News: January-February 2015

Below are selected items from recent newsletters. Members of the society receive the full newsletter and other regular updates by email ahead of them appearing on this website.

Annual Wine Tasting Quiz

This year’s “Call My Bluff” wine quiz was held on Saturday 7th February, with superb wines chosen by David Small. On the evening, 70 members in 9 teams had great fun trying to decide which of the excellent wines matched the extravagant descriptions delivered by the Call My Bluff panel. There were 4 white and 4 red wines being tasted. The contest was very keenly fought, with a local team headed by Roland Gardner coming first, followed closely by Nigel Taylor’s team. The winners received 6 bottles of wine. Following the quiz, a delicious ploughman’s supper, organised and prepared by Jennifer Boulton and Janet Taylor was served, accompanied by wine from the tastings. The profits from the evening will be donated to this year’s charity which is Ataxia UK. Everyone enjoyed the evening and hopefully left knowing a little more about wine.

Annual Village Christmas Walk

On 27th December, on a cold but bright day, over 250 walkers from Highclere, Woolton Hill and the surrounding villages met up at the Red House in Highclere for their 30th Annual Charity Christmas Walk. This year’s walk followed a route around the footpaths of Highclere & Woolton Hill including a loop around the Cemetery Chapel in Highclere Castle grounds, starting and finishing at the Red House. The magnificent sum of £802 was raised via donations made on the walk in aid of Anna's Challenges, a charity dedicated to raising funds and awareness for children with Cystic Fibrosis in Basingstoke and surrounding areas. A huge thank you to all the walkers for their generosity!

Highclere Society Spring Golf Day

The next Society Golf Day will be held at the West Berkshire Gold Club, Chaddleworth, on Monday 13th April 2015. The usual, successful format of bacon baps, 18 holes and lunch applies! Please send an email to Ian Briggs at ian-briggs*AT* if you would like to book a place or to find out more about the day.

Highclere Society Summer Barbecue

The date for this year’s Highclere Society Summer Barbecue has been set – Sunday 28th June. More details of this event will be provided in future newsletters.

Highclere Christmas Carol Singers

Despite the inclement weather some 20 plus Highclere Carol Singers set off round the village singing carols and collecting donations for Cancer Research. Regrettably the weather gradually worsened and with ever increasing difficulty in reading our dripping carol sheets the group had to abandon their singing half way round.

We apologise to residents of the southern half of the village who were not given the opportunity to contribute to Cancer Research. We are however pleased to say we still managed to raise £285, and wish to thank those who gave so generously. Having abandoned the singing the hardy ones retired to the Red House where we continued to sing carols to the accompaniment of the East Woodhay Silver Band, and were treated to two magnificent solos from Amy. Many thanks to her and the band both of whom give their time on a voluntary basis. Hopefully the weather will be kinder this year when we will be again Carol Singing round the village and we look forward to seeing both old and new faces.

Walking For Health

Walking for Health walks take place every Friday at 10.30am from either the Rampant Cat, Broad Layings, or the newly refurbished church hall in Woolton Hill. The walks are at a gentle pace, lasting for about an hour and are approximately 2.5 miles long. Each walk provides a great opportunity to get some fresh air, some exercise and to meet new people. There is no need to book and there is no charge for the walks, which are led by volunteers and are organised in association with the Ramblers Association, the East Woodhay Society and MacMillan Cancer Care. If you’d like to go along, just turn up, register and enjoy the walk! Please wear clothes and shoes suitable for walking in the prevailing weather conditions. For those who would like to join the walkers, but are worried about keeping up, there is a shorter walk at a slower pace. You are invited to stay for a cup of tea or coffee and a chat after the walk. For further information about these local walks, please go to or

See diary for forthcoming dates.

Patrick Hedgeland

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