Abrahams Wood, Boars Hill, 10th May 2014

Nine Green Gymmers arrived at our usual meeting place to work in Abraham's Wood, Boars Hill, which is managed by Oxford Preservation Trust. The tasks given us by Andy Gunn from BBOWT were to once again tackle the bamboo growing in the upper corner of the wood, plant some oak saplings, and if time allowed, pull up orange balsam. This is not as large or invasive as Himalayan balsam but does grow abundantly in the wood.

As we walked down through the meadow to the wood, the sight of the buttercups and hawthorn trees in full bloom made the hard work ahead seem worthwhile. The wood itself was a sea of bluebells with patches of wild garlic.

A group of us started work on the bamboo with forks, and mattocks kindly lent to us by the Abingdon Naturalists Green Team. The wood used to be part of a private garden, which is why it contains alien species such as bamboo, laurel and rhododendron. The plan is to return it gradually to natural woodland. The bamboo proved to be very hard work, the roots running underground and forming a maze of criss crossing rhizomes. The mattocks were essential for giving some leverage to pull them out of the ground.

Another group went off to plant oaks at the lower end of the wood inside the dead hedge which we had made at a previous session. It was the wrong time of year for planting but the oak whips had arrived at the BBOWT office so needed to be planted.

By tea break time we had made good progress. Then it was back to work, with some people choosing the slightly lighter task of pulling up balsam.

By the end of the session the oaks were planted and we had made a satisfactory pile of uprooted bamboo, though this will need frequent repeat visits. The forecasted heavy showers had held off, but as we made our way back up through the meadow the rain began to fall and by the time we had packed away the tools and equipment we were quite wet. Still that was better than a whole morning of getting soaked.

Making our way through the wood

Enid and Lesley hard at work on the bamboo

Bluebells and wild garlic in the wood

Victor squaring up to the bamboo

Ursula and the oak trees

A welcome rest


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