Aynho Parish Council

Published on June 29th, 2017 | by Web Admin

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Village of the Year 2017 Submission

Aynho is a great place to live with so much going on, beautiful countryside and easy access to some of the best and most historic counties and towns. That’s why we’ve decided to share this with everyone else, submitting our entry for the 2017 Village of the Year Competition featured on Channel 4, produced by Reef TV and hosted by Penelope Keith.

If you’re interested, detailed below is our submission. We hope to hear soon but in the meantime let all keep our fingers crossed!

1. Village Name: Aynho

2. County: Northamptonshire

3. Village website: http://www.aynho.org/

4. Why we, residents and visitors, love our village:

There is a great community spirit with wonderful facilities. The village has defined boundaries on all sides, with a conservation area which runs the length of the village and is a key factor in residents choosing to live here. It sits in beautiful countryside in all directions with a network of footpaths which is great for everyone and dog walking. This countryside is actively farmed and a number of the farmers are village residents who participate in village activities. It has all the facilities a village needs with a Church at its heart, Village Hall, Alms-houses, allotments, hotel and restaurant (The Cartwright), and a canal side pub (The Great Western Arms) on the Oxford Canal. It has 2 amazing venues for parties and weddings, The Great Barn and Aynhoe Park; wonderful transport links; Ultrafast Broadband (FTTP) recently installed in 2015 which support the large number of residents who work from home providing speeds which are faster than most cities! We have housing of all types for all generations; and numerous clubs and societies which foster the community spirit. It is a very well-kept and cared for village which is a delight to the eye and lovely to walk around.

Known as the “Apricot Village”, due to the apricot trees espaliered on the front of the houses; somehow the climate is right, the soil perfect for growing, and the history of why we keep on growing them has a number of strands which the gardening club members and the history society love to chat about.

Wonderful comments from residents in a recent survey sum up why they love the village:

  • “Small rural village, great atmosphere, and good community feel”
  • “Village Community, friendly good place to bring up a family, plenty going on, people join in…”
  • “The rural and peaceful feel whilst still being within easy reach of major towns. Love Aynhoe Park and the history of the village and good recreational facilities for those who want them.”
  • “We cannot think of a better place to live’

5. Summary Points about Aynho

5.1. Appearance

Vernacular cottages and farmhouses built of local limestone dominate the conservation area. Many are two or three storey with slate or stone slate roofing and a few remaining examples of thatch. The ridge line varies across the streetscape indicating the different phases of development. There are about 300 dwellings in all in the Parish.

Towards the centre of the village there is a more intimate feel with restricted views and cottage dwellings sitting towards the front edge of their plot. From the central square, streets diverge to narrow lanes and alleyways, some of which are only accessible by foot. The big house, Aynhoe Park dominates to the south side, whilst numerous old farms have been converted on the main street of Roundtown, and all the old traditional work places are in the old streets – the dairy, the blacksmith, the posting house, the slaughter house. Raised walkways link The Square with all parts.

Limestone boundary walls, traditionally dry stone, are an important feature of the area. Five miles of wall encompass the former boundaries of Aynhoe Park, much of which continues along the south periphery of the village. Similar smaller boundary walls are found within the village itself and play an important role in enclosing the streetscape and plots.

5.2. History and Heritage
Aynho is a rural village with Anglo-Saxon origins, the first record of the manor dating back to 1043. The majority of the current buildings were constructed in the 18th century, built of local limestone in a vernacular style. There is a notable absence of brick housing.

Aynhoe Park, a Grade I listed house and Grade II listed park, designed by Capability Brown, lies to the south of the village. The evolution of the estate and village are closely interlinked. Former squires have owned large amounts of village property and land and have thus been able to control its development. From 1616 to the 1950s the Park was in the possession of the Cartwright family who were instrumental in informing how the village appears today – including the answer to “why the apricot”.

Open and green spaces help define the village and inform its historic growth. Historically some have been meeting points including The Square and the green outside the Cartwright Hotel, thought to be the location of the medieval market.

No history of Aynho is complete without mention of its people. The cast including an explorer, politicians, diplomats, military men, mathematician, playwright, author, Olympian, assassin, temptress and agricultural workers; all have impacted local, national or world events.

5.3. Annual Village events/ Any Diary Dates between June & July

20 May 17 – Annual Maytime in The Square
20 May 17 – Village Barn Dance
11 Jun 17 – Village Fete – In the grounds of Aynhoe Park Usually mid-July – Apricots picked
19 Aug 17 – Flower & Vegetable Show
24 Sep 17 – Harvest Festival

5.4. Activities to do in Aynho

There is a wide variety of activities for all generations who use the key village facilities including The Village Hall, the Sports Field and pavilion, the children’s play park, the Apricot Room in the Cartwright Hotel.

Village Societies include Writers Group, Biodiversity Group, Gardening Club, Short Mat Bowls, WI, Health Walking Group, History Society, Photographic Society, Music Society, Bell Ringers, and Allotment Society. Cricket, football and tennis are played within the village.

In winter a weekly Winter Lunch Club held in the Village Hall, which not only provides a social hub, but raises funds for village charities.

5.5. Visitor experience

The village is very accessible and close to all transport hubs and is centrally located an hour from London, Birmingham, Cheltenham and Portsmouth! Served by The Cartwright Hotel with its restaurant and 21 bedrooms and the Great Barn at Upper Aynho Grounds with “A Day in The Country” including virtually every country activity. Aynhoe Park is a well-established private country house with 28 bedrooms and is also a wedding venue as well as the home of James Perkins. Within Aynhoe Park a deer park has been recently established. Once in any of these places you are the heart of the village and can experience the flavour the history in the buildings with the apricot trees espaliered against the stone walls as you enjoy a tour through the network of little roads and paths.

6. To win Village of the Year and the prize money of 10,000 would provide a wonderful opportunity currently out of our reach.

Three years ago we obtained funds to update playground facilities for the young children in the village. The prize of £10,000 would be used to update the adventure equipment located on the Sports Field used by the older children.

Fingers crossed, Aynho!

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