Showing posts from 2015

Cothill Fen and Christmas Meal, 12th December 2015

For the final session of the calendar year, we were back at Cothill Fen, with our annual Christmas meal held in the nearby pub, the Merry Miller, afterwards. There were a lot of similarities with this Saturday and last - once again we were supervised by Judy Webb from Natural England, reed raking was the main task, and the weather was damp but mild.  However, while there were only five of us on the previous occasion, we numbered a dozen this time. Having transported tools and tea kit down the track, as usual, we found the fen soggy and the terrain uneven with all the many tussocks tricky to navigate. The reeds had been cut and required raking across approximately half the site, and stacking in existing piles around the perimeter. While the majority of our workforce were busy raking and pitchforking, Robert and Colin were given the job of cutting back some of the smaller trees and branches on the edge of the fen. In contrast to last week, when our depleted contingent had no hop

Frilford Heath Golf Club, 5th December 2015

An unusually small turn-out this week! We assembled in the car park of Frilford Heath Golf Club and were immediately a man down as session leader, James, was feeling rather under the weather and could not participate.  Sally took the reins instead and in any case, Judy Webb from Natural England was present to boost our numbers from five to six! Onwards with a short drive around the corner to the groundkeeper's buildings, where we unloaded the tools and began our trek across the golf course to Boundary House Fen where our work was to be carried out.  A short pause while we waited for some golfers to clear the fairway and we arrived and got underway. The reeds had recently been cut over the entire fen area and our job was to take them up and carry and stack them in piles around the perimeter.  There were also a few isolated areas of tree regrowth to cut cut back and some fallen branches to deal with. Being somewhat understaffed, we did the best job that we could, but it was s

Abraham Wood, Boars Hill, 28th November 2015

We were at Abraham Wood, Boars Hill for this Saturday's session.  We work here on behalf of the Oxford Preservation Trust who own and manage the site.  On this occasion, session leader, Sally, had been instructed on our tasks in advance and so we were in attendance on our own. Our job was to clear vegetation alongside the boundary fence between the two entry 'kissing gates'.  A 1.5 metre to 2 metre corridor was required to be cleared, of some considerable distance.  Thus it appeared to be rather a daunting task at first.  The area was thick with non-native and invasive laurel, along with many brambles and holly.  There was also some hazel that required coppicing. Following Sally's initial briefing, our fourteen-strong team split into pairs, spaced at intervals along the boundary, each tackling our own section. The weather was mild and dry and therefore favourable from the off, although the sky looked increasingly grey and threatening as the morning progressed. T

Barton Fields, 21st November 2015

It was a very cold and wintry, though thankfully dry, start to the session as we met outside the Sophos building along Barton Lane. Despite the plummeting temperatures, a total of around 20 green gymmers and members of Abingdon Naturalist Society's green team met for this work party at the Barton Fields nature reserve. As usual at this location, we were working under the direction of warden David Guyoncourt.  A few different tasks were offered, though the predominant duty was to grub up the invasive snowberry plants alongside the Sustrans track running through the site - to allow the native tree and shrub species to thrive. Elsewhere, unwanted hawthorn and sycamore growth was removed from the wildflower meadow areas, some dangerously low branches from some of the trees close to the main path were dealt with and a litter pick was also conducted. It was fairly tough work tackling the snowberry, involving digging it out with mattocks, spades and forks!  The roots are surprisin