Charlbury festival

Karen Neville

Community

Free festival fun down by the riverside in Charlbury

Head down to the river this weekend for free family fun in Charlbury at the ever-popular Riverside Festival.

Held on the banks of the Evenlode, it has grown over the past 24 years, attracting thousands of music lovers who this year will be able to enjoy the US rock band The Pixies among many others. For youngsters there will be free pixie fun activities to join in.

There’s a packed programme of music on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st with more than 40 acts playing across four stages – rock, indie, jazz, and folk on the main two stages and all sorts on the Fringe and Buskers stages!

Headlining the main stage on Saturday is four-piece Oxford band Kanadia. Their big and bold alt rock sound and impressive stage presence has won them a growing fan base in Europe and a big following across the Atlantic in Mexico, the US and Canada.
Sunday headliner is popular upbeat garage punk band Self Help.

Other acts to look out for are Riverside favourites 2 Tone All Skas, The Knights of Mentis, Mighty Redox and eclectic Turkabilly band, Brickwork Lizards.

The second stage, run by independent record stores, Rapture in Witney and The Truck Store in Oxford has an impressive line-up of local bands including Peerless Pirates, Death of the Maiden and Ghosts in the Photographs.

The festival takes place in The Mill Field, Dyers Hill, Charlbury with entry opposite Charlbury railway station.

For more information and details

Young minds

Liz Nicholls

Community

Kevin Leivers of The Naked Pharmacy explains how parents can help boost children’s mental health to cope with their learning journey at school

September summons our youngsters back to school, college and university. Increased screen time, pressure to succeed and the inability to switch off can tip the nervous system into permanent “sympathetic nervous system” mode. This is the “fight or flight” mode the body originally evolved as a mechanism to protect us from imminent danger. The anxiety response in the brain causes a cascade of hormones with wide-ranging effects such as shortness of breath, a racing heart, paling or flushing of the face, sweaty hands… The list goes on and, if left unchecked, may lead to more regular and extreme symptoms.

Youngsters who suffer from anxiety may feel abnormal and isolated. Depression is deeply personal and masks itself in varied symptoms. Research by the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that perhaps the most effective treatment is personal empowerment of the sufferer’s own treatment. This means that they can learn to recognise and manage their symptoms, assisted by their parents.

Finding the tools that work for the individual is key to success. A regular exercise routine is both physically and mentally beneficial for health, especially within a group or team which will help reduce isolation. Regular sleep and a bedtime routine is very important, so turn off all blue light-emitting devices, avoid late food or drink (give at least two hours to digest) and avoid caffeine and sugary drinks after 1pm. Encourage children to express themselves by drawing or writing; it’s such a beautiful tool as an outlet to release thoughts.

Correct breathing is also vital. The hormonal cascade during an anxiety response causes us to shallow breathe and suck in more air than we breathe out, making panic worse.

Tony Ulatowski has used “The Big Breath” with more than 400 students in London, from pre-schoolers to secondary students, for the last year and received overwhelmingly positive feedback from parents, teachers and pupils. He says: “One of the teachers told of a four-year-old girl with anger issues who’s learnt to take herself away, regulate her emotions and just two or three of the big breaths help her feel better.”

A healthy diet including “live” foods, vegetables and fruits is hugely helpful; 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut. A study from New Zealand in 2017 found depressed patients significantly improved on a modified Mediterranean diet. There are also some natural supplements which are safe, effective, non-addictive and adaptogenic that provide an evidence-based approach for mood imbalance and anxiety in children and teenagers. One of the most widely tested is the ancient spice saffron. Saffron targets the gut as well as the brain.

Dr Paul Clayton, Fellow at The Institute of Food, Brain and Behaviour, believes saffron should be considered in place of current therapies. He says: “By targeting core aspects of mood and anxiety, saffron works far more rapidly than the pharmaceuticals, which shoot at the wrong target. Saffron restores normal nerve function; if you have chronic inflammation, the “brakes” are put on a few key processes. Moreover, it acts very fast (hours, not weeks or months), has no withdrawal symptoms, no side effects, and is safe to use with children.”

Visit www.thenakedpharmacy.com or email [email protected] or call 01483 685630.

Did you know?

1 In the UK 16 million people experience mental illness.
2 Three out of four mental illnesses start before the age of 18.
3 10% of school children have a diagnosable mental illness.
4 Three out of four young people with mental illness are not receiving treatment.
5 The average wait for effective treatment is 10 years.
6 Suicide is still the biggest killer of young people in the UK.
7 People with severe mental illness die 10-20 years earlier than the general population.

Acting up

The Boost! School of Acting team believe taking part in drama-based group activities can help develop social skills and reduce anxiety. They offer Saturday morning lessons in Oxfordshire for 4-6-year-olds and 7-10-year olds in Clifton Hampden and Monday morning sessions for pre-schoolers in Didcot. They also want to start a new group for teenagers – parents and teens themselves who might be interested, please get in touch! Visit www.boost-drama.co.uk

Calling carers

Round & About

Community

Aura Care Living is looking to reward the best carers in the Cotswolds – and they need your nominations for these unsung heroes

Aura Care Living’s team are looking for the unsung heroes of Gloucestershire.

The award-winning care group, who run Cirencester’s Stratton Court nursing home and retirement village, have launched a competition to find the county’s best carers. The winner will receive a week’s respite at their care home and a luxury hamper.

“The nominee doesn’t have to be a relative or a friend, or someone caring for you, just someone who you feel is changing someone’s life for the better,” says Cliff Hasler, Aura Care Living’s managing director.

“As care home operators we understand the difference it makes to a person’s life when they are looked after so we want to hear from you if you know someone who is making that difference who is not a professional carer. This is your chance to say thank you to that person.”

You are allowed to nominate one person, who can be of any age and be providing any kind of care or support. Enter online at auracareliving.com/caring or pick up an application form from Kings Lodge. The nominees will be chosen at the beginning of September and as well as the respite package the winner will receive a luxury hamper.

For more information about Aura Care, or to book viewings, please call 01285 283132 or email [email protected]

Woodland Wonder

Round & About

Community

Woods are amazing. They’re where imagination takes root. Where a love of nature grows and thrives. And they’re the lungs of our county. They are also the best place to escape to, and shrug off your cares. The Japanese have a name for it; Shinrin-Yoku, which, poetically coined, means “forest bathing”. Living in this part of the world, we’re spoilt for choice, so we have teamed up with The Woodland Trust, a charity that exists to protect native woods, trees and their wildlife for the future. They focus on improving woodland biodiversity and increasing peoples understanding and enjoyment of woodland.

Harpsden & Peveril Woods

Harpsden & Peveril Woods is an 18-hectare area that has been designated as “ancient semi-natural woodland”, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Site of Special Scientific Interest, Special Area of Conservation and has Tree Preservation Order work. This site, next to Henley Golf Club, approximately a mile south of Henley-on-Thames, and within the Chiltern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, has a 50-year management plan with the minimum of silviculture intervention in place.
Harpsden & Peveril Woods is dominated by mature beech, pedunculate oak, ash trees and sessile oak. Also hazel, holly, field maple, rowan, wild cherry all present.

The majority of the land of this wood was acquired by The Woodland Trust in 1991, after the Great Burns Day Storm of 1990. There were a lot of wind-blown trees, and these gaps are being filled with younger trees of a variety of species.

The Woodland Trust says there will be a loss of ash through ash dieback disease, which is very likely to occur in the next 10 years and this will add further gaps to the mature tree canopy. Over time this wood is likely to become more of mixture of beech, oak, birch and sycamore.

The open canopy gaps have allowed other flora and fauna to flourish. There have been 40 recorded species of flowering and uncommon plants strongly associated with old woodland including bird’s nest orchid, narrow-lipped helleborine, green-flowered helleborine, cow-wheat, goldilocks and the yellow bird’s nest. The deadwood habitat is also very rich, and this wood has been noted for its diversity of fungi. In a fungal survey in 1999 recorded 171 species of which nine are rare.

Penn and Common Woods

Walk back in time in Penn and Common Woods, once home to Iron Age smelting, a Roman settlement, a wood-turner’s workshop for High Wycombe’s chairmaking businesses, and even an army base during World War II.

You can find this place, which is at the very heart of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, close to the amenities in the village of Penn Street, near Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire.

These woods today have taken their shape as a direct result of its rich and changing history. For those interested in archaeology, there are a number of features to look out for which point to the wood’s past, such as banks, ditches, pits and dells.
As well as providing a home and source of income for individuals, Penn and Common Woods has had an interesting history of wildlife. Wild boar, wolves and deer roamed the wood in the Middle Ages, and there are still roe deer to be seen today.

Medieval farmers would bring their cattle, horse, sheeps and pigs to graze on common ground. The Woodlands Trust has reintroduced cows to Penn Wood to maintain open pasture by trampling down thickets and fertilising the ground, encouraging a vast array of flora and fauna back.

Penn Woods is renowned for its rich stock of ancient woodland. Over much of the site the canopy is dominated by broad-leaved tree species including oak, beech and birch – some of which are over 200 years old. However, there are also areas of dense coniferous plantation and open pasture.

The range of habitats here supports a diversity of species adapted to completely different ecological niches. This can be illustrated by the rare butterflies and unusual beetles. A survey in 2000 discovered 10 nationally scarce beetles.

Overhead a wide range of birds can be spotted including brambling, tawny owl, cuckoo, garden warbler, red kite, kestrel and buzzard.

Puttenham Village Walk

The Puttenham Village Walk (3miles) Leg 1. Follow the signs for a footpath, you’ll pass a cottage, keep left round the corner, down steps to a bridleway, then turn right (you’ll see yellow arrows, follow them). Pass through some swing gates, over stiles and a flat bridge towards a large metal gate, which, leads you to Puttenham Lane. Turn left, pass through a kissing gate, into the meadow, keep left and follow the winding path steeply uphill. In the distance, you will see Puttenham Priory on the right. At the final stile, continue ahead to a T-Junction in the village. (On the right is St John the Baptist – well worth a visit.) Reward yourself with a pint and lunch.
The Culmill Circuit (7½miles) Leg 2. From the village head towards the North Downs Way. It’s a five-mile straight walk, with a few twists and turns, but you will have a fine view of the Hog’s Back. This path will take you towards Totford Wood to meet a junction with fields. Look out for the yellow arrows, that will guide you through an area called Payn’s Firs. Look out for the little fairy house in the trees. Go right on the road. (If you need a toilet break head towards St Laurence.)

Next the trail is a zig-zag, starting from the left towards Binton Wood. There are lots of chestnut trees here. Stay on the path, following the green-and-white signs, past beautiful, tall pine trees, to a place known as Culver’s Well. The track runs through open woodland of Crooksbury Common, and onwards to the timber works, keep an eye out for the vehicles. You’ll get to a crossing. On the otherside is Britty Wood.

Leg 3 (2½miles). The route goes up through pines, beeches and a coppice. Then it’s downhill into a beautiful area of silver birches. You come to views of Cutmill Pond, this used to serve an iron mill in the 16th century. Pretty soon you’ll pass Rodsall Manor, with its proud stone eagles. When you see the steps on the left, you’ll be back at the car park.

Stratfield Brake

Stratfield Brake, OX5 1UP, two miles outside Kidlington, is really family-friendly. The Woodland Trust began managing the 18.5-hectare site from 1997 after establishing a lease with the site’s owner, Oxfordshire County Council.

The wood is made up of a mature wood, a young wood and a wetland area. This wood contains tree species such as oak, field maple and elm, as well as many bird species such as tree creepers, rooks and woodpeckers. Old oak trees provide habitats not just for birds but also fungi, mosses, insects and bats.
Sadly, at the moment, access is restricted to the mature woodland area in response to the presence of a disease called acute oak decline, which affects native oak trees, leading in some cases to their death. The disease poses no threat to either humans or animals, but it may be spread through movement of bacteria picked up on visitors’ shoes and clothing or by vehicles. Therefore, on the advice of Forest Research, the Woodland Trust has temporarily closed Stratfield Brake’s mature woodland area to the public.

There’s still plenty to observe at Stratfield Brake this summer including the meadows and the wetland. Just park near the sports club and follow the signs to the wood. There are four entrances to the site from here, creating a network of 1.5miles, buggy-friendly surfaced and unsurfaced paths in Stratfield Brake, which are level and have no width restrictions (but can get muddy in wet weather).

One short loop of surfaced path leads to a bird-watching area overlooking the wetland. All year round it attracts all sorts of birds – you might be lucky to hear the drumming of great spotted woodpeckers high in the trees. There’s a good chance you’ll see mute swan, tufted duck, heron and coot and, if you’re lucky you might spot a rarity such as a little egret. This small heron is hard to miss as it has whiter than white plumage.

Stratfield Brake is also a good place to join the Oxford Canal towpath; a 4.7-mile (7.6km) circular walk using the footbridge to Yarnto, developed by local Ramblers for the Canals & Rivers Trust.

Visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk for more woodland walks. Please remember when setting off for a walk, to take a compass, a good map, a bottle of water and a snack.

Match of the day

Round & About

Community

Charity begins at home, but when you’re a business, and want to do good in your local community, where do you find what is most needed on your doorstep?

Support A Local Charity is one such initiative working hard to support corporate responsibility. It works just like a dating agency to find a compatible partner, but of course, it’s business, and the point is to align a business with a social cause. 

This initiative was launched as part of Gloucestershire’s Local Business Charity 2018 awards, sponsored by risk strategy and commercial insurance consultants Jelf and Ageas. 

Requests for help can include anything from looking for new trustees to help with fundraising, volunteering, accounts, marketing, PR, social media, HR etc. Businesses are asked to submit a form stating what they are willing to offer; from sharing the firm’s core skills, to supporting the charity for a year, or more general fundraising and volunteering support. 

Forms to support or register a charity can be downloaded from www.localbusinesscharityawards.co.uk. Upon joining, charities and firms can browse the register until they see a potential match, at which point the magic happens.

This is how IT firm, Cyber Security Associates, met women’s charity, Gloucestershire Bundles. Madeline Howard, of Cyber Security Associates said: “We loved the idea of ‘Support A Local Charity’ and were delighted to receive a call, asking for help with GDPR compliance from this charity.” 

Stacey Brayshaw, trustee of Gloucestershire Bundles added: “We are so grateful, without this initiative and finding a match, we would have spent vast amounts of money on becoming compliant.”