Annual MVT North Oxon and Cotswolds Gathering.
North Oxfordshire and Cotswolds Area of the MVT held their
annual road nm and camping event in the picturesque Cotswold
village of Swinbrook over the weekend of the 13th
and 14th of August. The event has grown in
popularity since its first days when just a handful of
vehicles came to this year when we achieved our highest
turnout of 48 vehicles. The event was initially conceived by
well known MVT member John Coghlan to allow local MV owners
to get together for a quiet weekend away from the general
public and go for some interesting drives in the country. We
have not really advertised it as we didn't want to get
swamped with visitors, preferring to keep it a low key event.
But saying that it has grown in popularity and we have now
had visitors join us from as far away as Norfolk, Dorset and
routine was much the same as previous years. We were very
kindly lent a field in the valley at Swinbrook (alongside
the river) with the nearby cricket club allowing us to use
their bar, showers and toilet facilities. Vehicles started
arriving and making camp from Thursday and by Saturday we had
a good field full. The highlight of the weekend is the
Saturday road run. Bill, Tony and Don had organised a
route through the Cotswold countryside stopping off at places
of WW2 historical interest where our very knowledgeable
area historian Bill King would give a short talk. With four
motorcycle outriders providing directions we set off in
small groups to Witney.
1940 Britain was threatened with imminent invasion. To
counter this General Ironside devised a plan of "stop
lines" at strategic locations to slow down the German
invaders until British forces could move to counter them. One
of these stop lines runs just South of Witney and after
looking at some rudimentary pillboxes (made from concrete
pipes) in the grounds of the Cogges museum in Witney, we
drove south to the "Rose Revived" pub on the river
Thames. Not for a drink you understand but to look at what
might have become a pivotal battlefield in the defence of
Britain. Bill comprehensively explained where trenches were
dug, heavy weapons located, how the bridge was mined for
demolition and how the battle would have been fought. All
very sobering to think of this on our doorstep.
mounted up again and headed in to the village of Kingston
Bagpuize where we went to look at a new industrial estate.
This might not sound too exciting but the estate is built on
the site of a WW2 airfield of which sadly only the control
tower survives. A lunch stop was next on the list which we
had arranged at the Lamb and Flag just a few miles up the
road. This was an excellent venue, chosen for their good
food, quick service and most of all their large car park
which could accommodate us all with ease.
stop was the farm of Bill's good friend Murray Maclean.
Murray's farm is located on the Ironsides line and a
drive down a narrow track took us to the next element of
the talk. Author Murray has several concrete anti tank
gun bunkers on his land one of which has been well preserved
and which we were invited to study. Running in front of it
was an anti tank ditch a section of which has been excavated
and preserved. Seeing the bunkers with anti tank ditch up
close and listening to Bills talk made it quite clear how the
defences were sited to gain maximum benefit. As the evening
was approaching we headed off past the site of the Tubney
woods bofors gun factory to Swinbrook for our barbecue.
previous years we had adopted an approach of bring your own
food and cook it yourself, but this year Colin Timberlake
donned his chefs hat and cooked burgers and hot dogs for a
small charge. He did a marvellous job and the food was
fabulous. What's more we also raised some money to help cover
the cost of the event. This was followed by a raffle and
prize giving with Voytek winning the prize for most
interesting vehicle and Dave Bayliss winning the David
King memorial trophy for the person who had contributed the
most to the event.
the Sunday morning even more vehicles arrived and we
undertook another drive out. This time we went to the
Auxiliary Home Guard training centre at Coleshill where Bill
delivered another one of his excellent talks on the history
and operation of the site. For those who are unfamiliar
with the Auxiliaries they were trained to remain behind as a
resistance to the German invaders. Once the invasion had
taken place their lifespan would be measured in a matter of
days. After this fascinating tour we drove back in groups to
Swinbrook (with some stopping off at pubs along the way) to
pack up and head off for home. More than a few dragged out
their weekend for another day and went home on the Monday
especially those who had a long way to go.
it was another excellent weekend and my sincerest thanks
go to those who joined us from afar and especially those who
helped make the weekend such a success. We have provisionally
booked Swinbrook next year for the 10t' to 12t" of
August and the way we seem to be getting bigger every year it
might not be a very private affair for much longer.