Saturday, 25 February 2017

The First Entry Form Has Arrived!

Congratulations to the McPherson Family, the first to submit an Entry Form for this year's Scarecrow Trail. Mind you, they have yet to decide what their entry will be! Thinking caps on!! Judging by their entries for previous competitions, the results will be spectacular.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Vandals in Loughton

A few days ago, someone tried to tear down the poster advertising this year's trail from our back fence. Fortunately it was stapled on well, so they only managed to tear a small piece away. It was relatively easy to staple it back in place. However, some time within the last 24 hours, someone has smashed the Selfish Loughton Giant's mouth. Hopefully, it can be patched up. So depressing!

Friday, 10 February 2017

Entry Form

Here is this year's entry form for anyone interested in competing or exhibiting on the Scarecrow Trail.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Details of this Summer's Trail

Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales Come to Loughton

Come twelve noon on Friday 9th June 2017, a host of scarecrows will invade our sleepy village, and conjure it miraculously into life with the advent of Loughton’s third Scarecrow Trail. As in previous years, the trail is being organised by All Saints’ Church, Loughton, but this year the event is working towards ‘shared ownership’ with the village. To that end, it is being supported by Loughton and Great Holm Parish Council, Loughton Residents’ Association and Loughton and Great Holm Neighbourhood Action Group, all of whom are hoping to arrange celebratory events to mark Milton Keynes’ 50th birthday, during the first weekend that the trail will be open to visitors. Loughton First School, Loughton School, The Grove Independent School and Denbigh School are planning to build scarecrows for the trail.

A Scarecrow Trail Action Group (STAG) has already met to set the event in motion. Its next two meetings will take place on 5th April from 7.00 -9.00 p.m., and 3rd May from 7.00 -9.00 p.m., both at 7 Lucy Lane, Loughton. If anyone from the village would like to join STAG to help prepare for this year’s event, please contact Julienne Hanson, the event’s organiser, by email at or by phone on 01908 696072. In the coming months, opportunities will be explored for other individuals and organisations within the village who are keen to join in the festivities, to take advantage of the occasion to promote and raise funds for their enterprises.

In what is fast becoming a tradition, the trail will take the form of a competition, with rosettes and prizes awarded for the most eye-catching interpretation of the trail’s theme, ‘Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales’. The competition will be judged on the afternoon of Friday 9th June, before it opens to the public at 10.00 a.m. on Saturday 10th June. Every entry will receive a rosette, but only one can be crowned Supreme Champion, so entrants need to put on their ‘thinking-caps’ and devise an unusual, amusing or entertaining response to the theme. As on previous occasions, a special prize and rosette will be awarded to the scarecrow that receives the most votes in a Visitors’ Choice ballot, after the trail closes at 5.00 p.m. on the evening of Saturday 17th June. 

The trail’s route will be similar to that of 2015, taking the form of a figure of eight centred on All Saints’ Church. It is set to include Ashpole Furlong, Bignell Croft, the Bradwell Road, Church Lane, Leys Road, Linceslade Grove, the London Road, Lucy Lane, the Meadway, Paynes Drive, Pitcher Lane, Redland Drive, School Lane, and Turville End. The exact route will be determined by the location of the households that enter a scarecrow into the competition. Any householder living within the Civil Parish of Loughton and Great Holm is welcome to enter the scarecrow-building competition, but the scarecrows of those who live well away from the trail will be ‘hosted’ either up at All Saints Church or by a family living along the route. 

Some five hundred flyers announcing this year’s Scarecrow Trail have already been distributed to every house on the proposed route of the trail, together with an entry form. Householders living along the route who would like to join in the fun but do not feel up to building a scarecrow, can offer to ‘host’ one in their garden. Entry forms can also be downloaded from the trail’s blog, at A hard copy of the Entry Form can be obtained from Julienne, but please phone her to check that this is convenient, before calling round.  

The closing date for competition entries is May 1st.  An Entry fee of £5.00 will be payable at the time of entry, to cover the cost of rosettes and prizes, but charities and children’s organisations will continue to enter the scarecrow-building competition free of charge.

A printed Trail Guide will be available to purchase at a cost of £2.00 each, from early June. This will contain a map that shows the location of each scarecrow and a fun quiz to entertain the children, whilst following the trail. Guides can either be collected from Julienne by prior arrangement before the trail opens to the public, or purchased at All Saints Church during the weekends when the trail is open, from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. on Saturday 10th and Saturday 17th June, and from 11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. on Sunday 11th June. Proceeds from the sale of Trail Guides will go to support the maintenance of All Saints’ Church. 

Raffle Tickets for a Grand Raffle with a First Prize of £100.00 in gift vouchers from a prominent local department store can be purchased at All Saints’ Church during these hours, and a ‘Silent Auction’ will be held in the church tower at the weekends, also while the church is open. Light refreshments can be purchased in the Church Room during the opening hours. If you would generously care to sponsor the trail by donating a raffle prize or a lot for a ‘silent auction’, please get in touch with Julienne.

What was particularly delightful about how the previous two scarecrow trails worked, was how they brought the whole community together by participating in a single event- individuals, voluntary organisations such as scouts and guides, schools, churches and the like. Residents were amazed by the volume of visitors passing by. Opportunities were taken to interact with visitors and fellow-competitors. Will you help to build the local community by building a scarecrow? Do join in what promises to be an even bigger and better event this summer!

Saturday, 4 February 2017

The Selfish Giant of Loughton with apologies to Oscar Wilde

Every afternoon, as they came home from Loughton School, the local children played in the Loughton Giant's garden on the Bradwell Road. It was a small but pretty garden, with soft green grass and a small fishpond. The birds sang so sweetly that the children used to stop their games in order to listen to them. 'How happy we are here!' they cried to one another.
After a long absence, the Loughton Giant came home. He had been to the seaside to visit his friend the Cornish ogre, and had stayed with him for seven years. When he arrived home, he saw the children playing in his garden. 'What are you doing here?' he boomed in his loud, angry voice. The children were scared and ran away.

'My own garden is my own garden!’ said the Giant; 'Any one can understand that! I will allow no one to play in it but me!’ So he built a high hedge all around his garden, to keep the children out. The good folk of Loughton often spotted him peering out through the branches of his hedge, ready to shout at any children who happened to be passing by. He was a very selfish Giant.

The children of Loughton had nowhere to play. They tried to play on the Bradwell Road, but the road was very busy and full of traffic, so they did not feel safe there. They used to walk past the high hedge every day, and talk about the beautiful garden beyond it. ’How happy we were there,' they said to one other.

Then the Spring came, and all over Milton Keynes there were beautiful blossoms and nesting birds. But in the garden of the selfish Loughton Giant it was still Winter. The birds did not care to sing there as there were no children to listen to them, and the trees forgot to blossom.'I cannot understand why Spring is so late in coming this year.,’ said the Loughton Giant, as he sat at his kitchen window and looked out at his cold white garden; 'I do hope there will be a change in the weather.’

But the Spring never came, nor the Summer. The Autumn gave golden fruit to every garden in Loughton, but to the Giant's garden she gave none. 'He is too selfish,' she said. So it was always Winter there, and the North Wind, and the Hail, and the Frost, and the Snow danced about through the hedge.

One morning, the Giant was lying awake in bed when he heard some lovely music. It was a blackbird singing outside his window, but it was so long since he had heard a bird sing in his garden that it seemed to him to be the most beautiful music in the world.'I believe the Spring has come at last!’ said the Giant. He jumped out of bed and looked out. When he did so, he saw a most wonderful sight. The children had crept in through a gap in the hedge. As they did so, all the snow and ice melted, and the children were sitting on the lawn in the sunshine making daisy chains.

The Giant's heart melted as he looked at the charming scene. 'How selfish I have been!' he said; 'Now I know why the Spring would not come to my garden. I will cut down my hedge, and my garden shall be the children's playground forever.’ So he crept quietly downstairs, opened the back door and went out into the garden. 'It is your garden now, dear children,’ said the Giant. 

So from that day to this, whenever the good folk of Loughton walk down the Bradwell Road to Sainsbury’s to do their shopping, they can see the Giant playing with the children in the most beautiful garden they have ever seen.

The Loughton Giant Rides Again

This weekend's task is to take the Loughton Giant (now in bits) down from our loft, to see if he can be re-purposed as an advertisement for the trail. The plan is to have him looking over our back garden fence, onto the Bradwell Road. Watch out for him during the coming weeks as he takes on this new lease of life

Friday, 3 February 2017

Back in Business

It is 2017, and plans for Loughton's third Scarecrow Trail are getting under way. The theme for this year's trail is Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales. This year is Milton Keynes' fiftieth birthday, so there will be added attractions on the trail to celebrate the new town's half century. For further details or to get involved, watch this space!