Showing posts from April, 2013

Frilford Heath Golf Club, 27th April 2013

This was our second session at Frilford Heath Golf Club.  Last time we met here, back in February, it was bitterly cold with snowfall and a very wintery atmosphere.  Having experienced a number beautiful spring days leading up to Saturday, there were high hopes that it would be a good deal warmer on this occasion.  Unfortunately, despite temperatures being up to a balmy 23 degrees a couple of days previous, we were back to chilly conditions as we assembled in the golf club car park where we once again met with Alison Muldal from Natural England who directed our tasks. As we gathered, it was ascertained that the bag containing our gloves and our first aid kit were missing.  What could have been a calamity was swiftly averted after determining that a number of members had extra pairs of their own gloves to lend out, and I was able to provide a first aid kit that I had concealed within the glove compartment of my car!  Panic over, we drove a short distance along the road closer to our w

Green Gym 15th Anniversary, Withymead Nature Reserve, 20th April 2013

This was a rather unique occasion for us.  In a break to our usual programme, we joined up with members from some of the other Oxfordshire Green Gyms - Sonning Common, Bicester and Wallingford in a session to mark the 15th anniversary of the Green Gym movement which originated in the county.  Indeed, Sonning Common was the first of the groups to be formed.   There was a large turn-out of around 30 or so volunteers on what was a wonderfully bright and sunny spring morning. The location was the Withymead Nature Reserve, situated between South Stoke and Goring-on-Thames and set beside the Thames itself - a regular work site of both the Sonning Common and Wallingford groups.  We assembled in the car park and after making our introductions with some familiar faces and plenty of new people, the session was begun by a quick talk by Julia Booker from Sonning Common (one of the organisers of the gathering) followed by some warm-up exercises.  We were then introduced to Dr William Bird, who f

Abrahams Wood, Boars Hill, 13th April 2013

A grey, yet mild and thankfully dry morning awaited the 12 or so green gymmers who assembled outside the Open University buildings along Berkeley Road, Boars Hill for the first 2013 session at Abrahams Wood.  Here we met Andy Gunn representing the Oxford Preservation Trust - the organisation who look after the site.  We carried our tools down the hill to the woods where Andy outlined the morning's tasks following a quick series of warm-up exercises, led by Kate. The team then split into two groups - the first of which was assigned the job of weaving 'willow doughnuts' - circular woven fences surrounding new tree and shrub growth.  The purpose of these is to protect the new growth from any hungry wild deer in the area that might strip them down.  The doughnuts are made from weaving willow branches around a number of upright streaks.  The willow is of course a very flexible material and ideally suited to the task. The second group were assigned to consolidating a number o

Ock Valley Walk, Town End, 6th April 2013

A large number of Green Gymmers gathered by the bridge over the weir on a bright, sunny morning for our second session in five weeks at this site. Our tasks were to finish renewing the woodchip path, which we had started at the beginning of March, cut back sprouting brambles, tidy up fallen wood and pick up litter. When Samantha joined us with baby Charlotte, our ages ranged from 7 months to 85 years old, a pretty impressive spread. The path needed "roughing up" for the woodchip to bed down better, which made the task somewhat longer, but was worth the trouble in the end. There was a large amount of scattered woodchip, in some places up to a foot deep, left by the Council's contractors after their last assault on the trees and this needed shovelling into a pile. The brambles also seem to be spreading and we need to keep them under control. The gallant litter pickers cleared as far as the Drayton Road, where we left the bags for collection. There was perha