Showing posts from September, 2018

Cothill Fen, 22nd September 2018

A team of 15 green gymmers, including new member, Joanna - gathered at the Cothill Fen car park for today’s session, along with Judy Webb from Natural England who was to manage our tasks. Our main aim for the morning was to continue the work from our last time here in July. With nitrate leaching into the fen from fertiliser on the neighbouring farmland, its entry point the ‘evil spring’ (as Judy calls it), duck weed and algae have been blooming out of control, disrupting the natural habitat.  In previous sessions a ditch had been dug, and lined with logs, in which cut reeds had been tamped down in order to create an anaerobic reaction, the result of which should be that the water is cleared of nitrate before it seeps into the fen. And it has been working – with 10 parts per million of nitrate in the water at the evil spring, it’s down to zero some way along the ditch. But still nitrate has been finding its way through so there’s always more work to be done. With rain threaten

Sunningwell Green, 15th September 2018

For this session we paid another visit to Sunningwell, where we had done some work in the early Summer. The tasks arranged by Bob Evans were to do some more clearing of the pond, to weed the hedge we had planted on the Green and to clear the wildflower meadow. James was eager to don waders and get stuck into the pond. This task was overseen by another James from Sunningwell (James Pond?) There was also a huge stack of cut willow by the pond, which needed cutting into manageable pieces and moving to the bonfire site on the Green. Graham, Margaret and I set to work on this task while the others went off to do the hedge weeding. Gradually, the willow pile grew smaller and more weed and green gunge was pulled from the pond. The hedge weeders also had a daunting task where a lot of nettles had grown among the young hedging plants. We were very lucky to have our tea break in Bob’s lovely garden, with delicious sausage rolls supplied by Bob’s wife Koty. Some people had to leave

Abbey Meadows Wild Flower Maze, 8th September 2018

The task this session was to rake up the cut vegetation from the wild flower maze in the Abbey Meadows. The maze is an initiative of Abingdon Carbon Cutters and is cared for by Lucille Savin. Despite some early rain, the weather turned out to be dry with some sunny intervals. The wildflowers in the maze had done pretty well, considering the heat and drought of the Summer. The time for cutting and raking up had arrived and Lucille had already done and initial strim. It is important to rake the cut material off as quickly as possible so nutrients do not leach into the soil and enrich it too much. Wildflowers flourish on poor soil. We worked hard raking and stacking, while Lucille did a second strim of the raked areas. There was also quite a bit of litter revealed, which had to be cleared. During our break, Lucille sketched out a plan for an interpretation board which would appeal to children. This might encourage them to come over from the nearby playground and search for the fl

Southern Town Park, 1st September 2018

Margaret had the honour of leading this weekend's session at Southern Town Park. Our instruction was to clear the wildflower bed which we established a couple of years ago. The weather was good, starting out warm and rising to 25 °C by lunchtime! We began by collecting any wildflowers that were left and distributing them amongst us (see photos). After that, we plucked any nettles that had infiltrated into the bed. Finally we slashed back the rest of the plants and raked them into a pile away from the area. This was all pretty much achieved by break time. After the much-needed break (we had the luxury of a solid iron park bench to serve the refreshment on and enough seating for most of us to rest and take the weight off), we were back to the usual routine of slashing and lopping down nettles and brambles that were starting to encroach upon the paths and tracks. Then of course litter picking, filling half a dozen bags - this is about the average for this location, with n