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 mattock. In case you are not familiar with this implement, it is a bit like a pickaxe but with one side more like a narrow short spade. It is used like a pickaxe and is capable of penetrating quite deep into the tangled soil to expose the bramble roots.

As always on our visits to Barton Fields, one the highlights is the range and quality of the refreshments that David brings for our break. Fresh buns of every variety imaginable together with a veritable cornucopia of biscuits were spread out before us. It makes getting back to work after the break something of a challenge – but one that the Green Gym stalwarts are well able to meet.

Willowherb clearing by the ponds

Bramble clearing

Kevin and Kate wielding a mattock
Refreshment break


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