Abbey Fishponds, 3rd August 2019

The Green Gym rendezvous was at the usual Abbey Fishponds meeting point at the far end of Hadland Road.  Here we met with Lucy of the Earth Trust, who manage the site, and Sally our team leader for the day. Once assembled, we transferred the tools and equipment needed to our tea break location on a high bank overlooking the nature reserve. 

The Fishponds themselves have long since gone but you can see that the flat low lying area with springs rising in the reserve would have been a ideal site to stock fish for the monks at Abingdon Abbey, centuries ago.

One of the tasks for the morning was clearing back overgrown bushes and brambles on the edge of the reserve next to the Radley Road which were beginning to cause a hindrance to traffic. Adrian, who had been working with Lucy and knew the spot, took Margaret, Dieuwke, Rosie and Carolyn to fulfil the task - with the added precaution of high visibility jackets for working in such an environment. A squashed Hedgehog found on the side of the road was a warning! 

Meanwhile Lucy, took a dedicated team of Graham and Dan, plus fence posts, spades, spirit level and everything else needed to make a start on digging  up and replacing some rotten fence posts at the boundary of the site.

The rest of the willing group, divided their time up with Himalayan Balsam pulling and litter picking, while Ursula and Sarah went to clear nettles from the path which were obstructing cyclists.

By break time the clearing of the foliage at the edge of the Radley road had been completed so they diverted their attention to the HB pulling. The replacement of the fence posts was still a work in progress - the digging out of the old posts, then lining up the new posts making sure they were square, and fitting them into the fence line and gate took longer than we thought, but was finished by end of play. Lucy said the cross beams were a temporary fixture and a more permanent construction will be added later in the month.

On the nature watch front Lucy gave me quick update on the inhabitants of the ponds. There is now a badger sett, also foxes come and go, plus I have seen fleeting glimpses of muntjacs also know as barking deer, not to mention numerous sightings of insects including bees loving the numerous flowers, butterflies, dragonflies as well as and bird life and the odd local cat trying his luck.

Clearing overgrown vegetation from the roadside.

The Radley Road.

Lucy, Graham and Dan replace some fence posts.

Break time on the mound.

A partially repaired fence.

Himalayan Balsam in flower. (photo by Sally)

Lesley in amongst the reeds (photo by Sally).

Hemp agrimony (photo by Sally).

Hemp agrimony and other wildflowers (photo by Sally).


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