Task Programme

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Sunday 17 Feb 2019Reserve MaintenanceAston 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 helping the wardens who manage the Reserve on whatever winter jobs they have in hand, whether it be scrub clearance, coppicing, or a little winter sheep work. Whichever, the work will be described in the weekly email, so now's a good time to check you're on our mailing list. 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 BletsoeDriver: Ed Polehampton

Friday 15 Feb 2019Caribbean Social - 7pmTurtle Bay
To kick the winter blues away, we'll pretend we're on a beach in the Caribbean! In reality, we'll be at Turtle Bay, a colourful restaurant in the centre of Oxford inspired by Caribbean beach shacks and street vendors, with a jerk pit barbecue. Come and join us from 7pm, there will be plenty of exotic dishes to choose from and they serve lovely cocktails. Please email socials@ocv.org.uk if you'd like to come, so we can book a table for the right number of people. 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. Hope to see you there!
Contact: Anne

Sunday 10 Feb 2019Willow 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 a line of large willows on the bank of the Shire Lake Ditch, north of the Jackdaw Lane Entrance, where the ditch diverges from the main channel of the river Cherwell. There shouldn't be any need for the bomb squad.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 3 Feb 2019Site MaintenanceStansfeld Park, Oxford
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The rejuvenation of Stansfeld by the Oxford Trust goes on apace in line with plans to open later this spring. Last December OCV teamed up with the Trust to run a corporate task day dedicated to the construction of a line of sleeper-steps. Part of today's task will involve the installation of three lengths (i.e. about 30 meters in total) of double handrail on either side and at the bottom of the steps. That gives us quite a few posts to drive in and there's bound to be complications caused by tree roots, so it might get interesting! There'll be some scrub bashing to do too.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 27 Jan 2019Hedge-LayingRectory Farm Fields, Kidlington
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We're about half-way through the hedge-laying job at Rectory Farm Fields. It's a challenge to lay such an old and outgrown hedge-line but we made steady progess at the end of last year not least with some nicely sharpened, double-handed Yorkshire billhooks (see the photos in the website gallery). There will be the usual amount of hefty top-growth to take out which means a bonfire will be a necessary part of the day's work.
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Chris Skepper

Wednesday 23 Jan 2019Music Night Social - 8.30pmThe Furry Mic at The Mad Hatter
For the first Social of 2019, we'll kick things off with a bit of music. We'll meet at 8:30pm at the Mad Hatter, in East Oxford, for their open mic night "The Furry Mic". Not to worry if you don't have any artistic flair, we'll be there to watch, although anyone is welcome to perform if they want! The bar has a good selection of beers and cocktails and 10% of their profits that night will go to OCV, so it's a unique way to support the organisation! 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 tasks. No need to RSVP, but feel free to contact socials@ocv.org.uk if you have any questions.
Contact: Anne

Sunday 20 Jan 2019Reserve MaintenanceAston 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. 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: Ray HitchinsDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 13 Jan 2019CoppicingLangdon Wood, Aston Upthorpe
A new site for OCV just to the east of Grim's Ditch on the approaches to the Aston Upthorpe Downs south of Blewbury. The wood is a designated SSSI and is mostly mature hazel on the west facing slope of Langdon Hill. The landowner has a grant from Natural England to manage the site and we'll coppice a discrete area as part of an ongoing management plan. As last week we'll look to harvest stakes and binders.
Leader: Jenny HillDriver: Phil Hunter

Tuesday 8 Jan 2019Committee 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 6 Jan 2019Coppicing, Pollarding, & Stream-ClearingNorth Hinksey Nature Reserve
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This small, popular and well used urban reserve in West Oxford incorporates a number of distinct habitats: stream, pond and reed-bed, stands of willow and hazel, a meadow, a community orchard, and a splendidly variegated hedge, which we laid four years ago back in 2015. The hedge is in fine fettle and we'll be back this time in 2020 to lay the secondary re-growth. Today, however, we'll be coppicing hazel, pollarding willow, and opening up the banks of the stream. There'll be a bonfire to burn most of what we cut but we'll also aim to harvest stakes and binders for hedge-laying work elsewhere later in the season.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Dan Moden

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: Jo Gay

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

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

Tuesday 11 Dec 2018OCV Christmas MealAntep Kitchen
Where: Antep Kitchen, Cowley Rd. When: 19:30, 11 December. We're bucking tradition slightly this year for our Christmas Social by swapping out the classic roast for something a little more exotic: Turkish food at Antep Kitchen on Cowley Road! Antep Kitchen has consistently impressed a good many customers, and holds the top spot on recommend Oxford restaurants on TripAdvisor. The menu has plenty of options to cater for all tastes, ranging from smaller meze dishes through to Turkish kebabs and Turkish pizza, as well as a mix of house specials. They also cater for vegetarians. See the full menu for more details. You don't have to be a regular volunteer to come; everyone is welcome, and it's a great way to find out more about OCV if you're thinking of getting involved. Try to let me as soon as possible so I can get an idea of numbers - places tend to get quite busy in the run up to Christmas. Hope to see you there! Contact: socials@ocv.org.uk.
Contact: Jamie

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 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 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: Phil HunterDriver: Ray Hitchins

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 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 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