Showing posts from May, 2014

Next Green Gym Session - Saturday 31st May 2014

The next Green Session will be at the town end of the Ock Path on Saturday 31st May - meet 9:30am  at the usual location, which is by the bridge over the weir at St Helen's Court. Tasks will include clearing around the young trees, litter picking and Himalayan Balsam pulling. The summer programme with details of subsequent sessions will be issued soon, following this coming weekend's activities.

Bank Holiday walk along the Ock Valley, 26th May 2014

In a repeat of last year's activities, a programme of free Bank Holiday Monday walks was organised by the Friends of Abingdon along with various Abingdon groups, all starting at the market place.  Once again, Eleanor led a Green Gym nature walk along the Ock Valley Path. Unlike last year, however, the weather was not on our side.  Rather than basking in the sunshine, inclement conditions were experienced at the registration point with light, yet persistent rain.  This did not deter potential participants, fortunately.  In fact, we had a higher turn-out than a year ago, with fifteen assembling for the Green Gym walk.  The town crier announced the departure of the walks and we set off down East St Helen's Street towards the start of the Ock path at a little after 10:30am. The Ock Valley is one of our regular worksites, both at the town end, and further out towards the Tescos supermarket, so a walk such as this presents an ideal opportunity to show off our hard work to non-mem

Forthcoming Green Gym walk along the Ock Valley - Bank Holiday Monday 26th May

This coming Bank Holiday Monday, 26th May, Eleanor will be leading a Green Gym nature walk along the Ock Valley path as part of the Abingdon Bank Holiday walks programme. The walk will leave from the Market Place at 10:30am, with registration opening at 10am.  It is free to attend and all are welcome. Further information can be found here -

Frilford Heath SSSI, 17th May 2014

A beautiful day in May and our first session of the year at Frilford Heath SSSI.  The reason for our visit was to begin the annual Himalayan Balsam-pull.  That troublesome alien invader that threatens to choke the life out of our native vegetation each summer. We assembled at Woodhaven, ten-strong.  Very few tools were required to be transported from the car parking spot to the work site.  The refreshments, first aid kit, gloves and a couple of loppers and saws were all that were necessary on this occasion, since the balsam can easily be uprooted by hand. Upon arrival, Eleanor reminded us of the appearance of the plant, what it was and was not - there are other plants in the vicinity that look rather similar but are a good deal more difficult to pull. Being rather shady in amongst the trees, the ground was still rather soggy despite the warm temperatures - wellies were definitely a good idea.  As were long sleeves, owing to the significant quantity of stinging nettles that popula

Abrahams Wood, Boars Hill, 10th May 2014

Nine Green Gymmers arrived at our usual meeting place to work in Abraham's Wood, Boars Hill, which is managed by Oxford Preservation Trust. The tasks given us by Andy Gunn from BBOWT were to once again tackle the bamboo growing in the upper corner of the wood, plant some oak saplings, and if time allowed, pull up orange balsam. This is not as large or invasive as Himalayan balsam but does grow abundantly in the wood. As we walked down through the meadow to the wood, the sight of the buttercups and hawthorn trees in full bloom made the hard work ahead seem worthwhile. The wood itself was a sea of bluebells with patches of wild garlic. A group of us started work on the bamboo with forks, and mattocks kindly lent to us by the Abingdon Naturalists Green Team. The wood used to be part of a private garden, which is why it contains alien species such as bamboo, laurel and rhododendron. The plan is to return it gradually to natural woodland. The bamboo proved to be very hard work, the

Withymead Nature Reserve, 3rd May 2014

This was our first visit of the year to Withymead Nature Reserve (Anne Carpmael Trust) by the Thames near Goring. Although it is quite a long way from Abingdon we try to get there two or three times a year as it is one of our favourite places and there is always a variety of tasks to do. All the lift arrangements worked out well so we arrived in good time. Sonning Common Green Gym were also there plus the first Saturday of the month Withymead regulars including two young D of E award volunteers. One of the tasks was erecting a post and rail fence and Robert, Kevin, Victor and Laura chose this.  The rest of us went off to do pond digging, lopping, nettle slashing and pulling up nettles by hand in the wild flower area so as not to damage the more desirable flowers. As you can see from the photos, the weather was wonderfully mild and sunny and the first half of the morning passed quickly. It was quite a luxury to have our tea and coffee at the picnic tables outside the study