Task Programme

Gallery pictureGallery pictureGallery pictureGallery pictureGallery pictureGallery picture

UpcomingRecent2019201820172016201520142013Older

Sunday 13 Oct 2019Fen Cutting & Raking I - South FenLye Valley, Oxford
Gallery picture
Today is the first of two days work in Lye Valley, Headington. The early autumn cut of the both fens in the valley, the north fen and the south fen, is the major cut of the year. The balance in favour of the wild flowers on site is now so well established that clear cutting by machine might not be the best option. In which case we’ll be scything the fen ourselves and then raking it clear. And there’s usually work to do to keep the scrub on the boundaries in check. Ecologist and Lye Valley expert Judy Webb will be with us. 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 by the golf course with no public access) but check the weekly email for confirmation. Make sure you’re on the OCV mailing list! Wellies recommended.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Ray Hitchins

Wednesday 9 Oct 2019Nature Walk Social - 5.30pmPort Meadow, Oxford
Gallery picture
October's Social is a nature walk in Port Meadow led by nature expert and ornithologist, Nick Boyd. Meeting point is the Walton road car park around 5.30pm. During the walk we will explore the meadow for signs of interesting wildlife and search the sky for brilliant birds. Binoculars (to be shared amongst the group) will be provided, however if you have your own pair, please do bring them along! We'll definitely head to a nearby pub for some refreshments afterward. As always, you don't have to be a regular volunteer to join - everyone is welcome. Hope to see you there!
Contact: Anne

Sunday 6 Oct 2019Ditch DredgingAston's Eyot, Oxford
Gallery picture
This large 30 acre site just downstream from Christ Church Meadow is an ‘island’ bordered by the Thames, Cherwell New Cut and Shire Lake Ditch. The land is owned by Christ Church College and is managed by an enthusiastic friends group with some help from the Oxford City Council. One aim of the long-term management plan for the site is to improve the condition of the Shire Lake Ditch – the watercourse that runs, or rather should run, round the eastern boundary of the site from the Cherwell to the Thames. This time last year we dredged downstream from the bridge at the main entrance. Today we’ll be working just upstream from the confluence with the Thames. We’ll be digging out thick mats of reed, cutting back overhanging vegetation, and dredging silt. It’ll be mucky, smelly, and wet, so bring wellingtons. If the water levels turn out to be too high we’ll change the work programme, so watch out for the weekly task email on the OCV mailing list.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Chris Skepper

Tuesday 1 Oct 2019Committee Meeting 8pmTown Hall
Gallery picture
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 you're very welcome to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in the Royal Blenheim pub from about 9pm.
Contact: Jenny

Sunday 29 Sep 2019Hedge-LayingRectory Farm Fields, Kidlington
Gallery picture
Our last hedge-laying task at Rectory Farm Fields back in January took us past the halfway point. The condition of the top-growth heavy hedgeline makes for slow progress but with a good day today we're hoping to finish the project this winter. We'll look to lay, stake and bind another 10-15 metre section of hedge and there'll be a bonfire. We'll be doing more hedge-laying later in the winter season, 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: Tim EvansDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 22 Sep 2019Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
Gallery picture
Our late Summer visit to our most regular work site: a National Nature Reserve on the Chiltern escarpment just above the Ridgeway footpath. On a clear day there are extensive views across Aylesbury Vale past, and sometimes over, the Red Kites that cruise the updrafts. Whatever the task, we'll be working with one of the highly-knowledgeable wardens from Natural England. Exact details of the work involved for today's visit will be announced nearer the time via the OCV email list - so make sure you're signed up!
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 15 Sep 2019Site MaintenanceStansfeld Park, Oxford
Gallery picture
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. At this time of year it's likely that we'll be mowing the grassland and meadow areas, working on the path handrails, and doing some scrub bashing. For more Stansfeld Park see the Oxford Trust website: http://theoxfordtrust.co.uk/stansfeld-education-centre/.
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 8 Sep 2019Site MaintenanceSimon's Land, Sandford on Thames, Oxford
Gallery picture
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 first visit of the year. There are two parts to today's task. We'll scythe and rake clear the reed bed, and improvise a fence on the river bank at the bottom of the site using the natural materials on site. There are also a couple of willows that need some light touch pollarding. We'll be working on behalf of the Oxford Preservation Trust. It'll be wet underfoot, so bring wellies!
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Chris Skepper

Tuesday 3 Sep 2019Committee MeetingTown Hall
Gallery picture
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 you're very welcome to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in the Royal Blenheim pub from about 9pm.
Contact: Jenny

Monday 2 Sep 2019Conservation Optimism Film Festival Social - 8pmOxford Museum of Natural History
Gallery picture
Oxford University Natural History Museum is hosting a small film festival as part of the Conservation Optimism Summit. Starting at 8pm, there will be a panel discussion around the importance of film making to raise awareness of conservation issues, followed by the screening of a diversity of short movies. No need to RSVP but you do have to reserve your spot (free) via Eventbrite (http://bit.ly/ocv-20-09-2019). Hope to see you there!
Contact: Anne

Sunday 1 Sep 2019Meadow Cut & RakeCuxham, South Oxfordshire
Gallery picture
In the summer of 2017 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 third 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. Everything that we cut needs to be raked off the meadow, so there'll be a lot to do before we can resort to the local pub (The Half Moon, and some excellent complimentary pizza).
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 25 Aug 2019Grass RakeSt Mary's Fields, Kidlington, Oxfordshire
Gallery picture
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: Jenny HillDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 18 Aug 2019Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
Gallery picture
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 of the public access routes or the installation of the new all-steel 'clip-it' fencing system (and that's not always quite as easy as you might think it sounds).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 to the mailing list via the task leader's email as usual.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Ray Hitchins

Thursday 15 Aug 2019Wind and Solar Farms Tour - 6.30pmWestmill Community Wind & Solar Farm
Gallery picture
For August's social, we'll head to Westmill Community Wind & Solar Farm for a guided tour to see community energy in action! We'll experience the scale of the turbines and solar park up close, learn about renewable energy, hear the history of the site and find out about the installation and energy generation of the five turbines and over twenty thousand solar panels. We'll have a meal somewhere nearby before heading back to Oxford. We'll meet our tour guide at the farm at 6.30pm if you want to make your own way there. Otherwise car sharing can be organised, we should leave Oxford around 5.40pm.
Contact: Anne

Sunday 11 Aug 2019Meadow Cut & RakeIffley Island, Oxford
Gallery picture
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: Anne CossuttaDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Tuesday 6 Aug 2019Committee MeetingTown Hall
Gallery picture
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 you're very welcome to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in the Royal Blenheim pub from about 9pm.
Contact: Jenny

Sunday 4 Aug 2019Site ReclamationEast Ward Allotments, Oxford
The East Ward Allotments are in the heart of East Oxford off Cricket Road. The plan today is to help The Children's Allotment project reclaim a corner of the Allotment site that used to be a nursery area. For more details see http://thechildrensallotment.org. At the time of writing there are a number of possible tasks: redundant shed walls to take down and dismantle; stands of bramble to dig out; and some landscaping work. For more details nearer the day make sure you've signed up to the OCV email list.
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Chris Skepper

Sunday 28 Jul 2019Meadow Cut & RakeNorth Hinksey Nature Reserve
Gallery picture
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 meadow area to enhance conditions for wildflowers. There's a chance too that we'll be working to improve the pond and stream areas with some excavation work on the banks.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Jo Gay

Friday 26 Jul 2019Potluck + Tools Maintenance Social - 5.30pmCutteslowe Park, Oxford
Gallery picture
Join us at our Cutteslowe Park toolshed from 5.30pm where our amazing tools need a bit of love so we can keep doing good work year round! There will be some sharpening to be done, a few shelves to fix, minor minibus repairs to be carried out... No experience whatsoever necessary, it's just a good opportunity to get together and if you've never been to the toolshed, a way to see what goes on "behind the scenes"! Please bring some snacks and drinks to share if you'd like. I can pick up a few people from the town centre if they need a lift. Please RSVP if you'd like to join: socials@ocv.org.uk
Contact: Anne

Sunday 21 Jul 2019Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
Gallery picture
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 Bletsoe