Ock Valley Walk, Tesco End, 12th September 2015

Fifteen volunteers, ranging in age from 17 to 88, assembled to work on the Tesco end of the Ock Path. The plan was to cut back vegetation, make habitat piles of fallen branches, pick up litter and pull up Himalayan Balsam.

We were shocked to find that in the usual spot for our encampment, the council contractors (we assume), had been there already, had cut down some trees and ground these and other fallen branches into very rough woodchip, which they had then scattered all over the ground. To our disappointment, they had also destroyed our favourite log-for-sitting-on. Where a willow tree by the river had been cut to a stump, an extensive area of high wire fence had been pushed down.

There was still plenty to do, however, and no time to ponder the mysterious workings of local government policy. Some people set off to pick up litter and others to tackle the Himalayan Balsam, much of which is exploding and scattering seeds. Despite a few flurries of rain, we carried on working, stopping at 11 o'clock for our refreshment break.

By the end of the morning we had collected several bags of rubbish and recycling and had a good go at the Himalayan Balsam. The rain had cleared and the sun was shining. The Himalayan Balsam will be back to greet us next year and the litter will always keep us busy.

Ground Zero

The willow tree stump and the broken down fence

Litter picking

James tackling Himalayan Balsam in the ditch

Himalayan Balsam jungle

Coffee break


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