Task Programme

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Tuesday 2 Jan 2018Committee meeting 8pm - CANCELLEDTown 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. **MEETING CANCELLED THIS MONTH**
Contact: Ed

Sunday 7 Jan 2018Woodland 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 now manage the site. At the end of last year a significant amount of hanging and accidentally fallen timber in the main woodland area was made safe. Today we'll move in to finish the job by hauling out large boughs, cutting down brash, creating log-pile habitats, and restoring the paths. Note that we'll be working in some of the woodland ponds and wetland areas, so bring wellingtons!
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Dan Moden

Saturday 13 Jan 2018Ragwort PullingManor Stables, North Hinksey, Oxford
We've pulled ragwort before, but never in the dead of winter! Today's Saturday task is by special arrangement with the Ferry Hinksey Trust. The Trust owns the land at Manor Stables and can raise income for other charities by letting them out for grazing. They have a prospective tenant, but there's a problem - a significant amount of standing dead ragwort, which, if eaten, is poisonous to horses. Which is where we come in. If we can pull the ragwort then everyone benefits. Many hands really will make this light work.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Dan Moden

Sunday 14 Jan 2018Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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We've had a little trouble with the general email list this week. If you haven't had the email from Tim, we'll be scrub bashing. Meet at the Natural England site office roundabout 10 a.m. Our first visit of the year to this National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns which commands extensive views across the Oxford plain. Tasks at this time of year usually involve coppicing woodland, or tackling the hawthorn, bramble and scrub that encroach on the chalk grassland slopes. Make sure you're on the OCV mailing list for detailed information nearer the day. 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. So 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 wardens, so today would be a great opportunity to try it out.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Tim Howard

Friday 19 Jan 2018 -
Sunday 21 Jan 2018
Reserve ResidentialMoccas Park NNR, Herefordshire
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Another of our occasional weekend trips away from Oxford. As last winter, we'll be travelling out west again to work on a new woodland plantation with Bob Silverwood, an old friend of OCV from his time at Aston Rowant. We'll be working with him to plant trees at Moccas Hill Wood, a wood pasture restoration site adjacent to Moccas Park National Nature Reserve. All of the trees have been grown in an on site tree nursery from seeds collected from the ancient trees in the deer park. We will also be building protective guards around each tree, some simple with posts and weld mesh, others more grand and decorative with oak and chestnut to mimic the Mediaeval style fencing around the deer park. We'll drive out on Friday evening, work Saturday and Sunday, then drive back to Oxford on Sunday evening. The plan at the time of writing is to arrange two nights' accommodation in Hay-on-Wye (details to follow). Residentials are open to all OCV members, so contact membership@ocv.org.uk to make sure you are a member, save the date, and we'll let you know when we start accepting bookings.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Ed Polehampton

Sunday 28 Jan 2018Site 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 fencing repairs. Keep an eye out for the task email posted via the general email list sometime in the week preceding.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Chris Skepper

Thursday 1 Feb 2018Curry Social 7pmMajliss Indian Restaurant
Join us for some excellent Indian food at this highly recommended restaurant on Cowley Road. You don't have to be a regular volunteer to come along, everyone is welcome, and it's a great way of finding out about OCV or getting more involved. Email chair@ocv.org.uk if you'd like to come, so we book a table for the right number of people. Afterwards we'll probably go for a drink or two at a nearby pub, probably at The Star or The Cape of Good Hope, so feel free to catch up with us there if you prefer.
Contact: Chris

Sunday 4 Feb 2018Willow PollardingAston's Eyot, Oxford
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Aston's Eyot is a large 30 acre site, literally speaking an island (hence 'Eyot') 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 pollard willows on the bank of the Shire Lake Ditch, south of the Kidney's entrance (see the Friend's Path Map via the link on our Reserves Page).
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Howard

Tuesday 6 Feb 2018Committee 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 11 Feb 2018Scrub BashingAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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This week we make our February visit to one of our favourite sites in the Chiltern Hills. A land-mark for travellers on the M40 and well-known for its huge numbers of red kites, this National Nature Reserve is owned and managed by Natural England. We'll be doing some scrub bashing along the old hollow ways that cut across the grassland, and burning what we cut. We're always looking for volunteers to lead tasks. If you'd like to help out, then this would be a good one to start with. If you're interested contact Phil at tasks@ocv.org.uk.
Leader: Tim EvansDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 18 Feb 2018Pond WorkStansfeld Park, Oxford
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On this visit to Stansfeld we'll be working to re-establish two lined ponds to the northwest of what was the recreation field - not, notice, the large ponds on the other side of the field in the woods. The plan is to create a newt habitat. The old liners will need to be removed before we can do some pond-scaping. Then we'll lay down the new liners. We'll be working with Dr. Roger Baker (The Oxford Trust's Educational Support Officer) who is organizing the conservation work on site prior to its re-dedication as a combined innovation and science education centre.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Ray Hitchins

Sunday 25 Feb 2018Scrub BashingSwyncombe Estate, South Oxfordshire
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Swyncombe Estate consists of over 600 acres of high, mature beech woodland and chalk grassland in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding National Beauty. Today we'll be cutting scrub on Sliding Hill, the western extension of Swyncombe Down, just south of the village of Watlington. This will help maintain the unimproved chalk grassland and hence the wild flower species special to the Chiltern hills. It's an exposed location. On a clear day there are extensive 180 degree views over the surrounding landscape, and on a windy day in winter, despite a bonfire, it can be bitterly cold - so wrap up warm!
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Dan Moden

Tuesday 27 Feb 2018OCV Social 2018 #2Everest Nepalese Restaurant
Come join us for a mid-week meal and drinks at Everest Nepalese! Joined with The Donnington Arms on Howard St., you'll find the best of both worlds rolled into one. There's plenty of choice on the menu, whether you're into spice or not, and vegetarians and vegans are also catered for. See the full menu on the website. You don't have to be a regular volunteer to come along. Everyone is welcome, and it's a great way of finding out more about OCV if you're thinking of getting involved. Email socials@ocv.org.uk if you'd like to come, to give us an idea of numbers beforehand. Exact time to be confirmed on booking, but likely to be around 19:00/19:30. Hope to see you there!
Contact: Jamie

Sunday 4 Mar 2018TASK CANCELLED DUE TO THE WEATHER!Aston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Storm Emma meets 'the beast from the east' - so our early Spring visit to this National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns has been cancelled.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Howard

Tuesday 6 Mar 2018Committee 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

Saturday 10 Mar 2018Reserve MaintenanceTrap Grounds, Oxford
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The Trap Grounds is a small pocket of the countryside in the middle of urban north Oxford hard by the canal. It's managed by an enthusiastic volunteer group (The Friends of The Trap Grounds) and includes a range of habitats: woodland, ponds, reed-beds, and areas of meadow and marsh. Today, Saturday, the first of two consecutive days work here, we'll team up with Outdoor Lads - the gay outdoor pursuits group. We always have plenty to do at the Trap Grounds and this weekend will be no different. You can expect to be tree-planting, bramble-digging, pond-wading, even landscaping. The details will be circulated nearer the day, so make sure you're on the OCV mailing list!
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 11 Mar 2018Reserve MaintenanceTrap Grounds, Oxford
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The second of two days at The Trap Grounds. Today, Sunday, we'll be joined by a working party made up of the Friends themselves. We'll push on with any work still in hand from yesterday. This will be the final opportunity to effect serious change in the woodland areas before the nesting season begins. For more information on the site, including a diary of sightings, see the Friends website via the link on our Trap Grounds Reserve Page.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Ed Polehampton

Sunday 18 Mar 2018Hedge Laying **CANCELLED DUE TO SNOW**Rectory Farm Fields, Kidlington
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The plan today is to do some more work on the hedge-line at Rectory Farm Fields. We were last here at the very end of 2017 and today we'll look to lay, stake and bind some more sections of hedge. Although it's late in the season for this kind of work, we've checked that there's no bird nesting activity yet - so we'll not be resorting to the back-up plan of dry stone wall repairs.
Leader: Tim EvansDriver: Chris Skepper

Sunday 25 Mar 2018Site Maintenance & Pond WorkMilham 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 working in the ponds under the direction of freelance ecologist Judy Webb to dredge invasive plant growth and 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. Note that British Summer Time began last night!
Leader: Jenny HillDriver: Chris Skepper

Thursday 29 Mar 2018OCV March SocialThe Fir Tree
Come join us for a mid-week meal and drinks at The Fir Tree! It's on Iffley Road, just opposite the turn for one of our regular sites, Aston's Eyot. It's got great reviews and they claim to have an extensive pizza menu, so if you're up for a slice or three then feel free to come along. We'll meet there at about 19:30 on Thursday 29th March. Exact time to be confirmed on booking - I'll keep you posted if anything changes. You don't have to be a regular volunteer to come; everyone is welcome, and it's a great way of finding out more about OCV if you're thinking of getting involved. Email socials@ocv.org.uk if you'd like to come, to give us an idea of numbers beforehand. Hope to see you there!
Contact: Jamie

Sunday 1 Apr 2018Easter Day - A Day Off!
There are at least two good reasons for this day off: it's Easter Sunday; and it gives our hard-pressed band of leaders and drivers a welcome break. If you think you could help out either by leading tasks or by driving for us please get in touch, you'll be welcomed with open arms. Contact Phil at tasks@ocv.org.uk for more details. It's also April Fools' Day - but that's got nothing to do with it.
 

Tuesday 3 Apr 2018Committee 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: Jenny

Sunday 8 Apr 2018Site 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, stone 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'). We'll be working with Roger Baker, the Trust's Outdoor Learning and Ecology Manager. Precise details of the day's work will be circulated in the weekly email (so make sure you're on the list!) but at the time of writing we'll be doing some planting and dealing with fallen timber brought down by the heavy snowfall at the end of last year.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 15 Apr 2018Site Maintenance & FencingJubilee 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. It's usually the case on this site that we have a selection of jobs to tackle, but the main task today will be to continue the fence repairs that we began back in January. Keep an eye out for the task email posted via the general email list sometime in the week preceding.
Leader: David MaxDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 22 Apr 2018Fen Cutting and 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: Ray Hitchins

Sunday 29 Apr 2018Reserve 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: Jenny HillDriver: Tim Howard

Tuesday 1 May 2018AGM - 8pm at the Oxford Town HallTown Hall
The Annual General Meeting will be held at 8pm on Tuesday the 1st May in the St Aldate’s 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 24th April.
Contact: Jenny

Sunday 6 May 2018Nettle MowingAston's Eyot, Oxford
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This 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 a large nettle-infested glade. The plan is to mow and rake the denser swaths of nettles; but to pull or dig them out where they're in competition with less vigorous but more floriferous plants. If you're a big fan of nettles this is probably not the task for you.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 13 May 2018Reserve 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: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 20 May 2018Fencing & Gate Relocation - Day 1Chilswell Valley, Oxford
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We were last in Chilswell Valley in September 2016. As then, today's task has been arranged in collaboration with BBOWT as part of their 'Wild Oxford' conservation project (for more info. See http://www.bbowt.org.uk/wildoxford). We'll be working in a wooded part of the valley to reroute a public access path, relocate a pedestrian gate, and replace a short but relatively complicated stretch of post and wire fencing. The fence will run down the south slope of the valley, cross the brook at the bottom, then run up the north slope, and we may need to dig in as many as five straining posts to accommodate the gate re-hang and changes in the direction of the fence-line. So that's the reason we'll be back next week to finish the job!
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 27 May 2018Fencing & Gate Relocation - Day 2Chilswell Valley, Oxford
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Day two of the fencing project at Chilswell Valley arranged in collaboration with BBOWT as part of their 'Wild Oxford' conservation project (for more info. See http://www.bbowt.org.uk/wildoxford). We'll be working in a wooded part of the valley to reroute a public access path and reinstall a line of stock-proof fencing. Last Sunday we completed the fencing on the North side of the valley and the stretch that crosses the brook. Today we'll re-hang the pedestrian gate and install two more short stretches of wire fencing to either side of it. So we've still got a couple of straining posts and a gate-post to dig in.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 3 Jun 2018Path revetment and MaintenanceMatthew Arnold Field, Oxford
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Another day's work on Boars Hill. This time on the southern side of the hill in a wood just below Mathew Arnold Field on a site owned by the Oxford Preservation Trust. We've worked here before on a boardwalk and a couple of path revetments. The boardwalk is still in good shape and we replaced one of the revetments back in 2016. Today it's the turn of the other revetment. We'll set plank boards into the bank below the path, drive in half-posts, nail posts to boards, then back fill to repair erosion and support the pathway. We'll also be doing some landscaping to widen the path that runs along the top edge of the woodland.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Ray Hitchins

Tuesday 5 Jun 2018Committee 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: Jenny

Sunday 10 Jun 2018Bird Hide Repair and Site MaintenanceTrap Grounds, Oxford
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The Trap Grounds is a small pocket of the countryside in the middle of urban north Oxford hard by the canal. It's managed by an enthusiastic volunteer group and includes woodland, ponds, reed-beds, and areas of meadow and marsh. There's usually a variety of conservation tasks to keep us busy here but today we'll be concentrating on a repair of the recently vandalised bird hide. We'll add a kick board bottom centre, and replace two sections of wattle screen. There might also be some more stump-perches to install given that the proto-type installed on our last visit was an unqualified success.
Leader: Tim EvansDriver: Jo Gay

Sunday 17 Jun 2018Reserve 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. 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. 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 who manage the site. Contact Phil at tasks@ocv.org.uk for more details.
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 24 Jun 2018Dry Stone Walling and Site MaintenanceDeddington Parish, North Oxfordshire
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Over previous summers we've spent many happy hours repairing the drystone wall that borders the entrance to the Deddington Castle site. There's just one more section to rebuild to complete the project, and that will be the focus of today's task. It's a short section but it needs reconstructing from the ground up in a way that knits neatly into the adjoining wall faces. So it might be a little tricky! At the time of writing there should be other work to do on site besides the wall work.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Ray Hitchins

Sunday 1 Jul 2018Fen Cutting & Raking Day 1Lye Valley, Oxford
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Lye Valley is one of three specially designated conservation sites in the 'Wild Oxford' BBOWT project (for more information see http://www.bbowt.org.uk/wildoxford). 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: Tim BletsoeDriver: Ed Polehampton

Tuesday 3 Jul 2018Committee 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: Jenny

Sunday 8 Jul 2018Fen Cutting & Raking Day 2Lye 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: Jenny HillDriver: Dan Moden

Sunday 15 Jul 2018Post and Wire Fence RemovalBurgess 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 a large site of 8.5 hectares and, like Aston's Eyot and the Trap Grounds, it lies close to the river Thames, to be precise, between the main railway line and Port Meadow. The land is owned by the City Council, and we'll be working with a newly formed local group that want to take a hand in its upkeep. To begin with we'll dismantle as much as we can of a redundant post and wire fence that stretches the entire length of the eastern side of the site. We'll be pulling staples, rolling barbed wire, and knocking out posts. Given its location the site has huge conservation and recreational potential and today is likely to be the first in a series of regular tasks that will involve meadow mowing, hedge-laying, and scrub control.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Chris Skepper

Sunday 15 Jul 2018Post-task social at Jacob's Inn, WolvercoteJacob's Inn, Wolvercote
Come join us for a post-task social at Jacob's Inn, Wolvercote. When: 18:00, Sunday 15th July Where: Jacob's Inn, Wolvercote As you'll already know from today's earlier email, this week's OCV task is at Burgess Field in North Oxford, next to Port Meadow. It's a new site for OCV, and extremely well positioned for drinks and a meal afterward with many good pubs only a short walk away! We've chosen Jacob's Inn at Wolvercote, so we'll be walking over to the northern end of Port Meadow (about 15-20 minutes from where we'll be working) after we've finished packing up for the day. There'll be a selection of pub grub available, which you can take a look at on their website, and of course plenty of drinks to choose from. The forecast is (still!) glorious, so if that holds out we can definitely make use of their decked beer garden. Of course, you're equally welcome to come if you haven't been out on Sunday's task - the more the merrier! If the weather streak keeps up, it'll make a for a fine walk over to Wolvercote on Sunday afternoon. Equally, you can make your own way there and meet us around 18:00 at Jacob's Inn. As with all our socials, you don't ever have to have volunteered to come; everyone is welcome, and it's a great way to find out more about OCV if you're thinking of getting involved. Hope to see you there!
Contact: Jamie

Sunday 22 Jul 2018Reserve 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 managed 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. 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: Tim EvansDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 29 Jul 2018Boardwalk & Steps IGreenmoor Ponds, Woodcote
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A new site for OCV in the Chilterns AONB, managed and cared for by the Woodcote Conservation Group. The plan is to build two relatively short stretches of boardwalk that will serve to bridge a pair of parallel ditches, and so give pedestrian access to and from a lane that runs along the southern edge of the site. As well as the boardwalks we'll also need to install a free-standing handrail and a flight of steps, so there should be enough to keep us busy for two days work. Note that Woodcote is further afield than usual for OCV so it's likely that we'll be back in Oxford later than usual. Watch out for the weekly email for details.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 5 Aug 2018Boardwalk & Steps IIGreenmoor Ponds, Woodcote
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Today we return to Woodcote in the Chilterns for a second day of work on an intricate construction task at Greenmoor Ponds. What we didn't finish last Sunday we'll finish today.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Phil Hunter

Tuesday 7 Aug 2018Committee 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: Jenny

Sunday 12 Aug 2018Meadow Mowing & RakingIffley 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 weekly task email.
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 19 Aug 2018Reserve MaintenanceAston 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. Our work here in high summer usually involves either the maintenance and improvement of the means of public access or hands-on care of the sheep. We might also be installing more of the new all-steel fencing system. Whatever the job we'll be working with one of the reserve wardens, which means that if you've ever thought about leading a task then this would be a good one to start with. If you're interested contact Phil at tasks@ocv.org.uk. Full details of the day's work will be posted in the weekly email as usual.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 26 Aug 2018Grass RakingSt 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 if previous years are anything to go by the provision of generous, high quality, home-made cake rations will help.
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 2 Sep 2018Meadow Mowing & RakingCuxham, South Oxfordshire
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Last summer we helped the residents of Cuxham take the first steps to establish a new wild flower meadow in their village. Today we'll return to mow and rake the meadow for the second time. It's a good size, but mainly level ground and with grasses rather than reeds and sedge (unlike Iffley island), so today's task is likely to be a lot closer to the genuine experience of traditional scythe mowing.
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Dan Moden

Tuesday 4 Sep 2018Committee 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: Jenny

Sunday 9 Sep 2018Demonstration Access ProjectAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our late Summer visit to our most regular work site: the National Nature Reserve on the Chiltern escarpment just above the Ridgeway footpath. Notice that this task has been brought forward by a week from the previously advertised date. Last month we helped out with preparatory work on some special gate installations. The plan is to develop an Access Demonstration Project on the Reserve sited in a field at the top of Hill Lane. All manner and styles of gates will be installed to demonstrate the range of possible designs and construction techniques. A formal event to open the project is planned for next Friday, September 14th, so we'll be helping out with the final preparations. We know from last month's visit that the digging at the top of Hill Lane isn't easy - clay with generous helpings of flint - so a big turn-out would be a great help. By the way, if you're a gate-anorak this is the task from heaven!
Leader: Tim EvansDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 16 Sep 2018Site MaintenanceSimon'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 tackle the large bramble patch that borders the upstream side of the site. There may also be some coppicing to do and some work to help dam the natural springs to enhance the wetland characteristics 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: Tim BletsoeDriver: Ed Polehampton

Sunday 23 Sep 2018Site 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 an educational resource, and at this time of year it's likely that we'll be mowing the grassland and meadow areas, working on the paths, and doing some scrub bashing. 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: Andy MoDriver: Chris Skepper

Wednesday 26 Sep 2018OCV's September Social: Wild Oxford 5 Years OnOxford Museum of Natural History
For this month's social, we're heading along for a talk on the Wild Oxford Project run by BBOWT (Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust). Starting at 18:30 at the Museum of Natural History in central Oxford, Dr. Judy Webb and BBOWT Project staff will talk about the project's achievements over the last five years, as well as what to expect from the future of the project. Come along to “discover how the city’s hidden gems and the surprisingly rare wildlife that inhabit them are flourishing”. It'll be a great opportunity to find out about some of the parks and nature reserves in and around Oxford, and the work that goes on there. The event is free and open to all. Reserve your place here. After the talk, we'll walk over to the Lamb & Flag for a drink. If you don't fancy the talk, then you're more than welcome to just join us there for a drink instead (shortly after 20:30). As always, you don't have to be a regular volunteer to come - everyone is welcome. It's a great way to find out more about conservation in and around Oxford, and see if getting involved might be for you. Hope to see you there! socials@ocv.org.uk
Contact: Jamie

Sunday 30 Sep 2018Hedge LayingRectory Farm Fields, Kidlington
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Our last scheduled task at Rectory Farm Fields back in March was cancelled due to snow. So the plan today is to pick up work on the hedge-line where we left off at the very end of 2017. We'll look to lay, stake and bind some more sections of hedge. It's likely that we'll be doing more hedge-laying than usual this winter, so this is a good chance to get your eye (and arm) in early on. If you've never done this before come along and give it a go, it's one of the most enjoyable and satisfying things we do.
Leader: Jenny HillDriver: Chris Skepper

Tuesday 2 Oct 2018Committee 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: Jenny

Sunday 7 Oct 2018Watercourse DredgingAston's Eyot, Oxford
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Road closures in Oxford for The Oxford Half Marathon mean that we cannot get to St. Giles, so there will be no pick-up at the Lamb and Flag in St. Giles this morning. But we will make the pick-up at the Tesco store on Cowley Road at the usual time of 9.30. This 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. This time last year we dredged the southern end of the Shire Lake Ditch at the point where it meets the Thames, which, come June, was full of fish fry. The plan for today is to work with the Friends either to dredge further back up the ditch; or to dredge the area round Jackdaw Lane Bridge, which will also involve cutting back overhanging vegetation to let in more light. 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 Howard

Sunday 14 Oct 2018Fen Raking ILye 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. Rangers form Oxford City Council will do most of the cutting with an Allen scythe 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 today (that's the fen with no public access, by the golf course) but check the weekly email for confirmation. Make sure you're on the OCV mailing list! Wellies recommended.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Ray Hitchins

Sunday 21 Oct 2018Fen-Raking IILye 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 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.
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 28 Oct 2018Reserve 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. 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 wardens, so today would be a great opportunity to try it out. Note that British Summer Time ended last night!
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Tim Howard

Tuesday 30 Oct 2018October Social: Crazy Golf in Central OxfordJunkyard Crazy Golf
Join us on a very different kind of green for our October social - a round or two of crazy golf! When: 30th October, 2018. Where: Junkyard Crazy Golf, Oxford. Come try your hand on one of three themed courses - Fairground, Jungle, or Junkyard - and see if you can make it out under par, although a competitive streak is not obligatory! Anyone is welcome, and we'll probably head on over to a nearby pub after for a drink or two (location TBC). Although it's obviously the taking part that counts, there will nonetheless be a prize for the winner! Everyone is welcome, and it's a great way to find out more about OCV if you're thinking of getting involved in our weekly task programme. We'll have to book in advance, so please let me know by the 26th of October to get an idea of numbers. Please contact socials@ocv.org.uk. Hope to see you there!
Contact: Jamie

Sunday 4 Nov 2018Devil's-bit Scabious PlantingBeckley Park, Otmoor
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An unusual site for OCV, and an unusual task. The aim is to plant several hundred Devil's-bit Scabious plants specially grown from seed collected last summer from the MOD Otmoor rifle range by Alison Muldal (see the thumbnail photo on the right). Alison is the Lead Advisor for Natural England's Oxon and Bucks Land Management Team and wants to establish a specific habitat for the rare Marsh Fritillary butterfly (see butterfly-conservation.org). The main food plant of the Marsh Fritillary caterpillar is - Devil's-bit Scabious. We'll be working in a field just to the east of the rifle range. The best habitat consists of several discrete areas of scabious and today's work will add another component part to the overall pattern of flora in the local area. The project is a collaboarative effort involving the Butterfly Conservation volunteers, Bridewell Organic Gardens, the private landowner, and Natural England.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Dan Moden

Tuesday 6 Nov 2018Committee Meeting 8pmRoyal Blenheim
The committee meets once a month to make sure that the group operates smoothly. As a one off due to prior bookings at the town hall, this month we'll meet at the Royal Blenheim pub. Feel free to join us at 8pm for the meeting or for a drink when we finish at around 9pm.
Contact: Jenny

Friday 9 Nov 2018Oxford Real Ale and Cider FestivalTown Hall
A few of us will be going to the 21st CAMRA Beer & Cider Festival at the Oxford Town Hall this Friday evening at 7pm. If you would like to join meet us outside at 7 or find us inside a bit later, you can reach me on 07708648851 if you’re lost. Entry is £5 if you’re not a CAMRA member (£3 if you are) and beer/cider tokens are sold in units of £5. Unused tokens can be refunded or donated to charity.
Contact: Jenny

Sunday 11 Nov 2018Scrub ControlBurgess Field Nature Park, North Oxford
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Our second visit of the year to Burgess Field, a large reserve in North Oxford that borders Port Meadow. Last July we took out an extensive length of post and wire fence, today we'll begin to take out as much of the invasive scrub towards the northern end of the site as we can. The initial aim will be to restrict the spread of the scrub into the grassland areas, then tackle distinct blocks of the more established hawthorn, dogwood, and bramble. There'll be a bonfire.
Leader: Tim EvansDriver: Chris Skepper

Sunday 18 Nov 2018Boardwalk & Scrub ClearanceCothill National Nature Reserve
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Note the change of site for today's task! Cothill National Nature Reserve is an SSSI to the south west of Oxford, managed by Natural England. We were last here in February 2015 and today we're going back to extend a ground-level boardwalk that carries a public footpath across a low-lying area on the edge of the fen. We'll be working with Steph, one of the Natural England wardens we know from Aston Rowant. The boardwalk should be enough to keep us busy, but if we have a big turn out of volunteers we've also made arrangements to do some scrub clearance too, so something for everyone.
Leader: Jenny HillDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 25 Nov 2018CoppicingPissen Wood, Oxfordshire
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We were last here in the winter of 2016 to coppice hazel and install wire cages around the stools to protect the re-growth from being grazed by deer. Today we'll return to remove those cages, do some more coppicing, and reinstall the protective covers. The cages have worked well - the rejuvenated stools have survived the attentions of both muntjac and roe dear. We'll also aim to harvest stakes and binders for use in hedge-laying tasks later in the winter.
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Chris Skepper

Sunday 2 Dec 2018Woodland 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, and owned and managed by the Oxford Preservation Trust. At the beginning of the year we began work to actively manage the woodland areas - hauling out large boughs, cutting down brash, creating log-pile habitats, and restoring paths. Today we'll carry on with work to open up the woods to more light, and to re-establish the wetland habitat. Note that we'll be working in and near the woodland ponds, so bring wellingtons!
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Tuesday 4 Dec 2018Committee 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: Jenny

Sunday 9 Dec 2018Hedge LayingRectory Farm Fields, Kidlington
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The plan today is to crack on with the hedge-laying at Rectory Farm Fields, in Old Kidlington. We were last here at the end of September and we'll look to lay, stake, and bind some more sections of hedge. There will be significant amounts of top-growth to take out so it's likely that there'll also be a bonfire. A good day's work today should bring the end of this particular hedge-laying project in sight.
Leader: Anne CossuttaDriver: Phil Hunter

Tuesday 11 Dec 2018OCV Christmas MealIt's a surprise
Save the date for the OCV Christmas meal this evening. Everyone welcome. Further details will be coming soon so check back later.
Contact: Jamie

Sunday 16 Dec 2018Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our final visit of the year to a favourite site on the cusp of the Chilterns managed by Natural England. It's more likely than not that we'll be working either in the woods or on the grassland slopes. Exact details of the day's work will be posted in the weekly email, so make sure you're on the OCV mailing list! Once again, we're always looking for volunteers who might lead tasks, indeed without leaders we couldn't keep going, so if you're interested contact Phil Hunter via tasks@ocv.org.uk . An Aston Rowant task is a great way to start. You'll be under the guidance of one of the reserve's wardens - Mick or Stephanie. Any of our current leaders will be happy to help you get started by doubling up on a task to show you the ropes.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Ed Polehampton

Sunday 23 Dec 2018Christmas Break
No task today - Merry Christmas!
 

Sunday 30 Dec 2018Scrub ControlCrecy Hill LWS, Tackley, Oxfordshire
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Our final task of 2018, and a great way to blow away the Christmas fug. 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: Andy MoDriver: Volunteer to drive