Saturday, February 25, 2017

Kennington Memorial Field, 25th February 2017

This week we joined forces once again with the Oxford Preservation Trust (OPT) for our regular spring scrub cutting and burning session at Kennington Memorial Field. Around fifteen Green Gymmers and an additional fifteen or so OPT volunteers, led by Rachel Sanderson, turned out on a surprisingly cold morning.

Rachel directed the tasks, and as usual at this site it was straightforward enough - namely to cut back scrub from an area of the field, to light a bonfire and to burn it.  While one team got started with lopping back the blackthorn, hawthorn and brambles, another set about getting the fire going so that it would soon be ready to receive the cuttings.

The field itself is fairly vast with bushes and shrubs encroaching on all sides.  We concentrated our activities in just a small area, so that we didn't have to transport the cut vegetation too far to the bonfire.  The impressive turnout meant that we could make reasonable progress in our designated spot.

Limiting the scrub growth serves the purpose of maintaining the valuable grassland habitat here - which supports a number of interesting plant species, while also keeping the area fairly clear for the public to enjoy.

By the mid-morning break, enough bushes had been cut and a new instruction was issued. This was concentrate on collecting together the piles that we already had and to stop cutting new material, so that the bonfire would not have to be kept going for the entirety of the day!  The only exception was where some trees and scrub had already been partially felled and required making safe before leaving the site.  This amounted to quite a significant operation in itself, although there were enough of us on hand to achieve our objectives by the close of play at 12:30pm.

We will work with OPT again in another couple of weeks.  This next occasion will see us return to Boars Hill - at the Elizabeth Daryush Garden.
-Andrew



Gathering outside the sports pavillion.

Rachel instructing the group upon arrival at the Memorial Field.

Cutting scrub.

Ian and Alison hard at work.

Margaret takes on the brambles.

Mark gets the fire started.

Plenty of material on the bonfire.

Elevenses.

A roaring success!

The final push.

Job just about done.

Kevin packing away the tools at the end of the session.







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