Community Orchard

On 1st December many villagers helped to plant 35 heritage apple trees for the Yarnton Community Orchard.

Each tree has been generously sponsored by a member of the village to mark a local family connection, commemorate a lost loved one or to just be part of something historic in the village.

It was a cold, rainy morning but volunteers soon got quite warm digging, planting and knocking in stakes.  It took about 5 hours of solid work but it was fun and we achieved a lot.  Some local children also got involved along with older residents who couldn’t physically dig but supervised some of the planting and had a lovely morning chatting. 

It’s been a year long journey to get the orchard project completed, fully supported by the Parish Council along the way.  The chosen area had to be assessed for any services pipework or cabling that may run under the land.  We then got in touch with Andy Howard, an Oxfordshire apple tree expert, who surveyed and mapped the area and put together a collection of suitable heritage tree varieties.

Yarnton has traditionally been known for its apple trees so we wanted to have a variety of local species that could be juiced, cooked, stored and eaten!  Some of the trees are quite rare and slowly making a comeback, helped by projects like this. 

In our orchard we have varieties such as Autumn Pearmain, Reinette Rouge Etoile and Monarch to name just a few.   Village residents old and new were invited to sponsor a tree on a first come first served basis, and organisers were overwhelmed with offers.

It's hoped the orchard will be enjoyed by all generations to come. It should become a place for family picnics or simply walking through to enjoy a few moments peace amongst the trees.  We also hope to add some benches in the future, along with bat boxes.

We also want to bring the village together for Apple Day which is held in October  The apples are there for all the village to enjoy and eat, surplus will be collected for groups such as the school, the weekly lunch club and any other groups who come forward.  If we’re lucky the WI might provide us with some unusual apple recipes! 
Orchards are also vital for wildlife as they provide pollen for the bees and insects which attract birds and bats.  Any windfall apples will be eaten by hedgehogs, worms and ground insects as well as helping to nourish the soil around each tree.  

Native wildlife in the UK is in serious decline due to loss of habitat so we hope this area will eventually provide a refuge for these vital insects and mammals but also for us when we walk through and linger to enjoy the blossom on a sunny day.
This day was a great team effort and a VERY BIG THANK YOU to all who helped and got mucky.  You made this a very special and memorable event.
We hope to have an official opening early next year and i
f you wish to be a member of the Yarnton Orchard Committee please contact Fiona on 07779 268836.

Thank you to all individuals and organisations that sponsored trees in the orchard including:

Graham and Yvonne Thompson, Eve and Fred Jones, Kim Overbeck, Shirley and Eddie Christiansen, David and Fiona Brimson, Janine and Carl Williams, Mary Clarke, The Isles family, Whitley family, Family Johnston, Kim Williams, Renee Charlett, The Wickham-Jones family,  Emily, Georgia and Owen Shewry, Ann Wyatt, Jackie Carpenter, Julie and Graham Hillsdon, Robin Hearn, Colin Clark and Hilary Palmer, George and Susan Doucas, Thorpe family,  My Bathrooms, Village News Committee, British Legion, Sanctuary Nursing Home, Parable Garden, Yarnton Women’s Institute. Yarnton Gardening Club, Yarnton Playing Fields.


Cherwell Local Plan 2011-2031 (Part 1) partial Review Oxford's Unmet Housing Need

Further progress in addressing the implication of the above proposals has taken place recently at meetings on 28th September and 5th October at which Yarnton Parish Council was represented.  Here is a brief overview of those two meetings;

28th September -  Preliminary Hearing by Government Inspector Mr. Paul Griffiths

The meeting, chaired by Mr. Paul Griffiths, was attended by approximately 120 persons having vested interest in the plan. This included Cherwell DC, Oxford City Council, Oxford CC, Parish Councils, Legal Representatives and other organisations representing public groups. The purpose of the meeting was to address 2 Agenda items identified by Mr. Griffiths as follows:

  1. ‘On the working assumption that Oxford has an unmet need of 15000 homes, is the apportionment of 4400 homes of Oxford's overall unmet need to Cherwell soundly based?’
  2. ‘Assuming the figure of 4400 is soundly based, and bearing in mind paragraph 83 of the (previous version of the) NPPF, can Oxford's unmet housing be an 'exceptional circumstance' that justifies an alteration to the Green Belt boundaries?’

With regard to item 1, there was considerable discussion regarding the accuracy of the figures. Validity of the Strategic Housing Market Assessment calculations of 2014 was brought into question by many speakers with regard to being untested and out of date. With Oxford not due to declare its Local Plan until March 2019, serious doubt was cast as to their real need in terms of numbers. With a new government formula for the calculation of housing needs being introduced in January 2019, it was more appropriate to recalculate the current needs. On behalf of Yarnton PC and residents, concern was expressed regarding the number of dwellings planned in the Yarnton/Begbroke area and the devastating effect it would have on residents and their daily lives. Your PC also voiced the opinion that to go ahead with such a far reaching plan based on suspect figures was not good  practice and to the detriment of our residents. There was a significant consensus of opinion that the apportionment of Oxford's Unmet Housing Need was not soundly based.

With regard to item 2, the vast majority of speakers vigorously opposed the use of the Green Belt and saw the 12 exceptional circumstances listed by CDC as little more than fabrication to justify the proposal. This view was supported by Yarnton PC who pointed out the huge percentage reduction in Green Belt area in the proposal for Yarnton/Begbroke. The exceptional circumstances claimed were identified as not being justified.

The Inspector, Mr. Paul Griffiths, indicated that he hoped to have reached his conclusion at the end of October 2018.

5th October - Meeting hosted by Cherwell District Council

The purpose of this meeting was to prepare work on the production of development briefs for the proposed residential site allocations. Participants included: Site Developer/Promoters, Key Stakeholders, Parish Councils and organisations with a vested interest in the proposals.

Yarnton Parish Council's participation was on the basis that ,whilst being acutely aware of strong local objection to the plan, it was likely to be more productive in the long term, should the plan be approved by the Government Inspector.

Developer's presentations outlined their proposals for all 7 proposed sites, including PR8 Land East of the A44 and PR9 Land West of Yarnton. There were numerous questions from Kidlington, Gosford and Water Eaton Parish Councils, including Yarnton PC who raised issues including: The appearance of the proposed estates should be Garden Village orientated, height of buildings, adequate provision for the management of sewage and surface water and that realigned boundaries of Green Belt should be clearly defined with both meaning and purpose. Yarnton PC representatives, Parish Clerk Lynne Whitley, Councillors Graham Thompson and Fred Jones, had the opportunity to meet with the developers for site PR9 to establish contact details for the future should the need arise.

Yarnton Parish Council


Yarnton History - Sophia Jane Lay, nee Hastings

Take a look in the Stories subsection of Yarnton Village for fascinating images and information about Sophia Jane Lay, who died in August 1972, and who lived at one time at Windmill Hill Farm in Yarnton.  These were sent by her grandson Terry Pearson.



Rogue Trade warning from Thames Valley Police

Today there has been a report of a suspicious male and vehicle in the Yarnton area in Kidlington. This male was driving around in a white truck with equipment in the back handing out leaflets advertising his company. His company is called Oakland's Tree Services and also known as Oakland's Tree Care. The male was recognised by a resident for being on Watchdog. There was a case on him by Watchdog who followed him around and found out he was preying on vulnerable and elderly people by offering his services to them. In the report he had given false advice, over charged by four times the normal amount, not finishing jobs and scamming innocent people for their money. This happened in 2013 however it seems like there is intelligence that he has returned. Please be wary and pass this information on to other neighbours. He matches the same description as a Jason Butcher, he is a 35 year old white male, stocky build, short black hair, no glasses, no facial hair and was wearing jean and a t-shirt. If you see this male please contact police via 101 straight away. 

Hayley Keeping (Police, PCSO, Kidlington)