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Spending Time Outdoors, safely

#StayhomeStaySafe is the advice but if you are spending time outside in our green spaces – new guidelines were issued by the government on 23 March and you may see posters reminding you of these.

  • observe social distancing by keeping at least 2 metres/6 foot away from other people
  • keep dogs on a lead to avoid unnecessary contact with other space users
  • encourage people to wash their hands before leaving home and as soon as they return from being outside.

Poster reminding people to maintain 2m distance, keep dogs on a lead and wash hands before coming out and on returning home       Poster reminding people to maintain 2m distance, keep dogs on a lead and wash hands before coming out and on returning home

poster asking members of the public maintain the social distancing guidelines for the  burials team


The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.

When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why the government has introduced three new measures.

Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes.

Closing certain businesses and venues.

Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public.

Every person in the UK must comply with these new measures, which came into effect on Monday 23 March. The relevant authorities, including the police, have been given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

You will have seen signs going up around the town reminding residents of the new guidelines we should follow to keep ourselves and others safe and protected while outside,
issued by the UK government on 23rd March. There are signs in the parks and green spaces including the cemeteries. We are publishing them here to serve as a reminder.

Taking into account the third measure on the list we have been asked by the Police to remind you that picnicking constitutes a gathering and is therefore prohibited at this time. The government continues to review the measures in place and will keep us updated if things change.

In the meantime we thank you for your co-operation.


Covid-19 focused Scam awareness and safety online

At a time when we are not in as much contact with our elderly or vulnerable relatives as usual please give them a call and just talk through how to avoid losing money to scammers. Unbelievably even now there are people coming up with new ways to deceive people and take money from them in big or small amounts, by phone, by text, online and even on the doorstep.
There are lots around covering a number of topics from free school meals to emergency payouts from the government.Ask them to show you anything they are thinking of responding to that is offering something free or offering cash, doing their shopping, asking them to have a virus test or purchase s cure or vaccination.

Some of them look very convincing – others have bad spelling or other errors but at a quick glance may look genuine.


You can find out more here at Trading Standards and Oxfordshire County Council

Trading Standards beware of covid-19 scams/

Oxfordshire County Council Scam awareness

There is a link here to cybercrime and keeping yourself or your business protected online.

South East employers online safety and cybercrime awareness




Message from Lower Windrush Valley Project


As many of you will be aware, all LWVP volunteering sessions and events have been postponed until further notice. At a time when we are all being asked to restrict our movements and social contact with others, it is important to remember the huge physical and mental wellbeing benefits of spending time in nature, whether that be in your garden, walking through the countryside or at a local nature reserve or park.

We hope that the attached leaflets might provide some inspiration for getting outdoors in the local area.

Discover the Lower Windrush Valley – Walks and Leisure Leaflet
Rushy Common and Tar Lakes Leaflet
Witney Lake and Country Park Leaflet

Please remember to:

follow government advice on social distancing – do not meet in groups and wash your hands frequently
keep to public Rights of Way or permissive routes (details of which can be found on the Discover the Lower Windrush Valley leaflet)

If you’re looking for nature themed activities to keep the children entertained, here are a few ideas:
Making a recycled bird feeder:

Making a nature bracelet (instructions attached)

Make a Nature Bracelet instructions

The Trees for Schools website is very good. Loads to do and you can search for activities based on links to the KS1 and KS2 curriculums:

Finally, if anybody is finding themselves wondering what to do with all this extra time at home – we have a back log of wildlife records from our bird hides that need entering in to Excel. Please get in touch if you think you can help with this.

Best wishes and keep well,

Lucy and Rachel

Lower Windrush Valley Project


Closure of Witney Town Council Public Buildings

The Town Hall, Corn Exchange and Burwell Hall will be closed from Friday 20th March in the interests of staff and customers and to adhere to the Government advice on social distancing.  You can still contact us by telephone or email and please keep a look out on our Facebook, Twitter App and website news posts to stay up to date with useful updates.

Town Hall  01993 704379

Corn Exchange  and Burwell Hall 01993 702309


Current Local Bus Service Information

London, Bus, Red, England, Public Transport

This is the current position regarding all local bus services from Monday 23 March but obviously they are subject to change so please keep checking with bus companies where you can.
S1 and S2
Peak service to operate largely as normal to enable key workers to continue.
Off peak Sunday service.
Normal service.
Saturday service.
Saturday service.
Hourly service.
Oxford Tube
Normal service.
The 09.30 to Cheltenham will not operate.
The 13.15 will operate as normal with a return at 16.10
Town service
Hourly service between 08.55 and 12.55 on routes 214 and 215.
213 suspended.
Return shoppers service from Milton including Deer Park.
Service leaves Milton at 09.00 and serves Deer Park at 09.32. Return at 12.20.
All services suspended.




Land Army logo
There are lots of excellent Community Action and Business Resilience posts dotted around on Facebook.

Many of you have one for your own village or area and they are great for keeping your fellow residents up to date with what is going on.
Witney Land Army are centrally organising volunteers through their page and you can sign up using this form. This will help co-ordinate all the offers of general help.

Witney land army covid19 volunteer

Meanwhile, local businesses continue to make generous offers to help each other and members of the public on various sites. The main one for Witney seems to be: Support your Witney community during the Covid-19 outbreak:

Support your Witney community during the Covid-19 outbreak link

and there are others offering help in the surrounding towns and villages such as Carterton & Brize Coronavirus community assistance group- which offers “Advice, Resources and Kindness”

Please don’t forget Volunteer Link Up who always need volunteers and will need them more than ever right now and finally take care of yourselves.


If you are finding it all a bit much and need some support with anxiety or other mental health conditions MIND offers help and support

Mind Mental Health Information and support link



Spring Issue Newsletter and Survey

Front cover of the newsletter

It’s time for the Spring Newsletter. This issue will be delivered to all Witney Homes around the end of this month but if you can’t wait till then you can read about your Council Tax and what the Town Council spends its share of that on.


There is also our Annual residents’ satisfaction survey asking you to rate our services and also as part of that survey a focus on Youth Services.



Advance Notice – roadworks – Faringdon Rd. Faringdon 14-19 April

This one isn’t Witney but will affect journeys to Swindon and put some extra traffic on other local routes

Temporary Traffic Regulation Notice – S14 Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984
Temporary Road Closure and “No Waiting” Restriction at Faringdon, Faringdon Road

In the interests of public safety, it will be necessary for Oxfordshire County Council to close the road and impose a ‘No Waiting’ restriction as detailed above to facilitate carriageway resurfacing works.

A temporary Notice is being made to implement the temporary closure and will operate from 14 April 2020 up to and including 19 April 2020. This will operate between 04:00 and 18:00.

A Temporary Traffic Regulation Notice is being made to implement the temporary closure and restriction and will operate on the days shown above.

Please note that Notices for urgent works can last up to 5 consecutive days only.

Access will be maintained for emergency service vehicles and for those frontages within the closure area, subject to the progress of the works and liaison with the works supervisor.

A copy of the drawing showing the extent of the closure and restriction and also the alternative route for traffic is attached.

Further information regarding the works may be obtained by contacting Oxfordshire County Council on 0345 310 11 11.



Advance Notice – Roadworks Crawley 11-22 May 24hr road closure


Temporary Traffic Regulation Order – S14 Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984
Temporary Road Closure at Crawley, Showell Farm, Witney, OX29 9XJ

A request has been received from KCD/Thames Water for a temporary road closure to apply to a section of Showell Farm, whilst essential new water connection works are carried out.

A Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) is being made to implement the temporary closure and will operate from 11 May 2020 up to and including 22 May 2020. This is a 24 hour road closure.

(The maximum duration of a TTRO on a road is 18 months and on a footpath is 6 months, or until completion of the works, whichever is the earlier.)

Notice of intention to make the Order will be published in the local press.

Further information regarding the works may be obtained by contacting Sophie Carter on 02035 777 745 or email




Advance Notice – Road works – Northleigh- May 2020

Temporary Traffic Regulation Notice – S14 Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984
Temporary Road Closure at – North Leigh, A4095
In the interests of public safety it will be necessary for Oxfordshire County Council to close the road as detailed above in order to facilitate carriageway resurfacing and improving signage.
A temporary Notice is being made to implement the temporary closure and will operate from 19/05/2020 (at 19:30hrs).
The anticipated completion date is 22/05/2020 (at 06:00hrs).
Night closure and each night from 19:30hrs to 06:00hrs.
A Temporary Traffic Regulation Notice is being made to implement the temporary closure and restriction and will operate on the days shown above.
Please note that Notices for urgent works can last up to 5 consecutive days only.
Access will be maintained for emergency service vehicles and for those frontages within the closure area, subject to the progress of the works and liaison with the works supervisor.
A copy of the drawing showing the extent of the closure and also the alternative routes for traffic is attached.
Further information regarding the works may be obtained by contacting Oxfordshire County Council on 0345 310 11 11.


Buttercross Clock

For those who have been taking an interest in the state of the Buttercross clock, here is an update. The clock repairman has been up inside the roof and made a full assessment of what is causing the clock’s inability to keep accurate time.

The good news is that the actual mechanism is in perfect order.  The issue lies with the receiver which picks up the time signal. The current receiver is no longer powerful enough to consistently pick up the signal from the UK transmitter which has moved.

Therefore, next week Councillors will be asked to approve the purchase and installation of a new, more powerful receiver, identical to the one that is successfully keeping time for the Corn Exchange clock and this should resolve the issue.  For the time being the clock hands have both been placed at 12 for stability and to help protect them.Th clock tower of the Buttercross


Witney pioneers UK first ever Tiny Forest

UK’s first-ever Tiny Forest seeks to deliver big benefits for people and the environment

Cartoon image of fully grown tiny forest in use as a recreation space


photo of volunteers planting tree saplings


Environmental charity Earthwatch Europe and Witney Town Council have partnered to plant the UK’s first-ever Tiny Forest in Witney, Oxfordshire, on Saturday 14 March, in a joint response to the climate and ecological emergency.


On planting day, dozens of staff, councillors and volunteers from the local community will plant 600 trees in the town, on a plot the size of a tennis court.  Mimicking native woodland, this small, fast-growing, and dense forest is ideal for urban areas where space is limited.


Our cities are under increasing pressure from extreme weather events such as floods and heatwaves, as well as biodiversity loss.  These issues have serious and long-term impacts on the environment, economy and society, and are only expected to worsen in the face of climate change and rapidly growing urban populations.


However, Tiny Forests provide an innovative, nature-based solution to these challenges, with direct links to local government and businesses’ climate and biodiversity strategies.  Despite their small size, they deliver significant tangible benefits, including flood mitigation, improved air quality, noise reduction near busy roads, havens for wildlife, and spaces for people to connect with nature.


Scientific modelling shows that just four years after planting, a single Tiny Forest will:

  • Grow up to 5x faster compared to traditional monoculture tree-planting schemes
  • Absorb up to 30x more carbon compared to traditional planting schemes
  • Attract more than 500 species of animals and plants – in addition to those planted
  • Process 30,000 litres of rainfall
  • Improve air quality through dust reduction
  • Provide up to 30x better noise reduction compared to traditional planting schemes
  • Help with thermal comfort


Victor Beumer, Senior Research Lead at Earthwatch Europe says: “We are excited to be planting a Tiny Forest, the first of its kind in the UK, in partnership with Witney Town Council.  At a time when it seems impossible to overcome the enormous challenge of the climate and ecological crisis, Tiny Forests offer a collaborative natural solution with far-reaching benefits.  We hope to inspire individuals, businesses and government to take environmental action, by supporting a Tiny Forest in their local area.”


Witney Town Councillor Vicky Gwatkin adds: “The global environmental crisis focuses the mind but also provides a tremendous opportunity to think outside the box, giving us the confidence to experiment and try new things.  Tiny Forests demonstrate that, far from being a sacrifice, the shift to ‘green’ can actually provide a range of other community benefits.  It is a privilege for Witney to have the UK’s first Tiny Forest and massive thanks to Earthwatch and the efforts of our own council officers for enabling this to happen.”


The UK’s first Tiny Forest is based on a forest management methodology developed in the 1970s by Japanese botanist Dr Akira Miyawaki.  Indian engineer and entrepreneur Shubhendu Sharma, CEO of Afforestt reinvigorated the technique in the 2010s.  Over 3,000 forests have been planted worldwide using Miyawaki’s methodology. Earthwatch is rolling out the concept in the UK with the support of IVN Nature Education, a Dutch organisation that has successfully planted close to 100 Tiny Forests in the Netherlands, which has a similar climate to Britain’s.


This forest pilot will be followed closely by a second one, which Earthwatch is planting in partnership with Oxford City Council in Oxford, at the end of March.  The charity is seeking other visionary sponsors and land owners to help bring hundreds more Tiny Forests to the UK.


# ENDS #


Media contacts

Press pack with more background information available for download here:

For images or interview requests, contact: Susannah Penn, Senior Communications Manager, E: or Elizabeth Hunston, Communications Coordinator, E: T: 01865 318 820


Notes to Editors

About Earthwatch Europe –

Earthwatch is an environmental charity with science at its heart. We drive the change needed to live within our means and in balance with nature. We do this by:

  • connecting people with the natural world
  • monitoring the health of our natural resources
  • informing the actions that will have the greatest positive impact.

Climate resilience and biodiversity in urban settings is one of five key environmental challenges we are addressing in our five-year strategy.  Because, with two thirds of the world’s population projected to live in cities by 2050, humanity needs to urgently adapt to the climate crisis and biodiversity loss, and nature actually has many of the answers we need.  And because the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) 11, agreed in 2015, pledges to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.


About Witney Town Council –

Witney Town Council is the third tier of Local Government for Witney. Established in 1974, it serves a population of more than 28,000 residents.  There are six electoral wards within the town boundary and 17 elected town councillors who form the democratically elected body.

Witney Town Council declared a Climate Emergency in June 2018 and is committed to ensuring that the town does everything possible to become net-zero carbon neutral and to ensure a cleaner and better future for its residents.



Commonwealth Day Flag Raising 2020

The theme for Commonwealth Day 2020 is:Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming.

Lovely words on this theme, in this year’s affirmation, were read aloud by Mayor of Witney, Cllr Duncan Enright after he raised the flag above the Town Hall.

The Affirmation
We affirm that every person possesses unique worth and dignity.
We affirm our respect for nature, and that we will be stewards of the earth by
caring for every part of it, and for it as a whole.
We affirm our belief in justice for everyone, and peace among peoples
and nations.
Joining together in kinship and affinity, in diversity and unity, as members
of a worldwide family of nations, we build on shared inheritances.
We cooperate with mutual respect and goodwill to deliver a common future
for the good of all.
Through Commonwealth connection we learn from one another, and innovate
to transform our communities, our nations and our world.

The Mayor raising the Commonwealth Flag Commonwealth flag flying Mayor, Cllr Duncan Enright reads the Commonwealth Day affrmation with Cllr Liz Duncan in attendance


Witney Town Council commits £30k to support Youth Services

A £30,000 fund is one of the ways in which Witney Town Council is aiming to support children and young people in the town.

The money will go towards supporting sustainable youth work and services.

Early in 2019 the Town Council held meetings with key professionals from youth service providers and followed up with direct consultation with the town’s youth through a young people’s survey. This enabled them to identify problems and issues in the town, available provision and resources, and current and future need.

While existing provision in the town is of high quality, there are gaps and barriers to access that need to be addressed.

Based on the information gathered the Town Council resolved to set a budget to support Witney-based projects and collaborations working with local children and young people and to strengthen the town’s youth sector provision.

Cllr Luci Ashbourne, Chair of the Youth Services Working Party commented;

“Young people and their lives are shaped by, and help shape, our community as a whole.  Government cuts to local authorities, schools, policing and mental health services have had a significant detrimental impact on the support and services available for children and their families.

As a grassroots authority, Witney Town Council have the ability to help understand, bring together and share – visually and accessibly – what the town’s offer is: From birth to adulthood, in terms of recreation, leisure and learning, to open access and specialist support.

Knowing this will also enable us to know where the gaps are, to look for solutions, and indeed to help positively promote the lives of a generation and beyond.”

Witney Town Council will also be working alongside agencies at Oxfordshire County Council and West Oxfordshire District Council, reviewing and adding to existing directories to create an accessible and definitive ‘asset map’ of services within the town.

The twin offering from the Town Council consists of the services directory and a fund that could be used to support existing services, create new projects or remove barriers to accessing existing services, such as funding discretionary rates.

The consistent message is that the promotion of positive experiences and opportunities for 0-21-year olds demonstrates that the towns young people are valued and that investing in them will have beneficial outcomes.

The Town Council is continuing to gather information for its Youth Services asset map and you can help by filling in the section that focuses on this in our Annual Resident’s Survey which can be found at this link and in our Spring Newsletter.