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 2 Apr 2017Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our April visit to this important National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns. It's a site that includes important chalk grassland grazed by flocks of sheep. We're always looking for new task leaders (OCV depends on some volunteers being willing to lead) and an Aston Rowant task is a great opportunity to try it out under the supervision of one of the Natural England wardens, either Mick or Kate, who manage the site. Contact Phil at tasks@ocv.org.uk for more details. At this time of year we might be looking after the sheep themselves, improving conditions for the flora and fauna special to the site, or maintaining good public access along the various paths. Full details will be in the weekly email as usual.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Volunteer to drive

Tuesday 4 Apr 2017Committee Meeting 8-9pmTown 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: Ed

Sunday 9 Apr 2017Woodland MaintenanceCumnor Hurst Community Woodland
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Back in 2011 we helped establish this 17 acre community woodland by planting a range of native trees. Six years later we've been asked back to help out with some maintenance.The site is adjacent to the Hurst Hill Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Most of the woodland is now planted, but there's a need to fill-in and re-stock some areas. We'll be working alongside local residents to knock back the weedy undergrowth and then mulch with biochar to give the more recently planted saplings the best chance to thrive. By the way, on that February day in 2011 we also put up a shed - it's still looking good!
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Sunday 16 Apr 2017Dry Stone WallingRectory Farm Fields, Kidlington
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Rectory Farm Fields is an extensive area of open ground just to the east of Church Street, Kidlington. We'll be working for a private client who wants to manage the land for its natural flora and fauna. BBOWT and the RSPB have made encouraging reports on the site's present and future significance for local wild life. The long term plan is to restore what were once extensive hedge and wall lines. Dry stone walls can make for a good home for a range of wildlife, providing shelter for invertebrates, small mammals and lizards. If you've never done this before this is a great opportunity to have a go at a traditional countryside craft. As usual no experience is necessary and it's one of the few conservation activities we do that doesn't really need any tools. Come along and see if you've got the knack!
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Alison Hopkin

Sunday 23 Apr 2017Reed Cutting & RakingSimon's Land, Sandford on Thames, Oxford
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This secluded half acre of gently sloping reed-bed leads down to the Thames to the north of Sandford. The river bank was once the mooring site of the former Magdalen College Barge. In March 2007 the land was donated to the Oxford Preservation Trust by Mr and Mrs Simons of Boars Hill. Last summer we mowed and raked the site to enhance the potential for native flora. As last year we'll be using our Austrian scythes. Today's task will be the first of two cuts this summer in line with a management plan to keep on top of the re-growth. It's likely to be wet underfoot so bring wellies!
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Volunteer to drive

Saturday 29 Apr 2017Boardwalk Construction & Site Maintenance IStansfeld Park, Oxford
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Today sees one of our occasional Saturday tasks, the first of two consecutive days work at Stansfeld Park. 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/. There's plenty to do, and we'll focus on two main tasks: the first is to dismantle and replace a decayed 6 meter stretch of rotten boardwalk in the woods at the northern end of the site; the second is to begin removing extensive areas of invasive couch grass.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Alison Hopkin

Sunday 30 Apr 2017Boardwalk Construction & Site Maintenance IIStansfeld Park, Oxford
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What precisely we tackle today (Sunday) will depend on how we got on yesterday. There may be more work to be done on the boardwalk as there's a freestanding handrail to add on either side of it. In any case, there's more than enough couch grass in the woods and meadow areas to keep us busy. Another proposal is that we reclaim as much as we can of the materials that were used in the old adventure/activity area of the site (decking, railway sleepers, posts and poles) for reuse in the future. As ever, look out for details nearer the day posted via the OCV email list.
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Sunday 7 May 2017Pond Work & Reserve MaintenanceMilham Ford Nature Park
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Milham Ford Nature Park stream and ponds were created in 2008-2009 in an area that had previously been 8 tarmac tennis courts for use of the previous Milham Ford School. A stream which had been piped underground across the playing field was brought to the surface, meandered, and now feeds a complex of 4 interlinked ponds. We'll be in the ponds, working on the damn that separates two of them, and removing invasive plant growth to re-establish areas of open water beloved by dragonflies. There will also be work to be done on the banks and the pond surrounds if you'd rather not wade in.
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Sunday 14 May 2017Dry Stone WallingRectory Farm Fields, Kidlington
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Today we'll crack on with the restoration of the dry stone walls that divide the site into discrete pastures and that provide an excellent habitat for a range of wildlife. That's in addition to the officially resident animal life: horses, and, last year, a couple of very inquisitive piglets. We'll be doing a short introduction to walling at the start of the day, so no experience is necessary. It's the kind of work that you learn by doing. But there is a kind of knack to it, so if you've done it before we will certainly need you!
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Sunday 21 May 2017Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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We're back to one of our favourite sites this week. We'll be helping the Reserve warden maintain the nationally important calcareous grassland habitat. At this time of year we might actually begin to see some of the rare plants that our work helps to protect. We could be helping out with fence and gate repairs, looking after one of the flocks of sheep, or doing whatever other maintenance jobs are required on the site. As usual everyone will be welcome and full details of the project and the meeting place will be given in the weekly email. If you've ever thought about getting more involved as an OCV task leader then this would be a great one to start with. Contact Phil Hunter tasks@ocv.org.uk for more info.
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Sunday 28 May 2017Access Construction WorkHeyford Meadow Nature Reserve
A new site for OCV. The meadow is hard by the Thames just North of Sandford and was bequeathed to the Oxford Preservation Trust in 2006. OPT has managed the site since with spectacular results. It's now a mixed habitat with meadow, wetland, ponds, and woodland. We've been tasked to improve the access at the northern end of the site. We'll relocate a pedestrian gate, make adjustments to some post and rail fencing, and install a short stretch of gravel pathway.
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Sunday 4 Jun 2017Heath ManagementSydlings Copse, North-East Oxford
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Sydling's Copse is managed by BBOWT and today we'll be working to a management plan designed to tackle the invasive bracken that tends to dominate the heathland. We'll be cutting bracken then raking it clear. More specifically, we'll be using scythes and slashers, specific kinds of tool that require a little expertise to master, but that are wonderful to use once you've got the hang of them. This early summer cut will be followed up by another cut later in the year - a double whammy.
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Sunday 11 Jun 2017Reserve MaintenanceShotover Country Park, Oxford
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Another task working on behalf of the City Council on this popular, well used, and extensive site to the east of Oxford. The park contains one of the few areas of unimproved heath and acid grassland in Oxfordshire, and considerable conservation efforts have been made to maintain and reinstate areas of this important habitat. The plan at time of writing is to work on the south-facing heathland in Mary Sadler's Field. As usual, we'll be alongside members of Shotover Wildlife. Further details of today's task will be announced in the weekly email so make sure you're on the mailing list!
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Alison Hopkin

Sunday 18 Jun 2017Boardwalk ConstructionRivermead Nature Park
Rivermead Nature Park is a small 3 hectare site owned by Oxford City Council. It nestles between Rose Hill, the Oxford eastern Bypass and the river Thames, and it's one of the three sites originally nominated for special attention under the Wild Oxford initiative (search 'rivermead wild oxford' for more info, and the detailed reports on the site by ecologist Judy Webb). We'll spend today building a low-rise 10 meter boardwalk to traverse a poorly drained section of path that is more often a mud slide than a secure footway.
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Chris Skepper

Sunday 25 Jun 2017Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our monthly return visit to this important National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns. It's a site that includes important chalk grassland grazed by flocks of sheep. We'll be working with a warden from Natural England. Early summer means it's likely that we'll be working to improve public access on the site by improving paths, installing hand-rails and gates, or repairing post and wire fences. Whatever the work, and whatever the weather, full details will be in the weekly email as usual.
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive