Link Magazine

Link is the community magazine for the villages of Oakley, Deane, Malshanger and Wootton St Lawrence. 

Please note that production of Link has been suspended from April 2020 until the end of the corona virus emergency. Some items not published in print will be placed here. To have your item added, please e-mail

(Only after we re-commence) You can pick up a copy of Link for 50p from Jolly Olly’s Coffee shop, The Farm Shop at Manydown or the Hairdresser’s in Meon Road. If you would like to subscribe for £5 for the year (receiving 12 copies for the price of 10!), please e-mail or call Jenny Cox on 01256 780273


April 2020 Link:


Reasons to say ‘yes!’ to chocolate this Easter

  1. Chocolate can be beneficial for our mental health! Several studies have shown an association between chocolate consumption and a reduction in depression. Most of these have shown a stronger link to dark chocolate, however one study noted that the experience of enjoying it is as important as the ingredients – good news for white and milk chocolate lovers!
  2. Having foods which are ‘off limits’ creates cravings. If you’re someone who likes chocolate but don’t allow yourself to eat it, this can increase your desire for it. One way to change this is to give ourselves permission to eat chocolate, which can remove some of that ‘forbidden fruit’ effect which can cause us to panic around foods.
  3. Food gives us joy! Food is how we show affection, celebrate, commiserate, welcome and bond. If your culture celebrates Easter (or even if not); chocolate is an excellent example of a food which gives us great joy, regardless of what else it contributes to our life. there is joy to be found in eating something which is fun, but not all about being good for us.

Happy Easter!

Melanie Hargraves, Registered Dietitian


Oakley Village Show 15th August 2020.   Schedules coming soon!

Well we might not be able to go to the restaurant or theatre but it’s not all bad news! With so much  time on our hands, there really is no excuse not to get involved in entering a class in this year’s show. You could paint, take photographs or make a crafty something and although it might be too early to bake a cake, think of all the practising you could do!

Schedules should be available from Jolly Olly’s and V and B butchers or on the OCA website,

If you cannot access the website and are unable to go out, please ring me on 782769 and I will get one to you.

In the meantime, the committee are beavering away, organising everything from stalls to raffle, entertainment to food and drink, so keep an eye out for details over the coming months

Ann Davis on behalf of the committee 



Dear Editor,

I have, after ten years, sadly, decided to resign from the Parish Council.

For the past couple of years I have been Vice Chairman of the Council and Chairman of the Planning Committee, taking a real concern over what gets built in Oakley but, at the age of 80, we felt it was now time to retire.

Marian and I moved to Oakley twelve years ago very much taken with the lovely village atmosphere and joining the council was a way I hoped I might have some influence on retaining that delightful image.

Present development in the village is out of hand, the powers that be, who have the final say, are concerned only with building homes, regardless of either the disruption, the lack of infrastructure, the current roads, mainly designed for a horse and cart with no pavements, lack of bus services, meaning cars are essential, and schools and the surgery bulging at the seams.

Builders make a profit of £66,000 on every house they build so the latest Station Road development of 110 properties being considered could bring the developers a profit of £7,260,000.

Another disturbing factor is that ‘developers’ apply for permission to develop a site but once agreed they sell it on to another company, sometimes several times, who then can instantly change the design. A latest application was planned to include bungalows, which are desperately needed for many elderly residents anxious to downsize, but stay in the village close to their friends. However these were replaced with large town houses making more profit.

It is with much sadness that I call it a day, knowing that, for all my efforts, Oakley is going to change and not necessarily for the better.

The Parish Council is manned by dedicated, unpaid local people, all trying to help the village, sports areas, road traffic issues, play areas, the elderly and many other vital services. Give them your support.

Graeme Hewitt

Dear Editor

The roads of Oakley continue to deteriorate at an ever-increasing rate due to normal and HGV usage on top of surfaces previously damaged by cable excavations, and more recently, construction and through traffic. Furthermore, no official agency appears to be responsible for either maintaining the road surfaces or for alleviating the problems.

The original Oakley Village Design Statement was published in 2004. As the committee member responsible for drafting the sections on highways and traffic, it is of concern that no attention has been paid to the guidelines dealing with new development and through traffic. To quote from the Statement: “new development applications in the village should include traffic impact surveys and measures to accommodate any potential problems if necessary”.

I realise the original VDS has been superseded by later studies but “potential problems” never go away and particularly with poor road surfaces already damaged by media cable installations, followed by succeeding winter conditions.

Unfortunately, having reached the ‘90s’ I am no longer able to spearhead a campaign to save our road surfaces. However, my professional instincts and experience tells me that unless some remedial action is taken soon the damage will start to spread to the subgrade material which will make repairs even more costly.

Ken Tucker, retired Chartered Civil and Structural Engineer




Regular walkers of the multi-user path may have noticed how much muddier the surface is this year. This is due in part to new safety guidelines, issued by Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council, which have this Winter stopped groups using their own machinery, i.e. in our case leaf blowers, on council land. Of course, this combined with very heavy rain has increased the debris on the path surfaces.

So last month we were helped by a team of young people, completing their community payback hours, under the guidance of a supervisor. They worked all day using leaf blowers; spades and wheelbarrows. They cleared the section of path alongside Wells Copse and towards the end of the day moved to the Oakley start. We are hopeful they can return later in the year to complete the job.

Using hand tools, the Jubiloaks team has now completed the Winter coppicing of a patch of hazel. We hope by the time you read this article that the Council will have visited to chip the piles of branches piled next to the pathway. The chippings are useful to surface the low chalk path.

We have just launched our new website, which can be viewed at – do take some time to have a look and if you have any comments or ideas, do let us know!

Oakley Woodlands Group

You may have heard the term “ancient woodland”, but have you stopped to consider what it really means? The definition is a woodland that has been continuously forested since 1600 or before. Of course, this does not mean that the trees are 400 years old, nor does it mean no trees have been felled, or planted. In fact, many ancient woodlands have been managed by coppicing or pollarding to meet the needs of the local population. In fact, it is important to maintain the woods by rejuvenating the tree population continuously to keep the wood healthy, and it this management of woodland gives rise to the wide variety of fauna and flora found there. It is possible that the Oakley copses are the remains of such ancient woodland. When the Oakley Woodlands Group was formed, a survey of St John’s and Cowdown copses revealed several species of plants that are indicators of ancient woodland, such as bluebells, wood anemone, yellow archangel, primrose and some varieties of wild orchid. Spring is a good time to spot some these plants in the woods, and the next few weeks are ideal to see bluebells. To find them in Cowdown, you can enter the woods by the main gate on Pack Lane, walk up the ride, and then turn left at the next ride. If you walk to the end of this ride, you should be rewarded with a grand display, assuming they have not drowned.

Now the birds are nesting and the trees are coming into leaf, the Woodland Group has stopped coppicing, but we will resume next October. However, we will not be totally idle. Planning will be under way for the next season, and we plan to spend a couple of weeks making charcoal in time for the barbeque season.


Oakley Gardening Club

Although the March meeting was our AGM, our Chairman, Sonia Waite welcomed a good audience including two visitors.  The Chairman and Secretary presented reports on the events of the past year and everyone agreed that it had been very successful both regarding the talks and outings but also on the increase in membership and the sums raised from our fund-raising events. Carolyn Currie reported that during 2019 a total of 23 competitions were held as well as growing a potato in a container and cultivating a fuchsia from a tiny plant. Having added up all the points it was announced that Jean Elkin had gained 52, followed by Sally Warner with 36 and Diane Green with 29. Mary New our President presented Jean Elkin with the salver.

The talk entitled Some English Country Gardens consisted of beautiful slides taken by Ian McEvoy at gardens within easy reach of Oakley. The first was Welford Park, Newbury famous for its wonderful woodland walks full of snowdrops in February. Exbury Gardens near Southampton was next on the list, best known for the Camelias, Azaleas. Magnolias and of course Rhododendrons of all different colours. The next slides were of two gardens which are open under the National Gardens Scheme – one back nearer to home – Dipley Mill at Hartley Wintney with its herbaceous borders, herb garden and dovecote and ornamental lakes and streams meandering through the whole area as well as the millpond and the other –  Down Farmhouse at Hurstbourne Priors, visited by the Gardening Club a couple of years ago which is full of herbaceous borders. A nearby National Trust property – West Green House has a garden full of interest throughout the year with Lupins of various hues, Wisteria, Roses and Peonies to name just a few of the flowers to be seen as well as those in the Tudor Garden and the vegetables and fruit in the Walled Garden.

Abbey Cottage at Itchen Abbas looked interesting – it was a private garden previously open under the NGS. Among its attractions was a shepherd’s hut, a lake with water lilies, clematis, hydrangeas and a grapevine. Members who went on the outing last year recognised the slides of Longstock Water Gardens – a property owned by the John Lewis Partnership and open to the public on Sundays. Again, the gardens are of interest all through the year with its paths skirting lakes and islands connected by bridges where you can wander through beds of Hostas, Irises and other water loving plants as well as admire the Rhododendrons and Azaleas. Ian concluded his talk with photos of two gardens a little further afield – Water Perry Gardens near Oxford which is renowned for its herbaceous borders in the summer and Stourhead in Wiltshire where the parkland is magnificent in the autumn.

Gardening Tips for April

Oakley Gardening Club members list the following jobs for April:

  • Pot up overwintered cannas.
  • Cut back shrubby salvias and penstemons.
  • Plant potatoes, onion sets, peas, beetroot, carrots, radishes, lettuces etc.
  • Lift and divide perennials and place stakes in the ground for support.
  • April is a good time to lay lawn turf or seed.
  • Plant out sweet peas.
  • Dead head daffodils but leave the leaves to die back naturally
  • Cut old woody buddleias back to knee height
  • For more information for April in your garden follow the link to the RHS website: .


Watership Down Surgery News

Current Contact Details

Are you contact details up to date? If you change mobile number, landline or email address, please let your medical centre know. If you pass phones on to others, please let us know too so the details on your medical record can be updated.


Girlguiding Oakley – Volunteers needed!

Do you have an interest in volunteering?  Would you like to work with young people?  Are you willing to give your time to support young girls to develop new skills, grow in confidence and make new friends outside of school?

Girlguiding in Oakley continues to thrive with our strong team of volunteers, many of whom have dedicated years to the organisation and its young people for which we are very grateful. It is inevitable, however, that people sometimes need to move on from their volunteer roles.

We currently have vacancies for volunteers at Rainbows and Brownies in our Oakley units. Willing volunteers would be fully supported by our Girlguiding Oakley team and our wider Basingstoke West District volunteers.

Think you don’t have time?

Any level of support is welcomed whether you can just give an hour volunteering at a weekly meeting as a unit helper or more time to dedicate to running a unit. Leaders in Girlguiding are equipped with a documented programme, training events and, if desired, a fully supported leadership qualification.

What does Girlguiding offer?

As all of our volunteers will testify, a role with Girlguiding is extremely rewarding helping young girls grow and flourish. We provide opportunities for our members to go away from home with their Girlguiding friends and try new activities such as archery and climbing. In meetings we include activities such as DIY, camping skills, outdoor cooking and STEM activities as well as the traditional games, crafts, baking etc that you might expect. On a weekly basis we learn more and more about our members and many of them embrace opportunities offered by the wider Girlguiding community in Basingstoke. One of our guides last year took part in an international trip to Italy and Croatia and several of our young girls performed in the Basingstoke Gangshow, some performing solos. Our adult volunteers have also learnt much from their roles in Girlguiding and made lifelong friendships.

Act now!

Some villagers will be aware that one of our brownie units had to close last year due to time pressures on our volunteers and at the end of the summer term our fantastic rainbow leaders will sadly be stepping down. The larger our team, the more we can support each other but with waiting lists growing we need your help!

If you would like to express an interest in volunteering, have a chat about what time you could give or find out what volunteering with Girlguiding may involve please contact Lucy Rayden, District Commissioner at


WHAT AND WHERE CAN I RECYCLE? Eco Zero Quick Guide (Please note: there may be some closures in locations listed below due to coronavirus)