Vote for a new Trustee – deadline this week!

clean sheet

Clean Sheet time


Oh god not more voting I hear you moan!

Those regular readers of this site will know that my personal view is that the Trust has suffered significant loss of reputation and only changes of management will address this in the long term.  In your dealings with the Trust I suggest everyone to continually remind themselves of the membership cutoff ploy which tried to deny the people of Stratford a fair vote by using extremely slippery tactics.  This move, possibly not even legal, was probably what put the final nail in the coffin of this development and led to a humiliating climb down. Remember also that legal fees were spent defending this strategy – or to really focus the mind, money that could have been spent on charitable endeavors was spent on legal advice trying to thwart the will of the people of the town. Think about that for a second.

Behind the smiles those running the Trust were prepared to trample over our democratic rights in order to sell a much cherished town asset for £7 million for, er, the ‘good of the town’ despite almost total opposition from the town.

Hiding behind the mantra of a “legal obligation to maximise charitable income” sounds plausible until you realise that the Charity Commission has never prosecuted a single charity for not maximising income. It’s a directive in spirit rather than something that needs to be slavishly adopted at the expense of everything you stand for – like the people you are purported to serve.  This single-minded bureaucracy terrifies me because there is almost nothing that can stop it once the wheels are in motion. You could see the set-jawed determination to proceed with this development at all costs during the consultation evening where the managers and key trustees stood shoulder to shoulder with architects and developers who were all about to make a killing in the face of almost unanimous opposition. The people of Stratford were an annoyance, like flies to be swatted away.

The Trust is part of the fabric of the town and much loved and appreciated by many.  I personally know people who’s life has been dramatically changed by the organisation so my beef isn’t with the charity itself but with the direction it has taken recently.

Anyway, as we’ve been reminded this week we live in a democracy and things can change and next week sees a big opportunity to put the Trust back on track with pending election to elect a new trustee.

I’m backing Quentin Willson – I’ve seen him in action for the past 6 months on this campaign and he’s a driven individual. As a Stratford resident of nearly 20 years he’s a bona fide local. Professionally The Trust is severely deficient in PR know how (the heavy duty security guards at the consultation event tells you all you need to know) and his profile as a broadcaster will help keep a light shone on what has to many become a secretive organisation. I’m not saying the others aren’t suitable and certainly two of them I have had interactions with and they seem like good eggs. If any of them want to stick up a post I’m happy to provide a platform if they want to contact me.

I hope subsequent elections will result in a fresh intake and we can get more sensitive, Stratford oriented folks with a finger of the pulse of the townsfolk running this organisation.  We all took our eye of the ball with the Town Trust and our collective ignorance allowed this to happen.  Let’s bring it back!

For more information on the vote follow this link :

All the best


Editor, The Welcombe Hills




Sledging on The Welcombe Hills

Long time Welcombe Hills sledgers have their favourite spots and the hills are full of little runs which will keep the small kids happy.  But if you are after some speed there are 3 large hills that are worth checking out.

Sledging Welcombe Hills

Sledging Welcombe Hills

A. Warwick Road – Not done this one before. From the Maidenhead Road entrance turn right into the field and head over to the style about 200 yards to your east. This hill is over by the golf club (off the 13th tee apparently) which has a steep slope leading down to the main Warwick Road that runs into Stratford. It has great potential as a slope but because it’s a bit of a secret and hardly anyone knows about it it doesn’t have the ready made compacted ice that we needed. The kids complained “it wasn’t fast enough” and if you are unfortunate enough to have small people with you on your sledge trip then you know you have to deliver a ready made run.  So we moved on to our favourite sledging spot which we have visited since we moved in over 5 years ago (C)

B. The Welcombe Hotel – Technically the best parking for this is probably the Welcombe Hotel but their car park is private so I would probably suggest you go via Maidenhead Road again and make the 10 minute walk. This undoubtedly is where all the action is on the hills. lots of runs, with a particularly fast one coming out of the woods  to your left as you come down the hill approaching the hotel.  This area also benefits from having lots of smaller runs all around the “bowl”. It’s very popular with the older children.

My kids are still quite young and we were with a few other familys with 5 year olds so we headed over to our favourite sledging track.

C. The Clopton House side – You can either park at Maidenhead Road or I’ve noticed that some people with 4WD or a more adventurous spirit drive up Clopton Road and park at the foot of the sledge run. It’s a dirt track at the end so be careful. From Maidenhead Head walk up to the little castle (Clopton Tower) and bear left following the footpath as if you were heading over to Margarets Well. after 5 mins walk you’ll see the sledge run on your right (normally with lots of people on it).  It’s a wide field and tends to attract the people with young families as although the runs are quite fast it’s not too steep and there aren’t too many maniacs.  When we got up there today it had already started to get a but slushy. But it was great fun and as ever with Stratford I bumped into a load of people I know.


Welcombe Hills Sledging

Our favourite sledging spot




It’s Wabbit Season

We were remarking the other day that there seemed to be lots of bunnys around this time of year.

Poppy meets Bugs.


Fun Run

We were thwarted on our usual route today as there was a fun run on (our hounds love chasing runners so had to be kept on the leash) so we headed over to the Clopton side only to find it full of cows (and, yes, our hounds love chasing cows too).

So we came home, bumping into a lady with the coolest dog carrying bike ever!


A Beautiful Morning Up On The Hills

13th October 2012

Autumn arrives

Autumn is on its way.  You could feel it today in the air.  And you can see some of the leaves are turning a yellowy brown.  What always amazes me is that once it starts to turn how quickly it is before it goes full throttle.  This is taken on 2nd September 2012.

Autumn creeps in




Now I don’t really mind cows but my dogs see them as some sort of entertainment so when they are on the hills we tend to give them a wide berth.  But today they were milling around on the path outside the Welcombe Hotel and then when we changed our route and backtracked, heading for the woods up past the tower we came across them again.  We had no option but to put the hounds on the leads.



The Jubilee Beacon

We heard about the Beacon about a week before the Jubilee and were so intrigued to see how it was all going to work that we went up the morning to check it out.

Beacon under construction on the morning of the Jubilee 4th June 2012

It was pretty much made of building pallets and straw.  This is what it looked like after the Mayor, Keith Lloyd, set fire to it!

The beacon with fireworks from a distant hill evening of Jubilee 4th June 2012