Task Programme

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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

Friday 9 Nov 2018Oxford Real Ale and Cider FestivalTown Hall
A few of us will be going to the 21st CAMRA Beer & Cider Festival at the Oxford Town Hall this Friday evening at 7pm. If you would like to join meet us outside at 7 or find us inside a bit later, you can reach me on 07708648851 if you’re lost. Entry is £5 if you’re not a CAMRA member (£3 if you are) and beer/cider tokens are sold in units of £5. Unused tokens can be refunded or donated to charity.
Contact: Jenny

Tuesday 6 Nov 2018Committee Meeting 8pmRoyal Blenheim
The committee meets once a month to make sure that the group operates smoothly. As a one off due to prior bookings at the town hall, this month we'll meet at the Royal Blenheim pub. Feel free to join us at 8pm for the meeting or for a drink when we finish at around 9pm.
Contact: Jenny

Sunday 4 Nov 2018Devil's-bit Scabious PlantingBeckley Park, Otmoor
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An unusual site for OCV, and an unusual task. The aim is to plant several hundred Devil's-bit Scabious plants specially grown from seed collected last summer from the MOD Otmoor rifle range by Alison Muldal (see the thumbnail photo on the right). Alison is the Lead Advisor for Natural England's Oxon and Bucks Land Management Team and wants to establish a specific habitat for the rare Marsh Fritillary butterfly (see butterfly-conservation.org). The main food plant of the Marsh Fritillary caterpillar is - Devil's-bit Scabious. We'll be working in a field just to the east of the rifle range. The best habitat consists of several discrete areas of scabious and today's work will add another component part to the overall pattern of flora in the local area. The project is a collaboarative effort involving the Butterfly Conservation volunteers, Bridewell Organic Gardens, the private landowner, and Natural England.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Dan Moden

Tuesday 30 Oct 2018October Social: Crazy Golf in Central OxfordJunkyard Crazy Golf
Join us on a very different kind of green for our October social - a round or two of crazy golf! When: 30th October, 2018. Where: Junkyard Crazy Golf, Oxford. Come try your hand on one of three themed courses - Fairground, Jungle, or Junkyard - and see if you can make it out under par, although a competitive streak is not obligatory! Anyone is welcome, and we'll probably head on over to a nearby pub after for a drink or two (location TBC). Although it's obviously the taking part that counts, there will nonetheless be a prize for the winner! 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 task programme. We'll have to book in advance, so please let me know by the 26th of October to get an idea of numbers. Please contact socials@ocv.org.uk. Hope to see you there!
Contact: Jamie

Sunday 28 Oct 2018Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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The beech woodland of the Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve always looks magnificent from late October to the onset of winter. This month's visit will most likely see us working in the woods themselves or on the more open slopes of the escarpment cutting back invasive scrub and undergrowth. As usual, we'll be working with one of the Reserve's wardens, and, again as usual, the details will be announced in the weekly OCV email. We're always looking for volunteers who might lead tasks, indeed without leaders we couldn't keep going. 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. Note that British Summer Time ended last night!
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 21 Oct 2018Fen-Raking IILye Valley, Oxford
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Day two in Lye Valley. Whichever fen we raked last Sunday, today we'll rake the other one! At the time of writing that should be the larger north fen. Check the general task email that will be circulated sometime in the preceding week. There's also a chance we'll be cutting back and pollarding encroaching willow. OCV have been involved with the Lye Valley Nature Reserve for many years, and we're now involved as part of the BBOWT Wild Oxford Project (see bbowt.org.uk for details). Even though it's a small acreage, it's an important, long-standing, and relatively rare, urban habitat. As last week, you'll need wellies even if there's been no rain.
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 14 Oct 2018Fen Raking ILye Valley, Oxford
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Today is the first of two days work in Lye Valley, Headington. The early autumn cut of both fens in the valley, the north fen and the south fen, is the major cut of the year. Rangers form Oxford City Council will do most of the cutting with an Allen scythe and we'll do the clearing, with help from the Friends of Lye Valley. What the Council can't cut with their machinery we'll tackle with scythes. Ecologist and Lye Valley expert Judy Webb will be with us too. (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 with no public access, by the golf course) but check the weekly email for confirmation. Make sure you're on the OCV mailing list! Wellies recommended.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Ray Hitchins

Sunday 7 Oct 2018Watercourse DredgingAston's Eyot, Oxford
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Road closures in Oxford for The Oxford Half Marathon mean that we cannot get to St. Giles, so there will be no pick-up at the Lamb and Flag in St. Giles this morning. But we will make the pick-up at the Tesco store on Cowley Road at the usual time of 9.30. This large 30 acre site is an 'island' 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. This time last year we dredged the southern end of the Shire Lake Ditch at the point where it meets the Thames, which, come June, was full of fish fry. The plan for today is to work with the Friends either to dredge further back up the ditch; or to dredge the area round Jackdaw Lane Bridge, which will also involve cutting back overhanging vegetation to let in more light. It's likely to be mucky, smelly, and wet so bring wellingtons. If the water levels turn out to be too high, then we'll pollard and coppice nearby willows.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Howard

Tuesday 2 Oct 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 30 Sep 2018Hedge LayingRectory Farm Fields, Kidlington
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Our last scheduled task at Rectory Farm Fields back in March was cancelled due to snow. So the plan today is to pick up work on the hedge-line where we left off at the very end of 2017. We'll look to lay, stake and bind some more sections of hedge. It's likely that we'll be doing more hedge-laying than usual this winter, 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: Jenny HillDriver: Chris Skepper

Wednesday 26 Sep 2018OCV's September Social: Wild Oxford 5 Years OnOxford Museum of Natural History
For this month's social, we're heading along for a talk on the Wild Oxford Project run by BBOWT (Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust). Starting at 18:30 at the Museum of Natural History in central Oxford, Dr. Judy Webb and BBOWT Project staff will talk about the project's achievements over the last five years, as well as what to expect from the future of the project. Come along to “discover how the city’s hidden gems and the surprisingly rare wildlife that inhabit them are flourishing”. It'll be a great opportunity to find out about some of the parks and nature reserves in and around Oxford, and the work that goes on there. The event is free and open to all. Reserve your place here. After the talk, we'll walk over to the Lamb & Flag for a drink. If you don't fancy the talk, then you're more than welcome to just join us there for a drink instead (shortly after 20:30). 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: Jamie

Sunday 23 Sep 2018Site 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, and at this time of year it's likely that we'll be mowing the grassland and meadow areas, working on the paths, and doing some scrub bashing. 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: Andy MoDriver: Chris Skepper

Sunday 16 Sep 2018Site MaintenanceSimon's Land, Sandford on Thames, Oxford
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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 second visit of the summer. We'll knock back any re-growth in the reed bed and tackle the large bramble patch that borders the upstream side of the site. There may also be some coppicing to do and some work to help dam the natural springs to enhance the wetland characteristics of the site. As before, we'll be working on behalf of the Oxford Preservation Trust. It'll be wet underfoot so bring wellies!
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Ed Polehampton

Sunday 9 Sep 2018Demonstration Access ProjectAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our late Summer visit to our most regular work site: the National Nature Reserve on the Chiltern escarpment just above the Ridgeway footpath. Notice that this task has been brought forward by a week from the previously advertised date. Last month we helped out with preparatory work on some special gate installations. The plan is to develop an Access Demonstration Project on the Reserve sited in a field at the top of Hill Lane. All manner and styles of gates will be installed to demonstrate the range of possible designs and construction techniques. A formal event to open the project is planned for next Friday, September 14th, so we'll be helping out with the final preparations. We know from last month's visit that the digging at the top of Hill Lane isn't easy - clay with generous helpings of flint - so a big turn-out would be a great help. By the way, if you're a gate-anorak this is the task from heaven!
Leader: Tim EvansDriver: Phil Hunter