Showing posts from July, 2016

Ock Valley Walk, Tesco End, 30th July 2016

This session had originally been scheduled for earlier in the month, however there was more urgent work to be done at the Town End of the Ock Walk and the two sessions were swapped over. Therefore it was not until now that we found ourselves back at this location. Despite being in the middle of the summer holiday season, a large group of eighteen Green Gymmers turned up to have another go at tackling the Himalayan Balsam along with the usual litter pick.  The litter, while being an ongoing issue here, was manageable; the Balsam meanwhile was rather out of control! Large swathes of very tall, flowering Balsam were evident upon arrival on both sides of the river. All that we could really do was to pull as much as possible in the hope that it will be less prolific in subsequent years as a result. The native plants may then stand more of a chance to flourish. Plenty of wildlife was at least evident during the morning, including moorhens and chicks, bees, grasshoppers, spiders a

Cothill Fen, 23rd July 2016

A trip to Cothill Fen for a session on one of the hottest days of the year!  Even as we assembled in the car park opposite the Merry Miller pub, it was obvious that the day would be rather a scorcher. No matter, we carried our tools down to the fen and awaited instruction from site supervisor Judy Webb, on the morning's tasks.  Alongside our regulars, we were joined by a new member, Adrian. The main objective this time was to rake up some of the recently cut reeds on the fen and stack them into piles. There was also some cutting back of vegetation encroaching onto the periphery of the fen, such as willow, alder and bracken.  The ground was soggy and the sun was beating down with no shade for the most part, thus we worked at a steady pace, ensuring that we remained well hydrated! There was evidence of high nitrates in the water as indicated by duckweed - not good for this fragile habitat or for the rare flora and fauna that it supports. Therefore we attempted to re-route

Ock Valley Walk, Town End, 20th July 2016

This was an impromptu session arranged mid-week to rid the town end of the Ock Path of the Himalayan Balsam for another year. Six green gymmers turned out on what was a rather hot, yet breezy and overcast Wednesday morning for a two-hour blitz.  By 11am, the sun had appeared and the heat had become a little stifling, but fortunately we we had almost completed our task by then. In addition to the balsam pulling, some new tree guards were fitted/replaced around some of the trees we had previously planted in this area and a general tidy-up and litter-pick was conducted.  A good morning's work! -Andrew Assembling at the woodchip path Some Himalayan Balsam in flower beside the river Eleanor amongst the tree plantation James pulling balsam The path bathed in sunshine by the end of the session

Mill Road, Marcham, 16th July 2016

It was another session at Marcham this Saturday to continue pulling the seemingly inexhaustible Himalayan Balsam growth around the field margins.  Here, perhaps more than any of our other regular sites, the Balsam is extremely prolific, perhaps due to the stream and lake at the site, which transport and disperse the seeds year on year. Twelve green gymmers turned up to get on with the task, taking minimal tools from the meeting point in the farmyard outside Cumber's farm shop to the work location. James and Graham donned waders so that they could get in the stream and right up to the banks where a lot of the growth is concentrated.  The remainder of us worked steadily amongst the trees, adding to the piles of pulled plants as the morning progressed. Refreshments were taken at 11am in the barn as usual for this site, and then it was back to work to see how much we could complete up until the close of play. Much Balsam was removed, but large swathes remain. Many more sess

Frilford Heath SSSI, 9th July 2016

A small-ish group of nine Green Gymmers turned up for our latest session at Woodhaven, Frilford Heath.  Our tenth attendee, Michelle had to drop out due to feeling under the weather, but was kind enough to meet us there at 9:30am with the tea kit which she had previously volunteered to organise! It was down to the SSSI area with said tea-kit and minimal tools and gloves, ready for another session of Himalayan-Balsam pulling.  Upon arrival, it was certainly clear (to myself at least, since I hadn't been here for a year), that this invasive plant was much-reduced in volume. Whereas large swathes of the whole area were once covered, there exists now, only small patches. We did our best to deal with the remaining Balsam and it was a pleasure to note just how much native wildlife is currently evident. Hopefully a good indicator of our success. Many species of wild flowers and plants were identified and there also appeared to be many snails of assorted colours and shapes, along w