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The Uplands Group of Parishes consists of Guilsborough, Hollowell, Thornby, Cold Ashby, Ravensthorpe, Cottesbrooke, Creaton and Spratton                       

Message from Reverend Caroline Burnett, the Uplands Group of Churches

Uplands Group of Parishes Office (Answerphone): 01604 743444                                

They have encountered opposition and set backs but the story is inspiring and exciting.  So many species of plant, insect and bird have arrived and made their homes there.  The sounds of the countryside have come back: among them the buzz of insects, the song of the skylark, the call of the turtle dove – in spring the volume of birdsong in some of the wooded areas can be physically felt.  Grazing animals: longhorn cattle, horses, deer and pigs have been introduced and these are key in maintaining the ecosystem.  At a glance the land is messier than the kind of agricultural landscape we’ve got used to seeing, but close up there’s life and energy and hope.

There are many ways to enjoy and celebrate God’s creation and abundance, and the project at Knepp and others like it are among them.  We can all do our own little bit to let nature off the reins – accepting a bit of mess in our own small landscapes in order to invite that life, energy and hope closer to home.  And there perhaps we’ll find resonance with the words from the ancient book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, where we hear in our creation myth about the plants and creatures of the earth and sea; things that creep, walk, fly and swim, with the repeated refrain, ‘God saw that it was good’.

Rev’d Caroline Burnett


Church News


There’s a book that I found in a charity shop many months ago that I’ve been meaning to read for ages.  Having finally got round to it I wish I’d read it sooner.  It’s by the wonderfully named Isabella Tree and describes her family’s shift from farming on unproductive Sussex clay to allowing a potently bio-diverse area to evolve.  She calls her book ‘Wilding’ and the land she talks about is Knepp which falls under the Gatwick stacking system and between busy A roads.  You can go there on a wildland safari or stay there camping or glamping.

Surrounded as we are by farmland where precious food is produced, our gratitude to those who work the land here and elsewhere is unbounded; I think we all know that farming takes incredibly hard work, dedication and commitment and is beset by vagaries, not just those to do with climate but also to do with the whims of the big buying supermarkets.

All of that said, the family at Knepp couldn’t make their farm pay and they were in the kind of debt that would keep anyone awake at night and that ordinary people like us couldn’t possibly imagine.  So they took advice from various quarters and tentatively began their wilding process in 2000.


The wind plays gently with the fragile fronds of the remains of last year’s hydrangea flowers. I’m charmed by the chirruping chatter of the goldfinch as I sit in the spring sunshine of my front garden.

It’s Easter Monday. And while I sit, I contemplate how quickly we seem to have got here. In the blink of an eye, we’re saying ‘Goodbye GMT and hello BST’. The snowdrops have been and gone, the daffs are fading, while the first dandelions spread their yellow fronds for voracious ladybirds.

Over Easter Sunday roast, my nephew Martin was asking why the date of Easter changes every year. I was explaining that Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the Paschal full moon, which is the first full moon around the Spring Equinox. The date is a complex correlation between the lunar months and the solar year.

We also talked about Lent and that it’s the time for Christians worldwide to partake in a measure of fasting in resonance with the 40 days of fasting in the desert that preceded Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion.

It’s an interesting time of year for me. While we contemplate a perception of barren desert and sacrifice, life is bouncing forth, throwing off its winter coat in an elegy to growth and renewal.

Our conversation brought to mind this year’s Lent lunch in Hollowell. Beautifully organised by Gill Brown and her team, there was a full house. Extra tables and chairs had to be set up in the centre of Hollowell Village Hall. There were people

 from all of the surrounding villages who must have heard on the grapevine about the delicious home-made soup, AND that you could have seconds!

I started with the Red Pepper and Sweet Potato and then moved on to the Curried Parsnip, my favourite so far. All the proceeds of this lovely community event go to St James’ Church, Hollowell. With warm hearted chatter going on all around me I sensed the anticipation of warmer longer days.

I look up, pen paused, enjoying the glorious spring sunshine on my face and I suddenly notice that tiny flowers are appearing on the blackthorn. In these small, elegant delights is held all the potential and promise of a bountiful harvest and I sit quietly contemplating the deeper meanings of the passion of Easter.

Theresa Kelleher

Image by freepik

Local news from the Northamptonshire villages of Cold Ashby,

Cottesbrooke, Creaton, Guilsborough, Hollowell & Teeton and Thornby.

Last updated Monday, May 27, 2024

Copy deadline for the Augst/September printed edition: Mon 1st July