Group run

The stork, the logs and the weeding: adventures in Narnia

17 GoodGymers made their way 6.5km to help the BBOWT in Oxford.

  • Anwen Greenaway
  • Bethan Greenaway
  • Mark
  • Julia
  • Aoife Fitzgerald
  • Oxford runner
  • Holly
  • Matt Burton
  • Ben Foster
  • Ellie
  • Oxford runner
  • Hattie Elvins
  • Matty Holder
  • Shati Patel
  • Henry Gibson
  • Sophie
  • Fred Collman
Wednesday, 1st of June 2022
Led by Anwen Greenaway

The woodland and large pond of the CS Lewis Nature Reserve used to belong to CS Lewis, and it is said that he enjoyed wandering here while writing his Narnia series. Apparently Lewis planted some of the trees there, and used to swim in the pond. Despite being surrounded by houses and very close to the busy Oxford ring road, we loved how tranquil the reserve feels.

The area is now managed by the Berkshire Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust, and on arrival we were met by volunteer warden Caroline and two of the regular volunteers in the reserve Tacye and Jane. Like many places, the reserve has seen an increase in footfall during the COVID pandemic, and not everyone sticks to the footpaths, so one of the tasks for the regular volunteer group is to try and delineate the rights of way more clearly. We had originally been called in to help with moving logs and branches to form barriers and dead hedges. It's nesting season for birds, so we had to approach this task with caution, but we were able to progress the work a little further.
The other big challenge in the reserve is keeping invasive species from taking over and reducing the biodiversity. Two of the worst culprits are small balsam and an allium species. Fortunately both are considerably less liable to bite back than the brambles and nettles we've been dealing with over the last few weeks, so it felt positively relaxing to spend an hour or so reducing their numbers!

A quartet of GoodGymers headed off into the undergrowth to pick up allium seeds - looking very zen sitting round in a circle and ferretting around in the undergrowth for seeds. I'm told it was a very mindful exercise! Meanwhile the dozen or so remaining GoodGymers headed further into the reserve to move logs and pull up balsam, managing to fill 2 or 3 sacks with the offending plants (which proved gratifyingly easy to pull out) while scrambling up and down the slopes.

We finished our excursion beyond the ring road with a walking loop around the nature reserve, spotting a heron in the pond and chatting to some of the local residents out enjoying the evening sunshine, before running back down the hill to Headington. Great to have so many runners with us for Global Running Day!

I definitely feel like they should install a wardrobe door at the entrance to the reserve for the full Narnia experience - it really is a magical spot.

Welcome to GoodGym Fred; lovely to meet you!

Report written by Anwen Greenaway

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Anwen Greenaway
Led by Anwen Greenaway

Goodgym Coordinator for Oxford. Trail runner, often muddy.

Runners helping out
  • Walk Leader

    Lead a walking group to the task

    • Mark
  • Photographers

    Take photos for the run report

    • Henry Gibson
    • Oxford runner
    • Aoife Fitzgerald
    • Mark
    • Bethan Greenaway

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Marston Community Garden

Wednesday 17:45 - 19:30
Led by Anwen Greenaway
East Oxford Community Centre

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