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Sunday 2 Jan 2022 – Site Maintenance & Step Work at Stansfeld Park, Oxford
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Happy new year! 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. The Trust 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. For more on Stansfeld Park under the management of The Oxford Trust see their website: http://theoxfordtrust.co.uk/stansfeld-education-centre/. As usual at Stansfeld we'll be working under the direction of Dr. Roger Baker -- the centre's Outdoor Learning and Ecology Manager. The plan for today, among other things and conditions permitting, is to install sleeper steps and some post and rail fencing. For more info nearer the day make sure you're signed up to the OCV mailing list for the OCV weekly task emails that give all the details of each forthcoming task.

  • Leader: Chris Skepper
  • Driver: Tom Bulford
Sunday 9 Jan 2022 – Woodland Management at Matthew Arnold Field, Oxford
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Matthew Arnold Field in Boars Hill is a mixed woodland, grassland, and wetland site, named after the poet, and cultural critic 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 (the willows especially), 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, so wellingtons might be useful.

  • Leader: Phil Hunter
  • Driver: Dan Moden
Tuesday 11 Jan 2022 – Committee meeting 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 Judge's 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 16 Jan 2022 – Reserve Maintenance / Hedge Laying at Aston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our first visit of the year to this National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns which commands extensive views across the Oxford plain. At the time of writing, our January visit to Aston Rowant should see us pick up work on the hedge-laying project at the top of Hill Lane. We made a good start back in November and today will be our third, and possibly final, session. It may be that the Natural England warden will have more pressing things for us to do, so watch out for the task email for final details.

  • Leader: Tim Bletsoe
  • Driver: Tim Howard
Sunday 23 Jan 2022 – Willow Pollarding at Aston's Eyot, Oxford
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We're back at Aston's Eyot in East Oxford today to do some more work on the willows that line the banks of the Cherwell and the Thames. We'll be working for, and with, the friends group that manage the site. The plan is to tackle only those willows that we can pollard safely. Pollarding will save the trees from complete collapse, significantly prolong their life spans, stimulate new regrowth, and keep the paths along the river banks passable. Some of the willows on the Thames bank have already collapsed and are beyond pollarding. We might experiment with these by, in effect, laying some of the material to create a waterside willow hedge that might mitigate the effects of erosion along the bank.

  • Leader: Chris Skepper
  • Driver: Tom Bulford
Sunday 30 Jan 2022 – Scrub Control at Grim's Ditch, Blewbury, South Oxfordshire
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Grim's Ditch is an earthwork, a scheduled ancient monument, up on the downs south of Blewbury, just off the Ridgeway long distance footpath. So this will be scrub bashing with a view. The site is privately owned and the owner has a Countryside Stewardship agreement with Natural England to maintain the monument in good condition, which primarily involves the periodic removal of invasive scrub -- and that's where we come in. We were last here in February 2017 and it's just about time for another visit. This time, however, we'll aim to 'pop' as much as we can with our tree-poppers, although that will mean we'll have to carry them a fair way from the van to the site (and back again). Watch out for the task email for access details!

  • Leader: Jenny Hill
  • Driver: Phil Hunter
Tuesday 1 Feb 2022 – Committee meeting 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 Judge's 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 6 Feb 2022 – at Piddington Wood, Buckinghamshire
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Piddington Wood is a broad-leaved, semi-ancient woodland near Piddington village, south-east of Bicester. The wood is owned and managed by the Woodland Trust and today we'll help out with the first stage of a scheme designed to coppice the extensive stands of hazel. The plan is to work on a rotational basis over a number of years in a rolling process of incremental renewal. We'll also harvest hazel stakes and binders to use on the hedge laying task at Burgess Field next week. For more on the wood, including maps, see the relevant Reserve Page on the website.

  • Leader: Phil Hunter
  • Driver: Tim Bletsoe
Tuesday 8 Feb 2022 – Night hike 7.30pm at Homebase car park

Join us for a night walk through Brasenose Woods and Shotover Country Park and on other footpaths in the area, maybe seeing wildlife if we don't scare it off from miles away. The route will be about 4.5 miles and we'll go at the speed of the slowest. You don't need to be a regular volunteer to come on socials, everyone is welcome. You'll need warm, waterproof clothes, gloves, sensible footwear, a torch, and optionally a drink or snack. We'll meet at 7.30pm at the Homebase and Aldi car park, which should be a good place to lock up bikes and congregate. Strictly speaking, the car park is for customers only so if you're driving you should probably park on nearby streets instead.

  • Contact: Chris
Sunday 13 Feb 2022 – Hedge Laying 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. Given its location the site has huge conservation and recreational potential. The plan for today is to continue with the hedge laying we began last December. There's another 50 meters or so that's already been sided-up and is ready to lay. This is about as tough as hedge-laying can get -- hawthorn, planted line astern, grown out, and long past its optimal age for laying -- but we'll do what we can! The Friends are willing and able to do some replanting with new whips to cover any gaps and to thicken the girth of the hedge, so it will take a year or two (or three) but we might yet rejuvenate and improve the hedge-line with the associated multiple wildlife benefits.

  • Leader: Chris Skepper
  • Driver: Tom Bulford
Sunday 20 Feb 2022 – Scrub Control at Crecy Hill LWS, Tackley, Oxfordshire
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NOTE THE LATE CHANGE OF TASK! Storm damage at Aston Rowant means that we've moved today's task to Crecy Hill instead. Check out the task email from TIm.

  • Leader: Tim Bletsoe
  • Driver: Tim Howard
Thursday 24 Feb 2022 – Pub night 7pm at The Kings Arms, Broad Street

Join us for food and drinks at the Kings Arms. We'll be ordering food at 7pm, but feel free to drop in later for drinks if you prefer. You don't need to have volunteered with us to come along to socials, feel free to drop in and say hello if you are thinking about coming to a task in the future. Make sure you're on the mailing list for more information, or email socials@ocv.org.uk.

  • Contact: Chris
Sunday 27 Feb 2022 – Scrub Control & Willow Pollarding at Lye Valley, Oxford
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The condition of the south fen at Lye Valley continues to improve to such an extent that today we'll be working on the perimeters of the fen rather than the fen itself. We'll be cutting back scrub on the borders with the golf-course, and the neighbouring woodland. We'll also look to pollard some of the willows that are beginning to shade out the high side of the fen just below the spring lines. If there's been rain wellies will be useful. For more information on this relatively rare habitat that is also a listed SSSI see http://www.friendsoflyevalley.org.uk.

  • Leader: Phil Hunter
  • Driver: Tim Bletsoe
Tuesday 1 Mar 2022 – Committee meeting 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 Judge's 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 6 Mar 2022 – Hedge Laying or Site Maintenance at Aston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our February visit to Aston Rowant had to be cancelled, it fell just a couple of days after storm Eunice blew through, so we've rescheduled the task for today. Aston Rowant is one of our favourite sites, perched on the cusp of the Chiltern escarpment. It's a National Nature Reserve, owned and managed by Natural England, and we'll be working with Steph - the reserve warden. What we do today will depend on how well we've progressed laying the hedge at the top of Hill Lane. If there is more to do, then we'll do it today. If not, we'll be helping out with other winter jobs, usually ongoing work to maintain or restore the grassland habitat. The details as to what and where will be described in the weekly email, so now's a good time to check you're on our mailing list.

  • Leader: Tim Bletsoe
  • Driver: Tom Bulford
Saturday 12 Mar 2022 – Hedge-Laying & Site Maintenance at Burgess Field Nature Park, North Oxford
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Here's one of our occasional Saturday tasks. We need another day's work to complete our seasonal hedge-laying project at Burgess Field. We made good progress in brutal conditions last month, but there's still a dozen meters or so to lay to connect this season's work with last winter's. It will be tough -- hawthorn, planted line abreast, grown out, and long past its optimal age for laying -- but all the preparatory siding up has already been done. The Friends of Burgess Field are willing and able to do some replanting with new whips to cover any gaps and to thicken the girth of the hedge, so it will take a year or two (or three) but we might yet rejuvenate and improve the hedge-line with the associated multiple wildlife benefits.

  • Leader: Phil Hunter
  • Driver: Chris Skepper
Sunday 13 Mar 2022 – Scrub Control at Grays Lane Bank, Ibstone, Buckinghamshire
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Another scrub bashing task, but today's task is in a special location -- a privately owned chalk grassland bank in a secluded part of the Chilterns, designated as an SSSI. There is no public access to the site so if you want to see it, come on the task! The landowner has made significant improvements and developed a long-term management plan that includes cattle grazing, some superb hedge lines, and a significant and flourishing population of relatively rare Chiltern Gentians. We've been asked to help out with the labour-intensive work of removing the self-seeded hawthorn and rose when still in its initial stages. So we'll be popping and pulling as much as we can find - a zero tolerance policy!

  • Leader: Phil Hunter
  • Driver: Dan Moden
Sunday 20 Mar 2022 – Hedge Laying or Site Maintenance at Aston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our early spring visit to the 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 the site warden. 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: Phil Hunter
  • Driver: Dan Moden
Sunday 27 Mar 2022 – Post and Rail Fence Work 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. Livestock grazing is a key part of the management plan for the site. It follows that their fencing needs to be in good order, although today we'll be knocking down more than we'll be putting up! The plan is to demolish the redundant post and rail fencing round the mature coppice on Round Top, along with three substantial post and rail tree guard-structures. We'll use the recovered materials to replace a short section of dilapidated post and rail fencing on a nearby slope.

  • Leader: Tim Bletsoe
  • Driver: Tom Bulford
Sunday 3 Apr 2022 – Riverside Path Work at Aston's Eyot, Oxford
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Aston's Eyot has riverside paths along both the Cherwell and the Thames. In two places on the Thames path there has been some significant erosion and we'll attempt to put that right today. We'll dig out the banks on the landward side of the path to create room for a couple of gently curving diversions. There will be a significant amount of digging and mattocking to be done as the banks have well established bramble roots. Then we'll attempt to reinforce the ground on the river side with willow stakes taken from the recent pollarding work. How effective, if at all, this will prove to be remains to be seen but it should be, at the least, an interesting experiment.

  • Leader: Phil Hunter
  • Driver: Tom Bulford
Tuesday 5 Apr 2022 – Committee meeting 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 Apr 2022 – Revetment Construction & Path Work at Matthew Arnold Field, Oxford
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Matthew Arnold Field in Boars Hill is a mixed woodland, grassland, and wetland site, named after the poet, and cultural critic Matthew Arnold, owned and managed by the Oxford Preservation Trust. We've built and maintained the revetments that shore up the path at the top of the woodland on previous work days. Today we'll add another revetment of 12 meters or so to reinforce and redirect the path where it still remains vulnerable to erosion. We'll build the revetment, then excavate the ground on the upside to level the path.

  • Leader: Phil Hunter
  • Driver: Dan Moden
Sunday 17 Apr 2022 – Reserve Maintenance at Aston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our April visit to our local National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns. It's a site that includes chalk grassland slopes 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 who manage the site. Contact Phil at tasks@ocv.org.uk for more details. At this time of year we might be working on the grass slopes to improve conditions for the flora and, by extension, the insect life special to the site, or maintaining good public access along the various paths. The details of what we'll be doing and where will be in the weekly email as usual.

  • Leader: Tim Bletsoe
  • Driver: Tom Bulford
Thursday 21 Apr 2022 – Vegetarian Food 7pm at The Gardeners Arms, Plantation Road
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Join us for a meal at The Gardeners Arms on Plantation Road in North Oxford for a meal of delicious vegetarian or vegan food. You don't need to be a regular volunteer to come along as everyone is welcome, but booking is essential to make sure there's room for everyone. Contact socials@ocv.org.uk if you're planning to come along for food. Or feel free to drop in later for a drink if you prefer.

  • Contact: Chris
Saturday 23 Apr 2022 – Reserve Maintenance at Trap Grounds, Oxford
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We have a task double-header in urban Oxford this weekend, the first of them another of our occasional Saturday tasks. 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. It's a great example of a state of the art urban wildlife site with an ideal combination of complementary micro-habitats. As usual there will be mixed-bag of things to do. Given the time of year we might well be working in the ponds and reed beds. Another job to take in hand will be to 'pop' (i.e. lever out) a myriad of small self-seeded ash saplings in the wooded areas.

  • Leader: Phil Hunter
  • Driver: Tim Bletsoe
Sunday 24 Apr 2022 – Site maintenance at Milham 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. This is one of the most heavily used urban green spaces in Oxford, and we'll be working on behalf of the Oxford City Council. Most of the work will be in the ponds under the direction of freelance ecologist Judy Webb to dredge invasive plant growth and re-establish areas of open water necessary not least for the local dragonfly population. We'll also be digging out hard rush tussocks on the banks and margins of the ponds and working to improve the flow of the stream that feeds into them.

  • Leader: Jenny Hill
  • Driver: Tom Bulford
Sunday 1 May 2022 – Post and Wire Fencing I at Wolfson College Water Meadows
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The Wolfson College water meadows lie immediately opposite the college grounds on the east bank of the Cherwell. Both of them are designated sites of special scientific interest (SSSI). They lie in the flood plain of the Cherwell and have been used as pasture and hay meads since medieval times. They remain a superb flower habitat, now owned and managed by Wolfson College. The meadows are grazed in winter which mean they need stock proof fencing. Last August we installed the first stretch of a new fence that will separate the north meadow from the public footpath that follows the bank of the river. To continue the work we'll need to remove the old fence, install straining posts, intermediate posts, and, finally, the new stock wire. There'll be lots to do! For more details look for the task email. For directions to the site check out the reserve web page for Wolfson College Water Meadows on our website.

  • Leader: Chris Skepper
  • Driver: Tim Bletsoe
Tuesday 3 May 2022 – Committee meeting 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 8 May 2022 – Post and Wire Fencing II at Wolfson College Water Meadows
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Another day on the Wolfson water meadows with more work on a new fence that separates the north meadow from the public footpath on the bank of the Cherwell. Today we'll look to extend the fence along the gentle curve of the riverside path with more staining posts as necessary. If you were with us last week you'll know what to expect. If not, it would be good to see you! How much we get done today should give us a good idea of when we'll be able to complete the job. Full details as usual in the weekly task email, so make sure you're signed up to the OCV email list. No pickups this week. Meet at the bridge at 9.30am.

  • Leader: Chris Skepper
  • Driver: Tom Bulford
Sunday 15 May 2022 – Reseve Maintenance at Aston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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We're back at 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 plants natural to the chalk grassland and the insect populations that depend on them. We could be helping out with fence and gate repairs, or tackling other maintenance jobs required on 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: Dan Moden
  • Driver: Tom Bulford
Sunday 22 May 2022 – Woodland Management & Water Works at Matthew Arnold Field, Oxford
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We'll be working for the Oxford Preservation Trust to a management plan that will maintain and enhance this special peat fen and woodland habitat. The surface water rises from natural springs, and anything that reduces the uptake of moisture from the fen will be to the good, so we'll cut back willow and reed. There will also be some extensive ad hoc DIY dam work using natural materials to control the waterflow in, through, and off the fen. If you're not cutting, you'll be digging. Whatever you do, wellingtons will be necessary, even if there's been no rain.

  • Leader: Phil Hunter
  • Driver: Dan Moden
Sunday 29 May 2022 – Post and Wire Fence Demolition 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. As the site is grazed the fences on the Fields site need relatively frequent work to keep them in shape. Today we’ll help out with the first stage of a project to replace the main post and wire fence that divides the level meadow of Round Top from the bank that drops down to the flood plain. We’ll dismantle and remove two parallel fences, one of which is now redundant, along with their gate structures. On the constructive side, there's a length of worn out post and rail fence that needs replacing. Check the weekly task email for details

  • Leader: Tim Bletsoe
  • Driver: Phil Hunter
Sunday 5 Jun 2022 – Scrub Control at Crecy Hill LWS, Tackley, Oxfordshire
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The aim of today's task is to try out some summer scrub control work. This is ordinarily a job for the autumn and winter months -- well outside the nesting season. But today we'll be working to remove isolated hawthorn and rose saplings from the grassland areas before they can get a chance to develop. We'll be using tree-poppers to lever out the saplings complete with their root systems. We'll also be looking to pull any ragwort we can find given that the reserve borders grass meadows used for forage. As a bonus, if the sun shines, the reserve should be at its most floriferous.

  • Leader: Tim Bletsoe
  • Driver: Tom Bulford
Tuesday 7 Jun 2022 – Annual General Meeting - 8pm at Oxford Town Hall
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All are welcome to join for our Annual General Meeting where we will carry out elections for the committee and review our activities over the year, in addition to running through the regular committee meeting items. We should be in the Jury room but check with reception on entry to the town hall. If you'd like to join online please use the link https://join.skype.com/Nx8ZGqA5zIrx and if you have any questions email secretary@ocv.org.uk. We'll probably go for a drink after the meeting also.

  • Contact: Jenny
Sunday 12 Jun 2022 – Reserve Maintenance at Aston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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We're back at our local national nature reserve in the Chilterns today. It's a site that includes chalk grassland, grazed by flocks of sheep. Over the winter many of the more badly afflicted ash trees have been severely pollarded to make them safe, which has left a lot of timber and brash to be processed and converted into habitat piles. Otherwise, early summer means we may be working to improve public access on the site with work on the reserve's extensive paths and fence lines. Whatever we do it should be worth coming along if only to check out the wild flower habitats. 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 Steph, one of the Natural England wardens who manage the site. Contact Phil at tasks@ocv.org.uk for more details.

  • Leader: Tim Bletsoe
  • Driver: Tom Bulford
Sunday 19 Jun 2022 – Post and Wire Fencing I at Wolfson College Water Meadows
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The Wolfson College water meadows lie immediately opposite the college grounds on the east bank of the Cherwell. Both of them are designated sites of special scientific interest (SSSI). They lie in the flood plain of the Cherwell and have been used as pasture and hay meads since medieval times. They remain a superb flower habitat, now owned and managed by Wolfson College. The meadows are grazed in winter which mean they need stock proof fencing. Last May we installed 150 meters of a new fence that will separate the the north meadow from the public footpath that follows the bank of the river. To continue the work we'll need to remove what remains of the old fence, install straining posts, intermediate posts, and, finally, the new barbed and stock wire. There'll be lots to do, especially given that the further we get from the Wolfson College bridge across the Cherwell, the further we have to go with all our kit. Another couple of days should see us complete the project. For more details look out for the task email. For directions to the site check out the reserve web page for Wolfson College Water Meadows on our website.

  • Leader: Chris Skepper
  • Driver: Phil Hunter
Sunday 26 Jun 2022 – Post and Wire Fencing II at Wolfson College Water Meadows
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Today should see us finish the fencing project at Wolfson that we started last August. The Wolfson College water meadows lie immediately opposite the college grounds on the east bank of the Cherwell. Both of them are designated sites of special scientific interest (SSSI). They lie in the flood plain of the Cherwell and have been used as pasture and hay meads since medieval times. They remain a superb flower habitat, now owned and managed by Wolfson College. The meadows are grazed by cattle over the winter and a new post and wire fence will ensure that they stay where they are meant to stay. For more details make sure that you're on the OCV emailing list and look out for the task email specific to this task some time in the week preceding. For directions to the site check out the reserve web page for Wolfson College Water Meadows on our website.

  • Leader: Chris Skepper
  • Driver: Ray Hitchins
Sunday 3 Jul 2022 – Ragwort Pulling at Old Manor Stables Letcombe Bassett

Letcombe Bassett is a small village south west of Wantage at the foot of the North Wessex downs. 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 and as much of the rest of the site as we can mange in two hits this summer, the second visit will be in early August. If successful, we'll halt the further spread of the plant to the immediate surroundings and reduce the potentially harmful risks to livestock.

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.

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.