AQIVA Newsletter: Summer – Autumn 2021

January 6, 2022

posted by Jamie Glasspool

There is so often something lovely to see from 4 Acre Field and we are very fortunate to have this facility on our doorstep. It is enjoyed in various ways by a great many people – and abused by a few who think it is ok to leave their rubbish scattered around. Thank you to everyone who picks up litter as you pass through.

Amphitheatre

In September, as part of Heritage Open Day, we did our established guided tour of the amphitheatre. We have been carrying out our volunteer activities during 2021, but this was our first open to the public “live” event since the start of the pandemic and we were gratified to have around 20 people join us. Hopefully, we will be able to restore more of our annual events during 2022. Welcome back AQIVA!

There is also a video available, produced by the camera club, as part of a series of virtual events for Heritage Open Day.

This can also be found on the Cirencester Civic Society’s website: www.ccsoc.org.uk

Once on the website, go to “our society”, then “documents”, then “8th September” and then select “Amphitheatre” (or anything else that takes your fancy).

By the way, thanks to everyone who assisted with our visitor counts, April through August. For those who are interested, a summary of every year since we started the counts (2017) is included at the end of this newsletter. Even allowing for variations in weather etc on count days, there was a significant increase in visitors this year.
Meanwhile, we have been asked by English Heritage if we would consider carrying out visitor surveys on their behalf to enable them better to understand the range of visitor demographics and to get feedback on the site itself regarding what is considered good about it or what improvements might be made. This is under discussion but, in any case, as always, we would be dependent on the goodwill of our volunteers as to whether this could be done. Anyway, we’ll get back to you in the new year with more detail.

Amphitheatre – Different stages of the thistle

Thistle July

25th July

Thistle August

16th August

Thistle September

4th September

Querns Wood

We have previously mentioned a planned trial length of pathway running from the woods into the amphitheatre, to try to create a safer (and drier) passage across the stretch that gets particularly muddy and slippy when the rains hit. This has been delayed for a variety of reasons but we are pleased to say that this should now be going ahead in the coming weeks. No guarantees that it will completely eliminate the problem, but we’ll just have to see how it works out. Talking of safety, regular users will have noticed that the town council have put up an extra hand rail running down from the western entrance from 4 Acre Field.

During the course of 2022, there will be a planned programme of tree and other foliage maintenance and safety work in the woods as well as in the amphitheatre and 4 acre field.

Four Acre Field

The new hedgerow has done brilliantly well: we’ve only lost a couple of shrubs and, in particular, some of the roses already need cutting back. Disturbing the ground all the way along has also spread the wild flower plantings from previous years to create the most extensive display we’ve had, with the borage having done exceptionally well (a few bits still in flower as we enter December).

Hedgerow Four Acre Field
Flowers Four Acre Field

Is there a “but”? Yes, of course there is – we’ve created a monster that demands constant attention, with the brambles, nettles, dock, goose grass and much else besides, all making a comeback bid for what was, not too long ago, a long length of freshly cleared ground. We’ve had to divert some of our volunteer resource from our obelisk work parties to carry out substantial maintenance work, and have managed to stay on top of it. But it is akin to painting the Forth Bridge – when you get to the other end, it’s time to start over again. So, come the spring, we are going to need more help. Make a note in your 2022 diary now.

On a sour note, earlier in the year the nature information board as you go into the woods on the east corner was vandalised, with the whole printed panel ripped off. However, thanks to the town council for doing a good job in restoring it (after this picture was taken!!!!!).

The Obelisk

Our monthly work parties were well supported – across the period, we had a total of 18 volunteers who joined us for a varying number of sessions, which equated to around 220 hours of volunteer labour. We will never get done everything we would like to but there is a real sense of satisfaction at what is achieved. It’s hard work, but fun as well – a big thank you to everyone who has contributed in one way or another. We will be starting again in April – if more people could give us even just one hour each during the year, this would make an enormous difference.

What else?

You may have noticed way markers as you go into the woods, as well as at other locations within our complex and around the town. These indicate one of a series of walks around the county posted by Cotswolds National Landscape – for more information, go to www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk and select “Cirencester” from the “location” dropdown above the map.

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