Sunningwell Village Green

A fete on Sunningwell Village Green summer 2015
A fête on Sunningwell Village Green summer 2015

Sunningwell Village Green is a 10.22 acre site (outlined in red on the plan below) located in the centre of the village adjacent to St. Leonards Church.  It is held by the SPC for the benefit and recreation of the residents of the Parish of Sunningwell and its use as a village green was registered on the 28th September 1999 under unit number VG121 following a House of Lords case, Sunningwell Parish Council (Appellants) v County Council (Respondents), on the 14th April 1999.

The Village Green is owned and administered by Sunningwell Parish Council through a “Policies and Procedures” document signed on the 27th November 2013. Bob Evans, who lives opposite the green, acts as the village green warden on behalf of the Council.

A set of “Aims and Objectives” were approved on the 26th September 2012 by the Parish Council.

2.325 acres at the south western corner of the Village Green (hatched green on the attached plan) have been designated as an ecological and wildlife habitat in order to promote and encourage the growth of wild flowers and establishment of wild life such as the Marbled White, Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral butterflies that continue to inhabit this area of the Village Green.

The Village Green is was formerly owned by the Oxford Diocesan Board of Finance but in 2016 it was purchased by SPC on behalf of local parishioners. Cllr Paul Wooldridge played a central role in negotiating the purchase and was also instrumental in encouraging many local benefactors to raise about £25 000 towards the purchase cost. The Village Green is registered under the Commons Registration Act of 1965 and the more recent legislation of the Commons Act 2006 and the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

Sunningwell Village Green boundary map7
Sunningwell Village Green boundary map

For it to have become a registered Village Green, it was required to be proved that the Green had been used as follows;

  1. for lawful sports and pastimes such as dog walking and family activities including such uses as fetes and bird watching;
  2. for its lawful purpose for a period of at least 20 years;
  3. “as of right”and therefore without the need for permission of the owners;
  4. by local residents.

It is important that we maintain the criteria under which the Village Green was established and that the residents of Sunningwell Parish continue to regularly use and enjoy it.

In recent years, the Village Green has been the location for the Parish fireworks night held in November. An attendance of several hundred people from across the Parish is very typical.  In the summer months, parish fêtes and hog roasts have been held.

The Parish Council has installed new gates and fencing at both entrances to the Village Green, provided 5 wooden benches, all of which have been sponsored by local families, and has installed two Village Green signs.

In 2020 the very dilapidated stone wall facing the main road was repaired using grant funding procured by Cllr Paul Wooldridge. The new wall made use of fallen stone as well as new stone which should eventually weather to a similar colour.

The photos below show a view from the road and a less obvious view across the stream from the green which shows that the wall is more substantial than may first appear.

Sunningwell Village Green wall after repair by SPC November 2020
Sunningwell Village Green wall after repair by SPC November 2020
Sunningwell Village Green wall after repair by SPC November 2020 using old stone where possible. The new stone should eventually weather to a similar colour.
Sunningwell Village Green wall after repair by SPC November 2020 using old stone where possible. The contractors can be seen looking at the finished job prior to clearing up.

For further information on the Sunningwell Parish Village Green, please contact the Parish Clerk.