40 years of change in Shipton under Wychwood

New Beaconsfield Hall Shipton under construction 1998

New Beaconsfield Hall Shipton under construction 1998

Many people think that little changes in a village but, whilst it may happen at a more pedestrian pace than in larger settlements, change happens nonetheless.

In the 40 years of the The Wychwood magazine, Shipton will have expanded, provided improved sporting and social facilities and shown appreciable sporting success. Some people will have left to seek pastures new but many others will have arrived and stayed to appreciate this corner of the Cotswolds. Many others of course will be Wychwood people, born and bred here and staying a lifetime, the backbone of our community. They will know better than anyone the changes the villages have seen over the decades.

On the downside, we’ve lost a shop or two and we face greater volumes of traffic trundling through our village, thus losing a bit of peace and tranquillity.

Many of the changes are physical: new infill residential properties and various housing developments. Around the start of this period was the building of Sinnels Field, the largest development of its type to occur in the village, followed in the 90’s by smaller developments including Willis Court on Milton Road and the conversion of Home Farm in Plum Lane.

The 1990s saw improvements in village facilities. For starters, the New Beaconsfield Hall was built. Opening in the summer of 1998, it replaced the original hall that had been the centre of village activities for 120 years. Likewise, this new hall is still the hub of our active community, hosting many sporting, keep-fit, artistic and social activities. Around this time, new tennis courts were laid in the hall grounds leading to one of the most successful tennis clubs around, twice being named the County Club of the Year, and next door, a few years later, a new children’s playground was built, probably one of the finest to be found for a village of our size.

Even more successful was Shipton Cricket Club, who in the early 2000’s reached the National village finals at Lords on no less than three occasions, tasting victory in 2002. They have added a second pitch in more recent years as the club membership has expanded.
The turn of the millennium saw the planting of Diggers Wood, a place enjoyed by many walkers with four-legged friends and now starting to mature nicely. In the years following we saw the loss of Bradley’s garage and the Costcutter grocery store to be replaced by new housing, so changing the look through the centre of the village, seen as a positive development by many people.

The Wild Garden, formally part of Shipton Court, was bought by the community following a period of intensive fundraising and after some restoration work was opened in late 2010 so that its 12.5 acres of beautiful woods and ponds could be appreciated by everyone.

This purchase illustrates an enduring feature of The Wychwoods – the unstinting generosity of the community. From supporting local and national charities to Wychwood specific appeals (the Wild Garden, building of the Hall, and the Church restorations, to name but three) the locals have over many, many years always stepped forward with their time and money.

Unlike many villages, we’re still blessed to have a choice of three excellent hostelries although The Red Horse has morphed into The Wychwood Inn, whilst the Shaven Crown has also enjoyed extensive re-development.

A regular feature of Shipton over all those years has been the annual fete, alternating between the ‘village’ and church versions, or ‘Country Fair’ as it was once known and, after a brief hiatus, the village version had a successful relaunch as the ‘Shipton Fair’ last year which we hope will get ever more successful as we move into the new decade.

The Parish Council has recently undergone a review of its historical documents. Papers from the 1980s and 90s show that exactly the same issues and concerns were in evidence then as they are today, namely planning applications (specifically, opposition to them!), litter, street lighting (lack of or too much), traffic and speeding, uncut hedges and anti-social behaviour. So, despite physical changes to the village, some things never really change.

The Council, which constitutes a team of seven councillors plus the Clerk, still promotes what is best for the village. Many people have ‘served time’ on the PC over those 40 years, far too many to mention, and a lot of those are still prominent members of the village making valuable contributions to Shipton life. There have also been a great many other people who assist and volunteer their services in a variety of ways. What is as true now as ever is that the parish needs the support and commitment of residents to help protect and enhance Shipton and the other Wychwood villages as a great place to live. This applies equally whether you are growing up in the community or enjoying the autumn of your life.

Here’s to the next 40 years of Shipton life.

Shipton Parish Council

April – May 2020