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Showing posts from 2022

Elizabeth Dayrush Memorial Garden, Saturday 24th of September 2022

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The Abingdon Green Gymmers had a pleasantly chilly start to their session at the Elizabeth Dayrush Memorial Garden, and whilst it is not frost-and-flask weather just yet, it was definitely cool enough for many of us to don our toasty warm green gym fleeces! We met on boars hill by the side gate to the Garden, and awaited the (quite large!) gathering that was due for the morning whilst admiring the hips and haws that were making the place feel all autumnal.  We had three main tasks to tackle, all of which were ably explained by Sally, our Session Leader for the day: 1. Scythe the reeds and longer grasses around the pond to allow better access 2. Remove as much of the Crassula helmsii from the pond as possible 3. Clear the lower branches, brambles, and nettles away from the footpaths, an disperse the cuttings on the dead hedges and nature piles around the site  Now firstly, a note about Crassula helmsii! This type of Crassula originates from Australia and New Zealand, where it grows in m

Hinksey Heights Nature Trail, Saturday 17th September 2022

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This week's blog post was written by Abingdon Green Gym chair, Eleanor D!:  Eleven of us gathered in the Golf Club car park ready to work on the Nature Trail. We were met by the owner, John Brimble, who outlined the tasks to us, that was, to scythe around the young trees and to dig roundels for the new trees, which would be planted shortly. We set off with two wheelbarrows, one of them very heavily laden with tools, on the long trek to the work site. Fortunately we had a strong young volunteer, D of E Max to pull this barrow. The only hitch came when we reached the raised boardwalk and some of the tools slid off.  At last we reached the site by the Lower Lake. The scythers set to work, clearing around the trees and  the others raked up the grass and piled it up under some bushes.  The morning, which had started off quite chilly, grew warm and sunny and many layers of clothing were discarded.  We were grateful for the two picnic tables and benches when it was time for the break.  Jo

Abingdon Green Gym x Abingdon Naturalists Society, Barton Fields, Saturday 10th of September 2022

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This week's blog post was written by Abingdon Green Gym Chair, Eleanor!:  This session saw Green Gymmers at Barton Fields helping the Abingdon Naturalists Green Team with the annual hay raking.  The wild flower meadow had been cut by machine on Wednesday and members of the Green Team had been busy on Thursday and Friday raking the vegetation and transporting it to the heaps on the edge of the meadow. The weather had been quite wet on Wednesday and Thursday so the cut grass was quite heavy. However, it had dried out a bit by Saturday when Green Gym arrived to finish the job, under the direction of Green Team leader, David Guyoncourt. Wild flowers flourish on poor soil, so it is important to rake the vegetation off as quickly as possible after cutting so the nutrients don’t leach back into the soil.  There was still a lot to do. Some people raked the grass into piles while others transported it to the heaps at the edge, either with pitchforks or drag bags and sheets. Everybody worked

Abbey Fish Ponds, Saturday 3rd of September, 2022

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This week's blog post was written by the marvellous Max!: This week we were back again locally at Abbey Fishponds, splitting our numbers as one group continued last week's work while another were trained thoroughly in the art of scything by Nicole Clough from Joy of Scything. Despite reduced numbers, the former group still got to work hastily around the same spot as last week, lopping new willow growth, raking up debris and chopping overgrown bushes and trees that narrowed the trails running through the site. Along with these tasks a great effort was put in by a few of the Green Gym volunteers with the felling of a large willow branch. While one group laboured hard it was found at break time that the other had been quietly sitting, listening to the experienced words of Nicole. Of course this would not last all day as later their newly acquired knowledge would be put to the test in practice as they would learn all about the movement and technique needed to scythe before getting

Abbey Fish Ponds, Saturday 28th of August 2022

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 This week's blog post was written by the cavalier Kevin!:  Abbey Fish Ponds is one of the GG's local sites, which makes it easy for volunteers to to attend by foot or bike. The nature reserve has three springs rising within its boundary, making it a small oasis for foxes, muntjac deer and the odd water vole (as well as Abingdon Green Gym volunteers). Ponds have been dug to encourage a further mix of animals, although we have since blocked some of them off to spread the flow of spring water over a bigger area, which will help improve the diversity of plants and creatures. We have been working on and off here for many years doing reed scything/raking, ditch clearing, Himalaya balsam plucking and scrub and tree growth lopping. It was the latter that we set to work clearing the summers growth and more, from the paths that are frequently used by the local residence for dog walking etc. Adrian had a clear picture of what was needed having done a recce with the Earth Trust site manag

Southern Town Park, Saturday 21st of August 2022

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This week's blog post was written by blogger of brilliance, Eleanor D.!:  There was a change of venue for this session. It was on the programme as Barton Fields hay raking but the meadow had not yet been cut. However, there was work to be done on the wild flower patch in South Town Park, so we went there instead. At the end of a very dry Summer the wild flower patch needed to be cut down and raked. There was also, as usual in this area, plenty of litter to clear. Sally set to work with her scythe and soon there  was plenty of dry vegetation  to be raked up. Some people cut back encroaching brambles while others uprooted nettles with mini mattocks and garden forks.  There was a nasty surprise for the litter picking volunteers as the picnic area where we made our base camp was strewn with little metal nitrous oxide ampoules and some larger canisters of this gas. This picnic table is a popular partying place for such activities but these nitrous oxide containers are used in catering f

Boundary House Fen, Saturday 13th of August 2022

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This week's blog post was written by outstanding authors Helen and Henry!:  Nine Green Gymmers braved the heat on Saturday for a session at Boundary House Fen. We were met by Rod who showed us our tasks for the morning: raking up material that had already been scythed, continuing the scything work and lopping/sawing some brambles and logs.   Sally, Barbara and Jim set about scything, whilst the rest of the team got to work clearing the ground and making compact and tight heaps with the cut material. This was mostly grasses and rushes but a small patch of sneaky Himalayan Balsam was spotted and quickly dispatched to prevent it spreading in the fen.   At breaktime we took shelter under a tree not only for some much-needed hydration but also to enjoy some delicious chocolate cake kindly provided by Sally for Eleanor’s birthday. Rested up, we continued with our earlier tasks, thankful for a bit of dappled shade provided by the trees in the area where we worked. With the heaps full and