Task Programme

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Tuesday 23 May 2017Pub social - 7.30pmThe Turf Tavern
Join us for a beer or two at this iconic (if somewhat hard to find) Oxford pub. If the weather's nice we'll be sat outside. You don't have to be a regular volunteer to come to socials, and newcomers are particularly welcome to come and say hi. No need to tell us you're coming, it's fine to just turn up on the day, but feel free to contact chair@ocv.org.uk if you want us to look out for you. Hope to see you there!
Contact: Chris

Sunday 21 May 2017Reserve 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: Tim BletsoeDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 14 May 2017Dry Stone WallingRectory Farm Fields, Kidlington
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Today we'll crack on with the restoration of the dry stone walls that divide the site into discrete pastures and that provide an excellent habitat for a range of wildlife. That's in addition to the officially resident animal life: horses, and, last year, a couple of very inquisitive piglets. We'll be doing a short introduction to walling at the start of the day, so no experience is necessary. It's the kind of work that you learn by doing. But there is a kind of knack to it, so if you've done it before we will certainly need you!
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Chris Skepper

Sunday 7 May 2017Pond Work & 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, working on the damn that separates two of them, and removing invasive plant growth to 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.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Howard

Tuesday 2 May 2017Annual General Meeting at 8pmTown Hall
The Annual General Meeting will be held at 8pm on Tuesday the 2nd May in the Jury 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 25th April.
Contact: Ed

Sunday 30 Apr 2017Boardwalk Construction & Site Maintenance IIStansfeld Park, Oxford
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What precisely we tackle today (Sunday) will depend on how we got on yesterday. There may be more work to be done on the boardwalk as there's a freestanding handrail to add on either side of it. In any case, there's more than enough pendulous sedge in the woods and meadow areas to keep us busy. Another proposal is that we reclaim as much as we can of the materials that were used in the old adventure/activity area of the site (decking, railway sleepers, posts and poles) for reuse in the future. As ever, look out for details nearer the day posted via the OCV email list.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Saturday 29 Apr 2017Boardwalk Construction & Site Maintenance IStansfeld Park, Oxford
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Today sees one of our occasional Saturday tasks, the first of two consecutive days work at Stansfeld Park. 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/. There's plenty to do, and we'll focus on two main tasks: the first is to dismantle and replace a decayed 6 meter stretch of rotten boardwalk in the woods at the northern end of the site; the second is to begin removing extensive areas of pendulous sedge.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Alison Hopkin

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