AQIVA Newsletter – Autumn / Winter 2023

December 29, 2023

posted by Jamie


Towards the end of September and into October, late Friday evenings saw several “gatherings” in the amphitheatre, with a large assortment of bottles, cans, food packaging, vapes and evidence of drug use scattered around. Sincere thanks to Saturday early morning dog walkers and others who took it upon themselves on each occasion to do a thorough clear up. Being thoughtful people, the perpetrators were on occasions kind enough also to leave some carrier bags behind to help in this process. It is with a degree of Schadenfreude that we understand that on one Saturday morning, while our good samaritans were sorting the mess, a youth, presumably one of the culprits, came over to ask if anyone had found a set of car keys.

On a much more positive note, we are delighted to have been given the opportunity to create a small display about the amphitheatre at the Local Information Centre, Bingham House, on Dyer Street. This will be available to view during office hours throughout January and February, and will include various historical and modern images and, in cooperation with the Corinium Museum, a selection of Roman artefacts not previously available for public view. More detailed information is attached at the end of this newsletter.

Our contribution to Heritage Open Day in September went very well with 15 attendees for our morning guided tour of the amphitheatre and 6 in the afternoon (by which time the temperature was around 30°, so the reduced number was not surprising). Our evening bat walk attracted some 40 people and, unlike some previous years, the bats themselves put on a good display. We were very gratified that several people sent extremely complimentary feedback about both events to the HOD organisers.

Querns Wood

General tidying up of pathway edges and other areas will be carried out as part of the town council’s winter maintenance programme. Also some tree works due to ash dieback.

Four Acre Field

We had insufficient volunteer numbers to work on maintaining the hedgerow this year but we had a stroke of good fortune. The strategy office of the UK division of an international company were holding a conference in Cirencester in August and it is their custom that when they have such meetings, they make a contribution to the local community in the form of volunteer work. We were fortunate that when they enquired how they might help, they were pointed in our direction and we were delighted to accept their offer.

Came the day, the weather was wet and miserable and we seriously considered cancelling the work party, but they were a pretty determined team of people and just got stuck in. It wasn’t the most pleasant of tasks, clearing brambles, thistles, nettles and a variety of other unwanted vegetation from the new hedgerow, but it was done with good humour and they did a great job, for which we are immensely grateful.

OK, maybe it still doesn’t look so pretty, but you should have seen it before
OK, maybe it still doesn’t look so pretty, but you should have seen it before

What else? Ah, yes, “THE GATE” at the entrance from Cotswold Close into the field generated a mixture of laughter and frustration. The barrier was a necessary installation to prevent unauthorised vehicle entry to the field which could at best cause damage to the grounds and at worst be downright dangerous. Unfortunately, as originally set up, with a padlocked barrier and fixed fencing on either side, it not only prevented vehicles, but also did a pretty good job of deterring pedestrians, particularly anyone with limitations of mobility for whatever reason. We did initially think that we could do some fundraising by offering limbo lessons but before we could get that going, one side of the fixed fence was removed.

Staying on the subject of ways into the field, the town council, also as part of their winter maintenance programme, have agreed to put gravel down at the entrance from Chesterton Lane, to try to reduce the mud bath that it can become in wet weather. In fairness, they will be limited in what they can do as much of that area is a tangle of thick tree roots. However, whatever they can do will be an improvement on what we’ve got now.

Just a couple of other points before we move on. As mentioned in our previous newsletter, 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 which will minimise intrusion on other users. This was planned for 2023 but, as you may have noticed, it didn’t happen. However, it is on the council’s list for 2024.

No doubt of great interest to all users – “No mow May 2024.” We’ll draw a veil over 2023 but we will be working with the council to come up with a better plan for the coming year.

Finally just a couple more pictures – sunrise and sunset. This plain, boring looking field really can be quite beautiful.


As always, our sincere thanks to everyone who came to our work parties and, in spite of being a bit light on numbers this year, we got a huge amount done and ran over to an extra session in October. However, there are areas that are beyond our capabilities, particularly snowberries around the obelisk itself and snowberries + brambles at the south end, along the wall (and there are a lot of them!). In any case, our insurance doesn’t cover us to use power tools, so we are grateful to the town council who have done clearance for us so we can start afresh, probably in April. Details will be circulated nearer the time but please come along if you can, if only for one session.

Scout Hut

Just as a quick update on our previous newsletter. A complete rebuild/revamp is a long way off but meanwhile the town council will be doing some minor repairs and maintenance work so that the scouts and men’s shed can carry on using the facility safely.

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The opening paragraph and picture of our previous newsletter were the sad image of a large pile of rubbish collected from around the amphitheatre. What a pleasure it is this time to have something in total contrast to the thoughtless and potentially dangerous...


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