Monday, 8 December 2014

Carols around the Esh Christmas Tree: Tuesday, 9th December

The tree is up, the lights are sparkling, and tomorrow night, Tuesday 9th December, marks the start of the village's festive celebrations, with carols around the tree starting at 4pm. All are welcome: children, parents, and staff from both primary schools along with members of the Esh Residents' Association will be making up the choirs of angels, and everyone, including Rudolph, are very welcome to join in! Following the music-making, everyone is invited to defrost in the Cross Keys with a glass of mulled wine, soft drink, and a mince pie.

The village carol service takes place next Tuesday evening, 16th December, in St Michael's and All Angels... times to follow!

Monday, 17 November 2014

Mid-Durham AAP Open Day

The Mid-Durham Area Action Partnership is holding an Open Day on Saturday 29th November at its newly refurbished premises, The Miners' Institute in Langley Park, and will be focusing on three important issues affecting our local communities: older people, employment, and community groups.

All are welcome: do go along and tell them what you think of their work so far and how we could all work together to improve life in the area. 
Three distinct sessions will be held throughout the day with AAP Board members and service partners there to provide updates on their work, provide potential funding/grants information as well as listening to what you have to say. 
Session times are:
-       Older People                 (10am till 11.15am)
-       Employment                   (12noon till 1.15pm)
-       Community Groups             (2pm till 3.15pm)

You can attend just one, two or all three sessions if you wish.
Refreshments will be provided. Please arrive 10 minutes before each session starts and you must pre-register by contacting the AAP staff team by either:
Phone – 07818 510370 or 07814 969392 or 07557 541413

Public Lecture: Michael Brooks at Ushaw College

On Wednesday 19th October, quantum physicist, and popular science author and broadcaster Dr Michael Brooks will be giving a public lecture at Ushaw College entitled: 'At the Frontiers of Uncertainty: The Wild Frontiers of Modern Science.'

Michael is a regular contributor to the New Statesman, the New Scientist, as well as to the Guardian, the Independent and the Times Higher Education supplement, and will be speaking about the creativity and unpredictability of modern science and its relationship to its historic past.

The lecture is part of the national Being Human: A Festival of Humanities programme, and is part of The Ordered Universe Project's two-day contribution to the Festival, which also includes a full day of activities and demonstrations of medieval and modern science at Durham Cathedral on Tuesday 18th October.  

Attendance at the lecture is free of charge: to book a place, please email Dr James Kelly ( The event will begin at 5.30pm at Ushaw College with a drinks reception; the lecture will run from 6.00-7.00pm

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Esh Village Play Area Meeting TOMORROW

There is a meeting tomorrow, Thursday 6th November 2014, to discuss the planning and construction of a new children's play area in Esh village. The drop-in session runs between 4 and 6pm in St Michael's Parish Hall; refreshments will be provided, so if you have a strong feeling about whether Esh should be sporting a slide, a swing, or a seesaw, or a combination of all three, please do go along!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Area Action Partnership: Esh Village Update

The Esh village Action Plan, an ongoing programme of improvements to village life jointly implemented by Durham County Council AAP, the Parish Council, Durham Constabulary and the Esh Residents' Association, has been updated to illustrate the great work and continuing progress being made on issues such as road safety, overgrown verges, and blocked drains. Click here to see the latest version of the Action Plan.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

'Walk the County'

The Esh Leaves Women's Institute will be taking part in the 'Walk the County' charity walk to raise money for the A.C.W.W. (Associated Country Women of the World) on Tuesday 28th October 2014. All are welcome: the walk will leave from outside the Cross Keys pub at 2.00pm and takes approx. 45 minutes. The cost per walker will be £1.00 and refreshments will be available afterwards at the Cross Keys.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Esh Gospel Choir - October Concert

Esh village's growing Gospel Choir is kicking off their 2014-15 calendar with a concert on 1st October, 7.30pm at St Michael's Esh Laude Church, Esh.

Featuring The Reunion Jacks and the Gospel Choir, the charity evening will raise money for the Durham Foodbank, as well as promising a foot-tapping, finger-snapping, hand-clapping evening of gospel, rhythm and blues! Tickets available on the door. For more information, please contact Steve Bradley.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Esh Gospel Choir - Rehearsal Dates 2015-15

Esh village's very own Gospel Choir was set up over a year ago, and continues to go from strength to strength, performing at concerts locally as well as further afield. 

They rehearse every second and fourth Wednesday of the month in the village hall: all of the rehearsal dates and times can be found on the village calendar on this website. New members are always warmly welcome: For more information, please contact Steve Bradley (mob. 07891 752 459; email: The first rehearsal after the summer break will take place on Wednesday 27th August, 7.00-8.30pm

Watch out, watch out, there's a thief about!

Image courtesy of Toa55 at
There have been several worrying reports of thefts in and around Esh in the past week: a van, parked at it's owner's property, was emptied of it's tools and equipment, and around 130 lambs have been stolen from Broomhall Farm.

Please keep your eyes peeled for any suspicious activity and report anything unusual to Durham Constabulary using their non-emergency number, 101. For a range of tips and resources on how to keep your property safe and secure, visit Durham Police's Crime Prevention webpages by clicking here.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Twit-twoo! The newest additions to Esh's birdlife come home to roost...

The amazing generosity of the village residents, who pulled together to raise over £300.00 following the theft of one of the owl sculptures in June, meant that not one but two new owls arrived in Esh yesterday afternoon, courtesy of local sculptor Lee Hoskins.  These new carvings are shaped from thicker tree trunks, meaning that they'll hold fast against against whatever Mother Nature chooses to throw at the village, as well as being far harder to pick up and run off with!

 A  team effort saw the owls hoisted into position: ropes, brute strength, and the involvement of one unsuspecting resident, summoned from his car as he returned home quietly after work, brought the carvings down from their perch on the trailer, whilst the technical expertise of metalworkers, construction specialists and hot-beverage-makers saw them bolted into a concrete base.

A third sculpture, a baby woodpecker, has yet to be positioned… where would you suggest he go?! Ideas to the residents' association email address, please!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Re-surfacing of Hall Road

Hall Road, the road running from Front Street up to Esh Hall, is due to be resurfaced on 21st July 2014 from 1.00pm - 4.00pm. The road is in desperate need of repair due to several harsh winters and its use as a turning circle/short stay parking zone for parents collecting school children, and thanks must go to the Parish Council, the Area Action Partnership, the local Neighbourhood Police Team, and Hall Road residents for helping to bring the resurfacing to fruition. Access to Hall Road may be restricted on 21st July, but hopefully not for long and with minimal disruption to residents.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Esh Village Picnic

A huge thank you to everyone who turned out last Saturday, 28th June, to join in and support our inaugural village picnic. 

Despite a few clouds and the odd spot of rain, the bunting was out, the village green was raked, and the teams were picked for some serious rounders and volley ball action, as well as teas, coffees and fruit juices all served from Hall Road. 

As nightfall crept over the ridge, the festivities continued with bbqs and music… hopefully this was the first of what we hope will be many more  village picnics, bbqs and games days - if you were there and had fun, let us know! Similarly, if you have any ideas for more village events, do be in touch at

Friday, 13 June 2014

Esh's Owl Stolen

 The owl carving in the centre of Esh village has been stolen. It disappeared on Monday night, dug up from it's concrete base on the turning circle at the bottom of Hall Road; the second theft of communal property in the past two months. The first was the theft of one of the half barrels at the eastern entrance to the village used for planting bedding plants and box, which the Residents' Association replaced during our planting project a couple of weeks ago.

The police have been enormously supportive in pursuing the disappearance of the owl, donated to the village by local craftsman Lee Hoskins, as has the local pub, The Cross Keys, who have made their surveillance footage of the area available for scrutiny. If anyone has any information about the theft of the owl, please do get in touch with Durham Constabulary by telephoning 101, or 0345 6060365 if you are calling from outside County Durham or Darlington (calls cost a flat rate of 15p).

Esh is proud to have Lee's work on display and the owl has become something of an icon as residents work together to make the village an even better environment in which to live, work, and play. These petty thefts are a sad indicator, however, that not everybody shares our commitment to, and values of, local community; please do remain vigilant in the protection of your own, and others', property.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Esh Play Area: Project Meeting on Saturday 14th June, 2-4pm

The Mid Durham Area Action Partnership have been working for some time with Esh village residents to implement better facilities and services in the area. The latest project involves the allocation of a generous fund from the County Council to the village to create a new play zone and village parents and children are invited to help the Partnership plan and design the new area.

The next project meeting will take place on Saturday 14th June, from 2-4pm in the village Sports Hall. Everyone is welcome: especially those with exciting ideas for slides, swings, and see-saws!

For more information, please contact Pam Sinclair, Community Development Project Officer, Mid Durham Area Action Partnership, tel: 01207 529 844.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Esh in Bloom

Well, the rain held off, the wheelbarrows came out, and Esh Village Residents Association armed themselves with trowels, forks and, ingeniously, a system of chains and bolts, to rejuvenate, replenish and re-secure the village flower tubs and planters on the village green.

… and after!
We've had a couple of issues this year with vandalism and theft of the flower tubs, so the first job was to make sure that our handiwork didn't disappear into the hands of a green-fingered thief. Moving, lifting, and securing the tubs looked hard work -- but one thing's for certain: they're even tougher to lift and move now! All 24 of the tubs required last year's plants to be either pulled up or cut back, and new plants to be bedded in: my fingers are still aching as I type, but the effort was worth it!

Looking down Front Street

Still another 23 to go...

We went for some stunning combinations of salvias, petunias, geraniums, and lobelias in mixtures of red, white and blue, which were purchased with local community funding and thriftily sourced at local nurseries, garden centres, and even Lidl!

All we need now is for the sun to shine, and the slugs and snails to  commit to a collective diet, and Esh will be resplendent in Union Jack coloured flowers in time for the World Cup, Wimbledon, and World War commemorations, to name just a few things to celebrate over the coming months. Oh, and the village picnic, scheduled for June 28th. For more details on that one, watch this space!
Chelsea? Hampton Court? No, Esh!

Monday, 2 June 2014

Tub Planting Tomorrow

Esh village is home to some 24 barrel flower tubs located around the village - all along the main road through the village, around the village green, and by the schools and churches - which add another dash of colour to the now very green landscape around us! 

Each spring and autumn, Esh Village Residents' Association replenishes any sickly looking bedding plants, trims the box and cares for the tulip bulbs, and tomorrow, Tuesday 3rd July, we're scheduled to be out and about on our bi-annual planting tour. All village residents are very welcome to join us - all that is required is a hand fork or trowel and some wellies, judging by the latest weather forecast... We'll be setting off from Rutters Garth at 10.30am, with intrepid planters spreading out across the village - do just come and join in if you spot us! 

This year we've opted for a 'red, white, and blue' colour scheme: pictures to follow here shortly! 

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Bag It, Bin It...

The EVRA-organised litter picks have made a big impact on the state of the verges and footpaths leading into and around the village, and with a new size selection of high visibility vests on their way,
there's now no excuse to get out there and start reaching for those hidden crisp packets in the grass...

But we still need to do more. The area around Biggin Bank is often badly affected by people throwing empty bottles, cans and plastic packets out of cars, made worse by long grass and untidy verges. EVRA has been working with the Parish Council and the Highways Agency to make sure that the village benefits from its quota of public grass cutting and verge maintenance, and the Neighbourhood Protection Team have been increasing their presence across the county, issuing a number of fixed penalty notices for littering, fly-tipping and dog fouling. Next month marks the beginning of Durham's Big Spring Clean 2014, 7th April-11th May, an initiative run by the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the County Council, and Darlington Borough Council. There are lots of ways to get involved, so do have a look at their website or come along to the next EVRA litter pick.

Litter makes our village look ugly and reduces the quality of life for everyone who has to live, work, or travel through it. Keep your eyes peeled for the date and time of the next litter-picking mission - or be a rebel and organise your own!
For anyone out litterpicking, please do wear brightly coloured clothing (preferably a high visibility jacket or vest) and stay safe. The traffic speeding through the village is quite a problem... but that's for another day!

Friday, 14 March 2014

Nature Watch, Esh-style

We've barely had a winter and it's already feeling like spring (not that I'm quite ready to turn the thermostat down yet), and with it the warmer weather is bringing out the first glimpses of wildlife for Esh is locally so well known. We've had early sightings of young deer over towards Hag Wood, the squirrels are well and truly out of hibernation, and rumour has it that hares are to be spotted boxing in the fields to the south of the village - a sure sign that spring has sprung, surely?
We're thinking of setting up a 'Nature Watch' page on the blog for residents and visitors to post photos and sightings of wildlife in and around the village - what do you think? Do get in touch and let us know at The longer days mean lots of opportunities to get out and about, and don't forget your camera... the 2014 Photography Competition is just around the corner, never mind the 2015 calendar...