Task Programme

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These are our forthcoming events. Details of pick up times and locations are on our FAQ and we send out an email during the week before each task on our Mailing List. For any other questions please contact

Sunday 25 Oct 2020Fen Raking II (North Fen)Lye Valley, Oxford
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Day two in Lye Valley. Today we'll be working on the larger north fen with public access from the Slade. As well as the raking it's likely that we'll be working to control the flow of the central water course that runs through the valley by using the natural materials to hand. OCV have been involved with the Lye Valley Nature Reserve for many years, and we're now involved as part of the BBOWT Wild Oxford Project (see bbowt.org.uk for details). 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. By the way, British Summer time ended last night!
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Tom Bulford

Sunday 1 Nov 2020Scrub ClearanceCrecy Hill LWS, Tackley, Oxfordshire
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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. A couple of visits over the summer saw us beginning to get the upper hand over the dense scrub on site. We also saw the fantastic potential the site has as a wild flower haven, so the plan is to get back there this winter to establish a stable, manageable balance between the scrub and the grassland. As with all our out of town tasks at the moment, and in line with out Covid-safe policies, we're not using the minibus to transport volunteers, so you'll have to make your own way there. Watch out for the weekly task email which will give all the details. In the meantime you can check out the location maps on the reserve page on our website. Note that there is ample parking on site.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Volunteer to drive

Tuesday 3 Nov 2020Committee meetingTown Hall
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The committee meets once a month to make sure that the group operates smoothly. Normally meetings are held in the town hall but for the time being these have been moved online. You don't need to be a committee member to join us, please email secretary@ocv.org.uk for details of how to join the call.
Contact: Jenny

Sunday 8 Nov 2020Woodland 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 own the site, to manage the woods in line with a long-term plan to open up the ground floor to more light, cut back the thicker areas of scrub, keep the paths open, and do some ad hoc DIY plumbing using the materials at hand to enhance the wetland habitat. Some of us may be working near, even in, the woodland ponds, in which case wellingtons will be useful. Wherever you find yourself working there should be plenty of room to maintain our two-meter social distancing requirement.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Volunteer to drive

Saturday 14 Nov 2020Fen and Pond WorkLouie Memorial Fields, North Hinksey, Oxford
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Here's another of our occasional Saturday tasks. Recently, for the first time anyone can remember, and primarily because of our Covid-safe policies, we've had to turn volunteers away from a couple of tasks -- which is galling! So the idea is to programme more occasional saturday tasks in the hope that our volunteer numbers will be strong enough to support two tasks across one weekend. There's no lack of work that needs to be done, so we'll see how things go. The fen alongside the Louie Memorial Fields has similar geology to the fens nearby at North Hinksey and Raleigh Park. All three are fed by natural springs and all three have great potential as relatively rare wildflower and wildlife habitats. A month or so ago we cut the central fen area. Today we'll do some follow up work on the scrub at the top of the fen and on the encroaching willows. If left to themselves the willows will eventually suck the fen dry and the habitat will be lost. So we'll pollard one of the large trees close to the middle of the fen, remove self-seeded saplings, and cut back some of the fallen willow at the bottom of the fen. If there are enough of us on the day, we'll also have a team dredging reeds and rushes from the small pond at the bottom of the site. It's likely to be wet, even if you're not working in the pond, so bring wellingtons.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Volunteer to drive

Sunday 15 Nov 2020Reserve MaintenanceJubilee Fields and Long Meadow, Wootton, West Oxfordshire
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We're out of town today, in West Oxfordshire, at one of our favourite sites about an hour's cyling time from central Oxford. The 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 rural site that lies between the rivers Glyme and Dorn. This time last year we cut back a wide swath of scrub along the ridge on the south side of the site that borders the main footpath continuous with Top Lane. The plan for today is to extend the work further onto the more open slopes to the southeast. There's likely to be a bonfire. This is a big site, so make sure you're on the OCV mailing list for full details in the weekly task email of where exactly we'll be working.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Dan Moden

Sunday 22 Nov 2020Reserve 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 dogwood, hawthorn, and bramble to benefit the grasses, flowers, and junipers special to the chalk geology. As usual, we’ll be working with Steph, one of the Nautral England 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. So if you’re interested please contact Phil Hunter via tasks@ocv.org.uk. Again, at the time of writing, given our Covid-safe policies, it’s probable that we won’t be using the OCV minibus to transport volunteers. So, if you can, please make your own way to the site. Look out for detailed directions in the weekly task email. We’re back in Oxford next Saturday.
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Saturday 28 Nov 2020Tree-PlantingTrap Grounds, Oxford
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Today sees another of our occasional Saturday tasks at one of Oxford's best urban wildlife sites. The Trap Grounds consists of a mosaic of diverse habitats. Earlier in the year we helped prepare for significant improvements to the main water course that feeds the reed bed and ponds. Today we'll be working to ensure the long-term prospects of the tree population by planting a variety of saplings along the site's western edge.
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Sunday 29 Nov 2020Scrub ClearanceCrecy Hill LWS, Tackley, Oxfordshire
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Our second visit of the month to Crecy Hill. Once again we'll be opening up discrete areas in the dense combo of srcub - mainly hawthorn, rose, and bramble. The idea is to create bays in the dense cover that runs along the top and bottom of the site, and to keep the paths clear and accessible not only for walkers, but for the cattle that will graze the site over the winter and, hopefully, nibble down the regrowth that will sprout in the spring. We're back on home ground next week.
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Tuesday 1 Dec 2020Committee meetingTown Hall
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The committee meets once a month to make sure that the group operates smoothly. Normally meetings are held in the town hall but for the time being these have been moved online. You don't need to be a committee member to join us, please email secretary@ocv.org.uk for details of how to join the call.
Contact: Jenny

Sunday 6 Dec 2020Site Maintenance &Tree-PlantingStansfeld 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, woodland, scrub, ponds, and wetland. We'll be working for the Oxford Trust who have rejuvenated the site partly as a local amenity and educational resource, partly as a hub for science and tech commercial start-ups. It's a state of the art development and well worth coming to have a look. Today's task will involve, among other things, some tree-planting under the guidance of Roger Baker, the centre's Outdoor Learning and Ecology Manager. Search online for more on Stansfeld Park under the management of The Oxford Trust.
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Sunday 13 Dec 2020Scrub ControlBurgess Field Nature Park, North Oxford
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Burgess Field Nature Park is another Oxford nature reserve that used to be a city landfill site. It's large - 8.5 hectares of more or less open ground, right next-door to Port Meadow. The land is owned by the City Council, but the hands-on management is kept up by a local Friends group with occasional help from OCV. Given its location the site has huge conservation and recreational potential, and today we'll be working up at the northern end of the site to check the advance of invasive scrub. We hope to have a couple of tree-poppers on today's task (and no, a tree-popper is neither an OCV volunteer, nor an inhalant). Details, as usual, in the weekly OVC task email.
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Sunday 20 Dec 2020Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our final task of the year brings us back to Aston Rowant, one of our favourite sites perched on the cusp of the Chilterns. It's more likely than not that we'll be working on the grassland slopes, but watch out for full details of what we'll be doing, and where we'll be doing it, in the weekly task email. We usually manage a seasonal lunchtime treat on occasions like this. Previous bonfire-baked delights that come to mind include potatoes, parsnips, chestnuts, and, less appetisingly perhaps, marsh-mallows. A lot depends on who volunteers to lead, and whether he or she can work out a way of doing things compatible with our Covid-safe prohibition on sharing food. So no pressure there!
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Sunday 27 Dec 2020Christmas Break
No task today - Yo ho ho! Happy Christmas to everyone who's turned out for OCV this year. See you again soon.
Contact: unknown