Showing posts from February, 2017

Kennington Memorial Field, 25th February 2017

This week we joined forces once again with the Oxford Preservation Trust (OPT) for our regular spring scrub cutting and burning session at Kennington Memorial Field. Around fifteen Green Gymmers and an additional fifteen or so OPT volunteers, led by Rachel Sanderson, turned out on a surprisingly cold morning. Rachel directed the tasks, and as usual at this site it was straightforward enough - namely to cut back scrub from an area of the field, to light a bonfire and to burn it.  While one team got started with lopping back the blackthorn, hawthorn and brambles, another set about getting the fire going so that it would soon be ready to receive the cuttings. The field itself is fairly vast with bushes and shrubs encroaching on all sides.  We concentrated our activities in just a small area, so that we didn't have to transport the cut vegetation too far to the bonfire.  The impressive turnout meant that we could make reasonable progress in our designated spot. Limiting the scru

Ock Valley Walk, Town End, 18th February 2017

This week we were at the town end of the Ock Valley Walk.  Sixteen-strong and led by Sally, our tasks were many and varied! Having convened by the St Helen's footbridge over the weir, we took a stroll with tools and tea-kit to our usual encampment spot - halfway along the woodchip path.  Sally then issued instructions to the faithful, which this week included both Lauren's mother, Sue, and Jessica's mother, Jill.  Bring your mum to Green Gym day?! The most significant job was to litter-pick along the stretch of the walk from the footbridge, all the way along to the Drayton Road end.  Otherwise, there was the usual bramble-bashing, the cutting back of stray willow branches and the clearance of vegetation away from the bases of trees that we have planted here in previous years.  A check was conducted on the health of these trees, and any that had not survived since our last visit (very few thankfully!), were removed, along with corresponding tree guards and stakes. Ele

Jarn Mound and Wild Garden, Boars Hill, 11th February 2017

This was our second session of the year working with the Oxford Preservation Trust (OPT) at Jarn Mound and Wild Garden.  A couple of weeks previously we had mainly been concerned with planting a hedge alongside the road here, but today, the main task was to continue with the clearance of trees and shrubs from the slopes of the mound itself.  This is hoped to improve the general environment, making it more welcoming and opening up the views across the surrounding area. As we arrived, snow had begun falling and a light covering had formed upon the ground.  What with the chilly temperature, we were keen to commence operations! Rachel Sanderson from OPT again led the session and instructed us on the finer points of the work before we began.  The majority of the group took bow saws and loppers to the mound to continue the clearance that had got underway last year.  The area to the right of the steps (as you stand at the base of the mound looking up) had already largely been dealt with,

Abbey Fishponds, 4th February 2017

Abbey Fishponds was the venue for Saturday's session.  The Green Gym, including new recuit, Ian, met with volunteers from the Earth Trust (who manage the site), working under the supervision of community reserves warden Lucy Tomkinson and local warden Majorie White.  We met as usual by the Hadland Road entrance to the site and received instruction on the morning's activities. We divided into groups, with some of us taking a number of ash stakes and other apparatus to the footpath at the far end of site to re-lay a hedge, while others traversed their way across to the reedbed to rake some of the reeds that were being scythed, into piles.  A number of willow trees in the wetland area were also being trimmed, with the removed branches being added to a dead hedge in the vicinity.  Some of the straighter branches were fashioned into binders to use in the hedge-laying, along with some hazel that was coppiced for the same purpose. As we worked, we were joined by a cat that had in