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Gossip around the village pump.

No Mow May

No Mow May

A Plantlife Initiative

No Mow May is exactly what it sounds – not mowing your lawn during the month of May.  It is an initiative started by the charity Plantlife back in 2019.  In the UK it is supported by organisations as diverse as the National Trust ,  Yeo Valley Organic  and more locally Wotton Area CAN .  Already it has spread to the USA and Canada.

Why join in?

As Gardens Illustrated reported, there is strong evidence for rethinking our mowing habits:

  • 97% of British wildflower meadows have disappeared since the 1930s
  •  many pollinating insects are in decline in the UK
  • on average each square kilometre lost 11 species of bee and hoverfly between 1980 and 2013


Plantlife’s citizen science experiments show that mowing less can lead to a tenfold increase in the nectar available to pollinators and a much more interesting lawn.

Leave it longer for longer

There isn’t really anything special about May – ideally Plantlife would like us to mow only monthly all summer to give short grass plants like daisies and white clover chance to flower.  We should even let the odd patch go unmown to encourage plants such as oxeye daisy, field scabious and knapweed. 

In 2020, I enjoyed a purple carpet of self heal so I’m trying again this year.  Though I will cheat a bit by keeping a narrow strip round the edge short so the general effect is intentional not neglected.

Now for the science bit …

You can register for Plantlife’s Every Flower Counts survey  which runs from 22nd to 31st May.  By doing so you help them calculate our National Nectar Score and monitor trends.  It’s fun for children and educational for anyone who, like me, is no botanist.

We can make a difference

There are 15 million gardens in the UK so a high take-up could make a substantial difference to pollinators

… and give us more time to do something we really enjoy!


Wottan Area CAN Logo

Wotton Area CAN


Want to help protect & replenish our environment?…We are here to help.

Wotton Area Climate Action Network ( Wotton Area CAN) is a community-led group aiming to support residents & businesses in the Wotton area to reduce their carbon emissions. Our goal is to help our area become carbon neutral by 2030.

We like to keep people informed by interesting monthly on-line newsletters, Zoom meetings with expert speakers and Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. We also have articles about our activities in the various local press outlets, from time to time.

We will restart our public events as soon as Covid-19 official guidance allows.

We do not discriminate against anyone for any reason and welcome involvement from all. We are under the ‘Transition Stroud‘ umbrella and network with other CAN groups in the district.

Our Focus

Our Focus areas, based on priorities from our local residents survey

  1. Land Use
  2. Reducing single use plastics
  3. Reducing waste
  4. Transport – reducing carbon emissions through alternative transport choices.
  5. Home energy use- using and sourcing efficiently
  6. Biodiversity – ensuring healthy ecosystems.

Other Groups

Other groups with whom we are closely involved within Stroud district:

The last two aimed at encouraging safe walking and/or cycling routes between settlements. We also have strong connections with the Woodland Trust who have generously provided trees for our various tree planting projects.

Our Ethos

The challenge of global warming and its threat to our environment is a vitally important issue for us all, which transcends politics. We are a peaceful, non-political group who care deeply about our community & environment , we collaborate with’ and help broaden the understanding of those living and working in our area & support them to reduce carbon emissions and protect and replenish our environment .




Litter Picking

A Litter picking challenge

For my “Kirby Challenge” at Wycliffe school, the aim is to do something that is a challenge to yourself personally. Amongst many other things, I decided to litter pick around the Village and country lanes surrounding my house.

I chose to do litter picking as I feel it contributes to the local community and makes it a cleaner space. Sadly, while taking walks days after doing the litter pick, I come across more rubbish that has been thrown from car windows. What was a clean space after my litter pick is now full of rubbish again.

The amount of litter currently on the roads and at the side of the road is just shocking. Not what I expected at all. I came back with more than double what I expected.

After litter picking the roads have looked cleaner and made me feel proud to have taken on something like this.


Thank you SO much Rebecca for sharing this story with the website. It is always good when members of the community contribute to the newsletter and well done on filling 11 black bin back by yourself. Richard

Stinchcombe Together leaflet

Stinchcombe Together

The Start

On January 31, 2020 the first two cases of COVID-19 in the UK were confirmed. By early March 2020 things were quickly accelerating when Beth at Townsend Cottage and I met on the Street on a sunny Spring Day. We talked about the growing number of coronavirus cases in the UK and what would happen when the country went into the first “Lockdown”.

Stinchombe Together was started on 16th March 2020 and by the time the Prime Minister announced the lockdown on 23rd March, Beth had designed a “Stinchcombe Together” leaflet, Street Leaders of Beth Taylor, Caroline Marshall, Mandy Delafield, Naomi Heming, Steve and Caroll Ponting and Tracey Legg were in place and we had it distributed the leaflet to all houses in the village.

In all, a total of 41 “Stinchcombe Saints” quickly stepped forward and offered their services to help others. Remember, during that first lockdown, no-one knew how bad COVID-19 would be, how infectious it really was, or really how to live with it. There was also no effective treatments and no-one knew if a vaccine would or could be produced.

That First Lockdown was very strict and the “Street Leaders” were busy collecting prescriptions, shopping and such for residents. Not only that, there were quickly shortages of Flour and essentials like TOILET ROLLS!


The “Stinchcombe Together” WhatsApp group was quickly started to disseminate information from the emergency planning centre at Gloucester and to help in the organisation. However, more and more people wanted to join the WhatsApp Group socially, so we moved to a new WhatsApp group and changed the name of the original group to “Stinchcombe Social”

And that’s how “Stinchcombe Social” was born….

Luckily, after that first Lockdown, we have all, as individuals, families, villages, and as a country come to terms with living with COVID-19. It’s still here, and will be for some years but we feel that the village no longer needs the Stinchcombe Together group as such. Partly because the country is now better prepared but also and more importantly I feel that over the last 12 months the village has in many ways grown closer together. If anyone does need help I feel sure that they will find that their neighbours will help.

The End

So, last week, because of the restrictions being lifted, we decided that this was the time to wind up “Stinchcombe Together”. Therefore, on behalf for the village, THANK YOU to all the “STINCHCOMBE SAINTS” who at a time of community need, stepped forward to help others.


“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”
– Winston Churchill


Save our Skylarks

Save our skylarks plea to walkers

Walkers on Stinchcombe Hill can play their part in a campaign to save skylarks and other birds, which are coming under increasing pressure from those seeking out green spaces as an escape during the Covid-19 restrictions.

The threat to skylarks

Conservationists report that the hill is suffering from the unprecedented number of people using it for recreation. Ecologist Dr James Robinson, who lives locally, said: “One of the main problems is that dogs are being allowed off the lead and chase the ground-nesting birds like skylarks.  Spring is the time when the larks are forming territories and building nests, a time when they are most vulnerable to disturbance.”

The RSPB estimates that skylark populations have declined by 75% since 1972.  They are now on the Red List of species which are considered at risk of extinction.

Keeping Stinchcombe Hill special

The Hill was bought in 1929 by Sir Stanley Tubbs and placed in trust in 1930. Over 200 acres are registered with the Charity Commissioners and administered by the Stinchcombe Hill Trust. The Trust works with local councils to promote public access, and with the Stinchcombe Hill Golf Club.  

The wooded slopes and the grassland are environmentally sensitive, with some areas designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). Dogs must be kept on a lead in these areas from the end of March to mid-July. 

Stinchcombe Hill Trustee Christina Carter said: “It’s really important to maintain the hill as a full access green space for all the people of the area.  The irony is that many of the things that make it so attractive to people are currently under threat because of the massive increase in numbers over the past few months, during the pandemic.

“We are considering what measures we can take, including whether we can put up notices reminding people to stick to the designated paths, and to keep their dog on a lead, giving the breeding birds a chance to get on with their lives relatively undisturbed.”

‘The Skylark Path’

Another Stinchcombe Hill Trustee, John Hammill, has christened the path running roughly south west from the road leading to Stinchcombe Hill House as ‘The Skylark Path’ (see map).  John plans to erect temporary laminated signs at each end to encourage people to stick to the path and not let their dog run free in this prime nesting area.

The Skylark Run
The Skylark Path

A final plea

If we fail to act now, the joy of hearing lark song on Stinchcombe Hill may soon be a thing of the past.  Please don’t let that happen.

Christina Carter

A Line Drawing of Melksham Court

A Village Property – update

The Momentum is growing

There has been a lot of interest in this project and the momentum is growing for Our Virtual Village. So thank you to all those that have contributed so far.

As you will see from our list of properties below we are promised articles on various houses for the next 11 months taking us to February 2022 (as well as the Cricket and Rugby Clubs, the War Memorial and other aspects of the village).

However, it’s not just articles on some of the larger properties that we wish to publish. We would welcome information on all types of houses and cottages in the Village. Some of the Social History of the previous owners/tenants of properties create just as good stories as the history of the properties themselves.

Can YOU supply interesting stories and photos on any property whether you own it or not? That includes any properties that have been featured already. I would be pleased to hear of anything you have that adds to the histories.

One of the properties that we don’t have too much history on, or photos of, is The Old Vicarage and an article is due to be written by February next year so there is still time! That property has been used as Parish Rooms holding Church meetings and many events and of course several vicars have lived there over the years. There MUST be members of the community who have old photos or stories so please check your albums and speak to older residents and see if you can send me anything that is of interest to go in that article.

Thank you

Roger Batty

A38 Canal Roundabout

The A38 Canal Crossing

The start or the end?

I came back today from Stroud by bicycle and it game me a chance to get off and see the finished A38 roundabout complete with Canal. You may remember that I wrote a while back about the “Missing Mile” . So it’s good to see the A38 Canal roundabout to nowhere finished.

The A38 Roundabout
Looking from the field into the new canal cutting through the roundabout

Nowhere to go?

Scrambling down from the road to the new canal there is no sign of where it will go across the field instead there is only a nice new fence blocking it off. Obviously the new canal is going to be some time a-coming….

At the other end, one can see the old overgrown canal asleep and waiting to be cleared.

The Old Canal
Looking from the new canal cutting into the old overgrown canal
YouTube Video by Gloucestershire Highways

About the scheme

The scheme delivers the construction of the canal through the A38 Whitminster Roundabout. It includes the construction of two new bridges, a canal channel within the roundabout and a towpath under the bridge.

Delivered by GCC as the highways authority through contractors, Alun Griffiths, working closely with Cotswold Canals Trust, Highways England and Stroud District Council.

The canal at this location was originally crossed by the Bristol Road (now A38) on a stone arched bridge. The lock and the bridge were both destroyed at the time the A419 link road was built in conjunction with the building of the M5 in or around 1969. The entire canal from the point where the surviving canal approaches the A38 Whitminster roundabout to Westfield Lock was obliterated – a distance of about a mile, the so called ‘missing mile’.

More information: Cotswold Canals

App Charity COVID-19 Environment Footpaths friends of st cyrs Fun History Information Our Environment Parish Council Phone Box Post Box Ride&Stride Roads Rugby Club Scams Speeding Speedwatch St Cyrs Stroud District Council Testing TGIF Toad Patrol Tyndale Village Hall Virtual Village

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