Ock Valley Walk, Town End, 23rd August 2014

Following a impromptu session midweek at Abbey Fishponds, where a number of us helped with a variety of jobs at the nature reserve there, it was back to the Ock Valley Walk on Saturday.  Tasks involved the usual maintenance of the woodchip path, further eradication of the invasive Himalayan Balsam, clearing around the recently-planted trees and litter-picking.

We met by the bridge across the weir and were pleased to welcome two new members to the group.  We had a good turn-out as usual, particularly since many of us live within close proximity of the site and are keen to ensure that it is well looked-after so that ourselves and the wider community can enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

Back in March, we planted around sixty trees here - all native UK species, appropriate to the area, most of which are thankfully thriving.  This is in addition to the many trees we have planted in previous years, including the memorial tree to one of our former leaders, Chris Thomas, which has been growing at an impressive rate since it was established during February 2012.

There was still much Himalayan Balsam in patches close to the riverbank and within the wooded area, but removing this was slow progress since we need to be careful at this time of year as the seeds are out and we have to collect and remove the explosive seed pods first, thus doing our best to avoid this invasive non-native plant from dispersing further.

A lot of litter was found and cleared along the length of the path, out towards the Drayton Road as usual, although this task is easier during the winter months when much of the seasonal vegetation has died back.

It was good to see that the River Ock was abundant with fish and much additional wildlife was spotted including the common frog, common shrew, and a number of caterpillars, including that of the Elephant Hawkmoth which much favours the area.

Caterpillar of the Elephant Hawkmoth

Coffee time!

If you look closely, you can see some fish in the Ock!

Clearance around one of the saplings, planted back in March

Chris Thomas's memorial tree (a black poplar) in good health!


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