Showing posts from June, 2021

Dry Sandford Pit, 26th June 2021

This was our first proper Himalayan Balsam pulling session of the year! While our previous work at Dry Sandford Pit has largely been concerned with clearing vegetation from the cliff faces, today was devoted almost entirely to helping eradicate this notoriously prolific non-native plant. Adrian led the session and showed us the area to be cleared - a rather vast tract beside the stream. Wellie boots were the order of the day since the area was boggy and required most of us to cross the water to get to the areas with the highest density of balsam.  Many of the plants were already of a fairly significant size, which made the operation fairly straightforward, aside from the hazard presented by the aforementioned damp ground. It was just a matter of clearing as much of the area as possible, while trying not to get stung by nettles or bitten by insects. The fifteen of us in attendance made an impressive dent in the overall coverage, but there is certainly plenty more of the balsam left to c

Thrupp Lake, 19th June 2021

This session was held just a couple of days before Midsummer Day, but the weather was far from summery. It was a gloomy start at Thrupp Lake at Radley - a new site for us and another location managed by the Earth Trust. We parked up in the lane beside the lake and waited for warden Tim (and apprentice, Beth) to arrive and unlock the gates to our assembly point beside the now-demolished 'Sandles' building. Tim gave his opening speech to the fifteen or so Green Gymmers gathered and outlined the tasks to be getting on with. There were a few to choose from. These included repairing a section of path that was prone to flooding, replacing a section of damaged perimeter fence, pulling of Himalayan Balsam and the lopping back of stray branches from the main path. We divided up and got stuck in. The fence repair team were led by Beth and set off with some new fence posts - with new holes to be dug before setting them in place. Tim was in charge of the path repair and instructed us to in

Boundary House Fen, 12th June 2021

Another bright sunny Saturday - perfect for a green gym session! We met at the golf club, eighteen-strong. Here we were 'checked-in' by an official with a tablet outside the club house and then directed to a spot on the grass at the far end of the car park. Once fully assembled, we headed off to the ground keeper's compound just along the road. Unfortunately the gate was padlocked and the code that had been given didn't appear to work. Adrian and Alison were the first on the scene and Alison made a phone call in order to retrieve the correct code and we were on our way. A quick opening address by Andrew later and we gathered our tools and headed across the fairways to our work site at Boundary House Fen. Here we were met by site warden (for want of a better term!) Rod d'Ayala and also volunteer Eleanor B, who lives locally and was able to walk to site. There was no easy path across the fen, with the reeds having grown up considerably since our last visit. Rod outlin

Cothill Fen, 5th June 2021

It was another bright, sunny and warm Saturday as we gathered at Cothill Fen. Adrian was today's leader, working under the direction of Steph from Natural England - also present. A pair of tasks were on offer for the morning. The first of these was to rake up some cut reeds from the edge of the fen and to pitchfork them onto the causeway areas, whilst trying not to get too wet. The second job was to pull up cleavers - a herb which grows rather rampantly nearby, smothering the bluebells and other wild flowers in the woodland area. It is known by many names beside cleavers - goose grass and sticky willy to name but two. We split into teams and set to it. Many hands certainly made light work. The raking detail was completed in the first half, just before break. The rakers then went off to assist the pulling team after the intermission. There was no shortage of work to be done there! Carolyn had once again baked some muffins to share for our mid-morning pause. The occasion was Kevin