Tag Archives: coronavirus

NEWS: Covid rises / Remembrance Day / pumpkin fest / MP’s silence

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in late October 2020
In this post we have news of…: bad local figures for Covid / Remembrance will happen / pumpkins across Draycott / silence from MP over planning….

For news of what’s on in our area at this time, please click here

Covid latest

As we all know, the pandemic has taken a sudden turn for the worse, and unfortunately our area (Staffordshire Moorlands) is one of those with a fast-rising rate of cases – see graph below. (For the big picture, see BBC News Covid Figures Updates).

Last week, the Moorlands figure was 209 cases per week per 100,000 people – which compares badly with a national figure of just 123. (Stoke-on-Trent was 234, and Manchester 470). Yes, we are in the orange blob next to Stoke on the map below.
Even though Stoke is not that far ahead of us, the city has just been put into Level High (Tier 2).

Moorlands map Covid mid October 2020

It’s really not clear why we are entering a red zone; around us, neighbouring regions – Derbyshire, Stafford, Uttoxeter etc – are doing much better. Of course, we won’t know the reality of the situation for another fortnight, which is when infections may (or may not) turn into crippling illness.

The point is: Draycott may feel like a sleepy outpost sometimes, but – without panicking – we now need to be extra careful.
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Remembrance goes ahead

Poppies may be on sale already, but there had been Covid-related fears that the main Remembrance Sunday event in our area would have to be cancelled.
Thankfully, it will go ahead after all – but … with no parade.

In most years, the British Legion branch takes part in a parade through Blythe Bridge to the war memorial by St Peter’s Church. That’s not happening this year.
However, those who wish to can lay a commemorative wreath at 11am on the day, Sunday 8th November, although the council would prefer the occasion to be supervised – if you want to lay a wreath, please email Forsbrook Viilage Council for advice. As it’s outside, observers can attend, but in well-distanced groups (of no more than six apiece).
STOP PRESS (AS OF 31/10/2020 – Because of the lockdown starting midnight on Wednesday 4th Nov, not only is our local Remembrance Parade (due Nov 8th) cancelled, but now so too is the wreath-laying at the war memorial in Forsbrook

At St Margaret’s in Draycott, a separate service will start at 10.30am (led by Rev Sam Crossley and lay-preacher Cllr Kate Bradshaw) and there will be a two-minutes silence at 11am. The leading bellringer at St M’s, John Clarke, will sound the bells either side of the silence.
But… to be present in the church for this, you MUST prebook your space, via admin@stmargarets.org.uk. Anyone can be present outside the church, of course.

On the day, there has usually also been a Blessing Of the War Graves at St Mary’s Cresswell. However, at the time of writing, it’s not clear if this will go ahead.
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Speak up Bill!

There are now only a few days left before end of the public consultation process concerning the Conservative government’s drive to change the planning laws. Depending on your point of view, the government’s ideas are virtually a free-pass for developers or a way of speeding up an inefficient system.

What’s for sure is that many of the government’s own supporters, including Tory councillors in our own area, are deeply unhappy. Even Tory MPs have been speaking out and campaigning against the new proposals.
Except…it seems… Sir Bill Cash, our local (Conservative) MP.

Less than ten years ago, Bill wrote a famous article in which he asked: why are MPs silent over planning?

Bill Cash planning article, 2011

He lambasted his fellow MPs for not speaking out as housing developments were being laid out across large swathes of greenfield land.
So you’d think that Bill would have quite a lot to say now, because both Draycott (which faces around 500 new homes in the next ten years) and Cheadle (which he also represents) contemplate massive increases in development.
But… we’ve heard nothing. Many of us would welcome his views, so c’mon Bill – say something!

If you do want to take part in the public consultation on the government’s white paper ‘Planning For The Future’ you have until October 29th; click here to see the details.

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Life goes on

To end on a happy note… Walking round Draycott-Cresswell-Totmonslow you may notice many pumpkins on display on people’s fronts. What you are seeing is the Draycott Pumpkin Fest, which runs until Nov 2nd.It’s all the brainchild of local resident Lee Warburton (who also put together the village planters project) and he’s been using the village facebook page to explain the idea. But, in essence, it’s simple enough – decorate a pumpkin (real or artificial, doesn’t matter) at your home, and then put it on show for the delight of those walking by.

Pumpkin Fest beauties in Cresswell Old Lane – thanks to Dave Cole

In these times, it’s great to have someone who can bring a little cheer, so … Happy Halloween, all…!

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NEWS: new speed limits / Silver / scary leaflet / sport debut / cricket

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late July 2020
In this post we have news of…: new speed limits / missing Silver / a scare-mongering leaflet / Jordan’s league debut / cricket is back…

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New speed limits

It looks likely that new speed limits will soon be brought in for the centre of the village. The new limits will apply in central Draycott, in anticipation of a proposed new roundabout there.

Proposed roundabout diagram

Proposed roundabout diagram (detail)

The limit will be reduced from 40mph to 30mph along two stretches: from (roughly) Ford’s (Fayre) Field to Manor Farm; and along Cresswell Lane, from the Draycott junction to (roughly) the Sports Centre.

Annoyingly, at first Highways left residents hardly any time for a public consultation period, so they were forced to extend it by three weeks (from late June to July 14th).
However, very oddly – despite being given this extension and all the public interest -, when our village council met on July 13th, it still did not come up with a formal response to the plans. It’s not clear why not.
(It’s not the first time the village council have failed to put in responses to infrastructure consultations – and you do have to wonder at that kind of record…)

It also seems a bit strange that the Highways Department wants to do this now, because there are still no definite dates for the construction of this particular roundabout – the very reason for the new speed limits!
But anyway, for many residents, sick of the speeding along Uttoxeter Road, it will be good news that there will likely now be new limits.

The changes, when they come in, will follow another speed-limit change in the village – at the west end, where the dual carriageway is now a 40mph zone after having been a 60mph zone up until the New Year. (It was changed to accommodate the new Blythe Fields housing estate there).

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Jordan gets his boots on

The local paper, the Cheadle&Tean Times, has been following the career of Jordan Brown, the Cresswell lad who is steadily going up the professional football ladder. After going through the Stoke City Academy, getting taken on at Derby County, playing in their reserves and in European tournaments, the latest good news that the paper reports is that Jordan has now made his debut in Derby’s first side, in a full Football League match. He came on as a substitute in Derby’s encounter at West Brom earlier this month.
Well done Jordan…

It’s interesting to think that Jordan was taken on at Derby when Frank Lampard was manager there – because if there is one good opinion worth having in football, it’s Frank’s!

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Cricket is back

More sport – we have the return of cricket to the Creswell ground of Blythe CC. (The coronavirus crisis meant that the start of the season, which was due in mid-April, had to be suspended.)

Blythe Cricket Club ground

The Blythe CC ground has spectacular views

This will be a strange season, as all sorts of social distancing rules will apply (except for wicket-keepers and slips); there will be no promotion or relegation; and overseas players, who bring so much excitement to the games, are not permitted.
The good thing is that spectators are allowed at the Cresswell ground for the matches, so long as they spread out. Even the bar is open, even if you can’t hang about inside it.

The first home game for the First XI, at the Cresswell ground, is on Saturday July 25th. See our What’s On page for other fixtures.

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Scary …

Many of us have received a strange leaflet, called CV19 Facts Not Fear, through our letterboxes. It’s printed by an anonymous local supporter of Vigiliae, which is a small conspiracy-theory group associated with David Icke. (Mr Icke was recently banned from Facebook for publishing “health misinformation that could cause physical harm”, and he also believes that reptilian beings have invaded the earth).
Mostly Vigiliae has been pushing the wild idea that mobile phone masts give you cancer, but now it has the pandemic in its sights. Vigiliae's Covid 19 leafletThis leaflet outlines ten reasons why we should disbelieve the government and health authorities over Covid, and it encourages us to defy the coronavirus guidelines and rules. It even suggests that any vaccine developed in the next few months is likely to cause cancers…

Now, as any reader of this website will know, we do believe in healthy questioning of the authorities, but this is extreme and dangerous stuff.
We suggest that the best thing the person who delivered it should do is ask to speak at the next village council meeting and put across their views in open debate. The village council has been putting out community health messages over this year, so it is a good forum for such a debate.
And, if they want to debate, we are ready for them!

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Looking for Silver

Finally, we don’t usually do lost & found, because the village Facebook page does it better, but there is one case that is worrying.
Silver the cat
Silver, a grey-haired one-eyed housecat, was apparently taken from her home and then dumped somewhere in Draycott. This was at the beginning of July.
Usually cats are sighted eventually – but not this time.
Do you have any news? Owner Tim would like to know – on 07505 041712.

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NEWS: Lockdown blooms / politics zooms / new use for phone-box / black lives matter

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid June 2020
In this post we have news of…: blooming planters! / life-saver for Draycott phone-box / council meets online / protest signs in Cresswell

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College gets Draycott flowering

Even in lockdown, there have been all sorts of attempts in the community to keep people’s spirits up.
One of the most noticeable has been the sudden flowering of the eight planters in Draycott. Last month, Draycott Moor College students & staff volunteered to help out on the Draycott Planters Project, which was set up by local resident Lee Warburton two years ago – and it is their efforts which have created the wonderful displays you can see now.
(The college, unlike most other schools, stayed open, because some of its children are at-risk and some were also the children of key workers).

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The project received £250 from the County Council’s Covid-19 Fund, and Draycott Council also contributed.

The students have actually been pretty busy during this time, as they have also been helping out with the Draycott Community Coronavirus Support Group. Well done to them…

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Support for carers and NHS

The Thursday Night Clap For Carers was another activity that brought many of us together, even if it was only from our front gates.
However, although the whole thing officially ended a couple of weeks ago, it looks like one last revival of it is now planned – for Sunday July 5th, which will then be a ‘proper’ finale.

In Draycott at large, music seemed to accompany the Thursday Clap. At St Margaret’s Church, they would ring the bells at 8pm on those days (thanks Dave!); and in Rookery Crescent (Cresswell), Vera Lynn would sing ‘We’ll Meet Again’!
Let’s hope music features again on July 5th.

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Politics made easier

Covid or not, decisions still need to be made, so politics carries on, even if it’s under strange conditions.

Draycott Council have been ‘meeting virtually’, using Zoom, the online video-conferencing system. In fact, it has been very successful, with as many as twelve people (including councillors) tuning into the meeting on June 8th.

The obvious benefit of Zoom is that it enables anyone with a computer to check in and see what’s going on – no matter the weather or how one is feeling.

Other great things about Zoom conferencing is that it forces groups to allow one person to speak at a time, and also enables everybody watching to be able to hear very clearly what is being said. All these are real boons, because it’s often difficult to catch what is being said at a ‘normal’ Draycott Council meeting.
It would almost be preferable (we think) to hold all meetings via Zoom in future… Well, it’s a thought anyway!

Sir Bill CashThe lockdown has led to one problematic thing in the Houses of Parliament, because MPs who are not physically present there are not allowed to vote in debates – not even those MPs who are at home because they or their loved ones are at-risk. It’s a strange situation.
We wondered if our own MP, Bill Cash (see pic) – who is 80 years old after all -, would fall into that category. However, it seems he is living in his London flat, so he can attend debates.
So, no need to stop writing to him if you have concerns he might be able to help with.

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Life-saving equipment for Draycott

It seems Draycott Council have now decided to officially take ownership of the old BT phone box in Draycott. (It’s to be found up against The Old Post Office house, diagonally opposite The Draycott Arms.)

draycott phonebox

Phonebox at old post office, Draycott-le-Moors

It’s in a bit of a state inside, quite decayed, but BT were offering it to the council for just £1…

But what to do with it?
Well, the council has also now decided to put a defibrillator in there, like in so many other former phone-boxes. (In fact, the old kiosk in Cresswell also now houses a defibrillator, and has done since 2015.)
A defibrillator is a piece of life-saving equipment which can be used – by anyone – to help revive people who are suffering cardiac arrest.

However, it’s not clear yet how the council intends to pay for refurbishing the Draycott kiosk and for installing a defibrillator; more than £2000 will be needed.
By contrast, the Cresswell kiosk project was a community effort, run by VVSM, the local action group, and the way they paid for it was by fund-raising through jumble sales and begging for donations.

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Black Lives Matter

As we all know, Draycott-in-the-Moors is quite a sleepy place, and sometimes you could be forgiven for thinking that events in the outside world do not affect us.

But it seems some things are too big to be ignored. Covid is one of course, but now signs are appearing in the village reminding us of the terrible recent event in America where yet another African-American man died at the hands of the police – the George Floyd affair.
The news of the event seems to have shocked the world, and there have been demonstrations in many countries – and even  the British Parliament held a minute’s silence to remember Mr Floyd.

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Signs have now also begun to appear in Draycott-in-the-Moors.  (Interestingly, the signs in Cresswell have hearts drawn over them – a message of hope.)
Perhaps some matters are simply so important that they can penetrate even into quiet lives like ours in Draycott.

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box – scroll down to near the bottom of this page.
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NEWS: online council / stay at home events / knight errant

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late April 2020
In this post we have news of…: Village council goes to video / virtual coffee-morning / VE Day is ‘virtual’; scarecrows go ahead / Draycott knight errant!

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Council works remotely

The present crisis means that any kind of gatherings are a problem – but life must go on. In terms of councils, the government advice is that they must take up video-conferencing.

A household-unit takes part in a video conference

So, for its meeting on Monday May 11th, Draycott village councillors will all meet online, on ‘Zoom’. As the law demands that the public must be able to observe such proceedings, residents can also ask to be included in the invitees.
Anyone who has used Zoom knows what happens: we sit in front of our computer screens in our kitchens, and we will see the faces of all the others who are in on the conference-call and also hear them. (If you are shy, and don’t want to be seen, you can just switch off the camera on your own computer).

To apply to be part of the council’s Skype meeting, please contact the Draycott Council clerk;  for those who need it, Denise has done a great how-to guide, which she will then send you. But… you must apply by May 8th.

Yes, it’s not the best way to do such meetings, but we do hope that Draycott council takes a lead from this work; and puts all meetings online in the future; so many other councils do it, and it’s a great aid to local democracy.
Welcome to the 21st century…
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A virtual cup of coffee

This lockdown is not one we wanted, and life is going to get a lot worse for some, but there are some good people really trying their best to make life as bearable as it can be for us all in this district.

Lee Warburton and Kate Bradshaw are particularly to be congratulated for keeping the village Facebook page and the Draycott Coronavirus Community-Support going – both are invaluable lifelines.
Also, the QQS Dance Studio, based in Cresswell, has a weekly podcast of cheerful tunes, which is great, and our local library maintains a local community phone-line – and we even know of a certain lady who baked cakes for everyone in her street (well done Bev!).

But congratulations too to Sam Crossley, the new curate at St Margaret’s Church. He’s come up with a few ideas, including an online weekly church newsletter and a weekly ‘virtual’ coffee-morning!
The coffee-morning works a bit like the council’s video-meeting; and it’s open to all local residents. The best bit about it is that if you really don’t know how to set it up, Sam has promised to personally guide you and your computer through the process.  Click here for details.
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Celebrations postponed … and initiated

Well, it was inevitable, even if sad, that the Draycott 75th Anniversary Celebrations for Victory In Europe (VE) Day would have to be cancelled. On May 8th, the due date, most of us will still be in lockdown.

It’s sad because St Margaret’s Church had organised a tea-party, a pealing of the bells, and even a lone piper, to have made it a day to remember.
One of the organisers, John Clarke, is hoping however that some degree of normality might have returned by August, leaving the way open for some sort of celebration of the anniversary of the actual end of World War Two, i.e. Victory In Japan (VJ) Day, on the weekend of 15th/16th August. We shall see.

Fayre vehicle rally 2019

Hundreds of vehicles and engines usually come to Draycott for the fayre

John is also sure concerned that the annual Draycott Fayre, which usually takes place in mid-July, might have to be cancelled. The fayre is the highlight of the year in Draycott, so that really is a shame.

In contrast… well done to Kate Bradshaw (again) who is behind the forthcoming Draycott-Cresswell-Totmonslow Scarecrow Festival.  In these stay-at-home times, the premise is pretty straightforward: stick a scarecrow in front of your house, or in your front garden, for the three days Friday 8th to Sunday 10th May. If you want to add a ‘theme’ to your scarecrow, that’s ok too (people or memories or WW2 books are the suggestions).
PS – they don’t have to be made of straw – any material will do….
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Draycott knightKnight to the rescue!

Finally, if the latest stats are to be believed, a form of lockdown will have to go on for some time, especially for older people. This is not great news, so a bit of cheerful eccentricity is always welcome to keep us going.

And… to the rescue, to bring some cheer, we have the mysterious Knight of Draycott.

He (we think it’s a he!) can be seen occasionally striding the lanes of Draycott (he seems to have lost his white horse), waving to householders confined to their homes.

Draycott knight & squire

Draycott knight & squire. Thanks to Emma Myatt for the pics

Carry on with your quest to bring smiles to Draycott, sir Knight!

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box – scroll down to near the bottom of this page.
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Beat CV with these walks

UPDATE (20/4/20):  The guidelines are a bit blurry, but we are now allowed to drive a SHORT distance to go for our daily exercise walk (see Police Chiefs Council latest bulletin).  One nearby walk we recommend is the Dilhorne-Cheadle walk, which only means a drive of three miles from the centre of Draycott.

Walking for exercise

There are aren’t many silver linings to this crisis we’re in but one is that some of us are getting more exercise than usual by taking more walks.
On this page, we tell you of some good local walks, some ways to make them more enjoyable, how you can help the national walking charity as you do your walks, and we also invite you to design your own ‘quiz-trails’.

Keep exercising with a walk

As we all know, the government’s advice during this crisis is to take daily exercise (at least, it is at the time of writing). Their extra rule is to stay local: if you want to go outdoors, stay relatively close to home and especially don’t drive to get somewhere. In fact, the police can legally stop you if you’re driving in order to walk in major country parks.

(If you’re worried about what exactly constitutes a breach of the restrictions, click here.
If you want the best coronavirus advice on how to behave during country walks, click here.)

Walks a-plenty

Fortunately, in Draycott-in-the-Moors district, we have lots of public footpaths across open country, so all you need is to check the local Ordnance Survey Website , print off your selection, and head on out!

Stile by Draycott Church Hall

Recently repaired stile – by Draycott Church Hall

If you prefer a prepared, circular walk, why not print off three very good local ones that are well recommended. Click here to find out more.

(If any reader knows of other walks round Draycott – or even has designed one themselves – would they let us know, by emailing us?)

Just one thing to remember, sheep are lambing right now, so ewes will be aggressive if you go to close to their little ones; try to be sensitive. And, near sheep, keep dogs on a leash!

Village trail quizzes

But if you have children, it is harder to keep them happy if you are just doing the same walks every day, so why not try a ‘quiz trail’? Just pick your walk (it can be along pavements as well as footpaths), and ask a question at a spot every three minutes along. Even adults might find it fun!

We designed a Cresswell quiz-trail for a fund-raising event (which never came off, sadly), so we went up into the attic and found it.   – and, if you want, please click here on Cresswell Quiz Trail, print it off and have a go at it.

If you try it and like the idea, why not design one yourselves?
If you’re happy to also email them them to us, we’ll publish them on this site.

Help our footpaths

If you are into doing some serious regular walking across our local fields, please think about using your time to help the national walking society – The Ramblers UK.
Cuts to local services mean some footpaths have not been checked for some time – so, if you can help by making notes about the state of local footpaths, that would be an amazing help.
Just note the issues you see and report them on the Ramblers issues page.

Happy walking!

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NEWS: coronavirus teams / College plans / Facebook group

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-March 2020
In this post we have news of…: coronavirus crisis volunteers scheme / Draycott College plans / Facebook proves its worth … (NB – for what’s on, see the Events page).

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Coronavirus – neighbourhood teams?

A big thank you goes out to Kate Bradshaw and Denise Wheat.
In this difficult time, members of the village Facebook group were asking if an official ‘street coordinators’ team for Draycott-in-the-Moors – to ensure the vulnerable and elderly in each street get help – could be established.

Denise WheatUp stepped Kate, a lay-preacher at St Margaret’s Church and a Draycott village councillor, to respond to the challenge. She then recruited the village council clerk, Denise (see pic right); and now the two of them will work on the idea to see if a viable project can be established.

It’s not clear yet how volunteers will be vetted – but, then, let’s get the volunteers first! If you think you can help the project, in any way, email Denise.

Meanwhile, our local library centre at Blythe may be closed, but it too is contributing.  It has created a ‘phone-buddies’ system, and its volunteers have been re-deployed to run the project. Well done to Helen and her team for thinking so quickly.  For more details, click here.

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Facebook gets slagged off a lot, and, yes, there is a lot of nonsense, as well as too many trolls, on there, but a time like this, it really is proving an amazing resource for communities.

If you want to know what’s going on, and the latest updates for our neighbourhood, the Draycott village group page has been terrific. Residents have been swapping really useful facts, and supporting each other.
No less so the neighbouring facebook groups of Checkley & District Community Group, the Tean Community Group, the Fulford Village group, and the Blythe Bridge Group.
It’s worth just checking in with these pages just to keep up to date with how the Covid-19 coronavirus is affecting our locality.

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Draycott College plans

It looks like one of the places that will be affected by the virus is Draycott Moor College, the school for children who have the sorts of issues that mean they cannot go to regular school. It is likely to follow government advice but is unlikely to close because it looks after children of emergency workers.

Before lockdown could kick in though, the head-teacher Gail Norrie did present herself for residents’ questions at a college consultation event last week.
The school intends to expand from around 35 pupils to just over 50 (of all ages); and needs to build on extra accommodation.

One issue that neighbours worried about, which is all the extra traffic there might be, is partly dealt with by the fact that cars will now be able to drive into the college and pick up from round the back, instead of queuing up on Draycott Old Road.
Some residents who are concerned about heritage issues asked if the old frontage, dating back to when it was the village’s primary school, would be affected. No, said Gail, the frontage will be left as it is.

The planning application for the new buildings will probably go to the Staffs Moorlands Planning Department by the end of this month.

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Meanwhile, despite the problems in the human world, Nature just carries on, doesn’t it? Thank goodness.

Blossom on Cresswell Lane

Blossom on Cresswell Lane

The blossoms and the spring flowers in Draycott and environs are really looking stunning.

Cresswell Old Lane daffodils

Cresswell Old Lane daffodils

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box – scroll down to near the bottom of this page.
(The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email address, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)