AQIVA Newsletter: Spring 2023

August 21, 2023

posted by joannatubbs

When we first started our newsletters, nearly 10 years ago, we had a wealth of news about who and why we were, what was going on in our patch and (hopefully) interesting background items, like our 5 part history of the amphitheatre, the story of how the hospital used to be a private dwelling with Querns Wood as its own private arboretum, and much more. All that enabled us to do 4 newsletters each year, but there are limits on how many histories you can do covering such a small area, so we dropped to 3 and now 2, which inevitably means that some of our information and pictures are older than we would like. This is about as close as we will get to an apology for the following picture, which was taken during the winter.

AMPHITHEATRE

As mentioned in a previous newsletter, we have been working with the Cirencester Camera Club and others to film a video, shot by drone, of the amphitheatre and surrounding site. We first had to get permission from English Heritage, and when this was finally obtained, we had a further long wait for suitable weather. Eventually, we were able to complete filming and this is now being edited to create a short video to which sound and text will be added, at which point the intention is to put it on the AQIVA website. We’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, a quick preview.

On a more general note, winter/spring maintenance work by the town council cleared a lot of vegetation which was encroaching on some of the pathways, with surface improvements where necessary carried out at the same time.

And there are some lovely sunsets at different times of the year.

QUERNS WOOD

One of the signposts, at the junction of the western entrance from Four Acre Field and the path that runs down to the hospital main entrance, was pulled out of the ground (as was the no littering sign in the field – twice!). The signpost is solid wood and heavy, so clearly very deliberate and not just casual vandalism as somebody walked past.

FOUR ACRE FIELD

In common with the Amphitheatre and some other areas, the Town Council decided that Four Acre Field would be given over in its entirety to No mow May. This has generated many complaints: in general, people have not been averse to the principle, but the total lack of any cleared areas during May and lack of clearance of the cut grass afterwards have been objected to. We have passed on these views to the council.

We have a continuing litter problem around the benches, particularly those alongside Chesterton Lane. It primarily happens at lunchtime, weekdays, Recently, along with general food packaging debris, we’ve been getting glass bottles, mainly cider, which, if left, will inevitably get broken and cause a safety hazard to people and animals. We are fortunate in having people who will pick up when they see stuff lying around but it is sad that we have this minority who just don’t care.

The hedgerow on the east side has done really well but at the moment is being swamped by dock and lots of other stuff we don’t want. We haven’t had the capacity yet this year to do any maintenance work here so for now we’re just having to let nature take its course.

The wild flower meadow has been a disappointment thus far, and we understand that other locations around town that were sown at the same time and with the same seed mix, have fared much better. This may be, in part, down to the nature of the soil. It has been agreed that it will be left for one more season and maybe then we would consider supplementing it, perhaps with plant plugs rather than further seeding. Actually, there is quite a lot of interesting stuff in there but, with the exception of the ox eye daisies, quite small and difficult to spot. A final sheet at the end of this newsletter shows some of the flora to be found around the site.

A goal post will be set up on the field to make life more interesting for those who enjoy a bit of a kick about. A location has been agreed that will give plenty of space, away from the road and peoples’ fences but that will minimise intrusion on other users.

OBELISK

Starting with another note of disappointment – one of the small wooden benches has been stolen: for garden use, firewood, who knows?

We did a pre season work party as the roses and other bushes in the bed between the pathway and the road had got very tall and dense. Four months on, it is difficult to realise that anything has been done. The town council have done some resurfacing of the pathways where necessary.

February 2023
March 2023
June 2023

Our work parties proper started in April: thanks as always to those who have joined in, but our numbers are down on last year, so we have not been able to do anything like as much maintenance as we would like. Further work parties will be on Tuesday 1st August and Tuesday 5th September, 6pm to 8pm. We really could do with some extra bodies: please help if you can.


The scout hut doesn’t come directly within our remit, but its very location does make it of interest and importance to

us, so we are including some encouraging news. Anyone familiar with the building will know that both the structure and the facilities have deteriorated significantly over the years. However, although very much in early stages, surveys and discussions are under way to look initially at refurbishment and possibly longer term replacement of the building. This would obviously require significant funding but it is very much a serious project.

Whatever the outcome, those who are currently locals will likely always refer to it as the scout hut, but it will be renamed as The Obelisk Community Rooms, reflecting the intention to make the building more available and accessible to all.

HERITAGE OPEN DAY

On Saturday 9th September we will be doing two guided tours of the Amphitheatre, starting at 10.30 am and 2.30 pm. All will be welcome. In the evening, we will again be conducting a bat walk, but will have to restrict the numbers this year. For more details follow this link
https://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/visiting/event/cirencester-amphitheatre

AND AS ALWAYS

www.facebook.com/FriendsOfAmphitheatre?fref=ts

More photos and other info on facebook:

Also on our website

www.aqiva.co.uk

We continue our committee meetings by Zoom on the 4th Thursday of every month. You are very welcome to join us if you wish. If you would like to attend, please contact Alison on aqivasec@gmail.com who will forward the agenda and zoom link.

And 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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