Showing posts from February, 2015

Barton Fields, 21st February 2015

Today was as good a day for a Green Gym Session as one could wish for.  The sky was blue and the temperature was perfect – not too hot and not too cold. We were at Barton Fields in Abingdon, one of our regular and popular venues, working under the direction of David Guyoncourt, the Warden. Fourteen Green Gym members joined forces with a half a dozen volunteers from David’s Green Team to undertake a variety of tasks.    These included litter picking,   clearing willowherb from around the ponds, and digging up bramble roots where these has encroached into the field itself.   Quite a lot of bramble clumps are retained as valuable habitats for birds and other wildlife, but it is necessary to limit their spread into the open fields. Digging up bramble roots is no easy task both because they are tough and because they can extend for yards underground. There is little hope of removing all the roots but we were able to make significant inroads.   The main tool we use for this is a mat

Abrahams Wood, Boars Hill, 14th February 2015

A cold start awaited the twelve Green Gymmers that assembled at Boars Hill, outside the Open University buildings for another session at Abrahams Wood, on Valentine's Day.  The fog that had greeted us early on soon gave way to sunny conditions, interspersed with some cloudiness and drizzle. Tools and tea kit were distributed among the group for the lengthy transit through the kissing gate, down the hill and into the woods.  It was the usual set of tasks at this location, namely continuing the struggle to eradicate the invasive, non-native laurel trees and shrubs that have become so rampant here and to make 'willow doughnuts' - protective rings woven around the base of hazel trees to discourage the damaging grazing antics of local deer. Some of our newer members were keen to try the doughnut making, with Ursula instructing them on technique.  Others got underway with another bout of laurel clearance and adding the cuttings to the 'dead hedge' that we established

Abbey Fishponds, 7th February 2015

Green Gym was a big group this morning under Sally’s leadership and was swelled by the Abbey Fishponds volunteer team, whose leader Marjorie briefed us on our tasks which included laying woodchip paths, cutting and stacking small trees and clearing brush, and litter- picking. -Barry Marjorie (in the green jacket) at the briefing session, along with Loretta from the Earth Trust who now manage the site James cutting prolific tree growth Peter from Abbey Fishponds group. Raking grass is hard work! Andrew makes a really nice woodchip path! It looks so much better than when it’s all mud Rihanna (right) comes to Green Gym regularly as part of her Duke of Edinburgh Award programme Colin with his ever-useful and adaptable trolley “Well it’s litter, but not as we know it!” Kate, with Dieuwke following up At last!

Cothill Fen, 31st January 2015

We had another tremendous turn out, numbering 17, for our session of log path laying and clearing encroaching scrub from the wild and wintry Cothill Fen on Saturday, under the leadership of Margaret with Judy Webb overseeing on behalf of Natural England. We were basically continuing our work from where we had left off before Christmas. Having assembled in the car park opposite "The Merry Miller", we made our way along the muddy track to make camp in our usual spot. To the untrained eye, the Fen probably looked quite bleak and unprepossessing, under a patchwork of snow, but it is home to a wonderful and unique array of species of flora and fauna, which over millenia have adapted so that their very survival is dependent upon the survival of the Fen itself - which is fed by calcium-rich spring water. It is this that makes this a SSSI as it is fast becoming one of England's rarest habitats. We divided into two groups - the scrub clearers and the path layers. Hard hats