Ock River Path, Saturday 20th November, 2021

 This Saturday, Abingdon Green Gym were working in the town itself on the Ock River Path. This location is a stones-throw from where some of our volunteers live, and I always admire their refusal to amble down dressed in their pyjamas with a cup of coffee in hand. Sally was our leader today, and we all met with her at the 'town end' (as opposed to the 'tesco end') of the path. There, we picked up our plethora of tools and trundled down to our 'camp site', that is, the place where we put the tarpaulin down and make a tool-pile. We were also lucky to have a couple of new faces join us this week, and some very welcome not-so-new faces who we had not seen in a while. 

Sally explained to us the tasks which needed to be done on the site, as directed by Tim From The Council. These were as follows: 

1) Litter-picking 

2) Sapling protection (whacking or cutting down the nettles which threatened to block out light from our little baby trees)

3) Tree popping (removing saplings that were over-represented along the path, to allow space for others to thrive)

4) Path clearing (sawing down trees or branches which encroached on the path and threatened to trip walkers or knock cyclists off - comedy style, presumably - but avoiding any branches which were bearing berries, as they're an important food source at the moment)

5) Ivy removal from the bridge half-way down the path

Everyone then set off to tackle the task they thought looked most promising for them. Ian and Phillip were our champion litter-pickers for the day: they managed to collect three large binbags full of bottles and cans! Kevin and Mags were hard at work sawing down trees and tree limbs, and various helpers then dragged the spoils on to the various nature piles on the site, which provide homes for the birds, insects, and animals who call the path home. Others did an excellent job whacking a metre-wide skirt around the saplings to allow them space, and cutting the nettles back from the paths. Team Ivy-picking also did sterling work removing all of the ivy from the bridge, from the tiny tendrils to the stubborn trunk! At lunch time we were joined by long-time member Barry, who also did some scything with Sally to help keep the paths clear. By the end of the session everyone had had their fill out labouring outside, and were ready to head back home for a cup of tea (and, in my case, a vegetarian cooked breakfast). Until next week! 

A sapling free of nettle danger

Spread down the path

Glowing autumnal colours

High Vis means Biz(ness)

Tree popping in action

Fantastic Fungi

Kevin surveys his destruction

Ivy removal team

Just one of the bags of litter (Ian for scale!)


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