Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ock Valley Walk, Tesco End, 30th July 2016

This session had originally been scheduled for earlier in the month, however there was more urgent work to be done at the Town End of the Ock Walk and the two sessions were swapped over. Therefore it was not until now that we found ourselves back at this location.

Despite being in the middle of the summer holiday season, a large group of eighteen Green Gymmers turned up to have another go at tackling the Himalayan Balsam along with the usual litter pick.  The litter, while being an ongoing issue here, was manageable; the Balsam meanwhile was rather out of control!

Large swathes of very tall, flowering Balsam were evident upon arrival on both sides of the river. All that we could really do was to pull as much as possible in the hope that it will be less prolific in subsequent years as a result. The native plants may then stand more of a chance to flourish.

Plenty of wildlife was at least evident during the morning, including moorhens and chicks, bees, grasshoppers, spiders and a kingfisher!  There were also many annoying flies, which, when factored in with the heat and rampant stinging nettles and cleavers, made for quite an unpleasant work environment!

As a result of the aforementioned issues, the refreshment break was very much welcomed by all. A good opportunity to cool down. It largely passed without incident, except for poor James who was persuaded to try dunking his biscuit in his coffee - against his better judgement. Alas, said biscuit was dunked for a little too long and somewhat regrettably sank to the bottom of his mug without trace. He won't be trying that again!  The perils of stopping work?!

Back to work and a final fix of Balsam bashing. A small dent made in the overall population, but we can certainly expect to return for another go next season.
-Andrew



Starting out
Session leader Kevin outlines our tasks
Himalayan Balsam flower
Michelle with one of the tallest plants!
The River Ock and some of the Balsam
Grasshopper
A spider nest in amongst the nettles
A bee heading for a Balsam flower
Jessica models the new Abingdon Green Gym logo attire 
The break
A thicket of Balsam
Carolyn, hard at work
Margaret and a pile of pulled Balsam
Some of the impressive Balsam roots! (photo: Petra)

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