Village Information


Village Swap Shop / Andrew Carnegie Library

The idea for a 'swap shop' started when I was trying to find books and puzzles for my normally very active 93 year old mother who is, of course, now in isolation and not able to get new books to read and so was struggling to keep occupied. I took her a number of paperbacks I had at home and went online to get her a couple of jigsaw puzzles which I discovered was no easy task... everybody, it seemed, was buying puzzles!

This led me to think about all the puzzles I have, in the past, taken to the charity shops and which are of course now closed so, putting two and two together, I figured there must be many people in the same situation, wanting books, puzzles, board games etc. as well as many people having clear-outs at home with nowhere to take the items. My first thought was to use the church porch as a place to swap items - it is open, dry and accessible, keeping to social distancing rules. I spoke to Nicky Brooks and Anne Peake who both thought it could be a good idea. Anne approached Simon Kirby and the church warden, who said they couldn’t allow use of the church under the present conditions. Disappointing but understandable.

We then hit on the idea of the bus shelter and by this time Dick Pears was very much involved and helped massively in driving the idea forward. With a bit of help cleaning it up, putting up some bunting, a set of shelves kindly made and donated by David Brown and lots of donations, the 'Andrew Carnegie Memorial Library / Swap Shop' was up and running.

It still seems to be going well two weeks later, and now we have fabulous seedlings and plant donations too. Huge thanks for those and especially to Sarah & Rupert Monier-Williams and, I believe, Jackie Johnson.

When isolation is over and things get back to normal, I plan to take whatever remains and is suitable to local charity shops.

Barbara Austin (19.04.2020) ~ Photos © Dick Pears

  • Swap Shop 1
  • Swap Shop 2
  • Swap Shop 3
  • Swap Shop 4

Thanks to Martin Collett...

I thought we should, in public form, express our thanks to Martin...

Anyone who has been around and about the byways and main-ways of the village will either have seen signs of clearance, mowing, pruning, tidying, removal of stones and rubbish, remaking of edges which careless drivers have wrecked and other acts of improvement. You can see Martin's work in the slide-show below - Moors Lane, in front of the pub and down Chapel Lane or you may have seen the master worker himself who seems never to take a break.

Dick Pears (18.04.2020)

  • Moors Lane 1
  • Moors Lane 2
  • Opposite the pub
  • By the pub
  • Chapel Road 1
  • Chapel Road 2

Exercise 'Scrape & Paint'

Exercise Scrape and Paint Phases II and III

On the weekend of 21st / 22nd March volunteer teams from the South Leigh community scraped and painted three galvanised iron road bridges crossing the Limb Brook on Station, Chapel and Barnard Gate roads. The paintwork on the bridges had fallen into disrepair. The bus stop shelter at Shores Green was also painted, having earlier been repaired by the team.

Thanks to all involved.

Phase II and III is now being planned. It will see the remaining ‘street furniture’ refurbished, and the bus stop shelter put to a community use, an initiative that has already started. The overall project has the support of the South Leigh Parish Council.

The overarching objective:
To enhance the built environment of South Leigh and High Cogges, and to do so as a community project. Once government guidelines allow, we want to push ahead!


  1. Completed.
  2. Football Field bus stop shelter and railings.
  3. Three Barnard Gate Road bridges.

Phase II

  • To prepare and paint the bus shelter at the Football Field.
  • To scrape and paint the railings at the Football Field bus stop.
  • To further provision the bus shelter as a community ‘library’ in due course.
  • To decorate the inside of the bus stop as an exercise to be carried out by the children of South Leigh after the refurb. In due course.
Phase III
  • To scrape and paint the three remaining bridges on the road to the A40 and Barnard Gate.

The cost of the paint and materials may be covered by the Parish Council, subject to approval, and all labour will be voluntary.

Tasks and Timing

Phase II proposed (weather, government rules and social distancing permitting)
  • The 'Swap Shop / The Andrew Carnegie Memorial Library’ has already been initiated by Nicky Brooks and others at the bus stop shelter and it has become an instant success. During the painting of the interior, the contents will be moved around so that it can continue to operate.
  • As we progress, more permanent furniture and other fittings (maybe shelves/small cupboard / notice board) can be added. We shall need to consider the weather and light implications for the winter. A decoration programme is also to be planned; date and timing to be confirmed after the basic refurbishment. See below.
  • The scraping and painting of the bus shelter is provisionally planned for 16th /17th May.
  • The scraping and painting of the railings is provisionally planned for 23rd / 24th May.
Phase III
• The scraping and painting of the remaining bridges is planned for 23rd / 24th May.

Tasks and Task Forces

Phase II
  • Bus stop railings: to be painted as per the other newly painted bridges. One or two people.
  • Bus stop shelter: To be painted in an exterior emulsion, two coats at least, in an unobtrusive but complementary, dark green. Samples to be at the shelter in advance. There will need to be clearing work behind the shelter in advance as there are thick briars there.
Two or three people.

Phase III (Timing to be agreed)
A vehicular hazard warnings (unlike bridges that run parallel to the road that are passive ‘safety’ devices) in the event that a vehicle were to drive along the grass verge and encounter the deep and dangerous gully running at 90 degrees to the road. Thus, these three bridges will be painted in undercoat and two coats of gloss white paint (the small No. 2 bridge shall also be white for consistency even though it runs parallel to the road).
  • Bridge 1: Two people.
  • Bridge 2: One or two people.
  • Bridge 3: Two or three people.
Looking ahead

With regard to the bus stop shelter that is already serving successfully as an Exchange/Library, it is proposed that a programme will be launched to decorate the inside of the shelter by children of the village. More detail to follow.

Graham Soame, Project co-ordinator: 01993 772799 / 07932 172873 / (21.04.2020)

Three of South Leigh's road bridges over the Limb Brook on Chapel, Station and Barnard Gate Roads and the bus stop at Shores Green received a thorough spring re-furb in late March, 2020.

Coronavirus did little to deter a team of community volunteers led by Graham Soame on Saturday, 21st March and, by Sunday night, they were all scraped, primed and freshly painted. There are still a few bridges to do up towards the A40, and the bench and bus shelter at Lynbrook Close, so volunteers for Phase II will be warmly welcomed. Just let Graham know:

A huge 'Thank you' to Oliver, Barbara, Sophia and Elizabeth Jackson; Remy, Arietta and Harry Martin; Tim Lawson and Martin Spurrier; John Alexander, Martin Collett, and David Brooks; Russell and Anne Cherry; and Graham, Janet, Oliver and Valerie Soame, many of whom you can see below.

  • Bus shelter before
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South Leigh Charity ~ Coronavirus

The South Leigh Charity has been helping people in the Parish for centuries. Currently, its limited funds mean that, despite its wide-ranging powers, it can help people in need in only a small way. To help us to do more, particularly now, the charity can accept donations.

If you know someone who might benefit from what the charity has to offer, or would like to make a donation to it, please contact, in confidence, one of the Trustees:

  • Richard Law, Chair    01993 773355 or
  • John Ashwell    01993 703534
  • Malcolm Osmundson    01993 774018
  • Sue Washington    01993 775574
  • Karen Wilson    01993 771346


I thought it might be of interest to villagers to know something of the charities that were started in this little village of ours in 1675 and still exist today, 343 years later. A condensed history of the charities follows.

The manor of South Leigh was sold in 1641 to William Gore of Morden, Surrey, on whose death, in 1662, it passed to his son, Sir Thomas Gore. It was he who left £10 in his will of 1675 to be invested for the poor. This bequest, along with other benefactors who left money for food and clothing for the poor, was amalgamated in the early 20th century to form a single charity.

In St. James the Great Church, a board high up on the wall near the vestry, lists these benefactors. It reads as follows:

“Sir Thomas Gore gave ten pounds the interest to be applied to their use forever.
John Hart gave fifty pounds the interest to be laid out annually in Coats for Christmas for ever.
Mr. Lawrence Betts gave five pounds the interest to be distributed at Easter for ever.
Mr. Thomas Guy gave ten pounds.

With forenamed sums and two pounds given by Mr. John Spier a purchase of land was made at Hailey in the Parish of Witney.

Mr. Richard Talbot gave ten pounds the interest annually to be distributed in bread the last Sunday in January forever.”

The purchase of land was actually made in 1692 and then exchanged in 1824, at the time of the enclosure, for 11.274 acres at Crawley and is still under the ownership of the South Leigh Charity today. For several years the annual rent of £8.00 was used to pay for fencing the land. However, by 1819 twelve coats were distributed at Christmas as well as money at Easter. By 1871 the rent had increased to £33 per year and was spent on clothing.
Today the rental of this land generates the income which is then distributed annually to the needy of the village.

The Richard Talbot monies were invested in 1765 in ¾ acre of land at Eynsham, this was eventually sold and the money reinvested.

In 1916 all these individual charities were amalgamated and finally in 1977 a scheme for the “relief in need” distribution of the income was put in place. The charity is governed by Charity Commission rules and administered within the village by a small group of Trustees.

Malcolm D. Osmundson

The annual income today amounts to £400 from the rent of the land at Crawley and about £100 from Wayleave. During early December the trustees meet to discuss how the money should be distributed which is no easy task now that the “poor” receive welfare benefits. “Poor” was widened to include anyone who was suffering, in all senses of that word. At present there are only four trustees and one of our number is hoping to be moving away from the village so we would welcome a volunteer replacement, plus, in an ideal world, another person to make the total five.

Anyone interested should contact me. It really isn’t very onerous or time consuming.

John Ashwell 01993 703534


The Parish Council has been looking at the possibility of making the parish a conservation area. This would have implications for us all and is an important issue. We feel it is only right and proper that we consult you all and are therefore proposing a special meeting to be held on 6th October at 7.00pm in the Village Hall.

Below is a brief outline of all the facts. There are links to various websites at the bottom that will give you a more detailed explanation should you wish to look into it further.

Please come to the meeting if you possibly can or let us know your views by email / letter / phone (details below). It's from this consultation that the Parish Council will be making their decision.

It’s important to note that a conservation area can be just a certain area of a village or community or can be the whole parish. The fields and other open spaces are as important as the buildings. A Conservation Area is simply an area considered worthy of preservation or enhancement because of its special architectural or historic interest. In other words, the features that make it unique and distinctive.


Housing Development
The Council is under huge pressure to provide more housing in West Oxfordshire. We are relatively protected at the moment because of our small size and lack of services, but we know that in particular Eynsham Estates are keen to develop some of their land in the parish.

Being a Conservation Area wont completely stop these ambitions but it gives us an extra layer of protection and if any development is granted it will have to be to a higher standard and will have to enhance the visual image of the parish and its surrounds. We have just had the battle over the pub and if we had had conservation area status it would have helped us. Not needed now of course!

Property Alterations

Any external alterations you want to make to your property may have to be subject to a planning application to ensure that it is consistent with the Conservation Area status and to enhance the overall look of the village. If we stayed as we are it may be that anything you are planning would have fallen within the permitted development rights. This allows the council to ensure that the village remains visually attractive.


If anyone is planning to cut down trees or doing any major pruning work, they will have to notify the Council six weeks in advance. This is to give the Council time to assess the contribution the tree makes to the character of the Conservation Area and decide whether to make a Tree Preservation Order.

Demolition or substantial demolition of a building within a conservation area will usually require permission from the Council.

Value of your Property

It has been shown by a study done by the London School of Economics that people value living in conservation areas and that properties achieve higher prices and have greater price appreciation in those areas.

Current planning laws are now very much in favour of developers. A conservation area gives us an extra layer of protection by removing some permitted development rights - allowing small developments without permission, for example – it doesn’t mean that development won't or can't happen, but it does mean that any development will have to meet higher standards and enhance the historic character of the village.

The Estate have put in for land in the village to be considered for building in the current call for land from the Council. Whilst I'm sure they wont be granted permission this time or even next time, it will begin to establish that it may be possible in the future.

There are 51 conservation areas in WODC – unfortunately I haven’t been able to find a complete list, but the ones I have tracked down are:
Alvescot, Aston, Bampton, Brize Norton, Bladon, Burford, Carterton, Cassington, Chadlington, Charlbury, Churchill, Clanfield, Chistelton, Chipping Norton, Combe, Cromwell, Curbridge, Ducklington, Enstone, Eynsham, Filkins, Finstock, Freeland, Fulbrook, Hayley, Kencot, Kingham, Langford, Leafield, Long Hanborough, Middle Barton, Milton-under-Wychwood, Minster Lovell, North Leigh, Over Norton, Ramsden, Shipton-under-Wychwood, Great Rollright, Spelsbury, Standlake, Stanton Harcourt and Sutton, Stonesfield, Swerford, Swinbrook, Tackley, Little Tew, Tayton, Witney and Cogges, Woodstock and Wootton.

Nicky Brooks.

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Council supports power cuts helpline
West Oxfordshire District Council is supporting the launch of 105, a new national three-digit helpline telephone number that will make it quicker and easier for people to report a power cut.
Many people don’t know who to contact during a power cut and wrongly call the electricity supplier shown on their bill.
By calling the helpline, householders will be put through to the company that repairs local power networks and restores power.
Cllr. Robert Courts, Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said, “Having a free, easy-to-remember number is a great boon during a power cut and so we are keen to let West Oxfordshire householders know about the new 105 helpline.” 
The 105 number is available to electricity customers in England, Scotland and Wales and can be accessed from most landlines and mobile phones.
The number is jointly funded by electricity network operators - the companies that manage the cables, wires and substations that bring electricity into homes and businesses. Network operators can also be contacted directly by phone or via their website, and most network operators can be contacted through social media too.
The public can also call 105 if they spot damage to electricity power lines and substations that could put them, or someone else, in danger. If there’s a serious immediate risk, the emergency services should also be contacted.
Visit to find out more about the new 105 telephone number and electricity network operators.

We now have a defibrillator installed at the Village Hall. It's on the right hand side, near the fire exit.

It is user friendly and the telephone number to call to get the necessary code to gain access to it is shown clearly on the box in which it's contained.

Once open, spoken instructions are given in clear terms.

Do you use oil for your home central heating or business? If so, you can take advantage of the bulk oil buying scheme run by Community First Oxfordshire (the new name of ORCC).

Details are available from their
website, from Sue Hunt on 01865 883488 or email: or from me.

A similar scheme exists for bulk LPG.

Richard Law
Scheme Coordinator for the South Leigh area

Readers may not be aware of a new service (SW1, operated by Stagecoach) between Carterton and London. You can catch the bus at Witney Market Square, Stop C at 08.20 or 09.20 and it will also pick up / drop off at Newland and Oxford Hill, and on the A40 at Eynsham by 'The Evenlode'.

London stops are Marylebone Road, Marble Arch (Portman Square on return), Victoria, Westminster, Embankment, Temple and Tower of London.

Buses leave London (Tower of London) at 17.10 & 18.10 or Victoria at 17.45 & 18.45, and should arrive in Witney at 19.35 & 20.35.

Buses run on Saturdays and Sundays. Day return fares are:
  • Adult £18
  • Over 60s, students with photo ID and 16-25 year olds £13
  • Children £9 (up to 2 children between 5 & 15 years free with fare-paying adult).
Pay the driver. Cash only.

The West Mobile Library provides a library service to the people of West Oxfordshire - a complete list of mobile stops and online library services can be found on the
Oxfordshire Library Website. With over 2500 books on board there is a comprehensive range of adult and children’s titles, both fiction and non-fiction including large print as well as audio books. Any valid Oxfordshire Library Card can be used on the Mobile Library and any book borrowed from another Oxfordshire Library can be returned to the Mobile.

The Mobile Library visits South Leigh every alternate Tuesday and stops at The Old Chapel in Chapel Road between 12.30pm and 12.45pm

Do your online shopping through 'easyfundraising' and help South Leigh Village Hall at the same time! It works in a similar way to 'Nectar', but instead of earning points when you shop, you raise a donation for South Leigh Village Hall instead. It's as simple as that! Just click on the button below.

You can shop with over 2,000 well known stores and each will donate up to 15% of what you spend. For example, John Lewis will donate 2.5%, Amazon 2.5%, The Body Shop 10%