This was the our second session at Jarn Mound to continue with the restoration of the wild garden, originally laid-out in the 1920's and 30's.
To show us what was needed to be done, Rachael from the Oxford Preservation Trust was on hand and outlined two main objectives. The first of these was to lay gravel on parts of the path that had become very muddy, including an area at the entrance to the site.
The second objective was to clear willow which had invaded an area which was once a small lake or pond. We split into two groups, with the pond clearing group having some extra help from some friends of Rachael. The pond workers made good progress and collected six or seven drag bags of vegetation which were removed from site, ready to be collected later.
The gravel laying was certainly a good physical workout, with six of us and three wheelbarrows. The gravel was transported quite a distance - 200-300 metres from where it had been dumped, uphill to the muddy patches. We managed to complete the work by the end of the session, much to our relief!
A welcome rest was provided by the tea break and the purpose-built shelter certainly made the catering easier. After the break and a couple of updates from session leader James, Rachael gave us a potted history of the gardens. Subsequently, some of the volunteers still had enough energy to take a walk up to the artificial viewpoint nearby, although the trees have now grown up around it and largely obscured the views across to Oxford in one direction and the Vale of the White Horse in the other.
There was much satisfaction at the end of the session for a job well done. This is of course by no means the end our visits here, not even the beginning of the end but may well be the end of the beginning! Rachael has more plans for the garden which I'm sure the green gym will be part of.