Sunday, September 13, 2020

Barton Fields, 12th September 2020

Today's session was a joint effort between the Green Gym and the Abingdon Naturalists' Society Green Team. It involved raking the cut grass at Barton Fields wildflower meadow and piling it in to loose haystacks. 

The show was run buy David Guyoncourt, who along with his volunteers maintain the area between the river and Barton lane. David had brought along ample rakes and with Eleanor bringing more rakes and pitchforks there were plenty for everyone. This task has been a regular event every year - helping clear the grass and allow wild flowers to come through again next year. 

So we all knew what to do and it didn't take long before we were making good headway, as the grass was dry and light making the raking and pitchforking easy, as in the past we have done it when it had been wet making it heavy to move. The haystacks soon started to grow. These will be left for the wildlife to inhabit especially the grass snakes who will lay their eggs in it and let the heat generated to incubate them. 

By the time we spread ourselves out on the cleared area to have our refreshment break at 11.00am the job was near enough finished and we had the option to go or stay and tidy up the odd bits which were still being cut. 

Monday, September 7, 2020

Ock Valley Walk, Town End, 5th September 2020

At last the return of Abingdon Green Gym to our rightful place in amongst the vegetation of the Ock path!

With a great turnout of 20 volunteers assembling in the parking bay at the end of St Helen's Court which gave us enough room to keep our distance. Once every one had signed in for tracking purposes we loaded up the equipment and headed down to our usual base by the side of the Mill stream.

The tasks were clearing round the young trees that we had planted a few years ago, chopping up fallen branches caused by the winds, clearing over hanging vegetation on the mill stream, wood chip laying on the path and of course litter picking. Once the outline instruction by the session leader of the tasks was given, it only remained for the volunteers to decide which one to pick, or, if they didn't mind the leader would suggest one that was under manned.

As you can see by the photos Adrian was keen to lay the wood chip as he had brought his own barrow and shovel (one volunteer is worth two pressed men). Dieuwke quickly offered to help along with Barbara. James had brought his own waders so we knew what he wanted to do, coercing Graham to don the GG waders and remarking how fetching he looked (ready to take on the raging torrent). Sarah also felt the need to get dressed for the occasion by putting on the other set of waders and going in!  Wendy worked on the bank ready to handle the cut branches and stack them into habitat piles.

The clearing of the nettles and creepers  around the young tress was met by a strong team of Sally, Olivia, Dan, Rosie and Joan. Not only did they do a great job ,their endeavours were rewarded by coming across a semi dismantled  mobility Scooter and a large bag of belongings which were taken back to the parking bay for the waste service to collect.

Meanwhile a four person team of Lesley, Margaret, Janet and Petra spread out and trawled the path from the town end to the Drayton Road collecting litter.

Finally, the sterling work of chopping up fallen branches in to habitat piles, was taken on by Ursula, Carolyn and Michele - even entering the shallow Ock river to wrestle with a reasonable sized tree that was causing a "back log" which might stem the flow in possible flooding later. 

There was no coffee/tea break as social distancing could be compromised so the session was shortened to about 2 hours, hopefully this will change sooner rather than later as getting together for a drink and biscuit, or if we're lucky home made cake kindly supplied by one of the volunteers is the most enjoyable part of the morning.


Graham, Michele and Sarah keeping their social distance. 

James in the deep end!

Wendy clearing the bank.

"2 Barrows Adrian"!

Carolyn slashing the nettles!

Sally and Joan in the thick of it!

Unexpected problems!

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Autumn 2020 Programme and Covid-19 Guidelines

Abingdon Green Gym will start back up again on 5th September. The Autumn 2020 programme is below or click HERE for a pdf version (opens in new window). Also you will find the new COVID-19 guidelines below, and HERE on our website (also opens in a new window!).

Monday, August 3, 2020

Himalayan Balsam spotted!

We spotted HB while on a walk at Hardwick park camp site. Jim (the dog!) sniffed them out! A sight for sore green gym eyes!

Friday, July 24, 2020

Litter Pick, Southern Town Park

Yesterday, in lovely sunshine, Eleanor, Lesley, Janet and I whiled away a couple of hours doing a litter pick in Southern Town Park.

We took the opportunity to take a look at our wild flower patch, which is burgeoning to such a degree we could only just make out Ursula's beautifully painted sign! From a quick glimpse we spotted red campion, common knapweed, common field poppy, oxeye daisy, musk mallow, nettle-leaved bellflower, scabious (either field or devil's bit), possibly perforate St John's wort, and the white umbellifers are either wild carrot or upright hedge parsley or both - a closer look is needed but we didn't want to trample through the patch! It's amazing to see the transformation of this area from nettles and cleavers to a patch awash with colour and buzzing with insect life.  We're hoping to be able to revisit in late August/early September for a cut to encourage the flowers to return next spring.  We also have more wild flower seeds to sow.  Oh, and as to the litter pick, we each came away with a bag of rubbish (all of which were taken to the refuse centre) and a bag of recycling to be taken home for a rinse and disposing in our green bins for recycling.  All in all, a lovely morning's 'work'!

Here's to Green Gym getting back again soon!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

A Wildflower Patch update from Eleanor

Here are some photos of the wild flower patch in Southern Town Park.

It isn't as spectacular as last month but there's plenty of knapweed and scabious and the bees and butterflies love it. I took a photo of a bee on a knapweed flower.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Andrew's wanderings

Over the past week I have been out walking as much as possible before I return to work in the coming days. I took in a couple of Green Gym work sites along the way - Farmoor Reservoir, where I checked on the status of the hedge that we cut back earlier in the year, and Barton Fields, where the wild flower meadow that we have helped sow and maintain over the years is in full bloom.

At the end of the week on Saturday, we then had our fortnightly Green Gym Zoom chat!

A few photo follow.

The hedge at Farmoor Reservoir that we cut back earlier in the year.

The view looking the other way.

A great crested grebe out on the reservoir.

At Barton Fields... a Pyramidal Orchid.
A Meadow Brown butterfly.

Another butterfly (large skipper?) on a red clover.

One of many froglets crossing the site!

A path through the wildflower meadow.

A Cornflower.

Corn Marigold.



Fireweed/Rosebay Willowherb.

A mystery eggshell.

A bee on Viper's Bugloss.
The Zoom chat!