Monday, February 27, 2012

Kennington Memorial Field, 25th February 2012

We joined the Kennington Memorial Field conservation group under the direction of Alison Muldal of Natural England.

It was a year since we had last been there. The weather was fine and it was good to be back. The work involved cutting down hawthorn bushes to make grassy bays in the wooded areas and transporting the branches down to the bonfire, moving some woodchip and laying it on the path and also some hedge pruning.

For our mid morning break we enjoyed tea, coffee and biscuits provided by Alison in the sports pavilion, which had the added luxury of toilets.

After the break we worked hard to get all the remaining wood down to the bonfire where the pyromaniacs among us enjoyed feeding the flames.


photos by Ursula:
removing scrub

hawthorn bush clearance

the pyromaniacs among us...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Ock Valley Walk, Town end, 18th February 2012

This was a special occasion as it was our day for planting a tree in memory of Chris Thomas, one of our leaders who died suddenly just after Christmas. We had chosen a black poplar and had a small engraved plaque made. The session began with business as usual, piling up branches, raking twigs and shovelling woodchip into piles, as well as litter picking, as there was an area of devastation to be cleared, where contractors had chopped down a number of large willow trees. Meanwhile James and Kevin dug a hole for the memorial tree.

Towards 11 o'clock Chris's family arrived, including his two daughters and four grandchildren, and others who had known Chris through conservation work also joined us. Chris's daughters scattered ashes around the tree and Ursula read a poem she had written.

Then it was time for refreshments - tea, coffee and cake, including some delicious cupcakes which Chris's granddaughter had made. We were fortunate in that, despite quite windy weather, the rain held off. So although this was in many ways a sad occasion, it was wonderful to see so many people gathered together to remember Chris.


photos taken by Eleanor and Claire:
scattering Chris's ashes

Ursula reading a poem
the memorial tree

memorial plaque
tea break
an amphibian visitor!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cothill Fen, 11th February 2012

A rather magical wintery scene awaited the eight green gym members who made the trip out to Cothill Fen for the first time this year.  With the temperature below zero and snow upon the ground, everyone was keen to begin working in order to keep warm. 

As instructed by site manager, Graham (from Natural England, the organisation who oversee the site), our task this week was coppicing an area of woods to the edge of the fen.  Good progress was made and the cold was kept at bay except perhaps for some cold feet with the lack of insulation provided by our wellington boots!  Hopefully our next visit to the fen will be a little less chilly.

Welcome to Cothill Fen!

A winter wonderland - Cothill Fen in the snow

A word from our chairman - James brandishing a saw!

Kevin and Robert felling a tree

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Abbey Fishponds, 4th February 2012

A particularly cold Saturday morning attracted twelve hardy green gym participants, on this occasion led by James, and a further four local volunteers at the Abbey Fishponds site working under the direction of warden, Marjorie White. 

The fishponds site is an historic nature reserve situated within the Audlett Drive estate toward the East of Abingdon. The site is managed by Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) with work parties held on the first Saturday of each month.  Abingdon Green Gym join up with several of these work parties each year.

The tasks this time around included reed cutting and raking, clearing and stacking overgrown brambles, litter picking and repairing the sides of an embankment. 

Good progress was made on all the jobs straight from the off, perhaps in an effort to keep moving and stay warm!  A welcome coffee break was certainly earned at 11am, with Kevin and Carolyn having provided the refreshments this week.  Following the break, the hard work continued and thankfully the session finished before the first snowflakes of the year fell, later in the day.
- Andrew

Looking North across the red beds from the embankment

A pile of freshly-stacked brambles

Embankment repairs

Green Gym participants reviewing their hard work!