The next meetings will be 8pm on Tuesday 9th May and Monday 12th June 2017 in the Stonewater flats Common Room, Bridges Close. All residents welcome!!

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.

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

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.

Friday, 17 February 2017

February news

Only a few days to wait until you can get your hands on our wood fired pizzas again!
Our next Open Day event is this coming Sunday - more info below

- Chicken naming competition closes today!
- February Fruit tree event this Sunday
- Garden plan

Chicken naming competition - closes 5pm today

Please send your three suggestions to by 5pm Feb 15th to be considered.
We will announce the winning names at 2pm at our February event and the winner will also take home 6 eggs from our girls.

February event
Our next weekend Open Day is this Sunday - from 1pm until 4pm 

- fruit tree grafting demos and fruit trees for sale
- make your own tree planter box from pallets and take home for a small charge
- planting in our fruit cage
- Pizzas will be available to buy, cooked in our wood fired pizza oven

Garden plan
Mapping out the site for pathways has begun now that the raised beds are in situ
With harvests being shared between volunteers, sold and food for our our August harvest celebration, the list below is the first of our first planned crops, with more to come.
There is still plenty of time to make suggestions and share seeds with us

Nuts, Mushrooms, Rhubarb, Savoy cabbage, Lemon Sorrel, Spring greens, Watercress and Gooseberries
If there is something you'd like to see us grow, let us know.  And if you have any seeds to share, feel free to pass them on
Courses and Workshops
 Here is a reminder of the courses and workshops we are running this year – book now by emailing

February 19th 10am - 1pm Fruit Tree Grafting
March 19th 10am - 4pm Introduction to Permaculture
April 2nd 10am - 4pm - Design your own edible space
May 21st 10am - 4pm - Introduction to Forest Garden Design
June 18th 10am – 4pm - Timber frame building (roundhouse construction)
July 16th 10am - 4pm - Strawbale building
August 13th 10am - 4pm - Cob building
September 24th 10am - 4pm - Wattle & Daub building
October 15th 10am - 1pm – Composting inc. wormeries
Workshops - £15 including refreshments
Full day courses - £30 including refreshments and a pizza lunch
Bursary places available for un-waged – please contact us

Stonehill is your community garden space for the people of Abingdon, Drayton, Steventon and surrounding areas – come and enjoy it, get involved and meet new people – everyone welcome at our Wednesday work parties 10am – 4pm

 If you know of a group or individual who would like to get active outdoors, learn some gardening/woodwork/cookery skills, feel free to share our details. We welcome all abilities on our workdays.

Please take 2 minutes to answer this survey to inform how the garden should be used and designed:

Visit our Facebook page for photos and more

See you all soon, 
From Richard, Rachel, our 3 chickens soon to be named, and the wider Stonehill team