Curious? Ellie has just run their first session in another area. For that explorative spirit Ellie is awarded the scout badge. A Scout is trustworthy
Tonight we were helping maintain a tiny section of cycle path which runs behind the old Durham Ox pub. The Sustrans contact that we were meant to meet at the task had cancelled due to illness at the last minute so our trusty old friend Simon stepped in to bring us all of the tools we required!
We had a wheelie good time
There were several tasks for us to attend to this evening; chopping back overhanging vegetation, picking up litter, and sweeping away the ever-encroaching soil on the path. Pickers, bags, brushes and secateurs were provided for us and we eagerly got stuck into the jobs. By the time we were finished the whole area was far more presentable and far more likely to encourage use by cyclists and pedestrians.
On the return run we took steps to enable us to do some fitness activities... by box jumping, squatting and running up and down several sets of steps. All hopped up on fun, there was a short distance left to run back to the showroom. When we arrived back at base we stretched off all of the key muscles used this evening, heard some announcements (the most pertinent of which was the opportunity to visit the best GG area in the country, BARNSLEY ON WEDNESDAY!!) and popped inside for refreshments.
Cheers folks! See y'all in Barnsley on Wednesday evening for some work in the best park in Yorkshire.
We will be helping out our good friend Simon Geller; Volunteer Co-ordinator for Sustrans in Sheffield. Simon does a fantastic job co-ordinating volunteers to help upkeep the National Cycle Network (NCN) in and around the city.
We will be helping out with the huge task of making sure the network is safe to use for all who want to use it for active travel.
Expect the following tasks:
- Leaf cleaning
- Litter picking
- Cutting back
The task will be at 15 Cricket Inn Rd, Sheffield S2 5AR
Please bring your own gloves so we can get straight to work in an efficient and safe way. Thanks!
13 (unlucky for some, but not in our case ) GoodGymers ventured back to one of our favourite places, Marston Forest Garden. Its been a while since we last helped at the site and it was amazing to see the progess the team has made. As always we were given a very warm welcome by Isobel and we divided into weeding parties. The superstars Thomas and Sam also helped move wheelbarrows of woodchip onto one of the plots. Weeding in and amongst the gooseberries also gave Katie the chance to bring our the Seek app to make sure that no plants were harmed in the weeding process! We finished with some wonderful homemade lemon drizzle cake from Isobel!
Marston Forest Garden is part of the Marston Community Garden cooperative, which comprises a community allotment, the Forest Garden, a chicken coup, an orchard and a new Community Wood on New Marston Recreation Ground plus much more.
Jobs at Marston Forest Garden ususally include digging and weeding, laying cardboard for weed suppression, spreading wood chip etc.
Bring your gardening gloves. All tools will be provided.
If you would like to join a group run to the task location please meet Ben at 5:45pm outside East Oxford Community Centre, Princes Street, OX4 1DD. Please note the community centre is now closed for redevelopment so we won’t have access for toilets etc. It is approximately 2 miles to Marston Community Allotment from there. You will need to arrange yourselves into a group for the run back afterwards as Ben has a prior commitment.
If you prefer to meet at the task meet Katie at the Boults Lane Recreation Ground entrance to Court Farm Allotments at 6:15pm. OX3 0NT
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!
The C S Lewis nature reserve in Risinghurst has lost over 60 trees due to ash die back. With so many trees gone people have been walking everywhere instead of sticking to designated paths. BBOWT and their team of volunteers are slowly creating natural barriers from logs etc to block areas for regeneration and keep people on the paths. So far it's working but......there is a lot to do. Tonight we’ll help progress the project.
Please bring your own gardening gloves. Tools will be provided.
Meeting point for runners is the main entrance of Oxford Brookes Headington Road campus. We will set off from there at 17:45. It’s just under 2 miles to the Nature Reserve. Non- runners meet us at the entrance to the nature reserve at 6:15pm. Address is Lewis Close, OX3 8JD
It was a momentous evening - the return of the GARLAND OF JOY!
For the first time since the start of the pandemic we resurrected the Garland of Joy last night, and the first recipient was Jane to celebrate her 10th Good Deed. Well done Jane! There was some chat about passing it around to make up for all the missed Garland wearing over the last 2 years, so send in your petitions/applications if you've missed out on a garland-worthy milestone.
Iffley Glebe is one of Iffley village’s most important open spaces, playing a vital role in maintaining the rural atmosphere of Iffley within it's city setting. The field is full of wildflowers each summer and the ancient hedge across the field provides birds with nesting places, and insects and berries for food. At night the glebe is an important hunting ground for bats and owls. The stone wall surrounding the site has a lot of weeds growing in it which, although pretty, need clearing regularly in order to keep the wall in good condition. That was one of our tasks for the evening, as well as some (very careful) pruning back of tree branches in the corner of the site - being sure to check for any signs of nesting birds before chopping.
It turns out 25 pairs of hands makes light work of weeding walls and pruning. Despite some minor traumas (spiders, stinging nettles), snickering over childhood names for galium aparine (aka...sticky-willy), and not quite resisting the urge to stick goose-grass on anyone's back (thank you Samantha, in an hour we had stripped the main wall along the Glebe of the worst of it's weeds inside and out (not the moss though!), and made a good start along the two side walls too, although some of the ivy proved extremely tenacious.
The cold wind meant there was no hanging around after the group photo - we were straight away off running, taking the scenic route back along the Thames Path past Iffley Lock.
It's the return of light evenings: No more Wednesday GoodGyming in the dark!
Our first post-clock-change task was at one of our regular locations - Boundary Brook Nature Park. Over the course of the last year we've been gradually extending the gravel paths around the site. We have an efficient system for the task nailed now, so we set to work with a dozen wheelbarrows moving in convoy, and an ace shovelling team. We were able to keep a constant flow of gravel moving through the Nature Park and getting deposited at Henry and Helen's feet for raking and spreading into a smooth(ish) pathway. We even spotted a deer rushing through the woodland as we worked.
It was great to see the bird hide coming together over in the wildflower meadow section of the Nature Park, as we shifted a lot of the wood to make the structure on a previous GoodGym task, and also weeded bramble roots out of the area to creare a smooth space for it. :-) People will now be able to get to it on a smooth new gravel path.
In total we shifted approximately 5 tonnes of gravel to extend the wheelchair-friendly paths around the nature park which we started back in April 2021. That works out at 1/3 of a tonne per GoodGymer - A more than decent workout! I'm sure we're all feeling it in our arms and shoulders this morning.
Welcome to GoodGym Nadeem!
You can find out more about Oxford Urban Wildlife Group, who manage the Nature Park, here.