Tackley Newsletter
June & July 2021

Train Timetable Update

Robin Gibbons

The new timetable for May to December is now operating. There are still around ten trains a day each way Monday to Saturday — roughly every two hours. The summer Sunday service, comprising three trains each way, will run until 12 September.

The 07:45 Tackley to Oxford train continues, but there is now a new Monday to Friday morning train leaving Tackley at 08:52 and arriving at Oxford at 09:05. The parish council train representatives have been pressing First Great Western for a number of years to plug the morning gap for those studying or working in Oxford who found the 07:45 too early and the next one, now leaving at 10:24, too late. Changing timetables on a busy line is complex, and we are delighted that First Great Western have now responded positively.

The full timetable can be found by Googling ‘The Oxford Canal Line Great Western Railway’ or checking National Rail Enquiries.

It takes just over ten minutes by train to Oxford. For a small village, we are fortunate to have such excellent public transport, so please do try to make use of it if you can.

St Nicholas’ Church

Revd Marcus Green sntchurch.com 01869 340903 steeplerector@hotmail.co.uk

Some people will soon be living as if the last fifteen months or so never happened. Some of us will take a lot longer to move past the enormous events of this last year and more.

I remember, not long after I had been ordained, seeing a family who had lost their mum. The two young adult kids, brother and sister, almost came to blows in front of me. He hardly said a word; she hardly stopped talking. Both of them genuinely felt the other one didn’t care because they were handling the whole situation so differently.

We’re a bit like that as a nation now. Some of us are running to embrace every freedom we can – every minute at the pub, shopping, at a concert, or doing sport – and some of us are looking at that behaviour and finding it all so irresponsible. We just want to be sure. Exactly like that brother and sister I saw years ago, we’re in danger of failing to spot that we’re all going through exactly the same emotions as each other — it’s just that we are different people, and so we handle the same things differently. So what do we do?

Jesus put it this way: love your neighbour as yourself. Be kind to each other. Remember that the person in front of you is a person too. None of us is the whole world; and the amazing truth that Jesus brings is that both you and I, and every person we struggle with, are all wonderfully, amazingly, completely loved by God. We need to trust the love — and share it.

Church Services

At the end of June, if all goes to plan, we will resume our full rota of weekly services across the three churches of our benefice for the first time since March 2020. A service in each church, each Sunday. Our weekly benefice open air communions are very much appreciated by some, and we’ll stick a couple more in the diary over the summer because of that. But we are going back inside, and we’re hoping it’s for good! We’ll be following all the guidance we are given, so keep an eye out for that. If you still want to wear a mask when the requirement is lifted, of course you may. I think we’ll have hand gel with us for quite some time. But do come and worship with us.

I’m glad we had the online services — thank you so much for watching them, and for all the lovely emails you’ve sent about them. We’ll keep putting them out from time to time, but now it’s time to come back to church. You are very welcome to join us.

Church Fete

On 3 July we are planning – weather permitting – to hold the fete. Come and join us for this too. We are very grateful for everyone who is coming to help and be a part of it — for all the stall holders, for everyone joining in and making teas and cakes and all sorts of goodies, for the PTA and the PCC helping to organise it, for some super raffle prizes, for activities, and so much more! Let’s have a really great day together, whether you come for the whole afternoon or just want to pop in briefly.

Summer Concert

To celebrate the gradual return to freedom, mark the evening of 17 July in your diary. Nick Cleobury and the Aston Singers, plus special guest artists, are preparing a very special concert for us over in Steeple Aston: an hour’s beautiful music, and maybe drinks in the churchyard afterwards.

Let’s keep praying that moments of hope may last and build and grow, and that all the good we have somehow found in the past year won’t fade but will become even stronger in the days ahead.

Jubilee Garden

Joanna O’Mahoney on behalf of the JG Project Planning Group sustainabletackley@gmail.com

After some careful consideration over the past six months, a small group of Sustainable Tackley members were able to create a plan for the enhancement of the Jubilee Garden. The aim of this work is to create a more attractive ‘pocket park’ for villagers and wildlife. We’ll be adding a pollinator patch, floral fence, gabion bench, and – in phase two – a sculptural bug tower totem, and more.

The parish council have approved this plan and are very kindly providing some funding towards it, alongside that from the National Lottery Community Fund which we were awarded last year.

Our first volunteer work party was planned for 29 May, and we have a second due on Sunday, 13 June. We welcome any volunteers. So, if you would like to get involved at this stage, there is still time! The day will run from 10 am to 4 pm. All you’ll need is a spade or fork and a smile; we will provide the cake. All in a socially-distanced manner, of course! We look forward to seeing you.

More information about the plan for the Jubilee Garden can be found on noticeboards and attached to the bench in the garden itself.

Primary School

Mrs L. J. Murrey, Headteacher office.3144@tackley.oxon.sch.uk

It has been great to return to some of our normal routines at school.

The children really enjoyed May Day, which was a different experience for everyone, dancing without an audience. The children danced with gusto, and the sun even shone for a little while!

The return to school has focussed on increased time outdoors. Children have developed their independence, resilience and problem-solving skills during their Forest School learning — building villages for ‘Borrowers’, making rafts, and creating snake traps.

This term sees children learning about Europe, the Great Fire of London, and the Tudors. Keep an eye on our Twitter account @Tackleyschool as we showcase the work and learning the children take part in this term.

Car Scheme

Diana Whitehead

Tackley Car Scheme is back up and running. The coordinator for June and July is Annabelle Smith, telephone 01869 331831.

The scheme was set up in 2000 as a not-for-profit transport service provided by volunteer drivers, using their own cars, for Tackley residents who have no access to a car or public transport to make a local journey — for example to the surgery, chiropodist, or hairdresser.

To book a journey, ring the coordinator. There are three coordinators, who take it in turns to organise lifts, and the name and number of each month’s coordinator is always printed in this newsletter.

We would warmly welcome some more volunteer drivers. If you would like to help, even occasionally, do please talk to one of the coordinators who will be glad to explain how the scheme works and how we contribute to the costs of running your car. Most drivers are called upon once a month at most.

Parish Council Chairman’s Report

June Collier

Well, what a year! When we were put into lockdown in March last year, little did we know what lay ahead.

The council had to make changes. We were all introduced to Zoom, and to start with found it very odd, but we eventually got used to it — and I even found it worked to my advantage. No need to get dressed up — just a bit of lippy and a clean shirt! No chatting and second meetings; only one speaker at a time; our clerk could switch us off if we misbehaved. To my knowledge, I don’t think we made YouTube! The meetings were shorter, and I think we got more done in half the time. Nevertheless, there is nothing like face-to-face conversations. Thankfully, we are now nearly back to that very overused word ‘normal’, whatever that may be.

Having been postponed from 2020, there was a parish council election earlier this month. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough residents coming forward for us to elect our new council, but we do have a good band of seven to go forward and form a new team. The election brought some surprises and some new faces for us to work alongside. But more of the new at the annual meeting to follow. For now, I must dwell a little on the past, firstly by saying thank you to those committed people who have worked so hard for us in recent years. I will start with our outgoing councillors.

Jan Read was co-opted onto the council last year after being our clerk. Dedication is one who was paid to work for us and then returns to work equally hard as a councillor with no pay! Her knowledge and common sense have helped both our new clerk and the council tremendously. As a keen allotment holder, she will still be on hand to help and keep the playing field allotments running smoothly.

Les Summers has worked on the council over the years, being our village hall representative and latterly stepping in and helping steer the village hall during a very difficult time.

Robin Gibbons, or ‘Father Robin’ as he is affectionately known to us all, has been our railway representative, liaising with First Great Western and keeping us up to date on train times, fares etc. Robin is intending to spend more time with his family in Cornwall, but will still be around to save our souls and our station.

Paul Joslin — well, what can I say about PJ? For many years my only vice! 20 years’ service to the council; a wealth of local knowledge and common sense. He first joined in 2000 when 14 people stood for election to oppose a new development of 40 houses on Balliol Farm — heaven forbid that we would have 40 new houses in the village! Fortunately, Paul is only leaving the council, not the village, so we hope he will be around for our new councillors to call upon in times of trouble.

Thanks, too, to Andrew Lines and Liz Marshall who are providing continuity in the team, along with our clerk Cherie Carruthers who joined us at the start of 2020. As lockdown restrictions ease, she has the opportunity to discover not only the village and its inhabitants, but all those hidden treasures that lie in the committee room archives!

Thanks must go to Mary McIntyre, who is not a councillor but we can’t function without her. She works very hard for us keeping the Tackley website up to date and sending out those all-important email notices.

Judy Robson, our auditor, is retiring after many years of keeping our accounts on the straight and narrow. Along with Dave, she also set up our litter-picking group. Thank you, Judy.

We must also recognise the fantastic job that our shop, school, and village support groups have done through this difficult time.

I’m really sorry to say goodbye to Ian Hudspeth, our Oxfordshire County Council councillor. Ian has worked very hard for us over the years, and has always been on hand when we needed his support — even walking through the village in his wellies to lend a hand on that fateful night of the flood before Christmas. Thank you Ian. We wish you well in the future, in whatever your new ventures might be. Our new councillor Andy Graham will have a very hard act to follow, and we welcome him to the team.

The last year has certainly been different in so many ways. With the development of 100 new houses – and the dramas that come with major construction – we have all felt frustrated, exasperated, cross, and upset at times. Did you know that since the Second World War there has been development in Tackley in every decade? Twynhams Road, the Rousham Road bungalows, St John’s Road, Balliol Close, Chaundy Road, and The Ridge — plus infill houses and barn conversions. We must all remember that the recent problems came with the developers and building work, not the new residents. We have some really lovely new people in Tackley, some already throwing themselves into village life. We welcome you all.

Your parish council has been busy, despite lockdown, and we have some new and ongoing projects.

The play area has seen much activity, not only from village children but from those from further afield. Keeping it in good order has been no mean feat, with challenges for repairs and materials, but it is open for business every day.

We are intending to relaunch Tackley Active Group this summer and make a start on some of the projects we had planned, including a ‘trim trail’ around the playing field and a BMX and skateboard area.

Last year, after removing the village hall stage, we upgraded the floor and marked it out for sport, but have not had the opportunity to use it since the hall has been closed. It is ready to go now for any budding badminton and pickleball players.

We hope to utilise some of the section 106 money from the building projects, and do some fundraising.

Our young people are our future, and we must make every effort to look after them. There is a plan to restart our youth club, which will become apparent soon.

Another project started but put on hold last year was to find a home to display our very own Roman mosaic, discovered when the Deanfield developers excavated the ground at Street Farm. The mosaic is currently in storage, and we fully intend to support Tackley Local History Group in getting a building ready for it to come home for all to see.

Green Scythe, our local grounds maintenance company, continues to keep the village looking smart — and we thank them for that. This year you will notice some changes as we are endeavouring to improve our environment and make Tackley a more sustainable place to live.

The trees in the village have been inspected, and we have been advised of remedial work to keep them safe and in good order.

Tackley Heath and the Crecy Hill nature reserve continue to be places to walk and enjoy. We hope to do some remedial work on the heath pond to allow it to hold some of the ever-present water coming from the wooded areas. The nature reserve receives maintenance from Oxford Conservation Volunteers (and our cows) on a regular basis. Villagers are encouraged to help OCV to clear the shrub growth and improve the paths. This area was particularly pretty last year, with an abundance of wild flowers and birds.

We have a new project just launched to improve the Jubilee Garden. You will notice some changes there over the next few months. Please walk down and see the progress.

We have requested white ‘no parking’ lines on the road outside Rose Cottage – at the junction with Medcroft and Nethercote roads – to prevent people parking there, because it is so dangerous. We have also requested white lines at the junction of Rousham Road and Cherwell Rise.

We are hoping to have some remedial work done on Twynhams Road, which is sadly lacking in maintenance, and to create some more parking spaces.

Unfortunately we have ongoing challenges in the village.

The development at Cherwell Rise has some outstanding issues. We are looking to West Oxfordshire District Council to help us in this area, and we welcome our new district councillor Mathew Parkinson.

A ‘temporary’ bridge enabling pedestrians to cross the railway was erected last year, and looks like it will be there for some time to come. Reg Cox and I are liaising with Network Rail on a regular basis. The long-term plans for the new crossing are very sketchy and change from month to month. We will update you when there is something positive to report.

Flooding has reared it ugly head again. Surface water from the fields and woods above the village is still a grave concern. We are working in conjunction with OCC and local landowners to alleviate this. The council’s intention is to clear out the ditch adjacent to the playing field.

The unacceptable service from Thames Water regarding sewage flooding is still a concern, but with the help of Will Johnson and Mark Wragg – who I must sincerely thank – I am endeavouring to keep the company on its toes, and you may have noticed work being carried out over the last few weeks.

The sorry state of our roads remains a concern. Regular reporting results in some of the deeper potholes being filled. Residents should report problems via FixMyStreet.

Ian Hudspeth advised that when our building contractors had finished with lorries and heavy equipment coming and going, the roads into the village would be repaired and resurfaced. This, I’m informed, will happen later this year. I look forward to our new councillor Andy Graham carrying forward these plans.

The council will keep everyone updated on progress at our meetings on the third Monday of each month. Please come along.

This will be my last report as chair of Tackley Parish Council. After being on the council since 1996, including 14 years as chair, it is time to step down and hand over to a younger team. I will stay on the council for now, to help and guide our new members.

The unofficial surgery in the shop on Tuesday mornings may continue, where I carry out council business and talk so much I burn the pastries and sausage rolls!

Walking Group

Linda Birch

Now that lockdown restrictions have eased, permitting larger groups of up to 30 outdoors, plus car sharing – with masks and open windows – we are able to go further afield.

There is no obligation to share a ride, but there is rarely enough parking space for each person to drive themselves to the start of the walk.

We no longer require booking in advance, but walkers must give their contact details to the leader on the day. These will be kept for three weeks.

As in pre-lockdown, we will meet at Tackley Village Hall to arrange transport to the walk start.

12 June: Steeple Barton & Tittenford

Saturday, 12 June at 9:30 am, led by Linda: Steeple Barton and Tittenford Bridge (5 miles). Starting at Steeple Barton Church. Bring a drink and a snack.

23 June: Weaveley

Wednesday, 23 June at 2 pm, led by Penny: Shipton Slade Farm and Weaveley Furze (4 miles). Starting at Sansom’s Lane where it crosses the A4260.

10 July: Ledwell & Wortons

Saturday, 10 July at 9:30 am, led by Rachel: Ledwell, Over Worton and Nether Worton (6 or 4.3 miles). Start: Over Worton. Bring drink and picnic.

28 July: Glympton & Kiddington

Wednesday, 28 July at 2 pm, led by Rachel: Glympton Park and Kiddington Park (3.6 miles).

Gardening Group

Mary Lee 07786 384769

It’s been a long cold spring, and an even longer very strange year. I hope everyone is okay.

We have decided to have three meetings this year, in September, October, and November.

Make a note in your diary for 21 September, when we hope to visit Batsford Arboretum. Please call me in advance if you would like to join us, so we can see how many cars will be needed. We will leave Tackley at 11 am.

Social Cycling

Rachel Strachan & Neil Wilson 01869 331498

Tackley Wheelers is more to do with socialising than cycling. We are not ‘heads down, bums up’ cyclists, but take our time when riding, with lots of stops for regrouping so no one is left behind.

Early and late season rides are short, for example to Woodstock or Kirtlington, with slightly longer rides when we have more daylight to gone 9 pm.

We choose routes with quiet lanes and bridleways that take in a pub stop.

With the easing of lockdown, we’ve restarted rides on Wednesday evenings. We now assemble in the Tackley Village Hall car park ready to leave at 6:45 pm. Anyone is welcome to simply turn up. Why not get out your bike, whether manual or electrically assisted, and give it a try?

Wheelers usually keeps going until mid September.

Book Club

Amanda Darley tackleybc@gmail.com

At the last two virtual meetings of Tackley Book Club, organised by Miranda, we discussed A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles and Everything Under by Daisy Johnson, providing contrasting styles and subject matter. A Gentleman in Moscow was universally loved by the group, whereas Everything Under split the group between those who did and didn’t enjoy it — though everyone found the subject matter interesting. Both books produced a lively discussion.

We’re a friendly bunch made up of long-term and brand new residents. If you’d like to join us, please email for details. We are rotating through Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, so hopefully everyone who is interested can attend at least some of our meetings.