Christmas Carol Services in our parish

Here are the Christmas Carol Services in our parish:

3 pm on Sunday 16th December. Everyone welcome – tea/coffee and mince pies will be served after the service.

Bridge Sollars:
9.30 am on Sunday 23rd December

Byford and Mansell Gamage:
6 pm on Sunday December 9th (St John the Baptist church) followed by light refreshments at Byford Court by kind invitation of Marlow and Rachel. Everyone welcome.

6 pm on Sunday 23rd December. We welcome all to join us for mulled wine and mince pies in the church after our service.

The Christmas Eve Holy Communion Service is at Bishopstone at 10 pm.

Local History Evening – Thursday 29th November 2018

At our next meeting we welcome Steve Edwards who will tell the story of Rowland Vaughan of Newcourt, his pioneering water meadows and complicated private life.

The illustrated talk takes place at the New Bridge Community Centre on Thursday November 29th at 7.30pm, admission £2 to include coffee and biscuits. Everyone welcome.

Rowland Vaughan (1559–1629) was an English Manoral Lord who is credited with the introduction of a new irrigation system that greatly improved the grass and hay production of meadows through a system of periodic “drownings”.  It was one of the many new methods introduced during the British Agricultural Revolution that increased crop yields and allowed for the development of large cities.

Film Night, 1st December – The Greatest Showman

Our final film for 2018 is The Greatest Showman, a musical film starring Hugh Jackman which celebrates the birth of show business through the story of PT Barnum and his famous circus. He was a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.

The film stars Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams and Zac Efron.  Admission is £5 (including coffee and biscuits) and the films starts at 7.15 pm, allwelcome.

Let’s rescue the Black Poplar from extinction

Could you find a home for a black poplar tree (or 2 or 3)?

According to the Forestry Commission the black poplar is the most endangered native timber tree in Britain. It has suffered severe declines and it is estimated that only 8,000 now exist in the UK, with only 400 being female. Many of our native black poplars are getting old and without a concerted effort to protect existing trees, to plant saplings and to restore habitats to enable natural reproduction, black poplars could soon become extinct in the UK.

We have been offered some black poplar truncheons for our parish. These truncheons are basically large cuttings approximately 2m long with the bottom third going in the ground. These truncheons are taken from trees which have been identified as on the Herefordshire list of true Native Black Poplars. (Ideally cuttings should be taken from local trees to preserve any local genetics.)

They grow best in boggy conditions, alongside ditches or on floodplains – an old name for this species is ‘Water Poplar’. A wet place with a good depth of soil is ideal; a dry place will likely result in a failed tree. They are not a woodland species and will not tolerate shade or being overgrown by other trees. Initially they also need to be in an area fenced off from livestock

Historically black poplar played a significant role in local communities and the wood was often used commercially as the tree is fast growing and has many desirable properties.

It can be coppiced or pollarded to provide a crop of wood for bean sticks, thatching spars, scaffolding poles and fruit baskets. Young shoots (which do not split easily) were used in Victorian times as clothes pegs. The wood is relatively fire resistant and was often used for flooring when paraffin lamps were still in use. It is naturally springy and was used to make cart wheels, wagon bottoms and clogs. The branches of mature trees grow in a natural curve such that the timber could be used to make the arched supports of timber framed buildings.

Later, it was discovered that the wood absorbed paraffin so it was used to make matches.  The Black poplar tree is famously depicted in John Constable’s painting ‘The Hay Wain’.

The tree is also valuable for wildlife and has over 100 specialist insects associated with it. Moth species include the hornet moth, wood leopard moth and poplar hawk moth. The catkins provide an early source of pollen and nectar for bees and the seeds are enjoyed by finches. The rare migrant butterflies the large tortoiseshell and the Camberwell beauty rely upon poplar and elm species for their food plants. A decline in both of these tree species has resulted in these butterflies becoming extinct in the UK.

If you think you have a place for one or more black poplars please let me know.  The truncheons are free and we will help you to plant them or plant them for you. There is no obligation to do anything more.

Cllr Lewis Goldwater, Bishopstone Group Tree Warden

Byford Bazaar, 24th November 10am – 2pm

Byford is holding a bazaar on Saturday 24th November 2018 10:00am – 2:00pm at the Bridge Sollars Community Centre in St Andrew’s Church.

Stalls to include:

  • Collectables: China, Glass, Pictures etc.
  • Clothing & Accessories
  • Produce & Cakes & Delicious Xmas Goodies
  • Other Household Items

Refreshments will be available and donations go to St John The Baptist Church, Byford

Come and learn to identify Winter Trees, 1st December

As part of National Tree Week, Lewis Goldwater who is Tree Warden for the Bishopstone Group parish will be running an all day session on “Winter Tree Identification”.  This is being held at New Bridge Community Centre on Saturday 1st December 2018.

Starting at 10am and running until 4pm, there’ll be an introduction to the techniques and skills required for identifying tree species (winter conifers and broadleaved). The indoor class in the morning is followed by an afternoon field visit presented by Lewis Goldwater of Herefordshire Wildlife Trust.

£5 for non-Tree Wardens.  Places will be limited so please contact or 07777 661252 to book a place or for more info.

Bring your own packed lunch. Tea and coffee will be provided through the day.

Curry and Games Night, 5th October

Join us for a CURRY AND GAMES NIGHT at the Bridge Sollars Community Centre at 7.30pm on Friday October 5th.  Tickets are £7-50 in aid of Bishopstone church – for further information or tickets contact Hazel tel. 01981 590627.

Reminder: The autumn programme of the LOCAL HISTORY EVENING starts on Thursday September 27th with “Opening the Parish Chest” as Richard Wade from Hereford Archive and Research Centre tells us about the many different kinds of documents found in our parish churches and what they reveal about life in our villages over the centuries.

The illustrated talk is at the New Bridge Community Centre at 7.30pm, admission £2 to include coffee and biscuits. Everyone welcome.

Film nights – 6th October, The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society

Film Nights at Bridge Sollars Community Centre returns this Autumn with the following films:

  • 6th October :- The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society
  • 3rd November :- Finding your Feet
  • 1st December:- The Greatest Showman

Doors open at 7.00pm and film starts 7.15pm. £5 to include draw and light refreshments. We look forward to seeing you then.

Stop that thief!

Burglary of sheds and outbuilding is still one of the main concerns amongst the rural community. Although the incidents remain low, it is still a major worry by people living in remote locations.

West Mercia’s priority is to keep you and your property safe from harm and theft, we are therefore providing advice on how the community can help themselves from becoming victims of crime. West Mercia Police have recently introduced a scheme called “Stop That Thief” aimed at helping businesses and farms from becoming victims of crime.

Working in partnership with the National Farmers Union (NFU) through the local Safer Neighbourhood teams can add another layer of security to your home, farm or other business where vulnerabilities are identified during a series of specific assessments. These start with a visit from your local officer and if appropriate a referral to Stop That Thief! specialist who will carry out a survey to look at ways to help protect your property. This will be fully discussed with you to make sure it fulfils your requirements.

The security measures are installed by a trained technician working on behalf of the NFU, for a trial period of up to three weeks. This compliments the advice provided during a visit by your local officer on crime reduction measures including security marking and property listing. All visits and advice are offered free and without obligation. Costs for the fitting of any equipment, if agreed, will be made clear during the specialist survey.

Read the security tips and who to contact for more information here.

Another successful (if wet!) croquet tournament!

Thank you to ALL for coming to the Magnis Croquet Tournament 2018 on Saturday 11th August.  Perhaps the rain made it all the more a typically British summer’s afternoon of playing a peculiarly British game.

Joining in the fun were teams from local parishes – Bishopstone, Bridge Sollars, Brinsop, Kenchester and Mansel Lacey – and after 3 rounds playing on 2 courts in the wonderful grounds of Bishopstone House, the winners were the team from Bishopstone.

Bishopstone team comprising Damian Keefe, John Burwood, Anne and John Moore


David Macklin has now counted the proceeds – we made a little less than at Kenchester last year but, despite the rain, we still made a very decent total of £385. We plan to use the same formula as was used last year, i.e. two-thirds to the host parish PCC and one-third divided between the other parishes’ PCCs.

A very big thanks for our hosts, Matt and Sybella Kirkbride.