News Letter No. 10

Friends of the AMPHITHEATRE QUERNS WOOD and IV ACRE FIELD

Summer/Autumn 2016

As the end of another year approaches, it is a sobering thought that it is nearly 17 years since all of the millennium celebrations, with the accompanying fears of the millennium bug crashing all of our computers and aeroplanes falling out of the sky. From this comment, you may realise that we are struggling to find an interesting introduction to this edition. But this is our 10th issue, so we’ve made it into double figures, and actually there’s been a lot good things going on around the complex. So, without further ado…..

 OBELISK

Further clearance work has been undertaken with more planned over the next few weeks. Much of this is being done by the Community Payback Team, to whom our thanks.

The interpretation board has now been installed, just behind the obelisk – do go and have a look: considering how little is actually known about the obelisk, it really is informative and interesting.

Installation of the board marks the launch of the next phase of the Obelisk Project. In the coming year it is hoped to achieve further significant upgrade of this site with new planting in keeping with the original 18th Century landscape.  This will be a joint project between AQIVA and the Town Council. A community landscape design workshop will be held on 28th January in the Scout Hut, Cotswold Ave so, if you an interest in becoming involved in this project please note the date – more details to follow.

AMPHITHEATRE

This year has seen more visitors to the site than has probably been the case since the Romans cleared off, weekdays and weekends, rain and shine, with many coming from elsewhere in Europe, and beyond.

The sign on the entrance gate from Cotswold Avenue has been replaced, and the picture now shows the amphitheatre as it is today, rather than the interpretation of how it might have originally looked (which is now reproduced on the stone plinth within the site).

We’ve mentioned before that the town council maintains the site on behalf of English Heritage and have improved access throughout, with, amongst other things, a series of mown pathways on all sides. This year saw some of the more difficult slopes tackled by remote mowing, a task for which people would probably have paid for the opportunity to have a go at.

For those of you familiar with Robot Wars, see if you can find Sir Killalot or Matilda lurking in the undergrowth.

One final picture, of a view that, on its own, on a fine day, is worth visiting the amphitheatre for.

QUERNS WOOD

During Love Parks Week, the town council organised a “Go wild in the woods” day, full of woodcraft and other activities. Judging by the number of kids going around with twigs and grass in their hair, and other things that probably didn’t go down too well at home, the day can be counted a great success.

As mentioned in our last newsletter, the scouts, cubs and beavers of the 1st Cirencester Scout Group have been busy building bat boxes, which will go up in the woods during the autumn. There are two types of box, with provision for affordable housing.

Two very proud young men showing off the results of their work and of their fellow group members. Each property is detached and will have stunning views.

FOUR ACRE FIELD

The big news is the installation of 5 pieces of outdoor exercise equipment which have been in place for a couple of months now. Each piece works on a different part of the body, and information about how to use appears on a plate affixed to each unit.

It is freely available to all at any reasonable time of day, with no membership or hourly charges, and is already being extensively used. We ask simply that the site is kept free of litter and that respect is shown for the equipment and the nearby residents.

Maintaining the areas of wild flower planting, particularly along the eastern side, has proven to be extremely difficult, with the brambles, nettles and goose grass constantly overpowering anything else you try to do. In reality, it needs a major ground clearance and preparation exercise in order to make the area more manageable, but this is beyond the current level of resource availability, both financial and manpower. Regretfully, therefore, it has been decided that, for the time being at least, no further work will be undertaken, while longer term options are considered.

VOLUNTEER PROGRAMME

This year we have had a number of volunteer sessions, some of which have been very challenging! Thank you to those who have turned out to lend a hand. The final session for this year will be a litter pick at the end of November/early December – details will be forwarded nearer the time.

In 2017, the main focus of our efforts will be around the Obelisk following on from the design workshop in January.

To maintain our volunteer programme we need more bodies, particularly when it comes to clearance and conservation work. If you haven’t already been in touch but would be prepared to lend a hand or three, please let Alison know – email aqivasec@gmail.com

Via The Conservation Volunteers, AQIVA recently applied to The Chestnut Fund for a grant to buy tools and equipment. Our application was successful and we have been awarded £350 to buy such things as sturdy spades and forks, bill hooks, loppers, weed slashers, rakes etc which should make clearance work easier in the future.

COMMUNICATION

Apart from this newsletter, you can find information and photos on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfAmphitheatre?fref=ts

We also have a twitter account:

@aqiva_ciren

If you would like any more detail, please contact our secretary, Alison, at aqivasec@gmail.com. If anyone would like to see previous newsletters, please let Alison know (sorry, but email only).

OTHER NEWS

Also during Love Parks Week, we had a stall at the annual fete organised by the Chesterton Community Group. As always, this was well attended and we were pleased to add a good few new names to our list of subscribers.

Heritage Open Day in September dawned wet and miserable but we were, nevertheless, pleased at the number of hardy souls who turned out for our two guided tours of the amphitheatre. By the evening, the weather had cleared somewhat, and some 40 people came to our bat talk and walk. It was a shame that, this year, the bats were less co-operative than has previously been the case. When you think about it, in the light of the new boxes being built for them, this does show a fair degree of ingratitude. As last year, the event was held in partnership with the Scouts’ Family Fun Day – many thanks to them for providing great refreshments and shelter from the weather.

Finally, as always, we remind you that you are welcome to attend any of our monthly meetings which are held on the 4th Thursday of every month at Chesterton primary school, starting at 7pm. The next meetings are as follows:

27 October

24 November

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