Tackley Newsletter
August & September 2021


Parish Council

June Collier 07790 338225

A lot has happened in Tackley Parish Council since the last newsletter.

We have formed a new council comprising four new members plus a faithful three. Liz Marshall was elected chair with Andrew Lines as her deputy. You will see from the list of names the roles each councillor has been allocated.

I’m still around to help and advise with historical and general information, plus continuing to ‘pursue’ the railway crossing, flooding/sewage and road issues. It’s good though to be able to say ‘please ask/tell Liz’ after so many years!

We have been having ongoing meetings with Network Rail about the temporary bridge and new access at the station. Progress is slow, but as of 23 July the intention is still to build an underpass.

On the matter of flooding, we had a meeting with the chief engineer at Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) to talk about increasing the capacity of the bund in Rousham Road and to set up a meeting with our local landowners to find ways to slow the water down before it reaches the village. Your council is looking to clean out the playing field ditch to increase the capacity from the road to the River Cherwell. Thames Water have been taking some remedial measures as you will have seen around the village. We are awaiting the reports on upgrading the pumping station and further work to bring our antiquated system into the 21st century.

We were promised some remedial work on Tackley’s roads. Rousham Road in particular was promised to be resurfaced, once the developers have finished with heavy lorries. A meeting with the OCC road engineer is planned for early August. In the meantime please continue to report any potholes you see or feel via the FixMyStreet website.

We are exceptionally lucky to have a maze of wonderful footpaths and bridleways around the village. Please keep to the paths; don’t wander across the fields. It is harvest time and there may be an increase in tractor movements. Above all, please pick up your dog poo — take it to the bin or home. If you encounter any problems while out walking or riding, talk with your councillors and make a report via the OCC Countryside Access website.

‘20 is plenty’: We are looking at ways to slow down the traffic in the village, with this slogan in mind.

You will have noticed the demise of the bin area in the village hall car park. This was not our decision but a policy of West Oxfordshire District Council. Our fence was removed, and compensation is being pursued for the damage and remedial work on the tarmac surface.

The Jubilee Garden project is nearly done, and once the planting has become established this should be a welcoming area for sitting and for children to play.

To read the minutes of parish council meetings and generally stay informed of village life, visit the Tackley website.

Your New Parish Councillors and Their Responsibilities

St Nicholas’ Church

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

And so the holidays settle in. Are you staying home or trying to get away? This year feels complicated, doesn’t it!

I find my mind wandering back to the summer after I left primary school. I guess it comes from living next door to the sound of a school, and the sudden silence when term ends. Let’s not get into too much detail about the exact year in question — but the weather was glorious, and I spent a very happy few weeks enjoying the innocent euphoria of leaving one school and anticipating the next.

I’d managed to pass the exams into the local grammar school, as had two of my closest friends. We prepared together for whatever was coming at us next — walking our dogs on the moors, going to the fleapit cinema in town, waiting for endless days to merge into more endless days, meeting other friends on the hoof, swimming in ponds and running down lanes, laughing, talking, having no idea. They were truly ‘holy days’.

Sometimes we lose the connection between a vacation and a holiday — between a rest and something that bit more precious, a gift. The word ‘holiday’ comes from a time when the only rest most people received was because of a religious celebration. A ‘holy day’ meant more than respite from labour. Nowadays, we’re usually more focussed on a destination or family or friends or achieving something new. But the sense of wonder and gift and value that comes from seeing even an ordinary thing as ‘holy’ can be transformative. Laughter between friends. Silence before sleep. Time to enjoy a good book. Music never heard before.

It’s nice to get on a plane to enjoy these things, but it’s not essential.

And so the holy days of this summer settle in, when we look with the eyes of our hearts and find that God loves even you and me and grants us all kinds of kindness. Holy days don’t happen only when school is out. They can happen any time. But perhaps at this time of year many of us get a chance to take a moment, breathe, see freshly the wonders around us — and be thankful again.

I’m thankful for family and home, and for the memory of loved ones gone before. I’m thankful for small kindnesses I receive which transform so many days, and for the chance to offer such kindnesses to others. I’m thankful for the terrific England football team, for their excellence on and off the pitch and for the example of manager and players in showing that every single person matters equally. I’m thankful for the chance to go to the theatre and to concerts again. I’m thankful when I hear music that lifts my spirits and reminds me that, no matter how grey the weather is, this day is filled with beauty.

There are always gifts around us; things to be thankful for; moments of wonder to make each day a holy day. Sometimes we struggle to see them, and yet Jesus promises us that the ‘kingdom of God’ – that place where such gifts are aways for the taking – is always ‘at hand’: just touching distance away. Reach out. It’s that close.

Our services continue Sunday by Sunday through the summer. Come and join us if you can as we gather to worship and express our thankfulness, and to pray that more and more of our days might be ‘holy’. We’re especially delighted that the new Bishop of Dorchester is joining us one Sunday in August. We’re also particularly looking forward to the whole season of thankfulness that is Harvest, which will come at the very beginning of October.

South Central Ambulance Service Community First Responder

Dawn Chambers dawntackley@hotmail.com

After 17 years of ‘respondering’ for Tackley and the neighbouring villages, I have decided to retire from the role.

I am hopeful that someone younger may wish to take this on. It is an entirely voluntary role, and no medical experience is needed as South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) provides comprehensive and continuous training.

You do need to be physically fit as there is quite a large amount of kit to carry, and you need a driver’s licence and access to a car. There are SCAS cars available after training.

The commitment is a minimum of 20 hours per month. There is also the opportunity to assist in offering support at events where SCAS is providing first aid.

If you are interested in taking this on, or would like further information, please contact me.

Ralph Martin

Viv Hunt


Ralph Philip Martin entered the world on 5 February 1958, born in the front bedroom of a home he was to share with his mother Dorothy (Peggy), father Philip and older sister Jill.

He attended St Andrew’s School on the London Road in Headington from the age of four to eleven, and from there went on to Cheney School in Gipsy Lane until he was sixteen.

At Cheney he sat and failed nine O levels after losing interest when the school changed from technical to secondary modern. This was quite ironic really, as he was very clever and had a broad range of knowledge and completely random facts!

Ralph enjoyed sports. He represented the school in javelin, and played football, cricket and basketball. Two school trips to France were also part of his school years.

Outside school he joined the 48th Oxford Cubs at St Andrew’s from the ages of eight to eleven. During these years he went camping and climbing, and was the flag bearer at numerous church parades.

That little Cub grew to be a Scout and his adventures continued. In addition to further climbing and camping he went canoeing, hill walking and caving.

From 16 to 22 Ralph was a Venture Scout in a mixed unit, 43rd Oxford at St Nicholas’ in Old Marston. It entailed all the same Cub and Scout activities mentioned, but was far more adventurous; and he made lots of good friends.

At 16 he got his first set of wheels, a Gilera trail 50 cc moped, which he was unfortunately knocked off by a police car which caused the incident. Eventually he selected a safer mode of transport: his first car was a Wolseley 1500 (1958).

From 18 to 20, Ralph followed Oxford United Football Club all over the country watching them play. He remained a loyal OUFC fan throughout his life. He had played Sunday football himself for the Rainbows in his youth.

Ralph became an apprentice printer with Oxford University Press, and went on to pass the City & Guilds basic and then the advanced with distinction. He attended the print college at Matthew Boulton Tech at Aston University in Birmingham. During this time, he printed books, Bibles and exam papers. He became part of OUP’s cricket and football team where he worked from July 1974 until he was made redundant in May 1989.

From June 1989 until January 2018, he worked for Newbury Weekly News where he printed various local newspapers and went on to pass his reach and counterbalance forklift training. He also became a member of the company’s cricket team.

He was passionate about cricket, and an expert bowler; and during his time living in Oxford he played for the Carpenters Arms in Jericho. This is where he got to know the players from Oxenford. He got on so well with the lads that this became the team he stayed with.

In January 2001 Ralph moved into Tackley with Viv, made new friends, and won (and lost) pub quizzes at the Gardiner Arms with his team mates the Breezers — as well as partaking in lots of beer-tasting, especially with Marcus.

Ralph loved village life and being surrounded by nature. He led a very fulfilling life full of adventures and travels.

Unfortunately, in 2019 he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease; and was nursed, loved, and cared for at home until he passed away. He will be missed by so many people who knew him, and will be remembered with great fondness.

Viv would like to thank all the neighbours and friends who have been truly wonderful and gone above and beyond with their support and love, especially during the last two years.

In his own words:

When thinking of Ralph shed no tears,
Think of the good times and have a few beers.

Thank You to Councillors Past

L. A. (Les) Summers ursa.major111@gmail.com
Group photograph of the parish council. Four people sitting and another four standing behind.

Sitting, left to right: Liz Marshall, Cherie Carruthers (Clerk), June Collier (Chair), Jan Read

Standing, left to right: Les Summers, Andrew Lines, Robin Gibbons, Paul Joslin

6 May seems a long time ago now, but this is the first opportunity to record thanks to the outgoing Tackley Parish Council team.

Liz, Andrew and June have continued on to the new council which is, once again, meeting physically in the village hall on Mondays, once a month, dates as notified. Don’t forget to look in on the meetings — they are about the village in which you live.


Dear Editor,

Why have the recycling bins gone? Secretly, in the last week of June, the five large wheelie bins and four normal-size waste glass bins were permanently removed from the village hall car park in Tackley. I’ve heard a ‘survey’ had been done.

Although democracy has given us one county councillor, two district councillors, and seven parish councillors, no notices were put up, nothing was said, but the undercover removal went ahead.

West Oxfordshire has four contractors who remove our household rubbish. One takes the grey bin waste to the Ardley incinerator, another takes the green bin waste to a composting site, a third takes the blue bin recyclables to a sorting depot, and a fourth takes the food waste to a biochemical facility near Cassington. But I doubt that any of these four contractors would have made this management change without councillor consideration.

Meanwhile, those of us who have flat-pack furniture or large TVs delivered in huge cardboard boxes are given two choices: either cut up your cardboard and ram it into your blue bin (larger bins can be requested), or ‘take your custom elsewhere’ — not to Woodstock, since their central car park bins also come under West Oxfordshire and have suffered the same fate as ours.

However, travelling up the main road to Banbury or east to Bicester takes you past lay-bys where old bins still take refuse — thanks to Cherwell District Council.

Somewhere, amongst all of this, money is being saved — but not on our petrol!

Allen Clegg, former Deputy Mayor of Calderdale, Yorkshire

Dear Editor,

In her very full report in the last Tackley Newsletter of the parish council year, June Collier says that “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 difficult time.”

This is not strictly accurate, and I think it is important – for the benefit of individuals not mentioned – to correct the impression created.

I have been a member of the Tackley Village Memorial Hall Management Committee since 2003. My membership of Tackley Parish Council, which dated from 2012, was quite separate.

I was responsible for liaison between the two simply because I sat on both committees. The parish council has no formal representation on the village hall committee.

During the summer of last year, the then-chair of Tackley Village Memorial Hall felt that she had to withdraw from that position. Being vice chair, I was asked to take over, in an acting capacity, which I did. For private reasons, I did not seek to be formally recognised as chair at the AGM last March.

It is important that I should stress that the ‘steering’ of the village hall during the period between July 2020 and March 2021 was a collegiate effort of all the committee members working together, and any advances achieved are due to the success of that working relationship. In other words, I was only the coordinator of everyone’s first class work.

L. A. (Les) Summers

Newsletter Distribution

Didi Joslin

After many years, Alan Diver has decided it is time to let someone else have a go at delivering the Tackley Newsletter. Another Alan, Alan Clegg has kindly volunteered to take over delivering to Chaundy, Lime Kiln and Harbourne roads, while Jan Read will now deliver to Balliol Close. Many thanks to all concerned.

Walking Group

Rachel Strachan & Linda Birch lindabirch20@hotmail.com 01869 331579

This group is a friendly way to get to know the Oxfordshire countryside better through leisurely walks. We meet at Tackley Village Hall at the times given to arrange transport to the start of the walk. Advance booking is no longer required, but walkers must give their contact details to the walk leader, which are kept for three weeks for test and trace. There is no obligation to car share, but there is rarely enough parking for each person to drive themselves to the walk start. Distances are approximate and all walks are at the participant’s own risk.

Saturday, 14 August at 9:30 am: From Swalcliffe’s 15C cruck barn, along quiet undulating tracks to Shutford to follow a history trail around this village once world-renowned for plush weaving (5 miles). There will be the option to have lunch at the end at The Stag, Swalcliffe — outside. To book this please contact Linda by 13 August.

Wednesday, 25 August at 2 pm: Bridleways across fields between Clifton and Somerton. Returning along the towpath, passing the second deepest lock on the UK’s narrow canal network (4.5 miles).

Saturday, 11 September at 9:30 am: From Combe to Blenheim Park Farm. Follow in the footsteps of the rural Romano–British along Akeman Street and the Evenlode valley to reach North Leigh Roman Villa (5.5 miles). Bring a packed lunch.

Wednesday, 29 September at 2 pm: A walk through the north of Blenheim Park taking us on another section of Akeman Street and parts of the Oxfordshire, Shakespeare, and Wychwood Ways (3.6 miles).

Gardening Club

Mary Lee 01869 331427

After a gap of more than a year, we are having a Tackley Gardening Club meeting in the village hall on 21 September at 7:45 for 8 pm. There are lots of new people in our village now — please do come along and see what we do. Our very own and very knowledgeable John Cooper is giving a talk on herbs. It’s also an open evening, just so everyone can come along, talk to us, and see what fun we have. Refreshments will be provided. We look forward to seeing lots of you there.

Local Attractions

Wychwood Forest Fair


The annual Wychwood Forest Fair will go ahead this year on Sunday, 22 August at Foxburrow Wood, Witney from 11 am to 5 pm.

Celebrating West Oxfordshire’s rural traditions, conservation work and heritage, the fair highlights rural activities and arts and crafts while raising money for conservation charity the Wychwood Forest Trust, formerly the Wychwood Project.

This year’s family-friendly event will include pony rides, falconry, ferret racing, rural crafts displays, arts and crafts, a bar and live music.

The venue, Foxburrow Wood, was purchased using proceeds from previous fairs. Today the community wood is progressing well in its transformation from agricultural field into thriving nature reserve.

Founded in 1796 by three Methodists living in Finstock, the Wychwood Forest Fair has a long history. Intended as a calmer counterpart to the Witney Feast, as the fair grew in reputation and scale it transformed into a raucous event, aided by a legal quirk meaning it operated outside parish jurisdiction.

Following a spate of rowdy incidents in the 1830s, the fair was condemned and prohibited. And once the 1853 Parliamentary Act of Disafforestation placed the historic Wychwood Forest under private ownership, it was banned for good.

The Wychwood Forest Trust revived the Forest Fair in 2000 to celebrate the rural traditions, arts and crafts, and conservation work taking place in the area historically part of the Wychwood Forest — 120 square miles of today’s West Oxfordshire. The modern fair is a peaceful, family-friendly event that looks back to its 18th-century origins.

To help keep the event safe, this year’s fair will see closed marquees replaced with open-air gazebos and tents, and visitors will have more space than usual to spread out. Pre-booking is encouraged to help monitor numbers, with tickets purchased in advance costing £8 as opposed to £10 on the day.

Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum


Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum (SOFO) began crowdfunding in July to help build a new WW2 exhibit: a life-size Anderson shelter. The campaign is set to run for seven weeks with a goal of £2,500.

Anderson shelters were used in the Second World War by families to hide when air raid sirens sounded, warning of a potential bomb attack.

The project aims to expand upon how visitors can learn about conflict and engage with the county’s history through an interactive environment.

Already installed at the museum in Woodstock is a model trench built with help from local cadets when SOFO first opened in 2014. It has proved a hit with visitors of all ages and an invaluable tool when teaching the First World War to school groups.

If fully funded, the air raid shelter experience will become a vital part of SOFO’s WW2 education sessions, teaching about the changes to life at home during the war. At the same time, regular visitors will be able to enjoy it during our opening hours. We will also use the handling materials in our reminiscence work which helps participants explore their memories in a safe and welcoming environment.

Donations of any size can be made towards the project, but rewards are available for those giving £5 or more, including pin badges, visitor guidebooks and annual passes. Those who back the project at the highest tier will have their name included on a commemorative plaque.

Should the project push beyond its initial funding target, several stretch goals have been set, including the potential to add audio soundscapes and video experiences to the display, and themed events and workshops.

North Leigh Roman Villa

nlrvvols@gmail.com Twitter: @villa_north www.english-heritage.org.uk

The North Leigh Roman Villa mosaics will be open again on the weekend of 11 & 12 September. There will be talks about Roman coins, and a chance to get up close to the mosaic: email ‘CLEAN’ to nlrvvols@gmail.com for your chance to join the English Heritage conservation team cleaning the mosaic — an opportunity to create an exceptional memory of your visit.

But what is your earliest memory of visiting us? Our volunteers are trying to piece together the 200-year history of the site as a visitor attraction. Have you been told about excavations on the site back in the 1960s or earlier? Did you attend the Roman reenactment in 1990?

Although the site remained open from the early 1990s until 2019, the mosaic was locked away. Since then, the volunteer group has helped over 2,200 visitors to see the beautiful Roman floor.

Blenheim gamekeepers and their families were among those living in the cottage beside the villa in Victorian times. Henry Hakewill published the first account of the villa following his 1813–16 excavations.

In the years leading up to the Second World War, the bath suite and other foundations on display today were covered over, with a shed erected on top of them. And to visit the mosaic would have cost you 3d.

Please email us or post your recollections on Twitter — or come along and tell one of the volunteers.

Bridewell Gardens


Bridewell Gardens is a flourishing and imaginative walled garden and vineyard where people recovering from enduring mental illness can rebuild their lives in a safe and supportive environment. Its features include a large pond in the cottage garden, an avenue of roses and apple trees, a knot garden, raised vegetable beds, a soft fruit cage, and a herb wheel.

We look forward to sharing Bridewell with you at our last open day of the year on Sunday, 12 September from 11 am to 4 pm. There will be a pop-up café in the garden for tea and cake. We will have plants for sale, as well as juice, chutneys, and our organic sparkling wine. Make a day of it—bring a picnic blanket and relax in the vineyard with friends and family.

No booking is required. There is a suggested donation of £5 per person. Dogs on leads are very welcome. Find us at Wilcote, OX7 3DT.

Combe Mill


Combe Mill is open for steaming days on the third Sunday of August, September and October.

We are open, not in steam, every Wednesday and every first Sunday until the end of October.

We welcome group visits from schools, Scouts, Guides, the WI, historical societies, u3a or any other interest group.

June saw our first open day for members and potential volunteers. Many people came to see how their skills could help maintain the mill for future generations. Several visitors signed up then, but there is always room for more, so please contact us if you are interested.

Our 15 August steaming day is a very popular one, with exhibitors bringing their ‘models and collections’ to share with visitors. BBQ and tearoom offers are available to tempt visitors to stay, relax, and enjoy the views.

Other events include country crafts on 19 September and woodcrafts on 17 October.