Saturday, November 10, 2012

Abrahams Wood, Boars Hill, 10th November 2012

On another fine and mild Saturday morning, the Green Gym assembled at Berkeley Road, Boars Hill ready for a session in Abrahams Wood.  We were met by Andy Gunn, representing BBOWT who manage the site in partnership with the Oxford Preservation Trust.  

We descended the Hill to the woods and Andy briefed us on the tasks that were to be undertaken this time. Following-on from the last outing here in mid-October, our main objectives were to continue with clearing the invasive/non-native laurel trees and shrubs, and to undertake hazel coppicing and snedding.

Snedding is the process of removing or lopping the branches from the main stalk using a billhook.  The purpose of this was to prepare the hazel to be used for a hedging project at another Oxford Preservation Trust site nearby at Lincombe Lane, Boars Hill. 

A total of thirteen volunteers split up into various groups to commence or indeed resume the tasks from a month ago.  The site was formerly pasture, but has been returned to woodland in recent times.  It is home to a number of mature oak trees as well as the native hazel and birch.  However, the non-native and largely self-seeding laurel has rather taken over lately, so the main focus of our activities was to cut back the laurel and stack it into piles.  Removing this tree species, which forms a rather dense canopy, certainly allows a lot more light into the woods and permits the native species to thrive and provide an improved habitat for the local wildlife.

Our half-time tea-break was certainly well-deserved as the morning's activities were fairly strenuous, with everyone contributing with enthusiasm.  Dieuwke once again provided some cake which was warmly received and this provided a good energy boost to continue with our activities until the close of play.

Good progress was made with the laurel clearance, a good stack of snedded hazel was created and the group wended their way back up the hill after another successful session, pausing to admire the impressive crop of fungi that has appeared this autumn!

Andy outlines the morning's tasks

the Green Gym busy amongst the trees

Kevin clearing laurel having found a natural coat/hat stand!

an axe from the Green Gym tool arsenal

Andrew lops some laurel

Lauren sits on a pile of laurel

some coppiced and snedded hazel

a bumper crop of woodland fungi

packing up the tools at the end of a busy session

the group wending their way back up the hill from the woods

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