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Our first visit of the year to this National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns which commands extensive views across the Oxford plain. Tasks at this time of year usually involve coppicing woodland, or tackling the hawthorn, bramble and scrub that encroach on the chalk grassland slopes.
Make sure you’re on the OCV mailing list for detailed information nearer the day. We’re always looking for volunteers who might lead tasks, indeed without leaders we can’t keep going, and we’re significantly short of volunteers prepared to lead and drive at the moment. If we can’t find more leaders and drivers over the next couple of months it’s likely that we’ll have to start cancelling tasks, which would be a great shame given that we have more requests for work than we have Sundays in the year. So if you can help out have a chat with a task leader or driver, or contact Phil Hunter via firstname.lastname@example.org . At Aston Rowant we always work under the guidance of one of the Reserve wardens, so today would be a great opportunity to try it out.
The Trap Grounds is a small pocket of the countryside in the middle of urban north Oxford hard by the canal. It’s managed by an enthusiastic volunteer group (The Friends of The Trap Grounds) and includes a range of habitats: woodland, ponds, reed-beds, and areas of meadow and marsh. For more info see the Friends’ website http://trap-grounds.org.uk.
We’ll be helping out with some winter maintenance work, so make sure you’re on the OCV mailing list for the leader’s task email which will give all the details.
We were last here in this small private woodland in the Chilterns in the winter of 2018 to coppice hazel and install wire cages around the stools to protect the re-growth from being grazed by deer.
Today we’ll return to check on progress and do some more coppicing. If you came on our residential coppicing course at Westonbirt last November you’ll be more than welcome today.
This small, popular and well used urban reserve in West Oxford incorporates a number of distinct habitats: stream, pond and reed-bed, stands of willow and hazel, a meadow, and a community orchard.
On Sunday February 8th 2015 we laid the hedge on this Reserve which separates the meadow from the orchard. Now, five years to the day, we’ll be back to do some secondary laying. The hedge is in fine shape, and it’ll be interesting to see how many volunteers that worked on the hedge back in 2015 make it back for today’s task. Volunteers come and go, but hedges, if left to themselves, stay put! There’ll also be some work to do on the willows that surround the pond.
This week we make our February visit to one of our favourite sites in the Chiltern Hills. A land-mark for travellers on the M40 and well-known for its red kites, this National Nature Reserve is owned and managed by Natural England.
We’ll be helping the wardens who manage the Reserve on whatever winter jobs they have in hand, usually ongoing work to maintain or restore the grassland habitat. The details as to what and where will be described in the weekly email, so now’s a good time to check you’re on our mailing list. We’re always looking for volunteers to lead tasks and to drive the minibus so if you can help out, then this would be a good one to start with. Please contact Phil at email@example.com.
Our first visit of the year to Burgess Field, a large reserve in North Oxford that borders Port Meadow. The plan for today is to work on the Eastern edge of the site.
We’ll clear one or two discrete areas of scrub and then replant saplings to create pockets of new woodland. The long-term plan is to develop a series of these pockets along the length of the boundary with the railway to rejuvenate the barrier of woodland and to compensate for the expected future loss of the ash trees hereabouts.
Crecy Hill Local Nature Reserve is a County Wildlife Site and Local Nature Reserve in Tackley, ten miles north of Oxford. The reserve is sited on the slope of a railway embankment with views across the open, rolling countryside opposite.
We’ll spend the day cutting back and burning extensive scrub to open up the paths and restore access to the site. The scrub is thick and thorny hereabouts and as the site will have been grazed by cattle over the winter it may be very muddy underfoot. If it’s been wet, wellies could be useful.
Our recorders’ conferences offers a chance for the biological recording community to come together and share updates and information on what they are doing. Anyone who is interested in wildlife recording and conservation is welcome to attend.
£5 for students (proof of student status required)
£10 individual or volunteer recorders
£18 corporate/professionals (employer is paying your attendance)
This includes lunch and refreshments. Advance booking is required and the final date for bookings or refunds is Friday 29th February.
Another scrub bashing task (by the time we get to the end of March you’ll be a dab hand at this sort of thing) but today’s task is in a special location – a privately owned chalk grassland bank in a secluded part of the Chilterns, designated as an SSSI. We’ve worked here in the past but not for a while. Recently, the landowner has made significant improvements and developed a long-term management plan that includes cattle grazing.
We’ve been asked to help out with the labour-intensive work of removing the extensive regrowth of hawthorn and dogwood when still in its initial stages. It will be a completely different experience from last week’s scrub bashing at Crecy Hill. And, come to think of it, completely different from next week’s too!