Showing posts from April, 2017

The Stonehill Community Garden, 22nd April 2017

This was our first visit to the Stonehill Community Garden, in the grounds of Stonehill House, for quite some time.  Much has changed in the interim and a medium-sized plot of land is being transformed into a vegetable garden, incorporating ideas from permaculture and biodynamics and involving a number of local groups and individuals. We gathered in the field adjacent to the main house and met with site warden, Rachel Hammond.  Rachel, and the day's Green Gym session leader, James, then took us on a quick tour of the site with it's many interesting features, while emphasising the tasks for the morning. We were joined for the first time by Eleanor who is still at school and volunteering with us as part of her Duke of Edinburgh award.  She was joined by her mother and an additional twelve members - a reasonable workforce yet again. The priority on this occasion was to loosen the soil in a strip from the car park area to the main vegetable plot in order to make a path.  Thi

Abrahams Wood, Boars Hill, 8th April 2017

Glorious sunshine was arranged for our arrival at Boars Hill on Saturday.  Indeed, the conditions were more akin to summer than spring with leaves having appeared on many of the trees bordering Berkeley Road in the past week.  We met at the lay-by outside the Open University buildings on the aforementioned road and it is here that we were joined by Oxford Preservation Trust's (OPT) land officer, Rachel Sanderson who was to direct our tasks for the morning. Fifteen Green Gymmers assembled, including Jessica Amy, a student from Brookes University who was along to participate and conduct a survey regarding our volunteering motivations. We carried a large quantity of tools and the all-important tea kit across the road, through the newly-widened kissing gate and down the hill to the top gate of Abrahams Wood.  Before we entered, Rachel gave us a quick summary of our objectives, before taking us on a tour of the site and showing us the specific jobs that would keep us busy for the m

Ock Valley Walk, Town End, 1st April 2017

Eleven of us gathered for our second week at the town end of the Ock Path on a lovely mild and sunny day, to continue the work of renewing the woodchip path. Other tasks were clearing the nettles, which were now growing fast, from around the young trees, clearing some patches to sow more wild flower seeds, and of course, litter picking. The wood chip was nearly all at one end of the path and quite scattered so it was harder to collect and there was further to push the wheelbarrows.  Clearing the nettles revealed more patches of wild flowers which we had planted in previous years, fritillaries  and quite a lot of wild garlic. We hope eventually to have fewer nettles and more wild woodland flowers in this area. After a very welcome break for the woodchip haulers and spreaders, we carried on with the tasks. We cleared a couple of patches as far as possible of nettle roots and goose grass and sowed wild flower seeds suitable for urban woodlands. Sadly, we didn’t manage to fini