Ock Valley Walk, Town End, 20th February 2016

This session was scheduled for tree planting at the town end of the Ock Path. We had planted 50 trees two years ago in the semi circular area between the main path and the woodchip path. Most of the trees had survived but we needed to fill in gaps where trees had died. We had been given a "package" of 50 free trees by the Woodland Trust - wild cherry, silver birch, aspen, alder and Norway maple but we really only needed 20 of these. Aspen and alder are riverside species and silver birch survives flooding quite well. We decided not to use the maple and as for the cherry, we just had to hope it would survive future floods, which are an almost annual event in this area.

The  weather was  grey, damp and windy but once again we were lucky as the heavy rain held off until we were packing up at the end. I had marked out with stakes where the trees were to go the previous day so it was a question of locating the stakes and beginning the planting. As well as tree planting there were a lot of fallen branches and dead wood to be cut up and tidied into piles and brambles to be cut back. Of course, there was plenty of litter picking to be done, especially at the Drayton Road end of the path.
By the break, most of the trees had been planted with stakes and tree guards to protect them. We had salvaged a number of  weed supressing mats, but not enough for all the trees so we used woodchip instead. there was even time to plant some violets in the hope that these would eventually spread.

The litter pickers had done a good job. As well as the usual rubbish, they found a large quantity of fly tipped polystyrene and a bag of miscellaneous crockery. We had all noticed that the dog mess problem seemed to be getting worse again. 
The remaining trees will be given to the Earth Trust to plant on their sites. 

Margaret plants a tree

Kate plants a tree

James attacks some brambles

Kristine and Dieuwke wrestle with a tree stake

Ursula plants some violets


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