AQIVA Newsletter: Winter 2017-18

December 1, 2017

posted by Joanna Tubbs

Mud, mud, glorious mud

Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood

So follow me, follow, down to the hollow

And there let me wallow in glorious mud

You may recognise that as the chorus of the hippopotamus song by Flanders and Swann. Some of us prefer to think of it as the dog walker’s lament. But following on from the snow, rain and mud, we’ve had the big freeze – we wait with bated breath to see what comes next.

Obelisk

The site is looking pretty smart at the moment, but, be warned, we will be looking for volunteers over the course of the year to help keep it that way!

Amphitheatre

The Gateway project (toposcope/Roman seating/mural – see AQIVA Newsletter Autumn 2017) is still very much alive, with various funding options still being looked at.

English Heritage have replaced the information plaque that was stolen back in May – our thanks to them. There are also new signs up reminding everyone that metal detecting is a criminal offence – there have been some instances identified in recent times.

We have our own snowdrop display, on the north side of the amphitheatre, towards the dual carriageway. Not quite Colesbourne, but a joy to look at, nevertheless.

Work is planned to refresh/improve the pathway running into the amphitheatre from Cotswold Avenue.

We will be carrying out a further series of visitor counts during the course of this year. We’ll keep you informed of the dates, but if anyone can spare an occasional hour to assist with this task, it would be much appreciated.

Querns Wood

Not a great deal of activity this last quarter, but general maintenance work will continue during the year.

The pathway from the woods into the amphitheatre remains a problem and has been very difficult to negotiate during the early part of this year (see our opening paragraph!). Solutions are being sought within realistic budget constraints.

Four Acre Field

GREAT NEWS:  the exit from the field onto Chesterton Lane will soon have a self closing gate. This has been a  joint initiative between the town council and AQIVA, with the cost being shared. Our sincere thanks, and a big merci beaucoup, to all those who have been wonderfully generous in giving donations and helping to make this happen. It will make for a much safer play and recreation area.

WATCH THIS SPACE

If you have been in recently, you will have noticed that considerable planting has taken place along the eastern border – in excess of 70 shrubs and bushes, including holly, guelder rose, dog rose, hebe, cotoneaster, blackthorn, and many more. These have been provided and planted by the town council – thanks, guys. Given time, this will grow into a very attractive screen, but, guess what? It will need plenty of maintenance work. At the moment it extends about half way along, and the remaining length will have wild flowers sown.

You may also have seen the new(ish) signs that have appeared in the green spaces around town, including 4 acre field, regarding dog fouling and littering. It is sad that resource has to be put into things that should be the responsibility of everyone, but twas ever thus.

Visitor Counts

We will be repeating our amphitheatre visitor counts that started last year: these are for more than just academic interest. Amongst other things, if it can be shown that visitor numbers increase year on year, this gives much greater strength to the justification when applications are made for funding for further development and improvement. And the more visitors we can attract, the more money will be spent in the town.

It is worth repeating a paragraph from the previous newsletter.

Volunteer programme

“The amphitheatre is now receiving an increasing number of posts on Trip Advisor. Peoples’ opinions vary, some love it as a ‘hidden gem’ and others are unimpressed, seeing only ‘grassy mounds’. If you visit the amphitheatre, please feel free to post a comment on Trip Advisor or Facebook, all feedback is useful, and if you come across any interesting visitors, particularly organised groups, please let Alison know on aqivasec@gmail.com”

We have a provisional programme for the year and most of the maintenance work will be focussed on 4 acre field and the obelisk. This can be quite arduous, but we’ve also had a lot of fun. This is very much a case of “Many hands make light work” and definitely not “Too many cooks spoil the broth” We need more cooks!

However, not all our volunteering opportunities involve heavy spade work; we also need help with, for example, visitor counts, litter-picks and organising and stewarding events such as Love Parks Week and Heritage Open Days. We will keep you informed as things are planned, and even if you can only spare an hour or so on occasions, this will make a big difference.

More detail will be circulated at the appropriate time.

Events

We will probably be participating again in Love Parks Weeks, although a lot of effort went into organising 4 different activities last year and to be honest, the level of support was disappointing. We will also again be part of Heritage Open Day, with, at the very least, our guided walks around the amphitheatre and the evening bat walk: contrary to the comment in the previous sentence, these two events have always proved popular.

Communication

Apart from this newsletter, you can find information and photos on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfAmphitheatre

See also the notice board at the entrance from Chesterton Lane into 4 Acre Field

If you would like any more detail, please contact our secretary, Alison, at aqivasec@gmail.com.

If you have friends, family, neighbours or anyone who might be interested in learning more about what is going on, please pass on our contact details.

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