Sunday, April 29, 2012

Frilford Heath SSSI, 21st and 28th April 2012

Two consecutive Saturday sessions were held at the Frilford Heath SSSI in less-than-ideal conditions.  The recent heavy rainfall made the site somewhat boggy and had accelerated the growth of the himalayan balsam.

Himalayan balsam is an invasive non-native plant that grows rather out of control in this area if left unchecked and crowds out the native species.  The orginal intention of these sessions was to clear away any hazardous tree branches and other obstructions to enable us to easily pull up the balsam later in the season.  However, the plant was found to be coming through already - somewhat earlier than expected, so that much of the effort was taken up in removing the young shoots.

Undaunted by the miserable weather, a reasonable turn out enabled us to make good progress on the site and further visits to Frilford later in the year will give us other opportunities to eliminate this alien invader!


Frilford Heath SSSI

Lauren taking a break from himalayan balsam clearance

the blogger takles some overhanging branches

snails clinging to the goat willow

woodland at Frilford

early shoots of himlayan balsam appearing

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ock Valley Walk, Town end, 14th April 2012

Two reports for this session:

Today's session was at the town end of the Ock Walk, the main task being to put new, stronger and taller stakes and tree guards on the trees we had planted in January 2011 in the area enclosed by the woodchip path and the main path. Three of us went in the direction of Drayton Road to clear up litter. We were lucky to find the Ock Valley Flood Group clearing large items from the river bed and they were able to take the more bulky items, such as bits of bike and shopping baskets.

The rest of the group put the new tree guards and stakes on the young trees. They succeeded in finding 36 of the original 50 trees still standing, consisting of oak, beech, silver birch, cherry and rowan. Since the attendance was good, the work was completed in record time.


The plan was to improve the chances of the 40 plus young saplings/trees that were planted last year, by clearing the area and putting bigger protective supports around them. Not to forget the forever needed litter picking.
The weather was cloudy with a cold wind. The locating of the surviving trees was made easier to spot as they had the original cane and plastic supports and the surrounding vegetation had not sufficiently grown to hide them. Consequently the new substantial supports posts and plastic protection will give the odd 37 trees that had survived a good chance of maturing.
Eleanor lead a team to the Drayton road end for litter picking and liaison with the Flood group of some larger items dumped in the river that had to be disposed of.
Carolyn made an Australian Lumberjack cake for her birthday which was much appreciated at coffee time!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Southern Town Park, 31st March 2012

In a slight change to the new spring 2012 programme, this week we visited Southern Town Park for a morning of bramble cutting and litter picking.  

There was much for the nine volunteers to do - plenty of overgrown brambles to clear and again, much litter to pick.  Several large fly-tipped items were discovered including a burnt bicycle and a couple of old bed frames.  These were removed and thanks to our efforts, the park now looks somewhat more attractive than before we arrived.  

There is now a break for Easter, and the green gym will resume on Saturday 14th April to continue our work at the town end of the Ock River Walk.


Assessing our hard work!

an area of bramble clearance

another fruitful litter pick