Jarn Mound and Wild Garden, Boars Hill, 9th April 2016

This was a new site for us - however, it is not far from our usual work locations at Boars Hill, and it is also owned and managed by the Oxford Preservation Trust.

Jarn Mound  was laid-out in the late 1920s and early 1930s by famed local archaeologist, Sir Arthur Evans.  It consists of an artificial mound, 15 metres high, which was originally constructed to enable breathtaking views over to the city of Oxford in one direction, and the Vale of the White Horse in the other.  Significant tree growth in the intervening decades has obscured much of these views, yet the structure remains impressive, and the steps to the top are still in place.  Around this main feature are wild gardens, including rare plants and shrubs and many stone steps, benches and rockeries.

Session leader, James, had visited the site earlier in the week with Andy Gunn from Oxford Preservation Trust, in order to discuss what work was to be done.  The overall aim was to begin restoring the gardens to their former glory, involving scraping away moss and algae growth from the stone structures, and removing some of the invasive shrubs, small trees and brambles from the immediate vicinity of the benches.  It is hoped that this will encourage more visitors and ensure that the wild gardens are more attractive generally.

Our session commenced with a quick tour of the gardens and the climbing of the mound for the more energetic amongst us!  We then split into groups to tackle each of the main areas of restoration.  Scrapers and wire brushes were employed to clear the growth on the stone benches and steps while loppers and saws were utilised to tackle the vegetation growth around them.  Andy had left us with a number of builders' 'drag-bags' that we could fill with the garden waste and then transport to the gates for disposal off-site.

There were 15 or so of us in attendance, therefore we were able to achieve quite a lot over the course of the morning.  Indeed, we exceeded drag-bag capacity and had to transport some of the cuttings by hand in the latter stages - testament to our hard-work ethic of course!!!

An additional bonus to working here proved to be the garden shelter - an ideal venue for taking tea break, where we were treated to some chocolate-chip brioche buns thanks to Dieuwke in addition to our usual biscuity fare!  We very much look forward to returning.

The entrance to the mound and wild gardens

Information board

The work-party assemble!

The steps on the mound

The view over the trees with the Vale of White Horse in the background

Step restoration

Margaret tackles the tree growth in the vicinity of one of the benches

Robert and Sally fill a drag-bag with cleared vegetation

Kristina clears brambles

Lauren clears moss from a stone bench

Dieuwke keeps busy

Cleared area surrounding a bench

Lauren proud of her hard work!

Another stone bench successfully cleared

Michelle carries some chopped logs away

Some of the cleared vegetation

Margaret proudly ascending the newly-restored steps beside the shelter


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