Showing posts from November, 2016

Barton Fields, 26th November 2016

We joined site warden David Guyoncourt and his Abingdon Naturalist's Society Green Team volunteers for this week's session at Barton Fields.  It was the first time that we had been here since the end of the summer - back when we had been busy raking the recently-cut wildflower meadows.  The tasks on offer this time differed somewhat, but involved either raking-up vegetation that was being strimmed from the perimeter of the ponds, grubbing-up invasive snowberry plants close to the main path, or litter-picking. We split into teams once we had transported our tools from the meeting point on Barton Lane, down to the main field and got stuck into our various assignments.  It was a lot milder than the previous week, and while not overly warm, proved to be a good temperature for working. The pond-raking team had made impressive progress, being almost finished by the tea break, while the litter-pickers were nearing completion also.  Therefore the second half of the morning saw mos

Frilford Heath Golf Club, 19th November 2016

Another session was held at Boundary House Fen, within Frilford Heath Golf Course on Saturday. It was our first trip here for a few months, and as usual, we gathered in the main club car park before driving the short distance along the road to the ground-staffs' premises to park and walk to the work site.  Or at least that was the plan - instead, our convoy arrived at the turn-off to be greeted with a locked gate, and we had no option but to park on the grass verge beside the main road and carry our tools a longer distance to the fen than usual.  On the way we passed by Two Pine Fen, where we have held a couple of weekday sessions, this year and last.  Unfortunately, the reeds had not been cut as had been hoped, and the area looked rather overgrown and neglected. The longer walk meant that we didn't arrive at the Boundary House site until 10am.  It was still rather cold and frosty at this time and some warm-up exercises were performed to get us going.  While the session was

Jarn Mound and Wild Garden, Boars Hill, 12th November 2016

Four weeks after our last session with the Oxford Preservation Trust at Boars Hill, we returned, albeit at Jarn Mound this time rather than the Elizabeth Daryush Garden; which had been our venue in October. We again met with  Rachel Sanderson of the trust, who along with our leader of the day, James, outlined the tasks for the morning.  Primarily, we were to clear the mound itself of scrub and tree saplings that had taken root there, with the intention of restoring it to its original state.  There were also some flatter areas of the garden that required clearing, for the less intrepid among us. Unfortunately, the day had begun a little on the inclement side.  Indeed as we arrived, the rain fell persisently, making many of us wonder if the session would go ahead at all!  But of course, the Green Gymmers are renowned for working whatever the weather, and the damp conditions did not deter us. A couple of problems were immediately evident due to the rain;  firstly, the steep sides o

Ock Valley Walk, Town End, 5th November 2016

Winter has come quickly. Green Gym is working at the town end of the Ock Valley Walk in Abingdon this morning. Eleanor is leading and sets out our plans which include clearing brambles, nettles, and rank growth from an area where we have previously planted bare-root saplings. Today we want to plant some native wildflowers within the cleared parts. And of course we will be picking litter. Where to start? Ursula sets a good example with a slasher. Some of our sapling plantings can be seen in the background. Margaret and Kate have found a good place. The saplings in this area have done very well indeed and are beginning to look quite vigorous – a tribute to earlier efforts to give them a bit of breathing space by putting down plastic sheets to suppress competing weeds. As the morning goes on coats come off – this looks like Margaret’s. Wildflowers adjusting to the winter! Coffee at last! Essential f

Kennington Memorial Field, 29th October 2016

We have been working at Kennington Memorial Field for a number of years now, clearing scrub from the slopes so that the valley remains an area of grassland and wild flowers. This time Rachel from Oxford Preservation Trust was in charge and led us down to the lower end of the field, where we were to cut back the trees and bushes by several metres and burn the scrub on a bonfire. We were joined by some families with children of varying ages, the youngest only three, who had answered a local appeal for volunteers. We set to work and soon we had a bonfire going. Even the children who were too young to use loppers and saws joined in, carrying branches to the bonfire pile. Despite the drizzly weather they all worked cheerfully. At tea break time we enjoyed some delicious snacks that Rachel had brought and a tin of chocolates supplied by Michele. We found two old birds' nests in the course of the morning and cutting back the scrub revealed a log pile with a rabbit hole under