Thursday, December 31, 2020

Cancellation of Sessions

Due to the ongoing Covid 19 situation and the current Tier 4 restrictions in Oxfordshire, it is with regret that we have made the decision to cancel all our forthcoming sessions until further notice.

Stay safe and we hope to see everyone again as soon as circumstances permit.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Dry Sandford Pit, 12th December 2020

There was a depleted team this Saturday owing to the limited amount of volunteers permitted to work on the BBOWT site at Dry Sandford Pit.

So rather than waste the enthusiasm on turning down our devoted members, one of our leaders Eleanor kindly volunteered to take and surplus to Abingdon Southern town park and do some tidying up.

This resulted in seven of us going to dry Sandford. The weather was fine but chilly which is always a good excuse to work up a sweat before refreshment break.

The task was basically to continue with the same job we were doing last time; to clear the area of scrub and brambles below the sand bank, containing the cliff face which exposing the strata layer of marine fossils. The area was once a sea bed, millions of years ago.

What we lost in numbers, we made up with two scythers, Adrian and Sally - who cut a swath through the scrub, whilst the other five - Graham, Colin, Lesley and myself followed up with cutting down larger bushes and shrubs too big for the scythes. Meanwhile Margaret opted for going up closer to the cliff face and clearing the loose soil that had fallen and covered the strata.

Good progress was make, although the roots of the shrubs were a challenge although the use of a root/tree popper (large metal leaver with a clamp at one end to secure round the stem which tightens when you pull on the leaver made it easier.

Refreshment time involved chatting (from a distance) putting the world to rights and enjoying the sun and the view looking out over the fen area. Then it was back for the final effort stopping occasionally to chat to inquisitive walkers with children and dogs about the large holes on the cliff face, possibly made by rabbits? Or perhaps Sand Martins nesting in the spring, with the very small ones made solitary Mason Bees.

This was the last session of this year. We begin again on the 2nd of Jan 2021.

Best Wishes to all


Photos by Margaret:

Monday, December 7, 2020

Cothill Fen, 5th December 2020

We were quite a small group for this session, compared to the previous two Saturdays.

We met in the car park and walked along to the site. It was a beautiful day, though cold, with blue sky and sunshine for once. We were working under the direction of Steph and her assistant, Holly, from Natural England.

We split into two groups as there were two main tasks - to transport the reeds cut by the Friday volunteer group to the causeway across the water, to be spread along it, making it stronger and safer to walk on and to do some coppicing in the woods.

We cleared the nearest heaps of reeds quite quickly, then had to move on to the heaps in the fen itself. These were trickier to get to as it was hard to see the depth and we were in danger of getting a wellyful of water but we made it and soon got into a rhythm, with Graham and me bag filling, new member Colin dragging the bags and Kevin spreading them along the causeway.

Meanwhile the sawing and lopping was going on in the woods and the hard work soon warmed everybody up.

Then it was time to stop for a tea break.

Back to work, we were able to cross to the other side of the fen to deal with the heaps of grass and reeds there, while Adrian continued to scythe away, just to make sure we would never run out of work!

At 12.30 we were able to walk back to our encampment along the causeway, thus proving its robustness. We were pleased with our mornings work and it had been great to see the fen on such a lovely day.


Photos by Kevin (except last photo by Sally):