Task Programme

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Sunday 23 Jul 2017Site MaintenanceStansfeld Park, Oxford
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Stansfeld Park in Headington Quarry, Oxford 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. We'll be working for the Oxford Trust who have taken on the job of rejuvenating the site partly as a local amenity and partly as an educational resource. 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: Phil Hunter

Sunday 16 Jul 2017Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our regular monthly visit 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: Tim BletsoeDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 9 Jul 2017Fen Cutting and 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. The Friends of Lye Valley have been making constant improvements and the results are impressive - come and see for yourself. This Sunday we'll be on, and possibly in, the north fen. As last week, if there's been rain, you'll need wellies.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Ray Hitchins

Tuesday 4 Jul 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 Jul 2017Fen Cutting and 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. Today we'll work on the south fen. 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: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Evans

Sunday 25 Jun 2017Reserve 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. 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: Tim BletsoeDriver: Tim Howard

Tuesday 20 Jun 2017Punting social 7pmCherwell Boat House
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Join us for a traditional Summer activity for Oxford and OCV: punting on the river. Meet at the Cherwell Boat House at 7pm. Bring food and drink for a picnic and money for punt hire and we'll head up the river. Everyone welcome as usual. Contact chair@ocv.org.uk for more information.
Contact: Chris

Sunday 18 Jun 2017Boardwalk ConstructionRivermead Nature Park
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Rivermead Nature Park is a small 3 hectare site owned by Oxford City Council. It nestles between Rose Hill, the Oxford eastern Bypass and the river Thames, and it's one of the three sites originally nominated for special attention under the Wild Oxford initiative (search 'rivermead wild oxford' for more info, and the detailed reports on the site by ecologist Judy Webb). We'll spend today building a low-rise 10 meter boardwalk to traverse a poorly drained section of path that is more often a mud slide than a secure footway.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 11 Jun 2017Reserve MaintenanceShotover Country Park, Oxford
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Another task working 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 efforts have been made to maintain and reinstate areas of this important habitat. The plan at time of writing is to work on the south-facing heathland in Mary Sadler's Field. As usual, we'll be alongside members of Shotover Wildlife. Further details of today's task will be announced in the weekly email so make sure you're on the mailing list!
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Phil Hunter

Tuesday 6 Jun 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 4 Jun 2017Dry Stone WallingEnstone Sports and Social Club, Near Enstone, Oxfordshire
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Please note the change from the advertised task at Sydling's Copse! One consequence of the cold, dry spell earlier in the spring is that the bracken has grown on much less strongly than expected, and what there is in piecemeal patches dotted around the heath. There isn't enough to keep us busy for a whole day, so we'll switch tasks and travel up to Enstone to carry out repairs on two short lengths of dry stone wall at the local sports ground. We were last here in 2015 to do a similar job - see the galley photos for some idea of what's involved.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 28 May 2017Access Construction WorkHeyford Meadow Nature Reserve
A new site for OCV. The meadow is hard by the Thames just North of Sandford and was bequeathed to the Oxford Preservation Trust in 2006. OPT has managed the site since with spectacular results. It's now a mixed habitat with meadow, wetland, ponds, and woodland. We've been tasked to improve the access at the northern end of the site. We'll relocate a pedestrian gate, make adjustments to some post and rail fencing, and install a short stretch of gravel pathway.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Phil Hunter

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