Showing posts from February, 2014

Kennington Memorial Field, 22nd February 2014

This was our annual trip to Kennington Memorial Field to join up with Alison Muldal from Natural England and her group of local volunteers who hold work parties at the site. This session, in common with those that have preceded it here, largely involved cutting back vegetation around the site boundaries.  Brambles hawthorn and blackthorn form the main thickets that require managing, lest they should completely engulf the field.   We were sufficient in number, that upon arrival, Alison divided us into sub-groups and directed us to the different areas of the field that most required our attention.  Some of us tackled the brambles at the top end of the site, while others started working away at the thorn bushes lower down. The area of brambles were a high priority due to the adjacent footpath having become muddy and waterlogged and therefore a new route needed to be cut.  Five volunteers worked especially hard to cut back the brambles in this area since they had become quite impenet

Southern Town Park, 15th February 2014

This Saturday, we unexpectedly found ourselves at Southern Town Park.  Our original programme activity was to  plant trees along the Ock Valley Walk, but recent heavy rain and flooding had forced us to reconsider our plans in advance and retreat to somewhere a little less waterlogged. We assembled in the car park along Lambrick Way amid high winds.  The remnants of the previous night's storm, which had kept many of us awake as it battered our homes, was still in evidence.  It was actually fairly surprising that more trees had not fallen given the severity of the conditions, however. Making our way across to the work site at the Peep-o-Day lane end of the park, it was evident that there was plenty to be getting on with.  The ongoing removal of heavy bramble growth that is smothering the trees adjacent to the lane was a priority, along with the usual litter-picking and the clearance of some fallen tree debris. Eager to keep warm with the low temperatures and wind-chill we eager

Cothill Fen, 8th February 2014

Expecting to see a large lake, we were surprised to find that the fen was its usual self.   Watery but not impossible to walk and work on.   Maybe the fen, being spongy in nature absorbed a lot of the water that has fallen this last month. Our tasks were to rake up reeds that had been cut previously, and put them in piles at the margin of the fen.   Also cut back encroaching scrub and trees to keep the fen open and wet. The morning started wonderfully sunny, a relief after the rainy week, and apart from some dramatic grey storm clouds on the horizon, remained dry and fine throughout the session. Judy from Natural England got us started, and we completed all the raking and made good inroads with the tree cutting.   Judy invited us back for an evening walk later in the year when the effect of this work can really be appreciated.   Marsh orchids, marsh helleborines, bog pimpernel, black bog rush and marsh valerian can be found in spring and summer.   Of the wildlife, I only saw a lo

Abrahams Wood, Boars Hill, 1st February 2014

Twelve Green Gymmers gathered in Berkeley Road, Boars Hill for a session in Abrahams Wood. We were joined by Andy Gunn from BBOWT who led us down to the wood, where our task was to cut down as much of the laurel as possible and add it to the dead hedge, which we had constructed during a previous Boars Hill session. It was a bright, sunny morning, though cold, but we were very grateful for some respite from the relentless rain which had gone on for so many weeks. Already we could see bluebell shoots springing up everywhere. Andy talked about the history of the wood for the benefit of the new members, how it had been donated to Oxford Preservation Trust and what BBOWT was hoping to achieve there. We then set to work on the laurel with saws and loppers, piling up the larger logs and adding the brash to the dead hedge. It is amazing how tall laurel can grow, many plants being more like trees than shrubs. Because this wood was once part of a private garden, it contains plants such as la