Reports - Events & Days Out 2024

Dorset, Somerset, and South Wiltshire

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On a recent sunny Sunday, Jane from Wiltshire guided Country Link members on a walk up King's Play Hill. KPH is a 29.5 hectare biological site of Special Scientific Interest near Heddington in Wiltshire.

There were spectacular views as we walked along the ridge, and then back down to The Ivy Inn for Sunday lunch. Members from Somerset, Dorset, and South Wiltshire were there, together with a Ukrainian refugee who is being hosted by Jane and Nigel.

Heartbeat Vehicle Rally

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Lorraine and John Clarke visited Goathland in North Yorkshire over the weekend of 29th / 30th June for the Heartbeat Vehicle Rally.

Two members from Yorkshire went along and joined them for a ride on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. A beautiful ride running between Pickering and Goathland. The Yorkshire members added to the enjoyment for Lorraine and John due to their local knowledge.

The vehicle rally included many vehicles that had been used in the filming of Heartbeat, as well as other vehicles from that time.

Three former cast members for the tv series were signing 2025 calendars, along with Paul Elliott of the Chuckle Brothers.

Visit to Oxton Estate

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On Wednesday 26th June Nottinghamshire Country Link visited Oxton Estate where we had a trailer tour around the estate, seeing first hand some of the ways in which the estate is diversifying to keep the business profitable, and also visiting two historical sites. The weather was perfect and it was a very enjoyable evening.

Before the mechanisation of agriculture, the village of Oxton was a typical estate village with many of the properties housing estate workers. Although the estate still owns many properties within the village they are now private rental properties. The estate has been owned by the same family for over 500 years.

Our tour started at Grange Farm, where we were met by Richard Cross, the farm manager. Richard introduced us to Andy who was to be our driver for the night. The route took us out of Grange Farm through the industrial composting area, past Oakmere Park Golf Course, to a natural burial ground, a recently acquired caravan site, on to a field known locally as the 100 acre field, returning via a Roman Camp and Burial Ground, and the much more modern site of telecoms masts.

The industrial composting site takes all garden waste from bin collections, and tip skips, for recycling. They have the contract for recycling all green waste for the entire county and it takes approximately 7 weeks for the composting process to complete.

From Grange Farm we travelled past Oakmere Park Golf Club, also on the estate land, and which is rated as one of the best golf courses in Nottinghamshire, continuing on to Tithe Green Burial Ground which lies to the rear of the golf course and covers 70 acres of woodland and wild grassland burial space. The grassland areas contain a mix of wildflowers within them. There are no monuments erected within the area but spaces can be marked with a small plaque and the planting of a tree if desired.

The caravan site is about 50 yards along the road from the burial ground and has water and electricity hook-ups for 5 caravans, as well as some tents. There is also a toilet and shower block on the site.

Our route took us along Beanford Lane and through Bean Ford, a swampy area on the outskirts of Oxton village and with the ford crossing the road at its lowest point. The ford can become quite deep at times and the area is a natural wildlife haven. The road is closed every March to allow the safe breeding of 'bufo bufo' toads in the area.

The Hundred Acre Field, also known as The Battle of Waterloo Field, is a large area where blocks of trees have been planted to represent the positioning of English and French troops during the Battle of Waterloo. This is known as memorial planting and although this was considered to be patriotic during the 19th Century it is now thought that Oxton's Battle of Waterloo field is the only example of memorial planting left in the country. Over time the planting areas have altered due to natural evolution, falling trees, and new growth etc.

Back through Oxton village and past the Old Green Dragon pub we continued over farmland to one of the highest points in the county - the top of Robin Hood Hill. This is an old burial mound and is just to the north of Old Ox Camp. The camp is believed to be one of the best remaining examples of an ancient earthwork in Nottinghamshire and covers 4 acres.

Most of our members walked down to the camp and burial mound area. Our return continued over the farmland, going past an EE telecoms mast, and a Home Office mast which is used by the police and other emergency services.

Many of us finished off the evening back in the Old Green Dragon pub!

In total the estate comprises:

2700 acres of land - split 1800 acres arable, 450 acres grassland, and 450 acres of forestry / woodland.

This year cropping is roughly:

  • 700 acres Winter Wheat
  • 250 acres Spring Barley
  • 120 acres Winter Barley
  • 200 acres maize for a local anaerobic digester plant
  • Sadly - a lot of fallow this year due to poor weather conditions

The estate runs a higher level scheme and a new SFI environmental scheme.

It is well diversified with:

  • Green Waste Recycling
  • Two natural burial grounds
  • A caravan site
  • Many rental properties within the village of Oxton
  • Golf Course
  • Telecoms Mast and Home Office Mast
  • Two historical sites - Battle of Waterloo field and Old Ox Roman Camp

Hoveringham Vintage Vehicle Society show 2024

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Photo courtesy of Paul Gregory

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On Sunday 26th May the annual HVVS show took place in the village of Hoveringham, Nottinghamshire.

Several Notts Country Link members are also members of the HVVS and show their vintage vehicles at this event.

This year Tim and Michele Robson also had a stand on the showground to promote Country Link.

They borrowed a Country Link banner from National, had a display of photographs from both local and National events, and there were flyers, programmes, and business cards available for people to take away.

Everything was put together very quickly (slightly under two weeks), and promoted enough interest for Tim and Michele to consider doing it all again at the end of September, and having a stand at Southwell Ploughing Match.

Crocodile World

On Sunday 7th April John and Lorraine, from Warwickshire Country Link, visited Crocodile World at Brize Norton.

They found the day very interesting. There were many species of crocodiles and alligators to see and plenty of information boards. One of these boards stated that in the wild crocodiles can go for up to 2 years without eating.

There was also a, very elusive, Komodo dragon which they did manage to catch sight of right at the back of the pen.

A lot of conservation work is being carried out at Crocodile World, and they house other mammals as well.

John and Lorraine finished the day looking around a private museum before heading home.

Crufts and Lichfield visits

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Visit to Crufts

On 10th March two members visited Crufts at the NEC. Naturally there were a lot of dogs to be seen but they particularly enjoyed watching the agility classes, and the young handlers. There was also a lot of stalls for browsing and shopping.

Viewing the Severn Bore

Two days later, on 12th March, those same two members had an early start to drive to the south of Gloucester to watch the Severn Bore. They needed to be there for 8.00 am to view the tidal wave travelling up the estuary. There are certain days during the year when the high tides are right for this phenomenon to occur. The waves are graded from 1 to 5 stars and on this particular Tuesday they were graded at 5 stars. The only time this will happen in 2024. Surfers can be seen on the River Severn when this takes place.

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Visit to Lichfield

On Sunday 11th February Liz and Phil (Derbyshire) met Lorriane and John (Warwickshire) in Cathedral Close, Lichfield. Lorraine had organised a guided tour of Erasmus Darwin's house. The guide told them how the house had been built, and part of the old city walls are in the garden. This was followed with a visit to the cellar. After looking at the houses in the Close, where people involved with the cathedral live, the four went into the house. They were shown a video about Darwin, a very clever man who was interested in, and involved with, many things. His story is told in the different rooms throughout the house. The garden grows many of the herbs he used for early medicines.

Following the visit to Darwin's House the four members went for a bite to eat before returning to the Cathedral, always stunning and magnificent. They had a good wander around, reading about the stone angel that was found when doing some excavations, reading the plaques (including one in Darwin's memory) and looking at the statues. There is a photo showing 'The Sleeping Children' - two young sisters who had died.

They then walked along Dam Street where fighting had taken place during the Civil War, and which is reported to be haunted by people from that time. Then on into the Market Square to look at the statue of Dr Samuel Johnson (creator of the Oxford English Dictionary), and to his house. There was no time left to look around the house. However, Lorraine is planning a further visit to Lichfield so that Dr Johnson's house can be visited next time.

It's always lovely to visit Lichfield, it didn't disappoint and the company was good.

Liz extended her thanks to Lorraine for organising a great day out.

Visit to Symonds Yat

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On Sunday 28th January there was a national day out to the Wye Valley Butterfly Zoo at Symonds Yat, near to Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire.

The zoo was home to approximately 20 species of butterfly. We saw butterflies flying around, at rest, feeding, and at different stage of their life cycle. We saw them at egg stage, caterpillar, pupae, and freshly hatched, right through to full grown examples and those coming to the end of their life. were in a controlled environment. The species at the zoo live from approximately 2 weeks up to 6 months.

It was a very interesting and educational day out and well worth the 3 hour round-trip.

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