Task Programme

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Sunday 6 Jun 2021Step Construction and Scrub PoppingCrecy Hill LWS, Tackley, Oxfordshire
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Our measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 will still be in place for this task, including a limit on the number of volunteers. To book a place please reply to the leader's task email sent out in the week preceding the task. If you have not received confirmation from the leader that your place has been booked plese don't come to the task. 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. Repeated visits have given us the upper hand over the dense mix of hawthorn, rose, and bramble that threatened to overwhelm the reserve. The plan for today is to replace two flights of steps that give access to the reserve from the top of the railway embankment. We'll also be using our set of tree-poppers to take out immature hawthorn from selected areas. We're not often here in the summer months, and if we get some early June sunshine we should be able to see the flowery results of recent work. At the time of writing, and in line with our Covid-safe policies, we're not using the minibus to transport volunteers, so you'll have to make your own way to the site. Watch out for the weekly task email which will give all the details. In the meantime you can check out the location maps on the reserve page on our website. Note that there is ample parking on site.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Tom Bulford

Friday 4 Jun 2021Picnic 6.30pmAngel and Greyhound Meadow
Socials are back on! We're now allowed to organise activities other than work parties, so why not join us for a picnic? There might also be some games like frisbee or rounders, which will not be at all compulsory if you'd rather just sit and drink beer instead! Bring your own food, drinks and things to share if you want to. In the event of a bad weather we'll either cancel or come up with an alternative plan such as a walk. If you'd like to come please email chair@ocv.org.uk to book a place. To comply with Coronavirus regulations numbers will be limited to 30.
Contact: Chris

Tuesday 1 Jun 2021Committee meetingTown Hall
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The committee meets once a month to make sure that the group operates smoothly. Normally meetings are held in the town hall but for the time being these have been moved online. You don't need to be a committee member to join us, please email secretary@ocv.org.uk for details of how to join the call.
Contact: Jenny

Sunday 30 May 2021Revetment Construction & Woodland ManagementMatthew Arnold Field, Oxford
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Our measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 will still be in place for this task, including a limit on the number of volunteers. To book a place please reply to the leader's task email sent out in the week preceding the task. If you have not received confirmation from the leader that your place has been booked please don't come to the task. 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. There'll be work to do enhance the wet fen habitat by reinforcing the ad hoc dams, and readjusting the outlet stream from the main pond - bring wellingtons! Otherwise we'll be cutting and raking the fen, knocking back any resurgent willow, and doing some repair work on the boardwalk and revetments. Watch out for the task leader's email for the details.!
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 23 May 2021Scrub Popping & CuttingCutteslowe Meadows
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Our reinforced measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 will still be in place for this task, including a limit on the number of volunteers. To book a place please reply to the leader's task email sent out in the week preceding the task. If you have not received confirmation from the leader that your place has been booked please don't come to the task. Note the change to the advertised task! As of Monday May 17th. the site at Burnt Mill Meadow is under a foot or so of water, and with more rain forecast. So, instead, we’ll make a return visit to Cutteslowe Meadows to pop and cut more of the invasive hawthorn scrub on site, none of which is substantial enough to support nesting activity. Indeed, that’s a good reason to deal with it sooner rather than later. The meadows at Burnt Mill and Cutteslowe are both owned by Oxford City Council, and both subject to a management plan drawn up by Judy Webb in collaboration with the Freshwater Habitats Trust. So although we’ll be on a different site, we’ll be working for the same clients. Of course, there’s always the chance that, come Sunday, the meadow at Cutteslowe will be flooded too - so watch this space! The task leader will check out the Cutteslowe site towards the end of the week. In any case, although the work area should be relatively dry underfoot, you’ll probably need wellingtons to get to it.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Dan Moden

Sunday 16 May 2021Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our reinforced measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 will still be in place for this task, including a limit on the number of volunteers. To book a place please reply to the leader's task email sent out in the week preceding the task. If you have not received confirmation from the leader that your place has been booked please don't come to the task. 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: Tim BletsoeDriver: Tim Howard

Tuesday 11 May 2021Annual General MeetingTown Hall
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The Annual General Meeting will be held online at 8pm on Tuesday the 11st May. 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. If anyone is interested in standing for a committee position, please email secretary@ocv.org.uk Details to join the meeting are https://brookes.zoom.us/j/85073035284 Meeting ID: 850 7303 5284
Contact: Jenny

Sunday 9 May 2021Raised Bed ConstructionThe Children's Allotment, East Ward Allotments, Oxford
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The East Ward Allotments are in the heart of East Oxford off Cricket Road. We were last here in the summer of 2019 to help The Children's Allotment project reclaim a derelict corner of the Allotment site. For more details of the project see http://thechildrensallotment.org. At the time of writing, the central job of today's task will be to install some raised beds. For more details nearer the day make sure you've signed up to the OCV email list.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Tom Bulford

Sunday 2 May 2021Site MaintenanceJubilee Fields and Long Meadow, Wootton, West Oxfordshire
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Our reinforced measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 will still be in place for this task, including a limit on the number of volunteers. To book a place please reply to the leader's task email sent out in the week preceding the task. If you have not received confirmation from the leader that your place has been booked please don't come to the task. 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. There's lots of work to do, a real mixed bag: maintaning the post and rail, and post and wire fence-lines; cutting back blackthorn; clearing fallen trees; we also have an owl box to install -- made by OCV's very own Chair -- Chris Skepper. So a mix of all-sorts to do today, and as it's likely we'll be well spread out watch for the task email for all the details.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 25 Apr 2021Site Maintenance & Pond WorkMilham Ford Nature Park
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Our reinforced measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 will still be in place for this task, including a limit on the number of volunteers. To book a place please reply to the leader's task email sent out in the week preceding the task. If you have not received confirmation from the leader that your place has been booked please don't come to the task. 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 pond if you'd rather not wade in.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Phil Hunter

Saturday 24 Apr 2021Reserve MaintenanceTrap Grounds, Oxford
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Our reinforced measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 will still be in place for this task, including a limit on the number of volunteers. To book a place please reply to the leader's task email sent out in the week preceding the task. If you have not received confirmation from the leader that your place has been booked please don't come to the task. Notice that this is one of our occasional Saturday tasks, and that we have a double-header of local tasks this weekend! The Trap Grounds is a small pocket of 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: Tom HeathDriver: Tom Bulford

Sunday 18 Apr 2021Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our reinforced measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 will still be in place for this task, including a limit on the number of volunteers. To book a place please reply to the leader's task email sent out in the week preceding the task. If you have not received confirmation from the leader that your place has been booked please don't come to the task.We pick up our regular monthly schedule of tasks at Aston Rowant today with the first task at our local National Nature Reserve since December. 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 with expert help from 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 BletsoeDriver: Tom Bulford

Friday 16 Apr 2021Evening Litter Pick Walk 5.30pm-8pmSouth-East Oxford
A socially-distanced evening litter-pick around the footpaths, cycleways and nature reserves of south-east Oxford. Instead of an evening social, which would not be very practical with the rule of six, we'll instead try to clear up some of the unsightly lockdown debris before it makes it way into streams and rivers and potentially affects wildlife. We'll divide into teams of 2 to 4 people, with each team assigned different routes. It will be mostly paths, parks and nature reserves, largely avoiding main roads. Email chair@ocv.org.uk if you'd like to take part.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Chris Skepper

Sunday 11 Apr 2021Site MaintenanceStansfeld Park, Oxford
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Our reinforced measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 will still be in place for this task, including a limit on the number of volunteers. To book a place please reply to the leader's task email sent out in the week preceding the task. If you have not received confirmation from the leader that your place has been booked please don't come to the task. 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. At the time of writing it's likely that we'll be doing some pond work, but Roger usually has a wide range of conservation tasks in hand. 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/.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Tom Bulford

Tuesday 6 Apr 2021Committee meetingTown Hall
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The committee meets once a month to make sure that the group operates smoothly. Normally meetings are held in the town hall but for the time being these have been moved online. You don't need to be a committee member to join us, please email secretary@ocv.org.uk for details of how to join the call.
Contact: Jenny

Sunday 4 Apr 2021Toolshed Day of MaintenanceCutteslowe Park, Oxford
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Once in a while we spend some time at the OCV toolshed in the Council's Cutteslowe Parks Depot working on our tools and various bits of kit. So today we'll be doing some maintenance of our own. We'll be cleaning, oiling and sharpening tools, everything from scythe snaths to bill-hooks, and from loppers to slashers - all done by hand. We'll also give the shed (actually a decommissioned freight container) and the van a good spring clean. If there are any OCV volunteers out there who might fancy leading a task or two (and we're always more than happy to welcome new leaders) then today will be a great chance to come along, see where everything is and how things work, and have a chat. Watch out for the weekly task email which will give details of exactly where and when we'll meet. Note that we'll still be enforcing our Covid-19 restrictions (not least the 2 meter rule) in addition to the requirement that everyone wear a face covering while in the depot.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 28 Mar 2021Scrub ControlCutteslowe Meadows
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Our reinforced measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 will continue for this task, including a limit on the number of volunteers. To book a place please reply to the leader's task email sent out in the week preceding the task. If you have not received confirmation from the leader that your place has been booked please don't come to the task.The meadows lie just to the south east of Cutteslowe Park, between the Cutteslowe Community Woodland, the A40, and the river Cherwell. They form 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 make a start on the scrub on the border with the river and the ring-road before it can get established and begin to further encroach on the meadows. We've timed this task with care to fall between the likely winter flood conditions and the onset of the nesting season.
Leader: Tom HeathDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 21 Mar 2021Reserve MaintenanceSwyncombe Estate, South Oxfordshire
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Our reinforced measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 will continue for this task, including a limit on the number of volunteers. To book a place please reply to the leader's task email sent out in the week preceding the task. If you have not received confirmation from the leader that your place has been booked please don't come to the task. We were scheduled to be at our local National Nature Reserve at Aston Rowant today, but work there has been postponed until next month. So, instead, we'll make a return visit to the Swyncombe Estate to help out once more with the scrub clearance project that the estate manager has in hand on the grassland habitat on Swyncombe Down - a notable location for native butterflies. This can be a tricky site to find, so watch out for instructions in the leader's task email! We had extraordinarily fine February weather on our last visit, but the site is open to the elements and there can be a sharp wind chill so bring plenty of warm clothing.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 14 Mar 2021Scrub ControlCrecy Hill LWS, Tackley, Oxfordshire
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Our reinforced measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 will continue for this task, including a limit on the number of volunteers. To book a place please reply to the leader's task email sent out in the week preceding the task. If you have not received confirmation from the leader that your place has been booked please don't come to the task. 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've made a good fist of restoring the central areas of grassland and one of the aims of today's work will be to concentrate on the access routes at either end. The scrub is thick and thorny hereabouts and as the site will have been grazed by cattle over the winter it may be very muddy underfoot. If it's been wet, wellies could be useful.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Tom Bulford

Sunday 7 Mar 2021Site 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, a classical example of a traditional water meadow environment, lying between the rivers Glyme and Dorn. The task today will be to continue with a mixed bag of jobs from where we left off last December. Note that at the time of writing it's unlikely that we'll be using the OCV minibus to transport volunteers, so you'll have to make your own way to the site. Watch out for the task email for all the details.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Ray Hitchins