Showing posts from September, 2013

Southern Town Park, 28th September 2013

Eleven green-gymmers assembled in the Football Club car park at Southern Town Park on a rather autumnal-feeling morning.  The session leader this time was Kevin, who suggested that we take a walk around the perimeter of the site before commencing work to see what needed doing.   This we duly did and areas where brambles needed cutting and where litter required picking were identified. Our vehicles were then driven around to the Peep-o-Day lane side where we assembled our tools and set about the morning's tasks.  The bramble-bashers and litter-pickers among us selected our weapons of choice and work began.  Brambles and other vegetation around the path edges were removed and raked into piles for later collection while the usual high volume of litter in the vicinity was tackled. It is fair to say that this site is not the most exciting on our programme, nor a favourite with most of our members but it does at least make our work quite visible to the general public, with many dog-w

Frilford Heath Golf Club, 21st September 2013

This was our third visit of the year to the Frilford Heath Golf Club. We were back at the Boundary House fen to continue with the clearance of felled tree material and the raking and stacking of reeds to ensure that this important habitat is developed and maintained. Our work at the golf club is part of a wider programme of wildlife-friendly iniatives around the site.  This includes the re-introduction of heather and wild plants in areas between the fairways.  Indeed, on the walk to the fen, we spotted plants including viper's bugloss and hemp agrimony and also number of birds such as green woodpecker and mistle thrush. The fen itself looked a little different than on our last visit back in April.  The vegetation around the perimeter had grown significantly, while the area was a little less soggy with the water level of the pond somewhat lower after the dry summer.  The reeds had recently been cut and so our task was to rake and stack them in piles at the edge of the fen an

Withymead Nature Reserve, 14th September 2013

The weather was damp, drizzly and chilly as just nine Green Gymmers turned out for the session at Withymead Nature Reserve near Goring, including Robert Wilson, who had gallantly cycled from Didcot. It was quite a contrast to our previous visits, which had given us sunny skies and picnic conditions. The main task was to rake up the reeds from the reed bed, which was being cut with the mower. The wardens, Keith and Dorothy aim to cut the reed beds in a four year rotation. There was a lot of dead wood which needed picking up and we had to slash some of the reeds by hand in order to locate it. The task was made more difficult by the fact that the reeds had been flattened by the heavy rain the previous night. We put the cut reeds and smaller wood into builders' rubble bags and dragged them across the bridge and up to the bonfire site. Margaret, our resident pyromaniac, volunteered to take charge of the bonfire and amazingly, considering the damp conditions, managed to light it and

Abbey Fishponds, 7th September 2013

Eleven Green Gymmers met at Abbey Fishponds to join  Marjorie and her helpers for the end of Summer tasks .  The weather was sunny but colder than most of the past week. The tasks were reed raking and stacking, cutting back vegetation overgrowing the footpath on the north eastern side of the reserve, litter picking and seeking out and eradicating remaining Himalayan Balsam.  We split up into groups and made our way to different areas of the reserve, some of us taking the opportunity to try out new tools that James had acquired for Green Gym, including lighter loppers and smaller pitchforks. There were a lot of reeds to rake and stack as the reed bed on this reserve is quite extensive. The Himalayan Balsam was hidden among the reeds and in some hard to reach places. The litter, though not immediately obvious, was enough to fill two sacks. Lesley and Enid worked hard on the footpath and ended up with several piles of brambles and nettles. By coffee break time we were all

Frilford Heath SSSI, 31st August 2013

Nine Green Gymmers assembled on a bright and sunny morning at Woodhaven, Frilford - the final day of August and perhaps our last trip of the year to this site as the balsam-pulling season reaches its finale. Among our number, it was good to welcome back Robert - a regular member in the past, returning after an 18 month absence.  Few tools were required to be carried to the work site, the glove bag and tea kit were the priorities. Off we set then, from the parking spot down through the meadow, over the little wooden bridge across the stream and into the woods. We were greeted by a dense thicket of Himalayan Balsam. Plenty then for our volunteers to get stuck into. As well as the balsam, due to the exceptional summer weather, many other plants in the vicinity appeared to have flourished. Certainly, there were abundant quantities of water mint, imparting a lovely, fresh aroma and attracting many bees and butterflies. Other creatures spotted during the morning's activities included