Task Programme

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Sunday 23 Jun 2019Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our monthly return visit to this important National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns. It's a site that includes important chalk grassland grazed by flocks of sheep. Early summer means it's likely that we'll be working to improve public access on the site by improving paths, installing hand-rails and gates, or repairing post and wire fences. Whatever the work, and whatever the weather, 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 one of the Natural England wardens, either Mick or Kate, who manage the site. Contact Phil at tasks@ocv.org.uk for more details.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 16 Jun 2019Reserve 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 taken on the job of rejuvenating 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, to mark the public opening of Stansfeld Park with a family-friendly set of jobs to do, including the reinforcement of the many paths with bark chippings. 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: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Howard

Friday 7 Jun 2019 -
Monday 10 Jun 2019
Peak District ResidentialPeak District National Park, Derbyshire
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We're heading to the Peak District this weekend to volunteer with wardens from the Peak District National Park Authority and the Peak Park Conservation Volunteers who look after this spectacular part of the country. We'll be staying near Grindleford in the Hope Valley. The work will be decided nearer the time, but in the past we've worked on footpaths on the fells and in the valley, restoring dew ponds, reinforcing river banks, clearing scrub, and peat restoration on the moors. The accommodation will be indoors with beds and showers, and there is a good kitchen and living area with space outside for barbecues if the weather allows. The plan is to leave Friday evening, volunteer on Saturday and Sunday, then on Monday go for a walk or do some sightseeing and return after lunch. Residential trips are great fun and open to all OCV members. If you're not a member it only costs £5 to join for the year, and we'll tell you when we start taking bookings.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Ed Polehampton

Tuesday 4 Jun 2019Committee MeetingTown 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 you're very welcome to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in the Royal Blenheim pub from about 9pm.
Contact: Jenny

Sunday 2 Jun 2019Reserve 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. Today's task consists of two parts, the first of which is a landscaping project. We'll be building a ridge around the back of a newly sited pond and, if the water levels are low enough, we'll be digging a trench down into the bottom of the pond. The second part (nesting birds permitting) involves a bonfire of cut willow brash, felled last winter, that has been roughly stacked nearby on the margins of another pond.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Ray Hitchins

Sunday 26 May 2019Post & Wire Fence RemovalBurgess 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 a large site of 8.5 hectares and, like Aston's Eyot and the Trap Grounds, it lies close to the river Thames – to be precise, between the main railway line and Port Meadow. The land is owned by the City Council, and we'll be working with the newly formed Friends of Burgess Field. Last summer we took out several hundred meters of redundant post and wire fence. Today we'll take out several hundred more and, hopefully, finish the job. We'll be pulling staples, rolling barbed wire, and knocking out posts: straightforward, no-holds-barred destruction.
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Chris Skepper

Sunday 19 May 2019Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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We're back to 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 rare plants that our work helps to protect. We could be helping out with fence and gate repairs, or doing whatever other maintenance jobs are required on the 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: Ray HitchinsDriver: Tim Howard

Wednesday 15 May 2019Talk + Food Social - 6pmJohn Henry Brookes Building
For this social, we're heading along for a talk on "Utopia in the Anthropocene" by Nicole Pohl. The event starts at 6pm at the JHB Main Lecture Theatre, John Henry Brookes Building, Headington Campus and will last about an hour. Alternatively, if you don't want to come to the talk, you can meet us for food and drinks at The White Horse, just down the road, shortly after 7pm. As always, you don't have to be a regular volunteer to come - everyone is welcome. Please let me know in advance if you'd like to come by emailing socials@ocv.org.uk. Hope to see you there!
Contact: Anne

Sunday 12 May 2019Fen Cutting & RakingHinksey Heights Fen
This is a new site for OCV. There are a number of small valleys with streams that run in parallel down onto the Thames flood plain to the south-west of Oxford. Each of them offers the potential to form a relatively rare fen habitat. Raleigh Park and the Chilswell Valley are two such places and between them lies the Hinksey Heights Fen. So today we'll aim to cut and clear a section of the reed-bed in this third valley. The aim is to create a network of contiguous habitats of the same kind. This will be our first outing of the season with our set of Austrian scythes. If you've worked with us at Lye Valley you'll know what to expect. For more information see the Oxfordshire Fens Project (https://freshwaterhabitats.org.uk/projects/oxfordshire-fens-project/).
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Tuesday 7 May 2019Annual General MeetingTown Hall
The Annual General Meeting will be held at 8pm on Tuesday the 7th May in the Jury Room at the Town Hall (on St. Aldates). 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. The official meeting shouldn't take too long, and then we'll be heading to the Royal Blenheim pub for a drink. If anyone is interested in standing for a committee position, please email secretary@ocv.org.uk before Tuesday 30th April.
Contact: Jenny

Sunday 5 May 2019Reserve Maintenance & Pond 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. 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 beloved by dragonflies. There will also be work to be done on the banks and the pond surrounds if you'd rather not wade in.
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Dan Moden

Sunday 28 Apr 2019Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our April visit to this important National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns. It's a site that includes important chalk grassland 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, either Mick or Steph, who manage the site. Contact Phil at tasks@ocv.org.uk for more details. At this time of year we might be looking after the sheep themselves, improving conditions for the flora and fauna special to the site, or maintaining good public access along the various paths. Full details will be in the weekly email as usual.
Leader: Jenny HillDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 21 Apr 2019Easter Day
A Sunday off as it's Easter Day, which gives our volunteer leaders and drivers a welcome break. If you think you could help out either by leading tasks or by driving for us please get in touch, you'll be welcomed with open arms. Contact Phil at tasks@ocv.org.uk for more details. If you'd like to have a go at leading then next week would be a good one to try.
 

Sunday 14 Apr 2019Boardwalk Extension & 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. A couple of weeks short of ten years ago OCV built a boardwalk on site (see the photo gallery - 26 April 2009). It's still standing, and part of today's task is to extend it by a couple of meters to higher, dryer ground. If you were involved in the original construction it would be great to see you again today! We'll also be helping out with the relatively new management plan for the wood by hauling out and dismembering pre-cut timber. There's been some tree felling work over the winter and we'll be following that up by creating dead-hedges, log-pile habitats, and improvised dams. Although April puts us into the nesting season there shouldn't be any need to tackle uncut scrub. It will be wet underfoot so bring wellingtons!
Leader: Chris SkepperDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Thursday 11 Apr 2019Pub Quiz Social - 7.30pmThe Fir Tree
How good is your general knowledge? Let's find out during the classic Fir Tree Pub Quiz! We'll meet around 7:30 at this lively Victorian pub on Iffley Road for a bite to eat (they serve very nice pizzas) before we put our minds to the test. Email socials@ocv.org.uk if you'd like to come, so I can save you a seat! As always, you don't have to be a regular volunteer to join - everyone is welcome. It's a great way to meet OCVers and see if getting involved might be for you. Hope to see you there!
Contact: Anne

Sunday 7 Apr 2019Reserve 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 lying between the rivers Glyme and Dorn. We have a selection of jobs to tackle: A short stretch of post and rail fence repairs down by one of the rivers; some sparsely scattered infant scrub to cut; willows to dismember and burn; path-gravel to be laid; and a picnic table to level. Just how much of this we can get through will depend on the turn-out. The site is special for its water meadows, so if it's been raining you'll need wellingtons!
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Howard

Tuesday 2 Apr 2019Committee MeetingTown 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 you're very welcome to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in the Royal Blenheim pub from about 9pm.
Contact: Jenny

Sunday 31 Mar 2019Site 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. It's a mark of how busy we've been that we haven't had a task here since last June, but today we'll be back to undertake some construction work which has still to be decided at the time of writing. We always have plenty to do at the Trap Grounds and the details will be circulated nearer the day, so, once again, make sure you're on the OCV mailing list!
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 24 Mar 2019Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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An early Spring visit to this National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns, owned and managed by Natural England. You'll recognise the landscape if you've ever travelled towards London on the M40. Indeed, you'll see up close the chalk geology that determines the character of the reserve and its fauna and flora as you drive through the immense cutting in the hillside. Today we'll be helping the wardens care for the grassland, or the woods and paths that sit on top of the chalk. As usual, everyone's welcome! This is a big site so watch out for the weekly email for precise details as to the location of today's task. 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 . 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: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 17 Mar 2019Hedge-LayingBurgess Field Nature Park, North Oxford
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There are many meters of hedge at Burgess Field and today we'll make a start on the active management of some them with a session of hedge-laying which might also include some replanting. We'll look to accommodate some on the job tuition in the task by pairing beginners with volunteers who have some experience. So if you'd like to come along, see what's involved, and try your hand, you'll be welcome. Laying a hedge well encourages thick, healthy re-growth which provides a perfect habitat for a range of wildlife.
Leader: Tim EvansDriver: Chris Skepper