Open Your Garden - Saturday 4th June

Open Your Garden in Yarnton - the invitation to open your lovely garden on Saturday 4th June and raise much needed funds in doing so. In essence it is to raise funds for Yarnton Church and, with your help, will be a wonderful combined community effort.

We are hoping as many keen gardeners as possible will want to take part in this event, as we know there are many lovely gardens, large and small, in Yarnton. As the centre piece to this, Yarnton Manor's garden has been invited to open, and the Vicarage will open its garden. There will be a flower festival in Yarnton Church.

Outline of the main points below:

Visitors will pay for a properly produced programme (to include full details of all the Open Gardens) and this will act as a ticket to allow access to all Yarnton gardens participating.

Full Afternoon Tea and other refreshments will be available in a marquee in the garden at Byways (to be paid for) and will therefore encourage this to become a family, as well as villagers' event.

There will also be a Cakes and Bakes Stall and other attractions including a Grand Raffle.

All garden owners are encouraged to sell produce, flowers, plants, honey, etc. in order to raise more funds.

If you would like further information or be interested in registering your garden with a short description of its age, size and its main points of interest, please contact Sarah Eaton on [email protected]


Yarnton Walkers - Update 

It has been some time since we last updated the villagers regarding our application to Oxfordshire County Council regarding the closure of the footpaths at the back of the Manor. 

The whole footpath issue in this country is complex and recently we have been made aware that the Government are planning more changes. The result of these proposals will be to try and make it a lot easier to bring the issue to the County Council and more importantly to speed up the process from taking years to taking months for the County Council to make a decision on the issue. In view of this we are currently seeking legal advice to ensure that our application has all its ducks in a row.

As we are sure a lot of you have noticed, it was disappointing to see that the farmer who leases the fields at the back of the Red Lion and the Manor, not only decided to plough up our former footpaths around the edges, but also to plough up the Public Footpaths crossing the fields. We did query this with Oxfordshire County Council and were advised that the ploughing of public rights of way is allowed where it is not convenient to leave the footpaths unploughed. However this is provided that the said footpaths are made good after the ploughing. We are examining whether this has been done.

Please keep a look out for notification of our next public meeting which we expect to call in January.

In the meantime a very Happy New Year to our 150 supporters in the village. 

Let us keep working together to prevent the decline of available footpaths in Yarnton. Thank you for all your support! 

Richard Jurd



Grass Cutting in Yarnton 

We hear much about the Government’s austerity programme, particularly its impact on social welfare and community related spending at local government level.  One area targeted for savings was highlighted in local media earlier this year:  grass cutting.  It was reported that Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) would approximately halve its budget, which was widely interpreted that funded grass cutting would be reduced from 5 to 2 cuts per year.

For many years Yarnton has benefitted from OCC funding, but has further funded from within its budget to ensure 8 cuts per year, and more recently for some areas to be cut 16 times per year.  In light of radically reduced funding it has been necessary for Yarnton Parish Council (YPC) to discuss what it plans for the next two-year contract that will run from 2016 through to the end of 2017.

It was unanimously agreed that burial ground maintenance would carry on as at present.  For grass cutting within the village, three options were considered.

1. Receive no OCC funding and hand the responsibility for grass maintenance back to the County Council.

2. Reduce the number of cuts to be consistent with OCC funding.

3. Use budget reserves to maintain the contract as at present.

Councillors and the contractor are sensitive to the balance between appearance and the need to provide habitat and care to flora and fauna.  Yarnton is not alone in receiving complaints that the appearance of amenity areas is untidy and demonstrates absence of civic pride, alongside complaints that spring flowers and wildlife habitat have been massacred.  That said, and although there is always room for improvement, YPC has opted for Option 3, i.e. to maintain present arrangements using budget reserves.  In order to be consistent throughout the village, it also was agreed that the very small number of verges fronting properties that have been cut by the contractor will no longer be included.  It is hoped that as part of the ‘Big Society’ promoted by the Prime Minister, neighbours will help those who are unable to maintain these small patches. 

If you have comments or observations regarding the above plan, or indeed other aspects of village grass cutting, please write to the Parish Clerk.  The letter may be posted into the box at the VillageHhall or emailed to:  [email protected]


Thames Water pump hunt for sewage station owners

Thames Water is appealing to customers to help identify privately owned sewage pumping stations.

The utility, which serves 15 million customers across London and the Thames Valley, will take responsibility for around 4,000 pumping stations in October 2016, but needs to track down 1,800 currently off its radar.

New legislation means sewage pumping stations, which power wastewater away from properties and out into the public sewer pipe network, currently owned and maintained by customers, will become legally owned and operated by the local water company.

The pumping stations are found in all shapes and sizes, and can be in places where there are a number of properties needing to connect to the public sewer network. Customers will know they have one as they’ll be paying to maintain and power them.

Jerry White, of Thames Water, said: “This is really good news for customers. We’d urge anyone who thinks they may have one to get in touch so we can check they are eligible for the transfer of ownership. In some cases, as well as electricity savings, maintaining and replacing pumps can cost thousands of pounds so it’s an excellent deal for them. We believe we know where approximately half of the stations we need to take over are, but really need help to find the other 1,800. Please get in touch if you think this applies to you and we can take on the responsibility forever.”

Anyone with a private pumping station can make Thames Water aware at

A sewer pumping station is likely to be ‘adopted’ by Thames Water if it:

  • was in use before July 2011 (and)
  • serves a single property, and is outside the property boundary (or)
  • serves two or more properties