Showing posts from November, 2018

Ock Valley Walk, Town End, 24th November 2018

It was drizzling when we met in the car park at the Town End of Ock Path, thirteen green gymmers ready to work a session led by Sally. Thankfully, by the time we’d carried the tools and equipment to our usual spot on the river bank, the rain had cleared and Sally split us into three groups: the planters, the prospectors and the progressives. The planters were to clear areas between the pathways using the mattocks for wild bulb planting. Eleanor had brought along a variety of native English bulbs, including wood anemones, wild garlic and bluebells. The prospectors were the litter pickers. They set off with recycling and bin bags towards the Drayton Road end of the path, where most litter seems to be thrown. And if we had been prospecting for gold we’d have been millionaires after the first half of the session as there were rich pickings indeed: a large plastic paddling pool, road traffic cone that had to be hauled out of the river, shopping basket on wheels (nearly new), a whol

Frilford Heath Golf Club, 17th November 2018

For this session we were at Boundary House Fen on Frilford Golf Course, to continue our work here from last month. This time there were a good number of us and we were joined by Judy Webb, Alison Muldal, volunteer Mike and Rod d’Ayala, who is in charge of the project. The main tasks were to rake up the cut reeds and deposit them in the stream flowing through the fen. This would both purify the water and make the fen wetter. We certainly noticed that the fen was much wetter than on our last visit, which showed that the plan was succeeding. Raking up the reeds would also give the calcareous fenland plants, such as marsh valerian, a chance to grow.  There were also a lot of branches, twigs and quite large logs on one side of the fen, which needed to be cleared and put on to habitat piles. The weather was chilly but sunny, which made the tasks much more pleasant. We worked hard and were glad of our tea break. By the end of the session, we had managed to clear all the piles of reeds.

Southern Town Park, 10th November 2018

This was our first visit to Southern Town Park since cutting and raking the wildflower area in early September. The photo shows the very attractive sign painted by Ursula. Since then, a lot of nettles had sprung up as a result of the mild Autumn but a lack of hand forks meant we couldn’t do much weeding. However, there were a lot of brambles to be cut back and the usual litter picking. We were joined by Neil and Rhiannon. Rhiannon is working towards a Scout award, which involves community and outdoor work. We worked hard at slashing and raking up the brambles and nettles and the weather was fine and mild. There also seemed to be less litter than usual, so maybe the youth football club had been doing their bit. We stopped for our tea break, stoking up with plenty of cake. The second part of the session was shorter than usual as some people wanted to go to the bun throwing to celebrate the centenary of the Armistice. Dark clouds were gathering in the sky and as soon as we ha

Cumnor Pond, 3rd November 2018

We have been in several ponds lately, notably those on Boars Hill and in Sunningwell. On Saturday November the 3 rd we dipped our wellies for the first time in  a new one, namely the village pond in Cumnor. This pond is right beside the road so we were able to park by the roadside next to the pond.  The benefit of this was that we did not have to carry our tools any distance. We had been asked by Lorraine if we would cut back the reeds that covered about one third of the pond. Lorraine, ably assisted by Gordon her husband, has been responsible for the maintenance of the pond for some years but requested the services of the Abingdon Green Gym to undertake some work on the reed-bed. We were asked to cut them back, not to remove them. The area where we were working was deceptive in that most of it was under about six to nine inches of water but there were some patches where the depth was nearer four feet. These patches were not obvious and some of us, even those wearing wade

Kennington Memorial Field, 27th October 2018

This Saturday as per the programme, the Abingdon Green Gym spent the morning at the Kennington Memorial Field which was establish after the Second World War to commemorate local men who died in the conflict. Rachel of the Oxford Preservation Trust, who manage the site, was there to instruct us on what we were going to do. This was to clear scrub, brambles and small saplings that have encroached onto the open heath restricting access for the cattle that graze there. The first task on the agenda was to establish a bonfire to dispose of the cleared scrub. Graham our firestarter-in-residence set to work with some fire lighters and dried kindling supplied by Rachel. Once the fire was well established, the cut scrub soon piled up ready for Graham to feed it. We were working on what was a new part of the field for us, but the clearing activity was the same as on our previous visits, so we all knew what to do. The majority of us tackled the difficult business of cutting/slashing