The next meetings will be 8pm on Tuesday 18th July, Monday 14th August and Tuesday 12th September 2017 in the Stonewater flats Common Room, Bridges Close. All residents welcome!!

Friday, 16 June 2017

Stonehill Community Gardens - June News

The latest update and events at Stonehill:

Hugelkultur (hill culture) now built in the garden - picture above of Stage 1 of the construction process.

We are now picking harvests each week, and these are available to buy by donation.  Pop down on a Wednesday and see what's available - our honey is also sold each week - beautiful taste and great for hayfever sufferers.

Save the Date!!!
Wednesday 2nd August 4pm - 8pm
August Harvest Meal Fundraising Event

. Various stalls and local organisations
.  Tasty Garden Produce Meal
.  Raffle and cake stall
.  Live Music
.  Herb plants for sale
.  Plant swap
.  Launch of Crownfunder Campaign
.  Bird box kits

This free event will be a celebration of everything we have achieved this year, and a change to support us going forward in various ways.  We will prepare a delicious meal from our garden produce and enjoy live music.  If you would like a stall at the event, please contact us.  Please share this event info with anyone - it is on Facebook.

Demain Film
The film showing was really successful.  45 people came and got inspired by the amazing projects going on around the world (we enjoyed cake too)!!!  Thank you to Abingdon Carbon Cutters for organising.

Highlights included the edible projects all over Detroit and a Permaculture Farm in France.  If you get the chance to see this film, we would thoroughly recommend it.  As well as good and growing projects, it looked at democratic systems, alternative economies, waste, education and more.

25th June - Roundwood Timber Building (postponed until later in the year)
Join the waiting list now by contacting us.

If you have Corporate Volunteering hours to use up this summer, consider coming to Stonehill to help us.  We need people power and you get to enjoy a day outdoors within nature and learn new skills.  Contact us to enquire.

We hope to see you at the garden soon - open every Wednesday 10am - 4pm.

From Richard, Rachel and the Stonehill team.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Plant Swap 2017

For all Tithe Farm and Ladygrove gardeners!! For the 3rd year running there will be another Plant Swap this Saturday 20th May on the driveway at 39 Masefield Crescent between 3pm and 5pm, come rain or shine.  Bring along your extra plants, surplus seedlings or spare cuttings and be ready to 'swap' - all for FREE!!

Monday, 15 May 2017

Accounts 2016 / 2017

The TFLRA accounts for 2016 / 2017 have been inspected by an independent examiner and are available for viewing for anyone who wishes to.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Neighbourhood Watch - Policing Update May 2017

Anti-social behaviour (ASB)

The Neighbourhood Team have been receiving reports of ASB in the park at the end of Chilton Close.  In particular, one group of young people were gaining access to a private garden, throwing things into this area and intimidating the resident who lives there.  The members of the group have all been successfully identified by the team, and have been visited at home and spoken to along with their parents.  A young male will be issued a Youth Restorative Disposal (YRD) after committing Arson at the same park.  The YRD acts as warning and is an agreement between the offender and the victim that they will not behave like this again, and often includes a recompense for the crime.  If the agreement is broken by the offender and the behaviour continues then they can be arrested.  A YRD is considered the first level of intervention from the Police towards a child who starts to commit crime.


PCSOs Ali Blood and Susie Shepherd have increased their high visibility patrols in the town centre shops after a rise in reports of shoplifting.  Several potential offenders have been deterred after being stop checked by the PCSOs, after attempting to conceal items.  Offenders brought to justice
  • A male was arrested after interfering with a vehicle which was parked on Victoria Road, Abingdon on Wednesday 19th April.  Enquiries and ongoing at this time and the male has been released under investigation.
  • On Sunday 7th May, two males were arrested for possession with intent to supply drugs, after a report of drug dealing on Thornhill Walk, Abingdon.  Both males have been released under investigation whilst further enquiries are completed. If you see any suspicious behaviour that you wish to report, please phone 101 or 999 in an emergency.
  • A male, aged 31 from Abingdon, has been arrested and charged with exposure.  The male was arrested following a report he had indecently exposed himself on Tuesday (9/5) on the Ock Valley River Walk.
Neighbourhood Policing / Scam Events

Over the last month, PCSOs Susie Shepherd and Ali Blood have spent time speaking to several groups about neighbourhood policing and scams.  The PCSOs were invited to the Trinity Evergreen club, the North Abingdon WI and the Abingdon Macular Group.  If you would like the neighbourhood team to come and speak to a group you are part of, please contact them on the below email address or call 101.

Future Events

Abingdon neighbourhood team will be on duty at the annual ‘Fun in the Park’ event on Saturday 3rd June between 11.00am - 3.00pm in the Abbey Gardens.  Officers from the Special Constabulary will be in attendance at ‘Music in the Park’ on the same day, between 5.00pm - 10.00pm.

Contact us if you want any advice or would like to contact the neighbourhood team you can call us on the police non-emergency number 101 or if it is an emergency then dial 999. You can also contact us via email:  Please note this email address cannot be used to contact Thames Valley Police to report crimes or for any urgent matters.  To view information on your neighbourhood team visit the Thames Valley Police website at:

Receive free local crime alerts and crime prevention advice by registering at today.  This allows anyone who signs up to choose what updates they receive and how they would like to receive it.  The Thames Valley Police Twitter account is kept up to date with what we are up to; please follow us @TVPSouthandVale

Monday, 1 May 2017

Stonehill Community Garden - May News

Welcome to our Spring Newsletter!!  The garden has really been taking shape over the last few Wednesdays, thank you to all our fantastic volunteers for their involvement and hard work.

Planting Plan

We currently have a central path up the centre of the garden, with beds of varying shapes on either side of the path.  Longer term, the central path will be paved for accessibility, with raised beds on either side of the path.

For this season we have created beds in the ground to enable us to plant as much as possible.

The fruit cage will remain and we will try various experimental growing method: growing in straw bales, mushroom growing, Hugelkultur raised bed, trialling bio-dynamic planting times.

We are currently fund raising for the costs involved in making our garden accessible, and consulting people with different access needs.

Please feel free to give us feedback on any of our plans.

Crops growing this year - globe artichoke, asparagus, runner beans, french beans, broad beans, beetroot, broccoli, savoy cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, courgettes, gooseberries, kale, onion, peas, potatoes, radish, raspberries, rhubarb, salad leaves, sorrel, squash, strawberries, sweetcorn, turnips, edible and non-edible flowers.

Plant Donations Needed

Do you have any spare of the following?  Rhubarb, gooseberry bushes, jostaberry bushes, loganberry bushes, globe artichokes, asparagus, strawberries.  Please let us know if you do, and / or feel free to bring any down on a Wednesday 10am - 4pm.

Events over Spring
  • 17th May - Demain Film Screening - 6pm open garden, 7pm film showing, 9pm film discussion, 10pm finish.  A film showing community initiatives that are helping change the world.  £3 donation - no need to book.  Refreshments available.
  • 31st May - Family Day - 11am - 2pm.  Pizza, (self-watering) poly tunnel building, meet the chickens.  FREE to attend and take part (pizzas small charge).
  • 10th June - Introduction to Permaculture Course - 10am - 4pm.  £10.  BOOK!!
  • 25th June - Roundwood Timber Building - 10am - 4pm.  £30 per person including pizza lunch.  BOOK.
Abingdon Green Gym Visit and How Your Team Can Contribute

We had a visit from Abingdon Green Gym on Saturday 22nd April and they worked like demons!!  We were so impressed by their achievements in 3 hours, and their willingness to help.  Thank you so much.

If you have a Corporate Volunteer hours to use up this summer, consider coming to Stonehill to help us - we need people power and you get to enjoy a day outdoors, within nature and learning new skills.  Contact us here to enquire.

We hope to see you at the garden soon - we are open every Wednesday 10am - 4pm.

From Richard, Rachel and the Stonehill team.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

South Oxford District Council Local Plan

A resident writes about the emerging SODC Local Plan:

South Oxfordshire District Council is developing a new Local Plan that, once made, will shape the future of their district. They say they are committed to involving our communities in preparing this new plan, and as it is adjacent to our area, it will surely have repercussions throughout the Vale.  (The Vale of the White Horse Local Plan 2031 was adopted on 14th December 2016).  The emerging Local Plan sets out their vision for South Oxfordshire up to 2033.  It identifies where housing, retail and employment  should be located and the infrastructure required to support this growth, such as new roads, schools, health services and sewerage.  The proposed policies in the plan will be used to help make decisions on planning applications in the district.  There is a 7 week consultation, Wednesday 29th March to 5pm on Wednesday 17th May 2017.  Contact SODC for further information. There are various ways of giving feedback - see the website for SODC or write to them at SODC Planning Policy, 135 Eastern Avenue, Milton Park, Abingdon OX14 4SB.

Worryingly, there is very little about flood prevention in this plan.  On scrolling though, it is only mentioned once or twice.

They say in section 8.28 'Buffer zones are important along watercourses to give species and habitats protection from increased disturbance associated with development.  The extent of the buffer is dependent on the size and nature of the development,  it should be a minimum of 10 metres wide, measured from the top of each bank.  Larger developments should provide further buffering, and these additonal areas can be used for informal recreation.'  and again in section 8.30 'Buffer zones also help to reduce the incidences of flooding by allowing water storage and natural drainage of rainwater'.  They comment also on the value of watercourses for flood management in section 8.22.

For anyone whose homes were flooded, or nearly, in 2007 this must seem to be a worrying trend.  The Councils have made, generally, very few proactive flood prevention plans in order to mitigate the serious impact of flooding in the future.  This is, at the very least, a missed opportunity.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme

A resident comments on the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme.  Will it affect our area?  You can read about it on the following websites:

The planned scheme shows various options, see ‘Channel Route Options’, covering a 5km area running from just north of Botley Road to the Thames at Weir Mill Stream just south of Oxford.

It has been designed to carry water away from the city centre during heavy rainfall.  Also, here is a link to the latest news story (Oxford Times – posted 9th April 2017):

There will be opportunities to view the final designs for the  channel at a series of public events next month.  The dates for the events which are all from 2pm to 8pm are: 

11th May - West Oxford Community Centre, Botley Road
12th  May - South Oxford Community Centre, Botley Road
15th May - Oxford Deaf & Hard of Hearing Centre, St Ebbes
18th May - St Luke's Church, Canning Crescent

The agency hopes to submit a planning application to Oxford City Council on November 3rd and start groundworks in September 2018.

It will be interesting to see how the plan for the final designs takes into account the effect, on Abingdon and other areas, of the extra water flooding downstream in the future.  Watch this space!

Thursday, 27 April 2017

New Equipment for Masefield Play Area

The Town Council has made a decision for the new equipment which will be installed in the Masefield play area.  This has been ordered and will be installed on Tuesday 30th May consisting of a “Two in One Playzone” and a Nest Swing.  The Council say that they took note of requests made by some younger members of our estates who wrote in requesting certain equipment.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

FREE Compost for your Garden or Allotment

Do you need FREE compost to mulch your garden or allotment?

The Vale is having another compost giveaway on Saturday 13th May 9.00am - 11.00am in Crowmarsh Gifford, and on Sunday 14th May 9.00am - 11.00am in Rye Farm Car Park.  As before it will be first come, first served, so be there early with your own bags and shovels to claim your share.  This is the compost made from the brown bin collections, so local and sustainable in the extreme!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

2017 Jazz Festival

Once again beautiful Abingdon-on-Thames plays host to this wonderful festival of jazz and once again it will be organised by the Friends of Abingdon and Music At The Unicorn.

The Festival will take place in the ancient Long Gallery of the old Abingdon Abbey Buildings on the 12th and 13th May 2016.

Yes, jazz is alive, well and kicking up a storm in “jazztown” Abingdon-on-Thames.  The festival will include at least 6 main concerts in the centre of the town.

Performers will include:
  • The Vintage Funk and acclaimed Crowd Company - “Excellent. Dirty, lowdown Funk - We love Crowd Company on the show” Craig Charles, BBC Radio 6
  • Art Themin - the brilliant British saxophonist has been wowing the crowds for over 50 years
  • Oxfordshire County Youth Big Band and the Abingdon School Big Band
Bryan Brown the Chairman of Friends of Abingdon says:

“The Friends of Abingdon and Music At The Unicorn are delighted to present The Abingdon Jazz Festival once again.  As last year, the festival will be hosted and centred in the Friends’ beautiful Abbey Buildings. 

So, jazz enthusiasts and people who just like good music can enjoy great music, food, drink and Abingdon's stunning historic buildings all at the same time”.

Michael Ward Chairman of Music at the Unicorn says:

“Once again the Abingdon Jazz Festival will present fantastic local talent alongside great guests. Our special focus this year will be on young performers, with two large youth big bands showing off their amazing skills!”

Music At The Unicorn (MATU) is a not-for-profit community organisation who stage concerts to bring the best music to Abingdon.  An important part of the work is supporting up-and-coming musicians from the local area, giving them the opportunity to perform in front of wonderfully supportive and knowledgeable audiences.  A dedicated team of volunteers run all the events.

All profits go into improving the facilities and into bringing an even greater variety of talented bands, singers and instrumentalists to Abingdon.


Remade Guitars (Stratton way) or book online:

For more information and a running list:


Your support is greatly appreciated.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Further update on the Drayton Road bus stop

We are pleased to say that the Oxfordshire Highways Department have informed us that the repair work will be carried out in the next few weeks, soon after the start of the new financial year in April which will take 3-4 days.  The bus stop will be temporarily moved further up the road whilst this necessary work is carried out.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Plant Swap

For all Tithe Farm and Ladygrove gardeners!!  There will be another Plant Swap this year on Saturday 20th May on the driveway at 39 Masefield Crescent between 3.00 p.m. and 5.00 p.m., come rain or shine.  Bring along your extra plants, surplus seedlings or spare cuttings and be ready to 'swap' - all for free!!  Please do check the Blog beforehand in case the date is change at the last minute.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Vale E-News

Are you interested in keeping up to date with the news from the Vale Council? The Vale produces an electronic newsletter every two months with news and updates – you can sign up to it at

Monday, 6 March 2017

A Walk on the Wildside

Hopefully spring will be now upon us, with scents of bluebells, catkins on willows and new leaves unfolding on the trees.  You may take a spring walk along the River Ock, but beware of the alien species that lies beneath.  Anglers will be well aware of this alien infestation, but for the ordinary people we will only notice them when looking over a bridge hoping to catch a glimpse offish.  What am I talking about?  A crustacean: the American Signal Crayfish.  It is bigger than our native white clawed crayfish, which it out-competes for food and habitat.  They carry a disease which kills our smaller native species and their burrows damage the sides of the river.  Apparently they were brought into the country by the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food (MAFF) to boost commercial fisheries and may have escaped or been released.

What can we do?  Not a lot is the answer.  The Environment Agency says: “Signal crayfish have been present around Oxford for over 25 years.  We don’t have clear evidence that local trapping of signal crayfish is beneficial to stocks of the native species.  We issue authorisations for trapping of signal crayfish in the Thames for commercial and domestic consumption, and in some cases, intensive trapping, to reduce the nuisance impact on anglers.”  You have to be licenced by the E.A. to catch them and putting them back is forbidden (failure to comply carries a hefty fine) but they do make for good eating!  Remember the Hairy Bikers came and visited Abingdon Lock in 2013 to sample the fayre, helped by a local man ‘Crayfish Bob’.  Maybe our local restaurants need to take note and increase crayfish on the menu; it is local, seasonal and fresh …. and eco-friendly way of saving the Abingdon Environment.

Signal crayfish is a ferocious cannibal that will eat anything that comes its way, fish eggs, ducklings, young moorhens and has all but finished off our indigenous species.  Members of the species are typically six-nine cm (2.4-3.5 in) long, although sizes up to 16-18 (6.3-7.1 in) are possible.  It gets its name from the white to pale blue-green patch near the claw hinge, like the white flags that signalmen used for directing trains.  They are bluish-brown to reddish-brown in colour with robust, large, smooth claws.  About 200-400 eggs are laid after mating in the autumn, and are carried under the female’s tail until they are ready to hatch the following spring.  The eggs hatch into juveniles, which pass through three moults before leaving their mother.