(February 1979) Where are the snows of yesteryear?

The winter of 1946-47 brought the worst snow storms that many local people could remember.

It started about mid-day with sleet and a NE wind and continued for two days without a break.

The villages were completely cut off from all areas. The Brailes bus, taking Alcan workers home, was buried on the Turnpike (Shipston – Banbury road) but no-one was left in to suffer.

The telephone wires could not be seen beneath the snow. Local men walked over the hedges and fields to Epwell for their bread to the usual baker, Mr Griffin.

Sheep suffered mostly, not through lack of food but by the effect of the snow which caused their fleeces to ice up.

From door to door throughout the spell went the milk lady with her milk buckets, truck and pony and trap.

The snow was still lying under the hedges in April.

(Anon – unless you remember who the milk lady was.)


So you think that weatherwise, if not in many other directions, New Year 1979 is being tough. But, to date, this spell of Arctic is but a shower compared with 1963.

Starting on Boxing Day 1962, the Easterly blast, right from the Russian Steppes, carried a seemingly endless snow blanket until early March. Its only virtue was in the fact that soon all our windward draught holes were staunched. Drifts of seven feet were commonplace in Ferris main street, and, but for the lucky fact that Stewarts’ diggers made their daily foray to distant points, we would certainly have been marooned. Grange Lane was impassable to cars for some twelve weeks … and herein lies the only commendation for the “prairieing” (to the country lover) of farm land, in that wherever snow lay many feet deep to the leeward of hedges, then a few feet further over was a parallel strip of bare ground. I.e. hedges caused drifts.

I drove along Grange Lane on the first possible day and had an interesting experience. Adjacent to Neil Marten’s house, a tiny glint on the snow top near the hedge caused me to investigate. It proved to be the top of a car Wing mirror. Nuf Sed!

During the period only sporadic sightings of the resident birds or starving hares, pheasant or rabbits were made. The national population of common wren was nearly obliterated; but remarkably, some ornithologists think it may now be our most common resident .

Frank Rollett