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On the snow patrol
8:26am Thursday 24th January 2013 in News
A WHITE blanket remains over large areas of the Cotswolds after heavy snowfall at the weekend and further wintry deluges this week.
Temperatures dropped to as low as -4C in some places on Friday as towns and villages were hit with the heaviest snowfall so far this winter.
Little Rissington was particularly troubled with 30cm of snow recorded, which is the highest depth this year across the whole of the UK.
Snow forced schools to close along with leisure centres in Bourton and Chipping Campden.
And with fresh snowfall on Tuesday night, some schools in rural areas were closed again yesterday due to the conditions.
While most main roads are now clear, many side roads, paths and pavements remain hazardous and continuing sub-zero temperatures have meant compacted ice remains on many surfaces.
The Met Office is predicting temperatures no higher than -1C today and it is expected to struggle to get above freezing tomorrow with a chance of light snow in the afternoon.
Cotswold District Council’s waste contractor, Ubico Ltd, has cancelled all collections this week and all residents who were missed this week will receive a ‘double collection’ a fortnight later.
Highways teams have been out in force spot salting and gritting key routes across the district.
John Kay, area highways manager at Gloucestershire Country Council, said: “All drivers, wherever they are in the county, need to proceed with caution on all routes, even those on the key routes that appear to be clear of ice and snow.
“We will continue to treat major roads across Gloucestershire and will be keeping a close eye on the weather so that we’re ready to respond if the weather worsens again.”
Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue crews were also on standby throughout the weekend, with 4x4 emergency response vehicles ready to react.
Batsford Arboretum, near Moreton, has been closed since Friday due to the snow but the arboretum and garden shop and café have remained open to visitors.
Head gardener Matt Hall said: “We are not open as the snow now is freezing up and underneath is ice.
“Parts of the arboretum are hilly it’s just not safe to walk on. People can still come to the cafe and arboretum shop and garden centre shop. They are all open as normal.”
Another popular Cotswold attraction, Birdland, also closed on Friday and yesterday over safety concerns but manager Simon Blackwell said the snow was being enjoyed by the king penguins.
“They don’t mind it at all,” he said.
Chipping Campden Mayor Chris Jones added: “The schools were closed on Friday and I think a lot of people heeded the warnings and stayed at home unless travel was absolutely essential.
“Apart from that, most roads have been passable with care. The heroic efforts of Gloucestershire Highways and local farmers in keeping essential routes open have been really appreciated.”
The snow was enjoyed by most across the Cotswolds and in Chipping Norton children were out in force on sledges.
Resident Paul Aitkin, of The Leys, who gritted his own road, said: “My concern is mainly about ambulances not being able to reach people and older people and families with buggies.
“That’s a problem as none of the pavements here have been cleared.
I’ve been clearing the road for the last 10 years.
I’m just interested in keeping the thing usable.”