Monday, December 17, 2012

Cothill Fen, 15th December 2012

For our final session of 2012 we returned to Cothill Fen.  As has been the case on many occasions this year, the heavy rain of the previous day had made way for bright sunshine as we assembled in the car park opposite the Merry Miller pub.  Here we met BBOWT site manager, Martyn Lane who outlined the morning's tasks.  We heard that earlier in the week, reeds had been cut and required raking, and some of the trees and shrubs encroaching upon the edge of the fen - mostly hazel and silver birch, required cutting back.

A short walk along the lane to the site followed, carrying the tools, while negotiating all the mud and many puddles!  Upon arrival, we were shown the area that required raking and the volunteers split into several groups - either raking up and stacking the grass and reeds or cutting back the trees and saplings. 

Due to the nature of the fen and because of all the recent rain, conditions underfoot were soggy to say the least.  Despite our best efforts, it was impossible to avoid getting rather muddy and on some occasions getting out wellies rather stuck in the boggy ground!  However, due to our large numbers and hard work, we made good progress.

A little later on, some further BBOWT volunteers appeared and kept themselves busy raking reeds on the adjoining Parsonage Moor and adding them to a bonfire.

Our tea-break was most welcome at 11am and this time we enjoyed some of Robert's homemade biscuits, which were most welcome.

We continued with our tasks after the interval and appeared to have made good progress.  What better reward than to head to the Merry Miller at the end of the session for our annual Christmas meal, where session leader Margaret had booked us a table.  As well as the work party, we were joined by some additional members for lunch, bringing our number up to 17.  A great way to end the year.

Next up will be our AGM on January 12th.

the group preparing to start work
winter sun
muddy underfoot
Eleanor adding cut reeds to the pile
Lauren enjoying tea and homemade biscuit!
reed raking and bonfire on Parsonage Moor
finishing up and heading back
our Christmas lunch venue - the Merry Miller

Monday, December 10, 2012

Abbey Fishponds, 8th December 2012

Ten Green Gymmers turned up to help with tasks at Abbey Fishponds. It was a bright, sunny morning and just a little warmer than in recent days.

There was a variety of things to be done: cutting back vegetation along the north eastern boundary path, sawing up a fallen tree, reed raking after Marjorie had strimmed the reeds, litter picking and laying woodchip along the main path.

The ground was very boggy after the heavy rain of two weeks ago so a lot of woodchip was needed and it had to be fetched quite a long way, from near the Radley Road gate. For this, we were very glad of Colin's trolley, with Victor, who has recently joined Green Gym, helping to shovel the woodchip and Sally raking it out. Dieuwke and later Eleanor raked up the cut reeds and piled them up out of sight of the main path.

Next week will be our last session of 2012 and we look forward to a session at Cothill Fen and a celebration meal at the pub afterwards.

Victor and Colin transporting woodchip
Victor, Colin and Sally working on the woodchip path
Dieuwke raking reeds

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Southern Town Park, 1st December 2012

Bramble bashing and a spot of litter picking at Southern Town Park were the order of the day for the ten volunteers that assembled at the football club car park, Lambrick Way.   

Being the first day of December, the weather had taken a rather crisp and chilly turn.  The day had begun with a frost, but was thankfully dry.  Areas of Southern Town Park and the surrounding area were somewhat flooded from recent heavy rain, but the South-Eastern corner of the field where we concentrated our activities were dry underfoot.

The group made their way to the work-site either on foot or by car, with the vehicles parked up in a lay-by in Peep-o-Day Lane so that we just had to transport the tools a short distance.  

Upon arrival, it was apparent that the council had failed to collect the piles of green waste from our last session here at the end of October!  Hopefully they will soon be cleared, particularly as they are now somewhat larger than they were.

Everyone was eager to get moving and make a start due to the cold temperatures and we split into three groups, tackling different areas of overgrown brambles around the field margins, with another team litter picking.

Steady progress was made throughout the morning and we soon stopped noticing the cold once we began working.  The tea and coffee served at 11am also played their part of course!

This was our last session of the year at Southern Town Park and it now looks a little tidier than it did - let's just hope that the green waste is collected soon!

Victor camouflaged among the trees and brambles

bramble-bashing team

Eleanor sets off to make the tea and coffee

wellie boots, protective gloves and loppers!

tea and coffee being made