Showing posts from December, 2013

Cothill Fen and Christmas Lunch at the Merry Miller, 14th December 2013

We gathered in the car park opposite the Merry Miller for our session at Cothill Fen, led by Dr Judy Webb. Once again, we were very lucky with the weather as it was fine and sunny. We walked along the footpath to the fen and Judy pointed out the new fencing that has been installed to keep the ponies in, which are being introduced early next year to graze the fen. We could not do our originally planned task of reed raking as they had not been cut so instead we set to work cutting back any vegetation that was encroaching on the fen and cutting back any shoots that were sprouting from the tree stumps. If trees and shrubs are allowed to grow on the fen, they will take over and the fen will become scrub, thus destroying the unique ecosystem of an alkaline fen. There were orange tapes tied to some of the stumps where rare plants were growing, such as a rare fern and a dark-leaved willow. During our tea break and sampled some of Robert's home made cinnamon biscuits and Judy

Abrahams Wood, Boars Hill, 7th December 2013

This Saturday's venue was Abrahams Wood, Boars Hill, on  Oxford Preservation Trust land. The site has become one of our favourites; not just for the lovely view over the dreaming spires of Oxford, but also due to the fact that being a smallish wood, a limited work force can achieve quite a lot in a morning's session. Our main effort is usually to keep down the non-indigenous plants that have invaded the area, allowing the light to get through so native shrubs such as hazel and holly can grow. Invasive bamboo and laurel have unfortunately become rather established in Abrahams Wood. However, if the laurel shrubs in particular can be tackled before they grow too big, they can be kept under control fairly easily.  It is possible to get a bow saw through their relatively soft limbs, and log habitat piles can then be created with the cut wood.  These piles also serve as a great indication of our efforts at the end of the day! It was pleasing to see that our prev

Stonehill House, 30th November 2013

On a fine, sunny Saturday morning eight of us met in the courtyard of Stonehill House, a lovely red brick manor house on the southern edge of Abingdon. The house, outbuildings and gardens are used as a Russian cultural centre as well as hosting projects such as theraputic gardening for people suffering from mental illness. Our task was to clear a footpath through the woods and remove tree guards from the various trees with which the fields had been extensively planted. We walked through the grounds and the woods into the field with the young trees. Three people stayed in the wood to clear the footpath and the rest of us set to work removing the tree guards, loading them into barrows and taking them to the top of the field to dump by the gate. We had had a pevious session removing the guards back in April and there still seemed to be hundreds left. The footpath rakers soon finished their task and came to join us. The field has several badger sets near the northern b