News Letter No.15

Friends of the AMPHITHEATRE QUERNS WOOD and IV ACRE FIELD

 Newsletter No. 15

Spring/Summer 2018

Our last newsletter started with the focus very much on rain, snow and mud. It doesn’t seem that long ago but, currently, the brown grass and dust do remind us of the vagaries of the British climate.

By the way, our thanks to the Chesterton Community Group for organising a litter pick at the end of April around the whole Chesterton area, including the AQIVA complex.

OBELISK

Continuous maintenance work is needed across the site, but the AQIVA focus this year is around the obelisk. Even this relatively small area can quickly get overgrown and we have instigated a 2 hour weeding/clearing/planting session on the first Tuesday of every month between the hours of 6pm and 8pm. Our sincere thanks to the few people who have come along to the first two sessions to support our efforts. As we’ve said before, if everyone could give us one 2 hour session during the course of a year, this would make an enormous difference.

Thanks also to St James’s Place who have again put in a team of volunteers to work on the site: their youth and enthusiasm have a significant impact.

 AMPHITHEATRE

Really good news is that the first stage of the gateway project, namely the toposcope, has now obtained funding. The design is being finalised but it will be a 1 metre diameter plaque showing Corinium in relation to local sites and other towns in Roman Britain. At present, funding is still being sought for the Roman seating and mural.

The pathway running down from Cotswold Avenue has been topped up and clearance of a lot of the scrub off to the left has taken place.

The visitor counts continue, and we are trying, where possible, to do them on the same dates as last year, even down to the same time of day. We are getting more publicity and although evidence is still mainly anecdotal, visitor numbers are increasing, with many favourable comments on Trip Advisor. Alison circulates details to everyone, so please fill one of the slots for us if you can.

The Cirencester Wildlife Group conducted two guided bird walks over the bank holiday weekend. The experts knew what to expect, but the less initiated were somewhat taken aback by the amazing variety of avian life on our doorstep. They also organised a repeat of last year’s very popular “Fly, flutter and squeak” event with, amongst other things, 3 different types of bat being identified. Other finds included:

   Scarlet Tiger Moth

Grass Bug

Common Spotted Orchid

(This didn’t fly, flutter or squeak, but we were assured that it was an interesting find) 

QUERNS WOOD

Sad to note that the benches made by Ronan’s Trust that were placed in the glade where they had done the earlier tree planting, have disappeared. There seems to be increasing incidence of mindless vandalism across the whole town, but on a positive note, the saplings planted by Ronan’s Trust are doing well.

 Under current weather conditions, it is easy to forget how difficult the pathway from the woods into the amphitheatre gets when muddy, and initial attempts to improve the situation proved inadequate. A much more robust solution is now being investigated but the cost of materials alone is around £2,500 so, unless we have any significant lottery winners amongst our readership, this will not be a quick fix.

FOUR ACRE FIELD

Well folks, we did it, we now have our gate. This project received widespread support from the local community with many generous donations towards the cost. You know who you are – thanks and well done.

 

We were trying to save installation costs by having someone permanently manning the gate, but nobody was interested.

So the guys from the town council worked hard to prepare the ground.

Whoopee! Well worth the wait.

The annual wild flower sowing was done by Chesterton Primary School in March, but this year only along part of the border on the east side. The slope that runs parallel with the woods and which has been our previous main focus, was left this year. This has come back to some degree, though not the mass of colour as in the past.

The area of the extensive shrub planting that took place earlier in the year, also on the eastern border, was given a good clearance on 22 April. Since then, we have not had the resource to do further work and it is badly overgrown, which is a real shame. As always, and we make no apologies for repeating it, our thanks to those few who have joined us, but we need more help. On the plus side (no joking) the display of thistles is magnificent and muched loved by the bees.

VOLUNTEER PROGRAMME

We now have a scheduled work programme in place, namely, the first Tuesday of every month, between the hours of 6pm and 8 pm, meeting at the obelisk. The next 2 sessions will be 7thAugust and 4thSeptember. Depending on the needs of the day, this is likely to involve weeding, pruning (aka hacking back) and general clearance and tidying work.

However, not all our volunteering opportunities involve such physical activity –  we also need help with, for example, visitor counts, litter-picks and organising and stewarding events such as Love Parks Week and Heritage Open Days. We will keep you informed as things are planned, and even if you can only spare an hour or so on occasions, this will make a big difference.

More detail will be circulated at the appropriate time.

EVENTS

We will be participating in Love Parks Week again this year, our events being on Friday 27thJuly.

Tesco will again be sponsoring the 5 a side kids football tournament, between 2pm and 5 pm. They did a great job last year, so please come along and give your support.

As an added bonus, this will be followed by a match between Tesco and Aldi. Would anyone with first aid qualifications please come along fully equipped.

Running in conjunction with the kids’ contest will be a nature based treasure hunt.

Between 2pm and 3pm we will have a qualified trainer in attendance by the outdoor exercise equipment to help anyone who would like to use it but just needs that extra bit of guidance. Just as a reminder, this equipment is there all day, every day, and is free for anyone to use.

The day will end with our  guided walk of the amphitheatre, leaving from the obelisk at 6.30pm. Last year, this got postponed due to almost unimaginable amounts of rain: fingers crossed!

Please note that for all these activities, children must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Please watch your inbox for more detail.

Our other planned event is for Heritage Open Day, on Saturday 8thSeptember. There will be 2 guided amphitheatre walks during the day, and our now traditional and very popular bat walk in the evening. More detail nearer the time.

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

See also the notice board at the entrance from Chesterton Lane into 4 Acre Field

And don’t forget the website www.aqiva.org.uk

If you would like any more detail, please contact our secretary, Alison, at aqivasec@gmail.com.

If you have friends, family, neighbours or anyone who might be interested in learning more about what is going on, please pass on our contact details.

 MEETINGS

 Our committee meetings are held on the 4thThursday of every monthat Chesterton primary school, starting at 7pm. Anyone is welcome to attend and contribute, either as a visitor, or to become a member of the committee.  Dates for the remaining meetings this year are:

26 July             August – no meeting                 27 September

25 October       22 November                           December – no meeting

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