For this session we visited a site which was new to us; Hinksey Heights, to the west of Oxford. The land is owned by John Brimble and Oxford Preservation Trust look after it. It is a sloping site consisting of a meadow, a wetland area, woodland and a lake.
Sixteen volunteers turned out, including a newcomer, Jen and we were working under the direction of Rod d’Ayala. The site, off the A34 was approached by a private road and we had to park in the meadow, slightly worrying as the ground was very soft due to the recent rain. The weather, however, was fine and sunny after an overnight frost.
The tasks were to move cut reeds to a specific area and to cut back bramble and scrub from the side of the boardwalk which runs through the woods, then to construct a dead hedge.
We set to work on our chosen tasks. The reed shifting was quite difficult at first as the piles had frozen overnight, but most of this task was done by tea break time. The bramble and scrub were quite dense and needed a lot of work. Mr Brimble also joined us and set to work on another bramble patch. Judy Webb also arrived and was able to show us some interesting fungi, including the scarlet elf cup.
The area is popular with walkers and several passed us along the boardwalk, somewhat impeded by the piles of cut material.
By the end of the morning we were pleased to have constructed quite an impressive dead hedge. Finally came the task of driving out of the meadow, which we all did successfully without getting stuck. We look forward to returning to this site at a later date.
Photos 1-5 by Ursula and photo 6 by Michele:
|Setting to with a will.|
|Cutting back to create a view.|
|The landowner, John Brimble Talking about the site.|
|The view from Hinksey Hill towards Oxford.|
|Time to go home.|
|Scarlet Elf Cup fungus.|