Tackley Newsletter
December & January 2023–24


Parish Council

Liz Marshall, Chair


Thank you to everyone who helped persuade First Great Western to reconsider its proposal to cut some key services in December. The train company took note of the concern, and the services will remain. Public pressure and interest really can work!

The station is one of Tackley’s great assets. Given the support that was shown, the parish council feels it might now be useful to form an informal train users’ group if there is sufficient interest. Richard Macrory, who was for many years one of the parish council’s train representatives, has offered to convene a first meeting of anyone interested. Please email him at richard.macrory@gmail.com.

Richard writes: “Local train users’ groups can be very useful. The main purpose would be to liaise with First Great Western to maintain and improve the service, promote the trains in the community, and find out what people want from the trains. I’d welcome anyone: students, regular commuters, those like me who are retired but still use the trains from time to time, and indeed non-users. Please email me by Christmas if you are interested. We’d plan for a meeting in January.”

Section 106

S106 money is held by West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) on our behalf. There are some stipulations on how it can be used: a ‘leisure and community services contribution’ of £72,664 can go towards sports and recreation facilities, and an ‘offsite sports contribution’ of £107,919 can contribute to the enhancement of community facilities within the parish.

A public consultation on how to spend the money was delivered to all residents and posted to the Tackley Notices email list in the autumn of 2022. Fewer than 100 people responded. There followed a face-to-face consultation in November 2022 to display the results and get an understanding of residents’ opinions. The top four suggestions were:

The skittle alley purchase has not progressed and is likely to be much more long-term. Should it ever become available, it may be possible to fund via other means such as a National Lottery grant or the new crowdfunding platform being launched by WODC.

Thanks to the investigative work of Rob Marshall we have had three quotes for a bike circuit, which can also be used by skateboards and scooters. These range from £70k to £140k so the actual expenditure is likely to be somewhere in the middle of that.

This would leave a sum of money that could be put towards other smaller projects, like an exercise trim trail or an accessible toilet.

As well as obtaining quotes for the other projects mentioned, we would like a much better understanding of what the people of Tackley would like us to do with this money. The response last year was very low.

Water Catchment Study

The water catchment study has now been completed. Over the next few months we will review the report and meet with relevant landowners to discuss next steps.


We are aware that some areas of the playground are in need of repair. A quote has recently been accepted, and the work will be completed soon.

Teen Shelter and Playground Bins

The bin by the teen shelter is continuously being used as a dog poo bin, despite the sign saying not to. This bin, along with the playground and hardcourt bins, is emptied by a teenager — and the bin bags regularly fall inside the bin, meaning he has to extract all the poo bags from the enclosure individually. Please put dog poo in the WODC bin at the entrance to the school path on St John’s Road or the one at the entrance to the village hall car park by the bus shelter.

Single-use vapes are also often found in these bins. These must not go in ordinary waste bins and should instead be collected, bagged up and put on top of your recycling (blue lid) wheelie bin. They can alternatively be taken to household recycling centres, like Ardley Fields, or returned to some vape shops. More information about the environmental damage and fire risk posed by disposable vapes can be found online.

Remembrance Sunday

It was lovely to see so many people at the parade led by the Scout group on the morning of Remembrance Sunday. Thanks to all those who did readings. Thank you also to the WI for putting on the refreshments and cakes afterwards. The service at the church in the evening, led by Rev Harriet Orridge, was moving.


The fireworks were a great success this year. Thank you so much to the Scout group, Pop-up Pub and a few other fantastic volunteers for putting on a great event.

Nature Spaces

A very big thank-you to the heath committee for the time and effort that went into the public consultation on the management of the heath. The committee and a wonderful group of volunteers have also done a lot of work to keep paths open through the bracken over the summer and to cut back brambles on other paths. The parish council has agreed that the remit of the committee will expand to include the Jubilee Garden, Crecy Hill nature reserve, and other more natural spaces around the village.


Tackley People Against Litter (PALs) have also been out recently. Thank you to Sue and Alan for their work organising this ongoing effort, and to all the volunteers who show up to help. There are also plenty of people who pick up the odd bit of litter each day while out walking. Every little bit helps, so thank you all.

Finally, the parish council would like to wish all residents of Tackley a wonderful Christmas.

Lighting of the Christmas Tree

Jenny Kenny, Christmas Tree Committee

The lighting of the Christmas tree on the village green will take place this year on Sunday, 3 December from 4:30 pm. Come and get into the Christmas spirit with carol singing, mulled wine and a mince pie!

There will be a retiring collection to pay for this village event, so please bring any spare change you might have.

Primary School

Mrs Karen Ward
01869 331327

It has been a busy and purposeful term so far. We received formal notice of the closure of Wootton-by-Woodstock school right at the end of the summer term. In September, we welcomed all the children from Wootton who officially joined our roll to become part of Tackley CE Primary School.

To reflect this joining of two communities we have worked with the children, staff and governors to ensure our vision reflects our vibrant and inclusive community. We have developed a new school motto – “living, loving and learning together” – which links with the values of kindness, curiosity and responsibility we aim to promote at all times.

We have had many rich learning experiences this term, including visiting Hill End for a whole school day, and Black History Month workshops. We competed in our first school football match, and participated in quidditch and cross-country events at The Marlborough School. Our Pupil Parliament led our Children in Need day, raising £184 through a cake sale and non-uniform day.

We have maintained our strong links with Rev Harriet Orridge and St Nicholas’ Church. We are also fortunate to have a team of volunteers from the village who give their time to support the children’s learning. We are very grateful for these strong links with the community.

As we head towards Advent and Christmas, we are planning our Christmas performances, which are so important. Christmas in a primary school is such a special time of year; one which creates many happy memories.

Fun Run/Walk

Dane Walker

This year’s annual Boxing Day fun run/walk will start at 10:30 am in the village hall car park. The finish will be back at the village hall where the Pop-up Pub will be open with food and snacks. All ages are welcome. We will be taking donations on the day for the Alzheimer’s Society.

Nature Spaces

Katherine Woodrow & Alan Diver

As the days get shorter and the leaves turn, there are some wonderful fungi and mushrooms to be seen on Tackley Heath.

Turkeytail fungus

Village Consultation

In October the Nature Spaces Subcommittee held a consultation evening about the future management of the heath. Thank you to all those who attended and who filled in the accompanying questionnaire.

Fifty completed questionnaires were received, mostly from the over-55 age group. The results revealed a wide range of views about potential access improvements – like seats, surfaced parking and gates – and about whether to restore the acid grassland heath habitat by suppressing the bracken.

However, there was significant agreement that the heath should remain a space for nature, with as ‘wild’ a look and feel as possible.

The responses will feed into the committee’s ongoing work of drawing up a management plan for the heath. Those who are interested to read the results in more detail should visit the Nature Spaces section of the village website.

Although the questionnaire is now closed, we’d be pleased to receive informal thoughts or comments on the heath and its management from any villagers, but especially those from younger age groups to give us as complete a picture as possible of the community’s opinion. See our email address above.

Work Party Update

Our new brush cutters were given their first outing at our work party in November as our wonderful volunteers braved the weather to continue our effort to keep the paths accessible.

You may also notice some odd ‘nests’ made of brash and brambles. This is an eco experiment to protect oak seedlings. The heath has some beautiful old oak trees but very few young trees as the seedings are usually eaten by deer. We need to protect the seedlings so that future generations can still enjoy oak tress on the heath.

Making oak seedling nests

iRecord: How You Can Get Involved

If you can’t make a work party, you can still get involved with iRecord. iRecord is a national database where wildlife records can be uploaded and made available to others. Importantly for the village, the records can be used as evidence to support the heath’s status as one of Oxfordshire’s Local Wildlife Sites.

Alan Diver has set up a page on the iRecord website specifically for Tackley Heath. Anyone can upload or access its records. A link to the page and guidance on how to use it can be found on the Nature Spaces section of the village website.

It would be excellent if anyone with a particular field of expertise could use their knowledge to expand and improve the data on the site, but don’t feel you need to be an expert to make valuable contributions. It is still important, over time, to record simple things like when bluebells first flower or leaf buds break on oak trees.

This year Alan has started deploying a moth trap on the heath, both to record what appears there and to compare this with sightings from Chaundy Road. Some differences have already been noted. The green oak tortrix moth, infrequently seen in the village, appeared one night in June on the heath in numbers exceeding one hundred. The acorn weevil also appeared in the trap; this has not been seen in Chaundy Road. Both species, as their names imply, rely on the oak trees found on the heath.

Green oak tortrix moth
Black arches moth

Although Alan set up the iRecord page, he is keen that it should be run by or on behalf of the committee, and we would love to hear from anyone who is prepared to become an administrator for the site. This doesn’t involve any work! It would be just mean being a point of contact if any changes are required in the future, and to also keep an eye on the site to be able to report any particularly interesting new data or trends. If you are interested, please email us.

How Do We Wait?

Rev Harriet Orridge
01869 932224

We are at the turning point of the church year, beginning with Advent and looking forward to Christmas. The approach of Christmas can be seen in all areas of life, including on television with the launch of Christmas adverts.

Our church readings invite us to reflect on how we wait and anticipate Christ’s coming. In mid October I had a lovely retreat, stopping and spending time with God. My journey home, though, was significantly disrupted by Storm Babet: trains were diverted and cancelled, resulting in me having to share a taxi to the next station, and rely on different trains to make other connections possible. The person sitting next to me was in the same situation. As we approached one station, they were anxiously checking the trains’ timing, their stress levels rising rapidly as time became more critical. But there was nothing that we, as passengers, could do besides wait passively.

In contrast, there are things we can do as we wait for Christmas. Getting ready involves lots of preparation: decorating our houses, buying presents to give to others, and planning the menu and food shopping. As I write, we have just bought our Christmas pudding; and next week John and I are taking my brother Christmas shopping. This is a day I look forward to every year — it’s a special day, helping us to get into the Christmas spirit.

Our recent Bible readings have focussed on the topic of how we wait for Christ’s coming. We have heard the story of the ten bridesmaids, who hadn’t made preparations. And we have reflected on the actions of the servants in the story of the talents — asking if we are making best use of the resources we are responsible for, including creation and our finances.

As children we get excited and eagerly look forward to Christmas Day with the opening of presents, festivities, and wonderful food. But there is also the need to recognise the importance of the journey to Christmas. We are called to wait actively; to be ready for when Christ comes; to share what we have with those who have less; to stand up for others whose voices have been silenced; and to care for all of creation.

To help us wait for Christmas, many of us will use an Advent calendar. This year, I invite you to use a reverse Advent calendar: rather than opening a window and receiving a gift (chocolate), you give an item a day, thereby creating a box of bits for others. All the bits can be left in church, and we will share them with a local food bank.

However you celebrate Christmas, pray it will be full of joy and laughter; and I wish you all a very happy New Year.


Chris & Ali Matthews

Features has now been running again for seven months, and has got off to a great start. We have shown a variety of films, some old and some new. The one thing they all have in common is that they tell a good story well.

We are very grateful to all who attend Features and give so generously to the various causes we support. Between April and October we raised more than £700, which has been shared between four different charities.

We have films planned for the next six months, but our licence means we are unable to externally advertise the names of the films — hence the rather cryptic posters. You can, however, have access to the film titles by emailing the address above.

Our next showing will be on Friday, 29 December at the earlier time of 6 pm. It is a charming and funny family fairytale brought up to date. It is classified as PG, and the running time is about 100 minutes.

Features dates for the first half of 2024 are 26 January, 23 February, 22 March, 26 April, 24 May and 28 June.

Local History Group

Sue Ashton

We don’t meet in December, but the committee would like to wish all our members a very happy Christmas and a peaceful and healthy New Year.

Tackley Local History Group meets on the fourth Monday of the month in the village hall at 7:45 for 8 pm. Tea and coffee is available before the speaker. Our next two meetings are:

Our open afternoon, postponed from September, will be held on Saturday, 18 May.

Woodstock Natural History Society

Stephen Vickers

Woodstock Natural History Society offers a range of environmentally-related activities. New members are warmly invited to attend a couple of events before resolving to join.

All are welcome to our monthly meetings at St Hugh’s Hall, Hensington Road, Woodstock from 7:15 until 9 pm on the second Tuesday of the month.

The next event is our Christmas social on Tuesday, 12 December. Non-members who have a genuine interest in natural history and/or have attended at least one of our meetings before are welcome, for our usual small visitor’s fee. Friends are invited to bring finger food. Members are particularly welcome, of course.

To request to be kept up to date with our programme, please email us.

Walking Group

Alison Matthews

Tackley Walking Group is a friendly way to get to know your local countryside better. There are two leisurely walks each month, led by members. Everybody is welcome.

Walks on second Saturdays meet at 9:30 am and are typically 5–8 miles; those on fourth Wednesdays meet at 2 pm and are 3–5 miles.

We meet by the village hall before each walk to arrange car sharing, bus or train to the start of the walk. Most walks are in North Oxfordshire. Some walks conclude with an optional lunch or refreshments at a local pub or cafe. Routes are often suitable for dogs kept under close control.

Our current programme, presented here, can also be found on the village website.

Please note that walks may be subject to change, and that walkers take responsibility for their own safety.

Gardening Club

Mary Lee

I would like to thank you all for supporting us this year. Most of all I’d like to thank my fantastic committee for all your help.

Don’t tidy your gardens too much for the winter: leave plants, leaves and even weeds for small creatures and insects to hibernate and keep warm and safe. In particular, leave dandelions as they’re the first food for bees in the spring.

Our next meeting, on Tuesday, 20 February, will be our AGM. There will be cheese and wine, and we also hope by then to have an exciting new programme for next year.

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you all. Come and join us in 2024.


Janet Maybank

Tackley WI’s last meeting of the year will be on Tuesday, 5 December at 7:45 for 8 pm in the village hall. Vi will be showing us how to make a Christmas table decoration. If you would like to come as a visitor and make your own decoration to take home, please email the WI to find out what you need to bring. Entry for visitors is £5, including Christmas refreshments.

We take a break in January.

Tackley WI members wish everyone in Tackley a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Working From Home

Andrew Norton

Working from home has many benefits, but often leaves us lacking community — and too often blurs the lines between work and home life.

This has led us to seek out a communal work space in Tackley. Similar facilities offer the flexibility of short term hot desking, mid-to-longer term office space, meeting room hire, treatment rooms and studio space.

We have a location in mind that ticks the boxes and are keen to put together a shortlist of like-minded people who could benefit. If you’re interested, please email me at the address above.

Anthony (Tony) Page

Mary Page

Mary and family would like to thank family, friends and neighbours for the many kind messages, cards and flowers received in their sad loss of Tony. It was a great comfort in our time of need.