Tackley Newsletter
October & November 2023


Parish Council

Liz Marshall, Chair

After the summer break, the September meeting is always a long one, catching up on two months of village matters.

Firstly, I’d like to welcome our new councillor, Steve Hill. We look forward to his contributions to our discussions and work on the council.


Boward Trees will be conducting a survey of all the main trees in the village as well as along the core paths in the woods on Tackley Heath. If any work needs to be done on their advice, we will do it over winter.

There are currently some branches down over some of the paths on the heath. These will be cleared by Mark Blake over the next few weeks.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks will also be clearing vegetation and trees this autumn near the power lines that cross the heath.

Please note that all wood felled on the heath should stay there. Fallen and standing dead wood is a vital part of the ecosystem of a woodland, and no one has the right to remove wood or cut down trees on the heath except with the explicit permission of Tackley Parish Council. If you think there is a tree that needs attention, please contact us.

It has also been brought to our attention that people are chopping down wood to burn on a large fire in the centre. Having fires, particularly through the summer, is a major danger to the whole woodland; and we would like to strongly point out that fires are not allowed on the heath.

Nicholsons have agreed that the rowan tree at the top of Chaundy Road died within their grace period. They will be inspecting the tree to make a decision on whether they will replace it. Either way, the tree will be replaced this winter. Two new, small trees will also be planted at the bottom of Chaundy Road to replace the ash, which had to be removed due to rot.

After concern was raised about the dead trees on the Barwood development, we have been in touch with the management team. They have let us know that a tree inspection will be conducted and all dead trees will be replaced this winter.

Speed Limit

A consultation questionnaire from Oxfordshire County Council on a 20 mph speed limit for Tackley is now open for the public to respond to. We will have a link to this on the parish council section of the village website.


The dog poo bin in the Jubilee Garden has finally been installed! The number of emails this required was quite extraordinary, but we prevailed. Sadly the black bin mistakenly used as a poo bin is still there, but we will keep trying to have it removed.

The playground has had its yearly RoSPA inspection, and any points raised will be dealt with. The hedge will also be trimmed on the allotment side and the top.

We had a request from Gabriel of Select Flame to bring his pizza van to the village on Thursdays. We thought this would be an excellent complement to the fish-and-chip van which stops at various points in the village on Tuesdays. Look out for his leaflets on the noticeboards and Facebook page.

For more information on what the parish council does, please visit our section on the village website or come along to our meetings on the third Monday of each month except August.

Vulnerable Adult Hub

Richard Holland-Oakes
07595 040826

We have many elderly people in the community, a lot of whom have lived in Tackley for many years and with family support near and far.

Dementia has had a significant effect on our family, which is why we are proposing this initiative.

As a disease, dementia influences people in individual ways. Key impacts can include changes in behaviour, memory, cognitive decline, anxiety, aggression and communication challenges. It worsens with time, and on noticing these changes – perhaps just a one-off instance – it can be difficult to know what to do.

The three main dementia conditions that affect the older generation are Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and Lewy body dementia. The NHS and social services are struggling with the increase of this disability, and the knock-on effect is starting to impact our wider healthcare system.

We have had experience advocating for individuals who are entitled to these services, including the difficulties and complex processes involved with appointments and assessments.

At our last parish council meeting it was agreed it would be worth exploring the idea of a Tackley support group so that, if needed, we as a village could pull together to help put a network in place.

I would like to invite volunteers to support us in forming Tackley Vulnerable Adult Hub. The hub would provide a central, confidential service where anyone could get in touch with information requests or register their concerns big or small. The group would make every effort to ensure that the individual gets access to all the services available, and regular support within the community. Examples include referrals for home assessments by social services, informing registered doctors, liaising with Age UK, hospital appointments, and general day-to-day functions.

With a hub in place, if there are concerns raised by someone already registered, we can update the information — and take action needed to inform friends and family who are registered as contacts.

Tackley would be the first village to have this community initiative. It would not be about providing care, but rather supporting people to stay in their own homes as long as they can — keeping an eye out and keeping people safe.

If you feel you might be interested in helping set this up – along with Tackley Parish Council’s support – or you have ideas about how this network could work, please get in touch. We owe it to our elders who have supported Tackley through the decades.

Flu and Covid Clinic

Woodstock Surgery
01993 811452

A flu and Covid clinic will be held in Tackley Village Hall on Tuesday, 24 October from 10:30 am to 12:15 pm. Please telephone Woodstock Surgery to book an appointment.

The following people are eligible for an autumn Covid and flu booster:

If you have any Covid symptoms, please do not attend your appointment. Call the surgery and a new appointment will be arranged for you.

Churchyard Car Park

Julian Whitehead, Church Warden

For several months, St Nicholas’ churchyard car park has been made available to contractor vehicles working at Little Manor. It is regretted that the presence of contractors in the churchyard has been an inconvenience and an unfortunate distraction for those wanting a peaceful time to visit the graves of loved ones.

The land is owned by the Tackley Estate who very generously make it available to the church for parking. The only problem is that after a rainy period it becomes waterlogged, making it unusable by vehicles.

The project manager for Little Manor made a request to put down tracking to use the churchyard for contractor parking. This was agreed on condition that at the end of the project the tracking would be removed and replaced by mesh, and the area re-seeded so that the car park would remain grassy but would become usable in all weathers.

The Little Manor project has now been completed and the tracking removed. The mesh and grass seed will be put down soon.

The parochial church council sends its apologies to those who have been adversely affected by the contractor parking, but hopes they will appreciate that the inconvenience will result in an all-weather car park for the church.

Breakfast on the Heath

Breakfast on the Heath Committee

The following letter of thanks was received by the Breakfast on the Heath Committee from Dementia UK:

Thank you so much for your kind donation of £150.

Dementia is a huge and growing health crisis. By 2025, it’s predicted that over one million people in the UK will be living with the condition. But while there is currently no cure for dementia, there is care — and care can change lives. That’s why we’re so grateful for your support.

Your donation will help us grow the number of specialist Admiral Nurses so they can provide a lifeline to more families facing dementia — like Steve, whose wife Julie was diagnosed with young onset dementia:

“Meeting my Admiral Nurse, Amy, was a breath of fresh air. She’s a great listener and I can bounce my ideas for caring for Julie off her. She has empowered me to be the best carer I can for my wife. Without Amy, coping would be a much greater challenge.”

Once again, thank you for your generosity. Because of you, our nurses can help more families face the future with confidence.

Best wishes,

India Hinsley
Community Fundraising Team

Village Shop

Andrew Smith

I’d like to say a huge thank-you to all the Tackley Shop staff, volunteers, directors and committee members for the really kind words and generous gifts at the recent shop volunteers’ party. I’m very touched.

For those of you who don’t know, I have now stood down as a director and committee member at Tackley Shop after almost 20 years — although you’ll still see me volunteering behind the till, usually early on Tuesday mornings.

It’s been a great privilege to be part of such a fantastic, successful community venture, working with a large number of lovely hard-working people – mostly unpaid, and far too numerous to mention here – all of whom have ‘done their bit’. What a wonderful village Tackley is!

A new generation has now joined the existing team. I wish them every success and hope that Tackley Shop continues to thrive far into the future.

Gardiner Arms Update

Jeremy Posnansky on behalf of the Gardiner Arms Community Interest Group

How good it would have been if the headline to this article could have read ‘Tackley Celebrates Reopening of its Pub’.

More than six months after Martin and Jackie Perrin announced that they were closing the Gardiner Arms and would sell it to the village, it should have been possible to have bought it, refurbished it, and reopened it as a true community pub. My two previous articles described how hard – impossible is a better word – it was to make any progress with the Perrins or Jackie’s father-in-law, Ray Foulk.

Sadly, that has continued to be the case. However, it’s important to keep the village informed about what has happened and how we see the future, hard though that is to predict.

The first thing to say is that the plan remains to purchase and reopen the pub as a community asset, owned by and for the village. That’s what the Gardiner Arms Community Interest Group is about. The half dozen of us in the group aren’t acting on our own behalf and none of us has ever had any intention to buy the pub, whether individually or as a group. We’re simply representatives of the village, and we have continued to be in contact with the parish council and with Councillor Angus Paxton who has been delegated to liaise with us. I hope that reassurance dispels any misapprehension which may have crept in recently.

While we remain focused on the aim of buying the pub for the village, the plain fact is that the moratorium period as an Asset of Community Value under the Localism Act 2011 will end in mid October. The pub could then be sold to a third party and we as a village could not stop that. Whether that happens is impossible to predict.

If a ‘white knight’ were to come along and buy the pub, it could be a good thing. Anything – well, almost anything – would be better than the current situation. If such a buyer comes along, we’re sure they would liaise with the village and be sensitive to what Tackley needs and wants. It wouldn’t be the same as the village owning the pub, but it could be just as good or even better. The condition of the pub and the need for repairs and improvements could perhaps be tackled better – and with deeper pockets – if a white knight was to buy it.

Despite the lack of progress in the last six months, we have continued to do what we can to do a deal with the Perrins, Mr Foulk, and their companies. To that end, and despite a total lack of engagement by the other parties, on 15 September we made an offer to buy the pub. It was a joint one to all of them and their companies, and was for the entire site: pub, car park, function room etc. We offered £360,000, subject to contract and subject to survey. The letter said:

“The intention is that ownership of the whole site will be vested in the community. … We shall not justify our figure, but we do tell you that it is higher than the value advised by our specialist valuer. … How the contract and transaction will be structured are a matter for discussion between our respective legal advisors when/if the offer is accepted.”

At the time of writing this, we have not received a reply from Martin and Jackie Perrin. But we did receive one from Heston Holdings, the company which owns the function room and access to the car park. Our offer was not accepted, which was no surprise given the history. Indeed, the letter ended “…we have no plans to dispose of our property. We are presently working on a new planning application.”

On another front, we have been in contact with West Oxfordshire District Council in relation to a number of issues with which it should be concerned. For example, the condition of the pub, a Grade II listed building, and its current use and non-use. Although our expectations were not great, their reply was surprising and disappointing. We have made a robust and reasoned response.

Finally, a bright spot! The Pop-up Pub has been operating throughout the summer and has been a huge success. Every Friday, large numbers of villagers have come and enjoyed themselves. It’s been great to see so many people — most weeks more than 150. The bar has been well stocked and well priced.

There has been delicious food: pizzas, barbecues, tachos, fish and chips, and more. So good has it been that several times the food has sold out. Special thanks to Matt Ollman, Tim Chapple, Graham Agutter, Simon Gough and their many helpers for making it such a success. Thanks also to Julie Farren and others who have provided such good food.

While the Gardiner Arms remains closed, Pop-up Pub will continue. There may be no more summer weather to enjoy outside, but the warmth and welcome will be the same inside the village hall.

If you would like to get in touch with us, please contact us by email to gacommunityinterest@gmail.com.

Nature Spaces

Rachel Strachan & Katherine Woodrow

In 2004, Tackley Heath was designated one of Oxfordshire’s County Wildlife Sites because of its rare habitats which are of national and international importance. Traditionally the bracken would have been kept under control by grazing animals, but it is now out of control and threatening to destroy these habitats. The committee have begun work on a management plan, and we would love your help.

Narrow path through woodland with a carpet of bluebells either side.

Village Consultation

We will be holding a consultation in Tackley Village Hall on Friday, 13 October from 6 pm to coincide with Pop-up Pub. Please come along to hear about our ideas and have your say in the future management of the heath. We would be very grateful if you could also complete the enclosed questionnaire and either bring it along or drop it off at the parish council postbox outside the main entrance to the village hall.

Tree Work

This autumn and winter there will be tree work on the heath. Firstly, to deal with fallen and unsound overhanging branches along the main paths; this is being organised by the parish council.

Separately, on behalf of Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, contractor Ground Control will be trimming trees and clearing vegetation close to the power lines. This is a routine preventative measure to avoid power cuts that can be caused when vegetation comes into contact with the wires. The work will include using a machine to mulch the scrub under the power lines, to allow access for the tree surgeons.

Any cut branches will be left on site to provide deadwood which is an important part of the woodland ecosystem. Fallen branches, rotting stumps and dead trees are the lifeblood of any woodland. Decaying wood recycles nutrients back into the soil, provides food and nurseries for a wide range of minibeasts and animals, and can become host to spectacular collections of fungi. Please leave felled and fallen wood undisturbed.

Fires & Firewood

There is a widespread misunderstanding that villagers can take firewood from the heath. This is not the case. No commoner rights were specified when Tackley Heath was registered as a charity in 1965; so any prior parishioner rights then ceased, including cutting and collecting firewood. The heath became ‘open access’ land in 2000, which means it can be used for walking, running and watching wildlife — without having to stick to paths. But it can’t be used for horse riding, cycling, camping, taking animals other than dogs onto the land, or driving a vehicle — unless specifically authorised by the parish council. There is also no right to remove anything from the area – including stones, fallen wood or plants – nor to use a metal detector, or to take part in organised games or commercial activities.

Nature Spaces

After a busy few months we are delighted to welcome Dan Levinge and David Kennerley to the Tackley Heath Committee.

The heath also has a new page on the village website with some beautiful photographs by John Reynolds.

The remit of the Tackley Heath Committee is being widened to include other nature spaces in and around the village, like Crecy Hill and the Jubilee Garden, and we now have our very own email address – naturespaces@tackleyvillage.co.uk – for anyone who’d like to get in touch.

Changing Seasons

Rev Harriet Orridge
01869 932224

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

As we begin October, with our local harvest celebrations and others around the world, we say thank you to God for the harvest.

The seasons around us are changing, in more ways than one — as we see climate change apparent in the weather. The disruption to the Gulf Stream, not coming as far north as usual, can be seen in our poor summer and the heatwaves and wildfires followed by torrential rain and floods in Europe.

Part of being thankful for God’s gifts to us is good stewardship of them, which means caring for our environment. Our efforts in working towards net zero carbon will ensure that future generations will also be able to be thankful for creation.

The changing of the seasons is clearly visibly by the beginning of October. The days are shorter and the nights longer, and the temperature drops in the evenings as they struggle to hold the warmth of the days.

The countryside around us is also changing with ripening apples and blackberries, shiny conkers, and leaves turning from green to a colourful range of red, orange and brown hues before falling to the ground.

Hawthorn berries

Wildlife is busy preparing. We have begun to see the arrival of starlings from northern Europe in search of warmer weather, while other animals are fattening up and burying food ready for the winter.

There are different seasons in the life of our local communities, too. In Steeple Aston this term we welcome Rob O’Malley as the new headteacher at Dr Radcliffe’s primary school. Everyone is excited about how he, together with the staff, will shape the next season of the school’s life and the positive impact it will have for the children and wider community.

There are also seasons within our own lives; stages through which we grow before moving on to the next. This summer saw our youngest take part in his graduation service — a wonderful celebration of his and his fellow students’ achievements. Equally it was the closing of one season – student life – and the threshold of a new season of work and a career.

The musical Salad Days begins with Jane and Timothy meeting as they leave the University of Oxford, promising not to look back; recognising that the fun they shared with friends is to be remembered and celebrated, but that they must go forward into a new season of life. The rest of the musical is about that transition; about looking forward and embracing the new opportunities that lie ahead.

Sometimes the road ahead is clear, and we know where we are going and have a clear plan of how to get there. In the middle of October, I’m going on retreat in North Wales, traveling by train. I have my ticket and know how I’m going to get there.

Sometimes, though, the path isn’t as clearly defined and we have to feel our way, pushing forward — perhaps cautiously as through mist and fog, trusting that the sun will burn through and that new doors will open up for us. At these moments we can take comfort that God is walking with us, and that he “knows the plans he has for us; plans to prosper and not to harm; plans to give us hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Methodist Church

Jan Grimwood

By the time you read this, we’ll have celebrated at our harvest festival service and enjoyed our harvest supper. All the fruit and vegetables from our harvest table will have been delivered to Spencer Court care home in Woodstock.

Though the nights are drawing in, various activities will still be taking place at Tackley Methodist Church.

Coffee mornings take place in the church on Thursdays between 10:30 am and noon. You’re very welcome to come and join us for a cuppa, biscuits, laughter and a chat. Sometimes we have cake!

Watch this space for details of Messy Church, and keep your eyes open for more information.

Craft Club: Free Workshops

Julie Farren

In addition to our regular evening sessions, Tackley Craft Club is pleased to announce two sewing workshops – free for Tackley residents – where we will be lucky enough to have Liz Clarke helping us.

Both workshops will be free for Tackley residents. A donation will be requested for the refreshments. Bring along your own packed lunch.

If you fancy coming along to either of these workshops and learning more about recycling old clothes into other things or building confidence with your sewing machine then please email me to book a place.

Tackley Craft Club is a social group that meets once a fortnight on a Monday evening from 7 to 9 pm in the village hall. Lessons in knitting and crocheting are available on request. The cost is £3 per session to cover the cost of hall hire and refreshments.

Gardening Club

Mary Lee
01869 331427

Autumn seems to have arrived, with the wind and rain, but in September we had a very interesting and entertaining talk about spring planting from Tim Walker. It was very well attended, and we were joined by some of Steeple Aston Garden Club. Everyone was delighted.

October’s talk is by Hugh Warwick, the hedgehog man, and will be a week later than scheduled — it will be on Tuesday, 24 October. Please come and join us.

November is going to be a Christmas surprise. I look forward to seeing you all.

Local History Group

Sue Ashton

We are sorry that we had to cancel our open afternoon in September. We hope to rearrange it for the spring.

Our new programme of monthly speaker meetings began with Bob Hessian telling us about the Christmas Eve 1874 rail disaster at Shipton-on-Cherwell and a visit to the church at Hampton Gay.

We meet on the fourth Monday of each month in Tackley Village Memorial Hall at 7:45 for 8 pm.

Membership is £12 for the year or £5 as a visitor to a meeting.

Fore more information, visit our website and find us on Facebook.

Programme of Talks


Janet Maybank

Tackley WI has had a good summer, making flower arrangements with Jennifer in August and ice cream with Mariella in September.

We won a bursary from the Oxfordshire Federation of WIs and spent it on a lovely outing to Sezincote House and garden near Moreton-in-Marsh. Highly recommended!

Visitors and new members are most welcome at our autumn meetings in the village hall, 7:45 for 8 pm. Entry for visitors is £5, or a half-year membership – including the WI Life monthly magazine – is £23.

Walking Group

Linda Birch

We meet at Tackley Village Hall at the times given to arrange transport to the start of each walk. Walking is at each participant’s own risk.

Robert Courts Watch

Gavin Fielding

Launched on 19 July 2022 by a group of local people in Witney on the hottest day ever recorded in Britain at that time, Robert Courts Watch has been seeking to hold our local MP to account on the climate change issue. Comprising ordinary people worried about our climate and the future, the group maintains that it is only through Westminster that real change is possible.

Robert Courts Watch is active across the constituency, holding vigils outside the constituency office and Saturday stalls and giving presentations to community groups.

To learn more, visit our website or find us on social media.