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The weather was sunny and warm for our session at Nuffield Place, so we were glad of the shade in the beech wood for heavy work cutting down holly. We made large inroads into a central patch, hauling the arisings some distance to the bonfire site for future burning, and look forward to finishing that section at next week’s visit.
Our visit to Nettlebed Common in June saw us pulling bracken and brambles out of a section of shallow ponds to help preserve its rich variety of sedges, grasses and moss. The weather was appropriately damp for this acid wetland habitat, which is very rare in Oxfordshire, but we were fortified at coffee break with iced banana cake.
Another sunny morning at the water-cress beds! As so often is the case we were pulling out large quantities of the rampantly growing water-cress to re-instate a channel to allow the stream to flow more freely. A result was very quickly seen as the water moves to the easiest route.
A lovely morning in a beautiful location – I think we were all very happy to spend our Saturday morning splashing about in the water!
Fantastic sunny morning at Aston Rowant on Bald Hill, which wasn’t bald but covered in brambles. Our task was to slash them down and carry the material on hay forks to be stowed at the field edge. Two of us also cut back the branches of a birch tree that had fallen onto the access track, before coffee break with cake and buns.
Our clearance in 2013 of thickly-growing young conifers around the ponds in Grey Hone Wood is paying off, with ferns and foxgloves enjoying the new light on the grassy bank. There was plenty more conifer regrowth at the edge of the plantation for us to tackle at our session at the end of May, fortified by bread pudding at the coffee break.
Joyce Grove – Sue Ryder
Today’s task at the northern perimeter of Joyce Grove was to pollard sycamore and prunus trees, which were growing over the access path and through the fence into the primary school grounds. We completed the task, clearing the brash to a stack further down the path, and then pruned back the laurel bushes encroaching the other side of the path. Yummy chocolate cake at coffee time.
Unusually for a session at Ewelme we weren’t splashing about in the river but were in the meadow area. Our task was to dig a hole for a rigid pond liner which was to replace a previous unsuccessful pond. The ground was thick, sticky clay which stuck to our tools and boots.
Once settled the pond will provide some still water which, it is hoped, will be used by the local dragonflies for laying their eggs and so will result in an increase in their population.
Green Gym at work on 30 April, levelling and surfacing path to playtrail.
Today’s session at Withymead saw us splitting into two groups. One group worked hard re-surfacing the path to Richard’s wishing well with gravel. The other group reinforced the structure of the tepee and at the end we all worked together to place a large green tarpaulin around the framework. When finished the tepee will be used by children from the Forest School and from the Nature Club.
Withymead was looking beautiful with thousands of loddon lilies in full bloom.
Rose bay willow herb had rooted itself in the stream near the Prince Albert pub, so our April task was to clear out the stream bed and remove the dead stalks along its banks. The large willow by the stream was pollarded with the help of the pole saw. By the end of the session the water was running free and the banks were cleared so the irises could be visible when they come into flower.