Task Programme

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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

Sunday 10 Mar 2019Willow PollardingBoundary Brook, Oxford
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In 1990 the Oxford Urban Wildlife Group converted a site of derelict allotments into a 3 acre nature reserve a stone's throw from the housing estates of east Oxford. There are now plans to breathe new life into the site under a joint venture involving BBOWT's Wild Oxford scheme, Oxford City Council, and a new local friends group. The site has gone unmanaged for several years so there's quite a bit of reclamation work to do, including the pollarding of some large willows in the south eastern corner of the site - which is what we'll tackle today.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Ed Polehampton

Thursday 7 Mar 2019Wildlife Talk Social - 8pmMagdalen College Auditorium
For this social, we're heading along for a talk on "Securing nature’s recovery" by Estelle Bailey, Chief Executive of the largest local wildlife conservation charity in our area, the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust. As wildlife today faces many serious threats and is in general decline, the talk will cover what needs to be done to reverse the trends. Starting at 8pm at the Magdalen College Auditorium, the event is free and open to all. After the talk, we'll head for a drink somewhere nearby. As always, you don't have to be a regular volunteer to come - everyone is welcome. It's a great way to find out more about conservation in and around Oxford, and see if getting involved might be for you. Hope to see you there! socials@ocv.org.uk
Contact: Anne

Tuesday 5 Mar 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 3 Mar 2019Scrub ControlCrecy Hill LWS, Tackley, Oxfordshire
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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 maintain access to the site.
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Phil Hunter

Sunday 24 Feb 2019Scrub ControlSwyncombe Estate, South Oxfordshire
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Swyncombe Estate consists of over 600 acres of high, mature beech woodland and chalk grassland in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding National Beauty. Today’s work site is on the northern side of Swyncombe Downs (click on the reserve name to see the Street Map on the website reserve page). From Cookley Green follow the minor road west past Swyncombe House to where the road makes an abrupt left turn. At this point there is limited parking in the copse to your right. The OCV van will be parked here. Follow the footpath uphill through the wood and pass through a kissing gate. Follow the path along the earthwork through another kissing gate, and walk towards Dean Wood. The work site is on your left hand side.
Leader: Jenny HillDriver: Dan Moden

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