Task Programme

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Thursday 13 Aug 2020Socially distant social - 6pmSouth Park, Oxford
This month, join us for a socially distant social in South Park, Oxford. Under current government guidelines we can meet in any outdoor space in a group of up to 6 people from different households and we should have plenty of space in the park to socialize while keeping at a safe distance. But to keep track of numbers, please let me know if you're planning on joining. As usual, everyone is welcome but If you're in a high risk group, or you or someone in your household have symptoms of the virus, please stay at home. Hope to see you there! socials@ocv.org.uk
Contact: Anne

Sunday 9 Aug 2020Reed-Bed Cut & RakeIffley 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, and check out the photos on our website page dedicated to the reserve (click on the 'Iffley Island, Oxford' button, top right!).
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Ray Hitchins

Sunday 2 Aug 2020Reserve 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. For more info see the Friends’ website https://trap-grounds.org.uk. The main task today will be to complete the low-level, willow-whip wattle fencing along the water courses to prepare for the dredging operation later in the year. The plan is to use the fencing to hold back the dredged silt, reinforce the banks, and thereby create a suitable habitat for water voles. There’s usually something for everyone at the Trap Grounds, so expect other jobs too – details will be in the weekly task email.
Leader: Jenny HillDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 26 Jul 2020Site 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 rejuvenated the site partly as a local amenity and partly an educational resource. Make sure you're on the OCV mailing list to receive details of today's task, and for more on Stansfeld Park see the Oxford Trust website: https://theoxfordtrust.co.uk/stansfeld-education-centre/. As in recent weeks, please note that we'll be following the OCV policies on social distancing and tool/hand hygiene.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Dan Moden

Sunday 19 Jul 2020Meadow Cut and RakeNorth Hinksey Nature Reserve
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Note the change of task! This small reserve, created on what was once allotments, now borders a business park, and sees a lot of use. Despite its small size it has a good mix of habitats - a stream and pond, a small meadow, a splendid hedge, and a community orchard. The main job today will be to scythe and rake the grasses in the Orchard. If there are enough of us, we'll also do a little pollarding work on the willows round the pond. We're still following our social distancing and hygiene measures - full details in the weekly task email as usual, or you can check them out on the FAQs page of the website.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 12 Jul 2020Reed Cutting and Willow RemovalCutteslowe Meadows
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This is a new site for OCV, and about as close to home as we can get. The meadows lie just to the south east of Cutteslowe Park, between the Cutteslowe Community Woodland, the A40, and the river Cherwell. They lie in the flood plain of the river, so are subject to seasonal flooding, and have a series of discrete ponds, so it's an interesting liminal habitat of mixed wet and dry conditions. The site is owned by Oxford City Council, and they've agreed to a collaborative management plan drawn up by the Freshwater Habitats Trust and the Oxford Botanical Gardens to reintroduce some native dry and wetland flora. The Trust have asked us to take on the preliminary work of cutting and raking the reedbeds, and digging out willow saplings from the margins of the ponds.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tom Bulford

Sunday 5 Jul 2020Fen Cutting and RakingLye Valley, Oxford
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A second successive Sunday at Lye Valley. It used to be the case that we could rake both fens in the valley in a single day. It's a mark of the progressive improvement in the quality and extent of this relatively rare habitat that it now takes us two full days. The Friends of Lye Valley have been making constant improvements and the results are impressive. Come and see for yourself! This Sunday we'll be on, and possibly in, the north fen. As last week, if there's been rain, you'll need wellies.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Dan Moden

Sunday 28 Jun 2020Fen Cutting and RakingLye 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. We'll also be keen to maintain our social distancing and hygiene measures which are working well, and which remain unchanged (see FAQs for full details).
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Tom Bulford

Sunday 21 Jun 2020Reserve MaintenanceCrecy Hill LWS, Tackley, Oxfordshire
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Note that this task has been rescheduled. Crecy Hill is a small reserve just to the east of the village of Tackley by the main railway line into Oxford. It's owned by the local parish council, and we've been making regular visits to reclaim the unimproved grassland from the invasive scrub - mainly hawthorn, bramble, and rose - that has come to dominate. We'll need to be careful that we don't disturb any nesting activity, but there will be more than enough low regrowth to deal with from recent winter tasks to keep us busy. Note that we won't be using the minibus to transport volunteers, so you'll have to make your on way to the site.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Ray Hitchins

Sunday 14 Jun 2020Path ClearingAston's Eyot, Oxford
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We were last here at the very beginning of the year to pollard willows. Today we'll be working to keep the paths open and the site accessible. It's a big site with hundreds of meters of paths and, like last week at Burgess Field, we'll need to be careful about what we cut, but there should be plenty of work, and plenty of space, to keep everyone busy and safe.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Phil Hunter

Thursday 11 Jun 2020 -
Thursday 18 Jun 2020
Environment film festival from your sofahome
On 11 & 18 June, Watlington Climate Action Group are hosting a FREE online mini film festival featuring a specially curated collection of short films about the environment.Starts at 8p. More info here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/film-festival-from-your-sofa-tickets-105664280708
Contact: Anne

Sunday 7 Jun 2020Scrub and Nettle ClearingBurgess Field Nature Park, North Oxford
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We don't usually tackle scrub in the nesting season. But the open grassland areas at the northern end of Burgess Field have a substantial amount of recently self-seeded hawthorn, amongst other things, that we can take out without any risk. There are also plans to cut and then dig out some of the larger nettle beds in preparation for the sowing of wildflower seed in the autumn. As last week, make sure you're signed up to the OCV email list to receive the email that will give you the specific details about today's task.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Tuesday 2 Jun 2020Committee meeting 8pmhome
The committee meets once a month, normally in the Oxford Town Hall, to make sure that the group operates smoothly. This month due to closure of the Town Hall for events we'll meet online instead. You're welcome to join us, please email secretary@ocv.org.uk for details of how to join the call.
Contact: Jenny

Sunday 31 May 2020Reserve MaintenanceTrap Grounds, Oxford
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We hope to get back to work today at the Trap Grounds with the first ever OCV task under social distancing and special hygiene measures! Given that we can't use the minibus to transport volunteers, most of the forthcoming tasks have been arranged in and around Oxford so that volunteers can make their own way to the sites, and can follow the social distancing and hygiene requirements that we've drawn up. It may be necessary to cancel these tasks at short notice, so keep an eye on the website, and make sure you're signed up to the OCV mailing list to receive the weekly task email that will give explicit instructions about each Sunday task in the week immediately preceding. The Trap Grounds is a long standing OCV favourite, it's 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. We'll be constructing a low willow-wand fence along the stream banks; landscaping one of the pond areas; and taking out and dismembering a couple of large obstructive willows.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 24 May 2020Revetment Construction & Woodland 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, as usual, we'll be working for the Oxford Preservation Trust. The main task for today is to extend the two path revetments that we've installed in previous years along the northern edge of the site with a third section of revetment. The path hereabouts also needs to be widened and levelled, so there'll be some landscaping to do as well. If there are enough of us we'll also help out with the recent management plan in the woods which is designed to re-establish the peat wetland. In the past this has meant working with Rod D'Ayala to improvise dams from natural materials on hand, so bring wellingtons! **UPDATE: SADLY DUE TO THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK THIS EVENT IS NOW CANCELLED.**
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Sunday 17 May 2020Reserve MaintenanceAston 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. **UPDATE: SADLY DUE TO THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK THIS EVENT IS NOW CANCELLED.**
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Saturday 16 May 2020Listening to nature workshop - 4pm
Want to get better acquainted with the chatterboxes hiding in your trees and bushes? Then join Nick Boyd's "Listening to nature" virtual workshop at 4pm on Zoom as part of the FREE online Tandem in Your Garden Festival. He will walk us through how to read different environments and identify the sounds of our feathered friends within them. Nick once took us on a bird walk during one of our OCV socials, he's truly an expert with a real passion for wildlife! The Zoom link will be announced at 10am on www.tandeminyourgarden.co.uk
Contact: Anne

Sunday 10 May 2020Site Maintenance & Bespoke CarpentryStansfeld 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 rejuvenated the site partly as a local amenity and partly an educational resource. Today's task has been arranged with Dr. Roger Baker, the Trust's Outdoor Learning and Ecology Manager, with a family friendly set of jobs to do, including the reinforcement of the many paths with bark chippings. The plan for today also includes the bespoke construction of a double beehive frame. For more info nearer the day see the OCV weekly task email, and 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/. **UPDATE: SADLY DUE TO THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK THIS EVENT IS NOW CANCELLED.**
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive

Tuesday 5 May 2020Committee meeting 8pmhome
The committee meets once a month, normally in the Oxford Town Hall, to make sure that the group operates smoothly. This month due to closure of the Town Hall for events we'll meet online instead. You're welcome to join us, please email secretary@ocv.org.uk for details of how to join the call.
Contact: Jenny

Sunday 3 May 2020Pond 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. This is one of the most heavily used urban green spaces in Oxford. 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 necessary not least for the local dragonfly population. We'll also be digging out hard rush tussocks on the banks and margins of the pond if you'd rather not wade in. **UPDATE: SADLY DUE TO THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK THIS EVENT IS NOW CANCELLED.**
Leader: Volunteer to leadDriver: Volunteer to drive