Tag Archives: huntley wood recreation centre

NEWS: Vol of The Year/ new homes/ farm sold/ giant pothole/ village assembly (not)

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late May 2018
In this post we have news of…: your votes needed for Volunteer Of Year, 100-plus houses on the way, Draycott Cross’s huge pothole, ancient farm-site sold, village-assembly shambles …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a cricket tournament on BH Monday…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Voting time

…no, don’t worry, it’s not our council election time (that’s next year), BUT your votes are requested please.

Nearly everybody will know John Clarke (see pic right). In the last few years he has been the go-to man for so much that happens in our village.
John ClarkeHe is best-known for the being the Chief Organiser of the Draycott Summer Fayre, which is now so successful that being organiser is almost a year-round job.
But John also does the little things too – he repairs our bus-shelters and notice-boards, delivers community newsletters, helped set up the churchyard lighting, and the like. He was the courageous fellow who climbed up into the church belfry for six months, working to restore the church’s 500-year old bells!
And he does it all for nothing.

In recognition of his work, this year John has been selected as one of the finalists in the Staffs Moorlands Volunteer Of The Year Award. However, the winner is decided by public vote – so, please take the thirty seconds to vote for him.
To vote: just click on this link  (and then click the button by John’s name at the bottom of that page).
You can also vote by phone: just call 01538 381356, and leave your name and say you are voting for John Clarke (outside office hours, you’ll be diverted to Carol’s answer phone, and you can just leave your name and nominate John on that).
Anyone is allowed to vote.

Please vote – and please encourage friends, family, neighbours to vote (deadline is in just a few days – on May 31st).
The other finalists are from the Moorlands’ big towns; so for a lad from a small village like ours to win, he will need all the votes possible…

– – –
King of potholes

The county council used to have an excuse for the plethora of potholes. They said most of them were caused by unstable tarmac contracting in freezing winter conditions. Well, in a very hot Spring, that excuse looks less believable.
A really nasty pothole has appeared on Cresswell Lane leading up to the cricket club. Because of the incline, it’s hard to see it until the last minute, and we’ve seen cars swerving very late to avoid it. But this manoeuvre is crazy because you’re approaching the blind brow of a hill there…Pothole D Cross 2018
However, the king of potholes, well over six inches deep, is at Draycott Cross on the road leading up to Boundary (see pic above). It’s a nightmare because it’s on a very narrow bend; you can feel your axle crunching as you go into it. Motorists, beware.
To report a pothole, click here.

– – –
“New village” for Draycott

As we predicted some months ago, a planning application for a local estate of over 100 homes has been given the final green light by Staffs Moorlands Council.

The developers, St Modwen, have had dibs on the land all along the ridge overlooking Draycott Level for some time; and when they decided they wanted to build houses at one end of it, it would have been a hard fight to stop them.
The new estate, which will sit in the pocket of land which has the A50 on one side and the Blythe Bridge roundabout on the other, will also have a new access road – which will come out by the Chandni Cottage restaurant.

Predictably, our Draycott Council had almost nothing to say about this,  (despite the new estate being on the parish border), but the Stunner newspaper reported  great disappointment from local residents Lee Warburton and Paul Dyke.
Paul said: “How on earth can an access road across an extremely busy carriageway, no more than a stone’s thrown from one of the city’s most dangerous accident black-spot roundabouts make any sense? Adding in the extra cars from 118 houses will only make things worse.”
Another resident, Brian Sammons said that the site was so isolated up on the ridge that it amounted to a “new village”.

St Modwen has yet to announce what building plans they have for the rest of the ridge stretching along to Cresswell. Watch this space.

– – –
Historic site sold

One of Draycott’s most interesting properties looks like it has finally been sold. High Coneygreave Farm, up on Draycott Cross near Huntley Wood, is ‘under offer’ for around £400,000. High Coneygreave FarmThe farm-site is very old, though the farmhouse itself is probably only 19th century (does any local historian know the answer?) and is in a lovely spot, with views all around. The only thing that seems to have put buyers off is all the work needed on the house.

Incidentally, the farm is on the access road to Huntley Wood Recreation Park, a private facility which is mostly used these days by ‘game-playing’ or ‘role-playing’ societies. The members of these societies use the Wood’s open spaces to enact live scenarios similar to Dungeons & Dragons etc.
So the new owners of High Coneygreave will have to get used to wizards and wonder-women passing their door!

What’s up at Draycott Council?

(Our local Draycott Council gets up to so many odd things that we almost can’t keep up, so we have given the council its own little section)

It might be best to try and forget the last council meeting.
The council was supposed to have organised a village-assembly (when the whole village comes together, to look back on the last year and plan for the next).
Well, it was a shambles. It was so badly organised and badly advertised that only one village organisation turned up specially (John Clarke, thank goodness, gave a report on the forthcoming village Summer Fayre) and less than ten people attended.

What’s more, the acting council clerk said she wasn’t attending, and no-one had thought to go and collect the paperwork off her for the meeting, so it was all a bit confused. Sigh.

Let’s hope the councillors get their act together in time for the Council’s Annual Meeting next month, when they have to report on the council’s achievements over the last year. Hmm…

Do you have news or information snippets that you think residents would like to see up on this website? If so – email us

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – 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, that means you might miss any responses to your comment

NEWS: good Sport news / Draycott werewolf / community spirit / action funds needed

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid November 2015
News of…:  construction projects for tennis and cricket clubs / Emma’s happy Halloween at Huntley / a show of community spirit by the Arms / fund-raising drive launch from action group …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a Star-Gazing Night. Check out the Events page)

– – –
Sporting good times

The best news we’ve heard in a while is the news coming out of our two big sports clubs.

At at Draycott Sports & Racquets Centre, it’s just been announced that tennis-courts 3 & 4 are about to be completely re-made with a new ‘astro turf’ surface. For those who like to know such things, the colours of the surfaces will be blue and green. The work starts at the end of this month.
The extra great thing about this is the belief shown in the club by the Lawn Tennis Association, which has put up an interest-free loan which will fund 75% of the project cost.  Obviously the LTA see a real future for the sport in Draycott.

And, just a hundred yards away, at Blythe Cricket Club, there is other good news. As you may well know, the club has been concerned about the state of their pavilion for some time. It’s almost ninety years since it was constructed, and the small building with its thin wooden walls simply doesn’t fit modern needs. So… way back in 2012, the club first set off down the track to planning and funding a replacement.

Blythe Cricket Club pavilion

Blythe Cricket Club’s pavilion is showing its age

Well, the latest is that the process of seeking a Lottery grant for the new pavilion, aka the ‘Community Hub’, has gone through its last stage – successfully!  So – the money is in place, and building can start.
Of course, this will mean some disruption at the ground next year whilst the works are carried out, but it will all be worth it…

And, as we are on this stretch of Cresswell Lane, I suppose we shouldn’t forget the third sports club there – the Checkley Bowls Club, which plays on the green at Blythe Business Park.  The club, which is in its winter recess, recently had its awards evening; and our congratulation go to Eric Worsdale, who picked up the Cowans Cup award for the best average score across the season.

– – –
Werewolves in Draycott Cross

Did you have a sighting of a werewolf on Halloween night? Well, we did – as the guests of the Haunted Huntley Halloween Event experience.

The spooky Halloween activity took the form of a walk through the (very dark) Huntley Woods – with all sorts of weird and …gulp… gory sights along the way (we were on the Adults-Only walk!). Bits of corpses were strewn across our walk; a very strange forester came to talk to us, as did a badly wounded scientist; and there was howling coming from the old quarry. Unnerving: to say the least!
And then this Scarefest culminated with a … yes … a werewolf, stumbling out of the trees toward us.

Huntley werewolf

One of the group managed to get a photo of the werewolf

Fortunately this hairy and snarling beast was eventually put down by the guides, using their special powers; and so Draycott’s Beast Of The Night was laid low.
Until next year that is, when, we are told, he will rise again….

One of the guides on the night was Emma King, one of the founders of the Huntley Wood Centre. Emma explained how, now the centre is up and running, she has decided to give up the actual management side; and has turned back to her first love, science.

Huntley Wood's Emma King

Emma King (left) explains the Huntley Wood concept to a visitor

So, Emma, who is a cosmologist with a PhD in physics, will be running science shows for children in Staffordshire schools next year. One of her shows is called “Explosive Food”; children will probably have much fun with that!

– – –
Building on Blythe Business Park ?

One of the odd things about the planning proposals for Blythe Park is that they are STILL not signed off.
Although the SMDC Planning Committee gave formal approval for the plans – to build an extra 168 homes in Cresswell, and double the size of industry in the hamlet – way back in August, the proposal is still listed as ‘Awaiting Decision’.   This is because the community-agreements are not yet in place, and presumably there are still negotiations rumbling on.
Which all means that there is still a chance to defeat the plans.

The local community action group, VVSM, has taken advantage of the situation and have been roaring ahead with their work – briefing their legal team, brushing up on the research, and generally keeping spirits high.
The group has a period of six weeks following any finalisation of the plans to make a legal objection, and this is what their thinking is at the moment.

Of course, that all needs money; and the group has launched a fund-raising drive. If you want to help, click here to find all the details.

– – –
Dangerous junction

Sad to say there was another crash on Uttoxeter Road a few days ago. Two vehicles collided on the Draycott Arms junction, just as one of them was pulling out of Cheadle Road.
Fortunately, no one was really hurt, though the car looked a write-off to us when we saw it.

Draycott Arms
Good to know there is some great Draycott community spirit around though…
The first volunteer on the scene was none other than the chairman of Draycott Parish Council, Roger Holdcroft, who busily cleared the road of crash-fragments, so that the waiting cars (which were by now in a long tail-back), could progress.
And what of the lady involved in the crash? Well our Zara, landlady at the Arms, rushed over, and was able to take the lady back to the pub and give her hot tea until the rescue services turned up.
Good to see.

Incidentally, Roger will be holding his first come-and-meet-your-councillors session this Monday (16th November) at the Draycott Church & Community Hall (in Church Lane), 6.45-7.15pm. If you fancy a chat about anything in the district, he says he will be all ears.

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – 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, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

Six weeks of summer events

It’s going to be a busy couple of months coming up for anyone who likes getting out and about and enjoying themselves in this neighbourhood.

The Draycott Summer Fayre was terrific as usual, so that’s given the local summer a great boost already!, but still to come are three Open Days, a major sports tournament and two mini-festivals – and we want to draw your attention to them here.
Also on this page (but a bit further down the page) we are asking you for your photos of the Draycott Summer Fayre.

Six dates for your diary

*Wednesday 29th of this month sees a unique opportunity to walk round a solar farm, and see just what goes on. The Novus group, which runs the giant Lower-Newton Solar complex in Cresswell, is inviting all and sundry to come and see what they’ve been doing since they set up earlier this year.
However, you must book a place first – to find out how, see our What’s On page entry.

newton solar panels

Lower Newton solar-farm complex

*Saturday 1st August is when Draycott St Margaret’s Church throws open its doors to all visitors for its ‘open afternoon’.  This is your chance to walk round the ancient building, to see the famous tombs of the medieval knights, and take a look at the 800-year old wooden chest.  However, be careful to get there on time; the church will only be open 2pm-4pm.

If Wimbledon was exciting for you, you may want to get down to Draycott Sports Centre for their Annual Open Tennis Tournament which attracts players from all round the region.  It runs for a week – from August 9th to the 15th – and features quite a few categories, from juniors to seniors to doubles.
Spectators are welcome; and if it rains, well… there is a bar at the centre for those who would like to sit and wait comfortably.

Draycott Cider Festival leafletAugust Bank Holiday Monday (31st) is when the new owners at the Draycott Arms, Brayn and Zara, are putting on a fun family event – a ‘Cider & Sausage Festival’, in the pub’s beer garden.
There will be more than just food and drink through – a bouncy castle and live-music are also on the menu!

On Saturday September 5th, there will be the first-ever Open Day for the Huntley Wood Outdoor Centre up at Draycott Cross.  The centre specialises in hiring out its woods and facilities to ‘fantasy’ enactments, but also does survival courses and tackles ecological issues.
For most of us, it will be the first chance to see how the owners have totally transformed the old quarry into something more like a log cabin village, which uses modern environmentally-friendly systems in its construction.

Also on September 5th, don’t forget the terrific music-festival that is CloggerFest, at Blythe Cricket Club.  If everything follows the usual plan, there will be a bunch of young talented bands taking to the stage one after another out on the field – from the afternoon right up until the late hours.  There will be lots of dancing and merriment!
Click here to pick up the latest news of who’s playing and what’s going to happen.

St Margaret’s Fayre 2015

Sunday’s event was just great – a dry & warm day, with lots to do!  Congratulations to all the volunteers, once again brilliantly led by John Clarke.

The choice of a Sealed-Knot Civil War re-enactment group this year was inspired; and the ‘Cavaliers’ really joined in the family fun.  Sad to say for them, they were foolish enough to challenge the children of Draycott to battle … and they were roundly defeated, having to flee for their lives within minutes of the children’s charge!

Everyone will have their own favourite moment of the day, but for us it was the amazing feats of strength by local strong-man Fred Burton.  Fred is competing in the Record Holders Republic World Championship and was determined to break some ‘Guinness’ records… which he did.  Incredibly, he managed to carry a 56lb weight for fifty metres in 25 seconds – using just his little finger.  He then attempted the 100 metres in the same way, getting even faster (!) doing it in just 49.3 seconds.
His third feat was to carry the 56lb weight as far as he could – using just his teeth – and he managed 112 metres in 106 seconds.

Fred Burton celebrates his record-breaking achievements

Fred Burton celebrates his record-breaking achievements

It was amazing to watch.  Afterwards he told us that he has no secret to his strength.  He just thinks that healthy fitness habits learnt in his childhood have made him the adult he is.  That’s probably a good piece of advice for new parents to remember – i.e. start the kids off well, and they’ll finish that way!

One of the last-minute changes was to have a ‘real-ale’ at the bar, in the shape of Sharps Brewery’s Doombar beer.  Well done to the bar-tenders – Anita & Archie & Leigh – for serving a superb pint of it.

We will have a fuller report of the fayre when all the stats are in… but, would you help us out by letting us have your photos too?  Just email us a couple of your best ones if that’s okay, and we’ll put a gallery of photos up reflecting the breadth of all the day’s events.
If you can’t wait for photos, there is already a gallery of over fifty photos on the Fayre’s Facebook page – click here to start viewing them.

NEWS: closures / over-60s lunches / silence on issues / bats / walk!

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid February 2015
News of…:  changes for Draycott Arms / Izaak to go dark / silence on traveller-site and mobile library issues / bats at Huntley Wood / concert and guided walk this weekend …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a Local Guided Walk.  Check out the Events page!)

– –

Suddenly, there are a series of unwelcome departures in and around this area.

Down at the Draycott Arms pub, John and Deryn Ford have finally decided that the pub-business is no longer for them, and they are selling up.  We understand that a buyer is confirmed and that, if the process all goes according to plan, John & Deryn will be leaving before the end of March.
It’s a lovely community pub, so it’s nice to know that it will remain open for a long time to come, even if it possibly changes hands!
You may want to go down and buy the couple a last drink over the coming weeks.

Draycott Arms

Draycott Arms

Meanwhile, a little further away, the rumours about the post office in Tean have sadly come true. The village’s post office closes today (Wed). The question is: will it ever re-open?
And, over in Blythe Bridge, it has been announced that the Co-op & Britannia Bank is also to close later this year.

We thought that the one bright spot in the gloom was that the Izaak Walton Pub is keeping afloat. After all,  a new scheme has been introduced at the pub for over-60s:  you can get a two-course ‘Seniors’ Lunch’ at the venue any weekday for £6.95.
However, the latest update is that the Izaak Walton too is going to be closed shortly – for a ‘temporary period’ we’re told.  But, how long is ‘temporary’?

– –
Silent council

We went down to the parish council meeting the other night expecting there to be some discussion on two issues currently on local people’s minds: the revelation that Cresswell is on a list of locations for a possible travellers site; and the fact that Draycott’s mobile library service is under threat.

Over in Werrington (another place which is marked on the possible travellers sites list), the parish council there has organised public debates, got some 2000 residents involved, and even brought in the local MP. See Sentinel report.
However, at our local Draycott Parish Council, when the question was raised by a councillor the matter was immediately dismissed by the chairman.
One wonders why – it would seem likely to be something of public interest after all!

As for the problems being faced by our village’s mobile library service… they were not even mentioned at all.

– –
More bats!

Even though it is the ‘quiet time’ for the Huntley Wood Outdoor Centre at Draycott Cross, work still continues as the place gets ready for the new season.

Bat box at Huntley Wood

Bat box at Huntley Wood

One of the main aims of the owners is to maintain and encourage the wildlife of the park, and it’s good to hear that, as part of this objective, more bird-boxes and bat-houses are going up all over the woods.
The bat-houses are made from off-cuts of oak left over from the building work, and will encourage bats to breed.

– –
Out and about this weekend

Don’t forget two interesting events taking place this weekend…

On Saturday night, there is The SMDC Chairman’s Charity Concert (featuring the Phoenix Singers) at Great Wood Hall Community Centre in Tean.
The SMDC Chairman at the moment is of course our very own district councillor – Colin Pearce – and he says it will be a great night.

The following day (Sunday 22 February), local lad Austin Knott leads a walk around Cresswell & Fulford, and he guarantees us lots of fresh air!  It’s free – all you have to do is turn up at 10am at Blythe Cricket Club, just up the road from the Izaak Walton Pub. The event is part of the Moorlands Healthy Walks Programme.

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – 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, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).

If you find the photos on this webpage too small to see properly, all you have to do is double-click on the photo itself, and it will double in size immediately.

NEWS: work in snow / men in court / bar-bottle / losing weight / expensive house

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early January 2015
News of…:  The Moorlands second most expensive house in 2014 / local men in court on drugs charges / lose weight – locally! / snow pictures / cash in a bottle for churches…
(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

– –
Working in the snow

Thanks for photos of the recent snow…
Some great photos came from the folk at Huntley Wood Outdoor Leisure Centre, up at Draycott Cross.

Bookings slow down up there on the hill at this time of year of course, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot of activity!  It’s the time of year when repairs, renovations and improvements can all take place; and the pace – for the owners – is really as busy as ever.

Huntley Wood under snow

Huntley Wood grounds under snow

The photo above is the view across the main camping field, also showing the double toilet block shell which has gone up over the winter.
For more photos of Huntley in the snow, click here.

– –
Court appearance

Tomorrow, two local men will be up in court – following a raid by police on an address in Cresswell in the middle of last month.   During the operation, drugs including cannabis were found; and two people were arrested, and charged with intent to supply.

Charles Milner, (aged 24, from Rookery Crescent in Cresswell) and Douglas Malbon (aged 25, from Stuart Avenue on Draycott Level), will appear at the North Staffordshire Justice Centre.

– –
New neighbours

We are always saying that Draycott is a nice place to live; and it seems like some people will pay a fortune for the privilege.
Yes, the second most-expensive property sold in the Staffordshire Moorlands last year (2014) was right here in Draycott.  The Grange, a country house in Cheadle Road (just up from The Draycott Arms) went for around £850,000.
We first reported it was up for sale two years ago, so it wasn’t exactly a quick sell.  But it is a lovely house & grounds.

The Grange

The Grange

Whoever bought it may well be into swimming or boating – as it has a large natural lake in the grounds – and a log cabin to boot!
Welcome to the neighbourhood…

– –

Coins in tray

What is these coins’ value?

Cash for churches

Meanwhile, a little further down the monetary scale, we are pleased to report that money-bottle on the bar at The Draycott Arms pub is pretty much full.  Regulars have been dropping spare change into the bottle over the last two years as a way of raising funds for the two historic churches in our locality – St Margaret’s and St Mary’s.

As the money-bottle is full, it’s now time to count the cash; and, as a further attempt to raise just a little more, there’s an extra competition.   All the coins were poured out into a wooden tray – do you think you can guess how much is actually in the bottle?  Each guess will cost you 50p and there is a prize for the closest estimate…

– –
Two ways to lose weight

Finally, if your resolution is to lose weight in the new year, well at least you are living in the right place, as there are two courses just getting underway to help you achieve just that.

At the Draycott Sports Centre, fitness guru Maria Emery is putting on her BodyFit course every Monday evening.  Interestingly she also gives advice about healthy eating; and one thing she warns everybody against is breakfast cereal…  she thinks it’s no good for you.

And, just three hundred yards away, at the Tatsu Kai Training Centre, Mia Arrowsmith will launch her Motiv8 programme next week.  This course also includes a hard & long examination of the foods we eat and what nutrition they are giving us.  But Mia is a PT instructor too, so it will be a mix of exercise and education…

Yes, we are definitely regretting asking for those extra portions of roast tatties…

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – 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, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).

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PHOTO: Monster man in Draycott

Where do you think this photo was taken?  The highlands of Norway?  The bleak expanses of Tierra del Fuego?
Nope.  This monster man was photographed in our very own Draycott Cross!

LARP character

…wouldn’t like to meet this fella on a dark night…

In fact, here we have a character from a very complicated seven-day ‘Live Action Role Playing’ (LARP) event.  LARP, which is all about the enactment of fantasy narratives, is now very popular – according to BBC reports.

Huntley Wood Centre in Draycott Cross specialises in putting on such events, and this picture was taken when a well-known LARP group ‘Heart Of Pargon‘ hired the Huntley Wood park.
Thanks to Will Power for the photo – and you can see more of his pictures of the event by clicking here.

If you find this photo too small to see properly, all you have to do is double-click on the photo itself, and it will double in size immediately!
Just press the back-button to get back to this page.

If you too would like to submit a Draycott-based photo or short video for this Photo spot, please get in touch

NEWS: football update / Shevlin date / local mag / Huntley pic

News-in-brief of Draycott-In-The-Moors in late February 2014 
We have news of…:  what’s happening with Draycott Potter FC / Doctor Shevlin returns! / Uttoxeter magazine for Draycott / photos from Huntley Wood.
(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

– – –
Forward to the Cup

Congratulations to Draycott Potters FC, who played superbly on the weekend to reach the semi-finals of the Ken Green Memorial Cup.  The lads had to face a tough test in beating Little Stoke FC, who are riding high at the top of the Uttoxeter League Second Division at the moment.

Matthew Stanyer

Draycott keeper Matthew Stanyer takes a goalkick upfield against Little Stoke. Draycott are in the blue strip.

Of course, it was a sad day when the team had to leave their Draycott ground last season after it was reclaimed by its owner.
Nowadays the lads play on the Forsbrook Parish pitch just behind Blythe Bridge Health Centre; and they have changed their sponsor, with the Blue Tiffin Restaurant sponsoring their away kit.
They have even changed the pub they use: they now meet at the refurbished Butchers Arms in Forsbrook.

The question is: will they therefore now change their name?  In the old days, twenty years ago, when they were founded by Brian Hilton, they were called Draycott Potter & Fulford FC, so the name has already altered over time.

Draycott Potter sign

The old Draycott Potter changing rooms sign – saying Fulford

Now that they play in Forsbrook parish, there is talk that they might change their name again, come the 2014/2015 season.

– – –
Bernard is back

Bernard Shevlin

Bernard Shevlin

One name from the past that is very welcome to hear again is that of Doctor Bernard Shevlin.
Bernard was the local doctor for many years, and is quite a character. In his surgery office he kept puppets, with which he would entertain worried children patients; and he was a regular voice on BBC Radio Stoke where he would talk about health in such a humorous and even light-hearted way you felt happy to be breathing!   In his spare time he’s also a member of the Swinging Sixties Band.

Well, he’s now retired; and on the talk circuit these days, where he is just as entertaining now as he was then!
He will be speaking to the Cheadle Historical Society on Wednesday March 12th at 7.30pm.  Non-members are welcome to the talk for a fee of £1 payable on the door – though you might want to get there early as the doctor is quite a draw…

– – –
Maidens in the wood

We reported recently on the fact that a film had been made up at Huntley Wood Outdoor Centre, which is just off the road from Draycott to Cheadle.
The centre is at last getting into its stride, with many ‘re-enactment’ groups – both historical and fantasy – using it for their get-togethers.   The centre, which has accommodation too, can be used for any number of outdoor activities including survival games and scouting.

'Lady of the Forest'

‘Lady of the Forest’ – photographed by Jasmine Whiteside

The centre is celebrating the wide range of activities up there by organising a calendar – with photos of events marking each month of the year.
We really like the photo for January in which a maiden (in distress? – surely not…?) seems to be lost amid the trees of the wood.  Photographer Jasmine Whiteside took the picture when she visited.
To see more, head for the Huntley Wood website.

– – –
John Giblin – press celebrity

Finally, it’s good to see that the local magazine The Uttoxeter & Cheadle Voice, which is distributed free to households, has extended its editorial area to include Draycott & Cresswell.
There should now be local news appearing in it whenever it comes through your letterbox.

We were intrigued to see an article about a ‘dream team’ of local amateur players, which included … John Giblin… – yes, the very same man who now manages Draycott Potters FC!  Nice to see that John’s playing skills are not forgotten – and, believe it or not -, he still turns out occasionally for the Potters.
Nice one John..

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‘Horror’ down in Draycott’s woods…

You wouldn’t have thought that Draycott would be a likely setting for a horror movie, but that’s exactly what you will see when a new short-film Beneath the Trees Where Nobody Sees is released next week.
And we are all invited to the premiere – for free!

It all came about because Dan Cottingham, the film’s director, needed an atmospheric setting for his movie – which plays on creating a sense of high tension in the audience.
He approached the owners at Huntley Wood, the outdoor recreation centre by Draycott Cross on the Cheadle Road.

Beneath the Trees film crew

Filming gets underway at Huntley Woods

Dan continues:  “I initially sent out masses of emails to woodland owners across Staffordshire, and, despite a number of replies it was evident from the start that Huntley was the one. The owner Emma King was very polite and always enthusiastic.
After a very in-depth and chatty tour of the location I was immensely satisfied that Huntley Wood would be the perfect setting for the film idea in my mind.”

A picnic with a twist

Beneath the Trees Where Nobody Sees is based around the classic children’s nursery rhyme ‘Teddy Bears Picnic’.  It looks at the issues of childhood and naivety, as the daughter of a single parent wanders into the woods – with devastating consequences.

“I took inspiration from the TV show Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” says Dan. “…starting with the desire to create a film in the style of the Buffy ‘Gentlemen’ episode – in which the characters’ voices are taken away, mimicking a fairy story”.
Along the way, some flesh-eating takes place…

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Filming took place in mid-November last year.

Going to the movies

Dan, who is in his final year at Staffordshire University’s Film School, is hoping to impress major movie-makers with his latest work.
To that end, there is a public screening on Thursday 23rd January at 6.30pm at The Ashley Building of Staffordshire University, which is at the Leek Road Campus in Stoke.
Seven short films, each around five to ten minutes long, are being shown at the event, which is open to the public.

Dan Cottingham

Dan Cottingham is hoping for a long career in movies

Dan is very happy with the way things turned out.  “All the staff at Huntley were very accommodating, and happy to help at all points in the production process.  Our young star Libby Braidwood, who plays the daughter (Rhiannon), was made to feel completely at home.
I would love to express my gratitude!”

Who knew Draycott’s woods could be so exciting?

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NEWS: fitness classes; volunteering opps; big bats; long time resident

News-in-brief of Draycott-In-The-Moors in late-September 2013
We have news of:  new fitness classes; outdoor volunteering opportunities; big batting records in cricket; and Gwen’s long time with us.

(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

– – – –
Slimming times

No sooner can we stop having to lose weight for the summer holidays, than we have to start again – this time in order to fit into  Christmas party-wear!
Fortunately, Draycott Sports Centre is able to help.

In addition to its usual cycle-spinning, tennis-aerobics and other exercise classes, it has just announced plans for even more.
Sessions in something called  Boxer Beat start on Tuesdays in October (at 5.45pm); with the fearsome sounding Boot Camp sessions returning during November on Saturdays at 9am & Wednesdays at 7.30pm.  Check for dates and fees on the Draycott website.

Curso de Instructor de Pilates

Pilates (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you prefer a gentler, less sweaty approach to getting fit, Pilates-teacher Catherine has restarted her classes now for the autumn – Thursdays from 6pm-7pm.

Serious athletes can even consider joining nearby Blythe Bridge Running Club

You now have no excuses!

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Volunteer in the local outdoors

Talking of Draycott Sports Centre, they are looking for volunteers on the afternoon of Saturday 5th October to join a working-party, which intends to help tidy the site.  The task shouldn’t be too arduous, and you could meet some nice people.

By odd chance, the following weekend sees the Huntley Wood Outdoor Recreation Centre (on Cheadle Road) also looking for volunteers.
This time a ‘crew’ is required to assist in a Dungeons & Dragons live role-playing weekend.  We’re told “there will also be pirates”…

We have absolutely no idea what the members of such a crew would need to do – or if they need particular skills – but it sounds fun enough to be fascinating!   Contact Huntley for particulars.

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Slogging records

The final stats are now in for the local cricket season, and it’s mighty congratulations to  Kris Heathcote and Asif Hussain – who did our local club proud by coming high up in the batting records for the season.

In fact Kris knocked the biggest innings across the whole of the NSSCL with a massive 176 playing for Blythe CC 2nd XI back in July.
One of the top scores in NSSCL Division 1A (the division that Blythe’s 1st XI play in) came from Blythe’s own Asif Hussain with a terrific 131 at the beginning of the season.
See the full NSSCL stats by clicking here (then click on the Stats tab); and see the full Blythe stats list by clicking here.

…Well done to both…

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Over half a century in Cresswell

Finally, we remember someone who possibly knew Cresswell better than any of us.

More than a few people attended the funeral service for Gwen Gunn at St Margaret’s Church last month. Gwen was a prominent member of our community, and particularly of the Draycott WI and Mothers Union.

We didn’t realise that Gwen (who was just two years short of one hundred years old) had lived in Cresswell for sixty years.  I wonder how many people will be able to say in future that they’ve lived round here for that long?

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NEWS: construction; new bus service; N. Watch; and some winners

News-in-brief of Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-August 2013
We have news of:  completed construction projects at Totmonslow, Huntley Wood and the Church Hall; the new bus in Draycott; new Neighbourhood Watch group; and raffle winners.

(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

– – – –
Building Draycott up

Well, the good weather seems to have helped a number of outstanding construction projects in this area to get finished, which is no bad thing.

The most obvious achievement was the restoration of the ditch-trench that runs alongside Uttoxeter Road at Totmonslow. It had become badly silted up, and overgrown, so it was a timely move by Highways to clean it up last month.

Ditch - cleared!

Ditch – cleared!

The work should prevent flash-floods across the road at this point. With luck.

Meanwhile, up at Huntley Wood Outdoor Adventure Centre,  which is off Cheadle Road at Draycott Cross, the second of the three sites has finally opened.
Emma and Jonathan have been slogging away at it, transforming the old quarry, and now the ‘Wyldwood’ section  is open, as well as the already-running ‘Greenvale’ section.
The centre, which is only open at the moment for private bookings, hosts organisations such as survival groups, role-play organisations and scouting-type activities.  Hopefully, they will have an open day in the near future so we locals can see what’s been going on up there.
In the meantime, have a look at this Wyldwood Flickr slideshow, which outlines how the site came to be what it is.

And last, but not least, congratulations to the team who’ve finally got the ceiling renovated at the Church & Community Hall.

Draycott church hall roof fix

The scaffolding had to go up in the Church Hall – it’s a high ceiling

It has taken time and money, but means the hall will be dry and warm for many many years to come.

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X Fifty… what?

You many remember, a few months ago, there was talk that there would be changes to the X50 bus (which runs through Draycott between Meir and Uttoxeter).

Well, it looks like something was up after all, as we now welcome … the X51!
This month the new ‘ X51’ service is replacing some journeys usually undertaken by the X50 and the 7 bus (between Cheadle and Longton) and the 7A (between Tean and Draycott).  The 7 and 7A disappear to be replaced by using a combination of X50 and X51.
To be honest, we can’t figure out if this is just a new name for what is already happening or represents a major change.

If you understand what the difference is, would you let us know?

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Roll up for the winners

Incidentally, the winners of the St Margaret’s Draycott Summer Fayre raffle have been announced.  It looks like all the winners have been identified, so don’t get your hopes up. However, if you want to take a look at what you might have won, click on this link.

Of course, it’s against the law to raffle livestock, so no one would have won a kitten in the raffle…

Kittens for sale

Potatoes, eggs, kittens – this farm has them all…

…but – if you want a kitten, it looks like, according to this photo anyway, that Lower Manor Farm (which is diagonally opposite Church Lane) might be able to help.

– – – –
Neighbourhood Watch, anyone?

The community-action group VVSM are certainly not taking a rest for the summer!  As well as conducting a survey on the state of the bus-shelter opposite Rookery Crescent in Cresswell, they have just announced that they have another meeting coming up.
This time it’s to discuss the possibility of setting up a Neighbourhood Watch group in Cresswell.
Neighbourhood Watch is more than just ‘keeping a suspicious eye out’, it’s also a great way to share information about crime prevention in the community, as well as give a grassroots help to the forces of law and order.

There is more information about the meeting, which take place on August 29, on the VVSM website.

– – – –
Xmas already?

Finally, yes, Christmas does come earlier every year.

Proof?  The Foxfield Heritage Steam Railway project, which is over in Blythe Bridge, has just contacted us to say that places for its ‘Santa Specials’ are going fast, and that if anyone wants tickets, they need to be quick.

…what??  We’re still putting on the suntan lotion…

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