Abingdon Green Gym deployed at Southern Town Park this Saturday, with the usual tried and tested workout, mainly bramble-bashing, chopping up fallen branches, litter picking and clearing and sowing wild flowers in an area next to the footpath, adjacent to the sports field. But there was a slight twist. Not only did we have two new enthusiastic volunteers - Daniel and Leah, also Zak and Vanessa from Brookes University in Oxford doing a film piece for Healthy Abingdon, covering different group that encourage people in the Abingdon area to keep themselves healthy!
We assembled in the usual place in the car park next to the sports field, but we weren't the only ones! It seemed like there was a children's football tournament kicking off as the large car park where we usually park with ease was full to the brim with parking even on the main road.
Once everyone was there, I did a quick intro to the new people, checking all had signed the tracking form. We then set off transporting the tools to our designated spot in the recreational area that we would be working in.
This is not one our most interesting sites with no rare flora or fauna, but more of a community (service) work for the benefit of the locals who dog walk etc. Perhaps we could claim community credit if we were caught cycling on the pavement or stealing apples?
Anyway Sally had brought some wildflower seeds for planting, but first we had to clear the waist-high grass that has taken over the patch where they grow. The Abingdon Green Gym wild flower sign was still there to give us a location marker. The majority of the group set to work scything the grass away for others to rake the top surface clear to sow the seeds. Unfortunately much as we try not to disturb the wildlife, there were a few toads, who made a quick exit and a shrew or mouse nest with young in which we immediately covered over hoping for the parent to return and move them later.
There were fairly substantial-sized tree branches which needed chopping up into habitat piles, giving Daniel and Leah the opportunity to show their artistic flair, which any wildlife looking for a new home would only be too pleased to settle in.
Litter picking didn't bring the usual haul of beer cans and plastic drinks bottles and burnt out rubbish, as the lock-down must have kept the illicit drink sessions in the area to a minimum (or possibly thanks to the recent litter-picking efforts of the AbiBinit volunteers?). However, there were a couple of large items - an abandoned sleeping bag and tent.The weather was kind to the film crew who were pleased with the "shoot" letting them move around and take what they wanted. We will have to wait and see the final cut is like.