Revitalising the Allotments – July 2019

Tasty
I know it sounds a bit ‘holier than thou’, but gardeners and allotmenteers will all agree there is nothing quite like picking and eating something you have just grown. Some would also add that taking an item of fruit or veg from the freezer in the middle of winter and reflecting on the fact that it was grown on your patch of land during the warmth of summer is even more satisfying. There aren’t too many food miles (or nasty chemicals) involved in that and as for taste, nothing compares.

Caring for what we have
Bearing that in mind, we on the allotments are aware that our little patches of borrowed land are not hidden behind high wire fences or locked gates. Indeed we have actively encouraged the community to join us and to eventually share in the fruits of our labour on the community jam patch and in the community orchard.

However, the produce from the individual plots that fellow allotmenteers have nurtured remains the fruit of their labour and we would ask everyone in the village help us ensure that applies. If you see someone on the allotments who looks as though they should not be there, or is using it for purposes for which it was not designed, either report the incident to someone from the Parish Council or Allotment Working Group or, if you are feeling confident enough simply ask them what they are doing. As with Neighbourhood Watch we can all do our bit to help eliminate vandalism and theft if we work together.

Community Orchard
The trees continue to grow on well and the recent rain has been a blessing, even if it has meant more work cutting the grass. We are keen to add some signage to the allotments, particularly the community areas and, following on from the previous section, we hope that will help steer villagers towards the shared areas that we can all enjoy. Watch this space for more updates.

Thank You
A special vote of thanks goes to those good people who continue to mow the pathways and open spaces on the allotment. Your hard work really is paying off and makes the place not only look good but also a joy to work on.

Tester Plots and Renting and Allotment
If you are interested in trying out allotmenteering contact either Sue Corner on 01327 342124 or Lynda Eales on 01327 341707. We can offer a range of allotment sizes, to suit every need. Help is also on hand to offer advice and encouragement.

Food For Thought 
‘I was just sittin’ here enjoyin’ the company. Plants got a lot to say, if you take the time to listen.’
From Winnie the Pooh by A.A Milne.

Mike Langrish

Revitalising the Allotments – June 2019

A lot to do
There is so much to do on the allotment (and in the garden) at this time of the year that writing is a luxury I can’t afford at the moment. So I’ll be brief.

Community Orchard
The trees continue to grow on well. There has been a good deal of blossom and all the trees are now in leaf. Fingers crossed things stay that way. Several new trees have also been added to our collection, now bringing our total to 31 (plus a further 7 trees in the hedgerow between the orchard and new playing field).

Those of you who have been down to the community orchard may have noted that the ground around the trees is now sprouting a collection of grasses and wild plants – some might even call them weeds. Once this undergrowth has established itself a little more we shall begin mowing it. Like the community area we created alongside the orchard, this will become a meadow that we will further enhance by creating pockets of wild flowers.

Looking Good
A villager who lives near to the allotment spoke to me the other day and commented on how attractive and cared for the allotments had become in the past year or so. Paths are mown, edges trimmed, sheds erected and, most importantly, plots are being cultivated and fruit and veg grown. This welcome news was completely unprompted and a real indicator of just how much progress has been made in in refurbishing the village allotments. Again, we would like to take this opportunity to thank all those allotmenteers who continue to tend their plots and make the site such a productive and well managed space. Not everyone can spare the time to join a working party or attend a meeting, but their vital contribution, caring for the plots, is just as important.

Notice Boards
Do keep an eye on our allotment notice boards (situated by the gate on Watery
Lane and by the last gate on the access road to the playing fields). We try to keep allotmenteers and villagers informed about what is happening. If you would like to impart a horticultural message that fellow growers might find of use then do feel free to use the board. Free produce? Seeds or plants going spare? Equipment you no longer require? Already we have had one allotmenteer who mislaid a well loved garden tool reunited with it as a result of a message on the board board.

Wild Life Area
Thanks to the hard work of Dave Musson and Mary and Mark Newstead, our
wildlife area is developing well. Dave has written an informative piece about this for the current edition of the Prattler so I will not steal his thunder by waxing lyrical about it here. Needless to say, the area is another positive feature of the work being carried out on the site.

Tester Plots and Renting and Allotment
If you are interested in trying out allotmenteering contact either Sue Corner on
01327 342124 or Lynda Eales on 01327 341707. We can offer a range of allotment
sizes, to suit every need. Help is also on hand to offer advice and encouragement.

Food for Thought
A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall
never sit in.— Greek proverb

Mike Langrish

Revitalising the Allotments – May 2019

Community Orchard
What a lovely day we had on 6th April. The official opening of Heyford Community
Orchard took place and we were joined by almost one hundred people, many of
whom had sponsored the trees or contributed to the creation of this village
amenity. It was lovely to say ‘Thank you’. As promised, the sun shone and the
conversation flowed – much of it orchard and allotment related. For those good folk
who were visiting the orchard for the first time there was a genuine sense of
surprise at just how extensive the planting has been and the scale of the allotment
‘make-over’. I guess that is something that those who have been involved from the
start, have come to take for granted.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all those allotmenteers who
continue to tend their plots and make the site such a productive and well managed
space. Not everyone can spare the time to join a working party or attend a
meeting, but their vital contribution, caring for the plots, is just as important. Visitors
who have not been to the allotments for a year or two are quick to comment on the
improvements made.

If you haven’t seen what has been achieved so far then do come and take a first
look at the orchard and the allotments. You might even feel inspired to take on a
plot yourself.

Jam Patch
Like the orchard, this rapidly developing area will be clearly signposted so that
villagers who wish to take advantage of what is growing, are quite clear about what
is a community space and what are individual allotmenteer’s plots.

Part of the development grant that we have been able to access, to further develop
the allotments, has been spent on purchasing a large storage shed. This will be
sited on the jam patch and a good slab base has already been laid, ready for
construction later in the month.

Tester Plots and Renting an Allotment
It is very encouraging to note that more and more plots are being rented or ‘tested
out’ by villagers to cultivate. If you are interested contact either Sue Corner on
01327 342124 or Lynda Eales on 01327 341707. We can offer a range of allotment
sizes, to suit every need. Help is also on hand to offer advice and encouragement.

Food for Thought
What do you get if you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter?
Pumpkin pi.

Mike Langrish

 

Nether Heyford Annual Meeting 2019 – Parish Council Chairman’s Report

Nether_Heyford_Parish_Council_2019

Chairman’s Report 2019

At the time of writing, Nether Heyford is awaiting the first signs of spring, and with
luck, a summer. We all look forward to warm evenings and cold drinks.
Unfortunately there are tasks to perform, and obligations to be met, in order for our
lives to be orderly and comfortable. No less so for Nether Heyford Parish Council,
and the conscientious and forward thinking Parish Councillors, with tasks to
perform, and a responsibility to the residents of Nether Heyford.

As in previous years, village organisations have responded brilliantly in a clean up
effort, with volunteers litter picking, up, through, and round Nether Heyford, and the
immediate area. The Neighbourhood Planning Group have got into their stride,
having worked hard to create a Neighbourhood Plan that represents the
development Villagers have asked for, and accommodation that Nether Heyford
actually needs, and which will be suitable for all, rather than the few.

Some amazing things have been occurring in the allotments, and Parish Councillors
with responsibility for this aspect of Village life, have taken the existing system of
allotment management and shaken it up into a sensible, practicable and user
friendly success. A very pleasant leisure area has been created, utilising disused
allotments, and the planting of sponsored fruit trees. Mr Bill Corner has voluntarily
been keeping grass areas between allotments tidy, strimming, and mowing, and
keeping things tidy. The siting of sheds on allotments is also designed to make life
easier for allotment holders. This has been accomplished by communication and
cooperation from all concerned.

The maintenance of our footpaths, and highways is the responsibility of the Local
Authority, and as we know they are in serious financial difficulties. Any and all pot
holes, and subsidence noted should continue to be reported to Street Doctor,
available on line, or by contacting South Northants Council. Although the road
surfaces remain in an appalling condition, generally, I was amazed to note that the
give way signs at all junctions, within the centre of the village are repaired, and lit at
night. That only took two years.

Grass cutting, and tree maintenance continues as always, and the contractors are
aware of their responsibilities, and are responsive to the desire of the Parish Council
to ensure Nether Heyford remains well looked after.

The cemetery is also being serviced regularly, and this will continue. This service is
intended to enhance the maintenance that family members perform to individual
plots.

Over the years, it seems, we see less and less of Police Officers patrolling our
Parish, let alone our village. We have seemingly learned to accept, and tolerate this
situation. Nether Heyford, as of April 2019, will share a PCSO, with Bugbrooke. This
is intended to reassure villagers, and provide a precepted community spirited
service for our village. I would encourage residents to get to know him, and
welcome him to Nether Heyford.

The siting of two defibrillators within Nether Heyford, one at One Stop, and the other
near the Bowls Club in the Playing Field area, continue to provide a public service
that will save lives. They are accessed, on need, with a code provided by the
Ambulance Service. Both machines are inspected on a monthly basis, and kept to a
high standard.

Street lights in Nether Heyford, have over the years had problems. The existing
lights are dated, and of mixed types. As a result they are expensive to maintain, and
are limited in the light they provide. The Parish Council are considering replacing
existing lights, and adding some in new areas. In effect redesigning the lighting
system replacing them with a more modern, and efficient system. New LED lighting
will be more environmentally friendly, provide more effective lighting, and be
cheaper to run. Consultation within Nether Heyford as to type, style, and placement
of new lighting will be announced, hopefully via the new website.

Nether Heyford Parish Council have a somewhat neglected website, and it has
become normal to communicate and allow communication, in the 21st century, so
that everyone knows what is going on. With this in mind, the Parish Council will be
working with Mr Jez Wilson, to ensure the creation of a new website, that will be fit
for purpose, and accessible to all.

I would like to thank, Mr Guy Ravine, Parish Clerk, for his excellent services, and
patience. Also the enthusiastic, forward thinking and progressive members of
Nether Heyford Parish Council.

There are still vacancies on the Parish Council, please give serious thought to
volunteering.

Charles Kiloh
Chairman – Nether Heyford Parish Council

For further useful information about Nether Heyford Parish Council and full contact details for the clerk and the councillors please visit our Nether Heyford Parish Council page.

Revitalising the Allotments – April 2019

Community Orchard
The official opening of Heyford Community Orchard will be held on Saturday 6th April, at 11.30.am – for a 12 noon start. We have invited our wonderful band of sponsors and supporters and we would also like you, the good folk of Nether and Upper Heyford, to feel free to come and join us. Everyone is welcome. All that we would ask is that if you’d like to join in our picnic, you bring a nibble to eat and something to drink. We can’t provide refreshments for all as we have no idea how many people are likely to attend. How embarrassing to have a hundred guests and only a packet or two of sandwiches. Conversely, a handful of people and hundreds of items of food and drink left over! If you are planning to stay for a while you may also want to consider bringing a chair.

Despite the recent gales Mother Nature has been kind to the trees, although we can’t predict at what stage of growth they are likely to be on 6th April. We’ll certainly have to wait a year or two for boughs laden with fruit.

If you haven’t seen what has been achieved so far this is a great opportunity to have a first look at the orchard. It will also be an opportunity for you to ask those involved how it is going to be managed and how you can take advantage of the fruit we will eventually have on offer. Remember, this is a community orchard.

Jam Patch
Work on creating a Jam Patch is moving on swiftly. We have planted three long rows of raspberry canes and rescued at least a dozen currant and gooseberry bushes. Rhubarb crowns have been unearthed and replanted and a more manageable blackberry trellis created. If, in our trawl of discarded plots, we find strawberries they will also be planted up. This, like the orchard, will be a community area so available to all.

Like the orchard, this area will be clearly signposted so that villagers are quite clear about what is a community space and which plots are exclusively reserved for individual allotmenteers.

Tester Plots and Renting and Allotments
The tester plots are slowly taking shape and we are pleased to report that already one has been occupied. Since my last article we have decided that these small strips of ground (measuring about 2m x 10m) will be offered rent-free for a year, enabling potential tenants to see if allotmenteering is for them. After that they will have the opportunity to rent a proper allotment. We have plot sizes to suit all tastes so potential tenants should not panic about having too much to cope with. If you’d like to try out one of the tester plots but feel uncertain about what (or how) to grow vegetables, we can provide you with advice and help setting yourself up.

If you are interested, come and have a look at what is on offer and then contact either Sue Corner on 01327 342124 or Lynda Eales on 01327 341707.

Seats
A big, big thank you to all the people from the village who offered us unwanted garden benches and picnic tables for our community area. As with the sponsorship of fruit trees we are so heartened by the generosity of the villagers.

The furniture is currently being given some TLC and will make a wonderful addition to the community area. We now have enough items, although as the orchard grows, we’d love to think that we could secrete a few more benches in among the trees – but that is for the future.

Food for Thought
“The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”

Mike Langrish

 

Revitalising the Allotments – March 2019

Community Orchard
We are planning an official opening of Heyford Community Orchard on Saturday 6th April, at 11.30.am – for a 12 noon start. We will of course be inviting our wonderful band of sponsors and supporters but we would also like you, the good folk of Nether and Upper Heyford, to feel free to come and join us. Everyone is welcome. All that we would ask is that if you’d like to join in our picnic, you bring a nibble to eat and something to drink.

Unfortunately we can’t provide refreshments for all as we have no idea how many people are likely to attend. How embarrassing to have a hundred guests and only a packet or two of sandwiches. Conversely, a handful of people and hundreds of items of food and drink left over! If you are planning to stay for a while you may also want to consider bringing a chair.

We have ordered good weather and we are hoping Mother Nature will have been kind to the trees. They should be in leaf and some may even have blossom on them. I think we’ll have to wait a year or two for boughs laden with fruit.

If you haven’t seen what has been achieved so far this a great opportunity to have a first look at the orchard. It will also be an opportunity for you to ask those involved how it is going to be managed and how you can take advantage of the fruit we will eventually have on offer. Remember, this is a community orchard.

We look forward to seeing you – whether it is for just a fleeting visit or for an afternoon of bucolic relaxation.

Jam Patch
The next stage in our plan to revitalise the allotment site is to create a Jam Patch. This, like the orchard, will be a community area so available to all. As we have cleared old allotments we have rescued any fruit bushes that are in good condition. These will be planted up on a plot next to the orchard and be available for residents to pick from and hopefully make jam – or any other tasty treats.

Like the orchard, this area will be clearly signposted so that villagers are quite clear about what is a community space and which plots are exclusively reserved for individual allotmenteers.

Watch this space for an update on developments.

Tester Plots
Just like ‘tester (paint) pots’ when you are planning to decorate, we thought it
would be a good idea to create some tester plots. These would be small strips of ground (measuring about 3m x 7m) that local residents could rent for a very minimal fee, to see if they’d like to take on an allotment – or maybe just continue to cultivate because that is quite enough for them.

Clearing and preparing these areas will be the subject of our ‘working parties’ who plan to meet at 10.00.am every Saturday in March for a couple of hours work. Looking at what has been achieved so far, it is amazing just how much can be done in a short period when willing hands are put to work. If you are able to assist (even at another time) then do contact either Lynda or Sue on the numbers listed below.

Renting an Allotment
I am sure that readers of the Prattler won’t have missed our many messages about the good reasons to rent an allotment. Now is the perfect time to adopt a plot. The weather should, by the time you read this article, have started to warm up and the days will certainly be getting longer. Why not give allotmenteering a go and grow your own, tasty fruit and veg. Plots of all sizes are available for rent, from the tiniest of spaces to full sized allotments. In almost all cases they are now in a good state to begin cultivating. What better way to get some exercise and work off the pounds you put on over the festive period?

If you are interested, come and have a look at what is on offer and then contact either Sue Corner on 01327 342124 or Lynda Eales on 01327 341707.

Seats
From time to time people have old garden benches or picnic tables that they no longer require. We’d love to have some seating in the community areas we have created alongside the orchard. If you have just such an item (preferably made of wood/metal) and it needs a new home, do get in touch on either 01327 341390 or langrish_heyford@hotmail.com All donations would be most warmly welcome.

Free Compost Days
Last year South Northants Council organized some free compost days at their Towcester depot. In a bid to encourage people to recycle more green waste they invited local residents to drive along to Towcester with empty sacks and fill them with the compost that is produced from the waste in your green bins. Normally this has to be paid for; you may have noticed the ‘for sale’ notices at the recycling centre. On this occasion it was all free!

The initiative was not well publicized and on the day that Jill and I helped out, I don’t think we saw one Heyford resident. No advance notice of the event has yet been published, but I have enquired about whether the event is being repeated. As soon as I hear, we will publish details on the Prattler website and if possible, get it mentioned in the Prattler itself.

Mike Langrish

 

Revitalising the Allotments – February 2019

Renting an Allotment
I am sure that readers of the Prattler won’t have missed our many messages about the good reasons to rent an allotment. Now is the perfect time to adopt a plot. The weather should, by the time you read this article, have started to warm up and the days will certainly be getting longer. Why not give allotmenteering a go and grow your own, tasty fruit veg.

Plots of all sizes are available for rent, from the tiniest of spaces to full sized allotments. In almost all cases they are now in a good state to begin cultivating. What better way to get some exercise and work off the pounds you put on over the festive period?

If you are interested, come and have a look at what is on offer and then contact either Sue Corner on 01327 342124 or Lynda Eales on 01327 341707.

Community Orchard
All the trees we ordered have now been planted and are, hopefully growing away nicely. Additional fruit trees have also been added to the impressive hedge that separates the orchard from the new junior football pitch. This will not only look good as it grows on but also provide a rich source for pollinating insects and other wildlife. A big thank you to the Playing Fields for organising this and further enhancing the site.

A full list of the trees we have planted is available for anyone who would like to know more about the fruit on offer. Eventually we hope to label each tree with not only the variety but also some notes about when fruit should be picked and what it is best used for.

The apples, pears and plums that we are familiar with in supermarkets have been avoided. Many of these fruits are often grown to survive being shipped halfway across the world. As a result, taste and variety are sacrificed. By contrast, our orchard is made up of heritage trees, many local to this part of the country and noted for their flavour. And what names they have … “Beauty of Bath”, “Ribston Pippin”, “Deddington Golden”, “Aynho Scarlet” and “Ashmeads Kernel”. We even have a “Flore Plum”. There is poetry in just reading them out!

In the recent past our rich history of fruit growing was in jeopardy, as more and more orchards were lost and trees unique to Britain (and individual counties) were overlooked in favour of massed produced imports. Hopefully that trend is being slowed and, perhaps in some small way, we in Nether Heyford, have done our bit to help.

Do go and look at the orchard. It is ours, the community’s and I am sure the good folk of the Heyfords will do everything they can to help nurture and protect it for future generations.

Mike Langrish