Showing posts from March, 2019

Pinkhill Meadow Nature Reserve, Farmoor Reservoir, 16th March 2019

Another week, another new site for the Abingdon Green Gym! We met at the car park at Farmoor Reservoir, a healthy turn out of 17 of us, including French father Sebastien, and his eleven-year old son, Maelo, who was joining us for a school project. The session was led by James under the instruction of Hanna Jenkins, the warden of Pinkhill Meadow Nature Reserve, so called because it is right on the banks of the River Thames, just near Pinkhill Lock. It was another blustery day. Will this crazy wind ever let up? We followed Hanna in convoy round the edge of the reservoir, which was choppy to say the least, and parked up on the other side where it was thankfully a little calmer, the high banks of the reservoir providing some shelter. Equipped with our tools, gloves and goggles, we made our way onto the spot on the nature reserve where we were to do our work. Hanna told us that the reserve had been formed in 1991, but some aspects had been neglected over the last ten years. The aim

Two Pines Fen, Frilford Heath Golf Course, 12th March 2019

In a departure to our main programme, a special mid-week raking session had been arranged at Two Pines Fen, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, on Frilford Heath Golf Course.  Because the Fen is flanked by two golf courses, it is only practical to carry out this work when one of the courses is closed for maintenance and, on this occasion, it was the Green Course that was closed.  Five Green Gymmers had set aside the day, including Lindsay, a friend of the Green Gymmers, who had been given the day off by the company she works for as a ‘charity day’. We met in the Greenkeepers’ Compound area and took the tools and tea kit to Two Pines Fen.  It was apparent from the water level in the stream, which is more like a ditch, that the recent damming work by Rod d’Ayala had caused water levels to rise, with the consequence of wetting the Fen, which has been drying out in recent years to the detriment of the specialist plants and invertebrates that inhabit it. Our principal task was to r

Jarn Heath, 9th March 2019

Today we held our first ever session on Jarn Heath. This is one of three linked sites owned by Oxford Preservation Trust, the other two being Jarn Mound, site of many a Green Gym visit, and the Matthew Arnold (the poet of ‘dreaming spires’ fame) Reserve. The session was led by Kevin in extremely windy conditions! Contractors had already been onto the site to thin the trees and open out the glade, allowing light to make its way to the woodland floor. Winding paths have been fashioned throughout the sites, with the aim of allowing wildlife to disperse and move between the sites, as well as giving walkers a pleasant experience. Our tasks today were threefold. First of all, there is an entrance onto the heath at the corner of Jarn Way and Orchard Lane. When walkers go through the gate, they are faced with a tangle of overgrown holly and brambles and dogwood. Called the ‘unwelcoming corner’ by Rachel, our job here was to make the entrance more, well, welcoming! So we were to cut ba

Ock Valley Walk, 2nd March 2019

For this morning’s session we were doing our bit for Helen Flynn’s AbiBinIt! Big Spring Clean litter pick. Eleanor was leading the session in which we were to take a two-pronged attack from both the town and Tesco ends of the Ock river path. Eight of us, including Eleanor, gathered at the Tesco end, where we set up camp beneath the trees. At the town end, James gathered with six further members, the aim to sweep up the path and meet us at camp for tea break. We spread out in ones, twos and threes, brandishing pick-up tools, blue bags for landfill and clear bags for recycling. In addition to the path itself, we went along the road from the Esso garage to Tesco and beyond, and also up the Ock river where it veers off through the fields towards the mill. Much progress was made and by tea break Kevin accurately remarked that we should be able to bank this sort of community service against future minor misdeeds. Wouldn’t it be good if we could pay off a parking fine with our litter