Today's session leader, James, had met with Rachel earlier in the week to discuss the morning's tasks, and he had already briefed us on the jobs via email:
1) Severing ivy from trees that grow in the woodland belts near the boundaries with Sandy Lane and The Ridgeway. OPT had a tree safety survey done a few weeks ago, and the tree surgeons asked if we could cut the ivy so that it dies back enabling them to see the condition of branches in the canopy. This work is necessary because we don’t want dead branches, or trees, falling into the roads or on the paths that meander through the woodland belts. It’s probably a job for bowsaws – plus some care so that the tree bark doesn’t get damaged.
2) Path clearance – just under the trees really because the grassland is being mown. This will involve clearing brambles and bracken that’s grown up over the summer so probably a job for loppers and/or secateurs.
3) Bramble clearance – we would like to knock back the brambles that are growing out into the grassland on the long boundary parallel to Sandy Lane. This is because the Memorial Garden has been designated as a Local Wildlife Site for its acid grassland and the uncommon plants which grow there. If left unchecked, the brambles will gradually creep out and we will lose grassland. Again, probably a job for loppers and/or secateurs, but bowsaws might be used if we find things like sycamore saplings in the bramble patches.
We thus devided into sub-teams and tackled the above as specified. As we got underway, the sky became increasingly overcast and it wasn't long before we were rained upon! Fortunately the inclement conditions were short-lived and the sun soon appeared, bathing us in a beautiful autumnal light.
Many hands made light work, and shortly after the break, the ivy-cutters and path-clearers had completed their respective details. We were also joined by a pair of litter-pickers, who had returned with only limited bounty, as might be expected in this rather prestigious area of Oxfordshire! At this point, everyone worked together in the bramble clearance at the side of the field, stopping only for a quick forage for some apples which were found to be perfectly ripe in one of the trees.
Another successful session, and we look forward to returning to this beautiful site on future occasions.
|James instructs us on the tasks of the day.|
|A parasol mushroom spotted in the middle of the field.|
|Sunlight over the pond.|
|A very autumnal break!|
|Common puffballs amidst the woods.|
|Further bramble-tackling action.|
|Impromptu apple break!|
|Kevin pitch-forks some brambles to the pile.|