Something new at the Village Hall

Many of you may recall seeing a large photographic display in the foyer of the village hall, created in April last year to support our entry into the ACRE Village Awards Scheme. The judge was so impressed she immediately took photographs, and we believe that this helped us to win one of our two Gold Awards. (The other one being for the creative use of our communal space by the allotments association)

The display was the result of Mick Parker going around the village and taking photographs of as many of our community and group activities as he could, and it received many compliments. When it was time for it to be dismantled, it was felt that it would be a great shame for all these pictures of our village life to disappear completely. So, Mick and Tom Dodd got together and selected one photograph from each set of group pictures. The remaining photographs were then passed to all the relevant groups for their own records.

Since then, Tom has created an amazing montage, which has just been installed in the village hall foyer underneath our Welcome Sign – as a permanent ‘snapshot’ of our village life in 2022. You are recommended to go and see if you can find yourselves and your group in action. We are pleased to say that the cost of this undertaking has been fully covered: first, with £100 awarded to us by ACRE as Gold Award winners; plus a grant of £100 from our parish council; and with the balance coming from proceeds of a sponsored skydive by the then, village hall chairman.

Like Mick, Tom most generously gave his time free. One of the many aspects of our village, which helped to win our Gold Award, was the evidence of so many gifted members in our community.

Tom and Mick – we salute you!

Alwyne Wilson


Nether Heyford 2022 Calendar

The Nether Heyford 2022 Calendar is now available. All photographs featured are from local residents and any profits made go towards the village newspaper The Prattler. Price £5.

They are available in the Heyford Meats, The One Stop Shop & The Foresters Arms.

Alternatively all other cash and online payments are available.

Book a “Cash on Collection” or “Cash on Delivery” slot via email

Or “Pay Online” (Paypal, Bitcoin etc ) for free delivery throughout the village.

UK & International postage quotes available on request.

Photographs from: Vernon Cameron-Ilott, Mick Parker, Tom Dodd, Faye Brassett, Simon Bloys

Jez Wilson – Dig. Ed. December 2021

Nether Heyford Art Exhibition – Plans for 2021

Some of you might remember that we had originally planned to have an art exhibition in the village last year, which, along with the Village Hall’s celebrations, has had to be put back. Even this year is looking problematic, and with best intentions we hope that everyone will be vaccinated by the autumn. I recently posted a couple of pictures on social media (Facebook) that I had painted which are views from the Green. There was a lovely response from 60 or so people and other pictures began appearing! The Nether Heyford dedicated site was really helpful in gauging interest and getting feedback. People were also interested in some sort of art group once we can meet again, and I think we can be creative about how that might happen.

Planning anything at the moment is quite tough, but the intention is still there to make the exhibition happen at some point. Gives us more time to get those pens and brushes out and have a go! The theme will be about village life and particularly the Green. Maybe we could organise a virtual on-line exhibition in the meantime? If anyone has experience of this sort of thing and would like to help, drop me a line!

February 2021

Tom Dodd

The Exhibition Gallery so far….Village Life & The Green

The Exhibition Gallery so far….Art from Village Residents

To add your artwork to the exhibition gallery email Tom Dodd or The Prattler. Open to residents of Nether Heyford and Upper Heyford – Remember to state which street you live on.

Nether Heyford 2021 Calendar

The Heyford Calendar now available for £5.

You will be able to pick up a copy at Heyford Meats or The Foresters Arms or by e-mailing to arrange a “cash on collection” time.

Photographs from: Mick Parker, Tom Dodd, Marie Hanlon, John Dunkley, Sarah Thompson, Tony Boutle, Vernon Cameron-Ilott, Martin Lee

Neighbourhood Plan – September 2020


Update on our Neighbourhood Plan

Its been a little while since we were able to give an update – lockdown has understandably slowed down communications and the processes we need to push our plans forward. However, the cogs are beginning to turn again and we have been making the most of Zoom meetings with our colleagues!

An important next step is to organise a Strategic Environmental Assessment of our Plan. This SEA is a systematic process for evaluating the environmental implications of our proposed Neighbourhood Plan, providing a means for looking at any cumulative effects of our policies, and how to address them at the earliest stage of our decision making, alongside economic and social considerations. In these more enlightened times, the SEA can provide adequate responses to environmental and climate change problems, which can adversely affect our environmental and climate resilience, and offers opportunities to enhance low-carbon development. Although there are no major issues anticipated, our environment here in the village does determine whether areas of land identified for possible development could be used or not. For example, if the tract of land is in a flood zone from the River Nene or other waterways, the assessment clarifies that it would be unsuitable, or that it may not be cost effective to develop. We also have a conservation area and a number of listed buildings to consider.

It is useful to keep in mind the scope of the Plan. The latest housing needs assessment completed by Midlands Rural Housing (conducting an independent and objective survey), concluded that there is an identified need for 12 affordable rented homes, 6 shared ownership homes and some open market homes. 25 households identified that they would like to move home but remain in the village. 11 of these are deemed as suitably housed in their current accommodation. 17 of the 25 households would like to relocate to 2-bedroom bungalows. A number of respondents said they would be like to ‘self-build’ their next home. These have been included in the number that expressed a desire for open market housing.

On average, 21 market homes are sold in the village each year. The need identified through the survey for open market housing could be met through these sales without a requirement for new build development. This would of course be dependent upon the type of homes sold, and the type required, e.g. the sale of large family homes would be unsuitable for those wishing to downsize to single storey accommodation and vice versa. The full document will shortly be available to view on our website at:

Since our last update, there has also been an independent survey of the sites which were put forward as available to develop. More details on this in our next bulletin, as well as a revised timescale to completion following the impact of the Coronavirus. We are grateful to Tony Williams who has stepped up to become a member of our core group, bringing his knowledge of planning and local systems from his role on the Parish Council.

Tony Clewett, Tom Dodd, Tony Williams and the NHNPG Group

For more information on Nether Heyford Neighbourhood Plan visit the website:

Revitalising the Allotments – April 2020

Pests and Diseases
I promise you this will not be another opportunity to go on about Coronavirus. We’ve had too much of that recently. This is a Covid 19 free area!

Pests and diseases trouble plants just as they trouble us humans. How we tackle them is a moot point and one that has divided gardeners for many years.

Since before Roman times gardeners have used all manner of concoctions to wage war against pests and diseases in plants. We have become increasingly inventive and clever devising what appears to be foolproof remedies. However, our cleverness does not necessarily mean we’ve been equally wise; for these efficacious products can have the most devastating effect on not just the baddies that ravage our crops, but also the many beneficial insects and animals that inhabit our countryside (and more specifically our allotments and gardens).

DDT was once hailed as the wonder chemical that would solve all our horticultural and agricultural problems until it was discovered to be slowly accumulating in the stomachs of a host of creatures, including humans, and doing untold damage. That was almost fifty years ago and yet even now big agro-chemical companies (and a host of retail outlets) develop and promote a range of pesticides and herbicides that have the potential of cause untold damage to the environment. Since the millennium, there has been a massive decline in the butterfly, beetle and bee population in Europe and the UK leading to the extinction of some species. Much of that can be laid at the door of these products. Sadly, the story is replicated across the whole world. The disappearance of these vital links in the chain of life means that pollination is threatened. No pollination, no food!

There is however some good to emerge from this. We are seeing herbicides and pesticides being used by fewer gardeners and allotmenteers as they discover more environmentally sustainable ways of controlling pests and diseases. Consumer pressure has led to this year seeing a ban on all slug pellets containing the highly toxic chemical metaldehyde. Fear not gardeners, an equally effective organic pellet using ferric phosphate will be available as a replacement.

Many alternative remedies are cheaper and have the added benefit of enhancing what and how we grow. Stop the pests from getting to your crops in the first place by using a barrier and growing sturdier plants. You might ask how that is done and of course you’ll probably guess, from previous articles, that the answer lies in homemade compost. This will develop good, fertile soil. Look after your soil and it will look after your plant

Getting Ready to Grow
The recent advice to avoid social gatherings does not mean you can’t go to the allotment and begin sowing and planting. What better way to take exercise and yet still maintain social distancing. A friendly wave from a neighbouring plot is breaking no rule.

It has been so heartening to see so many villagers at work.

The Community Orchard, Jam Patch and Cut Flower Beds
Work continues in these areas and we’ve had some tremendous help from villagers on our volunteer days held on Saturdays in March. The information signs we reported on in our last two articles are now in place and look very impressive. Hopefully they’ll also be of use for people finding their way around the allotments. A big thank you goes to Tom Dodd for his design work, to the volunteers who erected them and to Ed Smith from the Telegraph Hill Shoot in Daventry who provided the posts.

We would be very grateful if any gardeners who still have spare perennials or shrubs could donate those for our cutting garden. This will ultimately become a free resource for the village. How much nicer to be able to pick locally grown flowers than buy them at extortionate prices from the filling station forecourt.

Our first crop of rhubarb is coming to fruition and visitors to the jam patch are welcome to pick some for themselves.

A range of equipment is available for allotment holders to borrow when working on the allotment site; this includes mowers, rotavators, wheelbarrows, brooms and watering cans. Many people will own some or all of the above, but for those who wish to get access to such equipment, please contact Bill Corner ( 01327 342124), Lynda Eales (01327 341707) or Mike Langrish 01327341390). We can ensure that you get the equipment you require at a mutually convenient time.

Allotment Holders
As always, if you are considering growing your own fruit and veg and you want to try a small tester plot, or something larger, here are the usual telephone contacts: Sue Corner on 01327 342124 or Lynda Eales on 01327 341707.

Mike Langrish 

For England is not flag or Empire, it is not money and it is not blood.
It’s limestone gorge and granite fell, it’s Wealden clay and Severn mud,
It’s blackbird singing from the May tree, lark ascending through the scales,
Robin watching from your spade and English earth beneath your nails.

Heyford Gardening Club – March 2020


Our February meeting featured the welcome return of Liz Taylor of the Woodland Trust who explained the different types of natural woodland to be found in Britain and their associated flora. She also demonstrated how to tell apart the two types of oak to be found here (sessile oaks have stalked leaves; pedunculate oaks have stalked acorns).

We also held our annual arts and crafts show, which again highlighted the range of talent amongst our members.

The photograph section was won by Mike Langrish, Tom Dodd came second and Tony Clewett third.

Philip Reeve won the visual art section with an exquisite miniature painting of a heron, Jean Spokes’ cross-stitch took second place and I managed a third place.

The craft section was won by Mary Newstead with an embroidered bag, Chris West got second with a quilted wreath, and Lynn Ashbee took third with her cupcake quilt.

Our next meeting will be on the 9th March when we will have a talk on snowdrops from Anita Thorp. The evening will also feature the annual daffodil and narcissus show (assuming that there are still daffodils in our gardens by then!).

I am writing this article whilst the second storm in two weeks is lashing the trees. We have already had a very wet winter although there has been little frost so far. Snowdrops are already over and daffodils are fully out and I notice buds nearly bursting on our lilac. This leaves a dilemma, if the season is so advanced, should I get on sowing seeds now to get an early start, or are we likely to get cold weather in the weeks to come? The soil is so wet now that, even without further rain, it will take a while to dry out so perhaps it would be wise to wait a while.

Speaking of plants in pots, I planted some anemone corms in pans in the greenhouse in the autumn, but some creature has been digging in the pans and nipping the developing buds off, I’m not sure whether this is due to mice or renegade sparrows, but it’s all very frustrating.

Things to do in March
1. Top dress container grown plants with fresh compost
2. Prune roses
3. Lift and divide crowded perennials.

Mark Newstead


For more information visit the Heyford Gardening Club & Allotments page


Neighbourhood Plan – February 2020


Happy New Year everyone!

This is the year we should complete our neighbourhood plan, and after satisfying an independent inspection, we will offer it to the village through a referendum exercise for its adoption.

Thanks to everyone who filled out the short survey that was sent to every house just before Christmas. This is to update our information about the local housing need, and enables us to consider this in the light of what space is available throughout the village.

People who returned surveys were once again put into our prize draw for £100, and we’re pleased to announce Mr and Mrs Goodman, who live on the Green, as our winners!

Midlands Rural Housing managed the survey, and drew the lucky winners from over 270 returns.


Our Chair, Tony Clewett presented them with their cheque, and we were amazed to find that Mr Goodman had been in the village for 80 years, and the cottage had been in his family since the year of the Great Exhibition (1851), the year that Yale locks, Singer sewing machines and refrigerators were patented!. The property has a fascinating history, and once had a brook flowing through the garden – even some floors had to be dug out so that people didn’t bump their heads on the beams. We hope they enjoy spending their £100 prize.

The village achieved a 38% return rate on the survey, which is considered to be a very good response. We’ll present the findings in detail next month, once the analysis report has been completed by Midlands Rural Housing.

Early findings reflect the need for affordable rented accommodation and the need for small two bedded bungalows for people who already own properties within the village. MRH say that data from their review shows that first time buyers have more or less found themselves priced out of rural areas. They account for 30% of all mortgaged products in South Northants, compared with 53% in urban areas. Affordability is the main reason for this. Also, they found that over the last 5 years, Nether Heyford has, on the whole seen an increase in open market property values, across all property types. Prices have increased by £64,111 on average; a rise of almost 23%. Research suggests that properties come to the market in the village on a fairly frequent basis. 107 sales have completed since December 2014; 21 per year on average. However, MRH found that the house types to have increased in value are mainly terraced homes and flats. Decreasing values have been seen for some mainly terraced homes and flats. Decreasing values have been seen for some detached and semidetached properties.

The Neighbourhood Plan Group will get back up to speed now and prepare the plan for the next steps. We have to review the now completed independent evaluation of the sites available around the village, and see how this fits with MRH’s latest survey of need. We will be able to reflect on any changes since our last survey, and plan accordingly for the future.

Once again, there is an open invitation to any villager who would like to join us in our open meetings usually held on the last Thursday of the month, at 7.30pm at the Youth Club in Robert’s Field.

Tony Clewett, Tom Dodd, Sue Corner and the NHNPG Group

For more information on Nether Heyford Neighbourhood Plan visit the website:

Neighbourhood Plan – November 2019


This month we are asking for an update on the housing needs in our village – unbelievably its been nearly 3 years since you told us all about not only your housing aspirations, but also many ideas about heritage, roads, green spaces, business, etc. We have built many of these ideas into our draft Neighbourhood Plan, and shared with you the sites around the village where there is potential for any small developments.

In order to satisfy our examiner and to reassure both villagers and landowners, we are working with partners at Midlands Rural Housing to update any details about people who are looking to move within the village – be they young families, single people or downsizers – and the types of accommodation they’re looking for (for example affordable, rented, plots for self build). Midlands Rural Housing will handle the returns and analysis of surveys, ensuring an objective statement of what our needs are in 2019/2020.

The short surveys will be with everyone (the Neighbourhood Plan Group will post them through everyone’s letterbox) before the end of November. Once again, we’re pleased to offer a £100 prize draw for entrants. If everyone can complete just the first part, and then the remaining questions if you are looking to move, we’ll have up to date numbers that we can use in the plan. The survey will be short (unlike our first Neighbourhood Plan survey!) and if anyone needs support to fill it in, all the members of the Neighbourhood Plan Group will be on hand to help. Please post returns by the date that will be on the letter inside, and don’t forget to include your prize draw ticket for a chance of winning £100.

The Neighbourhood Plan is built on the support and ideas of our villagers, so thanks in advance for your help in making the plan both as up to date as possible, and robust in its recommendations.

Tony Clewett, Tom Dodd, Sue Corner and the NHNPG Group

For more information on Nether Heyford Neighbourhood Plan visit the website: