How on earth have we got to August already? It doesn’t seem two minutes since I was making pointless New Year’s Resolutions about jogging and abstinence... And now, suddenly, we find ourselves in the middle of summer. I am writing this having spent most of the weekend blowing up and filling up a paddling pool (with no outside tap, this truly is a faff), only to discover the pool is punctured so having to traipse into town to buy a new one and start the whole process again. Still, the sun is shining, and both the paddling pool and my glass are now full. Long may it continue!
What better way to start off the month than with some summer fun, in keeping with the theme of this August issue? Cotswold District Council has unveiled its Summer off the Streets holiday activity programme, which it runs in partnership with creative arts and community organisation World Jungle. Once again it encompasses a range of workshops, free community fun days and events to keep the whole family entertained. August highlights include a free fun day at St Michael’s Park, Cirencester on Wednesday, 5th August from 1pm until 4pm to celebrate national play day, and a free community football fun day on Friday, 7th August at Deer Park School, Cirencester from 10.30am until 2.30pm. There will also be a free family fun day at South Cerney Scout Hut on Friday, 14th August, and a scratch and skate festival at Cirencester Skate Park on Sunday, 16th August, both from 1pm until 4pm. There are also workshops focusing on circus skills, woodland survival, cheer-leading and touch tennis, and there is a special week-long programme of activities aimed at local families in South Cerney, starting on Monday, 10th August. For full details of all these events, plus many more, see www.worldjungle.org.uk
There will be live music performed in Cirencester’s Abbey Grounds bandstand every Sunday afternoon this month thanks to the Bands in the Park summer programme. This month will see performances from ukelele band The Ukey D’Ukes on 9th August, ceilidh band Banshee on 16th August and Gloucester Excelsior Band on 23rd August. All performances will take place from 2.30pm until 4.30pm. Performances may not take place in inclement weather.
And there will be two days of free music courtesy of The Phoenix Festival in the Abbey Grounds on Saturday 29th and Sunday, 30th August. The third staging of the festival, which is organised by young people and volunteers with support from industry professionals and local businesses, will see performances from a range of musicians over two stages. There will also be children’s and crafts activities and youth scene performance arts as well as a host of stalls and plenty of food and drink. For more details, go to www.phoenix-festival.co.uk
On to fetes and festivals! We start in the pretty village of Eastleach, which will hold its annual fete on Saturday, 29th August from 2pm. The traditional fete promises bank holiday fun for all the family with children’s games, an always-popular white elephant stand, tombola and silent auction, plus stalls of plants and produce and more. Refreshments include a barbecue, Pimm’s tent, ice creams and homemade teas. Entrance costs £1 and is free for kids. All proceeds to the village’s two churches and village hall.
St Mary’s Church in Bibury will be holding its annual flower and arts festival from Friday 14th to Sunday, 16th August. The floral decorations this year are on a theme of book titles and will as usual display the talents of local flower arrangers. Local amateur artists will also show their work and most pictures will be for sale. The festival, in aid of church funds and local artists, is open from 10am until 5pm each day and refreshments will be available.
Lechlade Art Society is holding its annual summer exhibition of paintings, prints, drawings and greetings cards in the Memorial Hall, Lechlade from Saturday 22nd until Tuesday, 25th August. There are prices to suit all pockets, and refreshments, including homemade cakes, will be available. The free exhibition is open from 10am until 6pm on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and closes at 4pm on Tuesday. There is plenty of free parking at the hall.
The Corinium Museum is putting on a new exhibition by the group of artists known as Creative Forum. The show, from Saturday, 8th August to Sunday, 6th September, features a diverse range of work, including paintings, ceramics, textiles, sculpture, photography and jewellery. Creative Forum meets once a month at New Brewery Arts in Cirencester and is made up of local artists at various stages in their careers. Admission to the Discovery exhibition is free and all items are for sale.
Have a go at fishing at South Cerney Angling Club’s free annual taster days. The open days will be held at Gillman’s Lake, Lake 23b, Cotswold Water Park, on Saturday 8th and Saturday, 22nd August from 10am until 4pm. Held as part of national fishing month, the free 30-minute sessions offer people the opportunity to try their hand at fishing with one-to-one guidance from a licensed coach. Anyone can have a go whatever their age, gender, or disability and all fishing tackle, bait, and licences are provided. People can also have a go at some pond dipping to learn about the bugs and fish that live in the waters. Pre-booking is essential as spaces are limited, so if you would like to take part please contact Craig Hunt on 07989 973217.
As I write this the weather is lovely and warm – and without wishing to tempt fate in any way – if this is still the case by the time you read this, you may be looking for ways to cool down. If so, why not pop to Cirencester’s open-air swimming pool for a refreshing al fresco swim. The heated pool will be open until Sunday, 6th September. Visit www.cirenopenair.co.uk
Mud, mud, glorious mud – there will be lots in Cirencester Park as the Tough Mudder event returns to town. The event – a team-oriented ten to 12-mile obstacle course designed to test physical strength and mental grit – will take place on Saturday 22rd and Sunday, 23rd August. For full details or to sign up see www.toughmudder.co.uk
The August Bank Holiday Monday will see some of the country’s top cyclists coming to the streets of Cirencester. Roads will be closed to traffic as the town plays host to the inaugural Via Roma Cirencester Nocturne on 31st August. There will be four races taking place throughout the evening ¬- a youth race, a National B support race and a corporate relay event with the action culminating in the elite race under floodlights. Racing starts at 6pm, with the hour-long elite starting at 9pm.
All this talk of sporting events brings us on nicely to a campaign to get a Cotswold venue named as the country’s best sporting destination. VisitEngland has launched a search to find England’s capital of sport, and the Cotswolds Tourism Partnership believe the area has plenty of prime contenders, from world-class sporting venues such as Cheltenham Racecourse to smaller, more quirky venues as well as a whole host of places hosting triathlon, football, swimming, cricket, gliding, tennis and many other events. To make your nomination take a photograph of your favourite local sporting venue and upload it on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #HomeOfSport, together with a snappy sentence about the location of the venue, and why it’s the best sporting destination in England. The campaign closes at midnight on Monday, 31st August, after which an expert panel will work through the nominations to establish a shortlist of sporting hubs which the public will vote on. The venue that receives the highest number will be announced as England’s Home of Sport in October.
In a similar vein, your views are wanted on the provision of open spaces across Cotswold District. The district council is consulting with both local people and visitors about the quality of areas such as parks, children’s play areas and allotments, and how often they use them. Responses to the survey will help shape future development of the district in line with the emerging Local Plan, which sets out growth, housing and economic development until 2031, and will also support funding bids for leisure and recreation projects. The survey will be available online via www.cotswold.gov.uk until Friday, 14th August. Printed copies will also be available at local libraries and the Cotswold District Council offices at Trinity Road, Cirencester.
Enjoy a stroll in the lovely local countryside by joining the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens on a guided walk from Burford to Swinbrook and back via the Windrush Valley. The six-mile walk on Tuesday, 11th August will start at 10am from Burford public car park (OS Grid Ref SP 255 123) and is expected to take three hours. The wardens – the voluntary arm of the Cotswolds Conservation Board – organise free guided walks (although donations are welcome), with money used to help take care of the countryside. Visit www.escapetothecotswolds.org.uk/walking/ guided-walks or call 01451 862000.
In Cirencester a toy and train fair takes place on Sunday, 30th August at Bingham Hall on Kings Street. Dealers will show a wide range of toys, games, figures and models from the past century. The event also features free valuations by a team of experts on hand to offer a free appraisal of items brought along by visitors. The fair opens at 10am and closes its doors at 3pm. Entry is £2 for adults, £1 for concessions and free for under-16s.
Bingham Hall is also the venue for a production by local youth theatre company MJ¬UK of new musical The Clockmaker’s Daughter. The musical by Michael Webbourn and Daniel Finn will be staged at the Cirencester venue from Thursday 13th to Saturday, 15th August, and will be the first time it has been performed outside London. For more details see www.mj-uk.co.uk
Rehearsals begin on Wednesday, 2nd September for Fairford and District Choral Society’s next concert. The society will be performing Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle at the concert on 28th November, which will be the final one for the founding conductor John Read, who has successfully built up the choir over a decade. New singers are very welcome. The society meets at Fairford United Church, Milton Street, from 7.30pm until 9.30pm each Wednesday. To find out more see www.fairford.org/choralsociety
And finally, grants of up to £2,500 are up for grabs for projects and activities that conserve and enhance the special qualities of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The funding for the grants has been generated by the Cotswolds Visitor Giving scheme, by which businesses collect funds from their customers for local environmental projects. Individuals, businesses, community groups and members of the voluntary sector can all apply to The Cotswolds Conservation Board for a grant, but be quick, the deadline for applications is Friday, 7th August. For full details or to apply see www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk/visitorgiving
Windrush Innovation Centre, Howbery Park, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxon, OX10 8BA