Easter Bunny Hunt

 

With Easter fast approaching, we have organised a bunny hunt around the parks for you to all get in the spirit!

The bunny hunt will be taking place from Thursday 25th March until Thursday 8th April 2021.

Taking part is easy! Explore the perimeters of Bourton and Chandos park and find all the hidden Easter bunnies. When you find all the different bunnies, take a picture and tag us @buckinghamtc on Instagram or Twitter with your guess at how many bunnies in total are hiding.

How many bunnies will you find?

Fun Fact Friday: Buckingham and Lacemaking

The lace produced in Buckingham was originally known as Point d’Angleterre but local prominence in its manufacture was so great that it was commonly called Bucks Point.

Wikipedia states that “Bucks point is a bobbin lace (lace made by hand with thread wound on bone or ivory bobbins) from the East Midlands in England. “Bucks” is short for Buckinghamshire, which was the main centre of production. The lace was also made in the nearby counties of Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire. Bucks point is very similar to the French Lille lace, and thus is often called English Lille. It is also similar to Mechlin lace and Chantilly lace.”

The BucksPoint organisation state that “although Buckinghamshire was a centre of English lacemaking from as early as the 16th century, the styles of the lace made would have varied at different periods, reflecting what was fashionable at the time which meant Bucks Point lace did not appear until the end of the 18th century.

Bucks point is made in one piece on the lace pillow, at full width with common designs being floral and geometric. The floral designs are like those in Mechlin and Lille laces, but Bucks lace is generally simpler than the Belgian laces, and is made of linen or silk.”

Lacemaking in general was quite literally a cottage industry where women worked at their lace pillow, often in the doorway or outside for good lighting, as often as they could, to make a few pennies per foot. Their children could even make narrow simple edgings almost as soon as they could sit up!

No lace maker ever made a complete piece of lace. Instead, they would learn one pattern by heart to sell to a lace dealer and then each pattern would later be joined together to become a flounce or shawl. The dealers would then commission strips of a particular pattern and travel round collecting them and usually exploited the lace makers by supplying the thread and deducting the cost from the payment, which was generally only pennies.

It was supposedly Catherine of Aragon who introduced the craft of lacemaking to the area. Catherine, Henry VIII’s first wife, visited Buckingham in 1513, staying in Castle House. An Ivory crucifix, which is said to have belonged to her, can be seen in the Old Gaol Museum today.

Is there any Bucks Point lace left? Well, the Mayor of Buckingham wears a jabot which is made from fine Buckingham Lace and the Macebearer’s jabot is the same, although less fine. The Mayors Bear also dresses in Buckingham Lace too – How fancy!

Weeds or Wildflowers? Buckingham Art Contest

Buckingham wildflower art contest: enter by sending your wildflower art by email to office@buckingham-tc.gov.uk or by sending it to the Buckingham Town Council Office, Verney Close, Buckingham, MK18 1JP (paper entries only) by the end of the day Wednesday 12th May 2021.

To celebrate the growing biodiversity of Buckingham, flower information boards are being put up around the toddler play area in Bourton Park. Each board has been designed to put a name to flowers you might see on your daily walks, and created with local artist Fiona Hancock, illustrating stories about the history of each flower.

five kinds of wildflowers that can be spotted in BuckinghamCreating wildflower spaces has been an important part of improving the biodiversity of Buckingham. The more different species of wildflowers there are in an area, the more different species of insects, animals and birds, from bees to butterflies to field mice and swallows are provided with appropriate food sources and habitats to flourish in more urban environments.

Beyond ideas of eco-recovery, flowers are joyful. After a tough year, the first hints of spring blossoms have brought delight. Buckingham Town Council wants to capture and celebrate that joy with an art contest. All types of creativity would be welcome, from painting, collage and photography to anything else you can think of, as long as your art represents native wildflowers.

The competition deadline is Wednesday 12th May, and entries should be sent to the Wildflower art contest posterBuckingham Town Council office. The winner (or winners) will have their art printed on the cover of the summer edition of Buckingham Town Matters, Buckingham Town Council’s newsletter, which is delivered to over 6,000 homes locally.

Please be aware that if you choose to deliver your original artwork to the office as a physical copy (instead of sending us a copy by email) we will not be able to return it and it may be destroyed when the contest is finished. If you have any questions about this, please call the office on 01280 816 426 and we will be happy to discuss entry options.

Contest poster PDF

It’s Blooming Spring!

This Saturday 20th March 2021 is the Spring Equinox. The Spring Equinox marks the beginning of spring and from this day forward the day is longer than the night which means extra daylight. After the cold and gloomy winter, springs warmer weather puts a smile on everyone’s face. There are many reasons to enjoy spring including, brighter days, colourful flowers, green trees, birds return, bees and butterflies reappear, the list could go on and on!

Spring is the perfect season because it’s not too cold and not too hot to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air. With this in mind, we have put together a Spring Spotter Sheet for young children to enjoy while on their walks. Buckingham has some lovely walks, for more information, visit our Walks and Maps page. Here you can download pdf copies of local walks and maps to help you explore beautiful Buckingham. Don’t forget to check out Buckingham’s Community Heritage app Buxplore. Remote access has currently been enabled so if you are still self isolating you can still enjoy a visual tour around the streets and parks of Buckingham, completing activities, questions, and mysteries from home.

We would love to see some photos of you out and about completing the Spring Spotter Sheet. Please send your photos to us via private message on Facebook, or tag us on your post using #SpringSpotter @BuckinghamTC and don’t forget to tell us what you thought to be entered into a prize draw to win a reusable water bottle. We will do our best to share as many of your photos as possible. Happy hunting!

Wild Flower Boards in Bourton Park

Growing Wild in Buckingham!

As part of the Town Council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan it was agreed that the Council should protect and enhance native species and habitats, promoting and supporting opportunities for environmental enhancement and regeneration.

Since 2018 the Town Council has introduced 3 unique areas of wildflowers and, with the help of numerous local volunteers, planted swathes of native woodland bulbs across Bourton Park. All of the species have been carefully chosen by our knowledgeable Estates Manager to ensure they were native to the UK and well suited to the environment in which they were planted.

 

The wildflower meadows have proven extremely popular with visitors to the park, receiving lots of positive comments across social media and in the local newspaper.

 

Since the coronavirus pandemic led to restrictions on people’s movements and activities, many have learned to see their surroundings with fresh eyes, and have come to view the streets and parks where they live in a new light, discovering walks, trails and landmarks they had not realised were there before.

In order to enhance visitors’ enjoyment of the park, the Town Council’s Environment Committee agreed to install wildflower illustration boards, fixed at regular intervals, to the new fencing surrounding the junior play area in Bourton Park. Each board will display a watercolour illustration and short description of a native wildflower species, commonly found in Bourton Park.

The panels is to provide further information or insight into the importance of wildflowers to our environment. It is hoped that the boards      will entice visitor’s sense of curiosity and discovery and inform people as to the strong cultural bonds that exist with species such as:

Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor)
And where high grasses wave Shall great moon-daisies blink’ With rattle and sorrel sharp And Robin’s ragged pink’–    Robert Bridges, “The Idle Flowers”

Often used to create a bright yellow dye, Yellow Rattle’s striking bright yellow flowers with white lips are a sight to behold. When you brush through a wildflower meadow at the height of summer and you’ll hear the seeds of this flower rattling in their brown pods, this is why it is called Yellow Rattle.

Another excellent example of wildlife education boards can be found in Scott’s Lane, Maids Moreton, where the local conservation group have commissioned local artists to create 12 monthly illustrations raising            awareness of the different kinds of wildlife in the environment where the panel is situated. One of the local artists, Fiona Hancock has created 9 beautiful watercolour images of our chosen flowers for use on the Bourton Park illustration boards.

Cllr. Ruth Newell, Chair of Environment Committee said: “As a Botanist I’ve always enjoyed spotting wildflowers and have loved seeing the monthly illustrations in Scott’s Lane, so I was delighted when Fiona Hancock agreed to illustrate our wildflower boards that will assist people in recognising our native wildflowers in Bourton Park.

Notes

 

For enquiries please contact Paul Hodson at Buckingham Town Council on 01280 816426, office@buckingham-tc.gov.uk

Spring Cleaning

With the arrival of spring it is a time when people’s thoughts turn to lighter clothes, switching on the central heating off and planning for warmer days ahead – but for the Town Council’s Green Spaces Team it’s been time to roll up their sleeves and give the parks a spring clean. Alongside their usual grounds maintenance for this time of year, the team have completed the restoration and replacement of park benches across the town. You may have noticed some of the smart new street furniture on your way through town and Bourton Park! Some of the older benches have been restored with new timbers and everything’s been given a lick of paint.

The pandemic and associated restrictions on people’s movements and activities has led to a dramatic increase in the number of visitors to our parks and greenspaces, many have discovered walks, trails and landmarks they had not realised were there before. There are many fantastic walks in our historic town, many of which are featured on the Town Council’s heritage app Buxplore which can now be downloaded from the Google Playstore and help bring Buckingham’s unique and fascinating history to life.

The Cattle Pen’s pedestrian sign has also been given a much needed update with the addition of new fingerposts and a shiny new Town Council finial. This was the final stage of a project to improve pedestrian signage throughout the town through funding from the Finger Post situated in the Cattle PensDestination Buckingham project.

Cllr. Ruth Newell, Chair of the Environment Committee said “I am so pleased to see the benches spruced up for spring and ready for use as we all enjoy our wonderful parks and thank the Green Spaces team for their excellent restoration work.  I’d also like to thank Destination Buckingham for their funding enabling the fingerposts in the cattle pens to be completed.”

Buckingham Fringe Week Returns

Musicians playing instruments
Families playing on field
Ross Hockham with telescope

Buckingham Town Council is excited that the Buckingham Fringe Week will be going ahead this summer and plans are well underway for a week of events. So far events include a children’s outdoor theatre, otter trail through the town, skate park awareness day, the ever popular Oxford fiddle group, wellness walk and a fun day at the Lace Hill Sports and Community Centre. There will also be entertainment in the town centre throughout the summer months. Events are being planned to take place outside and allow for social distancing.  If government restrictions change, then events may be altered. 

Cllr Robin Stuchbury Chair of the Town Centre & Events Committee is.

Cllr Stuchbury said “I am looking forward to the return of the Fringe. The Buckingham Town Council events team has been working closely together with councillors on producing a collection of events built around our established Fringe Festival and are planning for the future by providing events and activities for every member of the community. One of Buckingham’s strongest assets is its ability for everyone to work together with partners to give residents that ambience once again as we carefully and responsibly reopen Buckingham both socially and economically. We will be publishing further details in the upcoming weeks and months and look forward to providing some joy through social interaction and community events throughout the summer.”

If you are going to be putting on events in Buckingham during that week and would like to be included in the Fringe Week brochure, please e-mail Amanda, the Events Coordinator events@buckingham-tc.gov.uk with details.

For enquiries please contact Paul Hodson at Buckingham Town Council on 01280 816426, office@buckingham-tc.gov.uk.

 

Fed Up Residents Initiate An Anti-Dog Fouling Campaign

Dog Owner and dogDog mess is the most unacceptable and offensive type of litter on our streets and in reality, there shouldn’t be a problem – you own a dog, it eats, it poos, you clean it up. Failing to do so is anti-social, illegal on public land and can spread disease, including toxocariasis. Fed up residents of Lace Hill in Buckingham have decided to tackle the persistent issue of dog fouling on the estate and surrounding green areas by setting up a group of volunteers to lead a campaign. They hope to change the small minority of irresponsible dog owner’s ways for the better.

The six-week campaign is underway and it is being supported by Buckingham Town Council who operate and maintain the Lace Hill Sport & Community Centre and Buckingham United FC who maintain the Lace Hill Sports Pitches. The campaign has been organised by the Lace Hill Residents Association.

‘Cllr Ruth Newell, Chair of Buckingham Town Council’s Environment Committee said it is disappointing in this day and age that any dog owners need reminding to clear up after their dog as it is a real health hazard, and dogs should not be exercised on playing fields. We would however like to take this opportunity to thank the residents and the volunteers of Lace Hill for their efforts and for keeping our green spaces safer for the community to enjoy. This is a great way to tackle the problem at a local level and would support other local neighbourhoods in doing something similar’.

In the first two weeks’ volunteers picked up over 900 deposits, and spent a staggering 135 hours doing so. The objective of the big clean-up was to get everyone regularly using the area to appreciate the difference and to join in the commitment to keep it looking good. Volunteers continue to patrol designated areas daily but have stopped picking up the dog mess. Instead, they are now using temporary spray paint to highlight new deposits and will be closely monitoring the situation. The idea of using spray paint is to show that new deposits have been noticed so owners get the message that it is disgusting. Drawing attention to the problem can make owners realise they need to be accountable for their actions. However, the Lace Hill Residents Association would like to recognise that it is a small minority of irresponsible dog owners causing the problem. Many more responsible dog owners do their duty, keep our green spaces safer and continue to make Lace Hill a nice place to live.

Dog Walker

Protecting Buckingham’s New Water Voles

Water Vole in Tube
Rat in a Corner
Mink in Grass
Canal with Reeds in the Foreground and Water in the Background

Buckingham Town Council agreed to support work to protect our rare water voles at a recent meeting of the Environment Committee.  The Council agreed to set up an email group to enable those monitoring the voles to communicate with each other, to help protect the voles from American mink.

Dr Tom Moorhouse, Senior Researcher in Wildlife Product Demand Management at the WildCRU, Zoology, University of Oxford and author of the Water Vole Conservation Handbook, was lead researcher on a replicated water vole reintroduction experiment run by Oxford University, with the support of Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) and two farms along the Great Ouse.

Dr Moorhouse said,

“We reintroduced twelve populations to local rivers from which they had been lost. This project remains a success story, one of the very few instances in British history when the declining conservation status of an endangered species has been reversed. The majority of our released populations established and spread, including the colony we released on the Great Ouse. Thanks in large part to local landowners’ diligence and enthusiasm, the population not only established but has spread to Buckingham, which is truly wonderful news.”

Water voles were once abundant on our waterways but during the 20th Century suffered a cataclysmic decline, which sadly is still ongoing.  We lost 99% of our populations in two decades, largely as a result of predation by the invasive American mink. Thankfully a number of projects around the country are working hard to combat this loss, including two sites along the Great Ouse in Buckinghamshire, and to return the water vole to our rivers and canals. These project desperately need ongoing support. The only methods we have to reverse this decline are reintroducing populations, and then safeguarding those populations through mink control. Any lapse in mink control - for even a few weeks - can be fatal to a water vole colony.

Buckinghamshire's three water vole colonies are colonies of a fantastically rare native species, which is protected by law, and they exist in Buckinghamshire entirely thanks to a lot of ongoing hard work in monitoring and controlling mink. With co-ordinated mink control in place, it is hoped that they will expand further, and thrive.

Council Ruth Newell, Chair of the Town Council’s Environment Committee said, “this is wonderful news when water voles are the fastest declining mammal in the UK, and great to hear of the recovery of the River Great Ouse, following the catastrophic pollution incident a few years ago.”

For enquiries please contact Paul Hodson at Buckingham Town Council on 01280 816426.