Task Programme

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Sunday 6 Jan 2013Scrub CleraranceCrecy Hill LWS, Tackley, Oxfordshire
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We're kicking off the new year with a visit to this Local Wildlife Site in Tackley. We've done a lot of work here over the years: fencing around it, installing steps and clearing lots and lots of scrub. It's grazed by the neighbouring farmer's cows and sheep and so we just need to come in and take care of the bigger, thorny stuff the stock can't handle. Then when Spring comes there will be the usual array of chalk grassland species including Snake's Head Fritillary, Salad Burnet and Yellow Rattle. We usually have a good bonfire to keep us warm on this site.
Leader: Ray HitchinsDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Tuesday 8 Jan 2013Committee Meeting 8-9pmTown 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 and perhaps get more involved, please feel free to join us. The meeting will be held in the Panel Room of the Town Hall from 8-9pm. Alternatively, we'll be in Far from the Madding Crowd from about 9pm.
Contact: Lydia

Sunday 13 Jan 2013Reserve MaintenanceStansfeld Park, Oxford
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We've got a day close to home this week. We're at Stansfeld Outdoor Education Centre in Headington, which is where we base our operations. We'll be working with the Principal and helping to manage the wide variety of habitat on the site which are studied by the students young and old. In the past we've helped clear felled trees, lay hedges, build dipping platforms and improve ponds. Best of all, if we forget any tools it's not far to go back for them!
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Jo Gay

Sunday 20 Jan 2013TASK CANCELLED DUE TO BAD WEATHERAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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(TASK CANCELLED) One of our regular monthly tasks at Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve. We'll be working with one of the wardens from Natural England who maintain the nationally important chalk grassland and other habitat. We could be clearing scrub, coppicing or looking after one of the flocks of sheep. This is a good site for enjoying splendid views across Oxfordshire. Check our weekly email for more details.
Leader: Matt CardyDriver: Paul Clarke

Thursday 24 Jan 2013Meal at Atomic Pizza
We are going for a meal at Atomic Pizza http://atomicpizzas.co.uk/ - (far end of Cowley Rd) at 7.30pm on Thurs 24th January. Where else could you get a pizza named after Xena, Dogtanian, or Hanibal from the A-Team? Those are my TV memories right there! We will most likely be going on to a near-by pub afterwards, so please feel free to come along for the meal or just to the pub. If you would like to come, please let Michelle know by next Mon 21st Jan.
Contact: Michelle

Saturday 26 Jan 2013CoppicingBrasenose Wood, Oxford
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We're having a day coppicing in the ancient Brasenose Woods to the East of Oxford. Woodland like this has been managed by coppicing for centuries to provide a steady supply of timber every few years. Nowadays we keep the coppice cycle going by clearing a section of woodland so that the ground flora get plenty of light and a new cycle of regeneration begins. The habitat piles we leave will be good cover for small mammals and habitat for invertebrates, which will eventually benefit birds as well.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: David Max

Sunday 27 Jan 2013CoppicingDeddington Parish, North Oxfordshire
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We'll be working near the Windmill Centre in Deddington CP this week. A couple of years back we did some hedgelaying round here and coppiced an area of woodland. It's a very small wood so even though the regrowth was very rapid we decided to wait a year before coppicing the next section or coupe. Coppicing is the traditional way of ensuring a steady supply of timber by cutting different sections of a wood in rotation. The result is a patchwork of habitat of different ages which is excellent for biodiversity. Today's job will be more coppicing and also giving the hedge a bit of loving care.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Alison Hopkin

Saturday 2 Feb 2013Biodiversity measures'Cultivate', Little Wittenham, South Oxfordshire
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Leader: Ray HitchinsDriver: John Worth

Sunday 3 Feb 2013CoppicingBrasenose Wood, Oxford
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We'll be back in Brasenose Woods for some more coppicing today. Coppicing is the traditional way to manage woodland to provide a regular supply of timber. Even though the trees are cut down to ground level, they regenerate from their root system and trees become effectively immortal when managed in this way. Originally wood products harvested from Brasenose were used throughout the city by the colleges, some of whom owned the wood before the city council. We may take some binders for hedgelaying, but most of the material will be left as habitat. Then the area cleared will begin a new cycle of regeneration with positive outcomes for biodiversity.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Ray Hitchins

Tuesday 5 Feb 2013Committee 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 Panel 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 Far from the Madding Crowd from about 9pm.
Contact: Lydia

Sunday 10 Feb 2013Scrub CleraranceWatlington Hill, Watlington, South Oxfordshire
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A task at one of our favourite sites this week, back by popular demand! We'll be working with some of the National Trust wardens responsible for this stunning site in the Chilterns and some of the locals from the Friends of Watlington Hill. Scrub clearance here normally involves a great view over Oxfordshire, huge bonfires and crowds of Red Kites above us. The scrub clearance work is necessary to maintain the chalk grassland which is an important part of the landscape in southern England, and home to rare flora and fauna.
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Saturday 16 Feb 2013HedgelayingLincombe Lane, Boars Hill, Oxford
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This is the third and final stretch of hedge to lay at this site in Boar's Hill, south of Oxford. We've been laying the hedge in the traditional way in two previous sessions this Winter to make it a denser habitat for small mammals, insects and birds. Our work will also improve the view over the fields and increase the longevity and effectiveness of the hedge as a barrier. Come along and help us finish the job.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: David Max

Sunday 17 Feb 2013Scrub clearanceSydlings Copse, North-East Oxford
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After a splendid day's scrub clearance in December we're going back to do another day's work at this SSSI just to the East of Oxford, only a couple of miles from Barton. It's managed by BBOWT, our local Wildlife Trust, because of the site's importance. Part of it is ancient broadleaved woodland and there is also limestone grassland and heathland. We're likely to be clearing gorse and silver birch, and a blazing bonfire is on the cards as well. If you haven't been to this site before then it's well worth a visit and a bit of a hidden gem very close to the city.
Leader: Andy MoDriver: John Worth

Thursday 21 Feb 2013February Social - 7.30pmGino's Spaghetti House
This month, we will be meeting for some Italian food at Gino's Spaghetti House on Gloucester Green at 7.30pm. The restaurant serves a variety of pizzas, pasta dishes, salads, and meat and fish dishes, so there should be something for everyone. We'll then move on to a nearby pub for a pint or two. Everyone welcome, even if you've not been on a task before! Just let Nat (socials@ocv.org.uk) know by 17th Feb if you'd like to come.
Contact: Nathalie

Sunday 24 Feb 2013Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our February visit to this National Nature Reserve managed by Natural England. We do a wide variety of types of work on this site, everything from trimming sheep feet, fencing, coppicing and lots of clearing scrub. It's an important site and we'll be working with some very knowledgeable wardens who can tell you everything about its important chalk grassland with its rare juniper bushes and wildflowers, the ancient Ridgeway trail which very close by, and the various pieces of ancient woodland.
Leader: Ray HitchinsDriver: David Max

Sunday 3 Mar 2013Pond MaintenanceKennington Pools, Oxford
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Last year we had two days at this site in Kennington, in south Oxford, just outside the southern bypass and close to Redbridge. We are working to sensitively manage the ponds by cutting back some of the willows from the banks to let in light. We've also built otter holts here and coppiced an small area. Today we'll be doing some straightforward willow cutting and hopefully the next time we come we will see the benefits of increased biodiversity around the banks and at the water's edge.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Alison Hopkin

Tuesday 5 Mar 2013Committee 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 Panel 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 Far from the Madding Crowd from about 9pm.
Contact: Jo

Sunday 10 Mar 2013Gate installation and scrub clearanceWidnell Park, Piddington, North Oxfordshire
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The parish council who manage this site are creating a new woodland where once was a very under-used field. By the time we arrive they will most-likely have begun some of the planting but we will be working to clear scrub from an area containing a dew pond in need of re-lining with puddled clay. Even small ponds can have a dramatic effect on biodiversity in an area, supporting amphibians, reptiles and insects as well as whole extra collection of aquatic plants. (So if you don't have a garden pond, go and dig one straightaway!) We'll also be installing a new kissing gate and possibly even re-painting some railings. Come along and find out more.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Jo Gay

Sunday 17 Mar 2013Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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As we reach the end of the scrub-bashing season we might be helping to maintain chalk grassland on this National Nature Reserve or possibly helping with all sorts of other jobs needed to keep it the important site for wildlife that it is. We'll be working with the wardens from Natural England, the government's conservation body. Full details of today's tasks will be in the weekly email as usual, so join our mailing list if you're not on it already!
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Daniel Thomas

Sunday 24 Mar 2013FencingRaleigh Park, Oxford
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This week we'll be back at Raleigh Park where we recently replaced a large section of the boundary fence. A site like this really needs grazing to keep the grass and scrub down to levels where interesting flora can flourish, so the aim of the fencing was to enable this to take place. With the livestock on its way for the Spring we'll be fixing a last few dubious sections of fence and working through a long list of other conservation mini-projects on the site.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: John Worth

Tuesday 26 Mar 2013March Social - Le Kesh 7.30pmLe Kesh
This month, we'll be going for a tasty meal at Le Kesh. Le Kesh is a Lebanese & Morrocan fusion restaurant, located on Cowley Road. It offers a large selection of excellent food at affordable prices. Their menu can be found here: http://keshoxford.com/. The selection of tajines on offer are particularly delicious. We'll then move on to a local pub for post-dinner drinks. Please email me by Friday 22nd March at socials@ocv.org.uk if you would like to join us there.
Contact: Nathalie

Sunday 31 Mar 2013Lime mortar wallingHolywell Cemetery, Oxford
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With bird nesting season beginning and hopefully the worst of the Winter frost past, we'll be able to continue the wall repairs we're undertaking in this churchyard in central Oxford. The cemetery is managed in a way which encourages urban wildlife. Even with the noise we make on an OCV task we've still seen foxes, mice, rabbits, and a variety of birds. Today's task is to reassemble more of the wall we took apart last year. We'll be using lime mortar, so there will be quite a lot of mixing required as well as the rewarding task of seeing the wall go back together, hopefully being solid for many years to come. There will be lots to do, but it's mainly light tasks such as carefully dismantling sections of wall and sorting stone. If we finish on time we'll probably head over for a drink at the nearby Turf Tavern.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: David Max

Tuesday 2 Apr 2013Committee 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 Panel 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 Far from the Madding Crowd from about 9pm.
Contact: Jo

Sunday 7 Apr 2013Dry stone wallingSt Michael's Church, Begbroke, North Oxfordshire
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It's a new site for us this week. We'll be helping to repair a drystone wall at this ancient churchyard in Begbroke near Kidlington. Dry stone walls are a familiar part of the landscape in many parts of the British Isles, and before modern materials were available they were one of the most permanent ways to mark a boundary or contain livestock. This wall is on the edge of the countryside and will make a great home for wildlife, from insects to lizards and small mammals. No previous experience is necessary, and everyone is welcome to come along and join in. Dry stone walling is a fun activity, and a useful skill to learn. If you have some patience and good spatial skills it will help a lot!
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: David Max

Sunday 14 Apr 2013Dry stone wallingDeddington Parish, North Oxfordshire
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Leader: Richard NewtonDriver: Ray Hitchins

Friday 19 Apr 2013Comedy at The Glee ClubThe Glee Club
Due to popular demand, we will be going to see comedy at The Glee Club for this month's OCV social. The show starts at 7pm at The Glee Club on Hythe Bridge Street and will include comedy by Steve Williams, Dave Johns, Matt Rees & Zoe Lyons. Food and drink are available for purchase at the venue. More details can be found on The Glee Club's website (http://www.glee.co.uk/oxford-comedy). To book your place, please email me by 5 April at socials@ocv.org.uk.
Contact: Nathalie

Sunday 21 Apr 2013Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our regular trip to this National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns. We'll be working with one of the wardens who look after this large site, which includes ancient woodland and chalk grassland. At this time of year we often help with fencing projects to contain the sheep which keep the scrub under control. Sometimes we look after the sheep themselves and occasionally we help to maintain paths and steps. As usual the full details and exact meeting place will be included in the weekly email.
Leader: Alison HopkinDriver: John Worth

Friday 26 Apr 2013 -
Tuesday 30 Apr 2013
Wilderness TreeplantingCarrifran Wildwood, Scotland
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We're going a bit further afield for a residential this year. We'll be working in the Southern Uplands of Scotland with the Borders Forest Trust who are working to re-create a valley of wooded wilderness with the rich diversity of native species that existed here thousands of years ago before human activities dominated. So far volunteers have planted over 500,000 native trees and that's most likely the type of work we'll be continuing: planting Juniper at the end of a remote valley. The plan is to set off from Oxford on the Friday morning, work two days of the weekend and stay for one full day more to properly see the area, perhaps including a hike, before coming back on the Tuesday afternoon. We'll be staying in a hall with cooking facilities, heating, toilets and hot-water/showers, but we'll be sleeping on the floor so sleeping bags will be required. Further details will be provided nearer the time.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 5 May 2013Scrub ClearanceChilswell Valley, Oxford
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Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Tuesday 7 May 2013Annual General Meeting 8-9pmTown Hall
This month's committee meeting is the AGM - a chance for members to exercise their voting powers! The meeting will be held from 8-9pm in the St. Aldates Room of the Town Hall. If you would like to come along and learn more about the work of the committee then all members are welcome. Alternatively you can join us for a pint at Far From the Madding Crowd afterwards.
Contact: Jo

Saturday 11 May 2013Dry stone wallingSt Michael's Church, Begbroke, North Oxfordshire
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A second visit to this Norman churchyard just north of Oxford. We'll be continuing the work on two dry stone walls that we started in April. We've done most of the taking down, and so today there will be a chance to get started putting everything back. If you've not done dry stone walling before, then don't worry, you will be able to learn on the job. If we get a section finished we may also put a lime mortar capping on to protect our handiwork. More details in the weekly email as usual.
Leader: John WorthDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 12 May 2013Reserve 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 wardens 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'll most likely we 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.
Leader: Aga RzadDriver: Ray Hitchins

Sunday 19 May 2013Jetty constructionStandlake Ranch, Witney, West Oxfordshire
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We'll be starting a construction project at this Christian retreat centre in West Oxfordshire. Last year we cleared a path and built steps and a bridge to make a nature walk through the woods. Today we'll be building a platform out into the lake to enable people to get in and out of boats, go on to the lake and skirt the around the reedbeds by boat. This work will involve bashing in some posts and some bits of woodwork to create platform that will enable people to enjoy the wildlife at this site.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Alison Hopkin

Sunday 26 May 2013Footpath MaintenanceShotover Country Park, Oxford
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Today's task will be erosion control on the footpaths at Shotover Country Park. We'll be making some steps and revetments using timber felled from the site itself. This will stop the paths washing away and getting full of potholes which get muddy and wet, and then wider as people have to skirt round the puddles. Come along and join in the sawing and bashing.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Jo Gay

Tuesday 28 May 2013May's Social - Pub drinks at the Turf TavernThe Turf Tavern
This month, we're meeting up at the Turf Tavern in central Oxford for a pint or two. They have a great terrace, which is fantastic to soak up the spring sunshine... We'll be there from about 7pm, so there's no need to book a place - just turn up at any point during the evening. All are welcome, including new volunteers! We're looking forward to seeing many of you there:-) If you can't find us then you can try calling Jo on 07887 928115, although reception is not great in there.
Contact: Nathalie

Sunday 2 Jun 2013Dipping Platform ConstructionKennington Pools, Oxford
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We last worked at this site on a cold day in February and we've had also done a few days over the last couple of years. We've been pollarding willows, clearing scrub from the banks and trying to improve the diversity of flora and improve habitat for aquatic mammals such as otters and water voles. Today we'll be doing something for human visitors by repairing the dipping plaforms which have not been usable for some time. We may also do a bit of careful scrub clearance to keep the paths accessible, taking care not to risk disturbing nesting birds of course. Everyone is welcome and there's lots to do
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Ray Hitchins

Tuesday 4 Jun 2013Committee 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 Panel 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 Far from the Madding Crowd from about 9pm.
Contact: Jo

Sunday 9 Jun 2013Jetty ConstructionStandlake Ranch, Witney, West Oxfordshire
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A second visit to this Christian retreat centre in West Oxfordshire, the grounds of which are managed for wildlife and enjoyed by the visitors. We'll be continuing work on a boardwalk or jetty to make it easier for people to enjoy the lake. If we have time we'll also do any small jobs such as keeping the paths clear and steps in good repair. As usual full details will be given in the weekly email, but you can be sure the work will involve significant amounts of post-bashing in the water.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Ray Hitchins

Saturday 15 Jun 2013Dry stone wallingDeddington Parish, North Oxfordshire
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Today's task is a second day's dry stone walling in Deddington. We'll be continuing the work on the historic castle site. We're dismantling and re-assembling a number of sections of collapsed wall, then when it's done we will put a mortar capping on top and hopefully the wall will last for a long time afterwards. No previous experience of walling is required, although some patience is helpful with this type of task!
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 16 Jun 2013Lime mortar wallingHolywell Cemetery, Oxford
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We last visited this urban nature reserve in central Oxford in March, when we were hoping it would be warm enough for some lime mortar walling. In practice it was a bit touch-and-go, but we still did a good chunk of walling. Today we can at least be confident that the temperature will stay above freezing, and the aim is to get close to finishing the job. No previous experience is necessary and everyone is welcome: we'll need people to lay stones, mix mortar and there may be limited scrub clearance required as well. This is a convenient location if you can only come for part of the day. Full details will be in the weekly email as usual.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 23 Jun 2013Sheep Care and FencingAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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A mid-Summer visit to this splendid National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns. We'll most likely be repairing or replacing fences, as well as doing any other jobs the wardens from Natural England want us to do. This is an excellent time of year to keep an eye out for wildflowers on the calcareous grassland. The task programmer's favourite is the unmistakable bee orchid. Update: This week we'll be trimming the feet of the sheep used to graze the grasslands and also helping to reconfigure the sheep-handling area.
Leader: Andy MoDriver: John Worth

Tuesday 25 Jun 2013OCV's annual punting trip & picnic!Cherwell Boat House
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As is tradition, we'll be going punting on the Cherwell for this month's social. We'll meet at 7pm at the Cherwell Boat House at the end of Bardwell Street, where we'll hire punts. We'll aim to go all the way to the Victoria Arms, have a picnic on the lawn & then punt back to Oxford. This social has been a great success in past years, so we'll be looking forward to seeing many of you there... Please let me know if you're coming & make sure that you bring some food & drink.
Contact: Nathalie

Sunday 30 Jun 2013Fen-rakingLye Valley, Oxford
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We're spending the day raking the fen at this SSSI in East Oxford today. It's vitally important to cut and rake the fen each year to avoid the soil becoming too fertile and losing the rare plants which can be found here. The council will have cut the fen and we'll rake it, probably wearing hard hats to protect against the risk of stray golf balls from the nearby course! Local ecologist and Lye Valley expert Judy Webb may be on hand to explain the importance of our work here. Raking can be hard work especially if the weather is very warm, but a vital part of the management of this site, and it should be easy to come for just part of the day if you wish.
Leader: Richard NewtonDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Tuesday 2 Jul 2013Committee 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 Panel 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 Far from the Madding Crowd from about 9pm.
Contact:

Saturday 6 Jul 2013Dry stone wallingSt Michael's Church, Begbroke, North Oxfordshire
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Today we'll be continuing and perhaps even finishing the wall in front of this ancient church just north of Oxford. OCVers have spent 2 days working on it so far. The first session was mainly taking the collapsed wall down, sorting the stone, and coppicing the hedgerow. Then the next session we made a good start on putting it back. This time we'll be able to get straight on with more building it back up. Beginners and old hands alike will be very welcome as usual. When it's back up it should last for many more years. Come along and help us finish the job.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Alison Hopkin

Sunday 7 Jul 2013Scrub ClearanceGrays Lane Bank, Ibstone, Buckinghamshire
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A return visit to a site OCV worked on many years ago. We'll be clearing scrub on this privately-owned SSSI in the Chilterns. It's very important for its unimproved grassland which is great for wild flowers, but there is a real problem with controlling the little hawthorn saplings and other scrub. The focus will be on removing small saplings and if there is time attacking some of the large clumps of scrub at the edges. There are impressive views across the valley.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Ray Hitchins

Saturday 13 Jul 2013Kingfisher Bank ConstructionTrap Grounds, Oxford
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We'll be starting work on an ambitious project to build an artificial Kingfisher bank. This will create the the perfect nesting site for these distinctive birds. There will be a lot of bashing-in posts required, possibly some digging, although there is a plan to use a mini-digger as well. If we have a good turn out then there are always lots of other jobs at the Trap Grounds including keeping the meadow free of scrub, maintaining paths or even clearing any remaining rubbish we haven't managed to remove on previous visit.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 14 Jul 2013Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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This Sunday will be our regular monthly visit to this national nature reserve in the Chilterns. On recent occasions we've helped sort out the fencing around their new volunteer centre and we've also trimmed the feet of one of the flocks of sheep which are kept to control scrub and thus maintain the rare chalk grassland for wildflowers. We'll be working with one of the wardens from Natural England as usual, and the details of the work will be in the weekly email as usual.
Leader: John WorthDriver: Ray Hitchins

Sunday 21 Jul 2013Drystone WallingDeddington Parish, North Oxfordshire
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Another visit to Deddington CP and the site of the town's Norman castle. We are mid-way through a project to repair collapsed sections of dry-stone wall around the grounds. We've made good progress in the two days we've done so far, but there is plenty more still to do. Dry-stone walling is a great skill to learn, since there are many more collapsed walls than there are people able to repair them! The completed wall makes a great home for small wildlife and well-maintained walls make the site look cared-for and encourage others to treat it with respect. Come along and see how it's done.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: John Worth

Sunday 28 Jul 2013Scrub ClearanceGrays Lane Bank, Ibstone, Buckinghamshire
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Another visit to this stunning SSSI in Buckinghamshire. We'll be uprooting hawthorn and other things that have sprung up in the middle of the meadow. We did this work many years ago and it seemed to stop the wild flower rich meadow from being shaded and scrubbed over for a good long time. When we did our first task this year people thought it was quite hard work in the sun, but a really impressive site to work on.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 4 Aug 2013Meadow RakingSt Mary's Fields, Kidlington, Oxfordshire
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A new site for us this week. We'll be working with the determined group of volunteers who maintain this large site on the edge of Kidlington. Our main job will be helping with raking off the material from the yearly grass-cut. This is important to keep the fertility of the soil low and thus encourage rare plants and wildflowers. It will be hard work but straightforward and very important for biodiversity. If there's time we might also help out with some scrub clearance, since we're good at that as well! Come along and explore a new nature reserve.
Leader: Richard NewtonDriver: Jo Gay

Tuesday 6 Aug 2013Committee 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 Far from the Madding Crowd from about 9pm.
Contact:

Thursday 8 Aug 2013Social - 7.30pm - Curry at the BombayBombay Restaurant
For our next social, we will be going to the Bombay Restaurant on Walton Street in Jericho for a curry night. We'll meet there at 7.30pm, eat and then we'll move on to a pub in Jericho for a pint or two. Please let me know by email (socials@ocv.org.uk) if you'd like to come. Note: The Bombay doesn't have a licence to serve alcohol, so please bring your own if you'd like to drink alcohol.
Contact: Nathalie

Sunday 11 Aug 2013Waterway MaintenanceThe Waterways, North Oxford
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We'll be working between the Trap Grounds and Hook Meadow SSSI, with the residents' association that manages the housing estate. They have responsibility for an important wildlife corridor between these two sites. Our work will involve clearing silt from the drainage channel which takes water into the ponds at the Trap Grounds after heavy rain on the meadow. But we'll try to avoid making it too straight or deep like a digger would, and instead create a channel rough edges of different shapes and heights. This will hopefully maximise the value for amphibians, reptiles and semi-aquatic mammals. We'll also remove some of the bigger scrub from the middle of the ditch but try to avoid leaving it too tidy, so that it's value as a wildlife corridor is maintained. Come along for some potentially muddy digging!
Leader: Richard NewtonDriver: Alison Hopkin

Sunday 18 Aug 2013Reed cutting and rakingIffley Island, Oxford
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It's all hands to the slashers, sickles and rakes today! We'll be doing our regular cut of this SSSI by the river. Despite its name the site is not quite an island, but it is quite inaccessible and easily forgotten. Before we were involved it was at risk after the yearly cut was missed for a number of years, but now it should be much better because of determined and thorough work over the last five or so years. We cut the sedgy grass and rake the cuttings off so they do not enrich the soil. The end result is wild flowers such as fritillaries. Come along for some great exercise and a pleasant location by the river.
Leader: Andy MoDriver: John Worth

Saturday 24 Aug 2013Kingfisher Bank ConstructionTrap Grounds, Oxford
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We'll be continuing work building a kingfisher bank at this nature reserve in North Oxford. The Trap Grounds has woodland, meadow and ponds, and forms an important part of a network of nature reserves in this predominately urban area. The artificial bank is being designed to provide the perfect habitat for kingfishers, which like to burrow into banks. Come along and find out more on the day - we're banking on it being a big success!
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 25 Aug 2013Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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It's time for our monthly visit to this National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns. We often help out with scrub clearance, fencing or looking after one of the flocks of sheep at this important site. As usual we'll be working with the wardens from Natural England, the government agency with main responsibility for nature conservation. This nature reserve belongs to everyone, so come and help manage it for maximum biodiversity value. Full details of the week's project will be in the weekly email as normal.
Leader: Paul ClarkeDriver: John Worth

Thursday 29 Aug 2013OCV Social - Kazbar - 7.30pmKazbar
For this month's social, we'll be heading to Kazbar, a cool Spanish-themed tapas bar on Cowley Road (not far from the Plain). We'll meet there around 7.30pm, eat some delicious food and then move on for drinks at The Big Society pub further up the Cowley Road. Please let me know by 27 August if you'd like to come (socials@ocv.org.uk). I'm looking forward to seeing you there!
Contact: Nathalie

Sunday 1 Sep 2013FencingWidnell Park, Piddington, North Oxfordshire
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OCV were last here in the Winter, when we did some coppicing and installed a new kissing gate. The local parish council have a recently planted a native woodland here, gradually re-purposing a little used recreation ground as a nature reserve. Today we will be replacing a fence on the side of the site to mark the boundary with the adjoining military site. The area has exciting wildlife potential not just for the woodland and meadow but also for the ponds which we hope to extend in the future. Today there will be some serious scrub clearance needed, probably including a bonfire. Then we will install a section of the new fence.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Ray Hitchins

Tuesday 3 Sep 2013Committee 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 Far from the Madding Crowd from about 9pm.
Contact:

Sunday 8 Sep 2013Lime mortar wallingHolywell Cemetery, Oxford
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We've been working on this site for a number of years usually doing scrub clearance to maintain the careful balance between wildlife and public access. The last year we've also been working on rebuilding a second of wall and we're making good progress, but there is still more to do to finish the job. We're using lime mortar rather than cement since it is both a more traditional technique and more appropriate when working with rough limestone. Come along and help with mixing, walling and probably clearing scrub as well.
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Chris Skepper

Saturday 14 Sep 2013Dry stone wallingSt Michael's Church, Begbroke, North Oxfordshire
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Today we'll be returning to this churchyard in Begbroke to finish off the lime mortar capping on our newly-reconstructed dry stone wall and potentially tidy up a bit. It's likely to be a shorter task than normal, because there isn't too much to do, but it is important that we get this job finished before the winter as the capping will help protect the wall from frosts. Afterwards we might go for a drink slightly earlier than normal.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 15 Sep 2013Grass cuttingKingstone Coombes LWS, Ashbury, South West Oxfordshire
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A new site for us today, very close to the ancient White Horse and Wayland's Smithy. We'll be working in meadow that forms part of a Local Wildlife Site and is managed under the government's HLS scheme. Its value lies in the chalk grassland, which is great for a range of wild flower species. The fields are grazed, but the sheep prefer the flat areas, and so the grass is still threatening to choke out much of the interesting flora. Since the banks are so steep the farmer can't cut them with machinery and we'll be trying to cut the grass ourselves. It could be hard work but the site is small enough that we should be able to make good progress on a chunk of it.
Leader: Richard NewtonDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 22 Sep 2013Dry stone wallingDeddington Parish, North Oxfordshire
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This week we're back at the site of the Deddington castle for another dry-stone walling session, probably the last of the Summer season and the year. If we have time we might cap the wall with some lime mortar to reduce water and frost damage and increase the lifespan of the wall by stopping the top stones being disturbed. There's plenty of walling to do and there will likely be other jobs to do elsewhere on the site at this time of year.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: John Worth

Tuesday 24 Sep 2013Social - 7.30pm - The Big BangThe Big Bang
For our next social, we'll be going for good old sausage and mash at The Big Bang located in the Oxford Castle (http://www.thebigbangrestaurants.co.uk/). We'll meet there around 7.30pm on Tuesday 24 September. We'll then move on to a nearby pub. Please drop me an email at socials@ocv.org.uk by 21 September if you'd like to come.
Contact: Nathalie

Saturday 28 Sep 2013Dry stone wallingEnstone Sports and Social Club, Near Enstone, Oxfordshire
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Today we're heading out into North Oxfordshire and the village of Enstone. Our client is the sports club, who have a dry stone wall around their sports ground which has collapsed in a number of places. Our job will be to rebuild it in the traditional manner. We do this kind of work because dry stone walls are part of the traditional landscape and can provide useful habitat for invertebrates and small animals, certainly more than a mortared wall or fence. We're hoping to complete this job in just one session, so this is a great chance to take part in all stages of the job: dismantling the wall, sorting stone and rebuilding it.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 29 Sep 2013Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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It's time for our regular monthly task at this National Nature Reserve, a short journey down the M40 from Oxford. We'll be working with one of the wardens from Natural England who manage this site among others. At this time of year we might expect some scrub clearing or coppicing, or there may be fencing jobs or even sheep-related work. Full details about the task will be in the weekly email as usual.
Leader: Paul ClarkeDriver: Ray Hitchins

Tuesday 1 Oct 2013Committee 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 Far from the Madding Crowd from about 9pm.
Contact:

Saturday 5 Oct 2013Reed Clearance and Tree PlantingTrap Grounds, Oxford
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Another visit to this site in North Oxford. Over the Summer we helped with the first stage of constructing a kingfisher bank, and we also helped to clear out some of the ditches and improve the pond habitat. Today we're going to be planting native trees around the area cleared for the kingfisher bank project and we'll also be removing some of the reeds from the pond. In the past this has involved waders, flat-bottomed boats and various power tools, so it should be fun, if somewhat messy work!
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 6 Oct 2013HedgelayingWindale Community Primary School, Blackbird Leys, Oxford
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We're working in an urban setting in south-east Oxford today. We're helping out a primary school which has its own garden and nature area. We're going to be laying the hedge along one boundary. This will make it a dense habitat for wildlife and is far-preferable to trimming it. It will also be good for children to see an example of this traditional country craft, even if they are a bit young to be given a bill-hook of their own just yet! There's quite a decent stretch so it should keep us busy for the day.
Leader: Ray HitchinsDriver: John Worth

Sunday 13 Oct 2013Reserve MaintenanceCothill National Nature Reserve
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This is a change to the original plan of Aston Rowant. Cothill NNR, also run by Natural England, is a site that we haven't been to for a long while. It's known for its fens and their rich invertebrate life, but in addition the site also has open water, reedbeds and oak and alder woodland. We'll be covering a number of varying tasks at Cothill. We'll be installing a pedestrian gate which will involve some post digging and a small amount of fencing each side. We'll also be clearing pre-cut scrub by dead hedging and burning on a fire. Thirdly there's some fen raking to do. Full details will be in our weekly email as usual.
Leader: Paul ClarkeDriver: Jo Gay

Thursday 17 Oct 2013Social - Oxford Beer Festival - 7pmTown Hall
Contact: Nathalie

Sunday 20 Oct 2013Scrub ClearanceSt Mary's Fields, Kidlington, Oxfordshire
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We last visited this site in early Summer to help with the big grass cut. We liked it so much, we've arranged to come back and help clear scrub in various other parts of the site. We'll be working with the local volunteer group who know the large site well and have their list of important priorities for maintaining public access and promoting biodiversity. Come along and get involved!
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Saturday 26 Oct 2013 -
Sunday 27 Oct 2013
Coppicing and Camping WeekendPissen Wood, Oxfordshire
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Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Alison Hopkin

Sunday 3 Nov 2013HedgelayingKirtlington Parish, North Oxfordshire
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We last visited this area last Autumn, when we helped with clearing a pond, some brambles and did some work in a churchyard managed by the local wildlife group. Today we'll be laying a hedge along an ancient right of way near the same area. Hedgelaying is a great way to rejuvenate a gappy hedge and make it a more valuable habitat and food source for wildlife, such as small mammals and birds. We may also do some pond work this week. Full details in the weekly email as always.
Leader: Steve LilleyDriver: Alison Hopkin

Tuesday 5 Nov 2013Committee 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 Far from the Madding Crowd from about 9pm.
Contact:

Saturday 9 Nov 2013Fen rakingLye Valley, Oxford
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Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Ray Hitchins

Sunday 10 Nov 2013Reserve MaintenanceStansfeld Park, Oxford
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We're staying close to home today and working to maintain the grounds of this education centre in East Oxford. It's a small site, but seems much large because of the woodland, earthworths and the range of habitats. In the past we have maintained ponds, cleared scrub, built steps and fences, and done hedgelaying. Today we'll be working on whatever are the priorities of the principal who manages this site for school parties and youth organisations to visit.
Leader: Ray HitchinsDriver: Jo Gay

Saturday 16 Nov 2013Pond Work and Scrub ClearanceTrap Grounds, Oxford
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Leader: Andy MoDriver: Chris Skepper

Sunday 17 Nov 2013Scrub ClearanceGrays Lane Bank, Ibstone, Buckinghamshire
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Leader: Phil HunterDriver: John Worth

Tuesday 19 Nov 2013November Social - Pizzeria da Mario 7.30pm Pizzeria da Mario
This month, we'll be going for some traditional Italian food at the Pizzeria da Mario on Cowley Road. The Pizzeria is one of the more genuine Italian restaurants in Oxford. We'll meet there at 7.30pm for dinner. Please let me know in advance if you would like to come (socials@ocv.org.uk) and I'll book us a table. We'll then move on to a nearby pub for a drink. Looking forward to seeing lots of you there!
Contact: Nathalie

Sunday 24 Nov 2013Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Today will be our regular monthly visit to this national nature reserve in the Chilterns. We'll be working with the wardens from Natural England who manage it, and we'll be doing whatever tasks they have for us. This could be fencing or coppicing, clearing scrub or even looking after one of their flocks of sheep. If we're up on the hills the views can be stunning. The details will be in our weekly email as usual, so make sure you're on the mailing list.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 1 Dec 2013Pond work and scrub clearanceNorth Hinksey Nature Reserve
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We'll be working on a new site today. It's a small nature reserve on land which was once allotments and is now next to a business park. There is an area of meadow, some hedges and trees and an orchard, but we'll be working mainly around the ponds. We'll be helping to clear some scrub around the ponds, and, on the advice of an ecologist re-shaping the banks of the pond to make them better habitat for a wide range of amphibian and reptiles, which are known to be in the area. Come along and get muddy!
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Tuesday 3 Dec 2013Committee 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 Far from the Madding Crowd from about 9pm.
Contact:

Sunday 8 Dec 2013Scrub ClearanceWatlington Hill, Watlington, South Oxfordshire
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One of our best sites for views of Red Kites, we've been here on many a Winter's day including in thick snow. We've also had some of our biggest ever bonfires here! Today we'll be working with the wardens from the National Trust and probably some local volunteers and helping to clear scrub from the valuable chalk grassland habitat. Unimproved grassland was once widespread in southern England but is now very limited due to development and changes in farming practices. Come along and get involved in some serious scrub bashing!
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Alison Hopkin

Friday 13 Dec 2013OCV Christmas Party!Oxford Hub
Contact: Nathalie

Sunday 15 Dec 2013Reserve MaintenanceCothill National Nature Reserve
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This is a site that's known for its fens and their rich invertebrate life, but in addition the site also has open water, reedbeds and oak and alder woodland. We'll be working with the wardens from Natural England who know the site really well and will have a good set of tasks for us to do. Full details in the weekly email as usual.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 22 Dec 2013Scrub ClearanceHolywell Cemetery, Oxford
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We've been doing a lot of walling in Holywell Cemetery this year, but for the last task of the year it will be straightforward scrub clearance. Holywell Cemetery is an urban wildlife site, and the parts with the older graves are managed by allowing the grass and scrub to grow tall before being periodically cut, rather than regularly mown. This means that insects, birds and mammals have a much better habitat and source of food. Since each part is cut periodically, there is always some areas of good habitat while public access is maintained overall for those wanting to look for famous graves. We usually have a good bonfire, and since it's the last task of the year we might cook potatoes or parsnips in the embers and perhaps retire to the pub when it gets dark.
Leader: Richard NewtonDriver: Chris Skepper

Sunday 29 Dec 2013No task due to Christmas
There's no task today because most people will be away for Christmas or busy elsewhere. Many thanks to everyone who has volunteered with us this year. Normal service will resume in 2014 when we will have plenty of projects to work off the results of any Christmas excess!