Cothill Fen, 13th May 2017

We met at Cothill Fen this Saturday for another session at this nature reserve, working as usual with Judy Webb, representing Natural England, who manage the site.

In our absence, Green Gymmer Adrian has been working here regularly on his own, cutting back the trees that line the border the fen, close to the main footpath.  We were therefor, keen to see how he had got on since our last session here, some months ago.

On our walk down the track from the footpath, we encountered a large group of schoolchildren from the nearby school, and elsewhere there were many walkers and cyclists about.  The weather was dull and overcast with the threat of rain, but it was fairly mild, especially apparent once we started working.

Prior to getting underway, Judy outlined our task, which was to continue cutting small trees back on the edge of the fen, to open the area out and reclaim as much as possible of this rare habitat.  We donned high-vis vests, googles and hard-hats where applicable as extra safety devices during the felling operations. The twelve of us then wended our way across the site to begin.

We spread ourselves out across the edge of the tree-line, and armed with loppers and bow-saws, tackled any small tree within our means, along with some straggly bushes close to ground-level, such as wild privet. A few shrubs were marked and were to be left in place due to their ecological importance.  These were mostly purging buckthorn.

As we lopped, cut and stacked the wood into piles, Judy carried out some survey work around the vicinity and was able to show us a variety of wild flowers and interesting creatures that reside here.  Indeed, the fen was in flower, with many Marsh Valerian plants, cowslips and orchids among others.

We were all impressed with the effort that Adrian has put in lately and hardly recognised the opposite side of the reserve, where he has been operating.

Tea break was very welcome today due to the rather exhausting work, and we were treated to Eleanor's lemon drizzle cake, which was very well received!

As we continued after refreshments we were treated to some aerial acrobatic displays with a number of aircraft apparently rehearsing for the following day's Abingdon Air Show.

Work continued right up until the 12:30pm deadline, and by the time we packed away our tools and carried them back up the track to the car park, it was already 1pm!  A busy session.

Upon arrival.

Judy's team talk.

Marsh Valerian.

Off to work we go.


Graham gets underway.

Kevin keeps busy.

A Narrow-Leaved Marsh Orchid.

Andrew saws.

Looking across the fen to the area of trees that Adrian has been busy felling.

That time again...

Tea-time banter.

The remains of Eleanor's Lemon Drizzle cake!

A female glow worm.

Flea sedge.

Ursula hard at work.

King Alfred's Cake fungi.

A pair of wood piles.


Snail on an ash tree.

Ursula, Dieuwke, Graham and Carolyn relax after a busy morning.

Evidence of our morning's work!

Heading homewards.

Packing up.

Aerial acrobatics kept us entertained.

Janet manages to remain stylish throughout!


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