Ock Valley Walk, Town End, 10th August 2019

Nine of us came along to what turned out to be quite a hair-raising session along the Ock River path today, led by Kevin. The rain held off, but the winds were high! We met in the car park and gathered our tools and hard hats and made our way to our base in the usual spot. As we walked we could see the pathway and river itself strewn with branches brought down by the winds.

Once we’d set up base, Kevin gave us our tasks which were mainly to cut back over grown foliage around the trees we’ve planted, cut back any branches overhanging the path and the inevitable litter picking.

We set to work. It was noisy with the wind causing trees to sway in an alarming manner. About 20 minutes into the session, Joanna was walking along the path when she heard an enormous creaking behind her and a crack willow came crashing down across the pathway. ‘I guess that’s why they’re called crack willows,’ said a passerby sardonically. A jogger stood flummoxed for a moment before deciding to pick his way through the fallen tree.

We carried on with our work. Various climbing plants were found to be efficient at scaling tall nettles with their tendrils catching the branches of our flourishing trees and dragging their branches down so it was good to cut these back and release the trees from their grip.

By break time we’d cleared round the trees and our cups of tea, coffee and biscuits were welcome. Thankfully where we made our base the trees didn’t seem so dangerous. We finalised the list of what everyone is to bring to the summer picnic next weekend and with the work complete we decided to finish early, but not before Kevin had propped up one of our rowan trees that was groaning not from the wind, but under the weight of its crop of berries.

Assessing the weather.

Arrival at base.

Climbers strangling the trees we’ve planted - so we cut back the growth around the trees.
The crack willow that came down across the path.

A hapless jogger picks his way through.

The sign.

Blackberries in various stages of ripening.

Kevin starts on the fallen tree.

Tea break.

The rowan tree groaning under the weight of its crop of berries.
Kevin props up the rowan.

The propped-up rowan (photo by Petra).
Kevin wading in to retrieve fallen branches from the River Ock (photo by Petra).


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