Speedwatch in action

The village Speedwatch team, set up by the Traffic and Parking Working Group (TAPWG), has been busy monitoring vehicle speeds in the High Street and Hardwick Road and reporting to the Police those exceeding the 20mph limit by more than a small margin. 

The monitoring sites had first to be agreed with the Police and the volunteers received their online training.  Since April this year the dedicated team has been out in all weathers and has reported a total of 774 vehicles, including 35 in Hardwick Road in the past week.  The offending drivers will have received a letter from Thames Valley Police, who say that 80% of drivers who receive such letters do not re-offend. The minority who do re-offend will receive a visit from Police once they have received three letters.

Yellow signs have now been positioned at all three entrances to the village (photo) so that drivers will be more aware that their speed may be recorded. 

The Speedwatch Team, co-ordinated by Linda Gray, would love to attract some more residents to join the small team of volunteers. Please contact Linda by email to find out how you could help. 

Date/Time : Friday, 24th November 2023 17:08

Public hearing for Greyhound street food

During the recent consultation period for the application by The Greyhound and its food traders, it is understood that some objections were received, as a result of which there will now be a public hearing in early December.  

The landlord, Lottie Mitchell, is asking all her customers who enjoy the street food offerings to send an email to Oak Taverns to indicate their support for The Greyhound’s plans to continue the service.  The request, with the email address, is here.

Date/Time : Wednesday, 22nd November 2023 18:30

Whitchurch Scout heading to Malawi

Jay Sidhu, 13, lives in Swanston Field.  He is the only Whitchurch member in a group of seven Scouts from the 1st Purley & Pangbourne Scout Group who will be travelling to Malawi, Africa, in July next year to take part in a community project.  

Working with the local community and local builders for three weeks, the group will help build a new community centre and toilet block and refurbish two community buildings.  Berkshire Scouts have teamed up for this project with a local charity called Joshua, which assists orphans and their communities in Malawi. 

Jay is now trying to raise funds towards the cost of the trip.  He has challenged himself to run, cycle and walk 80km in each of the next 8 weeks.  His mother Angela Sidhu has organised a fundraising page.  Already in the last few days £245 has been raised towards a goal of £1000.  

Jay says: “I would be hugely grateful for any sponsorship.  I am also taking part in as many fundraising opportunities as I can find.  I have helped on the BBQ at the village fete, I have served hotdogs in Purley, I have helped at Pangbourne and Purley fireworks evenings, I am running a tuckshop at school, I am helping to organize a quiz night and a barn dance and I am running an Art Cafe in January.  I would love to hear of any other fundraising ideas anyone has.  I can come and wash your car, I can help with pet sitting or I am awesome at playing Lego if anyone’s young children need looking after for a few hours.” 

To take up any of these offers, Jay can be contacted by email here.   

Date/Time : Tuesday, 21st November 2023 11:18

The Ferryboat will re-open, but not just yet

Heineken Star Pubs were asked earlier this week for a statement on their plans for re-opening The Ferryboat, which closed in June last year following the sad death of its landlord Graham Dednum. 

In reply, a spokesperson for Star Pubs & Bars today sent these comments to the Whitchurch Web: 

"We are upgrading the electricity supply for the kitchen to give future operators more options in terms of kitchen equipment.  We cannot be specific about timing for this work as it is dependent on a number of third parties involved in the process.  We have an operator in place ready to reopen the pub once the current electricity supply situation is resolved, staff have been recruited and stock ordered." 

So it seems that now, after 17 months of closure, we will have to continue to wait for further news on when the pub will spring to life again.

Date/Time : Thursday, 09th November 2023 18:06

Tree falls on road above village

A tree fell earlier today and blocked the downhill side of the road between the war memorial and the village.  Jim Donahue, who took the photo here, has reported it to the Highways Authority.

Update: the road was cleared later in the day.

Date/Time : Saturday, 04th November 2023 16:57

High Street parking restrictions – have your say!

Oxfordshire County Council issued documents yesterday for proposed Whitchurch High Street parking restrictions, allowing those affected to examine and comment on them by 17th November. 

The link to the documents, which include two detailed plans showing where the restrictions are planned, is:

The scheme is the result of work by the Parish Council's Traffic and Parking Working Group (TAPWG) in consultation with Oxfordshire County Council Highways Department.  It is based on a village-wide survey carried out in September 2021.  The resulting proposal was approved by the Parish Council in November 2022. 

A senior officer of OCC says: “We're asking for your views on the proposal to introduce new & amend existing parking measures in Whitchurch-on-Thames. The proposals are being put forward in accordance with OCC parking policy, and seek to better manage parking in the centre of the village which will help residents find parking closer to their properties and prevent all day parking by non-residents, also to improve traffic flow, and for road safety reasons to help improve visibility for more vulnerable road-users, including pupils & parents crossing High Street on their way to/from school.  Have your say.  Please read the detailed information provided on this consultation and take the time to complete the survey as your views and opinions matter.  Your response should be completed and returned by 5pm on Friday 17 November 2023.”

Date/Time : Saturday, 21st October 2023 11:06

Walled Garden House plans approved

The application to rebuild The Walled Garden House, opposite The Greyhound in the High Street, has been approved by SODC, subject to conditions.  The Decision Notice can be read here

Parish Council chairman Jim Donahue commented today: 

I would like to comment on SODC’s decision to approve this application as a number of residents objected to it and the size and height of the new house will be very visible and have a significant impact on the village Conservation Area.  I attended the SODC Planning Committee meeting on 11th October to present our objections, with support from Cllr Paul O’Grady, and another resident in attendance to raise their own concerns.  Despite us having what I felt was a strong planning basis for having the Walled Garden planning application rejected, I am sorry to report that the SODC Planning Committee voted to approve the application, as recommended by the Planning Officer: 

  • The Planning Officer recommended approval stating the impact on the Conservation Area was neutral.  He acknowledged that the new building would be much more visible from many angles, but felt it was offset by the improved architecture that was sympathetic to the area, compared to the existing building. 
  • 7 out of 11 SODC Councillors voted to approve the application, arguing that:

o   The plot was large, and the house was not disproportionate to the size of the plot.

o   Whilst the third floor roof was visible over the wall, overlooking would not be possible from the rooms there which formed part of the dormer roof that only had Velux windows.

o   Some felt that it was not out of keeping with the Conservation area which was a built-up area with buildings of diverse architecture.

o   Others felt the applicants would be successful in an appeal.  Even if rejected, other applications, perhaps for multiple houses, would likely be accepted. 

  • The councillors understood our concerns regarding the pond and flooding and understood that resolving this was a condition for development.  I intend to push this with their Drainage and Flooding Engineer to ensure we get satisfaction on the pond being fully reinstated prior to any work on the house starting.

Date/Time : Monday, 16th October 2023 20:44

Get ready for the Art & Craft show

The website for the Whitchurch Art & Craft Exhibition 2023, to be held in the Village Hall over the weekend of 18th and 19th November, is now live and can be accessed here.  (Note: there are two active links at the top of the page.)

Organiser Sally Woolhouse says:

The website has all the details you will need about how and when you will be able to enter this very popular village event. Online registration is available at any time between 4th and 15th November. Please remember that all entries must be made through the website, even though this year there is no online exhibition.  If you have queries, do get in touch.

This year’s theme for the Joyce Voysey prize is ‘Re-use, Reduce, Recycle’. We are sure that this will produce some imaginative creations! Of course, your entries for all the main adult & junior classes (Art, Craft & Photography) can be on any subject whatsoever.

It is remarkable to note that the exhibition has now been running for over 50 years! The first cup to be awarded in 1972 was The Whitchurch Cup, presented by The Whitchurch Society. Note that it is now awarded to the best entry in the Adult Craft section; there are other cups for the Art and Photography sections. There is a link to the history of all the cups and the winners over the years on our webpage.

Finally, we will be serving refreshments over the weekend, so we are looking for willing helpers with this and with the setting up on Friday 17th November – we need a good team of willing volunteers to make the whole event run smoothly!

Please get in touch with me at

Date/Time : Tuesday, 10th October 2023 12:14

Historic Oxford barge arrives at Hardwick estate

The Swan at Streatley has auctioned off its historic Magdalen barge.  It has been towed to a new home on the river at Whitchurch and is now moored at the end of Sheepwash Lane on the Hardwick estate, as seen in the photo. 

The barge, built in 1927, originally belonged to Magdalen College, Oxford.  Since it was acquired by The Swan it has been used as a wedding venue, but the hotel recently came to the reluctant conclusion that they could not afford the restoration it needs. 

Unusually, the barge has a reinforced concrete hull.  It is thought to be one of the last such vessels in the country. 

The barge has been bought by Paul Austin-Clark, who is understood to be a skilled carpenter/joiner/boatbuilder, and there is now a good chance of it being restored.  He has opened a GoFundMe page to raise £10,000 for the purpose.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the fund can find the details here and also read about Paul’s dream to restore the barge to its former glory and 'open it up for educational and creative activities’.   Those giving £200 or more will be promised a day's free hire in due course. 

Here is a photo of the barge some years ago, in better condition than now, moored at The Swan. 

Date/Time : Friday, 22nd September 2023 17:10

Burglary in Whitchurch – police release images (updated)

Thames Valley Police have this morning released a photo (left) of a man, presumably a possible witness, that they wish to speak to in connection with a burglary in the village on Monday evening, 11th September, and are asking for help from the public.  Also released are two photos of a car passing the toll bridge. 

Here is the Police statement: 

Thames Valley Police is releasing an image of a man officers believe may have vital information about a burglary in Whitchurch-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.

An address in the village was burgled at around 9.15pm on Monday (11/9).

Investigating officer Detective Constable Michael Parker said: “I am interested in speaking to the man pictured as he may hold key information in relation to this burglary. 

“I am also keen to talk to the driver and any occupants of a small, black/dark SUV that drove through Whitchurch toll bridge at 9.10pm on Monday, heading into Whitchurch. The occupants of the car may hold vital information in relation to this burglary. 

“Also, if you have any CCTV footage in the area or any dash-cam footage if you were driving in the area around the time, I’d also ask that you check any recordings in case it has captured something that could assist our investigation.

“If you were the car driver or are the man pictured, or have any information on who the driver or this man are, please call 101 or make a report on our website, quoting reference number 43230408120.

“Alternatively, you can provide information anonymously to the independent charity, Crimestoppers, by calling 0800 555 111 or via its website.”


An enlarged version of the photo above can be seen here.  The person in the picture is presumably sought as a potential witness.

To see the two images of the dark SUV vehicle, go to the Police website

According to neighbours, the house involved is in the High Street and balaclava masks were worn by three men who had broken in.  It is understood that they searched the house and then left, having taken nothing, and the elderly couple living in the house were not threatened.

The Police are reported to have arrived very quickly after the event.  On the following morning a plain-clothed policeman visited several properties in the High Street seeking information and advising house-owners to be careful about security.

There appears to be some similarity to a break-in 18 months ago on a flat in a nearby property, The Mount.  There is a report on that in our News Archive dated 22nd March 2022. 

Date/Time : Saturday, 16th September 2023 11:00

Aerial photo reveals wartime activity in Whitchurch

An aerial photo taken from a US Air Force plane over Whitchurch on 8th March 1944 has recently been made available by Historic England. 

The aerial photo can be viewed here.  Hover on the image and click on the double arrow at the top right to have the full screen view.  Then zoom in to see details.  Note that North is roughly on the left, not at the top. 

Two areas of particular interest, which have been cropped and captioned by Jerry Cockeram, are attached here and here.  The first of these shows the military camp in Nissen huts at Manor Road.  The second shows the bridge training area, based at Thames Bank, making full use of the Pangbourne meadow. Bridge building is being practised using Bailey bridge units and floating pontoons, in preparation for the D-day landing of Operation Overlord on 6th June 1944.  A still photo of this is shown above. 

For a fascinating account of how the military forces of Britain, the USA and Canada made use of these facilities, see this account by Peter Hawley.  It seems that it came as a surprise to Mr Howard, owner of Coombe Park, when he discovered a military camp being built on his land in 1943, such was the urgency of wartime decision-making. 

Thanks to John Bradon for pointing out the publication of this historic aerial photo.

Date/Time : Tuesday, 12th September 2023 13:37

Dozens of Manor Road boundary trees to be felled

A line of tall Douglas fir trees runs along the eastern boundary of the Coombe Park estate, forming a background to the Manor Road houses.  The owner of Coombe Park has obtained consent from SODC for felling them all to ground level and planting a hedge and young trees in their place. 

The length of the line of fir trees can be seen in this plan.  The trees are in part of the area shown as ‘W1’.  At its north end the boundary of the Polish Church Memorial Garden is affected (photo). 

The line of trees can also be seen in this aerial view

The application from Coombe Park requested: “Fell all firs along the eastern boundary adjacent to the Manor Road housing estate. Reason: Due to frequent branch failure of trees over rear gardens of adjacent residential properties posing a hazard to occupants of adjacent properties, actual property damage and persistent complaints from occupants to Mr Pain to address the issue of hazards posed by the trees. The previous branch failure affecting the rear gardens of the adjacent properties is attributed to the natural failure rate of trees. The issue being the number of trees of their height in such close proximity to the residential complex and the high propensity for any such failure to affect the adjacent gardens. Replacement planting proposed to create maintained high hedge in same location: Bare-root feathered trees (hornbeam), to be planted at 1m spacings.” 

The SODC consent letter of 20 March 2023 includes this information:  “Dear Mr Pain, Thank you for your application for tree works dated 24 January 2023. Under the powers of the above Order this council hereby grants consent for the following works at: Coombe Park, Coombe Park Road, Whitchurch on Thames, RG8 7QT.  Group of Douglas Fir trees, adjacent to Eastern boundary of Coombe Park, as shown in the application, part of W1 of TPO 20S05 - Fell trees to ground level.  The Replacement Planting consists of a hornbeam hedge and 25 standard trees of the following species (Field Maple, Hornbeam, Scots Pine, Corsican Pine, Wild Cherry and Whitebeam). The council advises that a young tree management programme is adopted to ensure replacement trees are successfully established. This should include routine watering, assessment and ongoing maintenance.” 

Date/Time : Friday, 01st September 2023 14:03

Whitchurch lock closed for repairs (Update: lock reopened)

The Environment Agency has closed Whitchurch lock until further notice for emergency repairs to one of its two downstream gates, which is now stuck partially open after a hinge failure.  The Agency’s website announced the closure on Saturday 12th. 

Eastfield Lane resident Keith Williams, one of the two volunteer Whitchurch lock keepers, says that barge-mounted lifting gear may have to be sent from downstream before repairs can be made, as the gate weighs over three tonnes.  He says the steel retaining collar at the top of the gate hinge broke on Saturday morning.  There are photos in the Photo Gallery.

Thames boat hire companies, in the middle of their summer holiday season, have advised some clients who are caught on the wrong side of the lock to moor their boats at the riverside and take a taxi home. 

Pleasure boats such as the African Queen and the Caversham Princess have had to turn around below the toll bridge and return downstream. 

The photo above shows the lock in normal times. 

Update, Tuesday 15th August, 6 pm:  The lock gate has been repaired and boat traffic through the lock has restarted. 

Date/Time : Monday, 14th August 2023 11:42

Eastfield House now a construction site

If you have walked down Eastfield Lane in recent days you will have seen that serious work has finally begun on Eastfield House.  As well as clearing the grounds, the contractor J Guest Ltd has installed a formidable security fence at the front.  In addition, numerous security monitoring devices have been put in place, including CCTV linked to a 24 hour monitoring service.

The site has proved very enticing to teenagers in recent years.  It is important that the community remains vigilant to the obvious dangers of entering a restricted building site.  Several outbuildings have already been demolished, leaving piles of rubble.  The roof tiles have now been removed, revealing bare rafters.  The contractor’s team wear hard hats for a good reason.

It is important that if trespassers are noticed on the site, this should be reported directly to the security team by phoning 01934 611 910.

Date/Time : Monday, 07th August 2023 12:47

Greyhound food trucks ban (Updated with BBC interview))

Yesterday Oak Taverns, owners of The Greyhound, issued a statement to say that the licensing department of SODC had decided to ban all street food trucks attending their pubs until further notice and that they have had to contact their solicitors for help. 

The statement says: “All the wonderful food companies that we use have the relevant paperwork themselves, but we need paperwork to use them on our private carparks as if they were public highways.” 

“We will keep you posted and fingers crossed we can continue our amazing food options in the future.  Watch this space.  Sorry from all at Oak Taverns.” 

Two weeks ago our District Councillor, Peter Dragonetti, who had followed up concerns over a possible threat to the popular street food offerings at The Greyhound, following an initial complaint about litter, said he understood that SODC were keen to support local pubs and he was confident of a satisfactory outcome.  It now seems that such an outcome will have to wait for a while. 

Update, 6th August:  Jim Donahue has provided an update on the street food issue – see the Message Board.  It seems that eight pubs in South Oxfordshire have all been hit with a ban on street food trucks until their licensing issues are sorted out.  Our MP John Howell and the CEO of SODC are now involved.

Meanwhile it has been pointed out that at The Greyhound there may be a related issue with the ownership of most of the land currently used for car parking, which is not privately owned but part of the public highway.

Update, 9th August:  Simon Collinson of Oak Taverns explains on BBC Sounds about the difficulty of obtaining licences for street food trucks.


Date/Time : Saturday, 05th August 2023 10:06

Sights & Sounds of Summer

Sally Woolhouse has put together a colourful new article, Sights & Sounds of Summer, which focuses on the wildlife that we can see around us in Whitchurch at this time of the year.  It is on the Nature Notes page

The photo above shows Bumblebees collecting pollen from an Allium. 

As well as bees, Sally has fascinating things to say about moths (with Gill Goodwin’s photos of the Pale Tussock Moth), birds (Bullfinches, and using the Merlin birdsong-identification App) and plants (including how to recognise the poisonous Giant Hogweed).  There is much more – don’t miss it!

Date/Time : Tuesday, 25th July 2023 15:23

Work on Eastfield House to start this week

Contractors for Urban Village Group are expected to start later this week on converting Eastfield House into a much larger 45-bed care home.  The first tasks, starting this Thursday 27th July, are likely to be clearing the vegetation growth and erecting screens, with stripping out the interior of the building to follow. 

The building has been empty since 2016.  The work is being done under planning application P11/S0126, which was turned down by SODC in 2012 but approved on appeal in August 2013. 

Most of the main building, including the distinctive façade, will remain, while parts are demolished and major extensions built, more than doubling the footprint. 

Urban Village Group, based in Sutton Coldfield, indicate that the cost of the work is around £3.3 million.  They plan to rename the facility Cedar Lodge Care Home. 

The lengthy planning history of the site was summarized in a Henley Standard article of 2019, after an application was refused for demolition of the whole building.

Date/Time : Monday, 24th July 2023 14:53

Threat to street food at The Greyhound

Anger is growing on social media after someone complained to OCC about litter in the village allegedly caused by street food vendors at The Greyhound, leading to fears that the popular service might be threatened. 

Jay Raymond, who lives in Hardwick Road, posted on Facebook:

“It transpires that a complaint has been made to the licensing division of Oxfordshire County Council about the street food vendors.  I understand this is primarily about the extra refuse it creates around the village.  I walk this high street daily, and have done, for nearly 30 years so let me be blunt. Bollocks!  I see more global fast food chain and coffee company waste littering the village than anything from the street food. The vendors dispose of the majority of the packaging waste as part of the agreement with the pub.” 

“The potential licensing conflict is, as I understand it, a grey area, as the food vendors are selling from private land but can also sell to non-pub users, potentially requiring them to each purchase an £800 trading license.  And although this licensing law is and has been for some time under review, it may see an end to some of the wonderful food we have seen over the last months as some of the vendors can’t justify that extra expense. 

“Oak taverns have invested heavily in the pub and hence the village. Rejuvenating the old girl and giving not only the locals but people from miles around a place for all to meet, smile, laugh and enjoy.  Book club, creative writing, chess, French club, cricket club, live music, events, parties. Food trucks and much more has been encouraged and accommodated by the amazing landlord (Lottie). And probably much more.” 

“So, what happens next?  I for one will be asking my local representatives to step up and support a local business.  Perhaps a petition to submit to OCC showing our support for the current structure of the pub.”

Date/Time : Thursday, 20th July 2023 15:45

Report on bridge approach safety

Consultants to West Berkshire Council have completed their feasibility study into ways of making pedestrians safer along the curved narrow pavement on the Pangbourne side of the river.  The report has not yet been made public, but parish chairman Jim Donahue has seen it and says that three options are identified.  His preference is for one of the two options that widen the pavement to a minimum 1.5m width for the full length of the approach road. 

Jim says he is working with the various stakeholders to ensure that the project is approved and can move forward to the next stage, which is for more detailed design and cost estimating. 

This new study builds on an earlier one by Peter Brett Associates, commissioned by the Whitchurch Bridge Company, which reported in September 2016.  Three options for widening the road were examined at that time but the project was not taken forward.

Date/Time : Monday, 17th July 2023 15:08

Pangbourne Station ticket office changes

GWR is conducting a public consultation on its plans to phase out manned ticket offices.  Pangbourne is one of the stations affected. 

There are details of the changes on this webpage.    

Details on how to send comments to GWR, by 26th July**, are shown on the same page. 

Rail users can also write to their MP to oppose ticket office closures – details here.

**This deadline has been extended to 1st September.

Date/Time : Thursday, 13th July 2023 11:47

Large lorry causes traffic delays in High Street

An articulated truck arrived in the High Street just after 4 pm today, having come down the hill, and caused major traffic delays. 

The embarrassed driver was advised that his vehicle, owned by S&P Transport, was too big to pass under the railway bridge in Pangbourne.  It was also too big to turn around using the Ferryboat car park.  It was suggested that he ask permission to cross the river and turn around near the Pangbourne Club entrance, which he did and then returned up the hill. 

It seems that the driver may not have had the appropriate Sat-Nav for HGV vehicles, which would have warned him not to come down the hill. 

Since the bridge was reconstructed in 2013-14 it has been strong enough to carry large trucks, which enables them to cross the river and turn round on the Pangbourne side.  

Date/Time : Thursday, 06th July 2023 21:50

Hardwick Estate’s owners to hand it to the community

Supported by their father Sir Julian Rose, Miriam and Lawrence Rose have confirmed that they will be moving the Hardwick Estate from private ownership into a community stewardship scheme, which would be the first in England. 

The change is modelled on the Isle of Eigg in Scotland.  But whereas Eigg was bought through public fundraising, Miriam says: “We are not selling.  We are giving the estate to the community, which is completely disinheriting ourselves.” 

Sir Julian says: “This is an exciting project that could break new ground in ways to maintain and enhance carefully managed family enterprises in perpetuity.” 

The estate covers 900 acres, including 430 acres of forestry, and has several organic farming, educational and artisan craft enterprises.  There are 27 tenanted houses, 80 tenants and 10 business directors. 

Reporter Grace Swiatek of the Henley Standard interviewed members of the Rose family last week.  There is more information in her article.

This website carries a range of information on the Hardwick estate here.

Date/Time : Tuesday, 04th July 2023 11:35

Theresa Elsome 1940-2023

Theresa Elsome, who lived in Whitchurch Hill, has died at her home at the age of 83. 

She arrived in Whitchurch Hill with her parents in 1956 at the age of 16 and trained as a nurse, later working at Flint House police convalescence home.  She has become well known and much appreciated both up and down the hill for her enthusiastic involvement in a remarkable range of community activities. 

Her family have provided this tribute to her, describing her many interests and contributions.

Date/Time : Friday, 30th June 2023 16:01

Whitchurch author publishes book on strange wars

The fruit of much research over many years, The War of The Stray Dog by Nick Brazil was published yesterday.  On the cover is Nick's dog Harold, often seen with him around the village.  

The back cover explains:  Throughout history, people have started wars for the strangest of reasons.  Whether it is a trashed pastry shop in Mexico City, an ear lopped off a sea captain in The Spanish Main or a lost dog in the Balkans, no cause is too trivial or obscure not to spill blood or capture treasure. This book tells the story of these weird wars and many other strange and forgotten conflicts that have occurred over the centuries.  In doing so it throws a fascinating light on the darker side of human nature. 

The 375-page paperback can be obtained at The Greyhound on Saturday 1st July between 12 noon and 3 pm.  Nick is reducing the price on that day from £15 (Amazon) to a friendly £10, which includes the author's signature.

The twelve chapters include a remarkable number of fascinating incidents and conflicts from the Middle Ages through to this century (listed in the sample shown on Amazon), generously illustrated with pictures and maps.  Nick dedicates the book to his son Peter and acknowledges the help he received from Jerry Cockeram, Secretary of the British Modern Military History Society.

Date/Time : Friday, 23rd June 2023 10:54

Iain Tolhurst awarded MBE

Organic farmer Iain Tolhurst at Hardwick has been awarded the MBE in the King’s Birthday Honours list for his services to agriculture. 

Iain’s wife Tamara Schiopu posted on Facebook yesterday: “Super proud of my King who appreciated the work and knowledge of my husband Iain – a simple farmer with no universities, with a huge impact on hundreds and thousands of young organic farmers. Iain Tolhurst M.B.E. - The Greatest Accolade !!” 

Here is an extract from an interview with Tolly, as he is known to many, on the iEat Green website: 

Tolly has been running Tolhurst Organic Farm for the past 30 years, and what sets them apart from other organic farms, is that they do it without using any animal inputs. The farm is made up of 17 acres over two fields, and 2 acres within a 500 year old walled garden. Their farm was the first to attain the Stockfree Organic symbol in 2004, and they do it through a systems approach which includes a lot of green manure, (cover crops), crop rotation, and the encouragement of insects. Tolly said that the farm averages 13 million earthworms per acre, which is a testament to healthy soil! During the Covid pandemic, they have seen their customer base grow, and the need for local produce has gone up. Tolhurst Organic Farm produces between 120-150 tons of vegetables per year, and most of it is distributed locally within a 10 mile radius. Tolly shares his knowledge with other farmers and takes on interns during the growing season. 

Date/Time : Sunday, 18th June 2023 11:16

The Gardens Walk

This year’s Gardens Walk was held in warm sunshine and was a big success.  It was organised by John Bradon, Laura Lucas and others in the Whitchurch Society.  John wishes to thank those who kindly opened their gardens for other residents of the village to visit.  Also, to thank the other helpers (Diana Smith, Jill Bradon, Adrian Dixon and Anna Szczeponek) for their hard work.  And finally, to thank Neil and Matilda King for hosting the tea and cakes afterwards in their garden, where many children made good use of the swimming pool and trampoline.  The event drew to a natural close when, shortly after 5 pm, an enormous dark cloud approached.  There was just enough time for most of the visitors to make their way home before the heavens opened and the rain poured down. 

Date/Time : Wednesday, 14th June 2023 09:12