Showing posts from November, 2015

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

Ock Valley Walk, Town End, 14th November 2015

Two weeks had elapsed since our last visit to the town end of the Ock Valley Walk.  On the last occasion we had prepared some areas for planting spring bulbs and our primary objective this time was to actually sow the bulbs. While some of our fifteen or so work party set about the aforementioned task, others conducted a litter pick and a third group cleared some suffocating weeds from around the many trees that we planted last year. For the second session in a row we had to endure rain, but it was thankfully, relatively light compared to the day's pessimistic forecast. With damp foliage, we nevertheless got rather wet, but it was all for a good cause.  Our efforts were also rewarded with Eleanor's lemon drizzle cake that was hungrily devoured at the intermission! -Andrew The beginning of the session Working in the wet weather The tree plantation Halfway there! Knee rest and bulb planting tool Autumnal sycamore colours Dog Rose One of the

Abbey Fishponds, 7th November 2015

We were back at Abbey Fishponds nature reserve on Saturday for the second occasion in the past month. Once again we joined with Marjorie White and her local volunteers.   Tasks included clearing path boundaries from overgrown vegetation, sweeping up a high volume of fallen leaves and of course a litter pick.  There was also some cutting back of trees to attend to.  Around fifteen of us were present, including a new member, Michelle. Unlike most of our sessions this year and over the past few years in fact, we experienced heavy rain. Although we had turned out in waterproof attire, the inclement conditions presented a challenge! Nevertheless, we persisted until the close of play and achieved what we set out to do.  Let us hope for more pleasant conditions next week. -Andrew Marjorie instructs us at the start of the session Path clearance activity Refreshments in the rain A red kite circles above Spindle fruit in the hedge Path clearance complete

Ock Valley Walk, Town End, 31st October 2015

Upon a mild Halloween morning, we assembled at the footbridge at the start of the Ock walk.  Totaling around fifteen again, we unloaded the tools from session leader Eleanor's car, and proceeded to the work site. The main task this time was to clear some patches of stinging nettles in the wooded area including the digging-out of roots, in preparation for planting flower bulbs that will come up in the spring.  The nettle growth is rather prolific here, but hopefully it will lessen once the trees that we have planted mature and create shade. In the meantime, it will be good to be able to enjoy the flowers from perhaps March onwards. Other tasks included removing willowherb growth from around the aforementioned recently-planted trees and clearing away some fallen willow tree branches in the vicinity of the woodchip path.  There was also, as ever, some litter to pick. We will be back here in a couple of weeks to plant bulbs and take care of whatever else needs doing on tha