Task Programme

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Sunday 2 Jan 2011Urban Nature ConservationHolywell Cemetery, Oxford
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We're kicking off 2011 with a day's scrub clearance on this site in central Oxford. Holywell Cemetery is managed in a way that is sympathetic to wildlife, while still allowing public access to the graves, many of which are of historic interest. This means that every-so-often the scrub on one section of it is cut back, whilst still leaving other areas with plenty of scrub cover for wildlife. As part of this work the ivy needs carefully removing from the gravestones so there will be plenty of lighter work as well as plenty of the usual sawing, cutting, dragging and burning. If you haven't been to an OCV task before then why not come along to get a taste of what we do? We won't make you stay all day! But if you do there's almost always some OCVers going for a sociable drink at the Turf afterwards.
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Inigo Surguy

Tuesday 4 Jan 2011Committee Meeting - Jury Room - 8pmTown Hall
The committee meets once a month in the Oxford Town Hall to make sure that the group operates smoothly. If you'd like to come along and see how we run things, please feel free to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in Far from the Madding Crowd (a pub in Friar's entry, near where Borders used to be) from about 9pm.
Contact: Lydia

Sunday 9 Jan 2011Coppicing and Bird Box ConstructionDeddington Parish, North Oxfordshire
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We've been going to Deddington in North Oxfordshire for several years now, either to maintain the paths on the Castle site or do some hedgelaying along a path near the Windmill Centre. Today's plan is to do some coppicing work on a small copse managed by Deddington Parish Council. We'll also be building and installing some bird and bat boxes on the trees around it. So it's going to be an interesting mixture of coppicing work, outdoor woodworking and climbing ladders. If you're an experienced coppicer, skilled carpenter, you know how to site bird boxes, or if you're just willing to help out, then this task is one for you.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 16 Jan 2011HedgelayingLye Valley, Oxford
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Leader: Tim EvansDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 23 Jan 2011Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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This week is our monthly visit to this National Nature Reserve in the Chiltern Hills. Aston Rowant is managed by Natural England, who ensure that the valuable chalk grassland is conserved through sheep grazing, that the woods are regularly coppiced to keep a diverse range of flora and that the paths are safe and accessible to visitors. This week we were coppicing near the Natural England Office, building a dead hedge and a couple of bonfires.
Leader: Carri SwannDriver: Paul Clarke

Sunday 30 Jan 2011Scrub ClearanceCrecy Hill LWS, Tackley, Oxfordshire
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OCV are old friends of this Local Nature Reserve in North Oxford, having helped create the paths and steps, replaced a long length of fence and done regular days of scrub clearance to keep it in pristine condition. The sensitive management of this site has resulted in large numbers of wild flowers on the chalk grassland. Though if you get the train from Oxford to Banbury, you'll probably not spot them as you hurtle through the cutting! Today we'll be continuing our work with some enthusiastic sawing, lopping and slashing. There will also be a good bonfire to keep us warm and dispose of some of the scrub. In other words, OCV will be doing what we do best, so do come along and join in!
Leader: Steve LilleyDriver: Tim Howard

Tuesday 1 Feb 2011Committee Meeting - Jury Room - 8pmTown Hall
The committee meets once a month in the Oxford Town Hall to make sure that the group operates smoothly. If you'd like to come along and see how we run things, please feel free to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in Far from the Madding Crowd (a pub in Friar's entry, near where Borders used to be) from about 9pm.
Contact: Lydia

Thursday 3 Feb 2011Sausages! Walls.The Big Bang
A new restaurant for OCV. This restaurant serves a fantastic array of sausages and little else. They also serve vegetarian options which sound more interesting than the meat options! We will be meeting at the restaurant at 7.30pm. Please email me if you would like to come.
Contact: Naomi

Saturday 5 Feb 2011Scrub ClearanceTrap Grounds, Oxford
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Leader: Caroline RuseDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 6 Feb 2011Tree PlantingCumnor Hurst Community Woodland
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There's a prize for anyone who can remember when OCV last planted some trees! Conservation work in England is usually much more about controlling scrub than planting anything, but today we'll be participating in a project to create new woodland on this hill just to the West of the city. It's the first time we've worked on this site, which has been donated by a local timber company and there are plans to create a new native wood by planting thousands of trees. They may also be some trimming of scrub around existing saplings, so there'll be loads to do. Some species, like Oak, take hundreds of years to reach maturity, so come along and be a part of creating a wood that will hopefully provide much enjoyment to future generations.
Leader: Jo HaydukDriver: Paul Clarke

Sunday 13 Feb 2011Coppicing and burning brashWarburg Nature Reserve, Bix, Oxfordshire
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We'll be making a welcome return to one of BBOWT's finest and largest nature reserves, near Henley. It's a while since we've worked here but it's well worth a visit. Our role today is to help out with a grassland project. Some felling of big trees has taken place recently but much of the material is left on the ground. We'll be helping to clear this up and burn the brash and probably doing some felling of our own. Sawing, chopping and burning is what we love, so come along and join in.
Leader: Michelle ReidDriver: Ray Hitchins

Sunday 20 Feb 2011Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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This week it's our February visit to one of our favourite sites in the Chiltern Hills. Well-known to travellers on the M40 for its huge numbers of red kites, this National Nature Reserve is owned and managed by Natural England for the benefit of wildlife and to maintain public access. We'll be helping out the wardens who manage it with the priority projects for this month whether it be scrub clearance, coppicing, fencing or sheep work. We'll describe the work we're planning in the weekly email, so now's a good time to check you're on our mailing list.
Leader: Aga RzadDriver: Jo Gay

Sunday 27 Feb 2011CoppicingBrasenose Wood, Oxford
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It's a while since we've been to this site in East Oxford, near the old OCV tool store, where we spent many happy hours oiling and sharpening. Today's work is coppicing, which helps to maintain a cycle of cutting and regrowth that's traditional in English woodland, and leads to a diverse range of wildlife habitats. The work will be planned by Oxford City Council's countryside team, and as usual we'll be providing the tools, the training, the tea and biscuits. But we'll need lots of you to actually do the work, so come along!
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Tuesday 1 Mar 2011Committee Meeting - Jury Room - 8pmTown Hall
The committee meets once a month in the Oxford Town Hall to make sure that the group operates smoothly. If you'd like to come along and see how we run things, please feel free to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in Far from the Madding Crowd (a pub in Friar's entry, near where Borders used to be) from about 9pm.
Contact: Lydia

Saturday 5 Mar 2011Rubbish Removal and Scrub ClearanceTrap Grounds, Oxford
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Today is OxClean 2011, a day when Oxford residents spring clean the city, clearing up rubbish and litter. We're doing our bit at this Town Green and nature reserve on the site of a former rubbish dump in North Oxford. In recent years, we've helped remove lots of rubbish and painstakingly uproot brambles to create a fantastic little meadow, where piles of old bricks create perfect homes for lizards and slow worms. Today's project will be a few hours of removing any dangerous or unsightly rubbish for collection, followed by scrub clearing work, most likely involving a blazing bonfire. As usual, new and old alike will be very welcome, even for just part of the day.
Leader: Lucy CapstickDriver: Jo Gay

Sunday 6 Mar 2011Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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This week's it's another of our monthly visits to this National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns, owned and managed by Natural England. You'll recognise the landscape if you've ever travelled towards London on the M40, and it's well worth a stop and a walk round. Today we'll be helping the wardens care for the chalk grassland, woods and paths by helping out with their conservation priorities. Full details will be in the email sent to the mailing list, so make sure you're signed up and then come along and join in.
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 13 Mar 2011Scrub Clearance and Transplanting Ancient ShrubsLouie Memorial Fields, North Hinksey, Oxford
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When we first started working on this site, we removed huge numbers of willows which were in danger of completely covering the valuable fen at the edge of the ancient woodland. Since then we've helped to prepare for hydrology work which it is hoped will safeguard the future of the fen as well as reducing the speed of water run off from the site. Afterwards we transplanted ancient woodland plants into areas left bare, and we cut the fen, which is essential for maintaining a rich diversity of plant life. Today we're continuing the transplantation work under the guidance of a knowledgeable ecologist and also removing invasive native and non-native scrub from around the fen. So there will be plenty of work for all levels of physical ability, knowledge and experience. Everyone welcome as usual.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 20 Mar 2011CoppicingBoarstall Duck Decoy, Buckinghamshire
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We've been working on this National Trust property in Buckinghamshire for about 18 months. We last visited in October for our coppicing training date. Today we're returning for some more coppicing work, taking particular care to avoid going anywhere where birds could be just beginning to nest at this time. We'll also be doing a selection of other jobs on site. If the warden is here, there will be a chance to hear about the interesting history of duck decoys in England, and perhaps meet the decoy dog.
Leader: Rosie PopeDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 27 Mar 2011Reserve MaintenanceWatlington Hill, Watlington, South Oxfordshire
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Today we'll be working with the warden from the National Trust on this stunning site in the Chilterns AONB and possibly also with locals from the Friends of Watlington Hill. We'll mostly likely be doing some kind of scrub clearance work to increase the area of valuable chalk grassland, with due care given the approaching bird nesting season. In the past at this site we've also helped to restore an ancient sunken way that had been completely obscured by yew woodland. We can't guarantee the weather won't block the impressive views, but we can guarantee there will be magnificent Red Kites soaring above our heads. Come and be uplifted!
Leader: Lydia ClarkeDriver: Paul Clarke

Sunday 3 Apr 2011Dipping PlatformsStansfeld Park, Oxford
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Stansfeld is where we keep our tools and our van, so we won't have to worry about forgetting any tools today! We'll be helping create some more dipping platforms for the students who come to stay at this residential outdoor education centre to use. They stand on the dipping platforms and take samples from the various ponds on the site. Making the platforms requires some carpentry skills, some standing in the water and the mud and quite a lot of bashing. It's all good fun until someone drops something in the water and we have to fish around for it. We'll also do any other jobs that we're given on the site and if we run out of work we can always sharpen some tools, or maybe just leave them for the Tools Officer and go to the pub!
Leader: Tim EvansDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Tuesday 5 Apr 2011Committee Meeting - Jury Room - 8pmTown Hall
The committee meets once a month in the Oxford Town Hall to make sure that the group operates smoothly. If you'd like to come along and see how we run things, please feel free to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in Far from the Madding Crowd (a pub in Friar's entry, near where Borders used to be) from about 9pm.
Contact: Lydia

Saturday 9 Apr 2011 -
Sunday 10 Apr 2011
Boardwalk Training and Camping ResidentialHill End Residential and Field Studies Centre, Oxford
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A local camping residential this week. Hill End is an outdoor education centre just on the west of Oxford run by Oxfordshire County Council for local schoolchildren. We'll be doing a boardwalk project, building a significant length of boardwalk over a series of ponds that have been recently created. We'll camp overnight on Saturday night, probably with a campfire barbecue and a few drinks in the evening. We will have access to proper toilets. The idea is that we'll arrive on Saturday morning and have a day to make a start on the work and when we're getting the hang of it, we'll be able to crack on with the rest of the work on Sunday morning as soon as the sun is up and we've had our bacon and eggs. You'll need to be an OCV member to come and places will be limited. We'll give priority to people wanting to come for both days, because then we'll get everyone trained and be able to get the job done!
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Paul Clarke

Tuesday 12 Apr 2011PubThe Turf Tavern
A pub visit for OCV. Good beer and decent food in the Turf Tavern. No need to tell me you're coming just pop in for one or stay all evening. Meeting from 7ish in the Turf.
Contact: Naomi

Sunday 17 Apr 2011Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our monthly trip to this Natural England reserve in the Chiltern Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. At this time of year we often do fencing and path work and occasionally help with one of the flocks of sheep that graze the chalk grassland. But the exact work planned will be announced on the OCV mailing list in the week before. If you've only ever driven past Aston Rowant on the M40 then it's well worth a visit. OCV tasks are an excellent way to see Behind-The-Scenes as we work with the wardens of a national nature reserve.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Ray Hitchins

Sunday 24 Apr 2011FencingRaleigh Park, Oxford
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We're off to Raleigh Park Nature Reserve in West Oxford this week for a bit of fencing work. It's not a regular site for us but hopefully we'll get to know it better as we go on. We'll be working for Oxford City Council's parks and countryside department, and the wardens will be trusting us to replace an old, failing fence with a shiny new OCV one. Exact details nearer the time on the mailing list.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Inigo Surguy

Friday 29 Apr 2011 -
Monday 2 May 2011
Trail Maintenance ResidentialBrecon Beacons National Park, Wales
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Leader: Andy MoDriver: Jo Gay

Tuesday 3 May 2011Annual General Meeting - 8pm - Jury RoomTown Hall
An excellent opportunity to see how the charity is run and to exercise your voting powers! We will be discussing the past year and electing the new committee, among other things. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Contact: Lydia

Sunday 8 May 2011Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our monthly visit to this splendid National Nature Reserve in the Chiltern Hills. We'll be working with the highly-knowledgeable wardens from Natural England and helping out with whatever tasks they have for us. At this time of year it's unlikely to be scrub clearance because of the nesting birds, but there will be no shortage of path, fence or sheep-related work. As usual more details will be distributed via the OCV mailing list in the week beforehand. A mixture of fun, hard work, tea breaks and inane conversation will be guaranteed as usual!
Leader: Ray HitchinsDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 15 May 2011FencingRaleigh Park, Oxford
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This week we'll be doing some more fencing work for Oxford City Council. The site may change depending on priorities and how much we managed last time. We'll be replacing old dilapidated fencing with splendid new OCV fencing. The straining posts will need digging in, the intermediate posts bashing in and the wire straining and stapling on. So there will be lots of different jobs to do and some very visible results to hopefully be proud of. Come along and learn to fence!
Leader: Tim EvansDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 22 May 2011Reserve MaintenanceJubilee Fields and Long Meadow, Wootton, West Oxfordshire
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A visit to one of our favourite sites in North Oxfordshire. Jubilee Meadows is a nature reserve in Wootton near Woodstock and is home to water meadows, the Dorn and Glyne rivers, trees, meadows and cows. We'll probably be clearing up the remains of some pollarding work from earlier in the year, building a ramp near a bridge and generally helping out with some miscellaneous reserve maintenance jobs. It's a beautiful site and well worth coming if you've not been before.
Leader: Michelle ReidDriver: Inigo Surguy

Wednesday 25 May 2011PuntingCherwell Boat House
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Contact: Beth

Friday 27 May 2011 -
Monday 30 May 2011
Trail Maintenance ResidentialPeak District National Park, Derbyshire
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We went to this National Park base camp in the Peak District last year and had two great days. The work last year involved a day's remote peat mat peg collecting, and also a day's path repair looking after the southern end of the Pennine Way. This year the plan is to do whatever the National Park rangers need help with, most likely some more trail maintenance. We'll leave Oxford on the Friday night, arrive in the Peak District in time for some dinner and work Saturday and Sunday. In the evenings there's potential for a barbecue at the splendidly well-equipped base camp and there's also a couple of pubs within walking distance. On the Monday we have a day off to either go for a walk in the area or see some sights in one of the towns. We'll get back to Oxford on Monday evening.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Paul Clarke

Sunday 5 Jun 2011Mulching, Weeding and Ragwort PullingCumnor Hurst Community Woodland
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Leader: Aga RzadDriver: Tim Howard

Saturday 11 Jun 2011Scrub ClearanceChilswell Valley, Oxford
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Today we're off to a site we haven't been to for a few years at least. It's a steep limestone valley to the south-west of Oxford, towards Boars Hill. It comprises grassland, a reed bed and woodland. Today we're doing the first day of a double bill of projects at this site. More information will come via the OCV mailing list as normal
Leader: Tim EvansDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 12 Jun 2011Scrub ClearanceChilswell Valley, Oxford
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Another day's work at this splendid steep limestone valley to the south-west of Oxford, towards Boars Hill. It comprises grassland, a reed bed and woodland. Although the site is not huge, the task programmer went for a walk there at dusk once and got very lost in the dark. Hopefully it should be an interesting and pleasant place to spend a summer's day.
Leader: Paul ClarkeDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 19 Jun 2011Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our monthly visit to this splendid National Nature Reserve in the Chiltern Hills. It's easy to get to, because the M40 goes straight through it! But if you're walking deep in the beech woodland or perched on the beautiful chalk grassland you'll soon forget about that. At this time of year we'll most likely be doing fencing, path work or sheep care. But we take our orders from the expert wardens from Natural England who know the site like the backs of their hands. There'll be full details in the weekly email of course. Come and see Red Kites galore and help care for this important site.
Leader: Lucy CapstickDriver: Jo Gay

Wednesday 22 Jun 2011Fruit picking and picnic in Port MeadowMedley Manor Farm
Meet at Medley Manor Farm (Binsey Lane) at 6.15pm for fruit picking followed by a picnic in Port Meadow. If you want to come later we will be at the farm until about 7pm and in Port Meadow after that. Fruit on offer will hopefully include strawberries, blackcurrants, gooseberries and possibly raspberries, along with a variety of vegetables.
Contact: Beth

Sunday 26 Jun 2011Reserve MaintenanceBoarstall Duck Decoy, Buckinghamshire
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We're off to this National Trust site for a variety of tasks on this historic duck decoy on the Oxfordshire-Buckinghamshire border. We'll be helping keep the site tidy and the paths clear and doing a range of other reserve maintenance tasks: things like clearing ditches, repairing fences and removing bramble. We'll try to make sure there's something for everyone. If you've never been to a duck decoy then this is a good chance. If you arrive by your own means then say you're volunteering with OCV and you won't be expected to pay the entrance fee!
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Inigo Surguy

Sunday 3 Jul 2011Ragwort PullingFields at Hook Norton Cutting, North Oxfordshire
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A day at this meadow SSSI in North Oxfordshire. We'll be pulling poisonous ragwort to make the hay safe for cattle and horses, and to prevent it spreading to neighbours. If we didn't do this, the alternative methods of control would be much more destructive to wild flowers. It should be quite light work and at some point there should be chance for a good walk round the neighbouring BBOWT reserve, which we usually only see in Winter.
Leader: Emma BurnettDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 10 Jul 2011Fencing and Ragwort PullingMonks Farm Field, Shotover, Oxfordshire
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Our first visit to this splendid meadow in East Oxford belonging to the Oxford Preservation Trust. The land is managed as a rich wild flower rich meadow, but the once-yearly hay cut can only take place if the ragwort has been pulled first. There's also a fence that's looking in a poor state. So today's project is to pull the ragwort and replace the fence. We might be able to re-use one of the straining posts to save time. So there should be a good range of different tasks to suit all tastes.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Tuesday 12 Jul 2011Social - glow worm spottingAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Contact: Beth

Sunday 17 Jul 2011Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Another of our regular visits to this splendid National Nature Reserve in the Chiltern Hills AONB. We'll be working with the wardens from Natural England helping them look after the chalk grassland, woods and paths. At this time of year it could be fencing, sheep or path work. We'll let you know more details of this week's project via the OCV mailing list as usual.
Leader: Paul ClarkeDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 24 Jul 2011Fenraking and sleeper walkway workLye Valley, Oxford
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One of our regular Oxford sites. It's a small nature reserve that seems like another world with its fen, ponds, and woodland. We'll be doing our usual Summer work raking the fen, which only remains a rich habitat for wildflowers as long as the reeds are cut and removed to keep the soil low in nutrients. This is quite tough work sometimes, especially if it's very wet or very hot. As if that wasn't enough labouring, we'll also be tasked with cutting scrub that is encroaching on the fen and possibly helping with a new section of sleeper walkway. So there'll be plenty for everyone to do and we can also check out what effect the hedgelaying we did in the Winter is having. Come along and join the fun.
Leader: Emma BurnettDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 31 Jul 2011Pond projectTackley Heath, Tackley, Oxfordshire
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It's now 2 years since we last worked here, doing a couple of days cutting vegetation around the banks and on a floating "island" in the pond. Today we'll be continuing the work from that management plan, so it will be cutting, dragging and stacking but with a distinctly wet theme. So it's a chance to get into the waders and get yourself wet and dirty.
Leader: Steve LilleyDriver: Jo Gay

Tuesday 2 Aug 2011Committee Meeting
This month's committee meeting will be held from 8pm in the Jury Room of the Town Hall. Come along if you want to see how the charity is run and perhaps get involved. Alternatively, we will be going for a few drinks in Far From The Madding Crowd from around 9pm.
Contact: Lydia

Sunday 7 Aug 2011Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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A regular visit to this chalk grassland and beech woodland National Nature Reserve just south of Oxford. We'll be helping wardens from Natural England with their many and varied duties. At this time of year that can include anything from fencing to trimming the toenails of the sheep that graze the chalk grassland. The sheep keep the bramble and scrub away and the grass short to allow wild flowers to flourish. Exact details of the work via the OCV mailing list as usual.
Leader: Beth SuttonDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 14 Aug 2011Meadow CuttingIffley Island, Oxford
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A tiny and secluded SSSI near the river in Oxford, sometimes used for mooring narrow-boats. We do essential work here cutting the sedgy grass and raking it off. This means that the soil isn't enriched and the scrub doesn't take over, so rare plants flourish. This job can be really hard work, but great exercise, and as usual, we won't push you too hard. We always have plenty of tea breaks!
Leader: Andy MoDriver: John Worth

Tuesday 16 Aug 2011Social - mini golfFlorence Park
For our August social we will be enjoying the summer sunshine, if it ever arrives, playing mini golf in Florence Park, conveniently located near to Cowley Road for a probable pub trip afterwards. Meet at the mini golf kiosk at 6.45pm. For directions to Florence Park, and a map showing the mini golf kiosk, see http://www.oxford.gov.uk/PageRender/decLP/2_Florence_park_occw.htm
Contact: Beth

Sunday 21 Aug 2011FencingRaleigh Park, Oxford
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In a change to the task programme, this week is a return to lovely Raleigh Park to do fencing. We will be working at the east end of the park by the entrance from Westminster Way Sign up to the mailing list, come along and find out more.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Tim Howard

Friday 26 Aug 2011 -
Monday 29 Aug 2011
Reserve MaintenanceDurlston CP, Swanage, Dorset
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A residential trip to Swanage in Dorset. We'll be working at the spectacular Durlston Country Park, high up on the cliffs. Projects in previous years have mainly been drystone walling, but with bits of fencing and meadow work on occasions. We'll be staying in the heart of the town in a church hall, which means we'll have access to a kitchen and showers, as well as plenty of space to sleep. Swanage is always lively on the bank holiday weekend, with music and fireworks in the evening. We often have a swim in the sea and a barbecue on the beach if the weather is kind to us. We'll set off on Friday evening, work on the Saturday and Sunday and have the Monday as a day off before coming back on Monday evening. TOO LATE - NO MORE BOOKINGS PLEASE!
Leader: Jo GayDriver: John Worth

Sunday 4 Sep 2011FencingRaleigh Park, Oxford
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We're back to this Oxford City Council site for a bit of fencing work. We'll be replacing some old tangled barbed wire with a shiny new, straight, fit-for-purpose OCV fence. Come along if you like digging holes, bashing in posts, straining wire and admiring a job well-done. More details about the project will be sent via the mailing list as usual.
Leader: Paul ClarkeDriver: Ray Hitchins

Tuesday 6 Sep 2011Town Hall
The committee meets once a month in the Oxford Town Hall to make sure that the group operates smoothly. If you'd like to come along and see how we run things, please feel free to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in Far from the Madding Crowd (a pub in Friar's entry, near where Borders used to be) from about 9pm.
Contact: Lydia

Sunday 11 Sep 2011HedgelayingBoarstall Duck Decoy, Buckinghamshire
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Our first hedgelaying task of the season. We'll be laying a hedge really close to where we did some coppicing last year. This means that we'll let in additional light to help the coppice woodland regenerate, whilst also making the hedge into a denser barrier that will also act as home, food source and corridor for wildlife. Hopefully, we'll be able to harvest a few fresh binders from coppice stools nearby.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: John Worth

Sunday 18 Sep 2011Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our monthly visit to this splendid site in the Chilterns, commanding views across Oxfordshire. At this time or year we could be fencing, looking after the sheep, or even doing a spot of scrub clearance or early coppicing. Whatever we do, the project will be planned by the wardens from Natural England who manage the site.
Leader: Paul ClarkeDriver: Jo Gay

Tuesday 20 Sep 2011Social - badger watchingWytham Woods, Oxford
The conservator of Wytham Woods has kindly agreed to take us on a badger watch in this beautiful University owned forest. It is said to be home to one of the densest badger populations in the world, so that should give us a good chance of seeing some! In the hopefully unlikely event that we don't, we could always make up for it afterwards with a visit to the local pub, The White Hart. The minibus will be leaving from The Lamb and Flag at 6.20pm, or if you would like to make your own way there, meet us at Keeper's Cottage (OX2 8QQ) at 6.45pm.
Contact: Beth

Sunday 25 Sep 2011Hedge RejuvenationDeddington Parish, North Oxfordshire
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We laid a very mature hedge on a wet day here three years ago. It's close to a children's playground and something had to be done for safety reasons. So we did quite a rough job as a more wildlife-friendly alternative to grubbing the whole thing out and putting up a fence. Now it's getting overgrown again but is some good material, a large range of different species under the mass of dead wood and scrub. The plan for today is to give it a trim, lay some of the regrowth and remove much of the dead material. We'll also be planting some of the gaps in another hedge with new root stock. Meet at the playground at Clifton.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: John Worth

Sunday 2 Oct 2011Fen RakingLye Valley, Oxford
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We're working for Oxford City Council this month at the Lye Valley. We did some light fen-raking here in July and now we're going back after the second cut of the year, to rake the cuttings off again. The fen is cut twice in the summer to stop it getting covered in scrub, which would stop it being fen. If we didn't rake off the cuttings they would decay and enrich the soil. Rich soil might be good for your garden but it's no good for nature reserves, because scrub would take over rather than exciting wild flowers and interesting insects and invertebrates. Fen-raking is sometimes quite hard work, but very important.
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Ray Hitchins

Tuesday 4 Oct 2011Town Hall
The committee meets once a month in the Oxford Town Hall to make sure that the group operates smoothly. If you'd like to come along and see how we run things, please feel free to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in Far from the Madding Crowd (a pub in Friar's entry, near where Borders used to be) from about 9pm.
Contact: Lydia

Saturday 8 Oct 2011Bramble and Golden Rod PullingTrap Grounds, Oxford
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It's another visit to this nature reserve and town green in North Oxford today. For a while it was used as a rubbish tip and landfill site, but we've done so much tidying up recently that these days if you trip over a decaying relic of the early 1980s it's most likely to be one of the OCV committee. Today's task will be building a bird hide, attacking the bramble and perhaps cutting large branches that overshadow the ponds.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Ray Hitchins

Sunday 9 Oct 2011Scrub ClearanceWatlington Hill, Watlington, South Oxfordshire
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We're back to this splendid National Trust site in the Chilterns this Sunday. We'll be working with the wardens and most probably with the local volunteer group. We often have some really huge bonfires on this site as we cut scrub and trees to maintain and extend the valuable chalk grassland. There are almost always red kites circling overhead all day. If the weather is clear, the views are splendid from this site. Come along and bash some scrub.
Leader: Paul ClarkeDriver: Jo Gay

Tuesday 11 Oct 2011October social - telescope eveningDenys Wilkinson Building, Keble Road
October's social will be a telescope evening at the Philip Wetton telescope. This is a 0.4 metre telescope belonging to the University of Oxford Department of Physics, and it gives an amazing, professional astronomer's view of the night sky. The evening will be from 7pm - 9pm, and will include a short astronomy talk, an 'ask an astronomer' session with refreshments, a tour of the observatory and use of the telescope, and an astronomy workshop (all for free!). There will be an opportunity for a pub trip afterwards. The meeting place for the evening will be the reception of the Denys Wilkinson Building on Keble Road (just where it joins Banbury Road, slightly further away from town than our usual pick-up point of The Lamb and Flag); please be there by 6.50pm for registration. Places are limited to 15 (possibly a few more) so if you would like to come please could you let me know by Thursday 6th October.
Contact: Beth

Sunday 16 Oct 2011Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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We're off for our October visit to this National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns. We'll be helping the wardens who work for Natural England; the government's nature conservation agency. At this time of year the work could be almost anything: scrub bashing, coppicing, fencing or caring for one of the flocks of sheep that help to keep the grassland in pristine condition. As usual we'll let you know what sort of thing to expect in our weekly pre-task email, so make sure you're on our email list.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Phil Hunter

Saturday 22 Oct 2011Indoor Training EventStansfeld Park, Oxford
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We sometimes have training tasks, but today is a bit different. We will all be indoors in a classroom or around the tool shed. We'll be covering some of the theory and how to plan and lead different sorts of tasks. The subjects will include coppicing, hedgelaying, fencing, boardwalk, bird and bat boxes, step building and scrub bashing. The format will be a series of short talks with an opportunity to ask questions and have a discussion. The talks will all be given by OCV leaders and although we're not experts, if we pool what we know, we should all be able to learn a lot. Please note that this is aimed at leaders and experienced volunteers, rather than complete beginners. Everyone is very welcome, but if you've never done any conservation before it would be better to come to a few ordinary tasks first! The day is free, but booking is required, as places will be limited. (Ignore the website if it asks for a deposit!) Please ask Chris if you're willing to research a topic and give a short talk. FULLY BOOKED NOW!
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver:

Sunday 23 Oct 2011Site MaintenanceStansfeld Park, Oxford
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Today's task is at the place we keep our tools and van, so not far to go, but we will be doing the usual pickups as normal. We'll be helping out with various tasks around the school grounds which include woods, meadow and several ponds. The work will be various maintenance jobs appropriate for the time of year. More details will be in the weekly email as usual, so make sure you're on our mailing list.
Leader: Paul ClarkeDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 30 Oct 2011HedgelayingEast Hagbourne, Oxfordshire
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We're continuing with some hedgelaying along this path across fields in South Oxfordshire. We'll be working for the local parish council. We did day's work here in sub-zero conditions last winter, and it was so cold even the leftover tea froze in the mugs! Today we're hoping for warmer weather as we do the final stretch, helping to turn a row of small trees into a hedge that will act as home, food source and corridor for wildlife. If you're an experienced hedgelayer we'll need you. If not, come along and learn how.
Leader: Steve LilleyDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Tuesday 1 Nov 2011Town Hall
The committee meets once a month in the Oxford Town Hall to make sure that the group operates smoothly. If you'd like to come along and see how we run things, please feel free to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in Far from the Madding Crowd (a pub in Friar's entry, near where Borders used to be) from about 9pm.
Contact: Lydia

Sunday 6 Nov 2011HedgelayingDeddington Parish, North Oxfordshire
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We're hedgelaying this week near to the cemetery at Deddington. We'll be continuing the work of previous years but now we'll be getting onto a tricky bit where there may be as much coppicing as laying to rejuvenate the aged hedge. It's possible we'll also be doing some replanting of the gaps to recreate a native hedge that is a food source and habitat for local wildlife.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Jo Gay

Thursday 10 Nov 2011Ice skatingOxford Ice Rink
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Contact: Beth

Sunday 13 Nov 2011Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our monthly visit to this National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns, OCV's most regular site over more than 30 years. We'll be working with the wardens from Natural England and at this time of year the work is likely to include coppicing in the ancient woodland or scrub clearance on the chalk hillsides. As usual there's also the possibility of sheep work, but full details will be announced on the mailing list as usual.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Saturday 19 Nov 2011Bird Hide ConstructionTrap Grounds, Oxford
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This week we're at the Trap Grounds in North Oxford. The name of this site may come from the Oxford word "trap" meaning toilet, because it may once have been a dumping ground; it certainly was used as a rubbish tip before a group of local people helped to get it designated as a Town Green and nature reserve. Or the name could be a contraction of "extra-parochial grounds", which would be a bit of a mouthful. Whatever the origin of the name, the site itself is impressive for its range of habitat within quite a small area. Working with local residents, the varied tasks we'll be doing include finishing building a bird hide, preparing to plant native trees, and lots of the usual bramble bashing. Feel free to come for part of the day if you like.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 20 Nov 2011Scrub ClearanceLye Valley, Oxford
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This week we'll be doing some urgent jobs at this splendid little SSSI in east Oxford. Oxford City Council manage the site and we'll be working to a management plan involving Natural England and local ecologists. We came here in the Summer and again in Autumn to rake the cuttings off the fen. Today we'll be cutting back the scrub on both the North and South fen. Join the mailing list to find out more details nearer the time.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 27 Nov 2011Scrub ClearanceCrecy Hill LWS, Tackley, Oxfordshire
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We're scrub bashing on this Local Nature Reserve on the side of a railway cutting in north Oxfordshire this week. Our scrub clearance work over many years is combined with sensitive grazing with cows and sheep to maintain the valuable unimproved grassland in perfect condition for wild flowers. A local naturalist told us that wild flowers could be seen in June on the exact spot we cleared scrub from last Winter, which sounds like the best endorsement of our work here that we could ask for. We'll most likely have a bonfire as well as leaving scrub piles to give some extra cover for small mammals. Come along and wave at the trains as they go past!
Leader: Michelle ReidDriver: John Worth

Sunday 4 Dec 2011Revetment ConstructionMatthew Arnold Field, Oxford
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We normally do path revetments in Spring and Summer, but unusually we're going to do some in the Winter this Sunday. We'll be working to improve access on this site owned by the Oxford Preservation Trust. As well as building revetments to hold up the path, we'll also scrape off some turf to prepare potential habitats for insects in the Spring. Come along for a day of digging, sawing and bashing at this splendid woodland site on Boar's Hill.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: John Worth

Tuesday 6 Dec 2011Town Hall
The committee meets once a month in the Oxford Town Hall to make sure that the group operates smoothly. If you'd like to come along and see how we run things, please feel free to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in Far from the Madding Crowd (a pub in Friar's entry, near where Borders used to be) from about 9pm.
Contact: Lydia

Sunday 11 Dec 2011CoppicingShotover Country Park, Oxford
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We did some coppicing near here last year as well. Coppicing is the traditional way of managing woodland to provide a reliable "crop" of timber of a particular size. We cut the trees off at ground level and amazingly they regrow and after somewhere between 2 and 30 years, you can repeat the process and get another crop. Even more amazingly, this makes the trees almost immortal, so the trees you're coppicing could be hundreds of years old. Coppicing lets the light reach the woodland floor which means there can be a more interesting selection of wild flowers and potentially more food for dormice and other potential inhabitants of the wood. Come along and give it a go this Sunday.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Paul Clarke

Friday 16 Dec 2011Christmas partyMagdalen College
Come and celebrate Christmas with OCV! This year's party will be held in the Oscar Wilde Room (which Oscar Wilde actually used to live in) in Magdalen College. The main entrance to the college is on the High Street just before Magdalen bridge; ask the porters for directions to the room when you arrive. The party will start at 7.30pm. Please bring some food and drink, and Christmas music and decorations would also be appreciated!
Contact: Beth

Sunday 18 Dec 2011Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our December visit to this splendid National Nature Reserve owned and managed by Natural England, the government's nature conservation agency. We'll be working with the wardens who look after the site and the work could be scrub clearance on the valuable chalk grassland, coppicing in the woods, or looking after the sheep that graze the slopes. More details in our weekly email as normal. It's our last task before Christmas, so there may be a bonfire to bake potatoes and parsnips for lunch.
Leader: Jo HaydukDriver: John Worth

Sunday 25 Dec 2011No task on Christmas Day
We're not having a task this Sunday because it's Christmas Day! We'll resume regular tasks in the New Year. If you're a regular volunteer then many thanks for all your efforts in 2011, your hard work keeps OCV going, and OCV keeps many local nature reserves in excellent condition. If you'd like to get more involved in 2012, then we'd love to have you on board; talk to any task leaders or committee members.