The WBA are looking for a someone to join their Management Committee. After elections were held at the AGM last week there remains one space on the committee. We welcome applications from anyone with a local business that is interested in joining the committee to further the aims of the organisation.
We meet once a month (excluding December & August). Time commitment between meetings entirely depends on what projects you would like to take on.
For more information please speak to any of the committee members listed on the contact us page or email email@example.com.
Our AGM was held at The Spire & Spoke on Friday 7th October. Draft minutes are available below for inspection.
We would like to extend a huge thank you to Jan Willis, Susan Fotherby, Karyn Buck, Bill Buck, Loraine Smith (not pictured) and Robin Holmes-Smith for organising a fantastic Christmas Market! Without their hard work and dedication the market wouldn’t have happened and we’re sure you will agree that the market is the highlight of the town calendar!
We are looking for two or more volunteers to join the Christmas Market Organising Committee. Specifically, we’re looking for some to organise the overall logistics of the market and some to manage marketing and social media for the event. If you are interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We were delighted to see Watlington Hill featured in a recent Guardian blog about UK winter walks. Text reproduced from the Guardian's site below.
Start/finish National Trust car park, Watlington Hill
Distance/time 7 miles/4 hours
Refuel Fox and Hounds, Christmas Common
There’s something particularly magical about ancient routes in winter. Curls of wood smoke, the chatter of a startled blackbird, dew-draped webs – in this weather, I feel like I’m walking in the past. Everywhere you look on this walk are signs of earlier generations who built their lives in this land. Watlington Hill may look untamed but it’s the result of centuries of sheep farming that transformed it from woodland into rare chalk grassland, now home to numerous endangered insects and plants.
Commanding views across the Thames Valley reveal a patchwork field system – a result of 18th- and 19th-century land enclosures, whereby larger fields were divided up and hedged, and common land was privatised. The result? The poorest country dwellers, reliant on the common’s free resources, were forced into towns to look for work. Hedgerows themselves are now in need of protection – they’re important wildlife corridors in intensively farmed landscapes, and a key tool in our race to decarbonise.
Head downhill along the edge of the White Mark – a chalk triangle cut in 1674 to give the illusion of a spire on the parish church when seen from a distance. At the bottom of the hill, turn left on to the ancient Icknield Way. Running from Norfolk to the Dorset coast, this route is one of the oldest in the country – many archaeologists believe its origins are prehistoric. After a mile, turn left to head south towards Dame Alice Farm – look for the unusual chalk stone cottage, then meander along the trackways to Dumble Dore (perhaps an inspiration for JK Rowling?) and on to Greenfield Copse. Here you’ll spot 2,000-year-old iron age earthworks – probably the remains of a homestead or livestock enclosure. There’s even history in the trees – look for coppiced beech trees, which have been cut down and allowed to regrow more than one trunk from the same base (known as a “stool”). It enabled people to get more usable timber from one tree, and it’s an indicator that a woodland is very old.
From here, loop round via Hollandridge Farm and along the unsurfaced Hollandridge Lane. It’s a Saxon route – more than 1,000 years old – which acted as the spine road for the 12-mile-long “strip parish” of Pyrton. The “strip” takes in land on the valley floor (best suited for settlements, offering shelter and reliable water sources), but also rougher land on the hillside and tops of the chalk escarpment, which was valuable for seasonal grazing, woodland and quarrying.
The footsteps of ancestors will then lead you to the Fox and Hounds at Christmas Common. Mead optional.
Mary-Ann Ochota, TV presenter and author of Hidden Histories: a Spotter’s Guide to the British Landscape
For the full article click here.
Watlington retailers are ready and eager to welcome you back into their stores. National lockdown is officially lifted from 00:01 Wednesday 2nd December so the High Street will be open for (socially distanced) business as usual from Wednesday morning.
We are also delighted to bring you not one, but two, late night shopping evenings on the High Street! On Thursday 3rd and Thursday 10th December retailers will be keeping their shops open from 6pm - 9pm. There are so many lovely things to discover on the High Street, get your Christmas list all wrapped up without having to set foot in a busy department store!
#shoplocal #shopsmall #shopindependent
It is with a heavy heart many of our local businesses closed their doors for the duration of lockdown 2.0. We hope you managed to get some early Christmas shopping in with them.
Sadly we have also had to postpone our Winter Late Night Shopping event to the 3rd December (save the date!) but if the idea of leaving Christmas shopping until December fills you with dread, never fear, we will also be hosting an online shopping event as well!
So put 6pm on the 26th November in your diary and follow our Facebook page for all the festive fun of High Street shopping from the comfort of your own living room!
If you are a local retailer and would like to take part in this exclusive event please drop us an email at email@example.com.
In case you missed it we thought we'd share Charis White's fabulous blog post on the upcoming Watlington Art Weeks. Such a fabulous write up from start to finish. Thank you Charis for so eloquently showing off how lucky we all are to live here!
"Watlington is a small Oxfordshire market town that is blessed with that rare species – a thriving independent high street. Nestled amongst farmland at the foot of the Chiltern Hills, it has ‘a butcher, a baker and a candlestick maker’. The butcher is called Tom, the 14-year-old baker (as featured in The Sunday Times) regularly creates queues halfway up the street for her pop-up bread sales, while the candlestick maker has show-stopping designer lighting. Oh, and the town is also about to launch its first Art Week.
Who’s who in Watlington
Watlington is home to film aristocracy with actors such as Jeremy Irons, Sinead Cusack and Jeremy Northam. There are top Disney executives, advertising folk, newspaper journalists and photographers. Not to mention the beauty writers, leading textile and interior designers (quick oxygen intake!) and quite a lot of artists – as it turns out..."
Read the rest of Charis's blog here.
At our AGM following on from our public meeting on Better Broadband. We were delighted to welcome John Riddell (The Fat Fox Inn) and Francesca Holmes-Smith (The Granary Deli) to our Executive Committee who join Tom Calnan (Calnan Brothers), Louise Stile (Bella Luce), Robin Holmes-Smith (The Granary Deli), David Cotterell (Apex Healthcare Consulting), Loraine Daniels (Bella Luce), Denise Allnut (SKP Solutions), Amanda Hinton (K is for Kitchen) and Steph Van de Pette (Watlington Parish Council) who were all re-elected to the committee. Sam Swanson (Chiltern Pet Partners) stepped down from her role on the committee and was thanked for her contribution.
We adopted an updated constitution which will help guide us through this period of anticipated growth and increased activity. You can download a copy of the constitution here.
We were delighted to be able to present cheques to both Watlington Youth Club and the First Steps Family Hubs for £200 each. The donations were made from the proceeds of our hugely successful Christmas Market which promises to be even bigger and better this year! We are always looking for more volunteers to help with organising the market. If you can spare an hour or two on the day or would like to help with the coordination in the run up to the event please contact Robin at The Granary Deli.
If you would like to join the Business Association to benefit from the many perks that membership provides, click here to complete our membership form.
We hosted a public meeting at The Social on Thursday 4 April with representatives from Oxfordshire County Council’s Better Broadband Team, Openreach and Gigaclear.
Watlington currently benefits from superfast broadband, which means there are fibre cables connecting the telephone exchange to the various green cabinets. However, the connection from the green cabinet to your property was not upgraded meaning you will still have old, likely degraded, copper wire for the final part the internet’s journey to your property. This may be affecting the speed and reliability of your internet connection.
Through a Government scheme, called the Gigabit voucher scheme, businesses (including sole traders and home based businesses) are entitled to up £2,500 towards a fibre to the premises (FTTP) connection with up to 10 residential properties then being able to claim another £500 each. The cumulative value of these vouchers could be enough to install FTTP connections in the whole of Watlington.
WBA will be submitting a proposal to Watlington Parish Council’s Strategy Committee this month to progress this as a community based project. It will need support from as many local businesses and residents as possible so please do express your interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our AGM will be held on Thursday 11th April at 6pm at The Social.
Prior to the AGM we have a guest speaker from the Oxfordshire Better Broadband Team to speak to all local businesses about the Government's Gigabit voucher scheme. The scheme could help us to significantly improve broadband speeds in the town at little to no cost to you. All are welcome to the talk.
If you are a member of WBA we invite you to stay for the AGM from 7pm. New members also welcome, membership is only £35 per year (discounts available). Click here for further details.
To register for a free ticket to either the talk or the AGM please click here.
Looking forward to meeting all our new members there!