West Berkshire, Nor th Hampshire & East Wi ltshire
A Newbury News Ltd publication
Following the Thames Path Discover the 184-mile trail
Mediterranean life On the doorstep Digging into the past Ancient finds at Greenham
Fashion Food Features Gardening Travel Competitions
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A s I write this we are just in the first phase of the government easing of lockdown restrictions after one of the most extraordinary years many of us have ever experienced. I had a quick look back at the spring 2020 edition of Out & About , which came out at the beginning of March, and there is no mention of Covid or a pandemic. The big game changer has, of course, been the vaccines which are still being administered, but which have given us all some security. I have been volunteering at the vaccination centre at Newbury Racecourse and it’s so heartening to see such positivity from patients, medical professionals and fellow volunteers, all striving towards one aim ‘to get this thing done’. We have all learned to appreciate the great oudoors and as the weather, hopefully, improves and we can take advantage of the longer daylight hours, we can enjoy longer walks and tending to the garden. The Thames Path is a tremendous project which aims to create a walkway from the source of the Thames, in the Cotswolds, to where it flows into the North Sea. Wendy Tobitt is a volunteer with the trail and she has provided a comprehensive overview of the 184-mile public path, especially the areas closer to home (p22). Staying outdoors, river keeper Nick Barton (p66) and Berkshire Farm Girl Eleanor Gilbert (p62) track the seasons through their work on the land. And a big welcome to David Cole, a lifelong
allotmenteer from Newbury who will be providing readers with hints and tips on how to grow fruit and veg at home. David has his own methods, learnt over the years, and whether you’re thinking about starting to grow your own or you’ve been trying, but without success, his advice just might give you the kick-start you need (p56). As restrictions on travel begin to ease, people are already booking up flights across the world in anticipation of getting away to sunnier climes. But if you’re not ready to face airports and wearing masks on flights yet, or if the thought of going abroad doesn’t appeal, we’ve found some great days out and short stays much closer to home in the Test Valley (p73). If you want a taste of the Mediterranean without going too far, have a look at what’s on offer on our doorstep. Our special feature on local suppliers is sure to tickle your tastebuds (p28). Staying with food, Simon Rhodes has a tasty cod recipe (p35) and Romilla Arber from Honesty shares her recipe for asparagus and pancetta risotto (p36). Award-winning Winding Wood Vineyard, just outside Newbury, is looking forward to a bumper year (p32) and The Vineyard sommelier Romain Bourger offers advice on pairing wines with foods to complement their flavours (p38). In addition, there are the regular lifestyle, leisure and wellbeing pages plus a round up of what’s on as things start to open up. Wishing you all a happy and hopeful spring 2021.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
22 FOLLOW THE TRAIL Wendy Tobitt takes you on a journey along the Thames Path
42 ANCIENT SETTLEMENTS Iron and Bronze Age artefacts, plus signs that the Romans settled at Greenham
56 GET GROWING
Newbury allotmenteer David Cole provides some guidance on what you should be doing in your garden over spring
O&A SPRING 2021
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O&A SPRING 2021
7 Local view: Jonathan Hopson enjoys the outdoors 8 Fashion: spring fashion for outdoors 11 Health & Beauty: eco-friendly skin products FEATURES 22 Follow the trail: meander along the Thames 28 A taste of the Mediterranean: enjoy a touch of sunshine on the doorstep 42 Digging it up: archaeological finds at Greenham
A Newbury News Ltd publication
LIFESTYLE 47 Antiques: plastic toys are all the rage 52 Interiors: trendsetting colours for 2021 56 Gardening: hints and tips for spring 59 Pet talk: dogs favourite words and making insects feel at home ENVIRONMENT 62 Berkshire Farm Girl: spring diary 66 Tales from a river keeper: what have the floods done to the environment LEISURE 69 Motors: electric-friendly 71 Book review: a gripping thriller and a dsytopian future 73 Breakaway: discover the Test Valley 74 What’s on: things to see and do 77 Star gazing: spring night sky COMPETITION 27 Win: a meal for two and bottle of wine at The White Hart, Hamstead Marshall
15 Fitness: put a spring in your step 17 Mental health: Time to Talk West Berkshire 19 Education: the importance of sleep
FOOD & DRINK
32 Award-winning wines: the highs and lows for Winding Wood vineyard 35 Fish: back to basics with cod 36 Honesty: looking forward to welcoming its customers 38 Top tipples: food and wine pairings
Cover photograph: Signposting the Thames Path Trail Picture: Wendy Tobitt
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O&A SPRING 2021
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O&A SPRING 2021
LOCAL VIEW JONATHAN HOPSON spent the winter months walking and cycling around the North Hampshire countryside and captured some magical moments
I n the first week of January, the low trajectory of the late afternoon sunshine and the atmospheric conditions combined to reflect images of the trees on the horizon onto the clouds in the valley below Wayfarers Walk in East Woodhay. The result was like some kind of giant slow-moving cinema show with the amorphous outlines of the trees seeming to move across the changing shape of the clouds. This is a phenomenon I have never seen before although sadly, the photograph does not really do justice to this strangely spectacular event.
During February, the very cold crisp weather created some truly stunning sights as hoar frost, (and perhaps rime ice?) deposited a crystalline white covering over plants and trees. The photograph of this ice- encased plant was taken at the top of Ladle hill early one morning and the shimmering spider’s web with bejewelled silk strands was taken in Sydmonton. Walks during this time were accompanied by a different soundtrack too, as a rise in the ambient temperature caused small ribbons of ice from the encrusted tree branches to fall and hit the frozen ground, splintering into a myriad of pieces. The hoar frost and shimmering spider’s web create a winter wonderland Far right: St Laurence’s Church, West Woodhay is undergoing renovation
On a bike ride in February, I spotted a pair of intrepid craftsmen perched on ladders renewing the roof at St. Laurence’s church in West Woodhay. Viewed from afar, the scaffolding boards made the church look like a Japanese pagoda and you may be able make out the large multi-coloured umbrella at the top of the spire in the second photograph which gave some shelter from a sudden squall to the workmen repairing the roof below. Let’s hope days of hoar frost and rime ice are now behind us as we look forward to warmer days and longer, lighter evenings.
O&A SPRING 2021
Spring has sprung...
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O&A SPRING 2021
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O&A SPRING 2021
GR Swimming Schools Joanna Lay – Owner and Mentor Lives in Newbury with her partner, teenage children, family dog, cats & fish! (in no particular order!) Advertisement
S wimming is probably one of the most important life skills you will fitness, mental and physical wellbeing that swimming promotes, being able to not just danger signs before you even step foot in the water and knowing what to ever learn. Along with swim, but to recognise the
Compton, team GR will be welcoming new and current children to their programme. The Crash Course during May Half Term is a great introduction for beginners and a skills boost for all children. Toddler swim coming soon!!......
do in an emergency – are part of GRs ethos. Their lessons for children from 3 yrs do just that. Following Swim Englands Learn To Swim programme, GR have tweaked their lessons in a unique and proven structure. Every lesson, children learn through repetition how to behave around water, how to enter, move and float in the water. Additional skills from young include submerging, right through to racing dives off the blocks in their Academy Classes! The teachers work hard to accomplish this, with patience and trust, children learn to overcome personal goals ie. swimming on their backs (upside down, back to front, not seeing where you’re going!) Being without a parent in the water for the first time; and the first time a child swims their first few strokes on their own. To some people these may be easy, but for some they are scary, including those with SENs; skills may take longer to learn– which is why Jo says “Every child is different – Every child is equal” The past year has proved worrying for parents, believing that their children are falling behind. Safety is a huge part of what GR does, the first lesson back will reflect this. With termtime lessons resuming after Easter in Thatcham, Pangbourne (nr Reading) and
O&A SPRING 2021 10
HEALTH & BEAUTY
Sustainable, vegan and biodegradable – environmentally-friendly skin products
Weleda’s vegan-friendly, rich, buttery cream Skin Food Body Butter has a new look in a green glass jar – the jar is Eco-friendly body butter
Skin Therapy Spa Hand Cream 100ml is an easy way to add a bit of spa luxury to your beauty regime. Treat yourself to some Skin Therapy Spa softening hand cream, to intensively nourish dry hands, soften cuticles and strengthen nails. It’ll leave your hands feeling soft and smooth every day. The cream is infused with pro-vitamin B5 and Vitamin E. It’s also dermatologically tested, colour-free and suitable for vegans. Available online at wilko.com and in Wilkinsons for just £1
made from recycled glass, which is also recyclable. Skin Food Body Butter is green in more ways than one. For dry skin in need of extra care, it is formulated with a host of natural ingredients to provide intensive moisturisation and nourishment. Sustainably-sourced ingredients such as chamomile from Weleda’s farming partners in Kosovo, rosemary from Portugal and the finest organic sunflower seed oil from Hungary provide precious oil extractions. The biodynamic calendula is from Weleda’s own herb gardens. Organic cocoa butter from Peru and organic shea butter from Burkina Faso are combined to create a luxurious whipped texture that melts into the skin, while essential oil from the aromatic resin of the benzoin tree adds a warmth and comforting dimension to Skin Food’s sweet orange and lavender fragrance. Available from weleda.co.uk, larger branches of Holland & Barrett and online at Boots.com and stores including Waitrose
Skin Republic biodegradable facemasks
Skin Republic’s biodegradable face masks only take 10 days or less to biodegrade, while the packaging takes around 32 days. This is in comparison to a head of lettuce which can take up to 25 years to biodegrade. The regular white Skin Republic masks have had a
fabric update, so instead of cotton spun lace they are now made of cupra, a biodegradable eco mask fabric. Skin care should be fun, relaxing and provide real results, but not at the expense of the environment. The full Skin Republic range can be purchased from numerous UK stockists including Boots and Superdrug.
O&A SPRING 2021
Abstract® Bodyworks Personal Training Life without Weakness
We Survived! Now let’s get fit again ! Thanks to our prudent business management, the support of our clients, and the patience of our trainers we have survived the lockdowns!
Abstract Bodyworks will be reopening the week of 12 April 2021 (the “four tests” notwithstanding), still private and personal, but now even more virus secure than ever! We are STILL offering two free sessions to new clients, and welcoming back our existing ones with open arms ( but no hugs! ). Call us soon to book in.
11 Kings Road West, Newbury
email@example.com 07450 915462
O&A SPRING 2021 12
Fitness in Body & Mind during Lockdowns The First Lockdown Like all gyms we received the news of lockdown on 23 March last year with resignation and some disappointment. Obviously reducing the spread of the virus was a responsibility we all shared, but like so many businesses in the leisure and entertainment industries we were confused by the inclusion of gyms into the shutdown list when other, apparently more exposed, environments were allowed to continue trading. But rules are rules and our clients accepted the closure, as did our fantastic trainers Ian and Jerry. Obviously we couldn’t allow ourselves to fall into lockdown - laziness, and as we still owned a gym that was our place of work we could continue to use it — which of course we did! Amazingly the equipment was always free for us to use and perfectly cleaned down! Although we couldn’t offer personal training at our gym, we wanted to give as much support as possible to our clients to help them to stay �it during lockdown; happily with our experience we had a great suggestion. 5BX is a great home workout routine. This exercise plan was put together by the Royal Canadian Air Force in the 1960s for all their staff, desk to air crew. It had a number of features that recommended itself to us: well documented: you can’t exercise properly if you don’t know what you are meant to do it is whole body and “stretchy” equipment. We added 5BX into our own exercise regime, while keeping up with Abstract Strength training for muscle and bone health, and even posted some videos on our YouTube channel for people who want to see how to do it. We reopened with the rest of the industry on 28th July, by which time we had installed UV - C lamps for sanitization and enhanced all our cleaning regimes. And we were OVERJOYED at the enthusiasm of our clients who were fairly clamouring to return. And then came FRED! In September we welcomed Fred the cat into our home; he was a rescue cat and, at 18 months old, still very kittenish. Within a week of getting him it became very clear who ruled at our house - Fred of course! He is very entertaining and an athletic climber; no high place is too challenging for Fred; one never knows where to look for him next. So glad we took you in big boy. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR OFFERING YOUR SUPPORT! With time on our hands both Pat & I started on the journey to become Non - Healthcare Vaccinators so that we could continue contributing to the health of the local population even if we couldn’t train their muscles. Happily this lockdown was much shorter and once again our clients came �looding back in early December. The Third Lockdown The third lockdown has probably been the most upsetting, but also the most necessary. The Government numbers told a clear story — LOCKDOWN ESSENTIAL — and we fell in line. With our vaccination training taking a lot of time we kept ourselves mentally and physically engaged. We both quali�ied in February and have done some shifts at the Basingstoke Mass Vaccination Centre. We continue to be available as needed, but right now the service is well supported; however NHS - Professionals have told us that this is a long term programme and that we may well be needed again in the coming months. The Whole Journey Lockdown has been dif�icult for us, but not as bad as for some, and we are lucky to have been able to survive as well as we have. This virus isn’t going away, but hopefully lockdowns are, so if we all maintain the basic hygiene routines of washing hands and keeping social distance, even after lockdown is lifted, let’s all hope that we as a country can move back to a more normal life — with no excuses for not regaining strength & �itness! See adver�sement opposite for details of how to book two free personal training sessions. Quote O&AQ22021 incremental: your performance on each of the �ive exercises can improve independently time ef�icient — less than 15 minutes Well documented, whole body, incremental, and quick — similar characteristics to the exercise we provide at Abstract only without The Second Lockdown Unhappily we were returned into lockdown in early November 2020. Once again we were lumped in with regular “big box” gyms, but rules are rules. As before our client base took the news stoically, and some even offered to pre - pay for future training to help us stay a�loat �inancially. Happily we didn’t need to take up these kind offers but
O&A SPRING 2021
Come and try it for free – Make your 2021 count. newburyroadclub.co.uk | firstname.lastname@example.org 6DIH URXWHV JUDGHG DQG SODQQHG E\ H[SHULHQFHG ULGHUV $OO DELOLWLHV PL[HG ZRPHQ RQO\ ULGHV ZLWK H ELNHV ZHOFRPH WRR :HHNHQG ULGHV ZHHNGD\ ULGHV SOXV DZD\ GD\V DQG ORQJHU WULSV ,W·V RIÀFLDO F\FOLQJ PDNHV \RX IHHO KHDOWKLHU KDSSLHU DQG JUHHQHU 6R ZKHWKHU \RX·UH DQ DEVROXWH EHJLQQHU RU H[SHULHQFHG UDFHU ZK\ QRW MRLQ VRPH IHOORZ F\FOLVWV IRU JURXS ULGLQJ DW WKH :HVW %HUNVKLUH KRPH RI F\FOLQJ MOTIVATION GETS YOU STARTED. NEWBURY ROAD CLUB KEEPS YOU GOING.
O&A SPRING 2021 14
VICKI BROWN has various suggestions to help you get a spring in your step as the world starts to open up again
N ever have we been so acutely aware of the bird song, spring flowers, blue skies and longer days that come with the arrival of spring. The fresh spring air and beautiful light of the sun shining will draw us outside more than ever after a winter indoors. As the weather improves, the days get longer and we start to be able to meet with friends and family. If there is one thing we can take from the last 12 months it’s how important our physical and mental health is and how important it is that we maintain focussed on this, incorporating movement, connection and self-care into our lives every week, for life. Here are a few ideas for you to try this spring, old or new. Let’s find ways to get moving and live well. Running Whether you are starting for the first time or returning to running, companionship increases the likelihood of sticking with this long term. You could try some of the following ideas with friends or make some new ones along the way. Couch to 5k: a free app you can download and in nine weeks go from not being able to run, to being able to run 5km. A great challenge and the structure is already there, you just need to start. Parkrun: sign up to this free 5km event, you can walk, jog or run.
Suitable for all levels, supportive and encouraging whatever your ability. Sign up to set your intention of doing it when they restart and as a great encouragement to start practicing now. Running clubs: join a group or make your own to gain a community to support you in your running journey. Cycling Apps: lots of routes have already been plotted for you to simply follow (you can get hiking versions too). Strava: great to track your rides and compete for KOM with locals and friends alike (you can also track hikes and runs on this app). Events: these are great if you want to follow a marked route somewhere new and have a support crew on hand if needed, and some will include competitions too if that motivates you more. Signing up may also give you the impetus to train – you could also choose to raise money for charity along the way. Outside Sports Cricket: head to your local park to practice or join a local club. Social, fun and a great way to find a community to be a part of. Tennis: search for your local court and find out how to book a place (it is often possible to rent equipment if you don’t have your own yet). Netball: get your own team together or find local teams that are looking for new teammates. Be social, have fun and get fit.
Outdoor Swimming: head to a local lake/ pond, pool or seaside to give this a go. There are some great clubs and groups online to find out more about this to ensure safety. You don’t need to have played a sport before to give something a try this spring. Resistance Training Going to the gym and lifting weights is something many people have missed over the last 12 months. How about training together with a partner or friend? Perhaps you could get a personal trainer, to share the costs and support each other towards your goals. Classes Sign up to classes together, outside or online and commit to sessions together to help keep each other on track. From fitness focus to yoga, Pilates to strength, there are many types of classes available. Why not try a few different kinds? Join a community that allows you to connect with like-minded people who want to work towards similar things. Let’s make the most of spring 2021 – setting intentions for the next few months, using connection and movement to improve our overall health and wellbeing. Remember it is important to make time for you, why not try and note down what you do and how it makes you feel? Wishing you all a wonderful spring.
There’s been lots of smiles, tears and laughter over the last year, through it all we’ve been there for our residents and their families, relentlessly. We make sure our teams always have personal protective equipment available and regular testing takes place. We also participate in available vaccine programmes and follow strict UK infection control standards. Our teams help residents settle in with family video calls, lots of activities and booked visits. Nursing | Residential | Short stay care We are welcoming new residents Call us for advice today 01635 890 576 Lines are open 8am to 6.30pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 12.30pm Saturday. Closed Sundays and bank holidays. Calls are charged at no more than local rate and count towards any inclusive minutes from mobiles. We may record or monitor our calls.
Argyles Care Home
Bayford House Care Home
Thatcham Court Care Home
All types of funding welcome No health insurance needed
The Donnington Care Home
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O&A SPRING 2021 16
MENTAL HEALTH Time to Talk West Berkshire provides mental health support to young people. Chairwoman GEORGINA PUNTER explains how they continued through lockdown and about the charity’s new service to provide practical strategies to parents Out&About wellbeing
T he coronavirus pandemic is having a huge impact on young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Whether it’s exams being cancelled, having to adapt to home schooling or being isolated from friends and family, it’s hardly surprising that lockdown has exacerbated feelings of depression and anxiety among many. There has never been a more important time for young people to know they have somewhere – and someone – they can talk to in confidence. Luckily, help is at hand. Time to Talk West Berkshire is an independent charity that provides mental health support to more than 500 young people each year through 5,000 free counselling sessions. The charity has seen referrals to its service increase by more than 50 per
If it is difficult to come to a facility or you feel you wish to stay anonymous, these mediums can enable young people to step forward in a potentially less intimidating way. It has also meant we
cent in the past two years and this figure is expected to continue to rise throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. Such is the demand for its services at the moment, it has another 70 on the waiting list. But despite the huge rise, there are still many young people who are too afraid to ask for help. Despite the fact we are all talking about mental health at the moment, which is obviously a good thing, it still takes a lot of courage for someone to open up about how they feel. We just want you to know we are here if you want to talk. No matter how you feel, you aren’t alone and there are ways we can help support you. The charity is on a mission to make sure it offers support to as many people as it can. The challenge, especially when current restrictions are in place, is how? During lockdown, Time to Talk adapted its services to be able to continue to provide much-needed support in the form of telephone and online counselling, which has proved to be a big success. Where some young people will prefer face-to-face, others have felt very comfortable to access our services via these other two mediums.
We just want you to know we are here if you want to talk. No matter how you feel, you aren’t alone and there are ways we can help support you.
have been able to assist more young people throughout this time when social distancing has been very important. Time to Talk also runs courses and assemblies
in local schools and in the community on the subject of mindfulness, handling stress and “being me”, a series of workshops developing young peoples’ self-awareness and self-esteem. Most recently it launched the Time to Talk Parent Talk Series, which is designed to increase understanding and knowledge, as well as provide some practical strategies for those living with or supporting a child or young person.
For further information about the services that Time to Talk offer or to find out more about how to access free counselling, visit www.t2twb.org
O&A SPRING 2021
Falkland Cricket club
T he club boasts more than 400 members, 56 vice-presidents, 75 adult playing members, 40 family members, 125 junior boys, 90 women and girls, and 30 players with disabilities. They run eight weekly men’s teams, 17 junior age groups sides four girls teams and a women’s adult team in the Home Counties Women’s League. Berkshire, the national Minor Counties champions, have already moved their offices to the new facility. While club members and fundraising campaigns have enabled the construction of the new pavilion, Falkland are still on the lookout for more support. So they have put together a package to attract new sponsors to the club. The basic package is £250 per season (plus VAT) plus the cost of an advertising board or banner in the first year. The sponsor receives: • Board advertising around the ground • Free fireworks tickets to the club’s renowned annual display • An invite to the club’s sponsors lunch • Advertising in cricket fixture brochure • Advertising on the club website • Use of the ground for team building events on agreement.
Any businesses interested in sponsoring the club, should contact Graham Beal at cricket@ falklandcc.co.uk or call him on 07771 775170. The new pavilion also has a social enterprise pub/bistro, called The Bowlers Arms. The club has been designated as the ‘hub’ in West Berkshire for girls and disability cricket.
Falkland Cricket Club Established 1884 Registered Charity Number 1168595 President Patrick Neate
Are looking for new sponsors Packages start from £250+vat per season and include Falkland Cricket Club • Board advertising around the ground • Free fireworks tickets to our renowned annual display • An invite to our sponsors lunch • Advertising in cricket fixture brochure • Advertising on our web site • Use of ground for team building events on agreement
For further information please contact Graham Beal email@example.com
O&A SPRING 2021 18
EDUCATION We all know how important sleep is and AMANDA BAILEY explains some of the science behind tips and techniques to help your child enjoy a peaceful bedtime
Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system and provides insight into the way we feel, think and act, including sleep. Leading circadian neuroscientist Russell Foster, who studies sleep cycles of the brain, cites three main reasons for sleep: n for restoration: some genes associated with resting and healing are only turned on when we sleep n for energy conservation, as our bodies clear toxins, restore and rebuild n for brain processing and memory consolidation: sorting and storing information from our day and, coming up with those innovative insights into our current thoughts. The National Sleep Foundation produces helpful guidelines regarding average recommended hours of sleep: typically a school-aged child aged 6-13 years old needs 9-11 hours. If your child is ‘stringing along bedtime’ at 7pm, it might be too early for them, especially if they are waking at 4am. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland and we need to release enough in order to sleep well. It typically starts working after 30 minutes, when levels in the blood increase and is heavily influenced by light. Foster’s research shows the key role of the ‘biological clock’, set by specialised light sensors in the eye. To facilitate good sleep, make the bedroom as dark as possible, while significantly reducing the amount of light exposure before bedtime. Avoid the blue light of screens for two hours before bedtime, or encourage teenagers to use a blue light filter or night-mode on devices. If your child is used to a light at night always use red or dark orange bulbs or LEDs. HUE bulbs are also worth considering, as they change colour according to the time of day.
building with some Lego, colouring together, following a pattern using hama beads or diamond painting, playing with slime, walking in nature. Ideally stick to the same routine seven days a week, and if your routine ‘slips’, this is particularly common during school holidays, reset the body clock ie wake time, eating time, bed time a few days before the beginning of term. Sticking to the same pre-sleep sequence adds a further layer of security, keep cleaning teeth, undressing, bath time or shower, story sequence the same every night. Children intuitively ask for the same story to be read over and over at bedtime. They know this provides reassurance and security, if not the same story, limit the selection of bedtime stories or calm, relaxation music. If your child has a bedtime snack, choose one high in magnesium – bananas, apricots, smashed avocado, almond or peanut butter on toast – known to bring about calmness and relaxation. For parents of teenagers, hormonal changes in adolescence have a huge impact on the body-clock and sleep patterns. Waking time and bedtime is delayed by approximately two hours, so a 7am alarm for a teenager is the equivalent of a 5am start for a parent in their 50s, don’t think they are being lazy. A human’s innate drive is to sleep. If you’re still concerned about sleep, – yours or a member of your family – there are many other factors to consider. You may like to contact your family GP. Alternatively I offer bespoke courses to help young people and families reduce anxiety and increase calmness, which support facilitating life-enhancing good sleep behaviours.
Be mindful – if you leave a door ajar, the landing or bathroom light needs to be red. If not, it’s like shining the sun in your child’s face, while simultaneously shouting ‘Wakey, Wakey’. Parental focus of concern is predominantly on sleep patterns, but solutions are found in routines established during waking hours. Self-confidence is important for children and as far as sleep is concerned a predictable bedtime routine is essential, ideally beginning after dinner. A relaxing, calm playtime will facilitate a sense of connection and further enhance a sense of security – breathing technique, parents can breathe in simultaneous pairs: Double Bubble or lie in a family group If your child finds it difficult to relax into sleep try The Bubble – parent and child breathing together. n Take your child into a sitting or lying hug. n Place your hands on the child’s diaphragm – under the tummy button. n With your child in your hug simultaneously take 10 deep nasal breaths into the belly. n Make sure your child can feel your belly inflating at the same time as you feel your child’s belly inflating. n The Bubble activates the relaxation and calming response and provides a strong feeling of safety, relaxation and connection. Depending on the number of people in the family who would benefit from this
Amanda Bailey offers a number of bespoke and group courses to help children, young people, adults and families reduce anxiety and increase calmness, visit www.beberkshire.co.uk or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text on 07909502667
O&A SPRING 2021
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Many of us have not seen some loved ones in over a year now, and a surprise delivery of flowers can make a very thoughtful gift! We are still able to prepare orders for collection or delivery, and we will be back open as soon as restrictions allow! If you are more comfortable ordering from home, you are very welcome to place an order by phone, and we also offer a local non-contact, doorstep delivery service for peace of mind. Order online, on Facebook or call Amanda on 01635 864 287
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NFU ENCOURAGES DOG WALKERS TO #TAKETHELEAD AND AVOID DOG ATTACKS ON FARM ANIMALS Advertisement
T he NFU is once again hoping to educate dog walkers about the need to use a lead near livestock when in the countryside. Its livestock farmer members are appealing to dog walkers to #takethelead and use a lead when walking in the countryside. Dog owners are also reminded to check properties and gardens are dog proof. The warning comes as 16 million ewes are set to give birth to lambs across the UK be- tween now and late spring. All too often sheep, in particular, end up being killed or horribly mutilated by out-of-control pet dogs. NFU South East livestock board chairman Ben Robinson said: “The number of dog attacks on livestock across our region remains high, with distressing consequences for both farmers and dog owners whose pet could be shot if it’s caught in the act. Most attacks are completely prevent - able, so we are appealing to dog owners to keep their dog on a lead around livestock and check
that their properties are dog proof. If chased, pregnant ewes (female sheep) can commonly lose their lambs or die from stress and exhaustion.” Farmer Olly Costar, who farms sheep and cat- tle near the Thames Path in West Oxfordshire, added: “Our message comes with more and more people out and about walking dogs in the coun- tryside. The vast majority of dog owners behave responsibly, but sadly a minority allow their pets to run freely in fields where farm animals may be grazing. Spring is here and young livestock are particularly vulnerable, so please take extra care and avoid an animal welfare tragedy.” The #takethelead messages will be amplified by the NFU on social media this spring and via signs erected by farmers along footpaths.
Enjoy the countryside with your dog Enjoy a fun and safe visit to the countryside with your dog by following our tips. Always • Keep your dog on a lead near sheep and cattle • Bag and bin poo • Follow paths and observe signs • Only release your dog if chased by cattle Share pics of your
pooch walking on a lead #takethelead
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River walk The Thames Path offers some wonderful walks all year around. Volunteer WENDY TOBITT guides you along the trail which for some people is a Sunday stroll to a pub and for others a personal challenge to raise funds for charity
E veryone who’s walking on the Thames Path enjoys beautiful views of the river, birds and meadows, and the sheer pleasure of just being somewhere away from home. The Thames Path is a 184-mile National Trail from the source of the River Thames in a Cotswold field to the North Sea beyond London’s Tilbury Docks. Every signpost along the Trail has the distinctive acorn icon. It is one of 15 designated National Trails in the UK, and opened in 1996 after a concerted campaign by The Ramblers and the River Thames Society, and years of negotiation with landowners to create it as a public footpath. If you want to walk the entire length in one journey, it could take between 10 and 14 days, depending on how fast you walk and how many stops to see interesting places. People often walk it in sections, doing one a month or a year, until they’ve completed it. The Thames Path is the only National Trail that follows a river, bringing with it a number of challenges for maintaining the surface and keeping it in good condition for the thousands of people who walk it every year. Steve Tabbitt is the National Trail officer with the task of leading a partnership of 34 organisations responsible for maintaining public rights of way along the entire length of the Thames Path, a host of volunteers, and raising funds for repairs and improvements. “Last year, as soon as the first lockdown restrictions were lifted, we noticed many people walking and running on the Thames Path, and that continued throughout the summer,” says Steve. “Let’s hope we have a dry spring again so that more people will enjoy the benefits of being beside the river.
“Be spontaneous, find somewhere on the Thames Path that you want to visit and head out there, subject to the Government guidelines on exercise and travel of course. “When you’re able to, give yourself an hour or two for detours to explore places you’re not familiar with. “Sometimes it’s good to just stand or sit still and be absorbed in your natural surroundings.” Spot wildlife The combination of trees, meadows, woods and the river is one that
Steve Tabbitt and Arken with Wendy Tobitt
Above Oxford fewer and smaller boats explore the willow-lined meanders that entranced artist, designer and philosopher William Morris as he sailed upstream from Hammersmith to his new home at Kelmscott Manor near Lechlade. The house is currently undergoing major restoration by the Society of Antiquaries to make it a complete museum to the Father of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Artist Stanley Spencer was inspired by the River Thames in his home village of Cookham. The Thames Path passes the Stanley Spencer Gallery, which everywhere on the Trail, and many of them are drawn together at the River and Rowing Museum in Henley. This is a popular attraction with its Wind in the Willows experience for children, the unique collection of rowing and boating including photographs by the renowned Victorian photographer Henry Taunt, and exhibitions of artists including John Piper. has exhibitions of his work. There are stories to be found
all Thames Path walkers appreciate. Here you can spot kingfishers and cormorants, listen to the mewing of buzzards soaring overhead, and if you’re lucky you may see otters slipping into the river. Dick Mayon-White, one of the volunteers who helps to maintain the Path, also wrote Exploring the Thames Wilderness, a guide to the natural Thames, encouraging people to spend idyllic hours discovering nature. In April you can enjoy the snake’s- head fritillaries flowering in North Meadow, Cricklade and also Iffley Meadows, Oxford. Near Goring you can step off the Thames Path onto the steep slopes of Hartslock nature reserve. Marvel at the beautiful orchids flowering from May to July. The Thames Path also takes you to riverside meadows, like Chimney Meadows near Bampton, which are full of colourful wild flowers at their best in summer. Artists’ ways The upper reaches of the Thames are so peaceful.
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Our local stretch Steve works with West Berkshire Council, which is very supportive of the Thames Path. “They helped fund a new boardwalk across a particularly wet section near Purley, and ensured fallen trees blocking the Trail were removed in time for one of the large running events to take place. “They also supported surface improvement works and river bank restoration projects in Streatley,” says Steve. Historic highway Historic attractions along the Thames Path, or a short detour off it, include the National Trust’s Runnymede with its monument to the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215, and memorials to John F Kennedy and the Allied Air Forces of the Second World War. Downstream are Kew’s Royal Botanic Gardens, one of four UNESCO World Looking under the bridge to Goring Lock
Ness. This estuarine route reveals wide dunes and marshland at low tide. The Trail continues past Crossness Pumping Station and the RSPB’s nature reserve along the coast to Erith Saltings, where recent surge tides have washed away silt to reveal a submerged primeval forest. Some Thames Path walkers even reach Grain, a remote village that was once militarised because it offers such good vantage points across the estuary. Steve is looking forward to officially extending the Thames Path to Grain, hopefully later this year. “Subject to variation and creation orders, the Thames Path will join with the Thames English Coast Path at Woolwich Foot tunnel. It means that we will finally complete the long- aspired-for 215-mile National Trail from the source of the River Thames to the sea.” Looking after the Thames Path Natural England is the organisation that provides funding from Defra to keep the National Trails promoted and maintained. Additional support comes from partner organisations including the Environment Agency, Port of London Authority, Thames Estuary Partnership, the NFU, The Ramblers, Cycling UK and the London Thames Strategies. Volunteers carrying out repairs at Sandford Picture: Andy Mawer
Heritage Sites on the Thames Path. Tick off Westminster Palace and the Tower of London before you reach Maritime Greenwich. The Thames is sometimes called the Liquid Highway because it’s been the main trading route into and out of England since pre-Roman times. Through London the Thames Path runs along both north and south banks of the river, which is tidal from Teddington Weir to the sea. Twice a day sea-water flows in through the city, mixing with the river water flowing downstream to create the perfect habitats for seals, salmon, eels and gulls. The Thames Path currently finishes (or begins, depending on which direction you’re walking it) at the Thames Barrier in Greenwich. To the sea There’s an extension to the Thames Path from Woolwich to Crayford
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How to walk the Thames Path n Get a map. Ordnance Survey Leisure maps are excellent and there’s an app for your mobile device. n If you want to walk the entire Trail, in sections or during two weeks, make a plan to include overnight accommodation and public transport links. It’s useful to read blogs by people who have completed the Trail. n Use the Official Thames Path National Trail interactive map to create your personal itinerary www. nationaltrail.co.uk/en_GB/trails/ thames-path/trail-information/ n Find a place on the Thames Path where you want to go and off you go Books and blogs to plan your walk along the Thames Path n Exploring the Thames Wilderness, a guide to the natural Thames by Richard Mayon-White & Wendy Yorke. Bloomsbury. n Walking the Thames Path by Leigh Hatts. A Cicerone Guide. n Thames Path in London by Phoebe Clapham. Aurum Press. n T hames Path A-Z for Walkers . OS Adventure series. https://shop.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/ n My Thames Path Walk 2020 , blog by John Tippetts www.thamespathwalk2020.co.uk/ n Go Jauntly app www.gojauntly.com/ Essential info Thames Path National Trail website with interactive map https://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/ en_GB/trails/thames-path/ Facebook https://www.facebook. com/ThamesPathNT/ Twitter @ThamesPathNT Instagram https://www.instagram. com/thamespathnt/ Tourist and visitor information: www.visitthames.co.uk
Old Father Thames at Lechlade
Picture: Wendy Tobitt
There are 23 highway authorities along the route of the Trail, from Gloucestershire to the City of London, each share the responsibilities of upkeep with the Trails team (and the volunteers) because it sits on Public Rights of Way, mostly Public Footpaths. They help fund repairs, access improvement works such as removing stiles, ramping bridges and improving surfaces, and undertake the statutory legal processes to ensure the National Trail remains open and available for public use. Steve Tabbitt is one of two full-time members of the Thames Path team. In pre-Covid times he spent part of his working week ‘on the Trail’ meeting landowners and partner organisations discussing new schemes to attract more visitors, and ways to improve the Trail. Steve also manages the contracts to improve sections of the Trail damaged by floods. Conservation work-parties of volunteers work in all weathers to mow the grass, cut back overhanging branches, put up new signs and install gates. All the Thames Path signposts are made by volunteers in a workshop, using sustainable wood from an Oxfordshire sawmill. Martin Beecher from Wokingham has been volunteering on the Thames Path and Ridgeway National Trails for eight years. “Volunteering for the National Trails energises me in a way few other things do. It gives me a real sense of purpose
Thames Path near Combe Field West
with so many people benefitting from the results of our efforts. “It keeps me fit and active and gets me out and about to some of the more remote parts of the Thames Path.” As well as helping to maintain the Thames Path, Martin also monitors a section that he walks regularly. “I note any problems and feed these back so that they can be sorted out. Often I’m on the work-party so I see the benefit of the work first hand. “Volunteering has opened my eyes to so much of the natural world around us and to be part of it rather than an observer.” Last year the Thames Path Volunteers received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the highest accolade for volunteers. If you would like to volunteer and help keep the Thames Path National Trail open email: email@example.com