Monday, November 14, 2016

Jarn Mound and Wild Garden, Boars Hill, 12th November 2016

Four weeks after our last session with the Oxford Preservation Trust at Boars Hill, we returned, albeit at Jarn Mound this time rather than the Elizabeth Daryush Garden; which had been our venue in October.

We again met with Rachel Sanderson of the trust, who along with our leader of the day, James, outlined the tasks for the morning.  Primarily, we were to clear the mound itself of scrub and tree saplings that had taken root there, with the intention of restoring it to its original state.  There were also some flatter areas of the garden that required clearing, for the less intrepid among us.

Unfortunately, the day had begun a little on the inclement side.  Indeed as we arrived, the rain fell persisently, making many of us wonder if the session would go ahead at all!  But of course, the Green Gymmers are renowned for working whatever the weather, and the damp conditions did not deter us.

A couple of problems were immediately evident due to the rain;  firstly, the steep sides of the mound were somewhat slippery in places, but perhaps more crucially, the intention was of constructing a bonfire to burn the vegetation that was to be removed was in jeopardy. Rachel attempted to get a fire going early-on, but this proved tricky as the material was rather soggy.  Fortunately she was able to retrieve some fire-lighters to get things underway, and we were off!

Another group of trust volunteers had recently been along to begin the task of clearing the slopes of the mound and we continued where they had left off, with the intention of removing any growth from the patch where they had been working, along to the steps to the top of the landmark.  This seemed rather a daunting prospect at first, but with a good number of us present, and joined by a hard-working local volunteer, we soon began to make significant headway.

By break-time, the precipitation had largely ceased and reviewing our progress, we were encouraged by our efforts and confident that with a final push, we could achieved our morning's objectives.  Indeed, this we did, although, since the bonfire was hardly roaring, a lot of the cuttings remained - to be dealt with on a later occasion.

Meanwhile, the group working on the flatter areas of the garden had also done themselves proud by opening up some spaces amongst the trees, to provide much-needed light in areas that had previously become overgrown.  A fine effort all-round!

All-in-all, about a third of the sides of the mound have now been cleared, with much work thus remaining.  We plan to return in January though, when we shall continue with this task.  Watch this space!
-Andrew



The group gather in the rain!

The task ahead - to clear the scrub from the left side of the mound in the photo, across to the steps.

James, along with Rachel, outlines the objectives of the session.

Rachel attempts to get the bonfire underway.

The bonfire's humble beginnings.

Progress!

Time for a break.

Well underway towards achieving our goals.

Looking down the steps across to the cleared area of the mound.

Compare this photo to the first one for evidence of our hard-graft!

Restoring the view from the top of the mound.

Meanwhile, the flat area of the garden - 'before' shot (photo by Margaret)
...and the 'after' shot taken from the same position (photo by Margaret)

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