Task Programme

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These are our forthcoming events. Details of pick up times and locations are on our FAQ and we send out an email during the week before each task on our Mailing List. For any other questions please contact

Sunday 23 Sep 2018Site MaintenanceStansfeld Park, Oxford
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Stansfeld Park in Headington Quarry, Oxford is set within 18 acres of woodland with ponds, marshland and meadows. The undulating landscape results from quarrying for limestone in the area that was used to build many of Oxford's colleges, churches and civic buildings. When quarrying ended, a variety of habitats formed, including limestone grassland, ash and hazel woodland, dense hawthorn scrub, ponds and wetland. We'll be working for the Oxford Trust who have taken on the job of rejuvenating the site partly as a local amenity and partly an educational resource, and at this time of year it's likely that we'll be mowing the grassland and meadow areas, working on the paths, and doing some scrub bashing. For more on the exciting prospects for Stansfeld Park under the management of The Oxford Trust see their website: http://theoxfordtrust.co.uk/stansfeld-education-centre/.
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Chris Skepper

Wednesday 26 Sep 2018OCV's September Social: Wild Oxford 5 Years OnOxford Museum of Natural History
For this month's social, we're heading along for a talk on the Wild Oxford Project run by BBOWT (Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust). Starting at 18:30 at the Museum of Natural History in central Oxford, Dr. Judy Webb and BBOWT Project staff will talk about the project's achievements over the last five years, as well as what to expect from the future of the project. Come along to “discover how the city’s hidden gems and the surprisingly rare wildlife that inhabit them are flourishing”. It'll be a great opportunity to find out about some of the parks and nature reserves in and around Oxford, and the work that goes on there. The event is free and open to all. Reserve your place here. After the talk, we'll walk over to the Lamb & Flag for a drink. If you don't fancy the talk, then you're more than welcome to just join us there for a drink instead (shortly after 20:30). As always, you don't have to be a regular volunteer to come - everyone is welcome. It's a great way to find out more about conservation in and around Oxford, and see if getting involved might be for you. Hope to see you there! socials@ocv.org.uk
Contact: Jamie

Sunday 30 Sep 2018Hedge LayingRectory Farm Fields, Kidlington
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Our last scheduled task at Rectory Farm Fields back in March was cancelled due to snow. So the plan today is to pick up work on the hedge-line where we left off at the very end of 2017. We'll look to lay, stake and bind some more sections of hedge. It's likely that we'll be doing more hedge-laying than usual this winter, so this is a good chance to get your eye (and arm) in early on. If you've never done this before come along and give it a go, it's one of the most enjoyable and satisfying things we do.
Leader: Jenny HillDriver: Chris Skepper

Tuesday 2 Oct 2018Committee Meeting 8pmTown Hall
The committee meets once a month in the Oxford Town Hall to make sure that the group operates smoothly.This month we're in the Jury Room - if you'd like to come along and see how we run things and perhaps get more involved, please feel free to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in the Royal Blenheim pub from about 9pm.
Contact: Jenny

Sunday 7 Oct 2018Watercourse DredgingAston's Eyot, Oxford
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This large 30 acre site is an 'island' bordered by the Thames, Cherwell New Cut and Shire Lake Ditch, just downstream from Christ Church Meadow. The land is owned by Christ Church College and is managed by an enthusiastic Friends group with some help from the Oxford City Council. This time last year we dredged the southern end of the Shire Lake Ditch at the point where it meets the Thames, which, come June, was full of fish fry. The plan for today is to work with the Friends either to dredge further back up the ditch; or to dredge the area round Jackdaw Lane Bridge, which will also involve cutting back overhanging vegetation to let in more light. It's likely to be mucky, smelly, and wet so bring wellingtons. If the water levels turn out to be too high, then we'll pollard and coppice nearby willows.
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Sunday 14 Oct 2018Fen Raking ILye Valley, Oxford
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Today is the first of two days work in Lye Valley, Headington. The early autumn cut of the both fens in the valley, the north fen and the south fen, is the major cut of the year. Rangers form Oxford City Council will do most of the cutting with an Allen scythe and we'll do the clearing, with help from the Friends of Lye Valley. What the Council can't cut with their machinery we'll tackle with scythes. Ecologist and Lye Valley expert Judy Webb will be with us too. (See a selection of her photographs taken on site in the photo gallery.) At the time of writing we'll be working on the south fen today (that's the fen with no public access, by the golf course) but check the weekly email for confirmation. Make sure you're on the OCV mailing list! Wellies recommended.
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Sunday 21 Oct 2018Fen-Raking IILye Valley, Oxford
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Day two in Lye Valley. Whichever fen we raked last Sunday, today we'll rake the other one! At the time of writing that should be the larger north fen. Check the general task email that will be circulated sometime in the preceding week. There's also a chance we'll be cutting back and pollarding encroaching willow. OCV have been involved with the Lye Valley Nature Reserve for many years, and we're now involved as part of the BBOWT Wild Oxford Project (see bbowt.org.uk for details). Even though it's a small acreage, it's an important, long-standing, and relatively rare, urban habitat. As last week, you'll need wellies even if there's been no rain.
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Sunday 28 Oct 2018Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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The beech woodland of the Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve always looks magnificent from late October to the onset of winter. This month's visit will most likely see us working in the woods themselves or on the more open slopes of the escarpment cutting back invasive scrub and undergrowth. As usual, we'll be working with one of the Reserve's wardens, and, again as usual, the details will be announced in the weekly OCV email. We're always looking for volunteers who might lead tasks, indeed without leaders we couldn't keep going. If you're interested contact Phil Hunter via tasks@ocv.org.uk . 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. Note that British Summer Time ended last night!
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Sunday 4 Nov 2018Devil's-bit Scabious PlantingBeckley Park, Otmoor
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An unusual site for OCV, and an unusual task. The aim is to plant several hundred Devil's-bit Scabious plants specially grown from seed collected last summer from the MOD Otmoor rifle range by Alison Muldal (see the thumbnail photo on the right). Alison is the Lead Advisor for Natural England's Oxon and Bucks Land Management Team and wants to establish a specific habitat for the rare Marsh Fritillary butterfly (see butterfly-conservation.org). The main food plant of the Marsh Fritillary caterpillar is - Devil's-bit Scabious. We'll be working in a field just to the east of the rifle range. The best habitat consists of several discrete areas of scabious and today's work will add another component part to the overall pattern of flora in the local area. The project is a collaboarative effort involving the Butterfly Conservation volunteers, Bridewell Organic Gardens, the private landowner, and Natural England.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Volunteer to drive

Sunday 11 Nov 2018Scrub ControlBurgess Field Nature Park, North Oxford
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Our second visit of the year to Burgess Field, a large reserve in North Oxford that borders Port Meadow. Last July we took out an extensive length of post and wire fence, today we'll begin to take out as much of the invasive scrub towards the northern end of the site as we can. The initial aim will be to restrict the spread of the scrub into the grassland areas, then tackle distinct blocks of the more established hawthorn, dogwood, and bramble. There'll be a bonfire. If there are enough of us we'll also have a detachment working on the remaining section of redundant fence-line.
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Sunday 18 Nov 2018Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Another of our regular monthly visits to Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve, managed by Natural England and situated on the western edge of the Chilterns with extensive views across the Oxfordshire plain. The Reserve supports juniper, an extensive variety of wild flowers native to unimproved chalk grassland, together with sheep, woodland, and an abundance of red kites. Exactly what we do today, and where, will be announced in the weekly email so make sure you're on the general email list for the details. We're always looking for volunteers who might lead tasks, indeed without leaders we couldn't keep going, and we're short of volunteers prepared to lead at the moment. So if you're interested contact Phil Hunter via tasks@ocv.org.uk . Any of our current leaders will be happy to help you get started by doubling up on a task to show you the ropes.
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Sunday 25 Nov 2018CoppicingPissen Wood, Oxfordshire
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We were last here in the winter of 2016 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 remove those cages, do some more coppicing, and reinstall the protective covers. The cages have worked well - the rejuvenated stools have survived the attentions of both muntjac and roe dear. We'll also aim to harvest stakes and binders for use in hedge-laying tasks later in the winter.
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Sunday 2 Dec 2018Woodland ManagementMatthew Arnold Field, Oxford
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Matthew Arnold Field in Boars Hill is a mixed woodland and grassland site, named after the poet, cultural critic and influential schools' inspector Matthew Arnold, and owned and managed by the Oxford Preservation Trust. At the beginning of the year we began work to actively manage the woodland areas - hauling out large boughs, cutting down brash, creating log-pile habitats, and restoring paths. Today we'll carry on with work to open up the woods to more light, and to re-establish the wetland habitat. Note that we'll be working in and near the woodland ponds, so bring wellingtons!
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Sunday 9 Dec 2018Hedge LayingRectory Farm Fields, Kidlington
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The plan today is to crack on with the hedge-laying at Rectory Farm Fields, in Old Kidlington. We were last here at the end of September and we'll look to lay, stake, and bind some more sections of hedge. There will be significant amounts of top-growth to take out so it's likely that there'll also be a bonfire. A good day's work today should bring the end of this particular hedge-laying project in sight.
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Sunday 16 Dec 2018Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our final visit of the year to a favourite site on the cusp of the Chilterns managed by Natural England. It's more likely than not that we'll be working either in the woods or on the grassland slopes. Exact details of the day's work will be posted in the weekly email, so make sure you're on the OCV mailing list! Once again, we're always looking for volunteers who might lead tasks, indeed without leaders we couldn't keep going, so if you're interested contact Phil Hunter via tasks@ocv.org.uk . An Aston Rowant task is a great way to start. You'll be under the guidance of one of the reserve's wardens - Mick or Stephanie. Any of our current leaders will be happy to help you get started by doubling up on a task to show you the ropes.
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Sunday 23 Dec 2018Christmas Break
No task today - Merry Christmas!
 

Sunday 30 Dec 2018Scrub ControlCrecy Hill LWS, Tackley, Oxfordshire
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Our final task of 2018, and a great way to blow away the Christmas fug. Created in 1997, 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 for both local people and the cattle that will be put to graze over the winter.
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive