Showing posts from September, 2016

Ock Valley Walk, Town End, 24th September 2016

Saturday morning 24th September, Green Gym members arrive at the town end of the Ock Valley walk in Abingdon. A tree has been reported as fallen across a path and some of us are going to tackle it with hand saws in order to re-open the path. Kevin is leading, and we split into groups. As well as the tree, we will clear brush and encroaching growth from around the small trees we have planted over a period. Also there is litter-picking to be done. It is a beautiful autumn morning and a lot of the foliage is still very green and prolific. There is some Himalayan Balsam in flower, so we will see if we can discourage it! The log is awkward to get at but Colin and Graham make a start. It’s going to be hard work. Things soon get warm enough for coats to come off. Adrian deals with other parts of the fallen tree which get stacked nearby and could be handy habitats for wildlife. Well, that’s the path open again! There’s still more cutting up of the fallen tree to do though.

Talk by Dr Judy Webb on Cothill Fen, Christ Church Hall, Abingdon, 6th September 2016

Earlier this year, we were approached by Dr Judy Webb, who offered to give a talk to Abingdon Green Gym on the work that we have been doing over the years at Cothill Fen, a site which is managed by Natural England.  Judy is a professional ecologist and a county recorder of species for Oxfordshire, with a special love for fungi, invertebrates and flora and she oversees our sessions at Cothill Fen on behalf of Natural England.  The Hall at Christ Church in Abingdon had been booked and invitations had been sent to interested parties and local societies, including Natural England, the Earth Trust and Abingdon Naturalists' Society.   The Green Gymmers who'd volunteered to help with refreshments and setting out the tables and chairs arrived early and a table with the Green Gym display board and leaflets was set up alongside another table displaying jars of Green Gym marmalade for sale.  Eleanor had also kindly donated some jars of homemade chutney and made her delicious lemon cu

Jarn Mound and Wild Garden, Boars Hill, 17th September 2016

For our latest session at Jarn Mound and Wild Garden, there was a good turnout of sixteen regular members along with a couple of locals; a mother and son from Boars Hill.  The object of the exercise was to clear the fallen trees, rake away the debris, then to remove some other small trees and vegetation from the dried pond/lake area.  A busy morning ahead! With the temperature having cooled considerably from the heatwave experienced earlier in the week, the weather conditions were ideal for a good workout! There were two reasonably large trees that had fallen some time ago but had continued to grow, along with surrounding vegetation that had flourished over the summer and had entwined itself into the trees, plus a few other smaller trees to fell. We worked in teams - sawing the large branches from the fallen trees then stripping and cutting them to fill drag bags. The larger logs were subsequently stacked in a pile at the side of the pond.  Once the area had been cleared of the falle

Cothill Fen, 10th September 2016

The weather was wet and grey when we met for our session at Cothill Fen. Led by Judy Webb, our task was to cut down the smaller trees on the edge of the fen and make room for the professionals with their machinery to get through and fell the bigger stuff.  It is essential to cut back trees and scrub and prevent it from encroaching on and eventually taking over the fen. We set to work and, despite frequent heavier bursts of rain, made good progress. We decided to bring the tea kit over to the woods for our break, as at least we were sheltered by the trees. Michele did a Sir Walter Raleigh and gallantly cast down her waterproof so we could put the mugs on it. As she said, it couldn't get any wetter or muddier.  Then it was back to work again, with nobody suggesting we finished early. There was a lot to do, and we needed to make sure that all the cut trees and branches were moved to piles inside the wood. When it was time to pack up, we could see how much we had pushed the trees

Abbey Fishponds, 3rd September 2016

We met at the Hadland Road entrance to Abbey Fishponds. In addition to thirteen Green Gymmers there were Marjorie's helpers and the Earth Trust volunteers so we were a large party with many tasks scattered throughout the reserve.  There was cutting back vegetation from the paths around the edge, remaining Himalayan balsam in the reed beds to seek out and pull up, raking and stacking of cut grass and reeds and, of course litter picking. We dispersed to our various tasks.  Following the hedge trimmer raking up the cuttings was a lengthy job but Barry managed to borrow a broom from a helpful neighbour.  There wasn't much Himalayan Balsam to be found, but perhaps we weren't looking in the right places and I won't name the person who sat down in the stream while trying to cross.  We met up again for tea break and then carried on until the rain that had been threatening for a while started, just before we were due to finish. As usual, Green Gymmers were lucky with the