Task Programme

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Tuesday 2 Jan 2018Committee meeting 8pm - CANCELLEDTown 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. **MEETING CANCELLED THIS MONTH**
Contact: Ed

Sunday 7 Jan 2018Woodland ManagementMatthew Arnold Field, Oxford
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Matthew Arnold Field in Boars Hill is a mixed woodland and grassland site, named after the poet, cultural critic and influential schools' inspector Matthew Arnold. Today we'll be working for the Oxford Preservation Trust, who now manage the site. At the end of last year a significant amount of hanging and accidentally fallen timber in the main woodland area was made safe. Today we'll move in to finish the job by hauling out large boughs, cutting down brash, creating log-pile habitats, and restoring the paths. Note that we'll be working in some of the woodland ponds and wetland areas, so bring wellingtons!
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Dan Moden

Saturday 13 Jan 2018Ragwort PullingManor Stables, North Hinksey, Oxford
We've pulled ragwort before, but never in the dead of winter! Today's Saturday task is by special arrangement with the Ferry Hinksey Trust. The Trust owns the land at Manor Stables and can raise income for other charities by letting them out for grazing. They have a prospective tenant, but there's a problem - a significant amount of standing dead ragwort, which, if eaten, is poisonous to horses. Which is where we come in. If we can pull the ragwort then everyone benefits. Many hands really will make this light work.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Dan Moden

Sunday 14 Jan 2018Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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We've had a little trouble with the general email list this week. If you haven't had the email from Tim, we'll be scrub bashing. Meet at the Natural England site office roundabout 10 a.m. Our first visit of the year to this National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns which commands extensive views across 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. Make sure you're on the OCV mailing list for detailed information nearer the day. We're always looking for volunteers who might lead tasks, indeed without leaders we couldn't keep going, and we're significantly short of volunteers prepared to lead at the moment. So if you're interested contact Phil Hunter via tasks@ocv.org.uk . At Aston Rowant we always work under the guidance of one of the Reserve wardens, so today would be a great opportunity to try it out.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Tim Howard

Friday 19 Jan 2018 -
Sunday 21 Jan 2018
Reserve ResidentialMoccas Park NNR, Herefordshire
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Another of our occasional weekend trips away from Oxford. As last winter, we'll be travelling out west again to work on a new woodland plantation with Bob Silverwood, an old friend of OCV from his time at Aston Rowant. We'll be working with him to plant trees at Moccas Hill Wood, a wood pasture restoration site adjacent to Moccas Park National Nature Reserve. All of the trees have been grown in an on site tree nursery from seeds collected from the ancient trees in the deer park. We will also be building protective guards around each tree, some simple with posts and weld mesh, others more grand and decorative with oak and chestnut to mimic the Mediaeval style fencing around the deer park. We'll drive out on Friday evening, work Saturday and Sunday, then drive back to Oxford on Sunday evening. The plan at the time of writing is to arrange two nights' accommodation in Hay-on-Wye (details to follow). 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: Ed Polehampton

Sunday 28 Jan 2018Site 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 likely to be several parts to today's task, including, at the time of writing some fencing repairs. Keep an eye out for the task email posted via the general email list sometime in the week preceding.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Chris Skepper

Thursday 1 Feb 2018Curry Social 7pmMajliss Indian Restaurant
Join us for some excellent Indian food at this highly recommended restaurant on Cowley Road. You don't have to be a regular volunteer to come along, everyone is welcome, and it's a great way of finding out about OCV or getting more involved. Email chair@ocv.org.uk if you'd like to come, so we book a table for the right number of people. Afterwards we'll probably go for a drink or two at a nearby pub, probably at The Star or The Cape of Good Hope, so feel free to catch up with us there if you prefer.
Contact: Chris

Sunday 4 Feb 2018Willow PollardingAston's Eyot, Oxford
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Aston's Eyot is a large 30 acre site, literally speaking an island (hence 'Eyot') bordered by the Thames, Cherwell New Cut and Shire Lake Ditch, just downstream from Christ Church Meadow. The land is owned by Christ Church College and is managed by an enthusiastic Friends group with some help from the Oxford City Council. We'll be working for, and with, the Friends to pollard willows on the bank of the Shire Lake Ditch, south of the Kidney's entrance (see the Friend's Path Map via the link on our Reserves Page).
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Howard

Tuesday 6 Feb 2018Committee Meeting 8pmTown Hall
The committee meets once a month in the Oxford Town Hall to make sure that the group operates smoothly.This month we're in the Jury Room - if you'd like to come along and see how we run things and perhaps get more involved, please feel free to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in the Royal Blenheim pub from about 9pm.
Contact: Ed

Sunday 11 Feb 2018Scrub BashingAston 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. A land-mark for travellers on the M40 and well-known for its huge numbers of red kites, this National Nature Reserve is owned and managed by Natural England. We'll be doing some scrub bashing along the old hollow ways that cut across the grassland, and burning what we cut. 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 EvansDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 18 Feb 2018Pond WorkStansfeld Park, Oxford
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On this visit to Stansfeld we'll be working to re-establish two lined ponds to the northwest of what was the recreation field - not, notice, the large ponds on the other side of the field in the woods. The plan is to create a newt habitat. The old liners will need to be removed before we can do some pond-scaping. Then we'll lay down the new liners. We'll be working with Dr. Roger Baker (The Oxford Trust's Educational Support Officer) who is organizing the conservation work on site prior to its re-dedication as a combined innovation and science education centre.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Ray Hitchins

Sunday 25 Feb 2018Scrub BashingSwyncombe 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. Today we'll be cutting scrub on Sliding Hill, the western extension of Swyncombe Down, just south of the village of Watlington. This will help maintain the unimproved chalk grassland and hence the wild flower species special to the Chiltern hills. It's an exposed location. On a clear day there are extensive 180 degree views over the surrounding landscape, and on a windy day in winter, despite a bonfire, it can be bitterly cold - so wrap up warm!
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Dan Moden

Tuesday 27 Feb 2018OCV Social 2018 #2Everest Nepalese Restaurant
Come join us for a mid-week meal and drinks at Everest Nepalese! Joined with The Donnington Arms on Howard St., you'll find the best of both worlds rolled into one. There's plenty of choice on the menu, whether you're into spice or not, and vegetarians and vegans are also catered for. See the full menu on the website. You don't have to be a regular volunteer to come along. Everyone is welcome, and it's a great way of finding out more about OCV if you're thinking of getting involved. Email socials@ocv.org.uk if you'd like to come, to give us an idea of numbers beforehand. Exact time to be confirmed on booking, but likely to be around 19:00/19:30. Hope to see you there!
Contact: Jamie

Sunday 4 Mar 2018TASK CANCELLED DUE TO THE WEATHER!Aston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Storm Emma meets 'the beast from the east' - so our early Spring visit to this National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns has been cancelled.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Howard

Tuesday 6 Mar 2018Committee Meeting 8pmTown Hall
The committee meets once a month in the Oxford Town Hall to make sure that the group operates smoothly.This month we're in the Jury Room - if you'd like to come along and see how we run things and perhaps get more involved, please feel free to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in the Royal Blenheim pub from about 9pm.
Contact: Ed

Saturday 10 Mar 2018Reserve 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 (The Friends of The Trap Grounds) and includes a range of habitats: woodland, ponds, reed-beds, and areas of meadow and marsh. Today, Saturday, the first of two consecutive days work here, we'll team up with Outdoor Lads - the gay outdoor pursuits group. We always have plenty to do at the Trap Grounds and this weekend will be no different. You can expect to be tree-planting, bramble-digging, pond-wading, even landscaping. The details will be circulated nearer the day, so make sure you're on the OCV mailing list!
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 11 Mar 2018Reserve MaintenanceTrap Grounds, Oxford
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The second of two days at The Trap Grounds. Today, Sunday, we'll be joined by a working party made up of the Friends themselves. We'll push on with any work still in hand from yesterday. This will be the final opportunity to effect serious change in the woodland areas before the nesting season begins. For more information on the site, including a diary of sightings, see the Friends website via the link on our Trap Grounds Reserve Page.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Ed Polehampton

Sunday 18 Mar 2018Hedge Laying **CANCELLED DUE TO SNOW**Rectory Farm Fields, Kidlington
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The plan today is to do some more work on the hedge-line at Rectory Farm Fields. We were last here at the very end of 2017 and today we'll look to lay, stake and bind some more sections of hedge. Although it's late in the season for this kind of work, we've checked that there's no bird nesting activity yet - so we'll not be resorting to the back-up plan of dry stone wall repairs.
Leader: Tim EvansDriver: Chris Skepper

Sunday 25 Mar 2018Site Maintenance & Pond WorkMilham 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 working in the ponds under the direction of freelance ecologist Judy Webb to dredge invasive plant growth and re-establish areas of open water beloved by dragonflies. There will also be work to be done on the banks and the pond surrounds if you'd rather not wade in. Note that British Summer Time began last night!
Leader: Jenny HillDriver: Chris Skepper

Thursday 29 Mar 2018OCV March SocialThe Fir Tree
Come join us for a mid-week meal and drinks at The Fir Tree! It's on Iffley Road, just opposite the turn for one of our regular sites, Aston's Eyot. It's got great reviews and they claim to have an extensive pizza menu, so if you're up for a slice or three then feel free to come along. We'll meet there at about 19:30 on Thursday 29th March. Exact time to be confirmed on booking - I'll keep you posted if anything changes. You don't have to be a regular volunteer to come; everyone is welcome, and it's a great way of finding out more about OCV if you're thinking of getting involved. Email socials@ocv.org.uk if you'd like to come, to give us an idea of numbers beforehand. Hope to see you there!
Contact: Jamie

Sunday 1 Apr 2018Easter Day - A Day Off!
There are at least two good reasons for this day off: it's Easter Sunday; and it gives our hard-pressed band of leaders and drivers a welcome break. If you think you could help out either by leading tasks or by driving for us please get in touch, you'll be welcomed with open arms. Contact Phil at tasks@ocv.org.uk for more details. It's also April Fools' Day - but that's got nothing to do with it.
 

Tuesday 3 Apr 2018Committee Meeting 8pmTown Hall
The committee meets once a month in the Oxford Town Hall to make sure that the group operates smoothly.This month we're in the Jury Room - if you'd like to come along and see how we run things and perhaps get more involved, please feel free to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in the Royal Blenheim pub from about 9pm.
Contact: Jenny

Sunday 8 Apr 2018Site MaintenanceStansfeld Park, Oxford
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Stansfeld Park in Headington Quarry is set within 18 acres of woodland with ponds, marshland and meadows. The undulating landscape results from quarrying for limestone in the area, stone that was used to build many of Oxford's colleges, churches and civic buildings. When quarrying ended, a variety of habitats formed, including limestone grassland, ash and hazel woodland, dense hawthorn scrub, ponds and wetland. 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'). We'll be working with Roger Baker, the Trust's Outdoor Learning and Ecology Manager. Precise details of the day's work will be circulated in the weekly email (so make sure you're on the list!) but at the time of writing we'll be doing some planting and dealing with fallen timber brought down by the heavy snowfall at the end of last year.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 15 Apr 2018Site Maintenance & FencingJubilee 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. It's usually the case on this site that we have a selection of jobs to tackle, but the main task today will be to continue the fence repairs that we began back in January. Keep an eye out for the task email posted via the general email list sometime in the week preceding.
Leader: David MaxDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 22 Apr 2018Fen Cutting 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. Last summer we mowed and raked the site to enhance the potential for native flora. As last year we'll be using our Austrian scythes. Today's task will be the first of two cuts this summer in line with a management plan to keep on top of the re-growth. It's likely to be wet underfoot so bring wellies!
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Ray Hitchins

Sunday 29 Apr 2018Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our April visit to this important National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns. It's a site that includes important chalk grassland grazed by flocks of sheep. We're always looking for new task leaders (OCV depends on some volunteers being willing to lead) and an Aston Rowant task is a great opportunity to try it out under the supervision of one of the Natural England wardens, either Mick or Kate, who manage the site. Contact Phil at tasks@ocv.org.uk for more details. At this time of year we might be looking after the sheep themselves, improving conditions for the flora and fauna special to the site, or maintaining good public access along the various paths. Full details will be in the weekly email as usual.
Leader: Jenny HillDriver: Tim Howard

Tuesday 1 May 2018AGM - 8pm at the Oxford Town HallTown Hall
The Annual General Meeting will be held at 8pm on Tuesday the 1st May in the St Aldateā€™s 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 24th April.
Contact: Jenny

Sunday 6 May 2018Nettle MowingAston's Eyot, Oxford
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This large 30 acre site is an 'island' bordered by the Thames, Cherwell New Cut and Shire Lake Ditch, just downstream from Christ Church Meadow. The land is owned by Christ Church College and is managed by an enthusiastic Friends group with some help from the Oxford City Council. We'll be working for, and with, the Friends to open up a large nettle-infested glade. The plan is to mow and rake the denser swaths of nettles; but to pull or dig them out where they're in competition with less vigorous but more floriferous plants. If you're a big fan of nettles this is probably not the task for you.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 13 May 2018Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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We're back to one of our favourite sites this week. We'll be helping the Reserve warden maintain the nationally important calcareous grassland habitat. At this time of year we might actually begin to see some of the rare plants that our work helps to protect. We could be helping out with fence and gate repairs, looking after one of the flocks of sheep, or doing whatever other maintenance jobs are required on the site. As usual everyone will be welcome and full details of the project and the meeting place will be given in the weekly email. If you've ever thought about getting more involved as an OCV task leader then this would be a great one to start with - contact Phil Hunter tasks@ocv.org.uk for more info.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 20 May 2018Fencing & Gate Relocation - Day 1Chilswell Valley, Oxford
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We were last in Chilswell Valley in September 2016. As then, 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 a wooded part of the valley to reroute a public access path, relocate a pedestrian gate, and replace a short but relatively complicated stretch of post and wire fencing. The fence will run down the south slope of the valley, cross the brook at the bottom, then run up the north slope, and we may need to dig in as many as five straining posts to accommodate the gate re-hang and changes in the direction of the fence-line. So that's the reason we'll be back next week to finish the job!
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 27 May 2018Fencing & Gate Relocation - Day 2Chilswell Valley, Oxford
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Day two of the fencing project at Chilswell Valley 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 a wooded part of the valley to reroute a public access path and reinstall a line of stock-proof fencing. Last Sunday we completed the fencing on the North side of the valley and the stretch that crosses the brook. Today we'll re-hang the pedestrian gate and install two more short stretches of wire fencing to either side of it. So we've still got a couple of straining posts and a gate-post to dig in.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 3 Jun 2018Path revetment and MaintenanceMatthew 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 is still in good shape and we replaced one of the revetments back in 2016. Today it's the turn of the other revetment. 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. We'll also be doing some landscaping to widen the path that runs along the top edge of the woodland.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Volunteer to drive

Tuesday 5 Jun 2018Committee Meeting 8pmTown Hall
The committee meets once a month in the Oxford Town Hall to make sure that the group operates smoothly.This month we're in the Jury Room - if you'd like to come along and see how we run things and perhaps get more involved, please feel free to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in the Royal Blenheim pub from about 9pm.
Contact: Jenny

Sunday 10 Jun 2018Bird Hide Repair and Site 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 but today we'll be concentrating on a repair of the recently vandalised bird hide. We'll add a kick board bottom centre, and replace two sections of wattle screen. There might also be some more stump-perches to install given that the proto-type installed on our last visit was an unqualified success.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Jo Gay

Sunday 17 Jun 2018Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our monthly return visit to this important National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns. It's a site that includes important chalk grassland grazed by flocks of sheep. 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. We're always looking for new task leaders (OCV depends on some volunteers being willing to lead) and an Aston Rowant task is a great opportunity to try it out under the supervision of one of the Natural England wardens, either Mick or Kate, who manage the site. Contact Phil at tasks@ocv.org.uk for more details.
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Sunday 24 Jun 2018Dry Srone Walling and Site MaintenanceDeddington Parish, North Oxfordshire
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Over previous summers we've spent many happy hours repairing the drystone wall that borders the entrance to the Deddington Castle site. There's just one more section to rebuild to complete the project, and that will be the focus of today's task. It's a short section but it needs reconstructing from the ground up in a way that knits neatly into the adjoining wall faces. So it might be a little tricky! At the time of writing there should be other work to do on site besides the wall work.
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Tuesday 3 Jul 2018Committee Meeting 8pmTown Hall
The committee meets once a month in the Oxford Town Hall to make sure that the group operates smoothly.This month we're in the Jury Room - if you'd like to come along and see how we run things and perhaps get more involved, please feel free to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in the Royal Blenheim pub from about 9pm.
Contact: Jenny