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Sunday 26 Jun 2022 – Post and Wire Fencing II at Wolfson College Water Meadows
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Today should see us finish the fencing project at Wolfson that we started last August. The Wolfson College water meadows lie immediately opposite the college grounds on the east bank of the Cherwell. Both of them are designated sites of special scientific interest (SSSI). They lie in the flood plain of the Cherwell and have been used as pasture and hay meads since medieval times. They remain a superb flower habitat, now owned and managed by Wolfson College. The meadows are grazed by cattle over the winter and a new post and wire fence will ensure that they stay where they are meant to stay. For more details make sure that you're on the OCV emailing list and look out for the task email specific to this task some time in the week preceding. For directions to the site check out the reserve web page for Wolfson College Water Meadows on our website.

  • Leader: Chris Skepper
  • Driver: Ray Hitchins
Sunday 19 Jun 2022 – Post and Wire Fencing I at Wolfson College Water Meadows
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The Wolfson College water meadows lie immediately opposite the college grounds on the east bank of the Cherwell. Both of them are designated sites of special scientific interest (SSSI). They lie in the flood plain of the Cherwell and have been used as pasture and hay meads since medieval times. They remain a superb flower habitat, now owned and managed by Wolfson College. The meadows are grazed in winter which mean they need stock proof fencing. Last May we installed 150 meters of a new fence that will separate the the north meadow from the public footpath that follows the bank of the river. To continue the work we'll need to remove what remains of the old fence, install straining posts, intermediate posts, and, finally, the new barbed and stock wire. There'll be lots to do, especially given that the further we get from the Wolfson College bridge across the Cherwell, the further we have to go with all our kit. Another couple of days should see us complete the project. For more details look out for the task email. For directions to the site check out the reserve web page for Wolfson College Water Meadows on our website.

  • Leader: Chris Skepper
  • Driver: Phil Hunter
Sunday 12 Jun 2022 – Reserve Maintenance at Aston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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We're back at our local national nature reserve in the Chilterns today. It's a site that includes chalk grassland, grazed by flocks of sheep. Over the winter many of the more badly afflicted ash trees have been severely pollarded to make them safe, which has left a lot of timber and brash to be processed and converted into habitat piles. Otherwise, early summer means we may be working to improve public access on the site with work on the reserve's extensive paths and fence lines. Whatever we do it should be worth coming along if only to check out the wild flower habitats. 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 Steph, one of the Natural England wardens who manage the site. Contact Phil at tasks@ocv.org.uk for more details.

  • Leader: Tim Bletsoe
  • Driver: Tom Bulford
Tuesday 7 Jun 2022 – Annual General Meeting - 8pm at Oxford Town Hall
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All are welcome to join for our Annual General Meeting where we will carry out elections for the committee and review our activities over the year, in addition to running through the regular committee meeting items. We should be in the Jury room but check with reception on entry to the town hall. If you'd like to join online please use the link https://join.skype.com/Nx8ZGqA5zIrx and if you have any questions email secretary@ocv.org.uk. We'll probably go for a drink after the meeting also.

  • Contact: Jenny
Sunday 5 Jun 2022 – Scrub Control at Crecy Hill LWS, Tackley, Oxfordshire
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The aim of today's task is to try out some summer scrub control work. This is ordinarily a job for the autumn and winter months -- well outside the nesting season. But today we'll be working to remove isolated hawthorn and rose saplings from the grassland areas before they can get a chance to develop. We'll be using tree-poppers to lever out the saplings complete with their root systems. We'll also be looking to pull any ragwort we can find given that the reserve borders grass meadows used for forage. As a bonus, if the sun shines, the reserve should be at its most floriferous.

  • Leader: Tim Bletsoe
  • Driver: Tom Bulford
Sunday 29 May 2022 – Post and Wire Fence Demolition at Jubilee 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, a classical example of a traditional water meadow environment, lying between the rivers Glyme and Dorn. As the site is grazed the fences on the Fields site need relatively frequent work to keep them in shape. Today we’ll help out with the first stage of a project to replace the main post and wire fence that divides the level meadow of Round Top from the bank that drops down to the flood plain. We’ll dismantle and remove two parallel fences, one of which is now redundant, along with their gate structures. On the constructive side, there's a length of worn out post and rail fence that needs replacing. Check the weekly task email for details

  • Leader: Tim Bletsoe
  • Driver: Phil Hunter
Sunday 22 May 2022 – Woodland Management & Water Works at Matthew Arnold Field, Oxford
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We'll be working for the Oxford Preservation Trust to a management plan that will maintain and enhance this special peat fen and woodland habitat. The surface water rises from natural springs, and anything that reduces the uptake of moisture from the fen will be to the good, so we'll cut back willow and reed. There will also be some extensive ad hoc DIY dam work using natural materials to control the waterflow in, through, and off the fen. If you're not cutting, you'll be digging. Whatever you do, wellingtons will be necessary, even if there's been no rain.

  • Leader: Phil Hunter
  • Driver: Dan Moden
Sunday 15 May 2022 – Reseve Maintenance at Aston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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We're back at 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 plants natural to the chalk grassland and the insect populations that depend on them. We could be helping out with fence and gate repairs, or tackling other maintenance jobs required on 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: Dan Moden
  • Driver: Tom Bulford
Sunday 8 May 2022 – Post and Wire Fencing II at Wolfson College Water Meadows
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Another day on the Wolfson water meadows with more work on a new fence that separates the north meadow from the public footpath on the bank of the Cherwell. Today we'll look to extend the fence along the gentle curve of the riverside path with more staining posts as necessary. If you were with us last week you'll know what to expect. If not, it would be good to see you! How much we get done today should give us a good idea of when we'll be able to complete the job. Full details as usual in the weekly task email, so make sure you're signed up to the OCV email list. No pickups this week. Meet at the bridge at 9.30am.

  • Leader: Chris Skepper
  • Driver: Tom Bulford
Tuesday 3 May 2022 – Committee meeting at Oxford Town Hall
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The committee meets once a month to make sure that the group operates smoothly. Meetings are held in the town hall and we'll be in the Jury room. You don't need to be a committee member to join us, but please email secretary@ocv.org.uk if you'd like more information. We'll probably go for a drink after the meeting also.

  • Contact: Jenny
Sunday 1 May 2022 – Post and Wire Fencing I at Wolfson College Water Meadows
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The Wolfson College water meadows lie immediately opposite the college grounds on the east bank of the Cherwell. Both of them are designated sites of special scientific interest (SSSI). They lie in the flood plain of the Cherwell and have been used as pasture and hay meads since medieval times. They remain a superb flower habitat, now owned and managed by Wolfson College. The meadows are grazed in winter which mean they need stock proof fencing. Last August we installed the first stretch of a new fence that will separate the north meadow from the public footpath that follows the bank of the river. To continue the work we'll need to remove the old fence, install straining posts, intermediate posts, and, finally, the new stock wire. There'll be lots to do! For more details look for the task email. For directions to the site check out the reserve web page for Wolfson College Water Meadows on our website.

  • Leader: Chris Skepper
  • Driver: Tim Bletsoe
Sunday 24 Apr 2022 – Site maintenance at Milham 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. This is one of the most heavily used urban green spaces in Oxford, and we'll be working on behalf of the Oxford City Council. Most of the work will be in the ponds under the direction of freelance ecologist Judy Webb to dredge invasive plant growth and re-establish areas of open water necessary not least for the local dragonfly population. We'll also be digging out hard rush tussocks on the banks and margins of the ponds and working to improve the flow of the stream that feeds into them.

  • Leader: Jenny Hill
  • Driver: Tom Bulford
Saturday 23 Apr 2022 – Reserve Maintenance at Trap Grounds, Oxford
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We have a task double-header in urban Oxford this weekend, the first of them another of our occasional Saturday tasks. 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 great example of a state of the art urban wildlife site with an ideal combination of complementary micro-habitats. As usual there will be mixed-bag of things to do. Given the time of year we might well be working in the ponds and reed beds. Another job to take in hand will be to 'pop' (i.e. lever out) a myriad of small self-seeded ash saplings in the wooded areas.

  • Leader: Phil Hunter
  • Driver: Tim Bletsoe
Thursday 21 Apr 2022 – Vegetarian Food 7pm at The Gardeners Arms, Plantation Road
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Join us for a meal at The Gardeners Arms on Plantation Road in North Oxford for a meal of delicious vegetarian or vegan food. You don't need to be a regular volunteer to come along as everyone is welcome, but booking is essential to make sure there's room for everyone. Contact socials@ocv.org.uk if you're planning to come along for food. Or feel free to drop in later for a drink if you prefer.

  • Contact: Chris
Sunday 17 Apr 2022 – Reserve Maintenance at Aston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our April visit to our local National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns. It's a site that includes chalk grassland slopes 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 who manage the site. Contact Phil at tasks@ocv.org.uk for more details. At this time of year we might be working on the grass slopes to improve conditions for the flora and, by extension, the insect life special to the site, or maintaining good public access along the various paths. The details of what we'll be doing and where will be in the weekly email as usual.

  • Leader: Tim Bletsoe
  • Driver: Tom Bulford
Sunday 10 Apr 2022 – Revetment Construction & Path Work at Matthew Arnold Field, Oxford
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Matthew Arnold Field in Boars Hill is a mixed woodland, grassland, and wetland site, named after the poet, and cultural critic Matthew Arnold, owned and managed by the Oxford Preservation Trust. We've built and maintained the revetments that shore up the path at the top of the woodland on previous work days. Today we'll add another revetment of 12 meters or so to reinforce and redirect the path where it still remains vulnerable to erosion. We'll build the revetment, then excavate the ground on the upside to level the path.

  • Leader: Phil Hunter
  • Driver: Dan Moden
Tuesday 5 Apr 2022 – Committee meeting at Oxford Town Hall
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The committee meets once a month to make sure that the group operates smoothly. Meetings are held in the town hall and we'll be in the Jury room. You don't need to be a committee member to join us, but please email secretary@ocv.org.uk if you'd like more information. We'll probably go for a drink after the meeting also.

  • Contact: Jenny
Sunday 3 Apr 2022 – Riverside Path Work at Aston's Eyot, Oxford
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Aston's Eyot has riverside paths along both the Cherwell and the Thames. In two places on the Thames path there has been some significant erosion and we'll attempt to put that right today. We'll dig out the banks on the landward side of the path to create room for a couple of gently curving diversions. There will be a significant amount of digging and mattocking to be done as the banks have well established bramble roots. Then we'll attempt to reinforce the ground on the river side with willow stakes taken from the recent pollarding work. How effective, if at all, this will prove to be remains to be seen but it should be, at the least, an interesting experiment.

  • Leader: Phil Hunter
  • Driver: Tom Bulford
Sunday 27 Mar 2022 – Post and Rail Fence Work at Jubilee 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, a classical example of a traditional water meadow environment, lying between the rivers Glyme and Dorn. Livestock grazing is a key part of the management plan for the site. It follows that their fencing needs to be in good order, although today we'll be knocking down more than we'll be putting up! The plan is to demolish the redundant post and rail fencing round the mature coppice on Round Top, along with three substantial post and rail tree guard-structures. We'll use the recovered materials to replace a short section of dilapidated post and rail fencing on a nearby slope.

  • Leader: Tim Bletsoe
  • Driver: Tom Bulford
Sunday 20 Mar 2022 – Hedge Laying or Site Maintenance at Aston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
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Our early spring visit to the 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 the site warden. 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: Phil Hunter
  • Driver: Dan Moden