Showing posts from June, 2013

Ock Valley Walk, Town End, 22nd June 2013

Quite a small group gathered for this session and the weather didn't look promising. However, we were pleased to welcome a new member, Laura. We set off for the woodchip path,where we made our encampment. The nettles had grown high and dense since our previous visit, almost concealing the young trees, compising beech, oak, silver birch, cherry and rowan, which we had planted as whips almost two and a half years previously. One of our tasks was to clear the nettles and other vegetation immediately around them. As you can see from the photo of the young cherry, most of the trees are flourishing. Other tasks were to cut up and clear fallen branches into piles and the inevitable litter picking. There was a sharp shower shortly before 11 o'clock but it had stopped when we gathered for a welcome tea break. By the end of the morning we had finished clearing round the trees, tidied away the dead wood and picked up quite a respectable amount of litter, though I suspect t

Mill Road, Marcham, 15th June 2013

Today we had our first visit of the year to Mill Road, Marcham to start pulling up the abundant Himalayan Balsam. Here, several streams and ditches drain into the Ock , up river from Abingdon, so it is important to eradicate as much balsam as possible before it seeds and gets carried down river. We parked in the yard at Manor Farm and made our way down the road to inspect the ditch, where there had been a lot of balsam in previous years. We were pleased to see that in this area there wasn't as much as in before and that native wild flowers, such as cow parsley, buttercups and white dead nettle were now dominant, but some of us set about removing any Himalayan plants we spotted. The biggest task, however, was on the opposite side of the lane in a field occupied by a very friendly horse and two ponies. Here there was a veritable carpet of balsam on the edge of the field and down the banks of the stream so we set to work to get as much cleared as possible. We were cert

Frilford Heath SSSI, 8th June 2013

This was our first trip of the year to the Frilford SSSI even though we had been at the nearby golf club on a couple of occasions in the past few months.  The reason for our return?  The himalayan balsam of course.The seasonal sprouting of this invasive non-native plant will be the focus of our attentions for many of the upcoming sessions over the summer. As I have explained on here previously, himalayan balsam, is a very persistent and fast-spreading alien plant on these shores and without intervention, it would soon crowd out the local species and reduce the bio-diversity of the areas it colonises.  When the area in question is home to rare flora and fauna such as the Frilford SSSI, our action is merited. Nine green gym volunteers assembled at Woodhaven on Saturday morning, long-sleeved and gloved since the area also has an abundance of stinging nettles at this time of year!  Led by Margaret, we began the short walk across the meadow to the work site and despite seeing much reduc

Fun in the Park, 1st June 2013

The annual Fun in the Park event was held in the Abbey Grounds, Abingdon on Saturday.  The event is a family fun day/fete organised by the town council.  Entry as usual was free and many of Abingdon's clubs and societies have a stall. The green gym were in attendance as usual with many of our members volunteering on the stall throughout the day.  As well as promoting our activities and providing information to potential new recruits we were selling marmalade, lemon curd and cakes made by our members.  In addition, we had a treasure hunt game where members of the public could stick a pin on a map of Abingdon and win a prize if the pin fell on one of our pre-determined winning squares. The weather for the occasion was lovely and the event attracted a large crowd.  We had good levels of interest in our stall and we look forward to welcoming any new members who may have become aware of our work. - Andrew Sally and Dieuwke promoting the green gym treasure hunt game ma