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Working sessions
We are again planning to carry out some regular maintenance in and around East and West Hanney this year. We plan to work from 09:00 until noon, and as usual, the location will depend upon what needs to be done. Please add these dates to your diaries. It would be great if everyone could do at least one session during the year as it then spreads the load out.
*** Venue and work details will be advised each month by email to subscribers of our E-newsletter ***



We are looking for volunteers to organise each weekend, so please contact us via the contact form or email Clive Manvell: or call 01235 868216; 0796 4144 109.


Saturday 16th December
Once again, we were very lucky with the weather as it was very mild and dry with thirteen volunteers tackling some of the flooding issues in West Hanney. Many, if not most, road gullies were full of silt and leaves appearing to not have been cleared out for quite some time. Gullies were tackled in Church and Main Streets as well as some by the Buttercross.
The long covered culvert alongside Thorncomb proved problematic with tree roots in the pipe catching leaf litter and willow debris mixed with silt and forming a blockage which was very hard to shift. It is recommended this culvert is regularly jet-washed clear and a grill placed across the entrance to trap debris before it enters the pipework.
We enjoyed Phils mince pies and Helens rich fruit cake before adjourning to The Plough for a well-earned drink at the end of the morning. Special thanks to Phil and Helen for the food refreshments and David for some of the beers. Thank you to everyone who brought along additional tools and were prepared to get stuck into this task Paul S, Peter MS, Andrew W, Tim G, Adrian B, Mick M, Ian G, Dickon G, Richard C, David C, Jason, Clive F and Clive M.
Thanks to Jim S for taking a photograph of the team.

Saturday 18th November
Two teams undertook to reduce the volume of road surface water very evident in both villages and to improve drainage systems where possible. It is understood that there are no county budgets for drainage work and any road sweeping is funded by parish councils.

West Hanney
The team cleared all the culverts and ditches that serve the western area of Church Street mainly outside Aldworths, The Barn and Jubilee Cottage, removing some 40 barrow loads of leaves and other detritus. Overhanging branches and brambles also trimmed back from the nearby western ditch and a number of road gullies (drains) were cleared out here and along Church Street. Gullies in The Meads were also cleared of silt, leaves and other debris.
The hard work of David S, Richard C, Keith R, Lamorna Z, Phil M, Jason K and Owen M was rewarded with the very gratefully received ginger cake baked by Helen S.

East Hanney
The team here started by re-establishing the badly neglected roadside grips in both verges of the road leading to Summertown, from the A338. A very disappointing amount of litter was found and removed from this area. It appears that fast food containers and many beverage cans and bottles are discarded from passing cars. Moving on from Summertown along Main Street as far as the main road again the roadside gullies were cleared of leaves and in some cases the gratings were removed and large amounts of silt and mud were dug out, some even needing established roots to be cut before digging out. These were particularly bad in the area east of St James View. Unfortunately, energy and time ran out before being able to carry on around The Green, Morlands, Halls and Ebbs Lanes and into Ashfields Lane. This team were also rewarded with ginger cake baked by Helen S, sandwiches from Mick and a much needed coffee from Meryl and Keith, whose house was miraculously near-by.
A significant effort from Ian G, Dickon G, Mick M, Tim G, Peter M, Duncan M, Adrian B, Keith C, Meryl C and Clive M. Additional thanks too to Ian and Dickon for providing and manoeuvring cones and road signs to keep the team safe whilst working.

Saturday 21st October
After no further significant rain and a much lower water level in Letcombe Brook, the sandbags in all areas were removed and the flood barriers taken down from the HWMH. The opportunity was taken to do some training and labelling of the HWMH flood defences and to clear some blocked gutters. Childrey Brook continued to rise, and 4 vehicles have now become stranded. The brambles and other overhanging branches along the footpath from the Iron Bridge to Lower Mill were dealt with today.
Thank you to the many people who spontaneously turned out to see what assistance was needed on Friday, some even wading through from West to East, those wading in to rescue stranded cars and those alerting us to where there were problems. I hope we have everyones names but thank you to Steve K, Jason, Annabel, Peter M-S, Keith R, Mick, Stewart, Adrian, Jane, David S, David C, Andrew, Paul, Tim, Graham, Alastair, Jackie, Meurig, Ian, Dickon and Clive M.

Saturday 16th September
Seven volunteers enjoyed the sunshine and mild weather in Summertown Road, drain rodding the culvert that is approx 38m long requiring 40 x 2 m drain rods to be pushed and pulled the full length, aprox five times throughout the morning, clearing the the pipe of silt and soft tree root matter, the end result being that water could be seen to be flowing once more. Many thanks once again to Ian and Dickon for the road safety signs and other measures that are so essential on such a busy road, and a particular thank you to Stephen Mckechnie for the surprise delivery of a most welcome cup of coffee for all the volunteers.
A shorter session than normal as tasks completed by 10:45 with a big thank you to all the volunteers who turned out on Saturday Andrew, Peter M, David S, Mick, Ian, Dickon, Peter M-S.
The Hanneys Flood Group is supporting the Michaelmas Fayre in the afternoon of 30th September, in West Hanney so do please pop in and see us and have a chat and should you be able to assist in setting up or on the day, please do drop Clive or myself a line or
Also note that the Community Woodland working party will take place on the 7th October and not the 30th Sept being that it is the same day as the Michaelmas Fayre Point of contact as always is Paul at

Saturday 19th August
Nine volunteers enjoyed the early sunshine and cool breeze in Winter Lane clearing the main drainage channel from West Hanney northwards. It is our understanding OCC Highways responsibility is for the road surface and extends only to the edge of the tarmac. Beyond that, where the drainage channel and its corresponding banks and culverts run, the responsibility for maintenance and keeping this water course clear is with the adjacent landowners, no matter where fences or other boundary markers are. It may not even state this on house deeds. It is not a Flood Group responsibility but at the request of WHPC the ditch north of Rectory Farm Close to the footbridge has been cleared of overhanging vegetation, grass verges trimmed along with other vegetation and cleared of litter. This flood prevention measure has been undertaken in the interests of West Hanney residents and Winter Lane road users in keeping this vital drainage channel clear.
David and Clive also cleared the drain slots along the Causeway which have filled with silt and straw since the road was resurfaced.
Many thanks to Ian and Dickon for the road safety signs and other measures, particularly the vegetation trimming expertise, David for transporting the equipment and Mick for the macaroons!
Thank you to all the volunteers who turned out on Saturday, Lamorna, Andrew, Peter M, David S, Mick, Ian, Dickon, Phil and Clive M. Thank you too to those who indicated they could not make this working party (12) as it really does help with planning the work schedule.
For your information, the rather unsafe wooden footbridge has been reported again to the OCC Countryside Team for the eighth time!!

Saturday 15th July
Despite the threat of heavy rain and high winds a merry band of 13 Flood Group volunteers assembled at the gate of Willow Barn and set off to battle the invasive Himalayan Balsam, alongside Letcombe Brook from Gods Ditch towards Venn Mill.
The main effort was to clear as much HB as possible on the eastern bank, the decision being made on safety grounds to stay on dry land and not enter the water due to the high level, fast current and rather deep stretches. The Himalayan Balsam was indeed in flower and varied in height from the hard to find six to twelve inches in height, hiding amongst the nettles and undergrowth, to some that were as tall as six feet and nearly two inches in diameter.
Mark Bradfield commented on how improved the areas were compared to previous years, which is always a good sign that the battle is being won. The team managed to spend a couple of hours gainfully employed pulling up the dreaded weed. Large clumps could be seen in places on the western bank of the Brook and Paul stated that he and Tom would tackle this later in the week before it started to spread its seed.
All in all a good session during which we managed to stay dry and Duncan, Mark, Alastair, Peter M, Lamorna, Mick, Ian, Dickon, Paul S, Andrew, David B, Sean and David S are thanked for volunteering, Paul Dyer for enabling access onto his land and David S for taking and returning the equipment.

Saturday 17th June
It is that time of year again when we continue our quest to rid Hanney of the invasive plant Himalayan Balsam which was once rife all along the Letcombe Brook in our parish.
Today we had 12 volunteers who tackled the task from Lower Mill to the point where Gods Ditch joins the Brook to the north of the village.
We split into several teams with some people in the water, some on the banks and some cutting access routes so that we could get to the areas where this is still found.
Thank you to two new recruits Tim and Duncan, old hand Ollie returning after his DOE Award stint with us a couple of year ago and Ian, Mick, David S, Keith, Meryl, Lamorna, Andrew, Clive F and Clive M. Thanks too to David for taking his car with the tools. Many thanks too to those who sent apologies, it really does help with the planning.

Saturday 20th May
Apologies to those other people who also volunteered for the working parties this month, especially those recently signed up at the Coronation volunteering initiative, but with the Himalayan Balsam hardly visible, nesting season in full swing, no known urgent tasks, Winter Lane running well and other areas in good shape we could not accommodate everyone so hope you enjoyed your month off. It is far better to have fewer people fully engaged than have too many people with not enough to occupy everyone. As it was we all had an early finish.
The drainage clearance was progressed in and around Halls Lane this morning, rodding the blocked gullies and culverts identified during the session here in April. There is still further work to do and this is scheduled for June. Thanks are due to Ian, Dickon, Peter, Richard and David B who are making good progress in this area. Hopefully local residents will have already noticed an improvement. The plan is to find all the drains, gullies and culverts and leave them clear and working for OCC Highways to more easily maintain in future.
A second team tidied up some overhanging branches improving habitat in an otherwise dark area. Many thanks to David S, Mick, Paul and Adrian.
Opportunity was taken to repair the water vole signs near the Iron Bridge and to identify where the low points are on the eastern bank for future sandbag deployment when it becomes necessary. I intend further identifying where these are later this week.
Thank you too to Denis H for constructively reducing the weed in the stream alongside Ye Olde Housen.

Saturday 15th April
We had ten volunteers this morning and split into two groups to address some of the issues arising from the high water levels just over a week ago. This included collecting a large amount of litter from the high water mark of the recent raised water levels.
The first team swiftly removed the tree that had become wedged under the new bridge connecting Poughley Farm stables with Halls Lane before moving on to remove a considerable amount of litter, including an inflatable guitar, from the pool below Lower Mill and then a fallen ivy-clad tree in the fish pass. A branch was also removed just above Lower Mill that had fallen into the water and collected a large amount of debris and litter. Thanks to David S, Mick, Andrew, Phil and Clive.
Team two made a start on the blocked drains and gullies in Halls Lane which was badly affected on the Friday night and Saturday morning. Hopefully OCC Highways jetting team can enhance the progress made here already by Ian, Dickon, David B, Peter and new volunteer Richard. A sack full of litter was also collected by this team.
Whilst around Lower Mill we have taken some measurements of the height of this new bridge which held back a lot of water as well as trapping the tree. The route of some road drain gullies were also confirmed as being a likely conduit for considerable amounts of water flowing from the Brook and down Halls Lane towards the village. Hopefully OCC Highways can be persuaded to fit one-way flap valves to the pipes linking with the Brook. The earth behind the western bridge support stone wall has been significantly eroded by the water flowing down the Brook and particularly last weekend when all the water that could not pass under the new bridge swirled around here. The stone work here has also deteriorated and some repointing is urgently required.
Just further downstream the wall supporting the footpath running beside the Brook and alongside Philberds Manor has also been undercut and there are significant gaps in the brickwork. Repairs are needed here too.

Saturday 18th March
A rather damp and dreary morning greeted the 10 volunteers, including new volunteer Peter, who turned out this month to undertake some overdue clearing and maintenance of the culverts, ditches and other water courses around Summertown.
We cleared the debris in front of, under, over and behind the coarse debris grill that feeds water back under Mill Orchard to Letcombe Brook, re-entering The Brook by the Legion where many hedge cuttings, leaves and silt had built up. The short culvert under the entrance to Sunset Strip, Rowans, Rowans Orchard and The Bungalow was rodded clear and silt removed above and below this access.

The main task of the day was to drain rod the blocked long culvert that carries water from Sunset Strip to the corner of Moreton where it connects with the drainage ditch running along the north side of the road back towards the A338 and between the Dews Meadow development and the eastern boundaries of the houses between Moreton and Lakeside which was also heavily overgrown. This is an important waterway as it provides water to the stream that runs along the eastern side of Main Street from Lay Cottage to the A338 opposite La Fontana. At this time of year the wildlife in this stream begin their breeding cycles and some of you will have already noticed the copious amounts of frog spawn. Later in the year Swan Muscles, cockles, sticklebacks and other fish will be evident. The Little Egret and Kingfisher have both been seen along here. We cannot stress enough how important it is for the riparian owners adjacent to this waterway to keep it clear of debris and undertake periodic maintenance tasks. The team cleared from Moreton to Waylands.

Thank you to Ian and Dickon for providing appropriate safety signs and cones to protect the workforce, Phil for washing the filthy Hi-Viz vests and a special thank you to all the volunteers – Adrian B, Peter M, David S, Ian G, Dickon G, James S, Stewart S, Mick M, Phil M and Clive M.

Saturday 18th February
Great turnout this morning and with 14 hardy volunteers we were able to achieve a significant number of tasks after the break last month.
Firstly Phil and Lamorna cleared the western end of the stream running through the meadow which was becoming overgrown with brambles and other vegetation.
Jim, Jane and Adrian made a start on lifting the gully covers around the HWMH and Community Shop and clearing out the litter and leaves.
David S, Ian, Dickon and Mick emptied the sandbag storage bin and reload it with all the sandbags, repacking some of the older damaged sandbags into new sleeves.
Clive M, Stewart, Andrew, Keith and Paul cleared a number of trees, branches, brambles and other obstructions from Letcombe Brook, gaining access from the Weir Farm west bank to reach the obstructions all of which originated from farm on the east bank. Several bags of litter were removed from the Brook.
Thank you to everyone who took part.

January 2023
There was no January Working Party.

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Himalayan balsam

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