Showing posts from November, 2012

Barton Fields, 24th November 2012

Prior to this Saturday, our records suggest that all the green gym sessions o f the year had been dry aside from a single trip to Frilford Heath earlier in the year.  Not bad going at all considering the appalling weather that has largely blighted 2012! However, the rains came this time and rather made up for their previous absence. Upon arriving at Barton Fields, the bridge into the site from the Abbey Fields was found to be flooded along with the entire section of the Thames path along the length of the field.  The flood waters had in fact made their way to the edge of the wildflower meadow area and while fairly extreme at this time, the flood area continued expanding and caused some further issues in Abingdon later in the week. The rain was persistent during the session, but a good turn-out of almost 20 volunteers braved the conditions.  As well as the green gym group, there were several members of the Abingdon Naturalists' Society's Green Team present who look after the

Geo Conservation, Lye Hill Quarry, 17th November 2012

In a break from our usual activities, this Saturday we joined up with the Oxfordshire Geology Trust at Lye Hill Quarry, near Wheatley on the outskirts of Oxford.  Besides being a bus depot, this site is a geological SSSI and formerly an active limestone quarry. Upon arrival, the group assembled outside the entrance gate waiting for it to be opened by the security guard while acquainting ourselves with members of the Oxford Geology Trust, led by Lesley Dunlop.  Once inside we donned hard-hats and high-vis jackets and proceeded to the quarry face.  A short presentation was given about the importance of the site and how, aeons ago, the area was once a tropical sea.  Thus explaining the presence of shell fragments and other types of fossils found here. In order for further investigation of the exposed quarry faces to be possible, our task was to clear the vegetation beneath and upon the limestone.  Many saplings and brambles had taken root and required removal.  A relatively large turn

Abrahams Wood, Boars Hill, 10th November 2012

On another fine and mild Saturday morning, the Green Gym assembled at Berkeley Road, Boars Hill ready for a session in Abrahams Wood.  We were met by Andy Gunn, representing BBOWT who manage the site in partnership with the Oxford Preservation Trust.   We descended the Hill to the woods and Andy briefed us on the tasks that were to be undertaken this time. Following-on from the last outing here in mid-October, our main objectives were to continue with clearing the invasive/non-native laurel trees and shrubs, and to undertake hazel coppicing and snedding. Snedding is the process of removing or lopping the branches from the main stalk using a billhook.  The purpose of this was to prepare the hazel to be used for a hedging project at another Oxford Preservation Trust site nearby at Lincombe Lane, Boars Hill.  A total of thirteen volunteers split up into various groups to commence or indeed resume the tasks from a month ago.  The site was formerly pasture, but has been returned to w

Ock Valley Walk, Town End, 3rd November 2012

On arrival at the Ock Walk, we found that the Town Council contractors had been busy chopping down willow trees close to the river bank, presumably because they were dangerous. They had left a terrible mess and the ground was churned up by tyres. Part of the woodchip path, which we had only repaired and relaid in September was also damaged. We can only hope that they are going to come back and clear up. Our task this week was to clear nettles and plant crocuses around the memorial tree and wood anemones, wild garlic and bluebells in some other cleared patches. The first part of the morning was spent slashing and uprooting nettles, which was hard work, but much appreciated by the local robin. At the tea break we enjoyed a delicious fruit cake, made by Dieuwke to celebrate one whole year at Green Gym. We then planted the bulbs and corms in the cleared patches and cleared leaves from around some trees so we could scatter bluebell seeds. Unlike the bulbs and corms, whic

A few more photos from the Ock Valley Walk...

The green gym are back at the town end of the Ock Valley Walk this weekend, but here are a few photos from the last session there on 22nd September, when we re-laid a woodchip path. Photos taken by Margaret:    

Southern Town Park, 27th October 2012

This Saturday's session was in Southern Town Park, slashing the intractable brambles in the wooded areas on the eastern side by Peep o Day Lane. The day was fine and bright but very cold, the temperature having plummeted overnight. There was a good turn out, however, and we made our way across the rugby pitches towards the stile, only to find it had become very wobbly since our last visit and didn't seem to be attached to anything at all. We set to work cutting and slashing the brambles and there was plenty of litter to be picked up too. At tea break time, we had a nice surprise when Samantha arrived to pay us a visit with her baby, Charlotte. It just shows what Green Gym can do in terms of promoting health and well being! We set to work again attacking the brambles and pitchforking them to the roadside for collection along with several bags of rubbish and recycling. We had managed to make inroads into the brambles but there will be plenty more to tackle on our