Task Programme

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Sunday 3 Jan 2016CoppicingHutchcombe Copse, Oxford
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We last worked at this privately-owned copse in North Hinksey in 2010. There are stools of hazel and ash with much larger oaks dominating in places. Being quite small, it rubs up against the backs of people's gardens and borders the copse and fen attached to Louie Memorial Fields. The aim is to remove non-native bushes spreading in from the gardens, coppice the hazel, harvest binders and stakes for future hedge-laying, and make safe any hanging timber. It will be interesting to see the amount and kind of regeneration since our last visit.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Chris Skepper

Tuesday 5 Jan 2016Committee 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 a pub from about 9pm.
Contact: Ed

Saturday 9 Jan 2016Site MaintenanceTrap Grounds, Oxford
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Another mixed bag of tasks for another Saturday at this extraordinary site hidden between the canal and the railway in North Oxford. The main job today will involve extensive work upgrading some of the footpaths with Terram sheeting and ballast. We'll also coppice some hazel for stakes and binders, and, if there's enough of us, tackle some bramble, and haul out some junk.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Simon Collins

Sunday 10 Jan 2016CoppicingDeddington Parish, North Oxfordshire
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Today we return to the coppice woodland behind the Windmill Centre in Deddington to do some work for the Parish Council. We'll coppice another section of the wood and install bird boxes (home-made in advance and ready to go up). There's also some work to be done on the overgrown paths hereabouts.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Jo Gay

Sunday 17 Jan 2016Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our first visit of the year to this National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns which has extensive views out over the Oxford plain. Tasks at this time of year usually involve coppicing woodland, or tackling the hawthorn, bramble and scrub that encroach on the chalk grassland slopes. As usual, we'll be working with one of the Natural England wardens who manage the reserve. Make sure you're on the OCV mailing list for detailed information nearer the day.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Tim Howard

Thursday 21 Jan 2016Burgers 19:30Byron Burgers
Join us for burgers, courgette fries, milkshakes and beer at Byron Burgers on George Street. Everyone is welcome and you don't need to have been on a task to come along. Email socials@ocv.org.uk by the evening of the 17th to say you're coming and I'll book a table. Be good to see you there!
Contact: Alison

Sunday 24 Jan 2016Hedge LayingWindmill Farm Centre, Clanfield, Oxfordshire
A new site for OCV. We'll be working for the charity Adventure Plus at their new home base, The Windmill Farm Centre in Clanfield, Oxfordshire. The plan is to manage the 50 hectares of hitherto arable farmland with a view to developing the biodiversity of the site over the long term, not least by repairing and rejuvenating the extensive hedge-lines that border the fields. This will provide excellent habitat for all manner of wildlife. We'll start today by laying sections of one of the main hedges. It won't be entirely straightforward as the hedge hasn't been tended for some time. But there's plenty to go at, and this is a great opportunity to have a go at one of the most rewarding aspects of conservation work.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 31 Jan 2016Scrub ClearanceGrim's Ditch, Blewbury, South Oxfordshire
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Grim's Ditch is a Scheduled Ancient Monument near the Ridgeway in the rolling, chalk downs south of Blewbury. It appears to have been a land boundary dating back to the later Iron Age. This section is jointly managed by English Heritage and Natural England. This will be scrub bashing with a view and with more than usual care as we're to take pains that we don't disturb the monument. It's a difficult site to find so make sure you're on the OCV email list for directions nearer the day.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Chris Skepper

Tuesday 2 Feb 2016Committee 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 a pub from about 9pm.
Contact: Ed

Sunday 7 Feb 2016Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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This week we make our February visit to one of our favourite sites in the Chiltern Hills. Well-known to travelers 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, or a little winter sheep work. Whichever, the task details will be described in the weekly email, so now's a good time to check you're on our mailing list. We're always looking for volunteers to lead tasks. If you'd like to help out, then this would be a good one to start with. If you're interested contact Phil at tasks@ocv.org.uk.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Jo Gay

Tuesday 9 Feb 2016Pancake Flipping (and eating!)A house
Come and join us for some fliptastic fun making and eating pancakes. We'll supply the batter, if you can bring a filling (and something to drink). Email socials@ocv.org.uk and we'll let you know the address.
Contact: Alison

Saturday 13 Feb 2016Site MaintenanceTrap Grounds, Oxford
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The Trap Grounds is a small pocket of the countryside in the middle of urban north Oxford hard by the canal. It's managed by an enthusiastic volunteer group and includes woodland, ponds, reed-beds, and areas of meadow and marsh. There's usually a variety of conservation tasks to keep us busy here including landscaping, bramble bashing, tree planting, and what not. Come along and meet the very friendly Friends of The Trap Grounds.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Ray Hitchins

Sunday 14 Feb 2016Habitat MaintenanceShotover Country Park, Oxford
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Today on Shotover Hill we'll focus on the requirements of the scarce plants and insects that are special to the sandy soils hereabouts, and which are not so common elsewhere in the county. The aim is to expose bare earth to the warmth of the spring and summer sunshine, so we'll be clearing back taller shading vegetation, and doing some digging to create bare-soil habitats. As last December we'll be working with members of Shotover Wildlife who know the ecology of the site very well indeed and are more than happy to share their expertise. If you're interested in the finer points of conservation work, don't miss it!
Leader: Richard NewtonDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 21 Feb 2016Hedge LayingWindale Community Primary School, Blackbird Leys, Oxford
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We're back in urban south-east Oxford today to work in the garden and nature area at Windale Primary School. Back in 2013 we laid a section of their boundary hedge and today we'll do some more of the same. The unlaid portion of hedge has put on lots of top-growth in the meantime, so there will be plenty of siding-up to be done before we can get pleaching. Laying the hedge as best we can will make it a dense wildlife habitat and is far preferable to trimming it.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Ed Polehampton

Sunday 28 Feb 2016Scrub ClearanceSwyncombe Estate, South Oxfordshire
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Swyncombe Estate consists of over 600 acres of high, mature beech woodland and chalk grassland in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding National Beauty. For today's task we'll be cutting scrub on Sliding Hill, the western most point of Swyncombe Downs, just south of the village of Watlington. On a clear day there are extensive views across the surrounding landscape. Precise details of the location will be circulated in the weekly email so make sure you're on the OCV mailing list!
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Howard

Tuesday 1 Mar 2016Committee 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 a pub from about 9pm.
Contact: Ed

Saturday 5 Mar 2016Site MaintenanceWoodstock Water Meadows
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Another Saturday task, but not at The Trap Grounds! Woodstock Water Meadows form a rectangular area of wetland that lies North of the centre of the village, bounded on its short Western side by the A44 and its long Northern side by the river Glyme. It's a big site managed by the Parish Council and they plan to have contractors in over the winter to remove some trees. We've been asked to help with the clear up, so there'll be lots of timber to shift, dismember, and burn. We'll also check out the drainage ditches that cross the site.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Chris Skepper

Sunday 6 Mar 2016Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our March visit 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. Indeed, you'll see up close the chalk geology that determines the character of the reserve together with its fauna and flora as you drive through the immense cutting in the hillside. Today we'll be helping the wardens care for the grassland, or the woods and paths that sit on top of the chalk. As usual, everyone's welcome!
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Ed Polehampton

Sunday 13 Mar 2016Scrub ClearanceHolywell Cemetery, Oxford
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By the mid 19th. century the graveyards of the six parishes of central Oxford were full. In 1847 Merton College provided land for a new burial site behind St Cross Church - Holywell Cemetery. Today the site is managed and conserved by "The Friends of Holywell Cemetery" with help from OCV. We've spent several days here renovating the back wall of the cemetery but today we'll be clearing the graves, gravestones and surrounding grounds from resurgent brambles, nettles and assorted scrub.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 20 Mar 2016Reserve MaintenanceJubilee Fields and Long Meadow, Wootton, West Oxfordshire
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Jubilee Fields were purchased from the Duke of Marlborough by the Wootton Conservation Trust in 2003 to mark the Queen's jubilee. It's a lovely site at any time of year lying between the rivers Glyme and Dorn, and, as usual, there are several parts to today's task: some sections of the post and rail fencing on the site are in urgent need of repair; there are sign-posts to erect; and timber to burn.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Chris Skepper

Tuesday 22 Mar 2016A meal at Le KeshLe Kesh
This month we're going for a meal at Le Kesh on the Cowley Road. Last time we were there we very much appreciated the lamb tagine, so some of that might be in order again. Email socials@ocv.org.uk by March 20th if you want to come and I'll book a table.
Contact: Alison

Sunday 27 Mar 2016CoppicingPissen Wood, Oxfordshire
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We were last here a year ago to coppice hazel and install wire cages around the stools to protect the re-growth from being grazed by deer. Today we'll return to do some more coppicing and check out the stools we coppiced last year. Note that today, Easter Sunday, marks the beginning of British Summer Time. Given a mild winter and an early spring we may have to cancel this task if the nesting season sets in early. Watch this space!
Leader: Richard NewtonDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 3 Apr 2016Pond Work and Reserve MaintenanceMilham Ford Nature Park
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Milham Ford Nature Park stream and ponds were created in 2008-2009 in an area that had previously been 8 tarmac tennis courts for use of the previous Milham Ford School. A stream which had been piped underground across the playing field was brought to the surface, meandered, and now feeds a complex of 4 interlinked ponds. We'll be in the ponds taking out invasive and dominant plant growth to re-establish areas of open water and maintain a complex habitat. There will also be work to be done on the banks and the pond surrounds if you'd rather not wade in.
Leader: Richard NewtonDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 10 Apr 2016Post and Rail EnclosureThe Signal-Elm, Boars Hill
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The Oxford Preservation Trust want to encourage walkers on Boars Hill, so today we'll install the fencing for a new viewing point that gives magnificent views over Oxford and the surrounding countryside. The square, gated enclosure will be sited at the top of a field used for grazing, so it needs to be robust and stock-proof. We'll be working a hundred meters or so along the fence-line from Mathew Arnold's 'signal-elm, that looks on Ilsley Downs', although the tree in question is, in fact, an oak. Contrary to Arnold's poetry, the exact location isn't easy to find, so make sure you're on the OCV mailing list for details nearer the day.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Dan Moden

Sunday 17 Apr 2016Boardwalk Ramp and Site MaintenanceLye Valley, Oxford
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Today's task will enable significant further improvement of the special habitat at Lye Valley. We'll install a short ramp on the central boardwalk that will allow access for the Council's cutting machine to the western bank of the north fen. The more reeds they can cut, the better the habitat, and the more there will be to rake clear later in the summer! There's always plenty to do on this site, so there'll be other things than the ramp to keep us busy. For more on Lye Valley, one of the most extraordinary urban wildlife sites you're likely to find, see the Friends website here - http://www.friendsoflyevalley.org.uk/.
Leader: Richard NewtonDriver: Jo Gay

Sunday 24 Apr 2016Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our April visit to this important National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns. It's a site that includes important chalk grassland grazed by flocks of sheep. We'll be working with one of the wardens from Natural England who manage the site. We're always looking for new task leaders - OCV depends on some volunteers being willing to lead - and an Aston Rowant task is a great opportunity to try it out. Contact Phil at tasks@ocv.org.uk for more details. At this time of year we might be looking after the sheep themselves, improving conditions for the flora and fauna special to the site, or maintaining good public access along the various paths. Full details will be in the weekly email as usual.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Tim Howard

Saturday 30 Apr 2016Boardwalk ILye Valley, Oxford
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On a spring weekend last year we installed a boardwalk at Seacourt Nature Park. See the Seacourt Nature Park photo gallery for pictures. This weekend we'll aim to repeat that plan and extend the boardwalk that runs down the north fen of Lye Valley. We'll be using the same type of pre-cut, recycled materials with an exactly similar design construction as at Seacourt, so if you were on that task last year your experience will be more than useful today and tomorrow. If you weren't, no matter, come along and learn how to boardwalk!
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 1 May 2016Boardwalk IILye Valley, Oxford
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More work on the boardwalk in the north fen. What exactly we do today will be determined by how much we managed to get done yesterday. If you're not keen on construction work there should still be something for everyone as there's always lots to do at Lye Valley whatever the time of year. Watch out for the weekly email (via the OCV mailing list) for details nearer the day.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Phil Hunter

Tuesday 3 May 2016Annual General Meeting at 8pmTown Hall
The Annual General Meeting will be held at 8pm on Tuesday the 3rd May in the Plowman Room at the Town Hall (on St. Aldates). Everyone is welcome at the AGM, however often you come out on tasks, or if you just want to find out what we've been up to over the last year (you don't need to be a member). We'll have a report about the previous year, and then elect the committee for next year. The official meeting shouldn't take too long, and then we'll be heading to the Royal Blenheim pub for a drink. If anyone is interested in standing for a committee position, please email secretary@ocv.org.uk before Tuesday 26th April.
Contact: Ed

Sunday 8 May 2016Wall Capping and Site MaintenanceDeddington Parish, North Oxfordshire
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Just over three years ago (April 2013) we started work on the wall that bounds the approach to Deddington Castle. There's still a good day's work left to do: sections of the upper levels of the remaining stretch of wall need repair, and the final length of mortar capping will be mixed and laid. By the end of today there's a good chance we'll have finished the project. If mortar mixing isn't your bag it's likely there be some path clearing to be done elsewhere on the Castle site.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Ed Polehampton

Sunday 15 May 2016Path RevetmentsMatthew Arnold Field, Oxford
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Another day's work on Boars Hill. This time on the southern side of the hill in a wood just below Mathew Arnold Field on a site owned by the Oxford Preservation Trust. We've worked here before on a boardwalk and a couple of path revetments. The boardwalk and one of the revetments are still in good shape, but the other revetment needs replacing and that's today's task. We'll set plank boards into the bank below the path, drive in half-posts, nail posts to boards, then back-fill to repair erosion and support the pathway.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Dan Moden

Saturday 21 May 2016First Aid training DayBritish Red Cross, Abingdon
Today we're offering another of our occasional training courses: a one day, standard first aid course with the British Red Cross in Abingdon. This is important for OCV because it makes it more likely we'll have informed first aiders present on most of our tasks. We can offer this free to volunteers thanks to the hard work of our fund-raising officer and a generous grant for training from the Oxfordshire Community Foundation. By the way, we're short-handed on the committee at the moment and we're looking for new members, so please get in touch if you can help out. The standard of the training is high, relevant for what we need, and you are guaranteed to learn something, even if you have been on a similar course before. There are 15 places available. If you want to come along you must book with Phil Hunter at tasks@ocv.org.uk. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis, although preference will be given to OCV leaders, drivers, members, and regular volunteers.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 22 May 2016Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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We're back to one of our favourite sites this week. We'll be helping the Reserve warden maintain the nationally important calcareous grassland habitat. At this time of year we might actually begin to see some of the rare plants that our work helps to protect. We could be helping out with fence and gate repairs, looking after one of the flocks of sheep, or doing whatever other maintenance jobs are required on the site. As usual everyone will be welcome and full details of the day's work and the meeting place will be given in the weekly email.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Ed Polehampton

Tuesday 24 May 2016Meal at 19:30Atomic Burger
This month we're going to Atomic Burger to sample their movie themed food. It's on Cowley Road and more information can be found here http://www.atomicburger.co.uk. Email socials@ocv.org.uk by Sunday evening if you want to come and I'll book a table.
Contact: Alison

Friday 27 May 2016 -
Monday 30 May 2016
Spring Residential WeekendMoccas Park NNR, Herefordshire
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A bank holiday weekend working with Bob from Natural England in his new patch near the Welsh border. We'll be working at one of his National Nature Reserves near Hay-on-Wye in the beautiful countryside of Herefordshire. The reserve is best known for its remarkable collection of veteran and ancient trees, which are home to thousands of species of invertebrates and 13 of the UK's 18 bat species. The work may involve removing old tree guards and improving signage, fencing and other public access infrastructure. The exact details of the work will be described nearer the time. The current plan is to find somewhere indoors to stay, so we can stay for 2 or 3 nights. If we can't find somewhere suitable to stay we will be camping instead! Residentials are open to all OCV members, so contact membership@ocv.org.uk to make sure you are a member, save the date, and we'll let you know when we start accepting bookings.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Jo Gay

Sunday 5 Jun 2016Dry-Stone WallingRectory Farm Fields, Kidlington
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Rectory Farm Fields is an extensive area of open ground just to the East of Church Street, Kidlington. We'll be working for a private client who wants to manage the land for its natural flora and fauna. BBOWT and the RSPB have made encouraging reports on the site's present and future significance for local wild life. The long term plan is to restore what were once extensive hedge and wall lines. Dry stone walls provide a good home for a range of wildlife, providing shelter for invertebrates, small mammals and even lizards. If you've never done this before this is a great opportunity to have a go at a traditional countryside craft. As usual no experience is necessary and it's one of the few conservation activities we do that doesn't really need any tools. Come along and see if you've got the knack!
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 12 Jun 2016Site MaintenanceShotover Country Park, Oxford
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Another task working with members of Shotover Wldlife on behalf of the City Council on this popular, well used, and extensive site to the east of Oxford. The park contains one of the few areas of unimproved heath and acid grassland in Oxfordshire, and considerable conservation effort has been made to maintain and even reinstate these special conditions. OCV have assisted on countless occasions at Shotover Country Park. Tasks here typically involve clearing invasive bracken, brambles, gorse and birch saplings to promote and encourage the heather and the insects that rely on this rare habitat. Further details of today's task will be announced in the weekly email so make sure you're on the mailing list!
Leader: Ray HitchinsDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 19 Jun 2016Grassland HabitatGrays Lane Bank, Ibstone, Buckinghamshire
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Today we'll be tackling hawthorn scrub on this privately-owned SSSI. It's an important site because of its unimproved grassland, which is great for wild flowers, but controlling the invasive hawthorn is a big problem. In the past we've grubbed up the saplings, but today we'll change tack by cutting as much as much as possible then treating the stumps. This is a favourite site tucked away in a fold of the Chilterns with views from the top of the bank across the low, rolling hills.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 26 Jun 2016Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our June visit to this important National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns. It's a site that includes important chalk grassland grazed by flocks of sheep. We'll be working with a warden from Natural England. Early summer means it's likely that we'll be working to improve public access on the site by improving paths, installing hand-rails and gates, or repairing post and wire fences. Whatever the work, and whatever the weather, full details will be in the weekly email as usual.
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Chris Skepper

Tuesday 28 Jun 2016Evening mealThe Royal Oak
We're meeting for a meal at the Royal Oak on Woodstock Road (https://www.theroyaloakoxford.co.uk) at 19:30. Let me know if you want to come along by emailing socials@ocv.org.uk and I'll book a table. No need to have been to a task to join us!
Contact: Alison

Sunday 3 Jul 2016Fen RakingLye Valley, Oxford
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There are two fens at Lye Valley: one to the north, off the Slade; and one to the south, by the golf course. Watch out for the weekly email for news as to which fen we'll be raking today. Once again, we'll be joined by the Friends of Lye Valley, and ecologist Judy Webb, who usually manages to find, and photograph, all kinds of fascinating things (click on 'Reserves', then 'Lye Valley', then 'Photos'). It's the kind of job that needs lots of people, so come along and lend a hand. If there's been rain, you'll need wellies.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 10 Jul 2016Fen RakingLye Valley, Oxford
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A second successive Sunday at Lye Valley. It used to be the case that we could rake both fens in the valley in a single day. It's a mark of the progressive improvement in the quality and extent of this relatively rare habitat that it now takes us two full days. Watch out for the weekly email for news as to which fen we'll be raking today. As last week, if there's been rain, you'll need wellies.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Susan Nonweiler

Sunday 17 Jul 2016Task Change! Dry-Stone WallingRectory Farm Fields, Kidlington
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Please note that this Sunday's task at Aston Rowant has been cancelled. Instead, we'll pick up, literally, from where we left off in June with work on the dry-stone walls at Rectory Farm Fields. If today's task goes well there's a good chance we'll finish the section we began last time. There's a surprisingly large amount of good quality stone on site, so there's plenty of material to work with. Do you have a knack for dry-stone walling? The only way to find out is to do it! There's still a significant amount of stone that needs to be dug up, sorted, and laid out for future work, so even if you don't fancy the dry-stone walling there'll be more than enough to keep you busy.
Leader: Simon CollinsDriver: Chris Skepper

Sunday 24 Jul 2016Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our regular monthly visit (postponed from last week) to Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns. The site is run by Natural England and, as usual, we'll be working under the guidance of one of the site wardens. Summer time work at Aston Rowant could be fencing, path work, or looking after the sheep. As usual, the details of the planned work will be announced on the mailing list in the week preceding the task. So if you're not already on our mailing list, then now is the time to join it.
Leader: Ray HitchinsDriver: Tim Howard

Thursday 28 Jul 2016Curry 7:30pmMajliss Indian Restaurant
Join us for a delicious meal at one of the Cowley Road's finest Indian restaurants. You don't have to be a regular volunteer to come along to a social. Our social secretary is absent at the moment so email chair@ocv.org.uk if you'd like to come and we'll include you in the table booking. Afterwards it's highly likely we'll go to the pub, so feel free to catch up with us later if you prefer.
Contact: Alison

Sunday 31 Jul 2016Grass RakingSt Mary's Fields, Kidlington, Oxfordshire
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As last summer, we'll be working with the determined group of local volunteers who maintain this popular conservation area owned and managed by the local parish council and situated between St. Mary's Church and the river Cherwell. The job is to rake off the mown material from the yearly grass-cut. This is important to keep the fertility of the soil low and so encourage the rarer plants and wildflowers. It will be hard, but straightforward work and important for biodiversity. It's a big site, and a big task, but if last year is anything to go by the provision of generous, high quality, home-made cake rations will help.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Ray Hitchins

Tuesday 2 Aug 2016Committee Meeting 8-9pmTown Hall
The committee meets once a month in the Oxford Town Hall to make sure that the group operates smoothly.This month we're in the Jury Room - if you'd like to come along and see how we run things and perhaps get more involved, please feel free to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in the Royal Blenheim pub from about 9pm.
Contact: Ed

Sunday 7 Aug 2016Reed Mowing and RakingIffley Island, Oxford
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Another OCV task for high summer: our regular cut of this SSSI by the Thames, on behalf of the Oxford Preservation Trust. Despite its name the site is not quite an island, but there are houseboats on an inlet to one side and the open river to another. We'll cut the sedgy grass and reeds and rake the cuttings off so they won't enrich the soil. The end result is beneficial to the wild flowers on the site, and, in particular, to the fritillaries hereabouts. If the sun shines this is one of the high-lights of the OCV calendar. This year we'll be using our set of Austrian Scythes - look out for more details in the weekly task email.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Alison Hopkin

Saturday 13 Aug 2016Reed Bed Mowing and RakingTrap Grounds, Oxford
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Another Saturday at this special location in North Oxford managed by the Friends of Trap Grounds (http://trap-grounds.org.uk/). Recently granted the status of Local Wildlife Site we'll be helping out with work in the reed bed, which means mowing and raking. Wellies recommended. That said, we usually tackle a challenging list of jobs whenever we go to the Trap Grounds and, as normal, the details will be posted in the weekly task email. Make sure you're on the OCV mailing list!
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Ray Hitchins

Sunday 14 Aug 2016Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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This National Nature Reserve is an OCV favourite. It’s set on the chalk slopes that mark the western boundary of the Chiltern Hills. The sheep-cropped grass that covers the chalk is an ideal wild flower habitat. Our work here in high summer usually involves either the maintenance and improvement of the means of public access or hands-on care of the sheep. We’ll be working with one of the reserve wardens, which means that if you’ve ever thought about leading a task then this would be a good one to start with. If you’re interested contact Phil at tasks@ocv.org.uk. Full details of the day’s work will be posted in the weekly email as usual.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Chris Skepper

Sunday 21 Aug 2016Reed Mowing and RakingEnslow Marsh, Oxfordshire
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Enslow Marsh lies between the River Cherwell and the Oxford Canal, a few hundred metres East of the Enslow Marina and Wharf. The marsh habitat, a sedgebed, is relatively rare in Oxfordshire and, as last summer, we'll be working to a management plan devised by BBOWT. The aim is to clear selected areas to provide some variation in the density of vegetation. Wellies advised, even in August.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 28 Aug 2016Reed Mowing and RakingSimon's Land, Sandford on Thames, Oxford
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This secluded half acre of gently sloping reed-bed leads down to the Thames to the North of Sandford. The river bank was once the mooring site of the former Magdalen College Barge. In March 2007 the land was donated to the Oxford Preservation Trust by Mr and Mrs Simons of Boars Hill. OCV did some initial clearance work and some scrub bashing here back in 2009. Today we'll open up the view across the river, and mow, and then rake the reed-bed. As before, we'll be working on behalf of the Oxford Preservation Trust. It'll be wet underfoot so bring wellies!
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 4 Sep 2016Step and Path WorkChilswell Valley, Oxford
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Today's task has been arranged in collaboration with BBOWT as part of their 'Wild Oxford' conservation project (for more info. See http://www.bbowt.org.uk/wildoxford). We'll be working in the woodland area of the valley below the limestone grass slopes. The plan is to work on a path revetment to maintain and improve public access. Chilswell Valley is known locally as Happy Valley, come and see why!
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Jo Gay

Tuesday 6 Sep 2016Committee Meeting 8-9pmTown Hall
The committee meets once a month in the Oxford Town Hall to make sure that the group operates smoothly.This month we're in the Jury Room - if you'd like to come along and see how we run things and perhaps get more involved, please feel free to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in the Royal Blenheim pub from about 9pm.
Contact: Ed

Sunday 11 Sep 2016Dry-Stone WallingRectory Farm Fields, Kidlington
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We started work on the dry stone walls that divide some of the pastures on this site earlier this summer. Today we'll crack on with our third visit of the season. This will be our last walling task until Spring 2017. BBOWT and the RSPB have made encouraging reports on the site's present and future significance. Rejuvenated dry stones walls will provide an excellent habitat for a range of wildlife. We'll be doing a short introduction to walling at the start of the day, so no experience is necessary. Because it's quite skilled work, if you've done it before we will certainly need you!
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Ed Polehampton

Tuesday 13 Sep 2016Meal at 7:30pmThe Head Of The River
The social this month is at the Head of the River (http://www.headoftheriveroxford.co.uk/) at 7:30pm. Here's hoping for some nice weather so we can sit by the river (we will be inside if not!). If you'd like to join us, please email socials@ocv.org.uk by Sunday 11th September so I can book a table. Look forward to seeing you there (even if you haven't been on a task yet).
Contact: Alison

Saturday 17 Sep 2016Meadow Mowing and Hazel CoppicingTrap Grounds, Oxford
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Another Saturday task at this impressive nature reserve in north Oxford. It's a complex mixture of wood, pond, reed-bed, and meadow. Once used as a waste tip, there was a local campaign to prevent it being developed for housing. It's now managed for wildlife and recreational use - an important patchwork of natural habitats in an urban area. We'll be working with some of the locals who help to manage the site. Today, if things go as planned, we'll be working in the meadow areas, mowing and raking, and coppicing hazel to harvest stakes and binders for use on future hedge-laying tasks.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 18 Sep 2016Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our late Summer visit to our most regular work site: a National Nature Reserve on the Chiltern escarpment just above the Ridgeway footpath. On a clear day there are extensive views across Aylesbury Vale past, and sometimes over, the Red Kites that cruise the updrafts. Whatever the task, we'll be working with one of the highly-knowledgeable wardens from Natural England. Exact details of what will be involved today will be announced nearer the time via the OCV email list, although the word is, we'll be looking after the sheep.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: John Worth

Sunday 25 Sep 2016Site MaintenanceStansfeld Park, Oxford
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Today's task takes us back to Stansfeld, our old home base. Since we left The Oxford Trust has taken over the development and management of the site as a combined innovation and science education centre, and as a new space for the local community to enjoy. For more information see http://theoxfordtrust.co.uk/stansfeld-education-centre/ ('Rejuvenating Stansfeld'). Today's task, hopefully the first of many, will involve opening up and clearing footpaths choked by several summers' worth of under and overgrowth. We may also get to do some preliminary pond-work.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Alison Hopkin

Sunday 2 Oct 2016Water Course Maintenance and CoppicingThe Waterways, North Oxford
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Hook Meadow SSSI drains into The Trap Grounds in North Oxford via a narrow brook that's much more significant than an important drain: it serves as a wildlife corridor and a habitat for amphibians, reptiles and semi-aquatic mammals. We'll work to improve the channel at the northern of the site and also coppice a nearby stand of hazel for stakes and binders that we'll use for hedge-laying later in the season. Bring Wellingtons.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Ray Hitchins

Tuesday 4 Oct 2016Committee Meeting 8-9pmTown Hall
The committee meets once a month in the Oxford Town Hall to make sure that the group operates smoothly.This month we're in the Jury Room - if you'd like to come along and see how we run things and perhaps get more involved, please feel free to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in the Royal Blenheim pub from about 9pm.
Contact: Ed

Sunday 9 Oct 2016Scrub Bashing and Rubbish CollectionTrap Grounds, Oxford
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Another visit to the Trap Grounds: a small pocket of countryside in the middle of urban north Oxford between the canal and the railway. A group of local residents fought and won an epic legal battle to stop it being developed for housing. Formerly a dump (literally!) it's now a designated Local Wildlife Site and consists of several interrelated habitats: ponds, wetland, woodland, and meadow. Despite years of successful reclamation work on the site there are still strata of junk and rubbish to be found and dug out in the more remote corners. We'll also do some seasonal bramble bashing.
Leader: Simon CollinsDriver: Chris Skepper

Friday 14 Oct 2016Oxford Beer and Cider Festival 7pmTown Hall
If you like beer or cider, join us at the Town Hall for a chance to sample from a range of 140 real ales and 60 ciders and perries. Entry is £10 and includes £6 of drinks tokens. You can purchase more tokens and beer is available in pints, halves and thirds. There will be hot and cold food to purchase, usually including pasties and crisps. Everyone is welcome to come to the social even if you haven't made it to a task yet. Email socials@ocv.org.uk if you're planning to come and we'll look out for you, or it's fine to just turn up on the day.
Contact: Chris

Sunday 16 Oct 2016Fen Raking ILye Valley, Oxford
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Today is the first of two days work in Lye Valley, Headington. The early autumn cut of the two fens in the valley, the North fen and the South fen, is the major cut of the year. Oxford City Council will do the cutting and we'll do the clearing with help from the Friends of Lye Valley. What the Council can't get too to cut with their machinery we'll tackle with scythes. Ecologist and Lye Valley expert Judy Webb will be with us too. (See a selection of her photographs taken on site in the photo gallery.) Which of the two fens we'll be working on today will be announced in the weekly email preceding the task, so make sure you're on the OCV mailing list! Wellies recommended.
Leader: Richard NewtonDriver: Jo Gay

Sunday 23 Oct 2016Fen raking IILye Valley, Oxford
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Day two in Lye Valley. Whichever fen we raked last Sunday, today we'll rake the other one! Check the general email that will be circulated sometime in the preceding week. There's also a chance we'll be cutting back and pollarding encroaching willow. OCV have been involved with the Lye Valley Nature Reserve in East Oxford for many years now. Even though it's a small acreage, it's an important, long-standing, and relatively rare, urban habitat. As last week, if there's been rain you'll need wellies.
Leader: Richard NewtonDriver: Alison Hopkin

Sunday 30 Oct 2016Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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The beech woodland of the Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve always looks magnificent from late October to the onset of winter. This month's visit will most likely see us working in the woods themselves or on the more open slopes of the escarpment cutting back invasive scrub and undergrowth. As usual, we'll be working with one of the reserve wardens, and, again as usual, the details will be announced in the weekly OCV email. Note that today marks the end of British Summertime.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Ray Hitchins

Tuesday 1 Nov 2016Committee 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 Clerk's Room - if you'd like to come along and see how we run things and perhaps get more involved, please feel free to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in the Royal Blenheim pub from about 9pm.
Contact: Ed

Sunday 6 Nov 2016Site Maintenance and Hedge LayingStansfeld Park, Oxford
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Our second visit of the season to help in the rejuvenation of Stansfeld Park. We'll carry on the work begun in September, opening up the paths and knocking back invasive scrub, but we'll also do some hedge-laying on a 30 meter section of hedge. For more on the exciting prospects for Stansfeld Park under the management of The Oxford Trust see their website: http://theoxfordtrust.co.uk/stansfeld-education-centre/
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Tim Evans

Sunday 13 Nov 2016CoppicingShotover Country Park, Oxford
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Today we'll work with the Friends of Shotover on behalf of the City Council on this popular, well used, and extensive site to the East of Oxford. The park contains one of the few areas of unimproved heath and acid grassland in Oxfordshire, and considerable conservation effort has been made to maintain and reinstate areas of this important habitat. Tasks here typically involve management of the relatively rare heathland, coppicing work, or the even the creation of site specific habitats. Further details of today's task will be announced in the weekly email so make sure you're on the mailing list!
Leader: Richard NewtonDriver: Alison Hopkin

Sunday 20 Nov 2016Scrub Bashing Island Pond Wood, Launton, Bicester
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Island Pond Wood is a small site of just over 4 hectares located close to the village of Launton. It's a relatively new woodland established in 1999 as part of The Woodland Trust's 'Woods on Your Doorstep' scheme. Members of the local community planted it and continue to take an active part in its management. Last year we helped them by taking back a dense barrier of blackthorn that bordered one side of the site. Today we'll return to finish the job.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 27 Nov 2016Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Another of our monthly visits to Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve, managed by Natural England and situated on the western edge of the Chilterns with extensive views across the Oxfordshire plain. The Reserve supports juniper, an extensive variety of wild flowers native to unimproved chalk grassland, together with sheep, woodland, and an abundance of red kites. Exactly what we do today, and where, will be announced in the weekly email so make sure you're on the general email list for the details.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 4 Dec 2016Tree PlantingTrap Grounds, Oxford
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The management of the Trap Grounds includes an ongoing project of tree-planting. Over the years we've helped the Friends group establish several areas of mixed woodland at different spots within the site. Today we'll help with another day's planting. There's likely to be other odd jobs to tackle as well, but there's something quite special about planting an oak tree.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Chris Skepper

Tuesday 6 Dec 2016Committee Meeting 8-9pmTown Hall
The committee meets once a month in the Oxford Town Hall to make sure that the group operates smoothly.This month we're in the Jury Room - if you'd like to come along and see how we run things and perhaps get more involved, please feel free to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in the Royal Blenheim pub from about 9pm.
Contact: Ed

Saturday 10 Dec 2016Scrub ClearanceCrecy Hill LWS, Tackley, Oxfordshire
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Today's Saturday task is a late addition to the schedule. This relatively small but beautifully located site of 3 acres of unimproved limestone grassland is managed by Tackley Parish Council. It's an important part of the management plan that the site is grazed by cattle over the winter months. We'll spend today clearing scrub from the access paths so that the cattle can get onto the site in the new year.
Leader: Tim EvansDriver: Jo Gay

Sunday 11 Dec 2016Site MaintenanceStansfeld Park, Oxford
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18 acres of wood, meadow, pond and marsh, and all of it (just) within the Oxford ring-road, is a remarkable and significant resource. The Oxford Trust, which has recently taken over the management of the site, is keen to involve as many locals as possible in its upkeep - and there's plenty to keep up. So we'll be back today to continue the work begun earlier in the autumn. What we tackle today will largely depend on what we managed to get done on our previous visits, so watch out for the details nearer the day via the general email list.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Phil Hunter

Friday 16 Dec 2016Christmas PartyLe Kesh
Join us to celebrate Christmas at Le Kesh restaurant on Cowley Road for "a Mediterranean cullinary voyage from Beirut to Marrakesh". Fine food and company, what better way to spend an evening? You do not to have to have been on task to come along. Table is booked for nine o'clock, we'll meet for drinks before. Email enquiries@ocv.org.uk to book a place.
Contact: Tim

Sunday 18 Dec 2016Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our last task of the year takes us back to this favourite site on the cusp of the Chilterns, managed by the wardens of Natural England. It's more likely than not that we'll be working either in the woods or on the grassland slopes. It's odds on there'll be a bonfire to see out 2016, and if last year is anything to go by, there'll also be baked chestnuts and potatoes.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 25 Dec 2016Happy Christmas!
There will be no OCV task today.