Tackley Newsletter
April & May 2022


Parish Council

Liz Marshall

It has been a quiet couple of months since Christmas for Tackley Parish Council, other than the usual ongoing work in the background.


We are still waiting for Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) to appoint a consultant to do a catchment study of the area to enable us to better plan any flood mitigations. However, the recently deepened bund at the bottom of Rousham Road has been holding back a lot of water over the last few weeks.

Railway Crossing

We are still waiting for Network Rail to appoint a consultant to go over all the previous options for the rail crossing. This should happen in the next few months, but we have no further information at this time.

New panels are being put onto the temporary bridge to stop reflections back to the houses along Nethercote Road, which have been a problem. Hopefully this will be completed soon.

If you have any concerns regarding the station and crossing, please contact our parish council clerk and she will forward these to your railway reps and Network Rail. Alternatively, speak directly to your local councillors or TRAC representative. Equestrians concerned about the bridleway closure should contact the OCC Countryside Access team and the British Horse Society.

Shop and Village Hall Bins

The new bin store for the village hall and shop will be built soon, approximately where the bins currently are by the playground. This seemed like the best compromise for access by the shop, village hall and refuse collectors. Thank you to the shop and village hall for all the work they have done to bring this to fruition. Please do not use these bins for general rubbish; they are for shop and village hall use only.


As mentioned in February’s newsletter, a subcommittee of the parish council has been set up specifically for the care and maintenance of Tackley Heath. This is such a wonderful place for residents to access that it’s great we now have a dedicated group to make sure it gets the care and attention it deserves. Do join us for our first work party day on Sunday, 3 April — see The Heath.

Tree Work

We have had some tree work completed on the path between Chaundy and St John’s roads. Hopefully this will improve light levels in some gardens without having been too heavy-handed. This can be revisited in a year or two if necessary.

New Lighting

The new solar lights now all seem to be working well in the Jubilee Garden after a dodgy start with one of them! They are deliberately not very bright, but provide enough light to see the path. The light by the school playground is also working well, and reports from school staff through the winter were very positive.

Platinum Jubilee

Plans for Tackley’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations on the weekend of 4, 5 and 6 June are ongoing. A committee has been formed to coordinate events and hopes to publish more information soon. Richard has been a little busy recently — we would like to congratulate him on the birth of his daughter! If you have any suggestions or would like to volunteer to help with the celebrations, please contact richard.jackson@tackleyvillage.co.uk.

Supporting Ukrainian Refugees

Sarah Gibbons, Sally House & Gill Withers

If your answer to any of these is yes, please get in touch with Gill Withers at gillwithers@gmail.com or Sally House at sallyholloway128@gmail.com.

A meeting was held on 22 March to consider whether Tackley as a community can welcome and support Ukrainian refugees. 34 people attended, and a further 30 expressed interest but were unable to attend.

Gill Withers welcomed everyone before Sarah Gibbons talked about her personal connection and interest in Ukraine.

Sally House shared experience of her own progress towards becoming a host; she has linked with a family and the process is nearly complete. She is happy to provide guidance to anyone wanting to do the same.

Sally stressed the importance of a good support network for any refugees, but especially those coming to rural areas.

Lauren Murray, head of Tackley Primary School, is supportive of any initiative, saying that the refugee children would be warmly welcomed and would enrich the school.

Andy Graham from Oxfordshire County Council would have talked about the wider support that will become available locally, but unfortunately he had Covid, so Gill talked about initiatives in Woodstock and Charlbury. Councils will receive funds to support the refugees, who will have access to state benefits, health care, jobs and wraparound refugee services.

Within Tackley there are already some positive and practical responses. At least four families have registered for the Homes for Ukraine scheme and are going through the process.

There are tremendous offers of support coming in from individuals, and community ideas developing. These include cooking clubs, transport, financial support for rentals, teaching English as a foreign language, friendship initiatives, and play dates for children. An initial network of interested people is being developed with an email newsletter. If you would like to join this network, please contact Gill Withers.

Clearly these are very early days, but please do get in touch if you would like to be part of this.

The Heath

Liz Marshall
Photo: Simon Somerscales

In the last newsletter a call was put out for people to become part of a parish council subcommittee dedicated to the care of Tackley Heath, which is a County Wildlife Site. Since then a small group consisting of Rachel Strachan (chair), Jon Chaplin, John Reynolds and Malcolm Ridout, along with Liz Marshall from the parish council, have met a couple of times to consider the overall work that needs doing and what will be prioritised for this year. If anyone else is interested in joining, please get in touch. We don’t need too big a group, but sharing out any organising is always helpful, and anyone with experience in applying for grants would be particularly welcome.

The priority this year, initially, will be access. There have been numerous complaints over the last couple of years about bracken and brambles blocking paths during summer.

On Sunday, 3 April our first work party will concentrate on brambles along a specific pathway. Overgrowing vegetation will be cut back from the public footpath along the east edge of the heath, and there may be tree work needed in places.

Calling all helpers: we will be there from 10 am to 3 pm, and you are welcome to come along all day (bring a packed lunch) or just for a short time. We will meet in the centre, where Breakfast on the Heath is held; there will be waymarkers from the road. You will need thick trousers and gloves; and please bring secateurs, loppers or shears and a border/hand fork if you can. We will have some spare tools and gloves available; so if you don’t have any, your help will still be welcome.

Into late spring and through the summer, different paths will be targeted to keep the bracken at bay and maintain access. In other small areas we will trial controlling bracken growth, to hopefully restore areas of what should be acid heathland, and discover what seed banks are present in the soil. As well as this there will be a bird survey, to find out what species are living there, and also a bat survey.

Because the heath is such a wonderful place to visit, it is important that most residents – even those who can’t walk far – have access to it, so we will be looking into how we can improve the verge parking, and finding funding to do this.

Into autumn and winter we are hoping to bulk out and improve the very gappy hedge along the Fox Hill road, providing much-needed food and habitat for wildlife. We hope to be joined by plenty of volunteers who love the heath and are keen to help!

Memorial Trees

We have noticed that over the last few years there have been several memorial trees planted. This is such a lovely thing to do, and the woodland areas certainly will benefit from some young trees ready to take over when older trees die or fall in storms. However, not all have been British native trees suitable for the site. If you would like to plant a memorial tree, please first contact the parish council who will be happy to discuss the type of tree, the best location and, importantly, where to source the tree from. With so many tree diseases imported from abroad, including Dutch elm disease and ash dieback, it is important that trees are sourced from certified UK growers. Even better would be if you have grown the tree from a seed sourced on the heath itself, as these will be uniquely suited to the growing conditions there.

St Nicholas’ Church

Revd Marcus Green
01869 340903

As a kid, I hated being lined up on games day so teams could be chosen. You know the experience: captains pick their mates, then the best players, and then it’s a shame parade. I wasn’t especially sporty and would often find myself near the end of the process.

One of the amazing things about the Easter Story is that none of this goes on. Sure, Jesus has friends in his disciples; and sure, there are folk who don’t like Jesus; but as Holy Week leads up to the Crucifixion and then Easter Sunday, Jesus shows his friends no favours — and never shames even those who would stop at nothing to take his life. Everyone is on a level playing field, and I love it.

We get to see Pilate’s indecision and weakness, for sure. But so too we see Peter’s betrayal. We see Judas’s handing Jesus over to the soldiers, but we also see a soldier confessing Jesus as the son of God, and two pharisees – Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus – caring for his crucified body after all the disciples have fled. We see crowds praising and cursing, men’s bravado, and women’s bravery. There’s no sense of hierarchy or an ‘in crowd’. We are simply presented with the holy chaos of people, all as human as each other and as loved by God.

One of the reasons I hated those schools games afternoons, or those playground sports as a kid, was that I never felt I fitted in. There were people who were better than me who belonged on the football team. Much as I hated it, I pretty much deserved to be picked last!

And I know that some folk don’t come to church much now because they feel just that way — they feel they don’t fit in. Others seem to belong there, but not them. I apologise for this, if that rings anywhere near true for you. Easter tells a different story, and it’s a much better one. Everyone around Jesus is on a level playing field.

When it comes to faith, there are no experts, no team captains — except one. And that Lord Jesus walked through the first Holy Week leading up to Easter talking to absolutely everyone; including absolutely everyone; ignoring absolutely no one; because at the end he died and rose so the love and hope he brings might be for absolutely everyone. He chooses us all.

I very much hope you might come to one of our Easter services this April as we celebrate God’s love, which is for you and for me, and which through these difficult days brings hope that changes life. But if you can’t, I pray you’ll find on television, on the radio or on the web some touch of Jesus that brings this much better story of love home for you.

Methodist Church

Jan Grimwood
01869 331575
07847 603573

Events in Holy Week

On Wednesday, 13 April prayer stations will be open from 10 am to 12 noon and then from 1 pm to 3 pm. You are welcome to drop in for a time of reflection with Rachael. On Maundy Thursday, 14 April we will have a service at 7:30 pm led by Revd Paul Carter.

Other Events

Our weekly coffee morning will restart on Thursday, 7 April at its normal time of 10 am to 12 noon. Whether you’re new to the village or one of our regulars, a warm welcome awaits you, so do pop in for a chat over a cuppa. Messy Church will return after Easter; details will be made available in due course.

Sunday Services

All of these services start at 10:30 am.

Gardening Club

Mary Lee
01869 331427

Anyone is welcome at Tackley Gardening Club, and it was nice to see some new faces in March when Emma Rogers gave a very interesting and informative demonstration on pruning, with lots of examples and great tips. Emma kindly asked us to donate her fee to the Red Cross for Ukraine, and with extra donations from members we raised £54.60.

Our next meeting is on Tuesday, 19 April when our very own John Cooper will talk all about herbs. We hope to see you there.

Social Cycling

Neil Wilson
Drawing: Neil Wilson

Tackley Wheelers is social cycling during spring and summer.

It’s more to do with the socialising than the cycling: we aren’t ‘heads down, bums up’ cyclists, but take our time when riding, with lots of stops for regrouping. We are inclusive to all-comers; no one will be left behind because there will always be a back marker to accompany slower riders. Riders with electric bikes are welcome.

We meet every Wednesday evening until mid September, cycling to nearby villages and chatting in the pubs we visit — and then all back to the Gardiner Arms. Rides early and later in the season visit pubs in Woodstock, Kirtlington and Upper Heyford for example; with greater distances such as Wootton and Weston-on-the-Green in the longer summer evenings.

We look forward to seeing both new and familiar faces, young or not so young. If you’d like to join us, simply turn up on a Wednesday evening by the village hall ready to leave at 6:45 pm.

For more information, just get in touch with Rachel and Neil via the email above.

Walking Group

Rachel Strachan & Linda Birch
01869 331579

Tackley Walking Group is a friendly way to get to know the Oxfordshire countryside better, on its leisurely walks. We meet at the village hall at the times given to arrange transport to the walk start. There’s no obligation to car share, but there isn’t always enough parking for each person to drive individually to the start. Face masks are advised for car sharing while Covid infection rates are high. Distances are approximate, and all walks are at participants’ own risk.

Saturday, 9 April at 9:30 am: Bloxham. Through the village, noting traces of history including the railway, coffin road and workhouse. Visit the Slade nature reserve, then across fields. 5.5 miles led by Rachel Strachan.

Wednesday, 27 April at 2 pm: Minster Lovell to Crawley. Along the Windrush Valley, past mills used in making Witney blankets, and returning via the ruins of 15C Minster Lovell Hall. 3.5 miles led by Linda Birch.

Saturday, 14 May at 9:30 am: Old Boars Hill. Start at Wootton by Abingdon. Fine views of the ‘city of dreaming spires’, the Berkshire Downs and Chilterns. Passing through the Oxford Preservation Trust’s Jarn Mound & Wild Garden and Elizabeth Daryush Memorial Gardens. 5 miles led by Robert Maybank.

Wednesday, 25 May at 2 pm: Chipping Norton to Glyme Farm and Over Norton, with a chance to see the rare meadow clary in flower. 4.5 miles led by Linda Birch.

Looking further ahead, our first outing in July will be Sunday, 10 July at 9:30 am (instead of Saturday 9th). In the morning there’s a walk around Swalcliffe, with its splendid borage fields, then the option to have lunch at The Stag — or bring a picnic. In the afternoon, Swalcliffe Tithe Barn, one of the finest 15C half-cruck barns in England, is open free from 2 to 5 pm.


Rosie Hawes & Janet Maybank

Tackley WI formed in September 2019, little knowing what the next two years would bring! After six meetings in person we had to move online, until September 2021 when we tentatively returned to the village hall.

Throughout this time we have enjoyed speakers on various interesting topics; as well as health, cookery and craft evenings. Recently, for Christmas, we made topiary tree table decorations. In February we had a talk from the Salvation Army about anti-trafficking and modern slavery, one of the WI’s national campaigns, and in March we had a bread-making demonstration from Tackley’s own Fiona Colonnese.

We are a small and friendly group of women of all ages, and would love to welcome new members. Visitors pay £5 per meeting, which includes tea and a raffle ticket. We meet on the first Tuesday evening of each month in the village hall, 7:45 for 8 pm. Our next meetings are:

Tuesday, 5 April: Climate workshop with a WI climate ambassador.

Tuesday, 3 May: Evening visit to a private garden in Kirtlington that was designed during lockdown. Please email us for the time and place.

Tuesday, 7 June: Craft evening making hanging baskets from pants, highlighting the WI’s ovarian cancer project.

Horse Show

Alex Machin for the Tackley Horse Show Committee

We are thrilled that Tackley Horse Show is back this year on Sunday, 24 April. For those of you who are new to the village: the show is held in the big field just behind the church; you won’t be able to miss it!

Please do come along and see what’s going on. Aside from the horses we have a fun dog show which is open to all – the schedule is on our website – along with catering and the Gardiner Arms running the bar. There may even be a few weather-dependant surprises on the day, so please do pop up and support us. All money raised is split between a variety of groups and charities.

We are still looking for a couple of helpers in the catering tent. If you may be able to offer an hour or two, please do get in touch via email.

Bridewell Gardens

Rachel Green

Bridewell Gardens provides a mental health recovery service for West Oxfordshire, supporting people who have experienced severe and enduring mental illness.

On Saturday, 30 April at our plant sale you can browse a wide variety of perennial plants. The walled garden will not be open on this day.

The entire site will be open to the public from 11 am to 4 pm on our open days on Sunday 15 May, Saturday 18 June, Sunday 19 June and Sunday 11 September.

There will be a pop-up cafe for tea and cake, as well as plants, juice, home-produced jams and chutneys and our organic sparkling wine for sale. Make a day of it — bring a picnic blanket and relax with friends and family. Dogs on leads are welcome.

No booking is required. There is a suggested donation of £5 per person. Find us at Wilcote, OX7 3DT.