Kennington Memorial Field, 29th February 2020

We celebrated leap year day with one of our biannual visits to Kennington Memorial Field. The area had been battered by Storm Jorge on Friday night, though thankfully the high winds and torrential rain had eased by the time that we gathered by the sports pavilion at the top of Playfield Lane.

Lindsay from OPT was present to greet and instruct us as usual, with the main task being to continue our work cutting back the scrub from the edges of the field. There was also a large recently-fallen tree to be chopped up and made safe by the top gate, thus we divided into two groups and got started.

It was another chilly morning, yet twenty or so of us Green Gymmers had turned up, with three hardy souls even travelling to site by bicycle! It was with some dismay then that Lindsay announced that we wouldn't be having our usual bonfire on this occasion. A mild shockwave rippled through the group as no-one could remember a visit here in the past without one. We would have to work hard to keep warm instead!

A group of five or so of us tacked the fallen tree - removing large branches with bow saws and stacking them in a pile by the boundary fence. We cut up smaller branches with loppers and made habitat piles. The tree was covered in ivy and there was quite a removal effort required to be able to get the saws in. The clearance was more or less complete by break time, with the trunk requiring contractors to come in later in order to remove it with the use of chainsaws. 

Meanwhile, down the hill and on the other side of the site, the bulk of the group were busy slashing brambles and blackthorn. The cuttings were then raked up and pitchforked into piles hidden within the wider thicket in the middle of the field. A never-ending task, but one that sees us returning here year after year.

A few locals, young and old, had joined us during the morning eager to get involved. Many hands did indeed make light work and a sizeable area was cleared by the close of play, by which time the sky had turned blue and the sun was shining!

Photos by Andrew and Joanna:

Lindsay opens the show.

Ready and raring to go.

Tackling the fallen tree.

Kate lops some ivy from the fallen tree.

Meanwhile down the hill...

Scrub clearance gets underway.

Tea time.

Work on the fallen tree is complete, ready for the chainsaws.

Joanna demonstrates the correct use of loppers.

Blossom already out on some of the trees.

A tunnel through the thicket.

A mountain of bramble to shift.

Looking better already!

The stream running alongside the site was looking rather swollen after the recent heavy rain.

Blue skies at the end of the session.

Kevin pitchforks the last of the cuttings away.
The green man emerges from the thicket.

A good morning's work!


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