used to be called Jephson flats), on Tuesday 12th May at 8pm.  All residents welcome - we'd love to see you there!!!

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Up, Up and Away in my Beautiful Balloon!!!

behind our gardens
Easter Sunday brought us the Easter Bunny, eggs and a ...... hot air balloon!!!  The balloon landed in Masefield Crescent playing field bringing lots of residents out to view this spectacular sight.

The balloon deflated and you could hear it swishing and folding down on itself and a while later was packed and carried off by its team.

If you missed it, here's some photo's I managed to capture.

going down

Thursday, 26 March 2015

A 'ruff' deal

My name is Korky, I'm a 2 year old Labrador / Golden Retriever cross Guide Dog.  I live with my owner on the Ladygrove estate.  When I'm not working I love to have my harness off and run free and play like all you pet dogs do.  I don't always come back when my owner blows his whistle because I am easily distracted by all the wonderful smells and any passing dogs I can play with and follow.  I think I'm having fun but my owner doesn't and says he worries he won't be able to find me.  He then puts my harness back on and I sulk all the way whilst slooooowly (my protest speed) guiding him back home.

I am appealing to all you friendly medium / large sized pet dogs out there who would volunteer to play and run free with me, two or three times a week.  You will need to bring your owner with you, just in case I'm still being naughty.  They would then be able to help my owner look for me.  Ask them to pick up the old 'dog and bone' and call my owner on 01235-520188.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Post Box Collection Time

The collection time for the afternoon post from the post box on the corner of Tennyson and Wordsworth will change on the 16th March from 5.30pm to 4.45pm.

Mill Road / The Mill

by Tony Godfrey

In Abingdon we are lucky because the countryside is so easy to reach on foot.  In a car you find contrasting scenery within a 30 minute drive -the Cotswolds with gentle rolling hills and honey coloured cottages, empty sweeping downland with its huge fields and big skies and, nearer home, the lush watery Thames valley.

Mill Road which separates Tithe Farm and Ladygrove is unusual in that it changes from a pleasant suburban street into a narrow country lane with an old mill house at the end.  The mill has now been changed into a country home but you can still hear the roar of water from the mill race as you stroll past reminding you of its original function.

Mills are interesting.  They are one of the earliest forms of technology, using the power of channelled water to activate the wheel which will turn the millstone to grind the grain into flour.  In all probability the mill was the property of Abingdon Abbey which dominated everything.  The corn which was taxed from the local farmers would be taken from the tithe barn and ground into flour for the monks to use and to sell. Individuals could bring grain too.  The millers themselves often had a bad reputation for dishonesty exploiting their customers’ ignorance of weights and measures.

There are lots of mills in this area because there is plenty of water around and there are still a few small working mills to show how the process works.  There is one by the Thames in Mapledurham near Reading which might be a pleasant outing in the summer.  However, if you want a bag of flour urgently it’s easier to nip into Tesco’s!

Easter and May Bank Holidays Rubbish Collections

Abbey Meadows

The Vale Council are suggesting 3 options for the future of the Abbey Meadows area - pick up a booklet in town for details (at Added Ingredients, Mostly Books or the Council Offices) or see 'News' on the Council's website.  Their deadline for responses is 7th April.

Abingdon Hydro

A member of the Abingdon Hydro committee writes 'people look at the Thames weir and wonder how that flow might be put to good use.  Abingdon Hydro was set up to use water power to generate 100kW electrical power by raising monies to construct two Archimedes screws - highly visible renewable energy and to benefit the community.  If you want to know more about this project, go to'

Plant Swap

For all Tithe Farm and Ladygrove gardeners!!  There will be a Plant Swap on Saturday 16th May on the driveway at 39 Masefield Crescent between 3pm and 5pm, come rain or shine.  Bring along your extra plants, surplus seedlings or spare cuttings and be ready to 'swap' ..... all for FREE!!

Calling all young gardeners - get ready for the children's summer sunflower competition.  Details will be in the June newsletter, but get those seeds planted soon to see who can grow the tallest sunflower!

Deliver us from Evil - a light-hearted poem

Letterboxes can leave me in a dither
Approaching each door as I prepare to deliver
With a resounding SNAP!, just like a mousetrap
Pinching my fingers and making me shiver

A gnome eyes me warily, as I creep up the next path
I ease past the prickly bush, and round the birdbath
A dog barks at me, as I tackle a tree
I’ll need a cup of tea after this aftermath

Rat-a-tat-tat, rat-a-tat-tat
The letterbox rattles as the newsletter hits the mat
I gave it a shove, and prayed it wouldn't trap my glove
Or my hand won’t be pounced on by a cat

Red doors, blue doors, some made of wood
So many variations in this neighbourhood

Some boxes I can’t find, in this area I’m assigned
I’d post it, honestly, if only I could

Think of those who deliver to your door
Fighting fierce letterboxes, which I’m sure are carnivore
If you see us about, please wave with a shout
And we’ll wave back with stubby fingers, I’m sure

Monday, 23 March 2015

Bin Request

A request for a bin for Longfellow / Coleridge Green was brought up at the last meeting.  Reply from the Town Council - 'I took your request to our Amenities Meeting last night and they decided after some discussion not to put a bin in the area you requested.  Instead they are going to monitor the area for a few months to see if a bin is required, although no complaints have been received about littler in this area to date'.  If residents are concerned about rubbish on the green, do contact the Town Council on 01235-522642.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Missing Street Signage

The missing street signage at the entrance to Byron Close / Maberley Close will be replaced by the Vale of White Horse District Council.  We understand that several residents have reported this recently - it has been missing for a quite a long time!!

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Water Problems

During the recent water problems that occurred recently, Thames Water reported 'that a company selling water filters and systems is taking water samples in the area and talking to our customers.  They are not associated with Thames Water in any way.  Please ask to see an identity badge if you are at all concerned when talking to someone claiming to be a water company representative'.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Partial Eclipse

The partial eclipse of the sun happened on Friday 20th March!!!  Did you see it?  It happened around 9am - 9.30am and at it's height was about 84% of the sun being covered.

If you missed it, the next one in the UK will be in 11 years!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Gardening - The Garden in March - 2015

March is generally considered the start of the gardening year and it can be very busy depending on the weather.  Feed all beds with a general purpose fertilizer to kick start plants into growth.  If you can get garden manure, this is wonderful and improves soil structure as well.

The grass will probably need its first cut.  Keep the mower blades high for the first few trims.

Roses can be pruned now.  Cut out any dead or diseased wood, and any weak stems.  Cut other branches down to a low outward facing bud.  It may seem drastic but they will thank you.  Give them a feed after pruning.

Seeds of hardy annuals can be sown outside now, and half hardy can be sown indoors.  Sow some salad leaves and sow in succession every fortnight to give a supply during the summer.

Winter shrubs that have finished flowering now can be pruned - a general rule of thumb is that shrubs should be pruned, if required, after flowering.

Buy snowdrops "in the green" now - they are available at garden centres and by mail order. they are far more reliable than bulbs.

Daffodils, as they die back, should be dead headed, but allow the foliage to die back naturally, and give them a feed to plump up the bulbs for next year. If any failed to flower, dig them up and plant them deeper.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Science Vale Area Action Plan

The South Oxfordshire Core Strategy and Draft Vale of White Horse Local Plan 2031 have proposed development sites for over 20,000 new homes to support over 20,000 new jobs close to the three centres for science at Harwell Campus, Culham Science Centre and Milton Park, and the main settlements of Didcot, Wantage and Grove within Science Vale.

Given the significant amount of change taking place in Science Vale, the Science Vale Joint Projects Team are producing a Science Vale Area Action Plan.

They are seeking our views!!!

The consultation runs from 27th February until 5pm on 17th April 2015 and consultation documents can be found at public libraries and viewed on websites at or where there is also an online response form.  For general enquiries please contact 01235 540546.

There will also be the following public consultation events:
  • Didcot Railway Station, main entrance - 5th March 4pm to 7pm
  • Didcot Cornerstone - 6th March 10am to 1pm
  • Harwell Village Hall - 16th March 10pm to 1pm
  • Culham Science Centre Gatehouse - 17th March 3.30pm to 7pm
  • Milton Park Innovation Centre - 19th March 4pm to 7pm
  • The Beacon, Wantage - 26th March 2pm to 8pm

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 10th February at 8pm in the Stonewater flats, Bridges Close (formerly known as Jephson flats).  See Meeting Dates page for all dates, past and present.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Jephson flats - New Name

Jephson flats in Bridges Close, where we hold the TFLRA meetings, have been renamed to Stonewater.

The Housing Association Group, Jephson, have amalgamated with Raglan Housing and have now become a new organisation called Stonewater.

Answers to Christmas Quiz - December 2014

Thank you for all the entries for the Christmas Quiz - there were 15 hidden words, both sacred and secular, associated with Christmas.  The winner was Valerie Hitchcock of Tennyson Drive.  Well done Valerie!!


Candle - Gift - Present - Tinsel - Card - Manger - Eve - Stocking - Tree - Angel - Bell - Carol - Holly - Santa - Donkey

Christmas again! How would we spend it this year? I must make a list or I would panic and leave something out. To start with, I was wondering if the house looked presentable. If Martin’s elderly aunt saw it in its usual state, she might have a cardiac arrest. I searched for the musical snowman Gerry bought last year but failed to locate it. Never mind. Identical ones were usually in stock in garden centres in December, but then, I don’t go to a garden centre every day. The phone rang. Elaine answered it and came back looking belligerent. “Aunt Ethel wants to bring Oliver,” she said. Oliver was Aunt Ethel’s son and the black sheep of the family. “They’re coming in the car Oliver bought when he got his licence back,” said Elaine. “Well, we’d better not leave any alcohol lying around.” I’d never seen her this antagonistic. “And I hope he gives me something better than the “I love London” keyring I got two years ago.” 

Monday, 5 January 2015

Steventon Bridge update

For those that aren't aware, the closure of the Steventon Bridge is now on hold, until possible alternative solutions to avoid the long closure, is examined.

Details here:

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Children's Corner - Colouring Competition - Christmas 2014

A big thank you and a well done for everyone for taking part in the childrens' Christmas 2014 colouring competition!!  Such talented artists, and so difficult to select the winners.  In the end, our independent judge chose 2 entries - 1 from each category - up to 6 years and over 6 years.  All entries will be displayed in the windows of Jephson flats Common Room, Bridges Close.

Up to 6 years Winner - Evie age 4

Over 6 years Winner - Caroline age 1