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Britain in Bloom judge, Angela Pendleton visited Ross-on-Wye recently to assess the 'It's Your Neighbourhood' Campaign entries. Angela began her tour at Ross Court, going on to the Tudorville Allotments and ended it with a visit to the new Thomas Blake Memorial Garden Project in Wye Street. All three entries are very diverse and Angela told Ross-in-Bloom that not only was it a delight to visit the town again, but to see three completely different communities and their efforts as ensuring the In Bloom Campaign keeps going.

Once again Ross Court had pulled out all the stops to show off their gardens at their best. The residents and staff all take part in gardening and this year the Brownies have also been tending their own beds within the grounds. The gardens were awash with Scarecrows made by the residents themselves and round every corner you could see something different. It all made for a very enjoyable and entertaining hour.

From there, Angela moved on to the Tudorville Allotments. Again this is very diverse as every plot is different. Soft fruit and vegetables mix in with flowers and the grounds are kept very tidy by the allotment holders. Angela was accompanied by members themselves who could point out various aspects of gardening that individuals use as well as conservation and recycling matters that are used. Of course the taste testing always goes down well.

At the Thomas Blake Memorial Gardens Angela was able to see the three stages of progress (finished, getting there and haven't started yet!), being made by Ross-in-Bloom, the residents of Wye Street and other volunteers who work regularly on Sunday mornings to bring the gardens up to scratch as part of this Jubilee Project. They are also part of the volunteer force who visit when they can to litter pick and keep the areas tidy. The youngest volunteers are Dylan, aged 4 and his two older brothers, Jack and Archie of the Radcliffe Guest House. They accompanied Angela around the garden and she was very impressed with how they had helped the group over the past few months to get them to the stage they are today.

At all three venues Angela was presented with a portfolio to show how the work has progressed over the year (or since the project began in January in the case of the Thomas Blake Memorial Gardens) and she took these away with her to help with her assessments. Angela was also able to offer advice on how to continue with the work and improve on what had been done to date. The decisions on how well each entry has done will be announced in Solihull in September when representatives from each entry will invited to attend a prestigious awards ceremony.

Jack, Archie and Dylan have worked very hard, helping with the Thomas Blake Memorial Gardens project.


Herefordshire Council has made every effort to support the trustees of The Chestnuts care home at Ross-on-Wye in a bid to prevent it closing. The council was therefore 'disappointed' when the trustees decided to close the home, but has been working with them to ensure suitable ongoing care is found for all the residents who have now left the home. Unfortunately, despite offers of support over recent months, the council has had to turn down the latest request from the trustees to fund personal liabilities as this would have been an inappropriate use of public money.

In a nutshell, the council has:
leased the building to the trustees for a peppercorn rent for nearly 20 years
- m
ade a generous offer which would have allowed the trustees to lease the building from the council for a quarter of what it could get if it charged the full commercial rent
- tried to meet a series of demands from the trustees but reached stalemate when the trustees demanded a new long lease on a peppercorn rent for an unspecified period

'This would not be acceptable as the council would effectively be subsidising the care home, distorting the market in Ross-on-Wye, and financially propping up a private company with public money,' said the leader of Herefordshire Council, Councillor John Jarvis. He added that the council was aware that financially it would be difficult to bring the Chestnuts up to the standards the Care Quality Commission would demand in a modern care home. This, in addition to the changing face of care provision in the UK - a move to provide care and support packages to enable people to live independently at home - makes running a care home like the Chestnuts in the traditional way it has been run, very difficult.

'We're desperately sorry with the trustees' decision to close The Chestnuts, but genuinely believe we have done all we can to help them,' added Councillor Jarvis. 'Their latest request to the council to fund liabilities was not acceptable, nor would it have been an appropriate use of public money. Our priority has been firstly to ensure that the ongoing care needs of residents are met, and then to support relatives of residents and staff at the home.'

Local MP Jesse Norman has been in dialogue with Herefordshire Council and with the trustees to help to support them through this difficult time. Herefordshire Council can confirm it is still in discussions with other care providers regarding the future of The Chestnuts and is seeking to ensure that if someone takes it on, that they provide the right kind of care and support for the people of Ross-on-Wye and the surrounding area.

10th August 2011 ROSS ROCKS 2012

The Ross Rocks! team got together for a meeting this week to discuss their plans for 2012 and are planning a bigger and better event for next year. The first Ross Rocks event was a huge success and the team want to build on that to give the town not one but two days of great entertainment and fun for the whole family. A series of fund-raising events is being planned to cover the huge cost of putting on such an event and the team hope that you will support these to help ensure that Ross Rocks is an even bigger success next year. The plan is for the event to take place on Friday, 29th and Saturday, 30th June 2012.

One of the fundraisers being organized is a raffle with some great prizes. are offering a year's free advertising page to a local business which is worth £120.
Andy and Beth Morgan of the Radcliffe Guest House are offering one night's B&B for two.
Natasha Broadfield has offered 5 free Zumba sessions with 'Zumba with Natasha'
Ross Cider & Perry Co of Broome Farm, Peterstow have donated a Cider Talk, Tour and Tasting for up to eight people
Wilton Court Restaurant with Rooms have given a bottle of Heidsieck & CO Gold Top Monopole Champagne 2004.

The draw should have taken place at Ross Rocks in June but due to circumstances beyond our control unfortunately it didn't happen. However, I will be out and about with tickets so if you would like to win one of these prizes, stop me and buy one. Tickets are £5. The date of the draw will be published as soon as it has been confirmed.

The Ross Rocks team would like to thank all those who have donated prizes and to all who sponsored the first of hopefully many more Ross Rocks events. The photograph below was taken by Caz Holbrook. Many more great photographs of the event can be seen on her web site Caz Holbrook Photography.

A scene from Ross Rocks, 25th June 2011. Photo by Caz Holbrook.


Herefordshire residents are already responding well to the council's new night-time Noise Response team which will be operating throughout the county this summer. The idea behind the new team is to ensure residents complaining of unreasonable noisy parties or neighbours during the summer have a dedicated number to call and environmental health officers will be able to visit addresses and deal with the problems there and then.

Marc Willimont, Herefordshire Council's Regulatory Services Manager, said 'With the long summer evenings, many people hold barbecues and parties but sometimes these cause unacceptable noise nuisance to their neighbours. Before this team was set up, people would have to wait until after the weekend to report such incidents but now we are able to respond when the nuisance is actually happening. So far we have been able to stop noisy parties by speaking to the people involved but the environmental health officers will also have powers to serve noise abatement notices if necessary. The service has been well received by residents who have told us it is a much welcomed service because noise can cause such a blight to people's lives.'

The Noise Response Team consists of two environmental health officers operating throughout the county after 9pm over the weekend nights until the middle of September. After this trial period, the service will be reviewed to see if it can continue the following year. Marc added: 'It will be really interesting to see what impact this team has on the lives of many people who would normally have to wait and phone us on the Monday morning following a weekend of noise which has prevented them from sleeping. We are aiming for this service to be cost effective and also help us to improve the health and wellbeing of many residents as well.'

The Noise Response Team can be contacted on 01432 261761 after 9pm over the coming weekends including the Bank Holiday.


When Andy and Maria Gooding took on The Eagle Inn in Broad Street, Ross-on-Wye, they faced quite a challenge. The pub had become very run down and had a troubled history but since opening in April, the hard working couple and their team have really made a difference. The whole place is clean, there are flowers on the tables, there is great food available, the upper floor restaurant will soon be reopening, the toilets now have baby changing facilities and children and dogs are welcome too.

After just one week of opening many people began to see for themselves what a difference was being made and The Eagle seems to be going from strength to strength. The beer garden is a very pleasant place to sit and enjoy a drink or some food and the atmosphere is always friendly. The Eagle is also a great place to hold a party, wedding reception or any other celebration as there is a lovely, self contained function room to the rear of the pub. Why not go along and see for yourself. You will be very pleasantly surprised.

The Eagle Inn is open from 11am until 11pm, Tuesday to Saturday, then 12 Noon until 10:30pm on Sundays.

No longer a troubled pub, The Eagle Inn in Broad Street, Ross-on-Wye is going from strength to strength.

Maria shares a joke with some of her customers.

The function room is a great place for a party. There is even room for a bouncy castle.


Regulars at the Hope & Anchor Inn are keen supporters of St. Michael's Hospice, a very important local charity which relies heavily on public support to fund the care and support they freely give to cancer sufferers and their families. In the last issue of Wyenot News you may have read that Debbie's son, Shane and his friends, Rod and Mark recently completed a sponsored walk of Offa's Dyke, raising quite a sum for this popular cause.

This coming Sunday, 14th August a fun day will be taking place at the Hope & Anchor and there will be lots of fun to be had by all whilst raising even more money for the charity. There will be face painting, bouncy castles and a gladiator pit to keep children of all ages occupied and there will also be a tombola stall, a cake stall, a table top quiz and an auction with various, excellent lots to bid for.

There will be a couple of trophies up for grabs too. Why not win one of them by entering a team of four into the Tug of War contest? The entrance fee is just £5 per team. Just be sure to register before 2pm if you would like to enter. Other trophy hunters will have already registered for the Ross Pop Idol contest, where you will be able to see people perform their own favourite tributes. In between acts there will be the chance to exercise your own vocal chords with the karaoke at 50p per go.

The fun starts at 1pm and will go on all day long. Why not go along on Sunday and do your bit for St. Michael's and have a whole lot of fun in the process.


The Ross Cider & Perry Co. Festival is almost upon us and what a fantastic weekend is planned for 2nd, 3rd and 4th September. The event will kick off at 7pm on the Friday with a ceilidh, which is always a lot of fun. The music will be provided by popular ceilidh band 'Porridge.' Hilary and John Draper of Broome Farm B&B will have some of their excellent food available during the evening. Breakfasts are available on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 8am until 10am.

From 12 Noon on the Saturday, you will get the chance to meet the cider makers, when cider producers from Amazing Cider, Blaengawney, Border, Greggs Pit, Gillow, Gwatkins, Marchers, Old Grove, Ribble Valley, Seidre Dai, Swallowfields, Olivers, Upper House and more will be there. Live music will be performed from 2pm by Clementine Lovell, Tony Thompson, Jess Morgan, Los Squideros, Will Killeen, Daniel and Jo and Tatterdemalion. Hilary, John and their team will provide a selection of excellent food from lunchtime. There will also be demonstrations of apple pressing going on.

On Sunday, 4th the popular Farmers and Crafts market will be open from 11am until 4pm with live music being provided by Kidnap Alice and Hop Pickers Feast. The food theme on Sunday will be sausages and cheese, which both go down very well with cider. So, why not stay and enjoy sausage casserole, sausage in a bun or a ploughmans with quality cheeses.

There are still a few tickets available for the festival but hurry as they will soon sell out. If you would like to go to this fabulous event, email Phil at as soon as possible. (Tickets cost £25 plus £7.50 camping per night).

To view the three day photomotion and video of the 2010 festival, please click here.

A scene of many people enjoying the 2010 festival.


Herefordshire Council's contracting partner started work on Monday to install a toucan crossing at Gorsley. The works are scheduled to last ten weeks. All businesses are open as usual and two-way traffic lights will be in operation. Motorists are warned there may be delays due to the traffic lights and should find alternative routes if possible.


Since first opening Tudor Sweets in High Street, proprietor, Daniel Pearce has gone out of his way to accommodate the sweet preferences of all. The range of stock has increased massively and now there is even a selection of Ross-on-Wye gifts available, including Ross-on-Wye rock!. The Ross-on-Wye sweets come in attractive tins and jars and make lovely presents for a visitor to take back home as a souvenir. There are also Ross-on-Wye biscuits and boxes of fudge available.

Another popular addition to the range of sweet goodies is 'Fiction Jewellery'; bracelets, earrings and necklaces, all created by Sally Fear using liquorice allsorts and Love Hearts etc. The jewellery looks really good. Good enough to eat!

A small sample of some of the Ross-on-Wye gifts available at Tudor Sweets.

A display of some of the Fiction Jewellery available at Tudor Sweets.


Members of the Blake Memorial Garden Workforce are eagerly awaiting the results of how they got on last month in the Britain in Bloom Campaign. The results will be announced in Solihull on 8th September. The judges for 'Itís Your neighbourhood' sounded very impressed with the work carried out so far, so the team are looking forward to a good result. Like Ross-in-Bloom this is a continuing project throughout the year, especially as there will still be a lot of work needed there to get it looking good for the Diamond Jubilee next Summer. It is hoped that during the Jubilee Weekend Celebrations the team will hold some sort of event in the gardens to help with this memorable occasion.

Further to the continuing work there will be designated work parties on Sundays as before. However anyone who wishes to can visit between times and let either Mary Sinclair Powell or Caroline Utting know how many hours they have worked there and when. These hours go towards matched funding for grants etc., so are very important to log into the records. Just keep a note of when you have worked and how long and pass it on periodically.

The work required at the moment is general maintenance and tidying on a regular basis. If anyone has not worked there before and would like to lend a hand please let Mary or Caroline know and they will book you into the scheme of things (for insurance purposes). Tools are available from members of the team during designated working parties, but between times volunteers will need to supply their own tools such as brooms, trowels, secateurs, etc. However Mary is looking into leaving litter pickers with one of the houses in Wye Street as they are not something that is usually hanging around a home garden shed.

The next designated working parties are between 10.15am and 12.30pm on 14th and 28th August, 11th and 25th September and 9th and 23rd October. Decisions on what needs to be done for the winter will then be made and advertised in the local press and websites. Ross-in-Bloom and the Blakeís Project Team would like to thank everyone for their sterling work to date and hope that it will continue for the future. Further information can be found on the display boards in the gardens themselves.


The natural landscape and ancient industrial past of the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is to be explored by a group of young people in a innovative two-year 'youth rangers' project made possible by a grant of £23,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Managed by the Wye Valley AONB Partnership, the project will recruit 15 young people aged 14-16 years and provide them with a range of skills to enable understanding of their local environment.

Working in the Wye Valley AONB the young people will be involved in a range of tasks at several local sites which include the River Wye itself, Iron Age hill forts at Yat Rock and Little Doward, a former iron and wireworks at the Angidy Valley, and award-winning farms. The young participants, working with the AONB partnership and voluntary groups, will learn about biodiversity, conservation, heritage and recreation and will undertake surveys of the area's rich wildlife and habitats, explore land management techniques, the navigation of the Wye and the development of tourism, and will acquire skills including stonewalling, hedge laying and woodcraft.

During the project they will discover the techniques of putting a Youth Ranger DVD together, with assistance from an online TV company. This will be made aim to encourage teenagers to take an interest in their heritage and the natural environment. A celebration event will showcase their achievements in a series of workshops run by the youth rangers. Anne Jenkins, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands, explained 'The engagement of young people is vital for the future of environmental conservation. This project will introduce them to a beautiful and fascinating area of both natural and industrial heritage and also leave them with a range of new skills.'

Wye Valley AONB Project Leader, Sarah Sawyer was thrilled with the new project: 'This is a fantastic opportunity to engage young people in a meaningful way and enable them to become future champions for their local countryside and heritage.' If you fancy a go at a bushcraft session, Sarah will be organising one at the Monmouthshire show at the Countryside Matters marquee on Thursday, 25th August.

For youngsters who want to find out more about the Youth Rangers Project a taster day has been arranged for Saturday, 15th October where activities can be sampled. If you are interested in this event and the Youth Rangers project then please visit the Wye Valley AONB website, or contact Andrew Nixon on 01600 710841 or

Some of the Youth Rangers Learning bush craft.


If you're having a clear out here's your chance to pass on your unwanted items to raise money for charity and reduce waste at the same time. Herefordshire Council and Worcestershire County Council are working together with Hereford-based charity Wye's Buys to help residents re-use their unwanted bric-a-brac and clothing. Wye's Buys - the trading arm of Newton Farm Community Association, a registered charity in South Wye, Hereford - is looking for good quality bric-a-brac. They would like items ranging from clothing, footwear jewellery, bedding and curtains to books, toys, DVDs, CDs and crockery. Rags for recycling are also welcome - anything that is unsuitable for resale is sent to a textile recycler.

People can visit the shop and drop off items or pop in and browse the selection of affordable, good quality used clothes. Through carrying out their charitable work, Wye's Buys helps the councils to divert waste away from landfill each year. Councillor Adrian Blackshaw, Herefordshire Council's cabinet member with responsibility for waste management said 'We are very pleased to be working alongside Wye's Buys. The work that they do to help the community is fantastic and the added bonus is they help us to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfill.'

Richard Johnson, Chair of Wye's Buys, said 'Since we opened Wye's Buys three years ago the community have commented on what a useful service we provide them with. The income generated has grown year on year, helping to fund our other community based activities, which has in turn meant that Newton Farm Community Association is heading towards self-sustainability. You can find out more by visiting

If you would like to donate items please bring them along to Wye's Buys at 21/23 The Oval, Newton Farm, Hereford or call 01432 279116. The shop is open from 10am until 4pm, Monday to Friday.


With the help of archaeologists from Herefordshire Council, 50 army officers from the 12th Mechanized Brigade have just completed an imaginative three day exercise along Offa's Dyke. Dubbed 'Exercise Offa's Ace,' the exercise used the turbulent history of the Welsh borders to give a fresh perspective on some of the complex issues and challenges the Brigade could face in any future deployment to Afghanistan.

'Although we now think of the Welsh border area as an idyllic and tranquil rural landscape, the many surviving ancient fortifications such as prehistoric hill forts, medieval castles, and the massive 1200 year old bank and ditch of Offa's Dyke speak of a complicated and troubled past which has much relevance to the modern situation in Afghanistan,' said Ian Batty, Herefordshire Council's Senior Project Archaeologist.

Under the guidance of Ian, Chris Atkinson (Herefordshire Council's Community Archaeologist), the Zurich University historian Max Lieberman and the Cambridge University historian Andrew Spencer, the officers walked some of the best preserved sections of Offa's Dyke, and explored how community relationships, ideas of national identity and patterns of conflict had played out at different periods in the past. 'This has been a really interesting and instructive exercise,' said Major Simon Childs, of the 12th Mechanized Brigade, 'the historical example of the Welsh borders cannot, of course, be simplistically transferred to Afghanistan, but the themes we have examined here with the archaeologists and historians certainly will help to focus our work to promote more stable patterns of local political and community life there.'

Ian Bapty added 'We were delighted to be approached by the army to assist with Offa's Ace. It has been extremely rewarding to spend time with such dedicated professionals and thoroughly nice people, and to support, at least in some degree, the incredible and difficult work that they do. The officers' military expertise has also suggested significant new ideas about how a structure like Offa's Dyke might once have operated, and that insight is really exciting for me as an archaeologist.'

Brigadier Justin Maciejewski DSO MBE Commander 12th Mechanized Brigade, said 'Offa's Ace has been an innovative way to build new understanding of the issues we face in Afghanistan, and it has been very positive for us to work with the specialists from Herefordshire Council and Cambridge University to help achieve that. It has also been a very good experience for my officers to visit this beautiful area and to receive such a warm welcome from local people.'

Officers are briefed during Exercise Offa's Ace.


A new, independent health and social care watchdog is to be launched in Herefordshire as part of a national drive to make the NHS more accountable to patients. Called HealthWatch, it will be run by volunteers who will monitor and scrutinise health and social care services in Herefordshire, champion people's views and provide an independent advocacy service to help people who wish to complain about services. Herefordshire HealthWatch has just been awarded relatively unique Pathfinder Status to enable the county to pilot this new government initiative aimed at placing patients and public at the heart of the NHS.

Allan Lloyd, Herefordshire's HealthWatch Lead, welcomed the news: 'The voice of the people is vital in enhancing local health and social care services. HealthWatch will work on their behalf, making sure people and patients know their rights and can enjoy the best possible services.' He expressed his appreciation for the assistance received in completing the application for Pathfinder Status from representatives of Herefordshire Council and Herefordshire Patient Advice and Liaison Service and added that he ready to grasp the challenge with enthusiasm.

Councillor Patricia Morgan, cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing, said 'Health and wellbeing is everybody's responsibility - whether it is sharing views about how services could be improved, or looking after our own health. We want to create effective services, influenced and designed by local people and healthcare experts which meet the needs of patients in Herefordshire. HealthWatch will be a key partner to help us achieve that.'

HealthWatch will work with all the stakeholders in the county's health and social care, and is set to play a vital role in bringing patient voices to the fore as new services are designed and delivered.


Herefordshire Council is backing a government scheme which offers money to Herefordshire householders so they can invest in renewable heating technologies such as solar thermal panels, heat pumps and biomass boilers. The Renewable Heat Premium Payments scheme has been launched by the Department of Energy & Climate Change which offers one-off payments to householders. It is planned to expand the scheme next year when the Green Deal will come into effect.

Councillor Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council's Cabinet Member for Environment, Housing and Planning, said 'It is important that people considering installing these technologies know grants are available and apply for them. The government will be using this scheme to gauge public opinion and also see which technologies perform best. The scheme offers various payments to households in order to assist with the capital cost of installing such technologies and greater payments are available for households that are not connected to the gas mains, which is particularly relevant in Herefordshire.'

Householders can apply for the grants now by calling 0800 512012 or by logging onto

The only condition of the scheme is that homes must have basic energy efficiency measures such as loft insulation and cavity wall insulation installed. Councillor Wilcox added 'We are currently supporting Domestic & General Insulation Ltd who are offering free loft or cavity wall insulation to all county households so if anyone wants to take advantage of this offer I would urge them to call 01432 377050 as soon as possible.'

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