Hinksey Heights Nature Trail, Saturday 30th of April, 2022

This Saturday we were lucky enough to have the perfect weather for Green Gymming - blue skies, sunshine, no breeze, and plenty of good company! 

We met Sally, our session leader, at the carpark of Hinksey Heights Nature Trail. Although the weather forecast had predicted a chilly start, it was already almost t-shirt weather when we arrived. We had three main tasks for the day, which Sally helpfully explained as we walked down to our campsite for the morning:

1. Create habit piles from dead wood near the beginning of the trail 

2. Collect tree guards which saplings had outgrown ready to be collected by the Hinskey Heights tree team (taking care to also collect the wooden stakes, and the plastic ties which need to be carefully recycled)

3. Cut back some of the dead brambles by the stream to stop them choking up the stream, and creating nature piles from them

As soon as we set down our tools Sally lifted her hand and told us to listed: a cuckoo was singing close to us in the woods! For this blogger, this was the first cuckoo I had ever heard, and was an entirely magical start to the day. We then split up into groups according to what we wanted to take part in for the morning. 

As we got to work the day really started to heat up, and coats and jumpers were discarded by anyone who was not at risk of having their forearms shredded by thorny branches. Butterflies (yellow brimstones, orange tips, small whites and speckled brown) were abundant, and flapped about between the may flower, cherry, and apple blossom. 

At breaktime we cracked open some new packets of biscuits (ginger nuts and dark chocolate digestives being particular favourites), and watched the five little ducklings follow their mum across the pond we were camped by. Some of the team took a little sojourn down the beautifully crafted boardwalk (thank you, Hinksey Heights volunteers!) to explore the woods. 

We kept going through the next session, with the dead-bramble team piling their cuttings up into a couple of nature piles to be used by nesting birds and insects. The tree-guard team had created a wonderfully curated and neat pile of plastic tree guards ready to be collected. 

We headed home a little achy but feeling like we had done a good days work, with some of the team taking advantage of the great little tea room and bar on site for an icecream, or cup of tea and cake. Well deserved. 

Getting ready for the morning ahead

Looking out for creatures on the pond

You can just about make out the little ducklings! 

The running stream

The view from the stream

James defeats the brambles

Mags reaches new heights

You can just about make out our florescent jumpers

Wellies in the stream

The dream family duo

The beautiful board walk

Ursula looks out on new horizons 

Relaxing in the sun

Wonderfully neat piles of tree guards

Graham collecting the guards


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