Celts: Art and Identity

image026Fraser Hunter, National Museums Scotland
Wednesday 18th May 7.30pm Aldborough Village Hall

“Celts: Art and Identity” has been described as “the first major British exhibition in 40 years to tell the story of the Celts” … basically, if you have any interest in the Celts and Celtic art this show is for you.
It first opened at The British Museum in September 2015 and has now transferred to The National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh until September 2016.
Coinciding with this major exhibition, this talk will consider the many different things which are called Celtic art. It will consider what these different “Celtic arts” say about connections and differences across Europe, and consider the role of decoration in making powerful objects and creating powerful ideas.
Fraser Hunter, curator of the exhibition, is also principal curator of Iron Age and Roman collections at the National Museum of Scotland where he has worked since 1991.
Cost £5.00  (Friends of Roman Aldborough members free)

The Great Tit

The Great Tit is one of our best known and most studied garden birds, thanks to their liking for nest boxes we have been studying them for a hundred years or so!

image030The Great Tit is a typical tit and is unmistakable given its larger size. They have a black cap (glossy in males), collar and bib set with white cheeks. The back is green to blue-grey. Underneath they are lemon yellow with a central black stripe running down from the throat which is wider and more strongly developed in males than in females. Sometimes you can see that in the male the black stripe extends across the belly to the base of both legs, while in the female it is not so broad and does not reach the legs. It is this stripe, together with the black head that differentiates them from their smaller cousins, the Blue Tits, and is an indicator of fitness to females.
The most important time of year for Great Tits, is the breeding season, which starts in March with pairing and nest hunting. They nest in holes and crevices in walls or trees, as well as in pipes and letterboxes: which is probably why they also like nest boxes witha clear flight path and a hole around 28mm diameter.
The nest is mainly built by the female and consists primarily of moss, lined with feathers. It can take anything from a few days to a couple of weeks to build.
They make only one breeding attempt, laying 7-9 eggs, timed to coincide with the maximum availability of caterpillars which are the primary requirement for their young. Hence their problems last spring when it was so wet and cold that there were too few of them around.
They are the largest of our tits, with a substantial vocal repertoire. At this time of year their characteristic “tea-cher tea-cher” song is all around us; other calls abound though, a frequent one being “cha-cha-cha”, but all are simple riffs.
Great Tits tend to feed lower down in the undergrowth than other tits, presumably because they are larger and less agile, eating invertebrates when available, and seeds when they are not. Although sociable birds, they don’t form foraging flocks, and their behaviour around feeders is decidedly hierarchical with the dominant adults feeding on the best feeders (closest to cover) leaving the younger birds to feed on more exposed ones where the risk of Sparrowhawk attack is greater.
Great Tits have become susceptible to avian pox over recent years. It has long been endemic in Blackbirds and Dunnocks, but this seems to be a different and more virulent strain leading to unsightly growths on a bird’s head. Since Great Tits do not migrate, it is likely to have been brought to the UK by insects. Although birds can recover from the pox virus, the lesions it causes may impair their vision and ability to feed, as well as leaving them susceptible to secondary infections and predation. To date is does not seem to be species threatening, but if you do see a case please consider reporting it to the BTO or RSPB.
Mike Gray 07596 366342

Brighter Boroughbridge – Judgement Day

Stand by your beds! Flower beds that is. Brighter Boroughbridge is in a flurry of activity because two judges are coming on Tuesday 12th of April to look at our town in the Yorkshire in Bloom competition.

We urgently need helpers to tidy the car park by the toilet, Chatsworth Grove and the Circles at the roundabout. In addition we would like the whole town to ‘Clean for the Queen’; picking up litter and making Boroughbridge the most beautiful large village it can be.

If you would like to help ring 01423 323123 or email john@gossonline.co.uk

Funding approved for New Sports facility at Whixley

Young people  inWhixley and its surrounding villages are set to get new improved training facilities  thanks to a £29,000 grant from funding-body WREN.
The money, awarded by WREN’s FCC Community Action Fund will be used to purchase a double all-weather  non-turf practice area with nets  at the Whixley Cricket Club’s sports–ground at Rudgate Fields, Score Ray Lane, Whixley.
Dick Watson, Chairman of the Trustees,  believes the facility will make a huge difference to the playing –skills of the  existing sixty-six Junior members and sixty Senior members in particular. He says “The continuing growth in the number of participants in practices and coaching sessions will result in the facilities being intensively used.   Our volunteer coaches will be able to deliver more effective training sessions which could well see the Club’s  four Junior teams and three Senior teams begin to move up into higher Divisions in the Nidderdale League, as a direct result of WREN’s  much appreciated investment”.
Iain Richardson, Club Secretary and Project Manager, says “This project will provide a real boost to the people in and around Whixley.  It is really fantastic that WREN has awarded us this money , and we are looking forward to our new  all- weather practice facility beginning to take shape in June this year” .
WREN is a not-for-profit business that awards grants for community, biodiversity, and heritage projectsfrom  funds donated by FCC Environment through the Landfill Communities Fund.

Penny Beaumont, Wren’s grant manager for Yorkshire & Humber, says: “We’re delighted to be supporting the Whixley& District Community Cricket Club and pleased our funding will provide such a fantastic facility for both young and old to enjoy. WREN is always happy to consider grant applications for projects that make a difference to local communities and we’re really looking forward to seeing this one take shape soon.”

Iain Richardson, Project Manager, hopes the new facility will be up and running within four weeks of the commencement work,  so that the Club and Community can celebrate its completion at a special Open Day in July, details of which will be announced nearer the date.

Since the Club founded its Junior Section seven years ago, the Club has purchased and levelled Rudgate Fields, and has replaced its  formerportacabin with a  spacious and modern timber pavilion.  The installation of  all-weather practice-nets  is part of a continuing programme of improvements  that will serve the growing numbers now regularly participating in the Club’s recreational activities . The facility will be a real asset to the  local community of which Whixley Cricket is an integral part.

Brighter Boroughbridge and District

Spring is evident with snowdrops and daffodils bringing promise of milder temperatures in these chilly, grey days. The volunteers of Brighter Boroughbridge are also wakening from their Winter hibernation and have been building a rockery at the front of Chatsworth Grove. It is not planted yet but when it is a little warmer there will be an array of alpines and trailing plants, so keep an eye out for that.

2016-02-27 12.24.13This year the group have entered Yorkshire in Bloom, Large Village category. This is much bigger than It’s Your Neighbourhood category that we have entered for the last three years but we think the town is ready! Our first step towards this has been to ask traders and others to buy hanging baskets or troughs. We are delighted to say the following have agreed, Hair on the Square, Hethertons, Brighter Boroughbridge, The Crown Hotel, Vale Opticians, Lister Haigh, The Post Office, The WI, and the Town Council making a total of 25. Harrogate Parks department provide the rest and water all of them. Nigel at the Post Office said he thought they were excellent value for money!

2016-02-27 13.20.58Brighter Boroughbridge is also planning, in conjunction with Boroughbridge Live, an open garden event on Sunday the 14th August. It will be called The Secret gardens of Boroughbridge and will feature small but exquisite gardens never viewed by the public before. It promises to be an excellent event. If you have a garden that you would like to show on that day or would like to be involved in the selling of refreshments please contact John or Hazel on the address below.

Finally we are begging once more for people to give a little of their time to help us garden, litter pick and generally prepare Boroughbridge for their first judging in April.

If you are interested in helping in any way please contact John or Hazel Goss at
john@gossonline.co.uk or ring 01423 323123

Time to see the photographic exhibition!

Easter Saturday – March 26 in the library. All entries will be on display in the Jubilee Room on Easter Saturday as part of a Photographic Exhibition organised by Boroughbridge Historical Society.

afletcher01There will be photos of the Dog Kennel Lane project and old Boroughbridge.

The exhibition is open 10am – 4pm and is part of the Walking Festival.


Photo: Anne Fletcher

Birds in Your Garden: The Chaffinch

birdwatchThe Chaffinch is one of our more familiar birds with a significant population – some six million territories – and a broad range of habitats within which it breeds. It is a regular garden visitor, attracted to seed provided in hanging feeders and on bird tables.
The Chaffinch’s scientific name Fringilla coelebs was assigned by Linnaeus in 1758 and refers to the bird’s migratory behaviour; ‘coelebs’ means ‘unmarried’ and Linnaeus gave the Chaffinch this name when he observed that the birds wintering around his home in Sweden were mainly males. The females from northern breeding grounds wintered further south than the males, a pattern of behaviour known as differential migration – where one sex or age group shows different migratory behaviour to another. Generally, females and juveniles winter further south than adult males, suggesting that competition for food and roosts may decide which birds can winter at higher latitudes.

It is not unusual to see Chaffinches with grey or off-white rather ‘crusty’ leg growths. There are two main causes: mites of the genus Cnemidocoptes, and a virus called Chaffinch Papillomavirus. They are fairly similar in appearance and there is evidence to suggest that both can occur together. Although most birds showing signs of these diseases are bright, active and able to feed, some become lame and others may suffer from secondary bacterial infections. While captive birds with mites can be treated it is not possible to target wild birds with suitable medicines, leaving good hygiene practice at garden feeding stations as the best way to reduce the impact of these diseases.
The recent decline in Chaffinch populations shows a change in fortune for a species which had been increasing in numbers over recent decades. We know that Chaffinches were affected by the 2006 outbreak of finch trichomonosis, with a decline in numbers of a fifth recorded in some regions; but things seemed to go back to normal after a couple of years. Then, for some reason there was another noticeable decline in the reported numbers in 2013/14.
We all know that the plumage of the male Chaffinch changes through the course of the year, being at its finest ahead of the breeding season. But did you know that the steely-blue colouring of the head and nape, which contributes to the breeding plumage, is not produced by the bird moulting through new feathers. Instead it is the dull brown feather tips that wear away to reveal the colour hidden away below.
British birds are slightly smaller but more brightly coloured than the continental immigrants who arrive to join our resident birds in late autumn. These arrivals often bring smaller numbers of the related Brambling with them, a real treat for garden birdwatchers. The numbers of both species wintering here may be influenced by the size of the beech mast (seed) crop across Europe. In those years when the crop is poor we see more of them, with many moving into gardens to take sunflower hearts and high energy seed mixes, especially when our beech mast crop is poor too.

btoIf you find the lives of our garden birds to be of interest, and would like to join in and count the feathered occupants of your garden, please contact me or visit the BTO Garden BirdWatch website (www.bto.org/gbw). If you know of a local organisation who would like a talk on garden birds call: Mike Gray 07596 366342 or mikegbw@btinternet.com.

Recycling Wagon

recyclingThe Recycling Wagon will be at the Back Lane Car Park in Boroughbridge from 9.00am to 12.30pm on the following dates:


March 12, April 9, May 14, June 11, July 9, August 13, September 10, October 8, November 12, December 10


February 11, March 11

News from Boroughbridge Young Farmers

A few weeks ago, Boroughbridge YFC members John Cowton and Rosie Wilson went through to northern area from county with public speaking. Next month the club have stockman of the year (includes judging animals on their looks for either meat or breeding) and also the swimming gala.

On Sunday 21st February the YFC have their annual Muck Chuck, raising money for the club and the MS society. They will be going round the villages near Ouseburn and selling wheelbarrows of muck for £2. A great day with lots of laughs; and a few of the parents get together and make up the lunch.

The main fundraiser that the YFC are organising at the moment is their 70th dinner which is on 2nd April at York race course. The evening will include a three course meal, a band called The Milk Men,  and then a DJ for afterwards. Tickets are £35. It’s a great milestone for the club, and some of the founder members will be there helping out on the night. For more information call Ben Winn on 07840 339110 or email br.winn@hotmail.co.uk

Photographic Exhibition

Boroughbridge and District Historical Society are holding a Photographic Exhibition in the Jubilee Room above Boroughbridge Library on Easter Saturday 26th March, from 10am to 4pm. This is another chance to see the research done by The Dog Kennel Lane Project group at Langthorpe.

Archive photographs of Boroughbridge in the past, and Boroughbridge in World War II will also be on display. If you have any photographs you would like to add to the archive please bring them along. Winning entries in the Yore Vision/Lower Ure News photographic competion will also form part of the Exhibition.

As part of the Boroughbridge Walking Festival that weekend, there will also be a guided walk of the Dog Kennel Lane Heritage trail created by the project group; this will take place on Good Friday 25th March at 10am from under the A1M flyover bridge at Langthorpe.

For further details see Festival walking leaflet or tel 01423 322988. www.boroughbridgehistory.co.uk