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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 enquiries@ocv.org.uk

Sunday 3 Jul 2022 – Ragwort Pulling at Old Manor Stables Letcombe Bassett

Letcombe Bassett is a small village south west of Wantage. The village, and the down lands that rise immediately behind it, lie within the northern boundary of the North Wessex Downs -- a designated area of outstanding natural beauty. The chalk geology, and in particular, the grass habitat it supports are essential to the flora and fauna that depend upon it. The local landowners, and their tenants, voluntarily take on the responsibility of maintaining the ecology unique to the environment in which they live and work. To that end, we've been asked by a local race horse trainer to help control ragwort in a small, shallow comb half way up the face of the down, not far from the Ridgeway Long Distance Path. We'll aim to clear two distinct paddocks in an area grazed by livestock that will help keep the balance of the local flower population without the need for the extensive use of herbicide.

  • Leader: Dariusz Maton
  • Driver: Phil Hunter
Tuesday 5 Jul 2022 – Committee meeting - 8pm at Oxford Town Hall
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The committee meets once a month to make sure that the group operates smoothly. Meetings are held in the town hall and we'll be in the Jury room. You don't need to be a committee member to join us, but please email secretary@ocv.org.uk if you'd like more information. We'll probably go for a drink after the meeting also.

  • Contact: Jenny
Sunday 10 Jul 2022 – Reserve Maintenance at Aston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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The Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns is managed by Natural England and, as usual, we'll be working under the guidance of one of the site wardens. This is often the best time of year to appreciate the flowers natural to the chalk grassland habitat, the main feature of the reserve. Recent tasks here have seen us 'popping' hawthorn and birch on the chalk slopes of Bald Hill. Details of today's 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. 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 wardens. Contact Phil at tasks@ocv.org.uk for more details.

  • Leader: Jenny Hill
  • Driver: Tom Bulford
Sunday 17 Jul 2022 – Orchard Mow and Rake at North Hinksey Nature Reserve
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This is an urban reserve, owned and managed by the local parish council, with an unusually complex mixture of habitats in a relatively small space -- a real gem. The main task today will be to mow and rake the orchard, which occupies roughly one half of the site. We'll use our set of scythes and raft the cut stuff to a dump site on tarps. There will be full details in the weekly task email as usual.

  • Leader: Dariusz Maton
  • Driver: Phil Hunter
Sunday 24 Jul 2022 – Site Maintenance at Jubilee 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, a classical example of a traditional water meadow environment, lying between the rivers Glyme and Dorn. The plan for today involves a mixture of maintenance jobs: there's a gate post to install; the remnants of a redundant post and wire fence to remove that we didn't finish off on our last visit; some reed cutting; and some ragwort pulling. So, pretty much something for everyone.

Sunday 31 Jul 2022 – Scrub Control at Burgess 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. We'll be ranging over the open grassland areas to remove, or, where possible, to 'pop' young hawthorn, rose, and bramble before it can begin to settle in. On these occasions nothing is too small to notice. Make sure you've signed up to the OCV mailing list to receive further details in the task email.

Sunday 7 Aug 2022 – Ragwort Pulling at Old Manor Stables Letcombe Bassett

If you were with us here at the beginning of July, then you'll know what to expect. Pulling more ragwort is the long and the short of it. Some find it best to do it by (gloved) hand with a gentle but firm twist of the wrist at the very base of the stalk, others prefer the technical assistance of a ragwort fork. Either way, the idea is to make sure that the root system comes out with the stalk. It's pretty low tech but there's a definite knack to doing it well. The aim is to clear the site as well as we can to prevent further spread and to minimise the potential risk to the livestock kept hereabouts.

Sunday 14 Aug 2022 – Reserve Maintenance at Aston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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This National Nature Reserve is an OCV favourite. It's set on the chalk slopes that mark the western boundary of the Chiltern Hills. The sheep-cropped grass that covers the chalk is an ideal wild flower habitat. As usual at Aston Rowant we'll be working with one of the wardens. Full details of what we'll be doing, and where and when to meet, will be in the weekly task email as usual, so make sure you've signed up to the OCV mailing list.

Sunday 21 Aug 2022 – Meadow Mow & Rake at Iffley Island, Oxford
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A traditional OCV task for high summer: our regular cut of this SSSI by the Thames, on behalf of the Oxford Preservation Trust. Despite its name the site is not quite an island, but there are houseboats on an inlet to one side and the open river to another. We’ll cut the sedge and reeds and rake the cuttings off so they won’t enrich the soil. The end result is beneficial to the wild flowers on the site, and, in particular, to the fritillaries hereabouts. If the sun shines this is one of the high-lights of the OCV calendar. As last year we’ll be using our set of Austrian Scythes. Look out for more details in the task email.

Sunday 28 Aug 2022 – Grass Raking at St Mary's Fields, Kidlington, Oxfordshire
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As last summer, we'll be working with the determined group of locals 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 with plenty of excellent home made cake to keep you going into the afternoon. As last year, we'll be using tarpaulins to raft the mown cuttings to the compost dumps.