Task Programme

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Sunday 19 Nov 2017Scrub BashingIsland 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. This will be our third visit in as many years to help them keep in check the dense barrier of blackthorn that borders two sides of the site.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Ed Polehampton

Saturday 18 Nov 2017Reserve MaintenanceTrap Grounds, Oxford
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A Saturday at The Trap Grounds usually involves a mix of conservation work: coppicing, pond-work, bramble bashing, tree-planting, and, given the Grounds history as a town dump, the exhumation of some extraordinary junk. As usual, we'll be working with the ever enthusiastic Friends of The Trap Grounds. Watch out for more details via the general mailing list nearer the day.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 12 Nov 2017CoppicingBrasenose Wood, Oxford
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A return to Brasenose Wood. We'll continue the work we began last winter and, as then, we'll be working with Shotover Wildlife who have been trialling a high-cut coppice regime. This is a technique designed to compensate for the problems caused by deer who graze on the tender regrowth of newly coppiced stools. The wood is a designated SSSI, diverse in species, a great place for bird song, and a rich habitat for a wide diversity of wildlife. We'll also look to harvest hazel stakes and binders for hedge-laying later in the year.
Leader: Tim EvansDriver: Tim Howard

Tuesday 7 Nov 2017Committee 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 5 Nov 2017Reserve MaintenanceStansfeld Park, Oxford
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November 5th. Gunpowder, treason, and plot? Probably not. But a decent bonfire is a racing certainty. Today sees us back at Stansfeld Park to continue work on the rejuvenation of the 18 acre site that includes woodland, ponds, and meadow grass. We'll work for the Oxford Trust, who have taken on the job of developing the site as a combined innovation and science education centre, and as a new space for the local community to enjoy. By arrangement with Dr. Roger Baker (The Trust's Educational Support Officer) we hope to involve local families in today's task - everyone's welcome!
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 29 Oct 2017Reserve 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's wardens, and, again as usual, the details will be announced in the weekly OCV email. 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. 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's wardens, so today would be a great opportunity to try it out. Note that British Summer Time ended last night!
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Phil Hunter

Saturday 28 Oct 2017Reserve MaintenanceTrap Grounds, Oxford
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Another Saturday task at 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 be working in collaboration with the Trap Grounds Friends. On our last visit in September we cut down several large willows in the reed bed. One of the things we'll do today is set a bonfire to burn the brash. There may also be some seasonal bramble bashing.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Chris Skepper

Sunday 22 Oct 2017Fen Raking II (North Fen)Lye Valley, Oxford
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Day two in Lye Valley. Whichever fen we raked last Sunday, today we'll rake the other one! At the time of writing that should be the larger north fen. Check the general task 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, you'll need wellies even if there's been no rain.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Ray Hitchins

Sunday 15 Oct 2017Fen Raking I (South Fen)Lye Valley, Oxford
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Today is the first of two days work in Lye Valley, Headington. The early autumn cut of both fens in the valley, the north fen and the south fen, is the major cut of the year. The plan is for Oxford City Council to do most of the cutting and we'll do the clearing, with help from the Friends of Lye Valley. What the Council can't 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.) At the time of writing we'll be working on the south fen first (that's the fen with no public access by the golf course) but check the weekly email for confirmation, so make sure you're on the OCV mailing list! Wellies recommended.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 8 Oct 2017Scrub BashingCrecy Hill LWS, Tackley, Oxfordshire
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Created in 1997, Crecy Hill Local Nature Reserve is a County Wildlife Site and Local Nature Reserve in Tackley, ten miles north of Oxford. The reserve is sited on the slope of a railway embankment with views across the open, rolling countryside opposite. We'll spend the day cutting back and burning extensive scrub to open up the paths and restore access to the site for both local people and the cattle that will be put to graze over the winter.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Ed Polehampton

Tuesday 3 Oct 2017Committee 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 1 Oct 2017Reserve MaintenanceAston's Eyot, Oxford
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As far as we can tell, the first OCV task took place on October 2nd 1977, which makes today's task, as near as possible, our 40th anniversary. There may be cake. To mark the occasion we'll be working on a site in Oxford that predates us by something like 600 years. See the Aston's Eyot Friends website for more info: (http://friendsofastonseyot.org.uk/). One ex-OCV volunteer worked here back in 1981 on a tree planting project and, in his own words, 'now those trees are an urban forest. The group's work has lasting value in the scale of a person's life and possibly in the scale of Oxford history.' If there are any other OCV old-timers out there it would be great to see you at today's task! The 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 the southern end of the Shire Lake Ditch at the point where it meets the Thames. It's likely to be mucky, smelly, and wet so bring wellingtons. If the water levels turn out to be too high, then we'll pollard and coppice nearby willows.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 24 Sep 2017Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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It may be that we've had a problem with the circulation of our general email list this week. But today's task will go ahead as advertised here, with the minibus pick-ups in Oxford as usual. We'll be cutting scrub on the slopes to mantain the chalk grass-land. 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.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Tim Howard

Saturday 23 Sep 2017Reserve MaintenanceTrap 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 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: Volunteer to drive

Sunday 17 Sep 2017Site MaintenanceStansfeld Park, Oxford
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The Oxford Trust are pressing on with the rejuvenation of Stansfeld and it's likely that today we'll be mowing and raking the grassland areas of the site and cutting back extensive areas of scrub. There's a good chance that today will see the first bonfire of the season - a significant moment in the OCV calendar.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Tim Howard

Thursday 14 Sep 2017Burger Social 7pmAtomic Burger, Cowley Road
Join us for a burger at Atomic Burger on Cowley Road in Oxford. It's highly recommended for its unique menu and style. Everyone's welcome, even if you're not a regular on tasks, but just want to find out about OCV. If you'd like to come then please email chair@ocv.org.uk so that we can book a table for the right number of people.
Contact: Chris

Sunday 10 Sep 2017Reed & Bramble CuttingSimon'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. This will be our second visit of the summer. We'll knock back any re-growth in the reed bed and, after grazing on blackberries, tackle the large bramble patch that borders the upstream side of the site. As before, we'll be working on behalf of the Oxford Preservation Trust. It'll be wet underfoot so bring wellies!
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Volunteer to drive

Tuesday 5 Sep 2017Committee 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 3 Sep 2017Grass RakingSt Mary's Fields, Kidlington, Oxfordshire
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As last summer, we'll be working with the determined group of volunteers who maintain this popular conservation area owned 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: Tim EvansDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 27 Aug 2017Platform Construction IIRivermead Nature Park
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Today we'll finish what we started yesterday! If you worked on the boardwalk in June, or on our other recent construction jobs in Lye Valley, you'll be familiar with the materials we'll be using: recycled plastic rather than treated timber. It can be tough on saws and drills but should last until kingdom come. The platform extension and ramp is all on dry land, but the dipping platform will involve some work in the pond itself so we'll provide thigh and chest waders.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Phil Hunter