Task Programme

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

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

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

Tuesday 4 Apr 2017Committee Meeting 8-9pmTown Hall
The committee meets once a month in the Oxford Town Hall to make sure that the group operates smoothly.This month we're in the Jury Room - if you'd like to come along and see how we run things and perhaps get more involved, please feel free to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in the Royal Blenheim pub from about 9pm.
Contact: Ed

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

Sunday 26 Mar 2017Dry Stone WallingDeddington Parish, North Oxfordshire
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Over previous years we've spent many happy hours hard labour on the drystone wall at the Deddington Castle site, and the plan for today is to start work on the final, most heavily overgrown section. We'll clear and then dismantle around three meters of half-collapsed wall, sort the stone, locate and prepare more material for the rebuilding, and lay the foundations. If there's enough of us, there's also work to do shifting cut and fallen timber from the ramparts on the eastern side of the site. As usual, we'll be working for Deddington Parish Council. Note that British Summer Time began at midnight last night! Oh yes, and it's Mothers' Day, that's OK - she can come too.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 19 Mar 2017Reserve 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 elementary bridge repairs.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Phil Hunter

Thursday 16 Mar 2017Pizza Social - 7pmPizzeria da Mario
A chance to enjoy the finest pizza in Oxford at Mario's on Cowley Road. There's also other traditional Italian food on the menu, including a great range of pasta dishes. Afterwards we'll probably go for a drink at The Star, so feel free to meet us there later if you prefer. You don't have to be a regular volunteer to come to a social - everyone is welcome. Let me know on socials@ocv.org.uk if you'll be coming so I know numbers for booking a table. Hope you can make it!
Contact: Chris

Sunday 12 Mar 2017Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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An early Spring 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 and 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! This is a big site so watch out for the weekly email for precise details as to the location of today's task.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Tim Howard

Tuesday 7 Mar 2017Committee Meeting 8-9pmTown Hall
The committee meets once a month in the Oxford Town Hall to make sure that the group operates smoothly.This month we're in the Jury Room - if you'd like to come along and see how we run things and perhaps get more involved, please feel free to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in the Royal Blenheim pub from about 9pm.
Contact: Ed

Sunday 5 Mar 2017Reserve MaintenanceTrap Grounds, Oxford
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Another day's work at the Trap Grounds, an extensive urban wildlife site in North Oxford. As usual, we'll be working alongside the Friends of The Trap Grounds on a range of seasonal jobs which at this time of year might include anything from bramble bashing, path maintenance, landscaping, or early season work on the meadow areas. There'll be more details posted nearer the day in the weekly OCV email.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 26 Feb 2017Site 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 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'). Precise details of the day's work will be circulated in the weekly email so make sure you're on the list!
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Tim Howard

Saturday 25 Feb 2017Post-task social - curry Chutneys, Indian restaurant
Join us at 18:00 for a curry at Chutneys Restaurant. You don't need to have been on the day's task (or ever been to one). Email enquiries@ocv.org.uk to book a place.
Contact: Tim

Saturday 25 Feb 2017Scrub 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, another occasional Saturday outing, 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. On a clear day there are extensive views across the surrounding landscape.
Leader: Jo HaydukDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 19 Feb 2017Reserve 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 travellers on the M40 for its huge numbers of red kites, this National Nature Reserve is owned and managed by Natural England for the benefit of wildlife and to maintain public access. We'll be helping out the wardens who manage it with the priority projects for this month whether it be scrub clearance, coppicing, or a little winter sheep work. Whichever, the work 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: Chris Skepper

Sunday 12 Feb 2017Hedge-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 stretch of their boundary hedge, last winter we laid the middle section (which looks in fine fettle) and today we'll complete the job. 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: Phil HunterDriver: Ray Hitchins

Tuesday 7 Feb 2017Committee Meeting 8-9pmTown Hall
The committee meets once a month in the Oxford Town Hall to make sure that the group operates smoothly.This month we're in the Jury Room - if you'd like to come along and see how we run things and perhaps get more involved, please feel free to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in the Royal Blenheim pub from about 9pm.
Contact: Ed

Sunday 5 Feb 2017Scrub BashingGrim'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: Jo HaydukDriver: Phil Hunter

Thursday 2 Feb 2017Pub Social 7pmThe Kings Arms, Broad Street
Join us for food or just for a drink at the King's Arms on Broad Street at 7pm. We'll be ordering food at 7pm and will stay around afterwards for a drink or several, so feel free to drop in whenever you want. You don't have to be a regular volunteer to come to socials. Email chair@ocv.org.uk for more information, or if you're new and want us to keep a look out for you.
Contact: Chris

Sunday 29 Jan 2017Conservation LandscapingTrap 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. 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. The plan for today is to begin landscaping one of these corners. Come and have a go at some urban re-wilding!
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Chris Skepper